Tanzania hosts some of Africa’s most popular natural attractions like the spectacular Mount Kilimanjaro and national parks. That is why the common things to participate in while on a Tanzanian safari are the Wildlife safaris and wildlife related adventures. Other travellers after the experience in the savannah areas proceed to visit the Zanzibar beaches and visit the Indian Ocean Islands like Mafia and Pemba for activities like snorkeling and scuba diving.
Tanzania’s location has made it possible for tourists to visit its attractions and also easily navigate through to other destinations such as the Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve for wildlife viewing or Volcanoes National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable in Rwanda and Uganda respectively for Gorilla trekking.
As we design your Tanzanian safari package, we consider a number of things such as your travel dates, your budget, the activities you desire to do, the attractions you would like to visit, the number of people travelling and the accommodation choices that you have.
Tranquil Safaris ensures to offer tranquil safari packages that suit every client’s dream and expectation. With the guidance from our safari experts, our clients choose unique and affordable safari packages and accommodation which ranges from the budget hotels, lodges, cottages or campsites to exclusive lodges, the stylish bush camps.
After we have put everything about Tanzania into consideration basing on our clients’ desire, we give you the final detailed holiday itinerary suiting all your dream safari experience.
Top Tourist Destinations in Tanzania
The country has a lot to offer to its visitors, both in the northern and southern parts (circuits) of the country and we have come up with some of the popular attractions in the country below:
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest park and one of Africa’s most common national parks. It is situated in north-central Tanzania and was established in 1951 covering an area of 14,763sqkm, it was recognized as a UNESCO heritage site in 1979. One of the things that makes it stand out of the many parks in Tanzania is the great wildebeest migration which involves millions of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles migrating from the park to Kenya’s Maasai Mara reserve.
The park offers extremely top class wildlife viewing all year round. While in the park it’s easy to spot the Big 4 such as the lions, leopards, buffaloes and elephants, the rhino is rare. Other animals seen include the cheetah, hyenas, jackals and many other species as well as bird species.
Serengeti is an excellent place for spotting predators, spectacular and endless savannah plains with amazing hot air balloon safaris and classy luxury and mid-range lodging options.
The best time to visit the park is from June to October for wildlife viewing and the great migration, but for those interested in watching the predators do the hunting can visit from January to February during the calving season of the wildebeests.
Mount Kilimanjaro is also Tanzania’s highlight since it stands out as Africa’s tallest mountain with its highest peak standing at 5,895m. This mountain is actually located in the designated Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, however, this park is not visit for the savanna and wildlife like the other parks around the country. It is visited for the breathtaking snow-capped mountain which leaves the visitors in awe of its beauty.
Mount Kilimanjaro is made up of 3 volcanic cones; Kibo, Shira and Mawenzi which were formed by volcanic movement over a million years ago. The highest peak is called Uhuru and seats on Kibo volcanic cone.
Those that are adventurous and physically fit climb to the summit of this mountain. The mountain can be hiked at any time of the year though the dry season is the best time to hike since the trails are less muddy and less slippery. The dry season starts from June to October.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
This area is home to the popular Ngorongoro crater, situated between Lake Manyara and Serengeti National Park. Ngorongoro Crater is Tanzania’s famous wildlife watching area hosting thousands of wild animals that stay around the crater for water. This crater has existed for over 3 million years hence ranking amongst the world’s oldest and ancient calderas.
Tourists visit Ngorongoro mainly to see the large wildlife numbers and birds. Some of the animals that can are seen are rhinos, elephants, lions, gazelles, buffaloes, hippos, zebras and wildebeests. Bird watching is also a top activity done in this area, Lake Magadi hosts big numbers of flamingo birds and other species.
Tarangire National Park
It was established in 1970 as a national park and it’s a great place for wildlife viewing. It is located in northern Tanzania covering an area of 2,600sqkm. Its big numbers of elephants makes it famous. Every year, from June to November, the park experiences a migration of different wildlife species however it is not as massive as the wildebeest migration. Tarangire River is the source of water in this area since most of this region is dry.
Wildlife species in the park include; buffaloes, hartebeests, wildebeests, zebras, elands, impalas, gazelles, and large herds of elephants. Tarangire is an excellent park for birding with over 400 species of birds including; herons, kites, vultures, buzzards, falcons, storks and eagles.
Activities that are done in the park include; night game drives, day game drives, nature walks, bird watching, and balloon safaris. The best time to view wildlife in this park is from July to September, however you can visit the park anytime of the year.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is situated in the Northern region of Tanzania between the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara covering an area of 325sqkm. The park has a beautiful scenic setting made up of acacia woodland, open savanna plains, swampy areas and the Lake Manyara.
The park hosts big numbers of wildlife such as the tree climbing lions, herds of elephants, leopards, baboons, warthogs, giraffes, waterbucks, wildebeests, zebras, impalas, monkeys, it also hosts numerous numbers of pink flamingos and over 400 species of birds including migratory and water birds.
The main activities done in the park are tracking tree climbing lions, game drives, watching pink flamingos and canopy walks. The park can be visited at any time of the year and it takes about 1 hour and 30minutes to get to the park by road from Arusha and in like 30 minutes if you are coming from Ngorongoro Area.
Olduvai Gorge is Tanzania’s important paleoanthropological site located in the northern part of Tanzania. It is where you find the early man’s ancient skull and several borne fragments hence regarded as the Cradle of Mankind. This site is located along a series of fault lines where several remnants of mankind and fossils have been revealed through erosion.
Olduvai Gorge is worth visiting for travellers that are interested in ancient history and paleoanthropology, it is a perfect stop for those travelling to either Serengeti or Ngorongoro. Also the popular footprints of man, woman and a child are an exciting thing to see at Laetoli near the Gorge.
Zanzibar Island is Tanzania’s major holiday destinations which draws many people from all over the world. It stands out for its scenic beaches and some of them are among the best in the world, they include; Paje Beach, Kiwengwa Beach, Nugwi Beach, Jambiani Beach, Kendwa Beach, Kizimkazi Beach, Matemwe Beach, Uroa Beach, Bwejuu Beach, Mangapwani Beach among others. All these beaches have great resorts and hotels.
Zanzibar offer the best and spectacular palm-fringed beaches, sunsets, colorful coral reefs and beautiful turquoise waters. It is also home for the historic and artistic Stone Town, which is home to old Arabian houses, narrow streets and a busy port.
This is the world’s oldest functioning Swahili city and Zanzibar’s heart of culture. It is known for its artistic and historical importance to East Africa with ancient but beautiful architecture dating back to the 19th Century. Its architecture reflects the various influences of the Swahili culture which gives an exclusive mixture of the Indians, Arabs, Persians and European Elements. And because of this, in 2000, the stone town was also chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stone Town still holds old Arabian homes which are seen lining along the narrow streets, they give the town a unique charm. The sites to see while in stone town include; the City Hall, Beit-el-Amani, Anglican Cathedral, the Darajani Market, Old Dispensary with carved wooden balconies, Forodhani Gardens, Old Fort, Beit el-Sahel (former sultan home), and many more attractions.
This island is famously known for the best diving and snorkeling experiences hence attracts many snorkelers and divers from around the globe to the undersea. Mafia Island ranks as the 3rd largest island among the islands in Tanzanian ocean territory. It hosts over different bird species, mammals like the fruit bats and over 400 fish species, it is also a traditional breeding ground for the endangered green turtles.
The island is also a great site for deep sea fishing for various fish species such as the sailfish, tuna, big-game fish and marlin. The best time to visit Mafia Island for diving is usually from October to March, however, the best weather on the island is from May to October. Months like March to April are a heavy rain season.
Pemba Island is among the islands situated in the Indian Ocean and forms part of the Zanzibar Archipelago. It is also known as the ‘Green Island’ because of its fertile soils that produce lush plants and crops such as bananas, coconut and cassava. Pemba Island is also surrounded by sub-tropical, warm waters which favour divers and snorkelers, hence a great spot for snorkeling, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing.
Pemba is a beautiful and preserved island filled with forests, hidden lagoons, beaches and mangrove swamps. On the island, there are various ruins of tombs and mosques and also many remainders of the Arabs from the 17th Century. Just like other islands, the culture on Pemba Island was influenced by the original inhabitants on the island and the Arab traders from Oman.
This island is also hilly covered with deep valleys hence less visited compared to Zanzibar however its sceneries are breathtaking and the tourists interested in mountain biking, Pemba is the best place for you. It is also called a clove island since it’s a leading clove producer around the world.
Selous Game Reserve
Selous Game Reserve covers an area of 50,000sqkm, hence ranks as Africa’s largest game reserve, it was established in 1922 and hosts over 40,000 hippos, 150,000 buffaloes, 35,000 zebras, 100,000 wildebeests, giraffes, warthogs, antelopes, elephants and numerous predators such as crocodiles, hyenas, lions, cheetahs and leopards. Also the endangered black rhinos can be seen in this reserve.
It is good for birding with over 440 bird species, game drives, walking safaris, fishing, fly camping and boating safaris. Selous is a good safari reserve located in the southern part of Tanzania, it an excellent destination for those desiring African honeymoons, solo, group and family safaris. Just like other national parks, Selous can be visited during the dry season which is between June and October.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park was established in 1964 covering an area of 20,226sqkm. The park is made up of mountains, plains, rivers, swamps, open savannah, rock kopjes, dense woodlands, which give the tourists great sightseeing experiences. Ruaha derives its name from Ruaha River which flows along the park’s southeastern boundary and it’s the centre for game viewing while in this park.
Ruaha is home to various wildlife species such as elephants, antelopes, jackals, wild dogs, kudus, leopards, lions, cheetahs as well as different bird species. The main activities done in Ruaha are game viewing, night gam drives, balloon safaris, guided walking safaris and fly camping.
Ruaha National Park has a number of tented camps and lodges both within the park and outside it. It can be accessed by road and air since there are two airstrips and a dirt road.
Arusha National Park
This is among Tanzania’s most convenient parks, which can start or end any safari itinerary. It is a short drive from Arusha and Moshi to the park. Although small, it hosts Mount Meru (Tanzania’s second highest mountain), Momella Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater and various wildlife species like the giraffes, cape buffaloes, warthogs, hippos, zebras, elephants, lions, leopards and the black and white colobus monkeys.
Activities done in this park include, walking safaris, game drives, hiking Mount Meru and canoeing.
Gombe National Park
This park is Tanzania’s smallest park covering an area of 35sqkm, it also known as Gombe Stream National Park. Gombe is situated in Kigoma District and was established in 1968. It is home to habituated chimpanzees and other primates such as vervet monkeys, baboons and colobus moneys which can be seen by tourists while there.
Other activities done in this park include guided nature walks, chimpanzee viewing, hiking and swimming.
Katavi National Park
This park was established in 1974, a very remote park found in Kativi region in Tanzania, Katavi is an unspoiled park offering great sightseeing and wildlife viewing experiences. The enormous food plain is the main highlight in this park, it is split by various seasonal lakes and Katuma River. The seasonal lakes are home to many schools of hippos, crocodiles and over 400 species of birds.
Other wildlife species seen in Katavi during the dry season are the lions, reedbucks, zebras, giraffes, impalas, buffaloes and elephants.
This is Africa’s largest fresh water lake shared by Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The section of Lake Victoria in Tanzania is among the least visited areas in the country, however its neighboring towns such as Musoma, Mwanza and Bukoba have many attractions. There are a number of many islands and wildlife sanctuaries near Musoma and Mwanza. Also boat trips, hikes, fishing and bird watching trips can be organized around the lake.
Best Time to go for safari in Tanzania
Tanzania can be visited all year round. However, the best time to go for safaris in Tanzania depends on the tourist’s preferences; where they want to go and what they want to do.
Usually the dry season is perfect for wildlife viewing, mountain climbing, nature walks/hikes and beach holidays. This season starts from June to October and many people visit Serengeti National Park for the Great Wildebeest Migration. Also, the dry season is favorable for game drives since the density of wild animals is highest around water sources such as rivers and can be easily see at a closer range in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and other Savannah Parks.
The rainy or dry season is suitable for those with the desire to watch calves, hunting scenes and watching migratory birds. They are two wet seasons; from January to February and from November to May. The calving season is where big numbers of calves are born, this means that also the number of predators is notable and can be seen very active around that time. Nature photographers can visit during the wet seasons; May to November since all parks are lush green and very spectacular around this season of the year.
Furthermore, the remarkable thing about visiting in the wet season is that the number of tourists to the Parks is lower than the one during the dry season hence the parks are less congested, the lodges and hotels are also less busy, and offering slightly low prices.
Getting to Tanzania
Tourists can get to Tanzania by Air. The country has three main International Airports which have very good connections internationally to the main cities in North America and Europe.
Kilimanjaro International Airport, the popular entry point into Tanzania, located between Moshi and Arusha. Its location makes it easy to connect to some attractions like the Ngorongoro crater, Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks.
Abeid Amani Karume Airport, located approximately 5km away from Stone Town, hence favors those visiting Zanzibar.
Julius Nyerere International Airport, this is makes it easy for those visiting cities like Dar es Salaam, Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve.
Travellers can also get to Tanzania by Road especially when they are entering Tanzania from a neighboring country. You can drive form Nairobi to Arusha or from Zambia along good roads, however driving is very hectic since it’s for longer hours and distance. As you drive watch out for traffic signs.
Getting Around Tanzania
Flying is the most comfortable and quickest way to move around the country and also connecting from destination to another. There are regular scheduled flights connecting from International Airports to the Regional Airstrips around beaches and national parks. Domestic flights include; Precision Air, Air Tanzania, Zan Air, Regional Air, Auric Air among others.
If the tourist is using a safari operator to get to Tanzania, the company cars are available to take them around the country. However some tourists choose to go on self-drives, other people opt for taxis, buses, motorbikes basing on where they are going to and their budget.
Options of travelling on water using a boat or ferry are available for those that want to get to Zanzibar and other islands in the Indian Ocean. The ferries are quick, safe and affordable but we advise you to use well established ferry companies. For shorter distances tourist can use dhows for simple evening cruises. There are also ferry crossing services on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi.
This is not a common or reliable option, but some use the Tazara train line to connect from Dar es Salaam through spectacular landscapes and national parks to Zambia. There are also other available train lines but prone to delays and unreliable services.