Dream safari to plan – Tanzania Safari Superstar
Combine some of Africa’s most iconic scenery with a huge variety of wildlife and it is easy to see how you could return from a Tanzania safari with 2,000 (edited) photos. It is one of the most complete safari destinations on the African continent where there is a dream safari waiting for you, whatever your interests.
You can follow the wildebeest migration, walk with the Masai, climb Mount Kilimanjaro (or her smaller, less popular but arguably more beautiful, neighbour Mount Meru), marvel at the sheer profusion of wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater, ride or walk across the immense Serengeti, watch vast flocks of flamingos on the soda lakes, track chimpanzees through pristine forests, sleep under the stars, ride bikes or walk through friendly local villages, and snorkel or dive on pristine coastal reefs. Best of all, take it slowly so there’s time to stop and look, sit and wait, and just enjoy the incredible scenery, wildlife and birdlife that will come to you.
There are endless safari combinations to enjoy on pristine reserves which offer superb wildlife viewing away from the crowds. Private houses and family safari tents give plenty of choice for families, and the islands of the Zanzibar archipelago offer dreamy beach escapes with pristine marine habitats to explore over and under-water.
Where to go on a dream safari in Tanzania
Serengeti National Park
Perhaps best known for the great wildebeest migration, the Serengeti is a safari thriller, full of magnificent wildlife year-round. With everything from great predator action to fascinating insights into the Masai way of life it deserves its place at the top of the list. It is popular but because it is so vast there are plenty of ways to safari in seclusion. Choose a semi mobile camp like Serengeti Safari Camp or Olakira Camp which move with the wildlife, or head to a private reserve like Grumeti, where Singita’s luxurious lodges provide sumptuous accommodation, or Mwiba on the southern tip of park, which share the same ecosystem and wildlife, but a fraction of the number of human visitors.
It’s 12 miles across and the first sight of it takes most people’s breath away; simply stunning. It’s also crammed full of wildlife, including black rhino, lion, loads of hyena, and some of the biggest oldest tusker elephants in East Africa. The only downside is its popularity, which can make it tricky to avoid other vehicles. Entamanu Ngorongoro and The Highlands both enjoy stunning views over the crater highlands from their elevated perches high on the caldera rim and are good choices for all on offer in this region.
Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks are like a self-contained world of their own in the Great Rift Valley – less visited than the major parks they are perfect addtions to a dream safari in Tanzania. The Rift escarpment towers over the intensely alkaline Lake Manyara, with great forests along its base giving way to wide open grassland along the lake shore. There is plentiful wildlife here, among which are flamingos, pelicans, tree climbing lions and a population of elephant that has been studied for decades.
With permanent swamps, forest and savannah, Tarangire’s wonderfully varied and beautiful country hosts a wealth of big wildlife; huge numbers of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and eland migrate into Tarangire from the Masai Steppe during the dry season, and birdlife is phenomenal year-round. Forest and Little Chem Chem are among Aardvark Safaris’ favourites here.
Nyerere National Park
It is a short flight away from Dar Es Salaam and twice the size of the Serengeti, but Nyerere National Park in the former Selous Game Reserve is much less well known than its northern counterpart. It’s magnificently wild, varied, pristine and stunningly beautiful, and at its heart the Rufiji River’s riverine landscape is dominated by doum palms, distinctively curved over the river itself, Lakes Manze, Nzerakera and Tagalala, the mountains to the west, and countless oxbow lakes and deep lagoons. The wildlife is superb and can be viewed by boat or vehicle. For the adventurous, walking safaris and a night fly-camping under the stars are also highlights. Camps to consider here include Beho Beho, Sand River Selous, Lake Manze, Siwandu and Roho ya Selous.
Ruaha National Park
Despite being Africa’s third largest National Park, this wonderful wildlife area is another that is relatively unknown. The beautifully mixed habitat is home to one of Africa’s largest lion populations, as well as a healthy number of wild dog, leopard and hyena and the greatest number of antelope species in East Africa. With big herds of buffalo, plenty of elephant and giraffe, it’s a magnificent place – properly wild and an exhilarating choice for a safari. Among our favourite places to stay here are Kigelia Camp, Kwihala Camp, Ikuka Safari Camp, and Jabali Ridge.
Katavi National Park
Way out to the west, Katavi is a wonderland of floodplains, palm forests, acacia woodland, riverine forest, grasslands, swamps, rivers, and massive amounts of wildlife and birds; the variety and biodiversity here is astonishing. Better still, we can almost guarantee that you will not see any other vehicles during a safari here. Bordered on the east by a mountain range, its 1,738 square miles of savannah is filled with big herds of buffalo, masses of hippo and crocs, lion, kudu, giraffe, zebra and plenty more. Day-long wildlife drives, night drives, walking safaris, bush breakfasts, and fly-camping are all on offer at Chada Katavi.
Mahale Mountains National Park
The other great treasure of Tanzania’s far west is Mahale Mountains National Park. Arguably even more remote than Katavi it’s accessed via a flight to Lake Tanganyika and then a boat ride to the fabulously iconic Greystoke Camp. The big wildlife draw is tracking wild chimpanzees in the forested hillsides that rise from the lake. Guests accompany knowledgeable guides and trackers into the forest to find the chimpanzee families and enjoy an hour with them as they go about their daily lives.
This island state within the United Republic of Tanzania was once one of the most important trading centres in the Indian Ocean region. The capital, Stone Town, is a World Heritage Site and the romance of the old city is evident within its winding alleys, bustling markets, ancient mosques, and grand Arab houses. The island itself is characterised by beautiful sandy beaches and spectacular coral reefs ideal for diving, snorkelling and water sport activities including deep sea fishing. Most of the resorts here are small and intimate, each with a character of its own. If you are after the ultimate dream safari then combining Zanzibar with a safari in Tanzania is a tried and trusted combination and one we would highly recommend.
How to enjoy a dream safari in Tanzania:
The ‘Classic Safari’
Over six to eight days on a safari in Northern Tanzania you could take in three distinctly different areas: Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. From the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro, visitors can travel to the perfect volcanic caldera of the Ngorongoro Crater via Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara. Finish on a high in the Serengeti where you will find millions of wildebeest streaming across the endless plains. Activities are focused mainly around vehicle based wildlife drives in open vehicles with some walking available in the private reserves. There is a range of accommodation, from authentic tented camps that shadow the migration to permanent lodges. Kuro Tarangire, Serengeti Safari Camp and Sayari Camp are great options here.
The ‘Wild West’
A combination of Katavi National Park and the Mahale Mountains in Western Tanzania offers a unique opportunity to explore one of the most remote regions in Africa. Accommodation options in Katavi are few and far between but that’s no matter since we’d be hard pushed to suggest anywhere above the quite simply wonderful Chada Katavi, much loved by all those who are lucky enough to visit this delightful park. The Mahale Mountains and Greystoke Mahale are just a short flight, then boat ride, away. Spend a morning tracking the chimps then relax on a boat trip on the crystal-clear lake or simply put your feet up and chill on the beach with a G&T in hand. Perfect.
The ‘Safari and Beach’
A safari in Southern Tanzania in either Nyerere National Park or Ruaha (or both), is a dream start to a Tanzania safari and works perfectly with some R&R on the palm fringed beaches of Zanzibar. A short hop on a light aircraft means you can wake to the distant roar of a lion and find yourself enjoying a sundowner with sand between your toes the very same day. An action-packed safari in Southern Tanzania can include tracking animals on foot at Ikuka Safari Camp in Ruaha, boat trips on Lake Tagalala at Beho Beho in Nyerere National Park or a night fly camping beneath the stars. Zanzibar is blessed with some fabulous beaches, steeped in history and offers great snorkelling and diving. There are some beautiful hotels including Baraza and Zanzibar White Sands for a touch of luxury.
We would be delighted to help you plan a dream safari in Tanzania. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.