Tanzania Safari – a Guide

11th October 2011

Tanzania is one of Africa’s prime game viewing areas. Home to a number of stunning wildlife areas, Tanzania is most famous for the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, the tropical island of Zanzibar and the snow capped summit of Kilimanjaro. There is a lot to be said for the fact that the country is actually home to four of Africa’s top five attractions!

Just focussing on the main parks however would be doing the country an injustice. Many people (ourselves included) believe that the most appealing attractions are its quieter areas – the Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, the Mahale Mountains and the islands surrounding Zanzibar. What is certain is that Tanzania is one of Africa’s most diverse countries with a range of safari parks and other attractions to keep a wide range of visitors coming back time and time again. There is certainly no doubt that this is one of Africa’s finest countries to visit.

Tanzania is one of Africa’s largest countries with a vast network of National Parks and Game Reserves – Approximately 20% of the country has been protected. These areas are home to huge concentrations of Africa’s big game with Tanzania being one of the few places left in Africa to guarantee easy viewing of the famous Big Five and the country which can rightly lay its claim to being the real home of the Great Wildebeest Migration.

What really sets Tanzania apart from its competition is the diversity of safari and wilderness areas on offer as well as the close proximity to some of the worlds best beaches. Tanzania offers standard game drive safari as well as night safari, walking safari, boating safari, climbing and some of the continents finest cultural attractions with the famous Maasai and Hadza tribes.  The countries close proximity to Zanzibar and the other islands off the Tanzanian mainland make it logistically very easy to combine a top quality safari with a relaxing beach break. It is certainly the finest safari and beach destination in Africa.

Tanzania has also taken an approach similar to Botswana’s tourism model with an emphasis on quality safari rather than pure volume. The result is that the majority of National Parks and Game reserves have few lodges and very few (if any) actual hotels. This increases the game viewing experience because parks are quieter and ultimately less spoiled by the volume of tourists that other countries attract to their smaller number of wildlife areas.

What sets Tanzania aside from Botswana however is its pricing. Where you pay a serious amount of money in Botswana for accommodation, due to its exclusive nature, Tanzania’s pricing (obviously with a few exceptions) is actually very reasonable. Good safari lodges start at an absolute minimum of $370 per person per night but some of the very best lodges in the country do not rise over the $800pppn mark. In Botswana most of the lodges start at $1,000 per person per night rising as high as $2,000 per person per night.  Tanzania really does offer a high quality safari at a good price.

The range of safari accommodation across the country is also impressive. There are the larger hotels of the famous Northern circuit which superbly accommodate families with younger children as well as clients wanting the security of a larger permanent structure. There are then the no frills, safari focussed tented camps, specifically  the Serengeti’s famous mobile camps, which cater for the adventurous traveller who is looking for an all out wilderness experience. There are then the luxury tented camps which offer a sense of adventure whilst not letting clients lose out on anything they could ever wish for….and finally there are the super luxury lodges where accommodations is simply taken to another level.  This huge range of accommodation means that in the vast majority of wildlife areas there are a range of accommodations to choose from, which can accommodate for travellers of all desires but also importantly, all budgets.

However, given this vast array of choice it is even more important to talk to a tour operator who can make sense of it all !