Tanzania is right at the top when it comes to safari travel. The sheer quantity and variety of wildlife in its national parks is unsurpassed. Add to this the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, tropical beaches and the greatest show on earth, the annual wildebeest migration, and you can understand why Tanzania rises above its peers in African safari.
Over a quarter of the country is given over to national parks and game reserves, which together boast over 20 per cent of Africa’s large mammal population. So even with such renowned parks as the legendary Serengeti, there is still plenty of wilderness to roam in, away from other safari goers.
With almost 20% of Africa’s large mammals, Tanzania boasts a spectacular 322 mammal species. The following are regularly seen on many safari tours.
Tanzania’s varied ecologies, from savannah to alpine, result in an extensive bird list, which includes the following favourites and/or regularly sighted species:
Tanzania’s most famous and most popular safari destinations lie in the ‘northern circuit’. The parks here are relatively close to each other and are ideal for a short tour with maximum variety.
It is this region that experiences the migrations and attracts thousands of safari goers every year. The easy access (Kilimanjaro International Airport serves the region), good roads and wildlife spectacles mean that it can at times get crowded (especially in Ngorongoro and Manyara), although the vast Serengeti always offers plenty of solitude.
This is the home of Tanzanian safari and despite the well developed tour tracks, the magic that made the region famous is still there.
A safari in Southern Tanzania is a wild and often demanding experience. This is a remote and unspoiled region with some of the most pristine and rugged parks in Africa.
The ‘southern circuit’ includes the Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha, Mikumi and Udzungwa. Unlike the north, these parks are not easily reached and access is by light aircraft or a tiring drive. Consequently it is never a crowded region and the sense of wilderness is often overwhelming.
This region tends to be for the more intrepid traveller or those with a little more time. It is also an expensive region to visit, simply because of the travel costs involved in reaching the parks. A domestic flight can significantly increase the cost of a safari.
The coastal region of Tanzania wallows in the tropical Indian Ocean and offers a very different side to the country. There aren’t the incredible wildlife parks of other regions (although Saadani does offer decent viewing opportunities) but there is a rich cultural heritage and a series of exquisite beaches, with resorts to match.
The islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and the Mafia Archipelago offer palm-fringed beaches, water sports and an array of hotels and lodges to accommodate a range of budgets.
Honeymooners, backpackers and more adventurous beach lovers make up the visitors to this region, together with those looking to unwind after an inland safari tour.