Tanzania is a country of staggering and diverse natural beauty; from pristine coral reefs protecting endless stretches of tropical beach to the Crater Highlands; from Mount Kilimanjaro to the vast plains of the Serengeti, it is alive with an abundance of big game, sublime birdlife and a fascinating mixture of people and cultures. With over 13,000 square miles of land devoted to national parks and game reserves - more than any other wildlife destination in the world - for many people, Tanzania is the definitive safari destination. It also plays host to the ’Great Migration’, one of the most awe-inspiring and remarkable wildlife spectacles on earth, when over 1.5 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra and gazelle, relentlessly tracked by predators, migrate over 1,800 miles from the vast Serengeti plains to the hills of Kenya’s Maasai Mara in search of rain ripened grass.
Experiencing a safari holiday in Tanzania is like taking a step back in time to the traditional safari days of our colonial forefathers. Here you can experience the excitement of an ’on the hoof’ mobile safari led by local guides and trackers or make your base at the very best intimate and exclusive lodges and camps cocooned in the heart of a natural unexplored wilderness.
A vast country of just under 365,000 square miles, Tanzania can be divided into four distinct areas, each of which presents a unique luxury safari holiday experience:
- Northern Tanzania - here you will be privy to some of the finest wildlife viewing and the most memorable and rewarding safari adventures throughout Africa. The northern circuit is home to a diverse cluster of habitats and eco-systems - the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire and the awesome Mount Kilimanjaro. There are extensive parks and game reserves within the region wholly complemented by an excellent selection of stylish, permanent camping concessions, surrounded by a natural abundance of birds and wildlife and, of course, a range of mobile camping alternatives to shadow the ’Great Migration’! Due to the unpredictable nature of the roads and terrain throughout this region, we recommend access by light aircraft flights between Arusha or Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Seronera and Grumeti in the Serengeti, which is not only time efficient, but also allows spectacular aerial views.
- Southern Tanzania - offering the epitome of the bush wilderness experience, this is the place of ’purist’ game lands and an elite cluster of national parks and reserves including the Selous Game Reserve (Africa’s largest game reserve) and the Ruaha National Park. In order to harmonise with the environment, the camps are mainly intimate and unobtrusive, offering traditional tented accommodation combined with subtle touches of luxury. The wildlife is bountiful and a naturalist’s dream; the largely unexplored bush being home to elephant, buffalo, zebra and a huge population of lions and leopards while the waters play host to hippo and crocodile. Southern Tanzania is again preferably accessed by scheduled light aircraft with regular flights being available between Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam, Selous and Ruaha.
- Western Tanzania - this is the most remote region of the country where you will experience the ’true heart of the wilderness’ - a place to discover rivers, swamps, forests, woodlands and savannah all teeming with abundant wildlife. The Western Highlands lace a ridge of the Rift Valley escarpment, high above Lake Tanganyika. Within the game-filled enclaves that sit along its spine there exist small perfectly-formed worlds of natural splendour and vast expanses of prime African bush. Mahale offers some of the best chimpanzee tracking safaris, while Katavi is home to huge densities of large mammals second only to the Serengeti. Camps are small and intimate with excellent guides and a diverse range of activities that are among the best that Africa has to offer. The majority of camps are inaccessible by road and again rely upon light aircraft to fly in their guests.
- Zanzibar and the Coast - the ’Spice Island’ is located forty five miles off the Tanzania coast and its idyllic white sanded tropical beaches, swaying palms and coconut groves provide the perfect location to either prepare for or relax and wind down after the exhilarations of a safari. Both Zanzibar and the main Tanzania coastal waters offer an excellent beach holiday alternative and amongst many other pursuits, provide world class snorkelling, scuba diving and deep sea fishing.
Regular scheduled flights connect Northern and Southern Tanzania with the Coast. International access is best via Nairobi (to Arusha) or Dar Es Salaam (to Arusha, Selous, Zanzibar or the coast).
WHEN TO GO
- July to August – excellent game viewing, zebra and wildebeest migration crossing the Grumeti river in the western corridor of the Serengeti, best time to visit Mahale Mountains, can be cold in July at higher altitudes, especially Ngorongoro.
- August to October – excellent game viewing, some showers early morning or late afternoon from October, warm to hot.
- November – good game viewing although a little dispersed, zebra and wildebeest migration in northern and central Serengeti, light early rains with afternoon thunderstorms, short grass plains become green, warm to hot, beautiful photographic light.
- December – excellent game viewing, zebra and wildebeest migration moving from northern to southern Serengeti.
- January to March – excellent game viewing, zebra and wildebeest migration in southern Serengeti dropping young, Ruaha is a carpet of flowers!
- April to June – heavy rainy season, many camps and lodges close.