Where to Go on Safari in Tanzania
Tanzania is a vibrant and beautiful country full of diversity. From the snow-topped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to the lush grasslands and sparse woodlands of Serengeti National Park, this African travel destination has it all.
Whether you are hoping to catch a glimpse of the Big Five, visit one of the tropical beaches, or explore its giant green forests, there is something for everyone in Tanzania. It is one of the best places for safari and has been for many years. The country continues to attract numerous tourists each year as they aim to roam freely in open jeeps, spot some of Africa’s best wildlife and enjoy a thrilling and jam-packed safari holiday.
If you are planning to visit Tanzania to experience its incredible safari offering, below are our top recommendations of where to go so that you can make the most out of your trip.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa, sitting at an impressive 5,895 metres high! This magnificent peak is perfect for tourists because you will be astounded by its beauty whether you prefer to stay at its base or climb its rocky summit.
The mountain is one of the few towering summits in the world that you can climb without special equipment. Upon hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, you will encounter seven biomes, starting with dense rainforests and ending with Arctic conditions at the top.
Many feel the snow-capped Kilimanjaro mountain is far out of reach due to its renowned icy conditions. However, no technical climbing is required during the dry season (between July and October or January and March).
Due to its location, Kilimanjaro attracts plenty of wildlife at its base such as elephants, leopards, and primates. So even if you don’t fancy a hike, there are still plenty of other things to see.
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is favoured among those who don’t want to break the bank whilst on Safari in Tanzania. It is often less expensive than other popular safaris in the country as it has fewer wild cats and other predatory animals in comparison to other popular safaris in the country.
Although you may not find the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo) at Arusha, you will encounter plenty of other species, such as monkeys and birds. The park also has stunning scenery with lots of lush greenery and large stretches of water. Visitors can either hike, canoe, or drive leisurely through the national park without worrying about any harm.
Ruaha National Park
If you’re seeking Africa’s loveable giants then Ruaha National Park is where you want to go, as it is home to East Africa’s largest elephant population! Ruaha has a vast offering for catching a glimpse of these enormous beauties and is also home to 10% of all of Africa’s lions.
Ruaha National Park sits where the east of Africa meets the south, meaning that the wildlife here is incredibly diverse. So keep your eyes peeled as you look out for the Big Five, alongside Africa’s rare wild dogs.
This stunning national park is often referred to as a ‘hidden gem’ as it only offers a handful of safari camps, despite its large size. As a result, you won’t bump into other tourists whilst staying here, offering an authentic safari experience when visiting Ruaha.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is one of the most unique and best safaris in Tanzania. The park is well-known for offering the largest elephant population in the world, with the dry seasons from June to October attracting the highest concentrations along the Tarangire River.
There are over 500 bird species around Tarangire, alongside its stunning forest, giant swamps and never-ending woodlands. If that isn’t enough, you will also come across many large predatory animals scattered around the national park!
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is home to tree-climbing lions, heavyweight buffalos, giraffes, elephants, leopards and much more! Not only do you get a fantastic range of Tanzania’s wildlife here, but the park is also in a stunning setting with woodlands, emerald forests and lakes that often attract flocks of pelicans and flamingos.
Visitors usually head to Lake Manyara during the monsoon season, as this is when you are almost guaranteed to see an abundance of flamingos alongside lazy hippos.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the animals up and close, then a trip on a canoe safari is a great way to do this. Travelling along the water allows tourists to approach in stealth mode without disturbing the wildlife.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is an excellent place for those seeking to see lots of different animals. Ngorongoro is situated between Serengeti National Park and Arusha National Park, hence why it has such diversity in its wildlife offering.
Whilst on safari here, visitors often encounter elephants, buffalos, hyenas, hippos, plus much more. However, the conservation area of Ngorongoro is mainly famous for its sightings of rhinos, as it is the only park with the most significant population of this magnificent animal.
Not only do you get the chance to get up and close with some of Africa’s most prolific wildlife, but Ngorongoro is also a World Heritage Site. Here you will find the famous Ngorongoro Crater – the world’s largest, intact caldera formed from a volcano that erupted millions of years ago.
If you plan to go on safari with your family, Ngorongoro is an excellent option, as there is so much to see and do here. However, it is worth noting that the conservation area is popular, meaning it gets very busy so it is always best to book your safari experience well in advance.
Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve spans approximately 48,000 square kilometres, making it Africa’s largest reserve. With so much space to explore, this is a great place to go for those seeking a diverse safari adventure.
Selous is in a stunning setting with channels, swamps and lakes surrounding the area. The reserve’s remote location creates an authentic safari experience, with both walking and boat tours available, making it an excellent place for those who desire plenty of adventure. Only a tiny portion of the reserve is open to tourists, but this doesn’t limit your chances of catching a glimpse of animals like the Big Five.
If you plan on partaking in one of the boat safaris in Selous, get ready to keep a lookout for animals such as crocodiles and hippos. Selous Game Reserve offers visitors the chance to throw themselves into Africa’s unspoilt wilderness, all whilst remaining on the edge of their seat for whatever creature they might encounter next!
The Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is one of the most well-known places for a safari in Tanzania and for good reason! Each year more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 250,000 zebras and thousands of lions migrate to Serengeti as they search for food and water, all in preparation for the season change.
The best time to see the spectacular migration is between January and March when you can catch sights of packs giving birth, predators catching prey and the brave herds as they make their way across the rivers full of hungry crocodiles.
One of the biggest attractions that bring tourists to Serengeti is the giant wild cats that call this place their home, you can spot leopards, lions and more whilst on safari here. Alongside its exciting offering of animals, its vast size, great camps and year-round wildlife make Serengeti one of the best destinations for a safari in Tanzania.
For those seeking safari paired with total bliss, Zanzibar is where you want to be! The stunning island is brimming with white sands, turquoise waters, thatched beach huts and tropical trees that line the coast. This is an excellent location for families or couples who want to see the best of Tanzania’s safari offering, all whilst in a beautiful, tranquil setting.
There are multiple boat trips from Zanzibar that will take you out to sea to witness the amazing sea life around the coast of the island. Here you will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of Tanzania’s marine life and the impressive coral reefs below. However, if you would prefer to soak up island life, a visit to Zanzibar’s fragrant street markets is a great option – a place full of colour and spices!
The Best Time for Safari in Tanzania
January to March – A Time for New Life
January to March is a great time to go on safari in Tanzania, as this is generally when the migration herds start to slow in preparation for birthing their calves. The Serengeti National Park is exceptional during this time, with many animals going here as they migrate for the season to raise their little ones.
The weather is generally pretty good in Tanzania during this time, with a dry climate and temperatures averaging around 18-20°C. It is also a quiet time to visit with far fewer crowds; excellent for those who seek less rain and few tourists.
April to May – Heavy Rainfall
April through to May tends to bring the most rainfall, creating a great time to spot animals such as birds, flamingos, hippos and rhinos. As the water rises, it creates a fantastic environment to facilitate the wildlife who prefer the wetter lands.
As this time is known for being a rainy season in Tanzania, it is a great time to visit for those travelling with family, large groups or on a budget, as the hotel prices tend to be much cheaper.
June to August – Peak Season
For those seeking to witness the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park, you must visit between June and August. This provides a chance to spot the herds as they make the risky journey across rivers, with lurking predators waiting at every turn.
Although the peak season provides the best time to spot Tanzania’s wildlife, it does mean that this attracts far more tourists as they all head here to spot the best of the country’s animals.
September to October – Animal Migration
From September to October, the animals start to migrate from Tanzania to Kenya, making sightings less frequent. However, it is possible to catch the last of the migrating herds in early September, but this time of year doesn’t usually provide visitors with the best wildlife action in Tanzania.
November to December – Light Rainfall
From November to December, the herds and other wildlife begin their journey back to Tanzania. There tends to be short rains during this time, creating a wetter climate than the peak season, but still not as rainy as April to May. The chance of rain usually means that tourists are few and far between, a great time to visit for those who want to avoid the crowds but still see plenty of wildlife.
We hope that after reading our top recommendations of where to go on safari in Tanzania, you can now go away with all the information you need to make the most out of your trip. No matter where you choose, you will be sure to find a voyage full of beautiful scenery, excitement and a chance to tick off one of the ultimate bucket-list adventures!