Tanzania at a Glance
Best Time to Visit Tanzania
Returning Traveler Recommendations
Must-See Destinations in Tanzania
We have worked alongside our Tanzania travel specialists to provide you with recommendations for any length of trip. A custom Zicasso tour organizes your time around your needs and desires, but the following suggestions act as great guidelines.
How many days is enough to safari in Tanzania?
At least one week is required for a Tanzania safari. Some wilderness areas are larger than the US state of New Jersey, and it takes time to travel around them. There’s an incredible abundance and diversity that can only be experienced if you fully escape into the wilderness. Ten days in Tanzania is the recommended length of time for a well-paced trip.
The Northern Circuit is Tanzania’s most popular safari route. Four contiguous national parks provide very distinctive safaris, and it’s easy to connect them on a multi-day overland tour.
Lake Manyara and Tarangire are great destinations as a safari introduction. From here, you can travel west to Ngorongoro Crater, which is a smaller reserve that only requires one day. Serengeti is connected to Ngorongoro and home to the great wildebeest migration. You really need at least three nights in the Serengeti. Northern Tanzania is also home to Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The southern parks are great for visitors who want to get away from the crowds. Travel times are longer and the infrastructure isn’t as good as the north. However, parks like Mikumi, Ruaha, and Selous, are among Africa’s most untouched and underrated treasures.
Safari flights provide a very fast and direct connection between parks in the north and south, so it’s very possible to combine the regions on a seven to ten day trip.
Western Tanzania is completely off the beaten track. This niche area is the best place in Africa for chimpanzee trekking, notably in the Mahale Mountains. Katavi National Park is another superb destination here, which is a smaller and less-crowded version of the Serengeti.
Located offshore in the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar has a fabulous cultural history and some of the world’s ultimate white-sand beaches. It’s a quiet place to be, pre or post safari.
With seven to ten days in Tanzania, we suggest that you visit at least three different parks. Each has its own ecosystem, animal population, and safari experience.
7 Days (North)
Day 1: Kilimanjaro Area
Days 2 - 3: Lake Manyara and Tarangire
Day 4: Ngorongoro Crater
Days 5 - 7: Serengeti
7 Days (South)
Days 1 - 2: Mikumi
Days 3 - 5: Ruaha
Days 6 - 7: Selous
Day 1: Kilimanjaro Area
Days 2 - 4: Tarangire and Ngorongoro
Days 5 - 7: Serengeti
Days 8 - 10: Ruaha
Day 1: Kilimanjaro Area
Days 2 - 3: Tarangire
Day 4: Lake Manyara
Day 5: Ngorongoro Crater
Days 6 - 10: Zanzibar
Days 1 - 3: Selous
Days 4 - 6: Serengeti
Days 7 - 10: Zanzibar
Essential Tanzania Safari Experiences
With a Tanzania safari, you can experience wildlife from many different perspectives. There are also many cultural elements and excursions to add to your experience.
How Will I Experience Wildlife?
Most Tanzania safari activities involve Toyota Landcruisers with a popup roof. You will go on long game drives to explore the bush and get surprisingly close to large animals and big herds. In most parks, you can only explore on these daytime game drives.
In some parks and private concessions, you can do game walks, nighttime drives, and horseback safaris. A hot air balloon ride provides a completely different perspective and is always a highlight.
Cultural encounters can be added to all itineraries, the most famous being a visit to a Masai village. You can also meet Hadzabe hunter gatherers and go out on a hunt with them.
Other Tanzania activities include boat safaris in Selous, canoeing excursions, and quiet time on the white-sand beaches of Zanzibar.
How Can I Ensure I See My Favorite Animal?
Wildlife encounters are never guaranteed, but Tanzania is best-known for its spectacular wildlife experiences.
Tanzania is home to the great wildebeest migration, with almost two million animals on an annual march around the Serengeti. Like most parks in Tanzania, the Serengeti is big on big cats. There’s an abundance of lions, leopards and cheetahs that’s hard to rival anywhere else. It helps that these predators have such easy access to so much prey, and you may see live hunting scenes.
The Big five is a big interest. However, do note that the country only has a few rhinos. If you don’t see one of them, you won’t necessarily be missing out. Also consider the Small Five and Ugly Five, examples of how Tanzania is home to more than 100 wild mammal species.
On a safari, you rarely see just one animal. Tanzania is home to big numbers. You can see 50 elephants marching together, towers with over 30 giraffe, or hundreds of baboons around a single tree. In the Serengeti there are over 10,000 zebra in one black and white procession, plus herds of over 100,000 wildebeest. Buffalo herds can also number in the thousands.
What Is a Day on Safari Like?
The daily experience depends on the park. In large parks like the Serengeti and Ruaha, you’ll spend the entire day exploring on a game drive with a packed lunch to enjoy in the bush. In smaller parks the itinerary is more like other safari countries, with separate morning and afternoon activities separated by lunch and downtime at the camp.
What Choice Do I Have With Accommodation on a Tanzania Safari?
Tanzania has a wonderful selection of high-quality safari accommodations. Although some budget safaris use the most rudimentary camps, an expertly planned Zicasso safari will ensure that you can enjoy comfort and convenience out in the bush.
What is the Difference Between a Camp and a Lodge in Tanzania?
The names of camps and lodges can be confusing because you can have a five-star camp that is more luxurious than a permanent lodge. In general, camps have canvas walls, so you’ll hear more and feel a closer connection to your surroundings.
Camps come in all levels of quality. Budget safari operators use national park campsites, and these cannot even be considered one-star accommodations. Many camps are in the three-star category; they have proper beds, private bathrooms, and plenty of space. Camps in the four and five-star category are more like hotels in the wilderness, except they’re made from canvas.
The key advantage of camps is that they can be packed away and move location depending on the seasons and animals. They also have no impact on the environment or animals. These tented camps appeal to adventurous travelers, but almost every visitor includes at least one tented camp in their itinerary. It’s a very unique experience with so much wildlife roaming round.
Safari lodges tend to be in the four and five-star categories. Lodges are permanent structures and have more amenities, such as swimming pools. Safari lodges are also located in prime wildlife areas and are often many miles from any other structure.
How Many Days Should I Stay at Each Camp or Lodge?
A successful safari involves visiting different parks. How long you spend at each camp or lodge is mostly dependent on your actual destination, rather than the quality of the accommodation. For example, in the Serengeti, you can spend three nights in the same camp or one night in three different camps, in different regions of the park. There is no need to spend more than two nights in Ngorongoro as you only need one full day to explore Ngorongoro Crater. When compared to Selous or Ruaha, one day is only a glimpse of the animals and experience.
Prime wildlife locations are very seasonal. A classic example is the great wildebeest migration. The herds will be at a different part of the Serengeti depending on the month. A Tanzania safari specialist will talk you through the best camps and lodges based on when you want to travel. While some are fantastic year-round, it’s not worth staying at a beautiful lodge when all the animals have moved elsewhere.
Best Time to Visit Tanzania
Best Time to Visit Tanzania
Tanzania has a very seasonal climate with dry and green season months. It is mostly a year-round destination, except for the months of April and May, which are best avoided.
You should note that climate change is having a pronounced impact in Tanzania. What were once clearly defined seasons are now disrupted, with rain falling in the dry season months, and a longer wait for rain in the supposed green season. The below information is a guide to a now fluid situation.
How Does Tanzania’s Climate Change During the Year?
Tanzania’s long dry season takes place from June to September. These are the coolest months of year and it is very rare to see rain. It’s less humid and more comfortable to travel around, especially for young children and seniors.
During October and November, Tanzania experiences what is known as the small rains. Some welcome rainfall enlivens the landscape and both the heat and humidity rise; however, it is never enough rain to interrupt a safari program.
There is then a second long dry season from December to March, which are the hottest months of the year and some of the best for a Tanzania safari.
April and May see the long rains. Intense storms and often torrential rainfall dominate most days. Many driving trails become impassable, and most camps close down. This is the cheapest time to visit, but you will be very restricted on where you can go.
How Does the Safari Experience Change During Different Seasons of the Year?
Dry seasons provide the best game-viewing conditions. There is less vegetation, and animals can’t hide in the grass. You can see further than the other seasons and more readily spot elusive species, like leopards. Wildlife must congregate near water because the landscape is so dry, so guides always know where to go.
Rainy months create green seasons. The high vegetation makes it more challenging to see animals. Plus, wildlife spreads far and wide, rather than gathering in larger herds. This is a beautiful time of year, and the parks receive less visitors than the other seasons.
The great wildebeest migration is an annual event. Almost two million mammals are constantly on the move to fresh-grazing pastures, so you can experience the migration any month of the year. During the dry season of December to March, herds gather in the southeastern Serengeti to calf. You’ll see lots of predators chasing the babies. From March onward, the herds move north through the Serengeti before crossing the Mara River in Kenya’s Masai Mara around July and August. You’ll need to visit the northern Serengeti to see any of the migration from June to September. Wildebeest then return south to calf and to begin their annual migration once more.
Modes of Transportation in Tanzania
While Tanzania is a massive country, it’s one of the easiest in Africa to get around. Connections between safari destinations are efficient so that you can enjoy a complex and varied itinerary.
The Best Airports For Flying In and Out of Tanzania
Kilimanjaro International is the best airport to use if you are flying in for the Northern Circuit or if your safari starts anywhere in northern Tanzania, such as the Serengeti.
It’s better to use Dar es Salaam for a safari in southern Tanzania. Both Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam have direct flight connections to various major airports in Europe, along with connections to other African countries.
Some major airlines also operate flights in and out of Zanzibar, which is very convenient for a beach add-on. Travelers can usually fly into Kilimanjaro and out of Zanzibar (or vice versa) for the same price as a standard return ticket.
Domestic safari flights are usually recommended for a safari in southern Tanzania. Here, the parks are far apart, and the roads are in terrible conditions.
Safari flights are also essential for any itinerary that combines the north and south. These flights are in light aircraft and hop between different parks and airstrips, so they may drop passengers off before continuing to your destination. For example, the Serengeti has many different airstrips that visitors can use depending on their choice of camp and lodge. Light aircraft also offer a direct connection between safari parks and Zanzibar.
Flights Via Zicasso
Zicasso Air Desk is an international air ticketing service that eliminates the stress of finding and booking the right flights for your upcoming vacation by employing the same personalized service you can expect from planning a trip with Zicasso. Our competitive flight pricing, 24x7 Service & Support, and Complimentary Consultation of Routing vs. Pricing with an Expert Flight Specialist make finding the perfect flight for your trip effortless.
Tanzania’s Northern Circuit is the best overland safari route in Africa. The four parks (Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti) are contiguous, so the safari never stops when you travel between them. You should note that this makes the Northern Circuit very popular for budget safaris.
What to Consider When Traveling in Tanzania
When traveling to Tanzania you must consider safety, travel logistics, and accessibility. The following information covers important travel considerations so that you can have a stress-free travel experience.
Is Tanzania Safe for Travel?
Tanzania is one of the safest countries in Africa. It has a stable government and no military involvement. You will need to take regular precautions due to the visible poverty and petty theft that can occur in towns and cities. However, you will always be accompanied by a guide, and it is rare to spend any significant time in urban areas.
Petty theft is virtually unheard of at safari camps and lodges, especially because they are located in very remote areas. It is important to respect the regulations imposed by guides and camp staff, as there are no fences separating people from wildlife. These usually include not walking anywhere alone away from the camp and not getting out of the safari vehicle unless instructed that it is safe.
At the time of this writing, Tanzania is not in the yellow fever zone, so you do not need a yellow fever innoculation. Tanzania is in the malaria zone, so travelers will need to take anti-malarial medication for their trip. The risk is lower in areas like Ngorongoro Crater due to the high altitude and cool temperatures. All travelers should contact their personal physician for guidance several months ahead of planned travel dates.
You’ve booked your dream vacation, now protect it with travel insurance. A wide range of factors can leave your vacation in limbo. Medical emergencies, inclement weather, and unexpected cancellations can cause turmoil for your trip, so in the unlikely event of a disaster, get the travel insurance coverage that provides peace of mind. To get a quote, visit our travel insurance page.
The north of Tanzania is family-friendly, and you can easily experience lots of different animals and parks. Unfortunately, Tanzania is not always the best destination for infants due to the bugs and need for anti-malarials. Still, adventurous families with children over three love Tanzania as long as the itinerary is paced correctly.
Tanzania is fabulous for older children. Children over 12 can participate in all the safari activities, although you should note that some camps do not permit children. Your Zicasso travel specialist can be counted on to make excellent suggestions of properties perfect your family.
The most important consideration for seniors is pacing the trip correctly. Extending the itinerary by two or three nights can make a big difference in comfort. Plus, you can experience much more and really get to know the details. January and February are the hottest months, and during this time, Tanzania can be uncomfortable for some.
Tanzania has so many special locations and experiences. Just ask your travel specialist for something extraordinary.
Returning Traveler Recommendations
Recommendations for the Return Traveler
When returning for another Tanzania tour, you can travel into the depths of heritage and the countryside beyond the essential destinations of the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Zanzibar. The following list offers our recommendations for where you should visit during your return trip.
The quiet fishing village overlooks the calm waters of the East African coastline but features ruins that sweep visitors back into the center of the greatest empires of the region, which date back to the 9th century. Significant groups of Swahili buildings illustrate the vast reach of the former trade route and connect the goldfields of Zimbabwe with kingdoms in India, China, and Persia.
Rubondo Island National Park
The island in Lake Victoria remains one of Tanzania’s best secrets. Birdlife and captivating walking safaris highlight the splendor of the secluded scenery. The isolated island acts as a microcosm of safari experiences with white and black colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, trees, reeds, and marshes. The island is also great for birdwatching with over 300 migratory and resident species.