TANZANIA TOURS & SAFARIS
Our safari holidays in Tanzania visit a vibrant and beautiful country with world-class parks. Safaris have been a way of life in Tanzania for decades; the country is blessed with the winning combination of both superb big game and stunning tropical beaches. You can fly from a Tanzania safari camp in the morning to an Indian Ocean beach for an afternoon swim.
Tanzania holidays is divided into four major circuit: the famous 'northern circuit' safaris; the wild parks of southern Tanzania; the remote safaris of western Tanzania; and the beaches of the coast & islands. Tanzania's three safari areas are very different; but all combine well with trips to the beach! Looking at each in more detail:
A Northern Tanzania Safari
Tanzania's first safari areas were in the north, and this 'northern circuit' remains its most famous safari area. The Ngorongoro Crater and the Rift Valley's Lake Manyara are names to conjure with – whilst the Serengeti's great migration is one of the world's great wildlife spectacles; no wonder it attracts hundreds of thousands of human visitors every year!
Sadly, sometimes the mini-buses out-number the animals here; you can find the side of mass tourism to Africa that we don't like. Hence we've strived to find ways of visiting these areas, whilst avoiding the human hotspots. The main parks here are:
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Tanzania's greatest wildlife showpiece, the Ngorongoro Crater has breath-taking views, phenomenal game and a lot of visitors. Look out for elephants, buffalo and black rhino on the crater floor; the large lion population is far from camera shy.
The Serengeti's vast ecosystem covers several different reserves, and includes overwhelming amounts of game. Many areas are also very busy, and we're very aware that this will detract from many Tanzania safaris here. Other safari areas may be harder to reach, but are usually worth the effort for their exclusivity. It is still possible to safari here with the migration to yourself – but getting the timing right is a science in itself!
Lake Manyara National Park
This small, yet spectacular safari park sits between the Great Rift Valley's steep Western escarpment and the Lake Manyara, a shallow alkaline lake. It is easily visited from Arusha by 4WD, and often on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and/or the Serengeti.
Tarangire National Park
At its best when it's dry, Tarangire is an excellent park: with abundant game and very varied bird-life. The bulk of it is also relatively quiet, with few people reaching the southern regions where safaris can still find a sense of 'wilderness.'
Mkomazi National Park
Mkomazi National Park is located 150 km from Arusha; South of Mount Kilimanjaro covers 3,700 sq km. It is bordered with Mount Kilimanjaro in the Northwest, Pare and Usambara Mountains in the South and Tsavo National park in the North. Tsavo actually shares a border with Mkomazi allowing huge herds of elephant to migrate in.
Wildlife: Other animals are established Black Rhino, Wild hunting dog, Jackals and more.
Birds: Over 450 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve. Accommodation: Babu's Tented Camp, Camping sites and hostel, Guesthouse, hotel outside the Reserve.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
Mount Kilimanjaro 5895 m is within this park that is located 128km north east of Arusha, it covers 576 sq km. The rain forest, landscape, Shira plateau, Mawenzi and Kibo peaks are the main features of the park. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free standing in the world, and highest in Africa with permanent snow cape ''Cape of Africa''. There are several routes to reach the summit; Machame route with camping sites for Igloo tents, Marangu route with huts, Shira route, Londrosi and Rongai tents.
Wildlife: Elephant, Buffalo, Black & White colobus monkey. Baboon, Blue Monkey, honey badger, Hyrax, abbots duiker and more, there are more man 100 species of birds.
Accommodation: Huts and camping sites are available on the climb, and many hotels at the base of Mountain and in Moshi town
Arusha National Park Mount Meru
Arusha National Park and Mount Meru is Located 37 km, the nearest Park from Arusha, which covers 137sq km. This small park has three district zones that contribute to its variety and beauty. The lush swamp of Ngurdoto Crater, the tranquil beauty of the Momela lakes, each has different hue, and the chill rock alpine heights of Mount Meru 4566m the fourth highest Mountain in Africa.
Wildlife: Mammals include Elephant, Giraffe, Black and white colobus monkey, Buffalo, hippo, Bushbuck, waterbuck, Dikdik, Red duiker and more.
Birds: include flamingo, waterfowls, and a lot of other migrant birds.
Accommodation: Momela lodge and other hotels in Arusha town and around.
Lake Eyasi is a seasonal shallow endorheic salt lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley at the base of the Serengeti Plateau, just south of the Serengeti National Park and immediately southwest of the Ngorongoro Crater in the Crater Highlands of Tanzania. The lake is elongated, orientated southwest to northeast, and lies in the Eyasi-Wembere branch of the Great Rift Valley.
The principal inflow is the Sibiti River, which enters the southwestern end. The river may continue to flow somewhat year round, at least in wetter years; the other inflows are all seasonal. The second largest inflow is the Baray, at the northeast. The water carried by the Baray has increased in recent years due to deforestation of the Crater Highlands. The southwest flank of Mount Oldeani, one of the Ngorongoro volcanos, drains directly into the northeast end of the lake. Flow from the Budahaya / Udahaya River, which drains into the Yaeda Swamp to the southeast of the lake, was once second, but has decreased due to water diversion in the Mbulu Highlands. Water flow from the Serengeti is minor; the largest stream is the Sayu.
Seasonal water level fluctuations in the lake are dramatic, though the northwestern shore is constrained by the cliffs of the Serengeti Plateau. During the dry season the lake may dry up almost entirely, especially in drier years, so that Datooga herders and Hadza foragers will cross the lake on foot, but in El Niño years it may flood its banks and attract hippopotamus from the Serengeti. It is a seasonal stop for migrating flamingos. The lake supports minor local fishing in wet years, but more often catfish and lungfish are taken from the streams and springs that feed the lake. Even during wet periods, lake depths typically remain less than one metre.
The Hadza are the indigenous inhabitants of the lake. They are found along most of the perimeter, though camps are few along most of the Serengeti, which is Maasai territory. The Datooga inhabit the Yaeda Valley to the southeast, the Isanzu the south, and the Sukuma across the Sibiti River in the southwest. The Iraqw traditionally lived on the other side of Yaeda, but have come in increasing numbers to the Baray, which is now the primary onion-growing region of East Africa.
Mumba Cave is an archaeological site that is located by the shores of Lake Eyasi. The site has yielded a number of Middle Stone Age and Later Stone Age artifacts.
A Southern Tanzania Safari
The parks in southern Tanzania cover huge areas and offer great game-viewing in remote areas, based at small lodges where local safari guides (often real experts) drive you around in open 4WDs. It's an excellent experience, similar to the best safaris in southern Africa - and these trips probably include our most popular Tanzania safaris. There is no 'migration' here – but the game is excellent, and you will relish the real feeling of wilderness here and complete lack of crowds! The main options are:
Selous Game Reserve
Arguably Africa's largest game reserve, the Selous offers some of best big game safaris in Tanzania with excellent guiding, and it's a relatively short flight from Dar es Salaam, the coast and islands. Selous is perfect for a week's safari!
Ruaha National Park
In the heart of Tanzania, Ruaha makes a great extension to a Selous safari. It's hotter, drier and higher here, so the environments, and several of the game species, are different. Being that bit more remote, there are even fewer camps here. (Read more about Ruaha… )
Mikumi and Udzungwa national parks
These two parks and are best for the well-travelled enthusiast. Mikumi is one of Tanzania's smaller parks, best visited with a 4WD and driver/guide. The environment is similar to that in Selous, and you can base yourself here for trips into the Udzungwa Mountains – a small, densely-forested park where keen wildlife enthusiasts come in search of endemic species. (Read more about Mikumi & Udzungwa... )
A Western Tanzania Safari
Safaris in western Tanzania are in a league of their own with superb and contrasting wildlife experiences – but see a map to realise that they are seriously remote! Because of this, Tanzania safaris here usually expensive and so receive very few visitors - but of course having few other visitors sharing your experience is a real attraction in itself. The two main parks here are:
Katavi National Park
One of Africa's most remote safari parks, Katavi has excellent game, including prolific buffalo and lion, and an unbeatable feeling of wilderness. It's very remote even by Tanzania safari standards, but a big draw for old Africa hands who have travelled extensively.
Mahale Mountains National Park
Totally different from Tanzania's safari parks, Mahale is a thickly-forested and mountainous. On one side is the vast Lake Tanganyika, and the odd superb beach; but come because it's Africa's best to watch wild chimpanzees at close quarters. It's a superb experience, in a park that's very remote and so costly to reach.
Adding to a Tanzania safari: The coast & islands
Tanzania's beaches, especially those on its islands, are spectacular, accessible, and often relatively inexpensive to visit. There's a real choice of small beach lodges and hotels; consider the options:
The spicy, exotic island of Zanzibar conjures up an amazing image. What's more, it can live up to it – with a cosmopolitan mix of cultures, enchanting palm-fringed beaches and some good diving and snorkelling in the ocean around it.
South of Zanzibar, Mafia Archipelago is laid-back, sparsely-populated and delightful. A huge marine park protects one side of this, where there is first-class diving and snorkelling and a few small beach lodges. Mafia is great value and a firm favourite with its visitors.
Pemba doesn't have Zanzibar's reputation or its choice of beach lodges. It's a little less easy to reach, and the population are a little more conservative, and so it has fewer visitors. It has one good beach lodge, which isn't cheap but is popular with a young British honeymoon crowd. (Read more about Pemba... )
Ras Kutani area
On the mainland, Ras Kutani is only about an hour's drive south of Dar es Salaam. It can make a good stop for two nights at the start or end of your trip – and here there are two very good, if contrasting, lodges beside a lovely long beach.
Dar es Salaam
The urban sprawl of Dar es Salaam is Tanzania's largest and most important city, and a major gateway for international flights – although it's not the country's capital city! 'Dar', as it's often known, is fine for a night's stay, but most visitors pass straight through. (Read more about Dar... ) Most Tanzania safaris in Southern Tanzania will pass thought Dar - whereas most safaris to Northern or Western Tanzania will use Arusha as their hub