Safari in Tanzania is like nowhere else in the world, with a reputation for prime game viewing, the surreal Serengeti plains, luxury lodges, stunning beaches, the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, fascinating beaches in Zanzibar and much more, makes a perfect place Safaris in Tanzania.
At 1.5 times the size of Texas at 364,900 sq miles, this eastern African gem neighbors eight countries including Kenya to the north as well as the beautiful Indian ocean on its eastern coastline, whilst over 32% of its land area lies under conservation protection.
The best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season, from late June to October. However, the great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti starts during June and July, a 300-mile loop for over 2 million animals following seasonal rains through Tanzania and Kenya making Safaris in Tanzania exceptional.
Tanzania is renowned as a premium destination for big 5 wildlife viewing, luxury lodges, Serengeti safari tours, and beach vacations with international visitors flocking from the U.S, U.K, Europe, and beyond.
The country is also home to Africa’s highest mountain Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, superb coffee plantations, UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Stone Town, wildlife-rich national parks such as the Serengeti, the superb Rift Valley lakes, and more.
Top attractions visitors can expect from Safaris in Tanzania include:
Tanzania is famous for its wildlife with the big 5 present as well as Wildebeest, Diceros, Impalas, Dik-diks, Impalas, giraffes, hyenas, African wild dogs, and many more.
All big 5 game animals can be found roaming including the African bush elephant, the lion, the black rhino and white rhino, the leopard, and the African buffalo.
Tanzania is one of Africa’s best birding destinations with one of the largest species lists of any African country at over 1,100 bird species including the black crake, Fischer’s lovebird, Ashy starling, Tanzania seedeater, and Hartlaub’s turaco.
The Country contains some 20% of the species of Africa’s large mammal population with most wildlife found in the surroundings of the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.
Tanzania is a vibrant and beautiful country with exceptional parks and reserves. It’s blessed with the winning combination of unparalleled game viewing and dazzling tropical beaches. Because Tanzania is so vast (almost 1.5 times the size of Texas), it helps to divide the country’s major holiday destinations into four areas:
Synonymous with Safaris in Tanzania, the Serengeti is where to go in Tanzania for game viewing at its most dramatic. Hosting the lion’s share of the Wildebeest Migration (about January to September), the Serengeti’s sheer size, accessibility, top-quality lodges and camps, and year-round abundance of wildlife make it one of the best Tanzania safari destinations in Africa.
Best Time to Visit the Serengeti: January to March for the start of the migration, but there is no bad time to go as most of the animals are year-round residents.
Take about 30 000 animals and place them inside the crater of an extinct volcano. Add wetlands, forests, grasslands, and some out-of-this-world cliff-top accommodation, and the result is the Ngorongoro Crater. This superb Tanzania safari destination offers excellent game viewing in an unbelievably unique setting. It’s renowned for delivering the easiest and most reliable Big 5 sightings in East Africa.
Best Time to Visit Ngorongoro Crater: Any day of the year; off-season months are probably the best for Safaris in Tanzania as there are fewer visitors.
Close to Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater, Safaris in Tanzania, Tarangire in particular, are worth much more than the usual day visit. During the June to October dry season, animal especially elephant concentrations along the Tarangire River are among the highest in the country. The park’s bird count of more than 500 species will keep twitchers happy, while its full range of large predators completes the appeal.
Tarangire is a beautifully diverse wilderness featuring a riverine forest, huge swamps, and open woodlands that include Africa’s iconic baobab trees. However, there are more than elephants in this woodland park, notably lion prides, cheetahs, and a supreme collection of other East African favorites.
Best Time to Visit Tarangire: Game viewing is best in the dry season, so avoid April and May. February and early March are incredible.
Part of Tanzania’s famed Northern Safari Circuit, Lake Manyara offers easy game viewing in a beautiful setting. The Park is home to a good range of heavyweight species, including buffalo, hippo, giraffe, elephant, leopard, and its famous tree-climbing lions. Lake Manyara is an exceptional bird-watching destination. You’ll often see flocks of pelicans and flamingos in the middle of the lake, and the floodplains, woodlands, and evergreen forests are equally vibrant.
Best Time to Visit Lake Manyara National Park: The dry season of June to September and January to March.
A day trip from Arusha city to the Arusha National Park is a wonderful start to your Safaris in Tanzania in the northern circuit. The green park is not very big but has numerous remarkable sights and fantastic views of Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru. Arusha NP’s main attractions of this park are the ancient fig trees, crystal clear water in flowing mountain streams, and a chance to spot colobus monkeys. Some of the numerous sights are the Ngurdoto crater, rain forests, acacia forests, crater lakes, and of course mount Meru.
A safari in Arusha National Park is a great start for a Safaris in Tanzania in the northern part. This Park is easily accessible for a day trip from Arusha city. You visit what we call the ‘mini-Serengeti’; an area where you often see large groups of giraffes and buffalo. Besides, you visit the shady mountain forest, which is inhabited by curious blue monkeys, colorful turacos, trogon birds, and the acrobatic black and white colobus monkey. These animals are easily spotted here. The spectacular Ngurdoto Crater is located right in the middle of the forest. Its steep rocky cliffs surround a wide swampy bottom with herds of buffalo and warthogs. About 200 elephants live in Arusha National Park, often found in the forests on the slopes of Mount Meru. In addition, 400 species of birds call this park home.
Enjoy a walking safari in Arusha National Park. You start at Momella Gate (the entrance to the park) and walk through this stunning area with an armed park ranger. Appreciate the impressive flora in the rainforest, the birds and animals, and the volcanic landscape of Mount Meru and the Ngurdoto Crater. During your walk, you have a nice view of the Meru and Kilimanjaro mountains on a clear day.
A canoe safari on Lake Momella in Arusha National Park offers the unique opportunity to get close to the animals. The canoe safari takes approximately three hours. Float quietly with the guide, and behold buffalo, giraffes, waterbucks, and many different species of birds on the shore. In addition, you have spectacular views of the Kilimanjaro and Meru mountains.
Arusha National Park is the starting point for a four-day climb of Mount Meru. A beautiful hike through the rainforest to the top of the 4,566-meter-high mountain. Mount Meru is a beautiful mountain to climb. The flora and fauna on Mount Meru are highly diverse. The route to Miriakamba Hut is more than just a mountain climb, it’s a true walking safari. There’s a good chance that you’ll see buffalo, wild boar, monkeys (including the rare, beautiful Colobus monkey), giraffes and elephants, and many bird species. During the climb to the top of Mount Meru, you can enjoy beautiful views of the plains around, and the Kilimanjaro in the distance.
On the mountain, you stay in well-kept mountain huts with dazzling views: you see Kilimanjaro rise above the clouds.
In the morning, you’re picked up at the hotel and brought to the entrance of the Arusha National Park. First, you make a short safari through the park, En route to the starting point of this mountain bike safari: the Ngurdoto crater. The tour goes mainly around the edge of the crater where you have a beautiful view. During the trip, a park ranger joins you, as there is a chance that you’ll encounter buffalo, colobus monkeys, giraffes, and various bird species.
The ride is partly on a dirt road and partly on steep and narrow paths that can be muddy.
Equipment: Merida En Titan Mountain bikes En helmets
Time: morning till late afternoon
With Kilimanjaro on one side and Mount Meru on the other, this horseback safari takes place in one of the most beautiful areas in east Africa. Chances are you to see many animals while riding. You ride through beautiful scenery, along elephant paths, far away from the main roads and other tourists. An area where, other animals like elephants, wildebeest, giraffes, and gazelles live. Exploring the African bush by horse is an extraordinary experience! Safaris in Tanzania are suitable for experienced riders. You spend two nights on a private pitch in comfortable tents (3-day safari). Or you spend the first and last night at Makoa Farm and 3 nights in a private campsite in comfortable tents (5-day safari). Read more on Places to Visit in Arusha City
Crown your East Africa safari experience with a stay on Tanzania’s Spice Island: Zanzibar. Perfect for both families and honeymooners, it’s where to go in Tanzania for glorious beaches and coral reefs, dhow (traditional boat) trips at sunset, and exploring fragrant back-street markets. Tanzania’s other Indian Ocean islands won’t disappoint either. Pemba, Mafia, and Chole are superlative beach holiday destinations with superb diving, exclusive boutique accommodation, and all the indulgent pampering you could wish for.
Ruaha’s wild and unbridled character is what sets it apart from other safari destinations. This hidden gem is Tanzania’s biggest national park and there are only a handful of safari camps despite its size. You won’t see other tourists around, only a plethora of animals like buffalo, giraffe, kudu, sable, roan, lion, cheetah, and leopard. It’s home to Tanzania’s biggest elephant population and a stronghold for rare African wild dogs.
Best Time to Visit Ruaha National Park: Anytime outside April and May, when heavy rains make the paths inaccessible. There’s no peak time as this is a hugely under-visited park.
Selous (pronounced ‘suh-loo’) is Africa’s largest game reserve, bigger than Switzerland. Its lifeblood, the colossal Rufiji River, forms an intricate network of channels, swamps, and lakes from which one of East Africa’s most magnificent ecosystems is born. Buffalo, hippo, crocodile, and lion thrive here, while the reserve is also one of Africa’s most important sanctuaries for endangered wild dogs. Don’t miss a boat safari, guided walk, or fly-camping excursion in this breathtaking wilderness.
Best Time to Visit Selous: June to September or January to early March.
The world’s longest freshwater lake is hemmed in by the mountainous walls of the Great Rift Valley. It’s one of our planet’s most biologically rich habitats, not least due to the lakeside presence of the Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream National Parks. These two far-flung destinations are worth the effort it takes to get to them, as both deliver some of Tanzania’s most unique safari experiences: tropical rainforest wildlife viewing and remarkable chimpanzee trekking.
Whether you are pleased with standing in its mighty shadow or yearn to climb to its icy summit, the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro won’t fail to stir your soul. At 5 895 meters (19 340 feet), it’s Africa’s highest mountain and the tallest free-standing mountain on Earth. But its snow-capped peaks are far more accessible than you may think. If you climb Kilimanjaro in the dry season between July and October or January and March, no technical climbing is required. But organizing and executing a hike to the summit does call for a fair amount of logistical planning. Talk to us about a Kilimanjaro exploration.
The undisputed safari capital of Tanzania, the city of Arusha is on the itinerary of virtually anyone visiting the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara, as logistics often dictate an overnight layover in or around the city. Set in the shadow of Mount Meru, Arusha has its own international airport (Kilimanjaro International Airport) as well as the smaller Arusha Airport for charter flights to final destinations. If you spend some time in Arusha, you’ll have many opportunities to buy souvenirs, take in cultural activities and visit local places of interest.
Most visitors to Dar es Salaam are on their way to Zanzibar or the Indian Ocean coast, but this thriving city provides easy access to Tanzania’s lesser-known reserves such as Selous. High-quality accommodation is available if you need to overnight. Read more on things to do in Dar es Salaam
Moshi, the city of tranquillity and space, offers a warm welcome in a beautiful environment. It is one of the starting points for short safaris and climbing Kilimanjaro.
Kilimanjaro National Park is home to the tallest freestanding mountain in the world and the tallest mountain in Africa! You can make multi-day climbs from Moshi to the top of Kilimanjaro. View our Kilimanjaro destination for this. But it is also possible to take guided day trips from Moshi on the lower part of Kilimanjaro, with great views of the snow-covered peak of Kilimanjaro.
For example, a walking safari of about 8 km, at an altitude of 2750 meters, takes about four hours. You walk partly through dense rainforest and mountain forests where you can encounter blue monkeys, black and white colobuses, and bush babies.
Everywhere in and around Moshi, you can visit coffee plantations, as well as the coffee auction and coffee roaster, to learn all about the cultivation and production of coffee. Make a coffee tour and learn how beans are grown, picked, and get insight into the lives of the Chagga coffee farmers, who live on the lower slopes of the Kilimanjaro.
The Kuringe waterfall is very impressive and one of the highest in the area. At the foot of the Kilimanjaro, 70 meters of a crystal-clear glacial waterfall into a basin. The beautiful path that leads to this waterfall of Materuni is 2500 meters above sea level you walk through valleys and hills covered with tropical rainforest, past coffee, bananas, and avocado ‘shambas’ (the Kiswahili word for farms). On a clear day, you have a great view of the city of Kibo and Moshi. Walking shoes are recommended.
The village of Materuni is one of the few authentic villages in Northern Tanzania, with picturesque views of the city of Moshi and Kilimanjaro. In this green village with all the fresh air, you will learn about the cultural heritage of the Chagga people. And you may also taste their home-brewed banana beer and/or the traditionally roasted coffee. Moshi is also home to other waterfalls like Kunukamori waterfalls, Ndoro waterfalls, and Kilasiya waterfalls, to mention but a few.
Close to the waterfall of Materuni are the Chagga caves. The caves, actually excavated tunnels, were excavated by the Chagas about 200 years ago to protect themselves from Maasai attacks. The Maasai mainly targeted water, food, and livestock, but also Chagas, which they then enslaved. Chagas sometimes had to survive for months in these caves. The guide will take you to the excavated caves to experience this whole new (underground) historical world of the Chagga Community.
Lake Chala is a unique caldera lake and is considered the deepest inland waterway in Africa. This lake is fed by underground sources of Kilimanjaro. The lake has a great diversity of life. From lush lakeside forest to beautiful volcanic savanna; from river beds beautifully carved by old rocks to thick bushes or open ‘mbuga’ (park). Hiking on Lake Chala is a magical experience that brings you back in touch with nature. You can go on a walking safari, canoeing, swimming, and fishing.
Located about 35 km from Moshi, just outside the city of Boma, in the heart of the Sanya Plains, are the hot springs of Rundugai (Kikuletwa / Chemka springs). These springs emerge in the middle of a parched and dusty landscape. They are locally called Chemka (cooking). That may seem so, but the water is not hot, rather it is a pleasant temperature!
This is a good place to visit for a picnic and swimming. And the view of Kilimanjaro on a clear day is also fantastic. Unfortunately, the water is full of fluorine, which means the locals can’t use it for drinking. The crystal clear, turquoise water surrounded by palm trees and winding roots offers a picturesque place to enjoy a swim.
Under guidance, you will discover all aspects of daily life in Moshi city. For example, you visit the local market, where fresh products are displayed and sold in a special way. While walking, the guide will tell you everything about the city, its buildings, and its past. On the street, you will see businessmen at work. You have lunch in a good restaurant.
Tanzania is a premier safari destination in Africa, thus incurring the more expensive costs associated with this.
There are multiple factors that can impact the cost of a safari when you Visit Tanzania, it includes accommodation selected, trip duration, safari costs, tours, flights, transfers, meal options, and additional activities and things to do in Tanzania including walking safaris which visitors may request.
Newlyweds may also indulge in a Tanzania honeymoon safari with extra pampering and luxury safaris to ensure they’re feeling the love, which can add to the overall price.
Travelers on a budget can reduce costs by booking their own flights, accommodation, and activities as well as hiring a 4*4 to travel between the parks and reserves.
The essential items to pack for your Safaris in Tanzania include:
Check our Guide on what to wear on a Tanzania Safari
Read our Guide on What to Pack on an African safari
Check our Guide on Kilimanjaro & Meru Hiking Gear List
The currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS). USD $1/GBP £0.75 = Approximately 2,322 TZS.
Carrying a small amount of Tanzanian currency, the Tanzania Shilling (TZS) is recommended to pay for groceries and smaller items where credit cards aren’t accepted. Check out an Article on Zanzibar Vacation Prices & Packages