Tanzania safari

The ultimate guide to your next Tanzania safari

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    Everything you need to know about your Tanzania holiday

    Welcome to Discover Africa’s definitive Tanzania holiday guide. From the great migration of the Serengeti to the more remote parks, Tanzania offers superb game viewing in a dramatic setting of snowy peaks, volcanic craters and the Masai steppe of endless plains.

    Highlights of Tanzania

    Highlights of Tanzania

      • credit damsel in dior

        Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater

        At 14,763 square kilometres in size, the Serengeti is arguably the finest national park in Africa and offers a wealth of wildlife viewing opportunities … Pretty much every large animal in East Africa can be regularly seen in the national park or wider ecosystem. When you include all the contiguous protected areas, of which Ngorongoro is one of the most noteworthy, the total size of the entire Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is a staggering 30,000 square kilometres packed choc-full of truly extraordinary wildlife sightings. Renowned for its predators – especially lions, leopards and cheetahs – and with plenty of elephants favouring the western woodlands of Grumeti, the Serengeti dazzles even the most hardened safari critics. There is even a recovering black rhino population concentrated around Moru Kopjes giving visitors a realistic chance to sighting all of the Big Five (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo), although the critically endangered black rhinos will undoubtedly prove the greatest challenge. The Serengeti ecosystem is also a renowned bird-watching destination, with over 500 species recorded to date. Exploring the unique Ngorongoro Crater – surrounded by the towering volcanic walls on every side and blessed with prolific and extremely well-habituated wildlife – almost feels like you’re driving through a zoo; only the surrounding crater scenery is jaw-droppingly impressive. With the greater Serengeti ecosystem so blessed with wildlife and scenic beauty, it is hard to imagine it could have anything more to offer, but the great East African migration steals the show.
      • the herds of the Serengeti

        Highlights

        When it comes to Serengeti highlights there are so many (as alluded to previously), but there is quite simply nothing to match the migration with its sheer numbers, noise, majesty and splendour … Importantly, there is no beginning or end to the migration, so you can witness the great herds during any month of the year so long as you plan your safari to visit the right region within the ecosystem to coincide with where the animals are concentrated at that particular time of the cycle. The rainfall drives the movement patterns of the great herds of wildebeest and other plains game, so it must be emphasized that the description below refers to a typical year of normal rainfall in the usual seasons. It is not uncommon for the wildebeest movements to be delayed or sped up if unseasonal rain falls in another part of the ecosystem, attracting the animals to the green flush that follows. Typically the wildebeest and zebra herds, along with decent numbers of eland and gazelles, will shift as follows:
        • In January and February the great herds are ensconced on the nutritious short-grass plains in the south and southeast of the ecosystem with their newly born calves. The zebra and gazelle do not have a pronounced birth spike like the wildebeest and their birthing period is more spread out between the months of December and April.
        • In March and April, at the height of the green or emerald season, the great herds typically start to come together with their young calves usually in the vicinity of Naabi Hills on the southern plains where they reach their highest densities.
        • In April or May, the northward migration begins (this is called the Moru Crush when the migration exits the plains through a narrow valley at Moru Kopjes) with the wildebeest rut then taking place around May in the Seronera region of the central Serengeti.
        • May or June sees the first of the iconic river crossings when the herds make their way across the Grumeti River in the western Serengeti.
        • July to October sees the herds enter the far north of the ecosystem as they cross the Mara River in the northern Serengeti in what many safari stalwarts consider to be the holy grail of safari sightings. It certainly is a sight to behold: thousands of wildebeest plunging into crocodile-infested waters driven forward by instinct and an irresistible urge to access fresh grazing on the other side.
        • From October to November, the herds turn and move southward and into the central Serengeti once more. This is probably the most unpredictable time with huge columns of wildebeest veering off – often back into the western corridor – depending on wherever the first showers have fallen and fresh green grass is emerging.
      • sunset over the Serengeti

        Practical advice

        The migration is quite unique in that it is a perpetual phenomenon without beginning or end. It is universally regarded as one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth … The sound alone is deafeningly impressive. It is, however, often very difficult to appreciate the scope and sheer size of the migration because, without a bird’s eye view of proceedings, it is difficult to comprehend the sprawling scale of the wildebeest numbers. A sunrise hot air balloon ride is the ideal way to appreciate the huge herds and long columns of plodding animals. Standing atop a rocky kopje is another recommended way to gain some perspective to better appreciate the sheer number of animals involved. While most safari goers target the June-July period for the western corridor and Grumeti River crossings, as well as the July-October period for Lamai and the Mara River crossings, there is a strong argument for waiting for the less popular rainy season months to view the wildebeest in the southern plains when they give birth to half a million calves over a three week period – usually in February.
        • mount kilimanjaro

          Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

          The name Kilimanjaro is a mystery and is thought to mean “Mountain of Light” or “Mountain of Greatness” … No one is quite sure, but what is not under dispute is that Mount Kilimanjaro at 5895 metres (19,336 feet) is the highest peak on the African continent and tallest freestanding mountain on earth: undoubtedly one of the continent’s most magnificent sights rising up in splendid isolation from the plains below. Crowned with an everlasting snow-cap, this majestic mountain can be found inside the Kilimanjaro National Park with its slopes and glaciers towering high above the clouds. The mountain ecosystems are as strikingly beautiful as they are diverse. On the lowland slopes, much of the mountain has been converted to farmland with coffee, banana, cassava and maize crops grown for subsistence and cash-crop purposes. A few larger coffee farms still exist on the lower slopes, but much of the area outside the national park has been subdivided into small agricultural plots. Once inside the park, thick lowland forest covers the lower slopes giving way to alpine meadows once the air begins to thin. Near the peak, the landscape becomes harsh and barren with rocks and ice the predominant features as you approach the snowy summit of Africa atop Kibo peak. The volcanic summit stands imperious: overseer of the continent and the magnificent African landscape far below.
        • climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

          Highlights

          Few mountains can claim the grandeur and the scintillating views over the Great Rift Valley and Amboseli National Park in neighbouring Kenya that belongs to Kilimanjaro … Hiking to the ‘roof of Africa’ – the highest point on the African continent – is for many people the adventure of a lifetime and the highlight of their entire Tanzania experience, especially because the routes are non-technical and accessible to almost any reasonably fit and healthy person. Everyone from seasoned trekkers to first-time hiking enthusiasts can successfully tackle and scale the snowy summit provided they climb slowly, acclimatize properly and are adequately equipped for the wind and biting cold.
        • camping at the foot of kilimanjaro

          Practical advice

          Around 50,000 intrepid travellers climb Kilimanjaro every year. There are no accurate figures on how many of those climbers actually successfully reach the summit … but an overall success rate of around 75% is realistic (despite the fact that almost every climbing company claims 97% of their clients reach the top!). While Kilimanjaro is relatively straightforward to climb that does not meant it should be underestimated and there are usually around six or seven deaths each year. In order to climb Kilimanjaro you need to be at least ten years old, while the oldest summiteer to date conquered the mountain at the ripe old age of 88 years! A typical trek to the summit of Kilimanjaro takes between six and eight days with five days being the legal minimum. It is well worth adding an extra couple of trekking days to acclimatize adequately and to appreciate the views and scenery; your climbing experience will be so much more enjoyable for it. Kilimanjaro can be climbed via six ‘official’ routes as well as a number of combinations and permutations of those routes. The six trails (running anti-clockwise, beginning with the north-western most trail) are: the seldom-used Shira Route, forested Lemosho Route, Machame Route, Umbwe Route, Marangu Route, and the Rongai (or Loitokitok) Route that approaches Kili from the north-east. For those aspiring mountaineers whose sole purpose of climbing Kilimanjaro is to get to the summit, the Lemosho, Machame and Rongai routes are statistically the best bets. On the other hand, those wanting to dodge the crowds should look at Lemosho and Umbwe routes (ignoring alternative or ‘unofficial’ routes). While for a standard, no-frills and more affordable climb, the Machame, Marangu and Umbwe routes will be your best bet. And if you don’t want to stay in tents, then Marangu is the only option with its basic huts.
          • zanzibar sunset

            Holiday in Zanzibar

            Zanzibar, situated between 25 and 50 kilometres off the mainland coast in the Indian Ocean, is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania … Known collectively as the Spice Islands, the Zanzibar archipelago consists of roughly 50 small islands and islets, as well as two main ones: Unguja (usually referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba. The capital of the region, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City with its well-known and much-visited Stone Town historic centre: a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The postcard-perfect island of Zanzibar oozes culture and history that is at first brush seemingly at odds with its idyllic geography of white-sand beaches and coconut palms swaying lazily in the sea breeze. But it is precisely this diversity that makes Zanzibar such an attractive and varied island to explore, as well as a dream destination for simply relaxing and recharging.
          • whale shark diving in zanzibar

            Highlights

            Zanzibar, situated between 25 and 50 kilometres off the mainland coast in the Indian Ocean, is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania … Known collectively as the Spice Islands, the Zanzibar archipelago consists of roughly 50 small islands and islets, as well as two main ones: Unguja (usually referred to informally as Zanzibar) and Pemba. The capital of the region, located on the island of Unguja, is Zanzibar City with its well-known and much-visited Stone Town historic centre: a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The postcard-perfect island of Zanzibar oozes culture and history that is at first brush seemingly at odds with its idyllic geography of white-sand beaches and coconut palms swaying lazily in the sea breeze. But it is precisely this diversity that makes Zanzibar such an attractive and varied island to explore, as well as a dream destination for simply relaxing and recharging.
          • adventures in stone town

            Practical advice

            Although it is officially part of Tanzania, Zanzibar is in almost all aspects – politics, religion, culture and food – very different … Developed originally as a base for traders from the African lakes region, India and Arabia, Zanzibar became a hub for the region’s slave and spice trades. Consequently, most Zanzibaris consider themselves Zanzibari rather than Tanzanian, and their territory has its own leader and governing bodies. While mainland Tanzania is a mix of Muslim, Christian and various indigenous groups, Zanzibar (which the Sultanate of Oman ruled for centuries) is almost entirely Muslim. Despite being overwhelmingly Muslim, conservative casual wear is generally acceptable dress everywhere, but revealing clothes should be avoided since they may cause offence – particularly in towns and villages in the coastal areas where there is a very strong Muslim influence. In Zanzibar specifically, you will need to cover your knees and shoulders when outside of the hotel and beach resort areas. It is also worth recognizing that while thunderstorms and rain showers can introduce an exciting element to a wildlife safari, heavy rainfall doesn’t tend to enhance a beach holiday! As such, it’s a good idea to try and make sure you visit Zanzibar or any of the other Indian Ocean islands during the drier months from June to October and December to February to ensure the optimal island and beach experience.

          Explore some of our safaris

          • maasai dance

            Couple Safari in Tanzania

            Tanzania offers some amazing, memorable, romantic and unique experiences that you can enjoy as a couple. If you both relish a challenge, climbing Africa’s highest mountain could be one of your primary options. Imagine standing alongside one another on the Roof of Africa … at 5,985 metres having completing the multi-day climb together: a shared memory of triumph over adversity that will bring the two of you closer together. Whether you want to conquer mountains, appreciate wildlife and scenic landscapes, or kick back and relax on a romantic island beach, travelling as a couple is special because you are sharing the experiences and creating shared memories that you can reminisce about for decades to come.
          • tanzania calving

            Affordable Tanzania Calving Safari

            In January and February every year, an incredible 80% of wildebeest females intuitively give birth within the same two to three week period, before the great migration commences. The synchronisation reduces the possibility of tender wildebeest calves…… becoming easy prey. This Tanzanian Calving Season Migration Package is a definite must if you’d like to watch the migration from a different perspective. Few things compare to watching a wildebeest calf take off soon after birth.
          • Tanzania Migration Safari

            Tanzania Migration Safari

            HerdTracker, the innovative real-time app that tracks the movements of the wildebeest migration, invites you to join them on a scheduled Tanzania migration safari in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. A trip of a lifetime that guarantees a feast for the eyes … June signals the end of rainy season and the Serengeti plains are lush and green. The herds are spread out, so expect longer, rewarding game drives.This is also the period where the wildebeest traditionally cross the Grumeti River, which is home to some of the largest Nile crocodiles in the world.
          • Migration River Crossing Safari

            Migration River Crossing Safari

            Experience one of Africa’s greatest spectacles – smell the dust and hear the noise of thousands of animals crossing the Mara River in an epic struggle for survival. This safari puts you in the right place at the right time and follows the Great Migration’s movement from south … This journey spans both sides of the Mara river which greatly increases your chances of seeing the famous river crossings and the predator interaction that accompanies this whirlwind adventure. This journey is best traveled between July and the end of September when you can become part of the greatest show on earth, what every migration enthusiast is after.

            Where to go

            Travelling to Tanzania

            • Northern Safari Circuit

              The northern safari circuit is bookended by Lake Victoria and Rubondo Island in the west and Mount Kilimanjaro in the east. To the north lies the Kenyan border with the Masai Mara and Amboseli reserves located just across the frontier. Tarangire National Park is regarded as the most southerly tourist attraction in this diverse and breathtaking safari region. Within a relatively compact geographical area, safari goers will have access to a multitude of other iconic parks and major tourist attractions, including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Oldupai Gorge, Lake Natron, Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Mount Meru, Arusha National Park and Lake Manyara.

              Stay at Nomad Serengeti Camp
              Rubondo Island
              Rubondo Island
              • Highlights of the Northern Safari Circuit

                First-and-foremost amongst a profusion of highlights on the northern safari circuit is the Serengeti National Park, encompassing 14,750 square kilometres and making up 50% of the wider Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, this is an iconic wildlife area. Sensational scenery dominated by expansive savannah grasslands and peppered with distinctive flattop acacias and balanites trees make this one of the most picturesque landscapes in all of Africa.

                What you need to know about the Serengeti

                Throw in 1.7 million wildebeest, 300,000 zebra and 400,000 gazelles and you have a wildlife spectacle second to none. Whether your budget stretches to incorporate a visit to the luxurious lodges within the exclusive Singita Grumeti concessions of the western corridor, or is limited to the budget offerings of Ikona Wildlife Management Area, the Serengeti and its surrounding reserves offer safari accommodations and experiences to suit most budgets.

                Wildlife viewing in the remote Northern Kruger is challenging, for while buffalo and elephant are conspicuous, lion, leopard or rhino encounters are rare. Balanced against that, the untrammelled north possesses a mesmerising wilderness feel, and hosts a great many localised bird species absent further south. Thulamela Heritage Site, on the south bank of the Luvuvhu River, protects the substantial ruins of a 16th-century Zimbabwe-style stone-wall royal village.

                wildebeest
                The Great Wildebeest Migration makes its way across the Grumeti every year

                Adjoining the south-east of the Serengeti National Park lies the exclusive Legendary Lodges concessions of Mwiba and southern Maswa that wrap around into the extensive Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Most visitors only ever see the Ngorongoro Crater, but if you have your own vehicle you have a unique opportunity to leave the safari hordes behind and explore the wider conservation area that is a mixed-use area for wildlife and Maasai pastoralists. Within this protected area, the vast Oldupai Gorge (originally misnamed Olduvai) is an archaeological site made famous by the Leakey family for being home to some of the continent’s most important hominid fossils. The Ngorongoro scenery is sensational and provided you visit outside of the peak safari season months (June – September) you will fall in love with this attractive crater packed full of habituated wildlife and mesmerising scenery.

                Mount Kilimanjaro is an anomaly. Located virtually on the equator, this 5,885 metre high conical, free-standing volcano seems so out of place with its snow-capped peak dwarfing the rift valley below. Whether you come to Tanzania to climb its legendary slopes to stand atop Uhuru Peak, or simply to gaze and photograph its majesty, as it presides over the plains and parks below, it would be wrong to come to Tanzania and not spend some time appreciating this grand old mountain that forms the roof of Africa.

                lion in kruger
                A lodge overlooks the legendary southern Maswa concession

                The plentiful wildlife and giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire National Park, along with the seasonal appearance of upwards of a million flamingos that descend upon shallow Lake Manyara, round out the top five highlights for any safari to the northern circuit.

                • Practical information
                  • Tourist infrastructure is considerably better developed across the northern region with a wide variety of accommodation options from rustic campsites and budget lodgings to boutique camps and exclusive safari lodges that are amongst the very finest in Africa. While many visitors opt to fly between camps to save time, there is an extensive and well-maintained road network that enables relatively easy movement overland, although during the heavy rains from March to May, you should expect bridges and river crossings on the minor roads to periodically become submerged and even collapse after heavy rainfall. Unpaved secondary roads also take a real beating over this period.

                  • Safety is not a major concern in northern Tanzania. The biggest non-weather related challenges you are likely to encounter while travelling through northern Tanzania will be with roadblocks, petty police harassment and traffic fines. Diesel and petrol are both widely available outside of the protected areas, but it is worth stocking up on fuel and supplies in the bigger towns and cities of the region, such as Mwanza, Arusha and Moshi, whenever you are passing through.

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            • The Southern Safari Circuit

              The southern safari circuit sprawls across southern Tanzania. From the gigantic Selous Game Reserve in the east to Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream national parks on the shore of Lake Tanganyika in the west, this is wildest Africa and the domain of adventurers and explorers. Between Africa’s deepest lake and the Selous World Heritage Site lie the diminutive Mikumi and Udzungwa Mountains national parks, as well as the impressive Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem and the beguiling Katavi-Rukwa landscape. For those intrepid travellers who opt for the road less travelled, the alluring southern safari circuit beckons with the promise of genuine wilderness and real adventure.

              What to do for two weeks in Tanzania
              selous game reserve
              The Selous Game Reserve is one of the most enjoyed in Tanzania
              • Highlights of the Southern Safari Circuit

                Bisected by the crocodile-infested Rufiji River and home to the world-renowned Stiegler’s Gorge, the 50,000 square kilometre Selous Game Reserve remains an iconic safari destination and long-standing safari highlight of southern Tanzania despite its on-going poaching and hydro-development challenges. Although poaching has ravaged the enormous elephant herds of years gone by, the Selous still supports around 16,000 of these grey giants as well as a thriving population of wild dogs.

                stieglers gorge
                Flying over Stiegler’s Gorge in Tanzania

                One of the largest national parks in East Africa, the 20,226 square kilometre Ruaha National Park is almost unknown outside of Tanzania, yet with an estimated 10 percent of the surviving wild lion population in Africa, it is definitely a highlight on any trip to explore the wild south of the country. Beautiful landscapes peppered with giant baobabs, elephants, abundant plains game and one of the only places you will see greater kudu in Tanzania are further good reasons to make sure Ruaha is on the itinerary of every intrepid safari connoisseur.

                Why the Southern Circuit?

                It is best explored during the long dry season from June to October when the animals congregate near the perennial Great Ruaha River, which – along with the Mwagusi, Jongomero and Mzombe rivers – provide the lifeblood of the park. The banks of the Ruaha are a permanent hunting ground for lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and even the endangered African wild dog, which prey on the impala, gazelle and waterbuck that come to drink at the river. Whether exploring this large tract of African wilderness by vehicle or foot, Ruaha is a special place to visit.

                ruaha
                Ruaha is a special place to visit for many reasons

                Wild and remote Katavi National Park is one of the country’s most unspoiled and untouched bush settings with amazing landscapes and rich wildlife. The 4,471 square kilometre park is difficult to access and consequently can be relatively costly to visit. As a result, few people make the effort to come here.

                While the Serengeti might see 125,000 visitors in a year, the remote Katavi sees no more than a few hundred brave adventurers by comparison. This is wild Africa at its very best and, provided you have the time and budget, it’s a park that’s absolutely worth exploring. With only a couple of small, rustic safari camps, you often come across more prides of lion than fellow safari aficionados on a game drive in Tanzania’s third largest national park.

                Surrounded by woodlands, two gigantic sprawling grassy plains – Chada and Katasunga – dominate the park and provide a dramatic setting for watching lion-buffalo interactions. During the dry season, the Katuma and Kapapa rivers are the only permanent water in the area and act as a magnet for thirsty wildlife. Hundreds of hippos congregate in the shrinking waterholes and enormous crocodiles sit out the heat inside mud-holes excavated into the riverbanks.

                katavi
                Katavi National Park is one of Tanzania’s most underrated

                Without road access, many safari stalwarts regard Mahale as Tanzania’s most remote park, but also one of its most enthralling. The star attractions are the 1,700 chimpanzees that reside within the 1,613 square kilometre protected area, but the holy grail for most visitors is the 60-strong Mimikere or ‘M’ group, which has been studied by researchers for more than four decades. While the M group of chimps are well habituated, finding our closest relatives can be a challenge. Be prepared for some sweaty, steep climbing through dense vegetation, but the trials and tribulations are well worth the end result.

                mahale mountains
                The Mahale Mountains National Park is a special part of Tanzania
                • Practical information
                  • The southern safari circuit is definitely best attempted during the dry season. Infrastructure is far more limited and basic than you’ll encounter up north. There are also considerably fewer safari camps and accommodation options than the more popular northern circuit, but this is precisely the reason for the southern park’s off-the-beaten-track appeal. It’s also worth noting that there are no roads into Mahale Mountains National Park with visitors having a choice between travelling in by air or by boat.

                  • While most visits to Tanzania’s southern safari circuit are trouble-free, travel advisories are increasingly citing a rise in armed crime. That said, you stand considerably more chance of being injured in a road accident, or getting ill with malaria, or even perishing from a capsized ferry on Lake Tanganyika, so take some sensible safety precautions and you should be fine.

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            • Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean Islands

              From the often-overlooked and largely undeveloped tropical paradise of Pemba Island in the north to the classy utopia of Mafia Island in the south, Tanzania’s tropical east coast islands offer welcome respite at the end of a rewarding safari. Nestled between Pemba and Mafia is Zanzibar with its eclectic mix of white-sand beaches, warm water, nightlife and a powerful cultural history.

              Zanzibar’s Spice Route
              stone town
              Stone Town in Zanzibar offers an eclectic mix of culture and history
              • Highlights of Zanzibar and the Indian Ocean Islands
                zanzibar
                Zanzibar gets the lion share of tourists who flock to the renowned coastal region

                The lion’s share of Tanzania’s island visitors gravitate towards world-renowned Zanzibar. Zanzibar has an almost overwhelming choice of over 800 tourism establishments to suit every budget and taste. It almost goes without saying, but this is not a place you should come if you don’t want to see other tourists. While some parts of Zanzibar are less intensively developed than others, this island is about as far from a pristine wilderness escape as you can get with almost the entire coastline developed, but most especially in the northeast and southeast.

                Discover 3 Tanzanian islands
                mnemba
                Mnemba is for the more luxury-loving traveller

                Zanzibar – an exotic island kingdom of former slave traders and fishermen – has reinvented itself as a tourism hotspot. For those with deep pockets and a healthy budget, nothing beats the exclusive satellite island of Mnemba off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar. With one exclusive &Beyond lodge, Mnemba is the very pinnacle of tropical island beach-chic luxury. Alternatively, there is a dizzying array of hotels, beach resorts, guesthouses and other accommodation options to choose between on the main island.

                See Zanzibar on this romantic adventure

                If the thought of hundreds of hotels and thousands of tourists is not your cup of tea, then a trip to neighbouring Pemba is the way to go. Zanzibar’s big brother island has remained a thriving fishing community and surprisingly free of tourism development with only a handful of tourist hotels to choose from, a number of which are in the far north of the island where the underwater honeymoon suite of Manta Resort must be the most unique place you could opt to spend a night! But the unpretentious Emerald Bay Resort in the south of the island is the traveller’s pick. Delicious seafood meals served on an open-air rooftop terrace and daily boat cruises to lose track of time and spend a week or two recuperating at this affordable island paradise.

                pemba
                Pemba is another popular choice

                Further south lies the idyllic island of Mafia. A touch more sophisticated and exclusive than Zanzibar, but without the Mnemba price tag, this is an exciting coconut-covered island to visit. The beaches are superb and its mangroves and marine park ensure that the sea life is bountiful and the underwater safari experience is far superior to Zanzibar or Pemba where a combination of overfishing and widespread dynamite fishing have devastated the reef and fish stocks. More out of the way and a little harder to reach, Mafia is the place for adventurous travellers and diving connoisseurs. The star attraction being the docile and completely harmless whale sharks that frequent the island waters between October and March each year. The best place to base yourself on Mafia would have to be the colourful and good value-for-money Butiama Beach.

                • Practical information
                  • It is highly recommended to visit Zanzibar or one of Tanzania’s other Indian Ocean islands at the end of your safari. After lots of early morning game drives and ‘African massages’ courtesy of the often-bumpy roads, some quality rest and relaxation on an idyllic white-sand beach lapped by the warm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean is usually just the tonic and will no doubt prove the cherry on the top of an incredible Tanzanian safari experience.

                  • The quickest and safest way to reach any of the country’s island destinations is by air. With both regular scheduled flights and private charters flying the aerial island access routes, getting there is simple if a touch costly at times, especially if you want to fly from somewhere outside of the major cities. For those on a tighter budget or who enjoy sea travel, there are a few ferries that sail daily between the mainland ports and islands of Pemba, Zanzibar and Mafia. It is, however, important to assess the sea conditions, seaworthiness of the vessel, and presence of safety equipment before boarding a boat for your island voyage

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            Holiday and safari styles

            Tanzania’s Top Attractions

            • Big Five safari holidays in Tanzania

              dunia camp
              One of the best camps in Tanzania found in central Serengeti is Dunia Camp. What makes it stand out is its remoteness, which is enticing for the Big Five. However, with the freedom the animals have, it’s best to be with a guide or tour group.

              Seeing the Big Five up close and personal is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, regardless of how many instances you will get to experience it. Luxury safaris in Tanzania are an experience to savour and a number of camps will make for an unforgettable experience. In this case here are nine unforgettable camps to see the Big Five in Tanzania.

              Meet the big Five on this wildlife safari
              Zebra at Dunia

              Strategically located in the remote plains of the eastern Serengeti, Namiri Camp is the best place to see the Big Five, especially the cats. In fact, since the camp banned poaching, the big cat numbers have increased, so chances of spotting them will be very good.

              Ten percent of the world’s population of lion is in Kwihala. This means that when you visit Tanzania, it’s not surprising to see prides consisting of more than 20. The best part is that Kwihala is full of life with many other species of animals such as jackal, hyena and wild dog.

              Jabali ridge is a goldmine, teeming with wildlife, where predators and prey roam freely in the wild. Action packed days are guaranteed - elephant and rhino are so close, that you’ll be sure to feel their power.

              Located in northern Serengeti, Kimondo Camp is full of buffalo and rhino. With the help of a guide, adrenaline-filled campers get the unique opportunity for an up-close and personal Big Five experience.

              The award-winning Sayari Camp is revered for extraordinary wildlife sightings, including the Big Five. Set on the unspoiled plains of the northern Serengeti, close to the famous Lamai Wedge, Sayari gives you easy access to the Mara River and multiple river crossing points. When looking for a great wildebeest migration meeting with the bonus of a Big Five encounter, Olakira camp in Northern Serengeti is the place to be. With the action-packed scenes so prolific, the experience will stay with you for a lifetime.

            • Birding safari holiday in Tanzania

              The wild expanses of Tanzania offers the ultimate paradise for birding enthusiasts. While there’s plenty of birdwatching opportunities in Tanzania, you will get a wonderful experience being guided by professionals. The huge list of bird species to be found here make bird watching safaris in Tanzania the most sought after activity among bird lovers.

              grey headed silverbill
              Grey-headed silverbill I Credit: Bird Forum

              Tanzania is a well-known safari destination for its highest concentrations of game parks and nature reserves. The most visited national reserves that worth visiting for bird watching is the Serengeti National Reserve, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and more.

              Having said that, few compare to Tarangire National Park, especially during dry season because of the low density of tourists and higher visibility of spotting rare and common bird species.

              sunbird
              The Green-winged pytilia I Credit: The Jacana

              Tanzania is host to over 900 resident and 200 migrant bird species throughout national park and game reserves, whilst Tarangire National Park boasts 500 species.

              Some sightings to look out include (but are not limited to): Grey-headed silverbill, Usambiro barbet, Green-winged pytilia, Kori bustard, Chestnut sparrow, Schalow’s turaco, Rosy-breasted longclaw, African crowned eagle Red and yellow barbet and the Martial eagle.

            • A romantic getaway in Tanzania

              Tanzania is quite likely not the first place that springs to mind when you think of romantic holiday destinations, but it’s an inspired choice nonetheless, especially if you and your loved one enjoy a touch of adventure and excitement on your romantic travels. Whether you prefer private romance by the beach or indulging in absolute safari luxury and pampering, whatever you are looking for you can likely find it in Tanzania (except maybe a skiing lodge!). With dozens of heavenly beaches, prolific national parks, five-star safari lodges and the most obliging people on earth, Tanzania is the perfect place for a romantic getaway with a difference.

              ngorongoro
              A romantic view of Ngorongoro Crater from &Beyond

              Going on a romantic sojourn is all about making special memories together that the two of you can share for years to come. And what could be more special than witnessing a playful herd of elephants cavorting in a muddy waterhole on a hot day, or watching a cheetah stalking across the savannah… The scenery in Tanzania is sublime and the animals abundant. Going on a safari doesn’t mean you have to rough it; there are numerous luxury safari camps where you can enjoy a wildlife-watching experiences in the lap of luxury. Tranquil and picturesque lodge settings, high quality service, superb food, spa facilities and a dreamy ambience ensure a romantic escape second to none. Opulent Sasakwa Lodge in the exclusive Singita Grumeti concessions is just such a place. It doesn’t come cheap, but – if you can afford it – you will never forget it!

              Spend your honeymoon in the serengeti

              Arguably the best place for romantic escape is a tropical island where you and your partner can decompress and reconnect on tropical beaches without a care in the world. With its dazzling sun-bleached sands and palm-fringed shores, Zanzibar is the picture of paradise. Coming here for a rest after your safari is the perfect way to unwind and round off your trip to Tanzania. There are numerous fully-inclusive resorts throughout Zanzibar where your every need will be taken care of so that the two of you can enjoy spending quality time together in stunning surroundings. A stroll along the beach at sunset followed by a romantic meal for two is the perfect way to spend an island evening, while a sundowner cruise in a traditional dhow (wooden sailing boat) will allow you to explore some of the smaller isles in the Zanzibar archipelago. If you’re looking for a Zanzibar accommodation recommendation, The Palms was recently selected as one of the world’s most romantic seaside resorts by Travel & Leisure magazine. So, if it is luxury that you are after, and if money isn’t a problem, the six exclusive and spacious 140 square metre villas of The Palms is quite likely just the place for you.

              But, for the ultimate romantic island escape, head further south to Mafia Island where stylish and exclusive Pole Pole Bungalows will cater for your every need without breaking the bank.

            • Walking safari holidays in Tanzania

              walking_safari
              Walking safaris are a great way to meet the magic of the bush
              Walk on the wild side

              Who needs the regular safaris that we have become accustomed to when you can have a walking safari? Walking safaris have become a massive hit recently, and this is purely because of the opportunity that tourists have to come closer to the wild and interact more with the animals. For people who choose this option, it is set to become an unforgettable and exhilarating experience walking among big game. There are few destinations which specialize in walking safaris and we will show you where you can get the best out of walking safaris.

              tanzania
              Seeing beautiful sights up close

              Encountering animals by stepping into their world awakens your senses and the bush somehow feels even more alive and engaging. Following in the tracks of mighty herds, a walking safari is indeed a soulful wildlife encounter. Tanzania National Parks have some incredible wilderness areas for walking safaris. Experiencing a pristine area on foot with no disturbance from safari vehicles, is truly memorable and makes for some great photographic opportunities.

              The scenery surrounding this active volcano mountain in Tanzania is breathtaking. Visitors can take a walk from the neighboring campsites and take a walk to the nearby Lake Natron and the expansive Rift Valley. The local community, the Maasai, can also be found in this region grazing their cattle. There are many tour guide companies in this area which organize safari walk expeditions.

              If dense forests full of chimpanzees and waterfalls are your idea of a safari walk, the Mahale Mountains in Tanzania is a good bet. This has the largest concentration of chimps in the world which makes the safari even more interesting. It is advisable to visit the Mahale Mountains during the dry season since the times the track can be impassable. There are generous, thatched-style hotels nearby for accommodation.

            • A photography safari holiday in Tanzania

              tanz_photography
              Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano has remarkably interesting magma formations

              From the Serengeti plains and steep-sided Ngorongoro Crater to the flamingos of Lake Manyara and giant tuskers of Tarangire to idyllic Zanzibar and traditional Pemba to the wild landscapes of Ruaha, Katavi and Stiegler’s Gorge in the Selous… the list of iconic Tanzanian photographic destinations is almost endless. Mahale Mountains with its habituated chimpanzees and Lake Tanganyika location is another unique photographic destination, while the many mountains and volcanoes – from world-renowned Kilimanjaro to the restless Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano – ensure that this is a country that has photographers salivating at the mere thought of a visit.

              Photography is best done from either a private vehicle or at the very least a vehicle of like-minded individuals who won’t move around at critical moments and who are also happy to be out before sunrise and back after dark. Photographic safaris tend to be most successful when you have control over the vehicle and where it goes. A guide who is a photographer him- or herself and who has guided photographers before makes a big difference in terms of positioning the vehicle correctly, getting the light right, and not wanting to head back to the lodge or camp simply because it’s breakfast time. If you can afford it, then it is definitely worth booking a private vehicle – for you (and your fellow photographers) – to ensure that there is no conflict of interests and that you are the master of your own photographic destiny. Things are considerably easier outside of the parks and game reserves where dangerous wildlife and safety are less of an issue, allowing one to explore and photograph on foot and at your own pace.

              Dust is a big problem on safari, so travelling with multiple camera bodies attached to different lenses is a good idea, as this negates the need to change lenses enabling dust to get inside the camera. Have plenty of extra memory cards, spare batteries and a solar charger is also a great piece of kit to travel with (because its difficult to try and charge batteries halfway up a volcano).

              zebra
              Zebra always photograph so well against the backdrop of the African savannah

              The time of year you chose for your photographic safari is probably the biggest and toughest decision you will face. On the one hand you have the superb wildlife viewing and Mara River crossings of the late dry season, but this comes with smoky and dusty conditions as well as dull brown and drab grey backgrounds. During the green season when the rejuvenated bush returns to life, there is a profusion of colour, and the clarity after the rains is second to none, but on the flipside wildlife is dispersed and quality sighting can be harder to come by. This is the time of year to concentrate on landscape and bird photography for sure.

            • An adventure holiday in Tanzania

              hiking in Tanzania
              Hiking is a drawcard in Tanzania for adventure seekers

              It’s fair to say that there is adventure to be had in northern Tanzania, specifically on a Serengeti walking safari or trek up Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru, but for genuine off-the-beaten-track adventure nothing comes close to the raw wilderness experiences of the southern safari circuit.

              Forget flying, you must drive overland and camp to experience real adventure. Not only do you need a reliable and fully kitted out 4x4 to explore the adventure attractions of the southern safari circuit properly, but you also need plenty of time, 4x4 driving confidence and a healthy dose of adventurous spirit. The key to getting deep into the seldom-explored Selous, Ruaha and Katavi parks is the ability to be self-sufficient. This should also be considered a dry season destination unless you’re hell-bent on pushing the adventure limits right off the charts.

              Other classic adrenalin-fuelled adventure experiences include: hot air ballooning over the migration in the Serengeti, Big Five walking safaris in one of the country’s iconic protected areas, diving with whale sharks off Mafia Island, deep sea fishing in the Pemba Channel, summiting Mount Meru and conquering Kibo peak on Kilimanjaro.

              Preparing for Kilimanjaro

            Why Tanzania?

            From the high snowy peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru to the palm tree fringed Indian Ocean islands of Zanzibar and Pemba, Tanzania quite simply has it all. Whether it’s the mega herds of Selous, Ruaha and Katavi; the habituated chimpanzees of Mahale and Gombe Stream; the wildebeest migration of the Serengeti; the giant tuskers of Tarangire; or the whale sharks swimming around Mafia Island, the variety and quality of wildlife safari experiences on offer in Tanzania is unrivalled within a single country. Tanzania is unquestionably a remarkable and incomparable African travel destination.

            zanzibar
            The drawcard for many to Tanzania is it’s variety in beautiful landscapes, here is a powdery beach in Zanzibar

            Tanzania is a large African country with over 25% of its land surface area set aside as some form of protected area – national park, game reserve and wildlife management area for the benefit of wildlife and conservation. Safari-goers benefit from this extensive and diverse wildlife estate, which is accessible in its entirety to anyone with a reliable 4x4 vehicle.

            There are few – if any – other African safari destinations where self-sufficient 4x4 aficionados and nature lovers can experience enormous herds of buffalo and elephant, giant tuskers, the world renowned wildebeest migration, the Eden-like Ngorongoro Crater, habituated chimpanzees, swimming with whale sharks and dolphins, and climbing Africa’s highest mountain all within the confines of a single spectacular country.

            ngorongoro crater
            Ngorongoro Crater is famous for its prolific wildlife

            When to go

            When to visit Tanzania?

            • January
              calving season in the serengeti
              January sees millions of wildbeest calves born in the Serengeti

              Tanzania experiences two rainy seasons and two dry seasons: the short dry season runs from late January to early March, and the long dry season from June to October. In between are the short rains of November to January and long rains from late March to May with April being an extremely wet and challenging month to get around.

              The country’s parks and attractions are at their busiest during the long dry season months of June to September with July and August (European and American summer holidays) being the most hectic. The shoulder season months of May and October/November, as well as the short dry season in February and early March, offer exciting alternatives and are recommended times to explore Tanzania.

              Many visitors to Tanzania want to coincide their visit with seeing the migration, but it is worth noting that you can view the migration during any month of the year – you just need to travel to the appropriate area within the greater Serengeti ecosystem to find the wildebeest herds.

              January marks the end of the short rains and tends to be quite green and wet. The lush, green vegetation looks fantastic at this time of year with migrant birds bolstering resident populations. January is a good month for ornithologists, as well as those safari goers who place scenery and solitude over wildlife abundance and safari companionship. For the migration, head to the southern plains of the Serengeti to coincide with the wildebeest calving season.

            • February
              wildebeest crossing
              Wildebeest migratory herds crossing a river is a rare sight to behold

              Tanzania experiences two rainy seasons and two dry seasons: the short dry season runs from late January to early March, and the long dry season from June to October. In between are the short rains of November to January and long rains from late March to May with April being an extremely wet and challenging month to get around. The country’s parks and attractions are at their busiest during the long dry season months of June to September with July and August (European and American summer holidays) being the most hectic. The shoulder season months of May and October/November, as well as the short dry season in February and early March, offer exciting alternatives and are recommended times to explore Tanzania. Many visitors to Tanzania want to coincide their visit with seeing the migration, but it is worth noting that you can view the migration during any month of the year – you just need to travel to the appropriate area within the greater Serengeti ecosystem to find the wildebeest herds. February marks the end of the short rains and tends to be quite green and wet. The lush, green vegetation looks fantastic at this time of year with migrant birds bolstering resident populations. January is a good month for ornithologists, as well as those safari goers who place scenery and solitude over wildlife abundance and safari companionship. For the migration, head to the southern plains of the Serengeti to coincide with the wildebeest calving season.

              Try this affordable calving season safari
            • March
              ngorongoro
              Ngorongoro Highlands

              The Ngorongoro Highlands receive short and sharp rainfall in the late afternoon, leaving the mornings pleasant and generally dry for excellent game viewing.

              Early March tends to be dry, although in some years the rains have been known to return early, so it can be wet. That said, seeing the bush turn from a tawny brown to green is a mesmerising sight in its own right. Also, with this being the start of the main rainy season it is unlikely that you would encounter enough rain to ruin your safari experience or to limit your mobility within the country to see and explore all the varied attractions.

              March (along with September/October) are considered the prime months for those wishing to tackle Kilimanjaro. During unforseen rainy seasons, some roads may become inaccessible, so it’s best to chat to one of our Tanzanian travel consultants to get real-time information regarding the weather patterns.

            • April
              wild dogs
              Wild dog in the Serengeti

              If there is one month that is probably worth avoiding for a visit to Tanzania, then that would have to be the rain-soaked month of April. This is by far the wettest month of the year, as it falls in the midst of the long/heavy rains. While the rains predominantly come in the form of afternoon thunderstorms, it is not unusual to have big storms at night as well as some grey, drizzly days.

              Western and Southern parks have the highest humidity during the rainy season so they can become uncomfortable, although the chances of these hotels and lodges offering good discounts due to the unfavourable climate, is very good. Accommodation such as the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is also almost half price during this season so you can great value for money if you choose to travel at this time.

              In good rainfall years, you should expect many minor roads to become impassable, river crossings to be submerged and even bridges to wash away. Only the most hardened and experienced 4x4 drivers should attempt to tackle the muddy and rutted roads that predominate throughout the wilder areas of Tanzania during April.

            • May
              lake manyara
              Lake Manyara is lush and green this time of the year

              Early May is usually still very wet but, as the month progresses, things start to dry out and road repairs get underway, making moving around the parks and country by vehicle easier over time. The bush and vegetation look fantastic after all the rain with most herbivores in fine condition thanks to the abundant food and water that’s widely available.

              The eastern region of Tanzania remains rather budget-friendly before the start of the main dry season. If you are fortunate you will enjoy a few consecutive days of sunshine, but with nature nothing is guaranteed.

              At this time of year, long columns of wildebeest vacate the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti and start to trek north and into the western corridor. The latter part of May is a great time to be in Tanzania: the emerald season is giving way to the early dry season, wildebeest are on the move, the tourist hordes are yet to arrive, and everywhere the bush looks lush and colourful. May is consequently a great month for photographers.

            • June
              african sunset
              Few things rival an African sunset

              June is dry and busy. Peak season is underway and areas like the western Serengeti are extremely popular at this time of year with the wildebeest piling into the western corridor in their hundreds of thousands. With the rains properly finished, the savannahs are already starting to change from green to yellow and wildlife sightings are constantly improving as the vegetation slowly recedes. The wildebeest herds stop at Grumeti River to build up numbers before they attempt the river crossing in their thousands. Many traverse the river successfully because of safety in numbers. If however you’re in the right place at the right time you may spot a crocodile attempting to take down a wildebeest. June is possibly the best time of the year to visit the Serengeti because of the amazing wildlife viewing - with the best sights to be seen in the northernmost parts.

              Perfect June/July Migration safari
            • July
              pemba island
              Pemba Island is part of the Zanzibar archipelago

              The safari season is in full swing and Tanzania is dry with a good chance of roads kicking up dust clouds when driving through the plains. Tanzania is busy during July, expect to find all the parks and prime attractions of the northern circuit to be crowded during the months of July and August. If you are planning a sojourn to Zanzibar, then it is also worth exploring options for other less frequented Indian Ocean islands, such as Pemba and Mafia islands, at this time of year.

              Wildlife viewing is excellent in July and is well worth putting up with the crowds if you’re comfortable doing so. It is also worth remembering that the southern safari circuit is a viable and recommended alternative that would give you the best of both worlds: less visitors and good wildlife sightings.

            • August
              river crossing
              The Mara River crossing is a spectacular sight

              August is still very much peak season with large numbers of visitors from America and Europe dominating the northern safari circuit and Zanzibar. The weather is excellent at this time of year, although it can get a bit windy in August and wild fires are a common sight sweeping through the dry grasslands. Expect hazy conditions that detract from the scenic beauty, obscure the majesty of the landscapes, and make photography more challenging, but on the flipside the wildlife viewing is sensational. The migration has moved north by now into the Lamai region of the northern Serengeti as the wildebeest and zebra start to cross the Mara River. Tarangire National Park is excellent for spotting elephants who roam freely among the open plains.

              See the first Mara crossings
            • September
              mount kilimanjaro
              September is an excellent time of year to climb Mt. Kili

              Visitor numbers are starting to drop off now; there is still no rain in sight, meaning that humidity levels are low bringing fewer mosquitoes. The landscapes have turned brown and grass/food is scarce. The migration concentrates along the perennial Mara River with huge columns of wildebeest and zebra crossing in both directions as the animals search for grazing while staying close to the water.

              The Lamai-Mara region remains busy, as does Kilimanjaro (September is regarded by those in the know as the optimal month to climb), but the rest of Tanzania’s tourist attractions and parks are starting to see a drop off in visitor numbers, as they regain their wilderness feel. The southern safari circuit remains blissfully wild, beckoning those with a sense of adventure and yearning for wilderness.

              September also sees the start of the fishing season in Tanzania’s great lake regions for all the avid anglers who’d like to combine their safari experience with fishing.

              Climb Kilimanjaro
            • October
              katavi
              The Katavi region is aa pristine wilderness destination in Tanzania

              The thunderclouds are building and late October usually sees the arrival of the first rains. The wildebeest are heading south again; Kilimanjaro climbing remains popular throughout October; and wildlife viewing is superb with little vegetation to obscure the high quality sightings. Tourist numbers are considerably lower over this shoulder season period, rendering the most popular tourist attractions a more appealing proposition once more.

              Mahale Mountains National Park is fully accessible this time of the year, making chimpanzee spotting prime. Lake Tanganyika is also at its warmest this time of year.

              Make the most of the dried up landscapes, as well as seasonal lakes and rivers in Katavi before the rainy season starts in November.

              Most of the wildlife will gather close to the Katuma River giving the chance to see a selection of wildlife in a small location. This national park also offers spectacular elephant viewing in the open plains where large groups gather creating a fascinating atmosphere.

              October is the best time to visit Arusha National Park and if you want to, climb Mount Meru. Having said that, spotting wildlife this time of the year is not as highly revered, but you may still sight hyenas and leopards in the early morning and evening.

            • November
              hot air balloon
              Hot air ballooning over the Serengeti can give you a new perspective

              This is one of the most underrated months to go on safari in Tanzania. You will definitely have some rain to contend with, but it is usually in the form of periodic afternoon thundershowers.

              The northern parks in general are great for game year-round and although the Serengeti receives rain, this means that the wildebeest will be moving south across the plains to make the most of this moisture. If they have not already arrived from Kenya, they will do by November.

              Roads remain open and rivers low, so exploring off-the-beaten-track destinations and getting around is still relatively straightforward even as the landscape transforms from desolate brown to lush green before you eyes. The wide-open plains take on the appearance of a golf course with short grass that adds colour without obscuring wildlife sightings. With billowing cumulus clouds and the smoke and dust washed away, this is once again a great month for photography.

              Tarangire National Park starts heating up from November onwards and can get rather humid with the start of the summer rain season.

            • December
              elephant
              An elephant in Tanzania strikes an impressive contrast against the landscape

              December falls in the midst of the short rains so except some rain and wet weather. Tourist numbers are low for the first half of the month, but for two weeks over Christmas and New Year everything is choc-a-block, so it’s best to avoid the last-minute rush and book well in advance.

              December is a great time for bird watchers as many migratory birds arrive. This is particularly good in southern parks such as Selous and Tarangire National Park in the north is a birdwatchers’ paradise. Look out for red-necked spurfowl, purple grenadier and cinnamon-breasted buntings to name just a few.

              By now the migrant birds have arrived in full force, which makes for some superb birding opportunities. The wildebeest have returned to the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti to calve. With their more limited infrastructure, the wild parks of the southern safari circuit become more challenging during December and for the duration of the wet season. Go on a birding safari

            Type of traveller

            What type of traveller are you?

            • A Tanzanian holiday as a couple

              couple travel in tanzania
              Couples have a fantastic time in Tanzania Credit: howtobemarried.us

              Tanzania offers some amazing, memorable, romantic and unique experiences that you can enjoy as a couple. If you both relish a challenge, climbing Africa’s highest mountain could be one of your primary options. Imagine standing alongside one another on the Roof of Africa at 5,985 metres having completing the multi-day climb together: a shared memory of triumph over adversity that will bring the two of you closer together. Whether you want to conquer mountains, appreciate wildlife and scenic landscapes, or kick back and relax on a romantic island beach, travelling as a couple is special because you are sharing the experiences and creating shared memories that you can reminisce about for decades to come.

              Couples will quite likely gravitate towards the northern safari circuit for their safari experiences before flying to the islands of the Indian Ocean region to kick back and recharge their batteries together. While on safari in the north, a hot air balloon ride over the migration in the Serengeti is a very special experience to share with your partner.

              Many of the safari camps and lodges will gladly organize private dinners for two either at the camp or out in the bush. Take a couples massage at any of the Asilia, &Beyond, Legendary or Singita safari lodges to round off your safari experience together. Once you reach your Spice Island of choice, things only get better with romantic sunset strolls along the beach, tranquil seaside dinners and many R&R hours whiled away on beach loungers or in a hammock reading books and chatting.

              • Highlights

                If climbing Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru isn’t your idea of the perfect couples activity and you prefer thrills of a different kind, you could always take a PADI diving course and learn to scuba dive together. This immersive experience is a special one to share with your partner and seeing incredible creatures like whale sharks and turtles swimming alongside both of you will only add to your sense of awe and wonder, as you glide effortlessly beneath the waves. For sedentary couples that aren’t looking for shared hardships, kicking back together on a Spice Island beach of your choice – either Mafia, Zanzibar or Pemba – should have the desired relationship effect.

                5 incredible things to do in Zanzibar

                Whether you are travelling alone, with a partner, or in a small group, it is essential to stay vigilant and attentive to your valuables at all times. Don’t flaunt your wealth or tempt fate when out and about, especially in the towns and cities where petty crime and tourist muggings are not uncommon. Always use the hotel safe to lock away all money, passports and valuables; don’t leave anything lying around to tempt hotel staff or cleaners. Another good practice when travelling as a couple is to each keep a certified copy of your partner’s passport or travel documents, as well as dividing up your cash between the two of you. That way, if one person is mugged, robbed or has his/her pocket picked, at least all is not lost and you will still have the money and supporting documentation needed to remedy the situation.

            • Solo travelling through Tanzania

              mount meru
              A different perspective of Mount Meru

              As long as you practice basic safety awareness and avoid lonely stretches of deserted beach, especially at night, Zanzibar and the other Indian Ocean islands of Pemba and Mafia are probably the most alluring prospect for solo travellers going it alone. Exploring the northern safari circuit is safe and with the large number of safari companies and tour operators focusing on this region there is an abundance of information and plenty of opportunity for solo travellers to explore the iconic parks of Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Mount Kilimanjaro.

              • Highlights

                Solo travellers can tackle any and all of Tanzania’s parks and highlights, although it’s generally advantageous to join a group for wildlife safaris and/or treks up Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. There is a definite safety advantage, but going in a group can also be a significant cost-saver, as well as offering an opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers and make new friends.

                Trekking mount kilimanjaro

                ‘Volunteer-ism’ (volunteer tourism) and more purposeful travel are becoming increasingly popular with an growing number of volunteer opportunities emerging for solo travellers across Tanzania.

                When travelling alone, it’s always important to stay vigilant and attentive to your valuables. Don’t flaunt your wealth or tempt fate. Solo travel in Tanzania is safe provided you follow a few simple rules… First, safety in numbers at night: make sure to team up after sundown. Joining small group tours (maximum six people) with a good guide not only provides a temporary safety benefit, but also helps to keep costs more manageable when compared to exclusive tours and private guides. Moving around in groups at night is especially important for solo female travellers, as is dressing somewhat modestly to avoid drawing unwanted attention to yourself. Second, it is safest to travel by taxi. In major cities like Arusha or Stone Town, ask the hotel or guesthouse staff to recommend a reputable taxi that will get you safely to your destination. Having a local Tanzanian staff member help to negotiate the price before getting in the vehicle is also highly recommended. Third, while it is important to always be polite, don’t leave anything to misinterpretation. Tanzania is known for its jovial attitudes and unrelenting street vendors, but if someone pushes things too far or makes you feel uncomfortable, then it’s okay to be direct and tell them to leave you alone, especially if you’re on your own.

            • A family holiday in Tanzania

              family travel in tanzania
              Experiencing Tanzania with children is a magical experience I Credit: Travel Without Tears

              Family travel – especially big or extended families travelling together – can prove a bit chaotic and more costly, but there is something so special about experiencing and sharing superb safari experiences with your children and partner. Most safari camps and lodges also have one or two family suites where adjoining rooms or tents allow mom and dad their own space, while still ensuring the kids are close by and safe, because you can move between the family tents or rooms at night without having to step outside and worry about wild animals. From a family perspective, it is also worth emphasising that Tanzania is a largely safe country where violent crime against foreigners is incredibly rare.

              Tanzania’s northern safari circuit is prime wildlife-viewing country. Although not renowned for its affordability, kids will love seeing the well-habituated animals, as well as the vibrant Maasai culture. A good selection of child-friendly lodges, camps, hotels and restaurants ensures that there is plenty of choice. The southern safari circuit is definitely a more adventurous option and should probably be restricted to families with older children who will better appreciate longer and wilder safaris in open-top game viewing vehicles. Should you take your family on a Great Migration safari?

              The mellow beaches of Zanzibar and the other Spice Islands are reason enough to recommend the Indian Ocean islands as ideally suited to families and children. Many Zanzibari hotels also have swimming pools (ideal for swimming with kids in a controlled environment when seas are rough or while the tide is out) as well as spacious hotel grounds where kids can run wild and burn off energy in a safe place. Because many families visit Zanzibar, there is also a wide choice of child-friendly cuisine on almost every menu.

              • Highlights

                Families travelling with small kids and tighter budgets might find it easier to base themselves in major centres like Arusha (where there are shops, medical facilities and other support services) and do shorter excursions from that base. An example of an easy and rewarding daytrip would be to nearby Arusha National Park where there is plenty of wildlife, but for the full experience a trip further afield to Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire or Lake Manyara would be more impressive.

                Ngorongoro Crater with its nearby family-friendly accommodation is especially well-suited to families and young children, while the extremely relaxed and abundant wildlife should keep even the most restless children engaged and excited. Furthermore, children under eighteen also get sizeable discounts on daily park fees and permits to climb Kilimanjaro.

                It would be unfair – almost cruel – to bring your children to Tanzania and not finish off with at least some time to explore the Spice Islands and enjoy the surrounding warm-water and white-sand beaches. Zanzibar Island has an abundance of lovely east-coast beaches with soft sand and calm seas, while most resorts also have a swimming pool. For families with more of a sense of adventure, or looking to get away from the crowds, Mafia Island with its little beaches, exciting dhow rides and top quality snorkelling is the place to head with your children.

              • Practical information

                Tanzania may initially seem daunting for travel with children: prices for accommodation and park entry fees can add up, road travel distances can be long, and vehicle rental is rather costly. But for families with a sense of adventure, it’s a destination brimming with wonderful attractions, including wildlife, beaches, friendly people and great weather. Having a real sense of adventure (and humour) is invaluable as you explore the wilds of Tanzania, but proper planning for family travel is equally important. The following are some pre-trip considerations and travel tips to help you get started:

                The cooler, dry season (June through September) is best for family travel. Travel during the dry season months tends to be easier and transportation more dependable. Mosquitoes also tend to be less common, although malaria prophylaxis should still be taken. Malarone and Paediatric Malarone for the little ones is definitely the anti-malarial drug of choice with high efficacy and the fewest side effects.

                Aside from malaria prophylaxis, it is recommended that you consult your local travel clinic, doctor or paediatrician for vaccination recommendations, remembering that a Yellow Fever vaccination is required for every visitor over the age of two years.

                It is important to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, so travelling with your own mosquito nets and ensuring that your children always sleep under them is first prize. Dressing in long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and socks, as well as religiously using mosquito repellent at dawn and dusk further reduces the likelihood of getting malaria.

                At beaches, keep in mind the risks of hookworm infestation in populated areas, and watch out for spiny sea urchins when wading or snorkelling in the shallows. Take care about bilharzia infection in stagnant water and lakes in populated areas. A fully stocked child-oriented first aid kit is a travel imperative.

                The equatorial sun in Africa can be lethal, so make sure to always wear hats, use plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of water to avoid sunburn and dehydration.

                Street food isn’t generally suitable for children, and ‘healthy kid-friendly snacks’ are a challenge to find on the road, so stock up on fresh and dried fruit as well as fruit juices whenever you are passing through a big town or major city.

                For those travelling with infants, baby-changing facilities are almost non-existent except for possibly in the upmarket hotels, so bring along a small blanket or your own portable change mat to spread out whenever necessary.

                Many wildlife lodges and safari camps have age restrictions on accommodating children, so make sure to confirm the child policy for all the places you intend to stay. Conversely, some lodges and safari camps actively court families.

                Most hotels, lodges and national parks offer discounted entry and accommodation rates for children – and infants (under two years) are usually free of charge – but you will need to specifically request these discounts, especially when booking through tour operators.

                Aside from the discounts related to the age of your children, many lodges, camps, hotels and guesthouses will offer seasonal discounts, or will be willing to adjust their advertised rates outside of the peak-season months, so make sure to always ask and negotiate.

                Tanzania’s parks are completely unfenced, as are the lodges and camps located inside these wildlife areas, so carefully supervising your children at all times is critical. Wild animals frequently enter public areas and children should not be allowed to walk alone around camp, even for short distances. Exercise particular vigilance after dark.

                For any family travelling in Tanzania, it is the allure of the country’s productive wildlife areas and high quality safari experiences that are the main attraction with legendary parks like Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater boasting high quality animal sightings and often at extremely close range. The fact that all parks offer substantially reduced children’s entry fees is a bonus. If staying inside the park, it’s a good idea to opt for a lodge or safari camp with a pool where the kids can expend their energy between game drives. Alternatively, base yourself outside the park at a hotel with a pool and large grounds for kids to run around, and only venture into the park on well-timed animal-spotting forays, while also enjoying cultural interactions and other activities (such as night drives) that take place outside of the national parks.

            Budgeting for Tanzania

            What type of traveller are you?

            • Budget safari holiday in Tanzania

              affordable holiday in Tanzania
              See the Serengeti according to your budget

              Forget the swanky safari lodges and luxury tented camps, nothing beats pitching a tent and camping when it comes to saving money and sticking to a tight budget. Whether it’s a pop-tent out of your backpack or a rooftop tent on your self-drive safari vehicle, the rustic camping option takes you close to nature and stretches your money further. Self-catering, street food, eating in local restaurants and travelling by public transport all help to keep costs in check, while simultaneously exposing the traveller to the local people and culture of Tanzania.

              Try our African Safari Cost Calculator
            • Affordable holiday in Tanzania

              ndutu safari lodge
              Ndutu Safari Lodge
              Stay at Ndutu Safari Lodge

              If it is value-for-money that you’re after, then it would be best to travel outside of the peak season (June to September) because rates tend to be inflated due to the excess demand. Many of the lodges and camps – both on the safari circuits and scattered across the Spice Islands – offer generous off-season discounts with the ‘emerald season’ (AKA the rainy season) typically being characterised by negotiable accommodation rates and special packages where you might pay for three nights and stay for five (i.e. two nights ‘free’) or something similar.

              Try our African Safari Cost Calculator
            • Luxury safari holiday in Tanzania

              chem chem safari lodge
              Chem Chem Safari Lodge is the epitome of African luxury I Credit: Classic Portfolio

              The discerning safari connoisseur has a number of top quality offerings to look at in Tanzania. Chem Chem Safari Lodge, situated on a private concession between Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park, is one of Tanzania’s finest safari lodge operations. Legendary Expeditions Mwiba Lodge is another highly regarded luxurious safari offering on a private concession on the southern fringe of Maswa Game Reserve. Although Mwiba has an outstanding reputation for its high quality safari lodge and impeccable service, it can’t compete with Singita Grumeti on the wildlife and scenery front. Singita Grumeti Game Reserve – the 350,000 acre exclusive concession of the renowned high-end Singita safari brand – offers four elite safari camps that cater to the most sophisticated safari tastes. From the opulent Sasakwa Lodge with its stupendous hilltop views over the western corridor of the Serengeti to the luxury-under-canvas vibe of Sabora Plains Tented Camp, Singita Grumeti exudes luxury and exclusivity at every turn. Sasakwa Lodge even boasts the rare accolade of having won the World’s Best Hotel award more than once! The reserve is also the home of the non-profit Singita Grumeti Fund: the architects of Tanzania’s most inspiring conservation success story.

              Try our African Safari Cost Calculator

            The Basics

            • Travelling to Tanzania

              Most visitors enter Tanzania by air, although the options for airlines are extremely limited. Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro international airports are serviced by Kenya Airways from Nairobi, Air Rwanda from Kigali, Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa, and South African Airways from Johannesburg, as well as KLM from Amsterdam, Turkish Airlines from Istanbul, and Qatar Airways from Doha. There are no direct flights from Tanzania – or anywhere else in East Africa – to America, although this is set to change with the recent approval granted for direct flights from Nairobi and Kigali to the US east coast. The most reliable East African budget airline for regional flights connecting Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Mwanza to neighbouring countries is a Tanzanian airline called Precision Airways. Fast Jet is notorious for frequently delaying and cancelling flights without warning, reason or compensation.

              precision air
              Precision Air is the most reliable option for air travel in Tanzania
            • Getting around in Tanzania

              A more budget-friendly option is to arrange a safari that includes a private 4x4 vehicle and driver to transfer you between the parks, reserves and other attractions on your safari itinerary. Having an experienced and knowledgeable driver reduces stress and allows you to concentrate on absorbing the scenery and culture around you. It might take longer then flying, but this is a considerably more affordable and immersive method of travel. Overlanders and experienced Africa hands will likely opt to be masters of their own destiny, driving their own vehicle and revelling in the freedom to choice and the flexibility this allows. Just make sure your vehicle and its paperwork conform to the latest Tanzanian requirements to avoid fines at the country’s many roadblocks and check points.

            • Wildlife in Tanzania

              It is unusual to meet anyone who has been on safari to Tanzania and not explored the northern region. Dominated by the annual wildebeest (and zebra) migration, visitors are blown away by the prolific herds of plains game that also include large numbers of topi, eland and gazelles. Predators are abundant here too with lion and cheetah dominating the sightings, although leopard sightings are also reliable and wild dogs are making a strong comeback. The critically endangered East African black rhino of Ngorongoro and Mkomazi, giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire and abundant flamingos seasonally visiting Lake Manyara round off a wildlife smorgasbord second to none.

              A year in the life of a Tanzanian wildebeest
              rhino
              The Black rhino is critically endangered

              Although it has suffered badly at the hands of poachers in recent years, the southern region of Tanzania is still renowned for its large numbers of elephants and huge herds of buffalo. These mega-herbivores, along with the full suite of plains game, support healthy predator populations with Selous being famous for its wild dogs and Ruaha for its carnivores like lions. In the west of this region, abutting Lake Tanganyika, are the primate strongholds of Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream national parks with habituated chimpanzees being the prime wildlife attraction here.

              chimps in tanzania
              The habituated chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains are a special sight to behold

              With the exception of endemic Zanzibar red colobus monkey, Aders’ duiker, Sykes blue monkey and the diminutive suni antelope, the islands off the east coast of Tanzania are all about marine wildlife. Dynamite fishing has done some damage here, but dolphins are still frequently seen on diving and snorkelling trips off the coast of Zanzibar and Mnemba, while harmless whale sharks frequent the warm waters around Mafia Island.

              pemba island
              Pemba is a wonderful Tanzanian getaway
            • Tanzanian culture

              With almost half the country’s population being Muslim, it is important to respect their more conservative Islamic cultural norms by dressing less provocatively and covering up when exploring their ethnic strongholds, such as Zanzibar, the other Spice Islands, and along the east coast of Tanzania. The holy month of Ramadan, the religious importance of Fridays, and the need to pray five times per day are all import cultural factors of the Islamic faith that tourists to Tanzania should be aware of.

              Discover the history & culture of Tanzania
            • Languages in Tanzania

              With around 129 different ethnic groups, the Republic of Tanzania has evolved the greatest linguistic diversity in the whole of the African continent with four major African language bases, ranging from Bantu, Cushitic and the Nilotic languages to the less comprehensively spoken Khoisan. One of the founding directives of independent Tanzania was that no ethnic group should dominate, and this was made easier by the fact that none of the 129 tribes and sub-tribes exceeds much more than 10% of the country’s overall population. A governmental drive continues to reduce tribal differentiation by promoting Swahili.

              tanzanian people
              Children in a local Tanzanian village

              With such a diversity of people contained within the boundaries of Tanzania, having Swahili as a national language has brought about the country’s strong sense of national identity. It is interesting to note that in Tanzania all primary school education is taught in Swahili, but when school children graduate from primary school and enter secondary school, the medium of instruction switches overnight to English. This makes for an incredibly difficult adjustment and many children drop out of school or fail their national exams at this point.

              As the national language, Swahili is the most widely spoken language with English being largely absent from rural Tanzania and only really found in the larger towns, cities and tourist areas.

            • Is Tanzania safe?
              zebra in tanzania

              Tanzania is generally a safe, hassle-free country, but you still need to take the usual safety precautions and keep up with local travel advisories. Take note of the following safety tips in order to stay safe while in Tanzania:

              • Avoid isolated areas, especially remote stretches of beach; and safety in numbers.

              • In cities and tourist areas always take a taxi at night and only from established taxi ranks or hotels. Never enter a taxi that already has someone else in it other than the driver.

              • When using public transport, don’t accept drinks or food from someone you don’t know. Take requests for donation support from ‘refugees’ or ‘students’ with a pinch of salt. Contributions to humanitarian causes are best done through an established agency.

              • Be sceptical of anyone who approaches you on the street, at the bus station, or in your hotel, offering safari deals or claiming to know you.

              • Never pay any money for a safari or trek in advance until you’ve thoroughly checked out the company, and never pay money outside of the company’s office. Demand a receipt.

              • In western Tanzania, especially along the Burundi border, there are sporadic outbursts of banditry and political unrest. Get a local update before venturing into this area.

              • In tourist areas, such as Arusha, Moshi and Zanzibar Island, touts can be quite pushy, especially around bus stations and budget tourist hotels. Do what you can to minimise the impression that you are a newly arrived tourist: walk with purpose and duck into a shop if you need to get your bearings or look at a map.

              • Have your luggage as consolidated as possible – with your valuables well-hidden under your clothes – when arriving at a major bus station for the first time. Try to spot the taxi rank before disembarking and head straight for it. Walk with purpose. It is also a good idea to try and buy your bus tickets a day or two in advance (without your luggage).

              • Carry your passport, money and other documents in a pouch against your skin, hidden under loose-fitting clothing. If there’s a reliable one, secure your valuables in a hotel safe and ideally inside a pouch with a lockable zip to prevent tampering.

              • When travelling in a vehicle, keep the side windows up when stopped in traffic and keep your bags out of sight (e.g. on the floor behind your legs).

              • When bargaining or negotiating prices, don’t do so with your money or wallet visible.

            • Changing money in Tanzania
              • Tanzania’s currency is the Tanzanian Shilling. Important to know about money matters in Tanzania is **don’t bring travellers cheques** with you, as they are not accepted anymore.

              • If you are carrying US dollars with you, then you’ll be in luck as Tanzania loves this currency. Dollars are widely accepted, sometimes even preferred over local currency. Euros are accepted but not as much as dollars.

              • Paying with dollars is possible in all quality establishments, from hotels to safari lodges including safari agencies. As you will notice when doing research for Tanzania holidays, most of businesses quote prices in US dollars.

              • For local shopping and smaller expenses, it’s best to carry shillings.

              • Prices in dollars are oftentimes quoted higher than in Tanzanian Shillings, therefore is good to exchange the dollars to TSH.

              • To exchange money in a Forex office, you will have to show your passport. Forex offices have fair exchange rates, but do not exchange money on the street.

              • Having said that, the best and safest option is to have VISA with you, Mastercard is accepted on some ATMs, while withdrawals with VISA is always possible.

              • Safari operators and hotels accept credit cards, but expect to pay additional surcharge with each payment, between 5-15 percent. it’s advisable to always ask if additional charges will be billed when paying with a credit card.

              • If you plan to visit outlying areas in Tanzania, withdraw money in the city and have some extra amount of cash on the side.

            • Shopping in Tanzania
              stone town
              A local market in Stone Town I Credit: Pinterest

              Most mainstream tourist destinations in Tanzania offer opportunities for souvenir shopping. Popular gifts to take back home include: Maasai tartan blankets and beadwork, Tanzanite jewellery, traditional woodcarvings and hand-printed batik fabrics. As a general rule, you’re much more likely to find a bargain at a local market as opposed to in a shopping centre or craft shop frequented by tourists.

              The main shopping area of Dar es Salaam is to be found along Samora Machel Avenue. In and around this part of the city, visitors will find plenty of shops to peruse for some last-minute souvenirs, including printed cotton fabrics and local paintings. A cheaper option for souvenir searching is to visit one of Tanzania’s many indigenous markets. In Dar es Salaam, the largest local market is the vast Kariakoo Market, selling locally grown fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) and spices as well as some textiles and handcrafts. Although safe to explore, keep in mind that it can get very crowded. The colourful Arusha Central Market is another fascinating shopping experience and the local people are generally welcoming and friendly, although there are a number of young men who tend to stick to tourists like tsetse flies on a buffalo and if you are at the beginning of your excursion, it can severely detract from your overall market experience. When exploring these gigantic local markets, don’t expect too much in the way of tourist stuff to take home, mostly it will be memories and a dizzying array of smells that you will take away with you.

              Back in Dar, visitors can also pick up hand-carved souvenirs at the Mwenge Carvers’ Market, located opposite the Village Museum. The Msasani Slipway Weekend Craft Market is a more expensive option, although it’s a much quieter affair, making it easier to browse in relative peace. A trip to the Dar es Salaam Fish Market might not be an obvious shopping destination, but it’s definitely worth a visit simply to soak up the atmosphere when fishermen deliver their catch at dawn – an early start is recommended.

            Travel advice

            Travel Advice

              • Visa requirements and fees
                • Visitors to Tanzania require a passport that is valid for at least six months after the initial date of travel. Almost all visitors to Tanzania require a tourist visa, which costs between US$20 and US$100 for a tourist visa that is valid for three months. While most embassy and travel websites will encourage you to get this visa before departing your home country (especially if you require a multiple entry visa); it is straightforward to obtain a single-entry 90-day tourist (or work visa) upon arrival at any of the country’s major entry points, such as Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro international airports, as long as you are able to pay for your visa in US dollars cash.
                • While most European and American nationals require a visa to visit Tanzania, South Africans are among the countries exempt from a visa for stays of up to 90 days. Because immigration rules and visa requirements are notoriously prone to change, it is essential that you enquire from your embassy or travel agent to find out exactly what is required before visiting.
              • Medical requirements for Tanzania
                • While travel in Africa inevitably involves a small element of health risk, and there is always an outside chance that you might contract malaria, tick bite fever, bilharzia or typhoid, the chances of actually getting sick in Tanzania are relatively slim provided you take care to avoid getting bitten and make sure to get the recommended vaccinations and prophylaxis before you travel.
                • In the unfortunate event you find yourself in need of urgent medical care, Arusha Medevac is the only air ambulance service based in Tanzania, providing high-level air evacuation and specialised medical air transport service out of Arusha Airport. AMREF Flying Doctors is another reliable medevac option, operating out of Nairobi. Steer clear of the overcrowded and under-resourced government hospitals. Tanzania has a number of decent private hospitals and healthcare facilities, but for serious medical emergencies you should medevac to Nairobi where you will find East Africa’s premier healthcare facilities, including Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital.
              • Health care in Tanzania
                • The healthcare system in Tanzania follows a strict hierarchical structure with differing levels of services. It is a pyramid-styled system, on top of which there are expensive central or consultant hospitals operating to international standards and functioning as national referral hospitals. Below the central/consultant/referral hospitals sit zone hospitals, regional referral hospitals, district hospitals, health centres (at the ward level) and dispensaries (in every village) at the base of the pyramid. There are also some specialized hospitals, which do not strictly fit into this hierarchy and therefore are directly linked to the Ministry of Health. There is a serious problem with the unequal distribution of financial means for medical and health services in Tanzania with 85 percent of health expenditure going to the main central hospitals even though these hospitals service only around 10 percent of the population.
                • The Association of Private Health Facilities in Tanzania (APHFTA) is involved in advocacy, training, capacity building, research and networking of Private Health Facilities in Tanzania. In collaboration with various local and international bodies, it works as an umbrella organization for the whole private health sector in Tanzania. APHFTA strives to strengthen the health and well being of all Tanzanian citizens by establishing the private health sector as a recognized and committed partner capable of delivering high quality and affordable healthcare services. The franchising project has led to the establishment of 100 facilities in five regions: Dar es salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya and Morogoro.
              • Medical emergencies in Tanzania
                • In the unfortunate event you find yourself in need of urgent medical care, Arusha Medevac is the only air ambulance service based in Tanzania, providing reliable and professional air evacuation and specialised medical air transport service out of Arusha Airport. AMREF Flying Doctors is another long-standing and reliable medevac option operating out of Nairobi.
                • The best bet would be to request a medevac to the nearest private hospital in either Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Mwanza, Mbeya or Morogoro. Steer clear of the overcrowded and under-resourced government hospitals. For serious medical emergencies you should medevac directly to Nairobi where you will find East Africa’s foremost healthcare facilities, including the Aga Khan University Hospital and Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital.
              • Lodges in Tanzania: the dos and don’ts
                • Do exercise good safari etiquette; being polite and courteous costs you nothing.

                • Do keep the volume down and any unnecessary noise to a minimum.

                • Do make use of the night guard to escort you safely between the main lodge and your room/tent after dark.

                • Do try to wear neutral coloured clothing when on safari.

                • Do pack light because charter flights usually have a strict 15kg luggage allowance.

                • Do learn some Swahili greetings and phrases; Tanzanians will appreciate your effort.

                • Do tread lightly and safari responsibly, taking only photos and memories with you.

                • Do tip your guides and always reward great service.

                • Don’t get out of your vehicle without your guide first checking the area and giving the OK

                • Don’t cut or remove anything from the reserve; this includes picking flowers.

                • Don’t sit on your phone and social media instead of living in the moment.

                • Don’t choose an inexperienced and unknown safari operator just to try and save a few bucks; you will undoubtedly end up paying for the decision.

              • Tanzanian food and tipping

                Tanzanian cuisine is both unique and incredibly varied with a strong Indian influence permeating many of the dishes. Along the coast and throughout the Zanzibar archipelago spicy foods are common with coconut being a leading ingredient. Regions of Tanzania’s mainland also have their own unique local foods. Some typical mainland Tanzanian foods include: wali (rice), ugali (maize porridge), chapatti (a kind of tortilla), nyama choma (grilled meat), mshikaki (marinated beef), samaki (fish), pilau briyani and ndizi-nyama (plantains with meat). Vegetables commonly used in Tanzania include: bamia (okra), mchicha (a kind of spinach), njegere (green peas), maharage (beans), and kisamvu (cassava leaves). Tanzania produces at least 17 different types of bananas, which are used for soups, stews and chips. Tipping lodge staff and drivers/guides is customary for good service on a Tanzania safari, but check first to see whether a service charge has already been added to your bill. Tipping is always in addition to the price quoted by your tour operator or travel agent, and the gratuity amount varies according to the size of your group, the level of luxury of the safari, and your assessment of the quality of service rendered. In major Tanzania cities, a 10 percent tip is customary in restaurants and bars when a service charge has not been included.

            • Tanzania vs Kenya

              wildebeest
              The Great Wildebeest Migration occurs in both Tanzania and Kenya

              In general, Kenya is the better know safari destination, but consequently most of its prime parks and reserves are considerably busier than across the border in Tanzania. With a safari tourism model that tends to prioritise quantity over quality, Kenya has followed the route of low value and high impact tourism.

              Try this Kenya & Tanzania combo

              By contrast, Tanzania subscribes more to the model of high value and low impact tourism, which means you might have to pay somewhat more to gain access to explore many of its protected areas and prime attractions, but the upside is that very few of these areas will feel completely overrun by tourists. In fact, many of Tanzania’s protected areas feel downright wild and remote. Tanzania would get our vote over Kenya if one is looking for a wild, relatively quieter safari experience, although both have their attractions in equal (but different) measures.

              See all Kenya safaris
            • Tanzania vs Rwanda

              mountain gorilla
              The mountain gorilla of Rwanda are incredible creatures
              See the gorillas and the Great migration

              Rwanda with just four protected areas in this heavily populated little country is quite simply outgunned by Tanzania on almost every safari metric, except primates. With semi-habituated chimpanzees in the beautiful Nyungwe Forest and habituated mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda trumps Tanzania when it comes to primate safaris. That said, with a single savannah park in Akagera, the overall safari experience and diversity of safari offerings cannot hope to compete with Tanzania’s range and variety of attractions. My advice would be to go to Tanzania for your safari experience with a one-week add on to neighbouring Rwanda to get your fix of gorillas and other primates. A day perusing the sobering genocide museum and some of the monuments and churches in and around Kigali is a must-do activity for your ‘add-on’ itinerary to Rwanda.

              See all Rwanda safaris

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