The Circle of Life in Tanzania
The quintessential safari destination, Tanzania is famous for its incomparable year-round game viewing, including the thrilling spectacle of the Great Wildebeest Migration. While it’s true that witnessing the migration is one of the main drawcards for a Tanzania safari, the diversity of landscapes in this incredible corner of Africa is equally rewarding to experience on wildlife tours, from the wide-open savannah plains of the Serengeti and the jewel-green slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater, to the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to the tropical shores of Zanzibar island.
To take in the best of Tanzania, most safari packages will include the Ngorongoro Crater, a 100 square mile enclosed ecosystem and World Heritage Site which supports around 30,000 animals. This ancient caldera, which is considered the best place in East Africa to view the Big 5, is also home to Tarangire, which boasts the largest elephant population in Tanzania. Beyond the showstopper safari destinations in Tanzania, there are hidden gems to be explored: chimpanzee trekking in Mahale Mountains National Park or Rubondo Island and fly camping in the Selous Game Reserve.
Of course, one of the greatest things about a Tanzania safari is that you can end your wildlife tour with an island vacation, soaking up the sun on a palm-fringed beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania’s very own Indian Ocean island.
Best Time to Visit Tanzania:
The best time to visit Tanzania for a safari is typically within the dry season (June through October). It is during this period that the Great Migration reaches the Grumeti River. However, game viewing is generally superb throughout the year, with calving season just after the summer rains between December and February. If you’re interested in a beach trip or diving off the coasts of Zanzibar, then the clearer waters between February and March or between July and August are recommended.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a wildlife sanctuary, an ancient caldera home to an abundance of animals.
The vast Serengeti stretches for thousands of miles in northern Tanzania, the scene of the Great Migration.
From red colobus monkeys to the scents of cinnamon and clove, Zanzibar brings with it a thousand delights.
Top Destinations in Tanzania Safari
“No one can return from the Serengeti unchanged, for tawny lions will forever prowl our memory and great herds throng our imagination.” – George Schaller. Truly, a Serengeti safari is the ultimate wildlife experience in Africa.
A great grass sea that stretches as far as the eye can see; the Serengeti is Tanzania’s flagship national park and is home to the world’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. Although the Serengeti is most famous for the Great Migration, a safari here is rewarding any time of the year. There is plenty of scope for unique experiences on a Serengeti safari. View the Green Season calving between January and April in the southern part of the reserve. Or witness the thrilling Grumeti River crossings in the western Serengeti. One of the prime spots for safari goers has traditionally been the far north. Here, tens of thousands of desperate wildebeest take the plunge into the crocodile-thronged Mara River as their migration moves into Kenya’s Masai Mara for fresh grazing.
A Serengeti safari lets you see Tanzania in its most natural state. This national park, which extends across thousands of miles, is home to abundant herds of zebra, buffalo elephant and giraffe, supporting big cats and other predators. There are quieter, less dramatic scenes too. A delightful safari breakfast under an acacia tree, accompanied only by your Maasai guide, dressed in his traditional red garments. A guided walk through the woodlands looking for Fischer’s lovebird, a rufous-tailed weaver or a lone, stately Kori bustard. A sunrise balloon safari, or even waking at dawn and peeping out of your canvas tent to watch the mist rise in unhurried tendrils over the dew-drenched grass.
It’s difficult to take it all in. The Serengeti is wild, untamed and transient – the definitive African safari experience.
Best Time to Visit the Serengeti:
The Serengeti’s main attraction is the annual Wildebeest Migration. Notwithstanding the drama and thrills of the Great Migration, game viewing in the Serengeti is exceptional all year round. Typically, the Green Season (December through March) sees newborn calving across the Southern plains. The herds move into the Western Serengeti between May and July and assemble at the Grumeti River to cross over into the northern part of the reserve. If you’re wanting to visit during the dramatic Mara River crossings, then August through October is the best time to go.
The Ngorongoro Crater, a three-million-year-old wonder, forms the central part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located west of Arusha. It is also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. A visit to the Ngorongoro Crater is a must on safari in Tanzania. Once described as the world’s largest ‘zoo,’ this incredible, naturally formed caldera is home to an abundance and diversity of wildlife to rival sanctuaries the world over, and is considered the best place in East Africa to see the Big 5 on safari.
Due to the natural bowl-like landscape, animals thrive here. The Ngorongoro Crater is home to black rhino, buffalo, hippo, and lion, with a large variety of gazelle, antelope, and zebra in the mix. Since no large-scale migration occurs here, game viewing is exceptional all year round; although the prevalence of vehicles on the crater floor does increase in the busy season.
The rim of the Ngorongoro Crater is a place of wonder; its breathtaking views rival the best in the world. Flamingoes dance in the waters of Lake Magadi, gazelle frolic through the grasslands, and buffalo congregate around mud pools. Just beyond the Ngorongoro Crater is Olduvai Gorge, an ancient and protected ravine. It’s considered to be the seat of humanity following early hominid discoveries. Don’t leave your camera at home! After all, on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater, you’re on safari in an ancient volcano, and there’s no more unique wildlife experience than in this evergreen haven.
Best Time to Visit Ngorongoro Crater:
Since animals rarely leave the crater due to its natural bowl-like landscape, game viewing here as part of a Tanzania tour is exceptional all year round. The dry season (May to October) sees an influx of safari vehicles onto the crater floor. Expect some view sites to be busy on a Ngorongoro Crater safari. However, the wet season sees animals like eland and buffalo congregate in larger numbers, birds flock and flourish, and the crowds disperse.
What is the best way to end your safari in Tanzania? With a Zanzibar vacation package that will transport you straight to the tropical shores of ‘the Spice Island.’ Combining cobbled streets, ancient stone houses and white-sand beaches, a Zanzibar holiday is truly unique, and a popular option for couples and honeymooners.
Many travelers start their Zanzibar holidays in Stone Town. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the former, center of both the slave trade and the spice trade in the early 19th Century. Today it is a diverse melting pot of cultures: Swahili, Arab, Indian, Persian and European influences come together in a unique experience for locals and visitors alike. Most Zanzibar vacation packages will include a traditional spice tour through Stone Town; the fragrances of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg linger in the air, bringing with them a sense of an earlier partially forgotten era.
From Stone Town, head to the coast for beach delights that include sunbathing, sunset dhow cruises, snorkeling and diving. Indeed, the reefs off Pemba and Mafia island offer some of the most spectacular diving in the world. Coral reefs shine, almost neon in the azure water, while immense whale sharks make their way along the sandy seabed.
There’s much to experience on Zanzibar beach and safari holidays. Jozani Forest is the only national park home to the endangered red colobus monkeys. And a tour of Prison Island will introduce to you the giant Aldabra tortoises – historic in their own right.
Best Time to Visit Zanzibar:
Like any island destination, Zanzibar also has prime times to visit, particularly when it comes to diving visibility. If you plan on donning your scuba gear, the best time to visit is between July and August and in February and March when the water is at its clearest. It is a warm destination all year round, so the traditional dry season (June to October) which is so popular for a safari in East Africa, sees a lovely cool dry climate on the island. It is particularly hot between December and February.
Our Top Trips
Authentic Tarangire, Ngorongoro & Serengeti Lemala Safari
Explore a remarkable region in Africa
Classic Lake Manyara, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Safari
Embark on a classic Safari in Northern Tanzania
Sensational East Africa Safari
Discover the highlights of East Africa
Ultimate East Africa & Spice Island Safari
A luxury safari and paradise island adventure in East Africa
East African Safari & Luxury Zanzibar Honeymoon
Experience the romance of East Africa and the exotic luxury of the Spice Island.
Secluded Tanzania Safari
Experience Africa at her wildest and most authentic
Wilderness of East Africa
Experience Africa at her most Spectacular
Luxury Mnemba Island Holiday
Explore the Spice Island
Boutique Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater Safari with Elewana
Discover Tanzania’s top national conservation areas
Affordable 10-night Kenya & Tanzania Combination Safari
The Best of Both Kenya and Tanzania
Authentic Tarangire, Ngorongoro & Serengeti Lemala Safari
Top Experiences in Tanzania Safari
Rustic luxury at its best: stylish canvas tents, hot bucket showers and dinners stoked over the fire. This is a night time experience at its very best!
Sail away into the setting sun on a traditional Zanzibar dhow cruise, one of the highlights of a trip to this exotic Indian Ocean island.
As your vehicle hits the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, you’ll catch your first glimpse of this ancient caldera: filled with wildlife and offering some of the best game viewing in Tanzania. In you go.
Discover underwater landscapes filled with exceptional coral gardens and tropical reefs; explore an ancient wreck and even swim alongside a manatee!
As one of the most spectacular wildlife wonders on the planet, the annual wildebeest migration enthralls visitors each year. Visit during the calving months to see thousands of newborn babies, or stake a place by the Grumeti River to watch thrilling crossings, while crocodiles lie in wait…