A real natural paradise located on the east coast of Africa.
What makes Tanzania special?
Tanzania is one of the top safari destinations in Africa. Tanzania's vast Serengeti National Park is the scene of the annual Great Migration, a breathtaking wildlife spectacle that every serious safari enthusiast should experience at least once in a lifetime. Equally unique is the famous Ngorongoro Crater, home to unparalleled numbers of wild animals. It is easy to combine a safari in northern Tanzania with a tropical beach holiday on Zanzibar. And for the serious traveller, the wild and remote southern region offers beautiful national parks which are relatively untouched by development and human settlement, with huge game reserves such as Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.
What you will find?
Broadly speaking, Tanzania as a safari destination can be divided into the more popular Northern Safari Circuit and less crowded Southern Safari Circuit. In addition to this, the remote western part of Tanzania offers something different for the adventurous safari enthusiast and the coastal region is a popular addition to end off a safari in Tanzania with some beach time.
The Northern Circuit
Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit is the main destination for most safari visitors to Tanzania. The bustling town of Arusha is the gateway to this region and most safari operators are based here. The northern circuit includes Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and the world-famous Serengeti National Park.
Serengeti National Park
It is no secret that the great annual wildebeest migration in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park is among the most spectacular safari experiences out there. The sheer number of animals (over a million wildebeest, not to mention thousands of zebras and large numbers of other animals), the beauty and vastness of the land, the abundance of predators and predator-prey interaction, all combine to make the Serengeti arguably the top safari destination in the world.
The Great Migration is a seasonal affair but there are also areas such as the central Seronera area which are great for game viewing all year round and have plenty of resident wildlife. The Serengeti is Tanzania's flagship national park and one of the best safari destinations in the world. A minimum of three nights is recommended to make the most of the Serengeti, and the ideal would be to stay six nights, in two different areas of the park.
The Southern Circuit
Tanzania's Southern Safari Circuit is less popular than the northern circuit. The capital city of Dar es Salaam (usually just called Dar) is the gateway to this region. Typical game reserves include Mikumi National Park, the huge Selous Game Reserve and the beautiful Ruaha National Park.
The Wild West
Tanzania's far west is best known for the chance to see chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park. In fact, it is one of the best places in the world to see chimps in the wild. Katavi National Park is also a hidden gem of a park. Very remote, expensive to get to, and consequently completely uncrowded. This is truly the wild west of Tanzania, visited by few but among the best memories of those who have been lucky enough to visit.
About 70km north of Bagamoyo along a lovely stretch of coastline, and directly opposite Zanzibar Island, is tiny Saadani, a 1000-sq-km patch of coastal wilderness. Unpretentious and relaxing, it bills itself as one of the few spots in the country where you can enjoy the beach and watch wildlife at the same time. It’s easily accessed from both Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Island as an overnight excursion.
The coast and Islands
A popular way to end a safari in Tanzania is by spending a few days on the beach, either along the east coast or, more commonly, on one of the nearby tropical islands like Pemba and Zanzibar. The island of Zanzibar is by far the most popular beach destination in Tanzania.
Climate and weather (when to go)
Tanzania is situated in the tropics and most of the country is warm to hot during the dry season, and warm and humid during the wet season. The highlands and areas at altitude (such as the Ngorongoro Crater rim) can be surprisingly cold though. There are generally two wet seasons; the short rains from late October into December, and the long rains from March to May. April is the wettest month. Many remote lodges close during the rainy season as roads become impassable. The peak season for most safari destinations is the dry season from June to October. During this time, the far north of the Serengeti is where you are most likely to find the migration.
What to pack
Unless you have a special event to attend, formal clothing is not necessary, and can even be burdensome while in Tanzania. Loose fitting garments that can be worn in layers will ensure your comfort day and night, and you should bring only clothing that you do not mind getting soiled.
Stick to neutral or khaki colors and avoid wearing dark blue or black clothes as these colors tend to attract tsetse flies. Wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent are a necessity.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a travel medicine professional. Not all of the vaccines listed here will be necessary for every individual.
Recommended vaccinations for travelers: Hepatitis A, Malaria (pill form), Meningitis, Rabies*, Typhoid, Yellow Fever (*Rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for very high risk travelers given that it is completely preventable if medical attention is received within 7 – 10 days of an animal bite). Travelers may also be advised to ensure they have received the routine vaccinations listed below. Some adults may need to receive a booster for some of these diseases: Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), Chickenpox, Polio, Influenza. Older adults or those with certain medical conditions may also want to ask about being vaccinated for shingles and/or pneumonia.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for travel to all regions, both foreign and domestic.