Tanzania is undoubtedly a premier safari destination with exceptional parks, beautiful landscapes, and beaches. Going on safari in Tanzania is one of the best decisions that should be made by adventure lovers.
Being the best safari destination does not guarantee any traveler has a hassle-free process to plan a trip. In most cases, planning a trip to Tanzania is likely to be a challenge, especially for new visitors. Tanzania has more than 16 national parks and game reserves. You will need to know all these places so you can be familiar with your ideal trip.
This article will outline the best places to go on safari in Tanzania. If you are thinking about planning your trip, this article will be your best safari planning resource.
Read on to learn about the best places that should be included in your bucket list:
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is the best and most iconic African wildlife safari park. Covering 14,763 sq km, the park is the home to more than 3 million large animals flourishing across the endless plains. This is the park that is featured amazing landscapes, comfortable accommodation of your choice plus dozens of wildlife spots. The park reaches up to the Kenyan border in the Northern end, bordering with Masai Mara Rame Reserve in Kenya.
The park is popular for world-famous wildebeest migration, the movement of more than 2.5 million animals between Serengeti and Masai Mara Game Reserve. A safari to this park can be divided into three regions:
Southern Serengeti (Ndutu)
Southern Serengeti is the home to millions of migrating Wildebeests and Zebras which leave its endless plains either at the end of April or the beginning of May and move to the Central Serengeti in search of green pasture and water.
Stretching to the Ngorongoro Conservation area and Maswa Game Reserve, Southern Serengeti is a promising land for the migrating Wildebeest, Zebra, and Gazelles. It is a wonderland of grassy plains, making it the perfect place for the calving of migratory animals from December to March.
If you love photography, this area is absolutely the perfect place of sighting many animals scattered on plains.
This is the heart of Serengeti National Park and covers a large part of it with a huge diversity of habitats that provides life to varied animal species throughout the year.
Migratory Wildebeests and Zebras find this a beautiful stopover on their way up north to the northern end of the Park and Masai Mara in Kenya.
Seronera River makes it a haven for all the animals that happen to be in the Central Serengeti. These migratory beasts come through here in the months of April, May, and November annually in the course of their movement.
This is another best time to be in this area as there will be lots of animal drama like no other – the area becomes one of the hotspots for game viewing in the Serengeti during this time. Predators such as Lions, Leopards, Hyenas, and Jackals will be celebrating the coming through of the Great Migration in their territories!
The western part of Serengeti is also referred to as the western corridor. From June to July, this area holds the largest concentration of migrating wildebeest. This also makes it the best place for sighting large concentrations of predators like Lions, Leopards, Hyena, and the like.
Between August and October each year, this area provides a captivating spot for millions of animals crossing the Mara River and offers an annual feast to predators like Lions and Crocodiles.
Northern Serengeti is also the home of resident animals like Lions, Hippos, Giraffes, Topi, Elands, and many others.
Ngorongoro Crater forms part of the larger ecosystem called the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The entire Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) covers about 8’300sq. km and encompasses the world-renowned Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai (more appropriately termed as Oldupai, the Cradle of Mankind) Gorge, the alkaline Lakes of Ndutu and Masek, two more craters – Empakaai and Olmoti, beautiful highland forest and vast stretches of plains.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a world-class tourist destination that offers outstanding natural beauties, from the aesthetic landscapes to the diversity and abundance of wildlife!
This area (NCA) is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – other Sites in Tanzania falling under UNESCO definition are Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Selous Game Reserve, and Stone Town in Zanzibar, Kondoa Rock – Art Site and the Ruins of Kilwa and Songo Mnara.
Ngorongoro Crater ranks on the top among “Africa’s must-visit wildlife destinations”, one of the most spectacular places on earth, often called the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. This is actually a collapsed volcano or caldera lying in a cluster of other volcanoes.
Being endowed with majorly plenty of water and food all year round, Ngorongoro Crater amazingly harbors well over 25’000 animals, both small and large within an area of approximately 260sq. kms/100sq. miles.
The soil of the Crater floor is alkaline and this provides the animals with the minerals they need for their survival. It is one of those few natural game sanctuaries in the world where one can be able to see all the Big Five Animals in one day – Elephants, Black Rhino, African Cape Buffalo, Lion, and Leopard.
Studies show that Ngorongoro Crater supports the highest Lion populations in the world!
If you are planning for your African Safari, this park should definitely be on your bucket list of the best places to go on safari in Tanzania.
Mt. Kilimanjaro is a snow-capped mountain and it is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. This unique feature is a magnet for thousands of people every year with many coming for the challenge of climbing it.
The mountain is so large and unique that it features many different climate zones. During your week-long ascent, you will find yourself moving from the bush and grasslands of the savannah, into the dense rainforest, then onto a moorland, before reaching the alpine desert zone.
At the very top, you will find yourself in an arctic zone, with only rocks and ice for the company.
Lake Victoria is huge, spreading almost 30,000 miles. The basin was formed from movements in the earth’s crust and is quite shallow. Over half of the lake is in Tanzania and that area is a great spot for fish and bird-watching.
If you are visiting Serengeti National Park, then adding Lake Victoria to your itinerary is an excellent idea. The body of water is just west of the park and can make a great repertoire to any safari around there.
For those who love fishing, Lake Victoria is a ‘can’t-miss!’ As one of the largest inland fisheries in the world, the lake provides food for many animals and people. Keep an eye out for perch and tilapia!
If you do choose to fish while on safari, it is important to know that the lake is currently experiencing problems from overfishing. Be sure you look to see if permits are available before planning this part of your excursion.
Tall coconut palms, exotic coral reefs, and miles of white sandy beaches make Zanzibar one of the most beautiful and relaxing destinations in Africa. The barrier reefs feature tropical fish and beautiful coral for snorkelers to enjoy.
In fact, Zanzibar is home to about 25 beautiful beaches with two of the most popular being Nungwi and Kendwa beaches.
If laying on the sand isn’t exciting enough for you, then you can enjoy a wide variety of water sports including windsurfing and scuba diving. Don’t miss the amazing sea turtles, stingrays, octopi, and lionfish that lie just below the water’s surface.
After you finish at the beach you will want to head to the historic town of Stone. This little village is the heart of Zanzibar and is full of interesting restaurants, markets, gardens, and kind people. Enjoy the Arab, Persian, European, and Indian influences that make this town unique.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is an elephant paradise. Located in Northern Tanzania, this park has a large number of elephants and it is home to more than 400 species of birds. The park is named after the Tarangire River, which is the main source of life in the park, especially in the dry season.
The park is 120 km from Arusha and it is the best park to start your northern Tanzania adventure as it is close to Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti National Park.
Baobab trees are the most iconic vegetation of Tarangire National Park. It is also characterized by dense vegetation of acacia woodland as well as open grassland plains.
If you are planning for your African Safari, this park should be on your bucket list of the best places to go on safari in Tanzania.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is among the most bucket-listed northern Tanzania safari destinations with diverse vegetation. Starting from savannah to evergreen vegetation, the park is home to troops of Olive Baboons and Monkeys, Elephants, Giraffes, Buffalos, Impalas, Leopards, and Lions to mention a few.
The park is named after the alkaline lake, which covers a large part of the center and has been formed as a result of the Great Rift Valley escarpment. It is most famous for the tree-climbing lions which are very rare to spot, Flamingoes, and the breathtaking scenery of the lake, especially during sunsets and sunrises.
If you are looking for the best places to go on safari in Tanzania, consider lake Manyara as the best introduction to your safari in Northern Tanzania destinations.
Arusha National Park
Lying between the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, Arusha National Park is the best place to go on safari, especially for day trips near Arusha City.
It is located 32 km in the Eastern part of Arusha City covering an area of 542 sq. km. The park features beautiful flora and fauna which varies with the topography ranging from forest to swamp. The Ngurdoto Crater and Momela lakes are also beautiful landmarks that decorate the Park.
This park is at the base of Mount Meru, which is the second-highest mountain in Tanzania.
Although the park doesn’t have all the big five animals, it has the best experiences like Canoeing, Walking, Horse riding, and Game viewing. Black-and-white Colobus monkeys, Giraffes, and Pink-Flamingoes are some of the most featured animals in the park.
The Great Migration (The Must)
Although it is not a park in itself, the Great Migration is the term for the movement of millions of animals across Africa each year. The spectacle is a ‘can’t-miss sight’ for many tourists!
The best place to see the Great Migration is in Tanzania which has four areas of interest, the South, Central, Western Serengeti, and the North. Over a million Wildebeests travel together across the plains in the largest migratory herds in the world. These animals are members of the antelope family and can weigh as much as 370 lbs.
The route these animals travel is filled with predators and they do travel through many rivers, many with hungry crocodiles. Seeing nature at play will be a spectacle you won’t forget soon!
So what are the best places to go on safari in Tanzania?
In this article, we have tried to cover all the major tourist spots for anyone who is struggling with planning a Tanzania Safari. Most of the destinations on this guide are based in northern Tanzania. This part of the country is the best for all travelers who are planning to visit this beautiful country for the first time.
If you are visiting Tanzania for the second time, consider the Southern Tourist Circuit which includes Mikumi, Udzungwa Mountains, Ruaha, Selous Game Reserve, and the newly established Nyerere National Park.
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