Overview – Tanzania

Tanzania has three safari circuits, and each one of them, in its own right, would make Tanzania a top wildlife destination. The popular Northern circuit with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater offers one of the best classical safaris in Africa, especially if timed with the annual wildebeest migration.

Connected to the Masai Mara grasslands of Kenya, the Tanzanian Serengeti is the top spot in Africa for wildlife safaris and tours, seeing African game in their unspoiled habitat and perching among some of the most beautiful and rare animals in the world. The annual wildebeest migration is arguably its greatest wildlife spectacle and simply can’t be missed.

Linked to the Masai Mara grasslands of Kenya, the Tanzanian Serengeti is the top spot in Africa for wildlife safaris, seeing African game in their unspoiled habitat and perching among some of the most beautiful and rare animals in the world. This vast park attracts visitors from all over the world and one sight that simply can’t be missed on Tanzania tours is the annual wildebeest migration, a wildlife seekers heaven.

Just the name Mt Kilimanjaro should be enough to entice any adventure traveler to Tanzania’s National Park and to the peak of Africa. Tours to Mt Kilimanjaro offer unrivaled sights from the top of Africa’s highest and most recognized mountain. Due to the dense rainforest at the bottom of the mountain, Mt Kilimanjaro treks offer an African safari tour on top of just the splendor of the main climb.

Ngorongoro Crater is widely considered as one of the most special African experiences. Its untainted landscape and rich wildlife offers arguably the best safari tours in Africa. With amazing animals ranging from Rhinos, elephants, lions and buffaloes plus many, many more, along with being introduced to local Masai Mara tribesmen, this scintillating tour is one reason why Tanzania is an African gem. Ruhua National park is Tanzania’s second largest and also offers tremendous amounts of game.

Zanzibar Town is in a realm of its own and a whole new reason to visit Tanzania. It is a World Heritage Site for a reason. With its beautifully networked labyrinthine alleys, meandering below picturesque colonial architecture, the old quarter of Stone Town is a walking museum and is warrants an imperative visit on everybody’s list. Sitting quietly a few streets down you will stumble across exotic palm lined beaches and pristine blue waters. An incredible discovery for newcomers to Tanzania tours.

Best Time to Go: Jun to Oct (Migration from Jun-Jul & Jan-Feb)

High Season: July to March (Northern circuit parks get crowded)

Size: 947,303km² / 365,756mi²

Pros and Cons

  • Superb wildlife viewing, including the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti
  • Off-the-beaten-track safaris in Selous and Ruaha parks
  • Several wildlife viewing circuits for repeat visits
  • Best chimp tracking in Africa in Gombe and Mahale Mountains
  • Beach holiday extensions in Zanzibar
  • Traditional indigenous cultures
  • Too many highlights to fit in one safari

Wildlife

You’ll have few problems spotting the more-prominent African animals in Tanzania, including the lion, elephant, giraffe and buffalo. For big cats like the leopard and cheetah, you’ll want to head to the Serengeti, while Ngorongoro Crater is where you want to be for a chance of seeing a black rhino. Other wildlife highlights include chimpanzee tracking, checking out African wild dogs, and being awestruck by the several million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra on their annual migration.

Weather & Climate

In equatorial Tanzania, the humidity lessens noticeably the further away from the coast you get. Heat is a mainstay of the country everywhere except for the central region, where things cool quickly once the sun goes down. The Dry season (June to October) sees the temperature vary between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F. It’s useful to remember, the higher the altitude, the cooler it will be. The Wet season (November to May) kicks off with showers (the ‘short rains’), followed by a drier interlude and then heavy downfalls (the ‘long rains’) from March.

Best Time to Visit

To see the incredible spectacle of the great migration, you need to visit during the Dry season (June to October). Wildlife watching across the country is also at a premium at this time. There’s far less rainfall and therefore bush to impede your view, and not so many mosquitoes to bug you. That said, the northern-circuit parks still have productive game drives in the Wet season (November to May). And January and February is the time when wildebeest calving in the Serengeti attracts lots of predators.

Premier Parks and Reserves

  • Serengeti– Classic safari
  • Ngorongoro– Classic safari
  • Lake Manyara– Classic safari
  • Tarangire– Classic safari
  • Selous– Classic safari
  • Ruaha– Classic safari
  • Gombe– Chimpanzee tracking
  • Katavi– Classic safari