Tanzania Tourism Guide

tanzania toursim - the Serengeti

Tanzania tourism industry offers some of the best safaris in Africa. There is something for everyone. You can camp in canvas tents in the vast grasslands of the savanna or you can stay in luxurious safari lodges with amazing views of Tanzania’s wild. You can go an a luxury safari and be pampered like a queen or you can take a simple safari that wont make a dent in your bank account.

You can watch from the skies in a hot air balloon as the wildebeests migrate  or you can get close and intimate with the experience from the ground. Most safari goers will stick to the Northern circuit but real enthusiasts who want to experience all that Tanzania tourism industry has to offer will proceed to the south or to the West.

There are hundreds of Tanzania tour operators. Finding a good one that suits your needs shouldn’t be a hassle. While the bigger companies may already have a reputation, some smaller companies offer more personalized safaris and do pay attention to every customer’s needs.

An after safari experience in Zanzibar will add a whole new dimension to your Tanzania experience. Make sure you make it to Zanzibar or Mafia.

Tanzania Safari Circuits

Tanzania has 3 major safari routes. Each route offers great Tanzania safari experiences.
The Northern circuit is the most popular and has parks like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area , Lake Manyara and the Tarangire. The parks are close together and are easily accessible from Dar es Salaam and Arusha.

serengeti Tanzania safari elephants

Elephants in Tanzania

The Southern circuit is less popular but has just as good game viewing opportunities as the North. Ruaha National Park and Selous Game reserve are the star attractions of the South. Some of the parks have higher populations of game than the Northern Parks. What makes them less visited is their distance from Dar es Salaam and Arusha. You can however access the parks by light aircraft quite easily.

The most intense game viewing period in the Southern parks is between July and November. This leaves the park with few crowds in the other months making these months the best time for safari enthusiasts to visit the park.

The Western circuit sees real safari enthusiasts. Katavi National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park are the pillars of the Western circuit. Come here to track chimpanzees and experience the Tanzania safari in the most unique way possible.

Top Tanzania Tourist Attractions

The Serengeti and the Great Wildebeest Migration

The Masai call it the endless grass plains due to its vastness. The Serengeti is definitely the best national park in Africa.

The park boasts of the magical annual migration of close to 2 million animals notably the Wildebeests and Zebras in the Serengeti ecosystem. This is one of the greatest natural spectacles on earth. You will be treated to a show like no other on this planet.

Couple this with a hot air balloon safari over the vast Serengeti savanna grasslands during the great migration and you have a story to tell for the rest of your life. Imagine viewing the animals in their hundreds of thousands marching like an army in the beautiful Serengeti from the sky. No experience on God’s green earth can beat that.

experience the great migration while on a Tanzania safari

Migrating Wildebeests in the Serengeti

The Serengeti is also popular for its population of the big 5. More than 3000 lions inhabit the Serengeti.A big population of elephants, leopards, African buffalo and the black rhinoceros can also be found in the Serengeti. The population of the black rhinoceros has however suffered in the recent years due to poaching activities.

Some other animals in the Serengeti include Zebras, impalas, hyenas, cheetahs, hares, crocodiles, monkeys, baboons and Giraffes. An impressive 500 species of birds have been spotted in the Serengeti.

The Serengeti has indeed earned its place as the number one Tanzania tourist attraction with all the game viewing opportunities it offers.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro crater is the largest inactive intact caldera in the world. The caldera houses some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world.

The Ngorongoro is a must visit while on a Tanzania Safari.

The Beautiful Ngorongoro Crater

Most of the animal species found in East Africa can be found in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. More than 250000 large animals can be found in the caldera. Elephants, leopards, hippos, lions, water bucks, black rhinoceros, buffaloes and zebras are some of the animals you will find the area.

The geography of the area guarantees outstanding scenery. A diverse flora and fauna makes the area a must visit if you come to tour Tanzanaia.

Ngorongoro is located 180 Kilometers West of Arusha and can be easily accessed from the Serengeti, Arusha or any other parks in the Northern circuit.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara Tanzania safari

Flamingos and Zebras in Lake Manyara N. Park

Lake Manyara National Park is located at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment in both the Arusha and Manyara regions. It is about an hour and a half drive from Arusha. The park is popular for the flamingos that inhabit the region during the wet season.

Elephants and tree climbing lions are the main attraction in the Lake Manyara National Park. Bird watchers will have a good time here as more than 400 species of birds have been spotted here.

Some other animals found here include dik diks, monkeys, elephants, leopards, giraffes and impalas.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National park is located in the Manyara region, 70 Km from Lake Manyara National Park, and is very popular among elephant lovers. The Tarangire River, from which it derives its name, flows through the park and provides water to the animals during the dry season.

Tanzania tours View From Tarangire Safari Lodge

View From Tarangire Safari Lodge

The diverse landscape and beautiful scenery makes Tarangire get some attention among Tanzania safari goers despite the fact that it lies outside of the main safari route. Most of the people who come here mainly spend time in the Northern region then leave.

If you want a real Tarangire experience then you may want to go further southwards. There are no crowds and you are guaranteed a real Tanzania  wilderness experience.

There are more than 550 species of birds spotted in Tarangire. Be sure to spot elephants and tree climbing lions.

Climbing the Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa. It stands tall at 5895 meters above sea level.

Thousands of people trek the mountain every year. The climb can be physically demanding so make sure you are healthy and fit enough to fully enjoy the climb. A slow climb is recommended so that you acclimatise to avoid high altitude sickness.

There are six recommended routes to climb the Kilimanjaro. The Machame route should take about seven days. The Machame route is the steepest but the most scenic. The Rongai route is the easiest but the least scenic.

Kilimanjaro National Park is on the lower slopes of the mountain. Those who find themselves in this region can enjoy the good game viewing opportunities that the park offers.

Hunting Safari in the Selous Game Reserve

The reserve is located to the South of Tanzania and is the largest game reserve in the world. Selous has the largest population of animals in Tanzania. Some 100 000 wildebeests and almost 130 000 buffaloes can be found in the Selous Game Reserve. A big population of elephants, hippos, crocodiles and African wild dogs can be found here. Some other animals that can be spotted include the zebra, giraffe and water bucks.

90 % of the Selous is dedicated to hunting safaris. The remaining parts is for photographic safaris.

The Rufiji river cuts across the reserve and attracts large populations of animals during the dry seasons

Spot the Predators at Ruaha National Park

Though not as well known as the Northern parks, Ruaha is one of the amazing game viewing offerings of Tanzania tourism.

Ruaha is the largest national park in Tanzania and has a significant population of the country’s large animals. Elephants, rhinoceros, leopards, cheetahs, buffaloes, sable antelopes and hyenas are some of the animals that can be found in Ruaha.

Ruaha gives you the opportunity to spot predators and encounter wild dogs like no other park in Tanzania.

It is also a haven for bird watchers with 436 bird species already spotted.
The Ruaha river attracts animals during the dry season and this can be a good time to watch the animals.

Kenya – Tanzania Safari

Kenya Tanzania safari

Wildebeests Crossing the Mara River in Kenya

Did you know that you can combine a Tanzania safari with a Kenyan safari? If for any reason you are unable to choose between touring Kenya and Tanzanian then you can just blend the two for unforgettable East African safari experience.

Some of the likely destinations in such an itinerary include the Lake Nakuru National Park, Amboseli and the magical Masai Mara in Kenya to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara in Tanzania. A coastal add on will likely take you to Mombasa in Kenya or Zanzibar in Tanzania.

Different companies offer different packages that ensure a balanced mix of Kenya’s and Tanzania’s best safari experiences.

Zanzibar and Mafia: The Ultimate After – Safari Experience

zanzibar beach

Beach in Zanzibar

The Zanzibar archipelago lies in the Indian ocean and is the perfect after safari location. Zanzibar boasts of beautiful white sandy beaches, luxurious resorts and a rich culture and history.

The stone town is the hub of the island. You will spot old mosques and even palaces.

Stone Town Zanzibar After a Tanzania Safari

Stone Town Zanzibar

Most of the buildings date back to the 19th century. The stone town’s narrow alleys are full of life. The buildings are so close to each other you can not drive in these streets. The beautiful doors to the buildings have been intricately curved from mahogany and teak.

Mafia island,on the other hand, is not your typical tourist destination. Expect very little of the luxuries in Tanzania’s mainland. There is no electricity in Mafia and there are no tarmacked roads.

The people of Mafia still live the village life as it was traditionally structured to be.

Mafia island is still a good place to be if you want to escape from the stresses of the modern world.
You can swim with the famous whale sharks if your timing is right. Mafia is also a divers paradise as it has some of the best diving locations in East Africa.

A visit to Mafia or Zanzibar will add a whole new experience to your Tanzania visit. If you truly are adventurous then you should consider visiting Mafia. Just remember that it is not your typical tourist destination.

When To Come and What To Carry

Tanzania can be visited all year round but some areas become inaccessible during the long rainy season between mid march and May. Read this article on Tanzania weather to get a clear picture of when is a good time to come.

Pack the right clothes for your African safari. You can shop for safari clothes online.

You can also learn to say hello in Swahili here before your trip to Tanzania. Here’s a resource on Swahili phrases (English – Swahili translation).

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