Close your eyes and have a romantic image about Tanzania, your next Africa safari destination. I know the image already in your head! It’s either the wildebeest drama along Tanzania seemingly endless savannah land in Serengeti National Park, the snow and glaciers of Mount Kilimanjaro, Masaai people and the exotic palm beaches of Zanzibar!
Tanzania is one of the continent’s most iconic safari destinations and it is not just the Tanzania wildlife safari migration that’s great in Tanzania although it’s specifically the wild game of the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater that draws most tourists for safaris in Tanzania. Tanzania is the best haven for Africa safari tour travellers interested in submerging themselves in the marvel of the African bush. Many visitors travel to Tanzania to see the annual Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra, but there are many other reasons to stay including the tranquil beaches of Zanzibar, to the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro making it a country with limitless potential for Africa safari adventures.
My Tanzania tour travel guide write up includes a brief about Tanzania, Tanzania travel experiences, tips for travel in Tanzania, plus Tanzania’s top wildlife safari destinations. It is important you read this blog before you visit Tanzania.
A Brief about Tanzania
Location of Tanzania
Tanzania is located on the Africa continent in East Africa along the shores of the Indian Ocean. Tanzania is strategically bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Zambia to the southwest and the Indian Ocean in the East.
Tourists on Tanzania safari tours often visit its neighbours as extension countries for their Tanzania tours such as Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Uganda is famous for hosting Africa’s most sought after wildlife; mountain gorillas that attract visitors for Uganda gorilla trekking safaris in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park that also feature golden monkeys. Uganda is also home over 1069 bird species and the big 5 wild game that is well distributed in several wildlife reserves, sanctuaries and National Parks in Uganda famous of which are; Kidepo Valley National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park and many more. Interested in adding Uganda in your Tanzania safari tour, here are some of the combined packages.
- 13 Days Uganda Gorilla 7 Great migration safari
- 10 Days Tanzania Wildlife Safari & Uganda gorilla tour
Rwanda, famous as the land of a thousand hills, attracts tourists for Rwanda gorilla tours in Volcanoes National Park, chimpanzee trekking safaris in Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park and Rwanda wildlife safaris in Rwanda’s Akagera National Park. Here are several sample packages of the short Rwanda safaris and Long Rwanda safaris.
- 12 Days Big 5 Tanzania safari, Rwanda gorillas & chimpanzees
- 10 Days Great Migration Tanzania safari tour
Congo, unlike its instabilities, it is safe and has lots of Congo safari attractions to offer to tourists interested in Congo safaris including the two different species of gorillas; Mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park and lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega National Park. Not to forget, the Nyirangongo volcano hike in the Virunga massif.
Geography of Tanzania
Tanzania has a total area of 947,300 Km2 (365,755 square miles) including its offshore islands of Zanzibar, Mafia and Pemba.
Although Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s largest city and commercial capital, Dodoma is the official capital city of Tanzania.
Tanzania has a population of about 55.4 million people according to the July 2018 estimate published by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook.
Just like Uganda, Tanzania is a multilingual nation with many different indigenous languages. Swahili and English are the official languages, with Swahili spoken by the majority population.
Christianity is the biggest religion in the country with over 61% of the population. Islam is also common, accounting for 35% of the population. Almost 100% of the population on Zanzibar believes in Islam.
Tanzania uses the Tanzanian shilling.
Positioned south of the Equator, Tanzania, on the whole, enjoys a tropical climate. Its coastal areas are predominantly hot and humid. The heaviest rains fall from March to May, while shorter rains occur between October and December.
The dry season brings with it cooler temperatures and lasts from June to September.
The best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season when temperatures are more pleasant and rains are rare. This is usually the best time for wildlife safaris in Tanzania as it is the best time for game-viewing. At this time of the year, you will sight many animals drawn close to water holes during the day time in search of water.
If you’re planning on witnessing the Great Migration, you need to make sure you plan your safari Tanzania at the right time. Wildebeest herds gather in the southern Serengeti at the start of the year, moving northwards through the park before eventually crossing into Kenya around August.
Top Tanzania wildlife safari destinations…
Serengeti National Park Tanzania is arguably the most famous Africa adventure safari tour destination. Serengeti Park is home to the massive wildebeest and zebra herds normally referred to as the Great Migration. The Great Migration is one of the world’s 7 natural wonders and remains the park’s biggest draw of tourists. If you are in search of the big 5 games, you will be in the right place. It is also possible to see the Big Five here including lions. As part of your adventure, you can also enjoy a Tanzania cultural safari experience among the region’s traditional Maasai tribe people.
Strategically located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Ngorongoro crater is the largest intact caldera in the world. With a unique ecosystem, Ngorongoro conservation crater area is occupied with wildlife that will amaze you during your short Tanzania safari or long Tanzania safari including black-maned lions, giant elephants, and endangered black rhino. If you book a tour in Tanzania during the rainy season, you will have a free Tanzania bird watching safari because the crater soda lakes are home to thousands of rose-coloured flamingos during this time.
Tanzania is home to the world’s tallest free-standing mountain and the highest mountain in Africa; Mount Kilimanjaro. Thousands of adventure travellers have gone there for Tanzania mountaineering safaris. Please note that you don’t have to be very fit to climb this mountain. It is possible to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without any specialized training or equipment. Prime Safaris & Tours Ltd, a leading Africa safari tour operator offers guided hikes to the summit. These hiking safaris in Tanzania last between 5-10 days passing through different climate zones.
Zanzibar Island is one of the historical islands in African history. This town was built by Arab slave-traders and spice merchants who left their mark in the form of elaborate Islamic architecture. The island’s beaches are heavenly for Africa holiday safaris; honeymoon holidays etc., while its surrounding reefs offer generous opportunities for scuba diving.
How to get there…
The easiest way to get to Tanzania is by air. Tanzania has two main airports used as entry points for international visitors; Julius Nyerere International Airport situated in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro International Airport east of Arusha. With the exception of a few African countries, most nationalities require a visa for entry into Tanzania. To avoid inconveniences, you can apply for a visa in advance at your nearest embassy or consul. It is possible to pay for a visa upon arrival at several entry ports including the airports however, it is a little hectic.
Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) is about 12km south-west of Dar es Salaam while Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is about 40km east of Arusha.
By air, there are domestic flights that serve game parks, small towns and Zanzibar.
By water, there are ferries that navigate along the larger lakes serving Zanzibar and Pemba from Dar es Salaam.
By road, Tanzania has Buses whose levels of comfort enormously vary and they serve in most parts of Tanzania but long journeys. There are also Minibuses and Taxis that tend to run along shorter local routes.
There are limited train services however; there are some few functioning such as the Tazara line south-west from Dar es Salaam to the Zambian order, and the Central line north-west via Dodoma to Mwanza or Kigoma. This one is very slow and unreliable.
A self-drive safari in Tanzania or Driving in Tanzania is for the stout-hearted only.
Tanzania Safari Accommodation
There is enough safari accommodation in Tanzania ranging from camps, and tented lodges well distributed in the National parks in Tanzania. Similarly, guesthouses and hotels in Tanzania range from budget to top-end resorts. Therefore, you will always have something to sleep in. Sidestep guesthouses with bars unless you plan to be up all night yourself.
Food & drinks in Tanzania
Tanzania’s staple food is known as ugali (thick maize meal mash), with a sauce containing meat, fish or vegetables. Nyama choma (grilled meat) and mishikaki (kebabs) are also popular. Fresh fish is good on the coast and near lakes, and rice is widely eaten, sometimes with plantain.
Health & safety in Tanzania
Before travelling to Tanzania, ensure you checked and have the appropriate vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis. There are several vaccinations recommended for travel to Tanzania, including hepatitis A and typhoid. Zika virus is also a risk. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is compulsory if you’re travelling from a yellow fever endemic country. If you’re not feeling fine on safari, inform your Tanzania safari guide.
Tanzania safari packages