A traveler’s guide to Tanzania Wildlife Safaris

Tanzania wildlife safaris offer the best wildlife encounters in the wild including the great wildebeest migration experience. Tanzania is most popular for its captivating wildlife/game viewing experiences. The iconic wildlife experiences to expect on Tanzania wildlife safaris include Big 5 game viewing and wildebeest migration. Tanzania wildlife tours are best enjoyed in a 4×4 safari car with a pop-up roof. This guarantees 360-degree wildlife encounters and breathtaking landscapes. Book a memorable Tanzania safari package with Native Africa Tours and explore some of Africa’s finest parks.

Amazing places for a safari

Some of the best safari destinations worth exploring on Tanzania wildlife safaris include Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro, Serengeti National Park, and Lake Manyara National Park. Planning a wildlife tour to any of Tanzania’s premier game-viewing destinations is easier if you do it with Native Africa Tours. Book any of our expertly designed tailor-made Tanzania safari packages. Our wildlife safari packages are very flexible and pocket-friendly.

Tanzania wildlife safaris have proven to be the perfect way to unearth the African secrets. This Tanzania wildlife safari guide encompasses the best wildlife safari destinations, tour packages, the best time of the year to travel to Tanzania for wildlife tours, and more. Embark on a wildlife tour with us, and be rest assured of magical encounters. Get the best of Tanzania wildlife encounters by embarking on an unforgettable African wildlife tour to Lake Manyara National Park, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park.

Top Destinations to Explore on Tanzania Wildlife Safaris

Wildlife safaris in Tanzania and East Africa are best enjoyed in the extensive savanna-dominated protected areas. Here are the most popular places to visit in Tanzania for wildlife safaris and tours;

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania wildlife safaris

Serengeti National Park is not only most popular for its extensive savanna grassland but also a huge concentration of wildlife. Located in the Northern circuit of Tanzania and the Eastern Mara region. The park covers 3,700,000 acres of virgin savanna. Serengeti is an extensive protected area, spanning over 14,763 sq.km, and was officially designated as a National Park in Tanzania in 1940.

Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s premier wildlife destination, offering the most memorable Big 5 game and the Great Migration experiences. The park is the most popular destination to find the huge concentration of wildebeest. The annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti is the world’s spectacle. Over 1.5 million blue wildebeest together with thousands of zebras, the Thomson’s gazelles and elands can be observed as they embark on a journey to search for pasture and water. The most powerful highlight of this annual event is the Grumeti Migration.

Serengeti is also home to huge concentrations of Big Five game and other mammals. The checklist of Serengeti’s diverse wildlife includes African elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, giraffes, buffaloes, and spotted hyenas. The park also shelters mammals such as black-backed jackals, honey badgers, caracals, banded mongooses, hippos, African striped weasel, aardwolf, African golden wolves, striped hyenas, bat-eared foxes, crested porcupines, and African wildcats.

Primates to encounter on Tanzania wildlife safaris in Serengeti include vervet monkeys, yellow and olive baboons, mantled guereza, and others. Reptiles that survive in Serengeti include serrated hinged terrapin, leopard tortoise, Nile crocodiles, African python, rainbow agama, Jackson’s chameleon, black-necked spitting cobra, Nile monitor and puff adder.

The Great Migration Experience

The world’s most spectacular – the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park is a complete journey covering over 800km route. In the Southern part of the migration route, there is a lush Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) where over half a million wildebeest are born around January, February, and March. Over 1.5 million wildebeest plus zebras, begin their journey towards Masai Mara. This is especially around March. Wildebeest and zebras are then joined by the Thomson’s gazelles and common elands.

The migrating herds cross the western corridors around April and May. To reach the Masai Mara, the wildebeest cross the Grumeti and Mara Rivers. These rivers are home to over 3000 crocodiles. As the wildebeest and other grazers cross, the crocodiles hungrily wait to hunt down while others get drowned. The dry season ends around late October and it is when the migration begins to return towards the South again. In the circle of the migration, thousands of wildebeest and zebras die due to predation, drowning, disease, and thirst.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to Ngorongoro Crater, the Big 5 game, and other diverse wildlife. The conservation area lies in the Northern tourism circuit of Tanzania. The Ngorongoro crater is remarkably the biggest intact caldera in the world. Game drives are the best way to explore the wonders of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. On a game drive, visitors enjoy the sight of Ngorongoro’s diverse wildlife including leopards, lions, elephants, rhinos, and buffaloes. Other wildlife to see in Ngorongoro include jackals, black spotted hyenas, zebras, hippos, impalas, waterbucks, Kudus, elands, cheetahs, bushbucks, and many bird species.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is an exceptional wildlife destination of its own. Lying in the Northern circuit, Southwestern Arusha, Lake Manyara National Park is most popular for its breathtaking rift valley escarpment views. Lake Manyara National Park is known for its diverse wildlife and is the best place to see buffaloes, giraffes, and monkeys. The park also protects cheetahs, large herds of elephants, warthogs, tree-climbing lions, klipspringers, and more. Birds in Lake Manyara National Park include flamingos, superb starling, slivery-cheeked hornbills, von der Decken’s hornbills, ball fetch weavers, white-faced whistling ducks, little bee-eaters, palm-nut vultures, and many others. Top things to do in Lake Manyara National Park include game drives, nature walks, and canoeing.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire is another spectacular destination which is found within the Northern circuit of Tanzania. This park is home to large herds of African elephants and baobab trees. Expanding up to 2600 sq. km, Tarangire National Park is Tanzania’s 6th biggest park and besides elephants, it also supports other wildlife. Other wildlife to find in Tarangire National Park include wildebeest, zebras, buffaloes, hartebeest, lions, leopards, fringe-eared Oryx, giraffes, elands, gerenuks, lesser and greater kudus, etc.

There are also over 545 bird species including the yellow-collared lovebirds, shy starlings, pygmy falcons, bushrike, yellow-necked spurfowl, red-bellied parrots, little grebe, yellow barbets, speckled pigeon, and many others. Exciting things to enjoy on Tanzania wildlife safaris in Tarangire include guided game drives (day and night), bird watching, and hot air balloons.

Top animals/wildlife to see on Tanzania wildlife safaris

Tanzania is popular for its diverse animal population. But top wildlife to see include wildebeest, African elephants, cape buffaloes, leopards, giraffes, African wild dogs, lions, and others.

What is the best time to travel for a Tanzania wildlife safari?

When planning the Tanzania wildlife safari, timing is key. As you plan a wildlife tour to Tanzania, it is important to take note of the different seasons. Different seasons of the year favor different activities. Depending on your travel interest, here is the breakdown of each season;

The dry season

This is the best time to visit Tanzania for wildlife safaris. This is especially for visitors with plans to explore rich wildlife safari destinations such as Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and others. The dry season is ideal for game drives and the great migration experience. The dry months of the year in Tanzania are characterized by cool temperatures. These months to mark on the travel calendar run from late May to October –the months of the year when most areas are warm and dry. During the dry season, the vegetation is scarce making it easier to watch the diversity of wildlife in the savanna parks.

Wet season

Most of the destinations experience two rainy seasons. The first phase is characterized by heavy rains and this is from mid-March to May. The shorter rainy season begins from November to mid-January. These are perfect for bird-watching safaris. It is around these months when migratory birds flock to most of the birding sites.

Wildebeest Migration season

For visitors with plans to experience the best of the Great Migration, the best time to get to Tanzania should be between June and July. This is the best period to explore the Western Corridor and then from August to September –the ideal for witnessing the migration in the North. If your interest is to observe the wildebeest as they birth, then the most reliable period to get to Serengeti is from January to February.

Choosing the right Tanzania wildlife safari type

Tanzania wildlife safaris come in different forms and each has something unique for nature lovers to experience. Here is a detailed list of varying wildlife safari styles to choose from on Tanzania safaris.

Game drives

A vacation in Tanzania is not complete without a game drive in your itinerary. This is best done in a 4×4 safari car with a pop-up plus an experienced guide who can take you through your favorite destination say Serengeti National Park or Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Wildlife safaris

If you want to get something slightly adventurous, then embarking on a guided walking expedition should be a must-do on Tanzania wildlife safaris. With guided walks, it is about complete immersion into the hard-to-reach sites by car as you explore the diverse attractions.

Canoe tours

If you are so enthusiastic about the aquatic ecosystem, then you have every reason to have a canoe tour in Tanzania safari. These are best done on rivers, marshlands, and lakes.

Walking safaris

Guided walks are ideal for any nature enthusiast who desires to have complete immersion into the jungles as you look for your favorite animals with experts. The guided walks introduce visitors deep into the wilderness which vehicles may not access thus allowing you to explore the hidden treasures.

What to carry for Tanzania wildlife safaris?

When picking what to pack for your Tanzania wildlife tour, care should be taken. Packing right is essential and among the many items, the following shouldn’t be left out;

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Neutral-colored clothes

Do not pack any type of clothing on Tanzania wildlife safaris. The attire that matches that of the environment is preferable if you are visiting any of Tanzania’s safari parks for game viewing. Your pack of clothing should comprise long-sleeved shirts, short-sleeved shirts, trousers, scuff and trousers, etc. Any type of clothes you choose should blend with the natural environment. Avoid all kinds of shouting colors as they often scare away wildlife.

Insect repellents

Wildlife safaris in Tanzania are enjoyable in the wilderness areas, places that harbor different kinds of insects. You can have a DEET most ideal for mosquitoes and other biting insects.

Sun protection

Come with a wide-brimmed safari hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. These are essential for shielding away the African sun.

A camera and other gear

A good camera shouldn’t miss on any trip no matter how tight the budget can be. A camera is ideal for photo taking and essentially, carry with you other gear like an extra battery. The telephoto lens and extra storage.

First aid kit

Traveling comes with lots of fun, but some emergencies can also arise. Not to be taken by surprise, carry with you the first aid kit. The first aid kit or medical kit is essential, especially when emergencies arise.

Is it safe to go on safari in Tanzania?

Tanzania is a safe and secure wildlife destination in Africa. It is one destination to visit without having any fear of risks, especially insecurities. But while on a trip it is important to be keen on your surroundings.

How to enjoy Tanzania safari safely?
Always follow your safari guide’s advice

Do not ignore the piece of advice that your safari guide provides. The guides are experts with adequate knowledge of animal behaviors in the wild. Do not get frightened while in the wild and behave in a manner that may allure wildlife to you. Where you do not know something, inquire from your safari guide. Observing the guide’s instructions is all intended to ensure that you enjoy a trip free of risks and return when filled with lasting memories.

Wildlife encounters in the wild using a safari car

The safest way to enjoy a wildlife safari tour in Tanzania is by using a 4×4 tourist vehicle. A full-time 4×4 safari vehicle is preferable for navigating through all kinds of terrains while in search of your wildlife species. The 4×4 safari vehicles don’t come with high ground clearance but also with a pop-up roof. The pop-up roof allows you to enjoy 360 degrees of game viewing without you getting out. Note, that everything should be done in the car even if it is photography. Do not be tempted to get out of the vehicle when you find lions walking to capture their images outside the car.

Go for guided safaris

The safest way to explore the rich tourist sites in Tanzania is by taking guided safaris. This involves exploring the parks with an experienced guide. This is safer than self-drive safaris where you visit the destination alone and perhaps with no adequate knowledge of the place. The local guides are knowledgeable about the destination and skilled in handling dangerous situations or problem-solving while you are on a safari.

Observe the rules

 Regardless of the wildlife destination you plan to visit, observing the set rules and regulations is essential. There are park rules and regulations which all visitors must respect. They include –staying quiet and avoiding as much as you can sudden movements. Do not disturb wildlife in their natural habitat. Visitors shouldn’t interfere with wildlife but feel free to observe them while they graze etc. Smoking in the wild isn’t allowed. This is risky, especially when a fire breaks out, and can affect wildlife.

Put on neutral clothing

Environmentally friendly clothing is essential for anyone with plans to visit Tanzania for a wildlife tour. Carry some protective gear including safari boots, socks, and long trousers to safeguard you from dangers for instance thorny brambles, scorpions, and snakes. Be ready for weather changes. Unlike back home, the weather conditions in Tanzania can be completely different. To have you safeguarded from the African sun, ensure that you come with a sun hat, layers, long-sleeved shirts, and trousers.

What to consider to reduce health risks on Tanzania safari?

Traveling to Tanzania for a safari holiday requires adequate preparations. To have the best of your adventure with no worries of health risks in the destinations, here are some of the health travel tips to take note of. The vaccinations to take before you visit Tanzania for wildlife tours include a yellow fever vaccination, hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, and up-to-date polio and tetanus vaccinations.

Is malaria common in Tanzania?

Tanzania like the rest of the world encounters challenges of malaria, but there are those states most popular as high-risk areas. The ultimate care should be taken to ensure that you are safe and secure from malaria during and after your safari in Tanzania. Here are some of the useful tips to guide you on staying safe from malaria;

  • Talk to the expert to provide you with medication that is right for malaria.
  • When finding accommodation, ensure that your room has a mosquito net. You should also have long-sleeved shirts and trousers.
  • Carry insect repellent to protect you from biting insects like mosquitoes.
Do you need medical travel insurance?

Travel insurance is essential for everyone with plans to visit Tanzania for wildlife tours or other adventures. The insurance policy should cover all your planned safari activities, and medication evacuation in case you encounter severe illness or injury.

Is tap water safe in Tanzania?

Drinking water is available in different places/points/forms including taps. While there are many water sources, we recommend bottled drinking water because it is treated, safe, and secure to drink. You can purchase bottled drinking water from your respective safari lodges or ask the driver guide to get you some. On a safari, at times, you have water available in the safari vehicle.

Safety on the roads

As you head to your destination for wildlife viewing, your safety on the road is essential whether on a self-drive or guided safaris. Always observe the speed limit regulations, and the park rules and drive carefully while minding about the rugged paths or potholes, especially in the remotest part of Tanzania.

While driving in the parks, do not break the set speed limits. Speeding in the parks can cost you and also the biodiversity. Keep within the designated tracks, do not feed wildlife, keep within your safari vehicle, respect wildlife, and other safety measures that your guide will be briefed on when you are at the destination to take on your wildlife safari activities.

Where to stay on Tanzania wildlife safaris?

Tanzania wildlife safari destinations have different categories of accommodations ranging from budget to luxury. Choosing the best place to stay is key for anyone with plans to visit Tanzania for a wildlife tour and ensure that it is closely located to where your activities will begin from.

Top luxury lodges to book for a night stay on a Tanzania wildlife tour include Mbalageti Serengeti, Serengeti Pioneer Camp, Mwiba Lodge, Singita Sakwa Lodge, Sanctuary Kichakani Camp, Namiri Plains, Asilia Sayari Camp, Lemala Nanyukie Lodge and others.

The midrange accommodation includes Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Serengeti Simba Lodge, Thorn Tree Camp, Serengeti Kati Kati Camp Lemala Ngorongoro Ndutu Lodge, and more.

Luxury lodges in Ngorongoro Conservation Area include Andbeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, Lake Ndutu Luxury Tented Lodge, The Manor at Ngorongoro and Ngorongoro Sopa. In Ngorongoro, the ideal midrange lodge is Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge, Ngorongoro Tortilis, Hhando Coffee Lodge, and Kirurumu Ngorongoro.

Luxury lodges in Tarangire National Park include Little Chem Chem Safari Lodge, Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge, Swala Safari Camp, and Nimali Tarangire.

Midrange lodges in and around Tarangire include Sangaiwe Tented Lodge, Tarangire Sopa Lodge, Maramboi, and Baobab Tented Camp.

Getting around Tanzania for a safari tour

The best way to get around Tanzania is by embarking on a road trip using a 4×4 safari vehicle with a pop-up roof. You can also take fly-in safaris to any of the airstrips. Serengeti is served by airstrips such as Lobo, Kogatende, Serengeti Kusini airstrip, Seronera airstrip, and others.

Conclusively, Tanzania wildlife safaris offer more than the Big Five game encounters and the Great Migration experiences. Tanzania also protects a good number of chimpanzees which can be encountered in Mahale Mountains and Gombe National Parks. There are also marine parks and reserves worth exploring on wildlife tour in Tanzania including Kwale Island Marine Reserve and Maziwe Island Marine Reserve. Tanzania wildlife safaris can be combined with other experiences like mountaineering in Mount Kilimanjaro; Zanzibar beach holidays and cultural safaris. Talk to your expert to plan and book your magical Tanzania wildlife safari.

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