Best of Tanzania safaris : Famous for the yearly great wildebeest migration, in which a herd of around two million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle makes an epic safari despite the presence of multiple predators, Tanzania is one of Africa’s classic safari destinations. Although the migration receives the lion’s share (cringe) of media coverage, there is a lot more to the country than just that. In addition to the Big Five, visitors to Africa can also enjoy fantastic birdlife, chimpanzee trekking, coastal history and beaches, and incredible trekking on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Where to go on safari in Tanzania.

Northern Tanzania, Southern Tanzania, and Western Tanzania are the three most popular safari areas in Tanzania.

The north of Tanzania, which can be reached by Kilimanjaro International Airport or the smaller domestic Arusha Airport, is where the vast majority of safari visitors choose to go. The “Northern Circuit,” Tanzania’s most popular safari route, includes stops in this area, including the popular safari destinations of Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara, as well as the world-famous Serengeti.

Southern Tanzania’s parks are ideal for people who have already seen the Serengeti or other popular Big Five places and are looking for a more remote and unspoiled adventure. Both the Selous Game Reserve and the Ruaha National Park are must-sees in this area.

The western part of Tanzania receives less tourists than the other two safari hotspots. It’s not cheap to visit here because getting here is difficult. From either Arusha or Dar es Salaam, a short plane ride will take you there in around four hours. There are two weekly flights, but they’re pricey, and the drive will take a few days. If money is no object, though, you can enjoy a private, isolated safari experience. There will be a swarm of tourists heading west to find the chimpanzees of Mahale.

Best of Tanzania safaris : Serengeti National Park.

 The Serengeti National Park, which spans an impressive 12,000 square miles and is home to the annual great wildebeest migration as well as numerous lion, leopard, and cheetah populations, is the main attraction. July and August are the busiest months at the park because they coincide with the northern hemisphere’s summer holidays and the months in which the famed wildebeest river crossings take place.

The Serengeti is divided into four distinct areas: the Northern Plains, the Western Corridor, the Seronera Valley, and the Lobo/Kogatende area. Serengeti is home to various private reserves, like as the Grumeti Reserve, where visitors may see the same species but avoid the throng for a hefty price.

The Seronera River and valley are located in the very centre of the Serengeti. Big cats and grazing herbivores can thrive here throughout the year.

Kogatende and Lamai, located on the northern banks of the Mara River, are less frequented by tourists than the more popular Masai Mara in neighboring Kenya during the summer months, making it an ideal spot to witness the spectacular river crossings.

Best safari camps & lodges in Serengeti National Park.

 There are countless excellent safari camps and lodges that span the full spectrum of budgets. A smattering of the best regarded camps include:

Serengeti Safari Camp: A top-end deluxe mobile safari camp which moves around five times per season to keep up with the constantly changing migration.

Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge: An upmarket safari lodge (fixed location) in the Seronera area with accommodation designs influenced by traditional Tanzanian village with thatched rondavels.

Kiota Camp: A solid mid-market mobile camp in the Seronera River Valley area.

Sayari Camp: Arguably one of the top camps in the northern Serengeti, well away from the crowds further south.

Tanzania Baobab tree in Tarangire National Park lowers Baobab trees in Tarangire National Park.

Best of Tanzania safaris : Tarangire National Park.

The throngs of the Serengeti can be avoided by visiting Tarangire, which is located south of Lake Manyara, a sanctuary for migratory birds. There are lions, wild dogs, and elephants in vast groups. There are more mammals in the park during the dry season. The park is at its quietest outside of the months of July through October, when you have the highest chance of seeing large mammals.

Private reserves outside the national park offer more seclusion than the public ones do, albeit at a higher price.

Best safari camps & lodges in Tarangire National Park.

 Tarangire River Camp: A tented camp with stunning views over the Tarangire River and spacious adaptation.

Kuro Tarangire: A high-end camp conveniently located near Kuro Airstrip and far from the crowds. In the dry months of July through October, elephants can really thrive there.

Oliver’s Camp: One of the top rated camps in the region, with unparalleled game viewing and a friendly, unstuffy vibe.

Best of Tanzania safaris : Ngorongoro Crater.

 Ngorongoro Crater is another must-see on the Northern Circuit; it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the biggest unflooded volcanic caldera on Earth. Elephants, giraffes, lions, and black rhinos are just some of the 25,000 huge species that call the crater their home.

Wildlife can be seen here year-round, however the crater can grow crowded during the summer.

Best of Tanzania safaris
Ngorongoro Conservation area

There are no campsites within the crater itself, but several have been set up on its rim, where the scenery is breathtaking. You can alternatively stay outside the crater in the larger Ngorongoro Conservation Area and drive in for the day. If you want to make the most of your time, stay at a place close to the main road.

Best safari camps & lodges.

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge: A good value mid-market permanent lodge that is conveniently located near the entrance to the Ngorongoro Crater.

Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge: A rustic but great value camp which was established to support a local community tourism project. The Rhotia Valley camp is conveniently positioned close to the crater and Lake Manyara.

Rhino Lodge: Another simple and economical lodge situated very close to the crater rim. Fairly basic but excellent value.

Entamanu Ngorongoro: At the other end of the spectrum, a deluxe safari camp that offers a retreat from the crowds drawn to the Ngorongoro. Views of the crater at sunrise are excellent.

Best of Tanzania safaris : Lake Manyara National Park.

 Lake Manyara National Park is a thin, densely forested stretch of land to the north of Tarangire National Park that lies in the shadow of a towering cliff of the Great Rift escarpment. Some over 350 species of water birds find refuge in the lake, and the park is well-known for its population of tree-climbing lions and one of the best-studied elephant herds in all of Tanzania. There are opportunities for animal drives, walking safaris, and even a treetop walkway high up in the forest canopy.

Best safari camps & lodges in Lake Manyara National Park.

 Lake Manyara Tree Lodge: Super high-end with the only location actually inside the park.

Manyara Ranch: A higher-end camp with private access to the vast Manyara Ranch. Conservancy. Conveniently located between Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks and just two hours from Ngorongoro Crater.

Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge: A solid mid-market permanent lodge, twenty minutes from the park entrance. Accommodations are basic (thatch roofs), but very reasonably priced.

Little Chem Chem Safari Lodge: Top of the top-end tented camp; small, intimate and exclusive. It will cost you a fair penny.

Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve Tanzania.

Rufiji River running through the Selous in southern Tanzania

Best of Tanzania safaris : Selous Game Reserve.

At 19,000 square miles, the Selous Game Reserve is larger than Switzerland and among the largest game reserves in the world. Fewer campers mean a more remote experience than in the northern parks. Wild dogs, along with lions, leopards, elephants, black rhinos, hippos, and buffalo, rely heavily on the Selous. Although there are still plenty of animals to observe, their numbers aren’t as high as they would be, say, in the Serengeti, due to poaching. Several safari camps specialize in photography, although the majority of the area is set up for hunting.

Best safari camps & lodges around Selous Game Reserve.

Selous Impala Camp: Less expensive than other camps in the Selous, probably the closest to mid-market but still far from cheap. There are family-friendly rooms available.

Lake Manze Tented Camp: A good value camp on the shores of Lake Manze with plenty of resident wildlife close by.

Siwandu Camp: Super high-end camp in the Siwandu, with tents located on a picturesque river bank. Easily accessible from Dar es Salaam flights.

Best of Tanzania safaris : Ruaha National Park.

 Ruaha is Tanzania’s largest national park, although being smaller than the nearby Selous game reserve. Baobab trees dot the landscape, along with grasslands and undulating hills. Similar to the Selous, this area is home to big cats and few visitors. Accommodations for walking safaris range from high-end resorts to more rustic fly-camping options.

Not far from the Mdonya Falls is the tiny, straightforward, and inexpensive Mdonya Old River Camp.

Ikuka Safari Camp: High end experience at mid-range price. An intimate camp, with stunning views from the Mwagusi Escarpment.

Usangu Expedition Camp: Higher-end mobile camp with excellent access to the special wetland wildlife of nearby Ihefu Swamp.

Best of Tanzania safaris : Mahale Mountains National Park.

Chimpanzee and primate safaris are the best bet. Located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the hilly Mahale National Park is well-known for its tame chimpanzee population. The greatest time to explore the forest is during the driest months (August to October) and you can see other primates like vervets and red colobus monkeys.

The park’s headquarters is a government-run backpackers, and there is a smattering of camps and lodges from which to organize chimpanzee trekking. One of them is the ‘barefoot luxury’ Greystoke Mahale.

Best safari camps & lodges around Mahale mountains national park.

Greystoke Mahale Camp: Top-notch, world-renowned chimp tracking camp situated in a stunning spot on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Nkungwe Beach Lodge is (relatively) cheap, has rustic allure, and provides excellent value. Also located on the Tanganyika beachfront, equally well for chimp tracking.

Katavi National Park.

Katavi is Tanzania’s third-largest national park, but it receives a fraction of the visitors that the Serengeti does. It’s been calculated that Katavi receives yearly the same number of visitors as the Serengeti receives daily. During the dry season, it is possible to see large herds of buffalo, lions, elephants, and a wide variety of plains animals such as topis, zebras, and impalas.

Best safari camps & lodges around Katavi National Park.

Chada Katavi Camp: Remote, quiet and well off the beaten track. Suited for adventurous safari goers, with good game drives plus escorted walking safari and night safari.

Katavi Wildlife Camp: Slightly more affordable option, although far from cheap – largely due to the remote location and transportation distances.

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