Tanzania safari holidays are the perfect example of an African safari – combining Big 5 game viewing with epic landscapes, including the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world.
You can choose between Tanzania safari tours of the Northern Circuit, covering the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, or the South and West Parks, including the expansive Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.
Tanzania is also extremely popular for safari and beach holidays. Beach options are varied and include stunning Zanzibar, a short flight from both the north and south.
Tanzania safaris are a great choice year-round, but depending on what you want to see, there are better months than others. The best time to see wildlife is during the dry seasons, from late June to early October, and the southern parks are definitely at their best during this time. Good news is the Migration is always in or by the Serengeti so even though it moves around from month to month you should always have the opportunity to catch this animal wonder.
The dry season makes it easier to spot animals, both because they tend to cluster near water sources and because there’s less vegetation to obscure your view. The northern parks can become busier during this peak season, while the southern and western parks are still relatively quiet.
During the wet season, which peaks in April-May, some of the lodges in the south and west close down, so pick your timing carefully if you want to see Selous and Ruaha. However, the wet season does offer its own beauty, with migratory birds having returned to their homes.
Zanzibar is a tropical island paradise and is open year round. June to August are warm with low humidity and are especially pleasant. Off the south east coast this is also a great time for kite surfing.
The heat and humidity starts building from September and by March short, sharp rainfall is common.
April and May are the wetter months and so super value.
August and September offer the best diving and snorkelling opportunities, as the water clarity is at its highest.
A visit to Stonetown, for the day or overnight is also highly recommended. The narrow streets, markets and rooftop restaurants are part of the Zanzibar experience. While the weather does not affect your time here, its worth checking that your plans do not coincide with Ramadan, as almost all restaurants and cafes will close during the day.
We can put together your perfect tailor-made Tanzania safari, whether you’re looking for a luxury tour, a honeymoon safari, or a family holiday. Take a look at our sample itineraries for ideas
Big 5 Game Spotting | Serengeti | Ngorongoro Crater | Great Migration
Choose a Northern Circuit tour and you’ll be focused on the Serengeti – one of the biggest and most popular Tanzania parks. Famous for its stunning open plains populated by rare and numerous wildlife, it also gives the potential to see the great wildebeest migration, depending on when you travel.
A Northern Circuit safari is usually conducted in a private 4wd vehicle with your own private guide, and should include a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater, which has a high density of game living freely within the crater basin. Time permitting, you should also try to visit The Tarangire, particularly in the dry season, or the stunning Lake Manyara National Park to try and spot the spectacular flamingo or tree climbing lion
The Serengeti is, in our opinion, the finest game reserve in Africa. A vast and stunningly beautiful wilderness with its open and grassy plains occasionally broken up by isolated granite koopjes and areas of acacia woodland.
The parks sheer volume of game is without comparison anywhere – a high predator (lion, cheetah and leopard) population throughout with the annual migration (see below) of over two million wildebeest and half a million zebra moving almost continuously through the park.
With so much to see and enjoy the Serengeti does attract a large number of visitors which can, in certain areas, affect the quality of your encounters with animals. However if a Tanzania safari is well planned it is easy to get away from the crowds and enjoy the highest quality wilderness experience.
There is real mix of lodges and camps within the park and we can help you in making the right choice. One of the most important criteria is to match the right location within the park for the time of year in order to experience the best possible game-viewing.
These are our preferred camps options within the different regions and the best months to visit:
Mobile Tented Camps – All year
These wonderful camps follow the movement of the wildebeest migration within the Serengeti throughout the year. We would recommend these camps as the first choice at any time of year.
Selous | Elephants | Off the beaten track | Walking Safaris
The south and west of Tanzania offer a huge range of stunning parks, often with fewer (human) visitors than those in the more famous northern parks. Take the Selous Game Reserve, for example. The largest park in Tanzania and one of the greatest reserves in the world, the Selous offers ample wildlife, with a great choice of vehicular, walking and river safaris.
Also forming part of the southern circuit is Ruaha, Tanzania’s second largest park and home to the largest population of elephant. If you have the time, staying at one of a handful of its lodges really does offer an out of Africa experience. The western parks of Mahale and Katavi are also worth a visit for something really special and away from it all, including mountains, flood plains and lakes.
The Selous is Africa’s largest game reserve with a very high quality game viewing area offering a wonderful mix of vehicular and river safaris.
The park is bisected by the Rufiji River which gives the park its distinctive character and beauty – a truly relaxed, peaceful place.
The northern sector of the park is the focal area for safaris with large herds of elephant and buffalo alongside a healthy population of lions and the elusive wild dog. The many thousands of wildebeest, zebra, impala, greater kudu, hartebeest and eland all add up to make this a truly rewarding game viewing experience. There is also an impressive array of birdlife.
Safaris in the Selous are mainly lodge based, with visitors enjoying early morning and late afternoon activities whilst otherwise relaxing and enjoying the environment within camp. The walking and fly-camping options available are a true highlight.
(Please note walking safaris in the Selous are currently not allowed).
Our favourite luxury lodge with a superb location: Sand Rivers.
White beaches | Blue seas | Diving | Luxury
A trip to Tanzania, though more than satisfying with its safari options, would surely be incomplete without a trip to the coast. The stunning white beaches of Zanzibar, more remote Pemba or Mafia islands, or the Tanzania mainland coast, are all easily accessible and not to be missed.
The Zanzibar Archipelago is made up of fifty islands. Zanzibar itself conjures all kinds of romantic travel emotions, with plenty to invigorate the senses. The Mafia Archipelago to the south is a stunning mix of islands in a pure azure sea. And whilst Tanzania’s mainland coastline is often overlooked, Rus Katani, a small luxury safari style beach lodge, lies on a wide sandy beach and is a perfect spot for honeymooners seeking a rest before embarking on the rest of your safari and beach holiday
Zanzibar is a truly wonderful island that offers some of the finest tropical beaches within Africa. The name itself has captivated travellers imagination over the years and certainly lives up to expectations. Alongside the idyllic, crystal clear sea and vibrant reefs, excellent for diving, the island has a rich cultural and historical offering, particularly within the old Stone Town.
ZANZIBAR SAFARI HOLIDAYS
Zanzibar is very combinable with a safari in East Africa and tends to be an ideal beach bolt on to safaris in Tanzania and Kenya.
Zanzibar offers a real mix of accommodation choices with many of our favourites being the smaller boutique lodges offering a true Zanzibari experience. However, there are one or two resort-style hotels that offer a wider choice of activities and are often more suitable for families.
The archipelago’s turquoise seas are as stunning below as above the water line allowing for some magnificent diving. Manta rays, green turtles, hawksbill plus barracudas add to the array of colour with opportunities for wall dives nearer Pemba.
Zanzibar has seen a growth in visitor numbers in recent years but fortunately has remained relatively unspoiled or exploited. To really enjoy your time on the island it is important to find the right style and character of accommodation to suit you. The range is broad from large mainstream resorts to small exclusive hideaways; busy “backpackers” beach huts to private boutique guesthouses.
Click on the links in the right-hand margin for accommodation options or our favourite:
Luxury beach lodges are Matemwe Bungalows, Kilindi, Unguja Beach Lodge or Fumba Beach Lodge.
Lower cost beach guesthouses but still offering something special are Pongwe Beach, Kasha Boutique, Matemwe Beach, Shooting Star or Echo Beach.
Cool places to stay in Stone Town are Beyt Al Chai, 236 Hurumzi, Swahili House or Serena Inn.
Ultimate exclusivity at Mnemba Island.
Or if you want a resort look at: Barraza, Breezes Beach Club, Blue Bay or Ras Nungwi.
Our Quintessential Tanzania itinerary, spread over a course of 6 days, with a mix of fixed and tented camps, might look something like this: Travel from Arusha with guide in 4wd / 2 nights Tarangire / 2 nights Ngorongoro / 2 nights central Serengeti / return by air or 4wd to Arusha or onward to Zanzibar
For speed, air transport can facilitate a speedy return or extend the options within a limited time period. Your overnight stays would be tailored to your own preferences and budget. Realistically, a trip such as this would cost from $3,500 to $5,000+ per person. For a slightly shorter safari, say 4 nights, the budget would reduce to around $2,300+ per person.
Nyerere National Park (part of the The Selous Game Reserve) can be as equally rewarding safari experience as the more famous northern parks in Tanzania but with fewer human visitors. The Rufiji River, which flows through the reserve, attracts a multitude of animals in the dry season who dissipate across the park when the rains return.
The ease of access of the Selous from Dar es Salaam make this an easy safari option for those with time restraints. A 3 night safari could cost from as little as $2000 per person, staying in the same lodge to let you really get into it. However, there are some premium lodges that really conjure up a sense of luxury escapism if your budget allows.
Ruaha combines beautifully with a trip to the Selous, and offers a different kind of safari experience. As well as being home to elephant, there is also the opportunity to see plenty of predators including cheetah, elusive leopard and rare wild dog. Here you really are off the beaten track.
The Mahale Mountains, jutting out on the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika, are home to one of the largest populations of habituated and non-habituated chimpanzees. The fresh water lake lapping the sandy shores forms a stunning location and is well worth the flight from Dar or Arusha.
Katavi National Park, combines well with Mahale, extending the trip by air from Dar or Arusha. Katavi is mainly formed of large flood plains filled with golden grasses attracting a multitude of game. Well off the beaten track but a secret gem for those wanting to be in a remote Africa, rich in wilderness.
Whether it be swimming or diving in turquoise seas, relaxing on a palm lined sandy beach, watching the fishermen in their dhows or immersing yourself in the cultural riches, Zanzibar – the Spice Island – delivers in spades. There are a range of accommodations to suit everybody from boutique hotels to luxury resorts. We recommend a mix to really get a feel for the island.
Pemba Island is lesser known than its renowned neighbour but just as beautiful – more so, many say, with its lush forests and deserted beaches. There are fewer hotels but Fundu Lagoon, a destination in its own right, is great for some barefoot luxury.
On the Mafia archipelago, Mafia Island is famous for its whale sharks with turtles, rays and dolphins all populating the area. A much more rustic experience but the unspoilt barrier reefs, rich in soft corals and stunning fish are a diving spectacle.
For a true Robinson Crusoe experience, Fanjove Private Island is remote, wild and peaceful. This island is all about quality and barefoot luxury, with beachside open air bandas and super dining.
More than one year of practice makes us very careful and attentive in the choice of guides, drivers and any staff. Only the best work here, this is what ensures the perfect service during your trip. The entire team has many years of experience in the tourism industry. The safari guides are fluent in English and Swahili. They also received special training in schools such as the African Wildlife College, which makes them safari specialists, endowed with knowledge of the behavior of animals, birds and trees. These skills are more than useful when traveling, because a professional guide will help you see exactly those animals that you dreamed of. Guides are not only good experts in their field, but also friendly, interesting people who can share many exciting stories and facts. These are local citizens who feel with their hearts Africa and the peculiarities of its life, which they can share with you. Mountain guides are experts in mountaineering in Tanzania and Kenya. They are holders of a special license from the Kilimanjaro National Park, speak English and Swahili, and are able to master at least twenty expeditions to the Roof of Africa every year. They are the ones who are trustworthy to take care of your safety during the trek to the summit and back.
For each expedition, a team of the best guides, cooks, porters and other camp members gathers, who will do their best to make you reach the top of the mountain as comfortably and safely as possible. With an in-depth knowledge of grief and the potential hazards associated with changes in altitude and pressure, they are responsible for making you feel safe during your expedition. Moreover, the guides will be happy to share with you their knowledge of the flora, fauna and topography of the mountain. They know perfectly well where to hurry, and where to stop and gain strength, how to notice signals of altitude sickness or hypothermia that can interfere with the ascent. Of course, they know what the mountain is preparing for the tests, but they also know perfectly well what feeling awaits you when you reach your goal. They are guides, assistants and personal trainers at the same time.
Your safety and comfort are more than important to us. The vehicles are specially designed for the real safari, yet they are able to provide you with comfort, given the dusty and rough African roads.
All safari vehicles are equipped with comfortable seats, four-wheel drive to cope with the most difficult road sections, a first aid kit, HF radio, a sunroof, opening windows and ample space for your luggage. There are also sockets in the car, you can easily charge your phones even during safari.
Each of our cars can accommodate up to six people, and each seat is equipped with a seat belt. Transport is constantly checked for all technical parameters, replacement of tires or any other parts, if necessary. This aspect is very important given the ruthlessness of the local roads.
We offer four different levels of accommodation during the safari to suit every taste and budget. From a typical outdoor tent city under the stars to a deluxe suite, your safari can consist of one type of accommodation or intelligently combine several levels for your convenience and variety. We book both traditional hotels and tent ones, which are a clear feature of the safari.
Tent hotels are not the standard camping we offer for budget travel. They can very well be luxurious, with a bathroom, a large bed, and Wi-Fi access where possible inside a so-called tent. Given the great food, these hotels can be as luxurious as the classic ones.
Super luxury. Thanks to the worldwide renown of the brands, these types of hotels always offer excellent service and additional services. If you are looking for something truly special, this type of accommodation promises you such an experience. These can be ordinary lodges, and even tent ones under the stars. In any case, they provide the very best that Africa can provide.
Suite. For those seeking five-star accommodation at reasonable prices, our luxury accommodation offers lodges and campsites that boast gorgeous scenery, spacious rooms, impeccable service, world-class cuisine, and sometimes even wildlife views.
Equivalent to four and five star hotels, our partners can offer spa services, evening entertainment and more.
Luxury lodges are surrounded by some of Tanzania’s finest landscapes, such as treetops, the Serengeti savanna, the edge of Ngorongoro Crater, and even right in the middle of a coffee plantation.
Lots of options – but all offer great service and great value.
Average level. Wherever the hotel is located – amid the hustle and bustle of Arusha or in the middle of wild nature, the accommodation of this class, chosen by us, promises to maintain an atmosphere of calm and remoteness.
Most often, classic or tent hotels of this type are equipped with Wi-Fi access, bars and restaurants, laundry, currency exchange, and souvenir shops. Features depend on the hotel itself.
This type of accommodation is a great option for families or couples who want to travel with all the comforts of civilization, but on a moderate budget. Along with the classic 3-star hotels, all mid-range lodges have been carefully selected in terms of service, amenities and accommodation.
Budget level for those traveling on a budget, we offer inexpensive lodges and campgrounds that may interest not only the budget traveler, but also those who love adventure. Budget-grade hotels offer European-grade bathrooms and all the usual amenities you would expect in a budget-grade hotel in your country. Even an ordinary campsite is equipped with the necessary amenities and running water.