Welcome to the Tanzania safari experience. Find the best Tanzania safari lodges and customised tours to create the African safari of your wildest dreams.
The astonishing diversity and concentration of wildlife, from the immense Serengeti and towering Mount Kilimanjaro, to the remote national parks of Katavi and Mahale are what gives Tanzania its 'Real Africa' appeal. Tanzania is well know for the spectacular annual Great Migration of wildebeest, zebra and antelope through the Serengeti plains. Timing is everything! Our Destination Experts can recommend the best Serengeti safari lodges in Tanzania to give you the greatest chance to see the Great Migration.
Best Tanzania Safari Destinations
Read more about Serengeti safaris as well as other popular Tanzania safari destinations below. Our customised tours and package holidays can include multiple destinations to ensure you get the most out of your Tanzania safari holiday.
Serengeti National Park Safari
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or contact a Siyabona Destination Expert to advise you on the best area to be or for the camp that will suit your Serengeti safari needs.
The Serengeti is 14,750 Km2, which to give some perspective, is larger than Ohio, Belgium or Wales. It is an UNESCO world heritage site, while the migration is lauded as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. Its unique composition and diverse habitats supports over 30 species of large herbivores and close to 500 species of birds.
Typical of all wild animals, wildebeest are unpredictable and can move from area to area with no rhyme nor reason. They will often cross the rivers after much trepidation and fear, only to turn around and head back from where they have come from. With a silent signal they will all turn and gallop off, chasing the thunderstorms only to return to the same place the next day. Even after tracking the migration movements over many years, it is still completely unpredictable as to where the migration will actually be at any given time. Records show a distinct pattern of where the animals are likely to be, but the actual movement is open to the vagaries of the rain, the grass and the animals themselves.
There is resident game throughout the Serengeti National Park and its conservancies, as not all the herbivores migrate. The large cats and other predators are territorial and so take advantage of the great herds passing through their territories but do not follow them on the migration.
Many permanent Serengeti safari lodges and camps offer magnificent year round game viewing. Outside of the migration times, they also offer discounted rates. During the migration time in each area, the tourist population increases, as does the amount of vehicles all trying to see the same spectacle. Whereas out of season, there is still great game viewing without the masses of cars searching for it.
There are also mobile camps that move position in relation to where they predict the migration will be. They do not move whilst guests are in camp, but stay in position for a number of months, waiting for the migration to pass near their area. Generally the mobile camps are in the southern area from December to March, western area June to July and the northern area July to October.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Olduvai Gorge
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Three volcanic craters dominate the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with the Ngorongoro Crater being the most famous and largest. In fact, it is the largest unflooded, unbroken caldera in the world. It is about 20kms across, 600m deep and 300km2 in area and holds an astonishingly large array of wildlife. It is possibly the best place to see the ‘big 5’ in Tanzania. The crater is home to lion, leopard and hyena who prey on the wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. There is a large population of black rhino and a good place to see some large tusked elephants.
Migrating herds, usually late November and December inundate the greater crater area, however there is a high density of resident game throughout the year.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area strives for a peaceful coexistence between man and animals, therefore Maasai pastoralists continue to walk this area, as they have for centuries. The Maasai are very distinctive in their red dress, seen herding their cattle.
The whole area contains over 25,000 large animals, the vegetation is a mixture of lush green, rain watered plants and desert plants. There is an abundance of short grass, great for grazing, and highland forests. In the west is Ndutu Lake, which has a healthy population of cheetah and lion.
On the leeward side of the Ngorongoro highlands is Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano that last erupted in 2007. It is Tanzania’s third highest mountain, after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. At the foot of the mountain is Lake Natron, a soda lake, made famous for the numerous breeding flamingos found there.
Olduvai Gorge National Park is a small park also known as the cradle of mankind. It is one of the most prominent paleoanthropologist sites in the world. Some of the findings here have shaped our understanding of early human evolution. At Laetoli, west of the Ngorongoro Crater, are humanoid footprints, preserved in the volcanic rock. They are thought to be over 3.6 million years old and represent the earliest signs of mankind so far that has been found in the world.
Arusha National Park
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Covering an area of 137 square km, Arusha National Park protects a remarkable diversity of habitats. The eastern slopes and 4566 metre-high peak of Mount Meru, the fifth-highest mountain in Africa, lie within the park. Ngurdoto Crater is a fully intact 3km-wide, 400 metre-deep volcanic caldera with a forest-fringed rim and lush green floor. Another attraction are the Momella Lakes, a group of shallow alkaline lakes fed by underground streams.
They all have different mineral contents and are slightly different in colour. The lakes are some of the best places to see water birds in Tanzania: Flamingo, Pelican, little Grebe and a variety of Heron, Duck and Wader are common. Buffalo, Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, Zebra and a variety of Antelope are regularly seen in the park. Blue Monkey are common in all the forests, and black-and-white Colobus can be seen on Mount Meru and on Ngurdoto crater rim. The only large predators in the park are Leopard and spotted Hyena.
Selous Game Reserve
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As the largest game reserve in Africa with an area of about 21 000 square miles (55,000 square km), the Selous Game Reserve carves out a huge portion of Southern Tanzania. The immense size of the park makes it ideal for the traveller seeking a sense of isolation, exploration, and discovery. Few other vehicles will be visible. The Selous is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its diversity of wildlife and undisturbed nature. The majority of the reserve is set aside for hunting, controlled by a number of privately leased hunting concessions. The northern section of the reserve is solely for photographic tourism and follows along the Rufiji River.
The Selous is a premium reserve to visit as it offers such a wide range of accommodations and activities. Alongside the traditional game drive, walking safaris, fly camping and boat safaris are also available. Over a three night or more stay in the reserve, you can experience an array of adventures using different modes of transport, exploring various areas of this vast reserve.
The reserve is home to over a third of Tanzania’s elephants and the best place to see the wild dogs. The Rufiji River runs through the park with many deltas and lakes branching off throughout. In some areas it looks like a tranquil European park, with a picturesque calm lake surrounded by large trees and a cropped lawn; until you see the flick of a hippos ears, the splash from a crocodile leaping to catch an unwary water bird, all observed by the leopard languishing on a tree branch.
The Selous Game Reserve is seasonal open from June to end of March and closed for the long rain season due to the black cotton soil making the roads impassable.
The first Europeans to encounter Lake Tanganyika were the British explorers Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning Speke, in 1887. Beginning on the eastern coast, they crossed Tanzania in search of the source of the Nile, finally coming upon the shores of this seemingly endless and bottomless body of water after months of great deprivation.
Though this was not the mythic headwater of the great Nile (it is actually Lake Victoria, to the north), the sheer size of this lake, the world's longest at 446 miles. (714km), made it a geographical bonanza in itself. At the northern end of Tanganyika is Gombe Stream National Park, where Jane Goodall conducted her celebrated studies of Chimpanzee.
Mahale Mountains National Park borders Lake Tanganyika and is home to possibly the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa. The terrain is mostly rugged and hilly dominated by the Mahale Mountains. The park can only be reached by boat, it is a totally road free area. Walking safaris, tracking the chimpanzees, and taking time to observe their daily routine be it allogrooming, squabbling, foraging or feeding, are an awe-inspiring treat. Here you can go hiking the forest paths or scrambling up the mountainside looking for butterflies, birds, and hidden mammals. Splash in the mountains icy cold pools and waterfalls, paddle a kayak into the lake to watch the sunrise. Laze on the beach or take a rod and go fishing. A wonderful destination for a different type of safari experience.
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Katavi National Park
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safari lodges in Tanzania.
The beauty and charm of this remarkable park is its remoteness, resulting in fewer visits in comparison to other parks in Tanzania. Yet, it is Tanzania’s third largest park, with an ecosystem stretching into numerous forest and game reserves, it totals 25,000Km2 of rich wildlife.
The Katavi National Park is open from June to February; it enjoys two distinct seasons. From June to October it is the dry season, where the animals are concentrated around the seasonal rivers and lakes, which are rapidly drying. This forces the wildlife into becoming more condensed, especially the hippo population, which have become forced to share the ever shrinking pools of water. The hippos forego their territories and pile up next to one another in an attempt to find some relief from the burning sun. The crocodiles go into hibernation inside caves excavated from the riverbank mud walls. Large herds of elephant and buffalo stay near the rivers to ensure they have enough to drink.The grass becomes a high dusty vision of gold all across the plains, a great place for the lions, hyenas and other predators to skulk knowing their prey is at a big disadvantage. This is truly Africa in the raw.
Then come the rains, usually from mid-November to the beginning of June. The grass becomes green and lush almost as soon as the first drops of moisture hits the earth. New grass shoots appear as if by magic and the game spreads throughout the park enjoying the new life injected into the invigorated land. The bird population increases with migrants flocking to take advantage of this abundance of water and food. It is a beautiful time to visit, especially for birders. From the end of February until June the camps close as the rain becomes heavier and the black cotton soil makes the roads impassable.
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Zanzibar, the very name conjures up images of sun soaked, white beaches stretching to the far horizon, lined with palm trees, the scent of tropical spices wafting on the air, as the cloves dry at the side of the roads. Fresh fruit, ripe and glistening ready to be eaten or fresh seafood lovingly prepared and served to you, as you lounge on a Zanzibari bed by the pool.
The archipelago of Zanzibar includes Unguja and Pemba Islands and numerous smaller islands. The main island is Unguja, which is usually improperly called Zanzibar. Stone Town is the capital, with its winding convoluted streets, ornately carved doors, churches and minarets and neon signs it is a fascinating mixture of culture and ages. Steeped in history, it is a proclaimed world heritage site.
The more modern part of Zanzibar, the luxury resorts, are interspersed by traditional Zanzibari villages where you can see happy smiling children playing inventive games, showing a charming juxtaposition of old and new.
Dolphins, tropical marine fish, warm ocean currents and turtles makes snorkelling or scuba diving very rewarding all around the island. Safe beaches, watersports, spas, luxury resorts, history and culture - Zanzibar has something for everyone.