A Tanzania safari is on most people’s bucket list with its famous safari game parks like Serengeti, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha, Ruaha, Katavi, & Nyerere National Parks.
Although Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, we have listed it separately as it offers such a different experience.
Tanzania boasts the highest mountain in Africa; Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro stands nearly 6km high and is in the Kilimanjaro National Park.
Where to go for a safari in Tanzania
A country that boasts the largest unbroken caldera in the world, Ngorongoro Crater plus the ‘greatest show on earth’, the annual Wildebeest Migration; it is no wonder Tanzania is high on everyone’s bucket lists!
With over 25% of the country’s total landmass dedicated to wildlife parks and conservation areas; Tanzania offers tourists some of the best safaris in Africa and on top of that has beautiful beaches; making it the ideal combination of safari and beach vacation destination.
When to vacation in Tanzania
The climate is mainly tropical with little fluctuation in temperatures between summer and winter; due to it being near the equator. The coastal areas are hot and humid with average daytime temperatures of 30 degrees Celcius. The central plateau experiences hot days and cool nights. The hottest months are October until February. The coolest months are from June until August. In high altitude areas such as Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Highlands; temperatures can fall below freezing. The main, long rainy season is from the middle of March to late May; when it can rain for hours, even days.
There are 4 safari circuits in Tanzania; Northern, Southern, Western, or Coastal.
Northern Safari Circuit
A safari in Northern Tanzania is most frequented by tourists. Most of the attractions are fairly close to each other and several of Tanzania’s most famous sights; such as Ngorongoro Crater / Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Serengeti National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro; are all a part of this safari circuit.
Most Tanzania northern circuit safaris depart from Arusha.
For hikers; climbing the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro; or the crater of Mt. Meru is an adventurous break from game viewing. Mount Kilimanjaro’s highest peak (5,895m); Kibo, is covered in snow throughout the year despite it being so close to the equator. Conquering this peak promises to be an adventure of a lifetime. A longer trek through the Crater Highlands is also a beautiful way to explore northern Tanzania; at a more leisurely pace.
Day trips from Arusha to Mt. Meru and the Momela Lakes, in Arusha National Park; also offer short forest hikes and canoeing trips.
Tanzania Southern Safari Circuit
A Southern Tanzania Safari covers the largest game reserves in Tanzania; such as Ruaha National Park, Nyerere National Park, and the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. These game reserves are enormous; with some of the highest concentrations and diversity of wildlife anywhere in Africa; including roan antelope, sable antelope, Cape hunting dogs, and also a multitude of colorful birdlife.
Tanzania Western Safari Circuit
The Western Safari Circuit covers the Mahale Mountains National Park; which is home to some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa; and the Katavi National Park; where you will find the rare roan and sable antelope species.
Lying in the Great Rift Valley are the inland lakes; Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. The habitats of these areas are a merger between Western Africa and East Africa, therefore; the cultures, rainfall, and flora are unique to this small area.
Rarely experienced on its own; the western safari circuit is more often an addition to either the southern or northern safari circuits; or both.
Tanzania Coastal Circuit
One of the great attractions of Tanzania is its fantastic 800 km coastline; with palm fringed beaches of white sand and the historic towns of Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, Kilwa, Lindi, Mikindani, and Mtwara; along with the exotic islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia. Tanzania’s beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world where diving, fishing, and cultural experiences are fantastic.
We have covered Zanzibar separately as it is such a popular destination on its own or as a combination of safari and beach vacation or honeymoon.
Getting to your Tanzania Safari
There are 3 International Airports in Tanzania & Zanzibar; Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro International Airport, and Zanzibar International Airport. There are many airstrips for easy access to your Tanzania safari destinations. Tanzania is a safe country to travel to with warmhearted people who are always eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay.
To begin a safari in Northern Tanzania; most visitors are advised to book with Airlines whose arrivals & departures are at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which is 45 minutes drive from Arusha town. It is also possible to get flights arriving at Nairobi (Kenya); from where you can make arrangements to transfer to Arusha / Kilimanjaro.
Dar Es Salaam is the gateway to the Southern and Western safari circuits. However; you can also connect from Arusha after doing the northern reserves via Dar.
The Western safari circuit access:
To get to Gombe Stream National Park; travel by air or road from Arusha or Dar es Salaam; or by train from Dar to Kigoma and then a 1-hour boat trip.
The Mahale Mountains National Park is between a 3 and a 9-hour boat trip from Kigoma; or a 2-hour flight from Arusha or Dar es Salaam.
Katavi National Park is either a flight from Arusha or Dar es Salaam or a day’s drive from Mbeya; or in the dry season, Kigoma.