Location_of_TanzaniaTanzania is famous for being one of the best wildlife destinations in the world, yet it has much else to offer. To the east lies the coastline of the Indian Ocean, to the west is Lake Tanganyika, Africa’s longest and deepest lake and to the north is Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain on the border with Kenya. Tanzania’s unspoilt, and little visited wilderness is the largest game reserve in Africa.

The game viewing on our Tanzania safaris is quite outstanding with antelope, zebra and wildebeest found in abundance. Predators, lion and cheetah, are also numerous and in the rivers and lakes are hippo and crocodile. Tanzania is also famous for sharing with Kenya and the seasonal migration of game from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya. The Ngorongoro Crater is yet another of Tanzania’s natural wonders. 25 million years ago the volcano collapsed to form a “caldera” with sides over five hundred metres high and a base of about 20 kilometres wide. It is a natural arena for wildlife when viewed from above. The crater is at the centre of an 8 thousand square kilometre conservation area which includes the Olduvai Gorge, where palaeontologists Louis and Mary Leakey found 1.75 million year old  human remains known as Homo Habilis, “tool making man”.

On a Tanzania tour you will see much more than wildlife but there are few places where nature is so unbounded. As Julius Nyerere, the first president of Tanzania said “These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are…..a source of wonder and inspiration”.

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is one of the most famous parks of Africa. It is featured in many documentaries and so stunningly beautiful, it is declared a Unesco World Heritage site. It is home to the spectacular wildebeest migration and offers top class wildlife viewing throughout the year.

Size: 13250 km² / 5116 mi²
Altitude: 1139-2174 m / 3737-7133 ft

Pros and Cons
The annual wildebeest migration (Late January to August)
Top wildlife viewing all year round
Endless plains feel like authentic Africa
Superb for spotting predators
Excellent mid-range and luxury lodges
Hot air balloon safaris
The Seronera area gets crowded during peak season (June and July and October to April)

The Wildebeest Migration: Every year, over 2.5 million wildebeest and zebra migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. If you’re there at the right time, you can spot herds of wildebeest and zebra stretching to the horizon.

Wildlife: The Serengeti offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa. All the major safari animals occur in great numbers. Cheetahs and four of the Big 5 are easily seen, but rhino sightings are rare and only black rhinos are present.

Scenery: Serengeti’s scenery is renowned for its grassland plains in the southeast. The northern part is more hilly and rocky. To the west, valleys, rivers and forest can be found. The scenery is stunning and feels like untamed wilderness.

Ngorongoro Crater

A visit to the Ngorongoro Crater is an experience of a lifetime. There are few places that have wildlife densities and variety on this level. It is not unusual to see the Big Five in one day- and all this in the most amazing setting with a backdrop of the 600m/1968ft high crater wall.

Size: 8228 km² / 3176 mi²
Altitude: 1009-3645 m / 3310-11959 ft

Pros and Cons
Top wildlife viewing all year round
Superb for spotting predators
Black rhino is easily seen
Excellent mid-range and luxury lodges on the crater rim
Staying on the crater rim offers great views into the crater
Cultural visit to a Masai village is available
The crater gets very crowded throughout the year
Entrance to the crater is very expensive

Wildlife: The Ngorongoro Crater offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa. All the major safari animals occur in great numbers. The resident population of black rhino is a real treat, as rhinos are very difficult to spot elsewhere in Tanzania. The crater is also home to some very impressive elephant bulls with huge tusks. Lake Magadi often harbors large flocks of flamingo.

Scenery: The Ngorongoro Conservation area, as a whole, is stunningly beautiful. Aside from the well-known Ngorongoro Crater, Empakaai and Olmoti craters are scenic highlights as well. Both the Ngorongoro and Empakaai craters regularly have flocks of flamingos. The forested crater rim of the Ngorongoro crater is in stark contrast with the crater floor, which consists mostly of grassland. Another feature on the crater floor is Lerai forest, a beautiful atmospheric yellow fever tree forest.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara NP is a small park at the base of the Rift Valley escarpment. Its groundwater forest offers a nice change of scenery from the more savannah dominated parks. Although the park is known for tree-climbing lions, big cats aren’t that easily seen. Elephants are very prolific and are the main attraction.

Size: 330 km² / 130 mi²
Altitude: 953-1445 m / 3127-4741 ft

Pros and Cons
Very relaxed elephants to view at close quarters
Stunning scenery
Superb birding and seasonal flamingo flocks
Close to Arusha and on route to Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti
Has species less common or more difficult to see in other northern parks
Rarely visited in the morning
Gets crowded in the afternoons during peak season (June and July and October to April)

Wildlife: This park is known for its large elephant population. The big cats are present, but not seen that easily. The forest patch is home to habituated troops of olive baboon and blue monkey. Buffalo, giraffe and several antelope species are easily encountered on a drive.

Scenery: Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake at the base of the Western Rift Valley escarpment. The park entrance leads to a beautiful groundwater forest. Other habitats include the grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment and acacia woodland, all of which can be covered in a half-day visit.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire is one of the more seasonal parks in northern Tanzania with a lot of migratory movement within the greater Tarangire ecosystem. In the dry season, between June and October, large herds of animals are attracted to the Tarangire River. At this time, the elephant numbers are spectacular. The park should be part of any safari in northern Tanzania.

Size: 2850 km² / 1096 mi²
Altitude: 982-1646 m / 3222-5400 ft

Pros and Cons
Top general wildlife viewing in the dry season
Incredible concentration of elephants in the dry season
Excellent birding with many dry-country specials
Stunning scenery with many baobab trees
Excellent mid-range and luxury lodges
It gets crowded during peak season (June to October)
Animals are scattered in the wet season

Wildlife: Herds of up to 300 elephants can be found, looking for underground streams, in the dry riverbeds while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. Dry-country antelope such as fringe-eared oryx and the long-necked gerenuk are also regularly spotted. Abandoned termite-mounds often house mongoose colonies. All the main predators are present but, because of thick vegetation, not spotted as often as in some of the other parks in northern Tanzania.

Scenery: The park’s dominant feature is the Tarangire River. Although it gets very dry, the park is relatively thickly vegetated with acacia shrubs and mixed woodland. Most memorable of which are the huge baobab trees dotted around in big numbers.

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is one of Africa’s largest parks, but most of it has been set aside for hunting. The game viewing area open to the public is relatively small, but very rewarding with many predator sightings and excellent boat safaris on the Rufiji River.

Size: 47665 km² / 18403 mi²
Altitude: 36-1461 m / 118-4793 ft

Pros and Cons
Top wildlife viewing in the dry season
Guided walks and boat safaris available
Lions are easily found at the lake shores
One of the best places in East Africa to encounter wild dogs
Excellent mid-range and luxury lodges and no large-scale accommodations
Hunting concessions make animals skittish and more difficult to watch
The wildlife viewing circuit is relatively small
Animals are scattered during the wet season and most lodges are closed from March to May

Wildlife: The Rufiji River is teeming with hippos and crocodiles and the birdlife is fantastic. Lion sightings are very common as the opportunistic creatures tend to laze around the lakes waiting for animals coming to drink. One of the main attractions of the park is its large population of wild dogs.

Scenery: The part of Selous, north of the Rufiji River, open to the public, is particularly scenic. The main wildlife viewing circuit follows a string of 5 lakes connected to each other and the Rufiji River by small streams. The Rufiji is one of Africa’s great rivers with palm fringed channels and swampy islets.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha offers excellent wildlife viewing and is particularly good for spotting predators, including very large prides of lions and the endangered wild dogs. It also has outstanding wilderness appeal, with only a few exclusive luxury camps available.

Size: 10300 km² / 3980 mi²
Altitude: 720-1886 m / 2362-6188 ft

Pros and Cons
Top wildlife viewing in the dry season
Guided walks available
Superb for spotting predators including big prides of lions
One of the best places in East Africa to encounter wild dogs
✓ Unusual antelope species like greater kudu, roan and sable antelopes
✓ Very exclusive and doesn’t get crowded
Relatively remote and there are no budget options
Animals are scattered during the wet season and most lodges are closed from March to May

Wildlife: All big cats are regularly seen and wild dogs are the star attraction. They are especially easy to find when denning. Several antelope species that are rare or absent in Northern Tanzania, like greater and lesser kudu, roan and sable antelopes, are often encountered.

Scenery: The main feature of the park is the Great Ruaha River, which attracts loads of animals in the dry season. The dominant vegetation is brachystegia woodland and some areas are dotted with the impressive baobab tree.

Seeing the wildebeest (gnu) migration in East Africa is one of the most spectacular wildlife sightings in the world. Almost 2 million animals roam the plains of East Africa, but it can be surprisingly hard to find them in the vast area that they cover, as their movements are governed by the rains and predicting their location can be a gamble. We designed this itinerary to include all the areas frequented by the migration on their annual route – this virtually guarantees that you will see them!

A brief outline of the migration movements –

  • From December to April the migration spreads out over the Southern Plains of the Serengeti. Depending on the rains they move from the Gol Kopjes in the East to the Moru Kopjes in the west. This area is easily accessible from the centrally located Seronera. (We stay in the Kisura Kenzan Tented Camp)
  • Between May and August the migration slowly moves through the western corridor and into the Ikoma and Grumeti Wildlife Management Areas. These areas are outside of the Serengeti, but as there are no fences the wildlife can, and do, move around freely.
  • From September to end of November, during the short rains, the migration crosses into the Masai Mara in Kenya. This is a relatively small park compared to the vast Serengeti and the wildlife tends to be very concentrated. (We stay at the Mara Eden Safari Camp to take advantage of its proximity to the migration and not to mention its own private entrance gate to the park.)

Best time to visit Tanzania
The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the dry-season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception, since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the dry-season as well.

Quick facts
Best time to go:  June to October (All parks), June-July and January-February (Serengeti for the wildebeest migration & calving)
High Season:  July to March (northern circuit parks; they get crowded), July to October (southern and western circuit parks; they don’t really get crowded any time of the year)
Low Season:  April and May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors unlike the southern and western circuit parks, where many lodges close down)
Best Weather:  June to October (Little to no rainfall)
Worst Weather:  March and April (Peak of wet season)

June to October – Dry Season
June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation.
There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain. Skies are clear and most days are sunny.
Even though most tourists visit during the dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
Mornings and nights get cold. It’s recommended to bring warm clothing for morning game drives in open vehicles during the months of June, July and August.

November to May – Wet Season
 Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti. This is an excellent time to see predator action.
 The scenery is green and beautiful. It’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
✓ Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round game viewing.
 Migratory birds are present and birdwatching is at its best.
 Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
March to May is the peak of the wet season.
Most big wildlife has migrated out of Tarangire NP and game viewing in Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is clearly better during the dry season.

Best time to go to Tanzania by major park
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good game viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Selous and Ruaha) are best visited in the dry season, from June to October.

       Enquire Now        

We have a range of Tanzania tours & safaris available which can be customised with more or less nights as well as activities.

Please contact us for a quote for your desired itinerary or for more information on a Tanzania safari option.