How to Go on Safari in Tanzania

Safari car is waiting for crossing Elephants

Getty Images / Guenterguni

Tanzania is home to beautiful sweeping ocean views, delectable food, and stunning resorts for all kinds of travelers. Many visit the enchanting destination to go on safari and witness wildlife species from elephants to birds in their natural habitat. There are many safari destinations to choose from, from the renowned Serengeti National Park to places off the beaten path like Tarangire National Park. Whether you are visiting to view the great migration or other magnificent sightings while on safari, this guide will assist with learning what to pack, when to visit, and how to stay safe while on safari in Tanzania.

The Best Time for a Safari in Tanzania

The best time to visit Tanzania is between late June to October, when there is little to no rain. With little rain on the home front, the dry period is an incredible time to visit Tanzania as most animals are required to flock to the watering holes, making it a prime time to spot animals. The weather is also colder and less humid during this time, making it ideal for enjoying long periods out in the bush on a safari, taking in views of the animals.

Nonetheless, it really does depend on which activities or even animals you are interested in seeing during your safari drive. If you are interested in visiting during the great migration in Tanzania, December through March is best for optimal viewing of herds in northern Tanzania and newborn babies. However, in June, zebras and wildebeest start moving north and are mating season, so that’s a high time to visit.

Safari Car and Rhinos
Craig Lovell / Getty Images

What to Wear on Safari in Tanzania

There are a host of things that should be on your list while packing for an African safari in Tanzania. The most notable of course include items for a first aid kit, different clothing items to layer depending on the time of year of your visit, and electronic devices to capture all of your exciting moments while on safari.

Toiletries and First Aid 

Most safari vehicles will be well-equipped with at least a basic first aid kit. However, it is always a good idea to be over-prepared than under. Some items that should be included in your own personal kit should include:

  • Mosquito repellant which includes DEET
  • Malaria pills
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen (minimum SPF 30+)
  • After-sun cream
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Band-Aids
  • Painkillers (for ex. Aspirin)
  • Antiseptic cream

Clothing

 Most people automatically think of dressing for comfort and the outdoors while on safari. Typical clothing items can include khakis, a lightweight jacket or fleece sweater to keep warm in the evenings, and comfortable trekking shoes. It’s also a good idea to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself from mosquitos and a possible case of malaria. Camouflage is also a good option while out in the bush to blend in with nature. Below are additional items that you may want to add to your list:

  • Raincoat or jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Long shorts
  • Several pairs of socks
  • Hiking boots
  • Money belt
  • Warm skull cap
  • Swimsuit
  • Wet swimsuit bag
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Cotton t-shirts
  • Lightweight cotton pants
  • Fleece/lightweight sweater
  • Flip flops/sandals (for the camp grounds)
  • Warm pajamas
  • Money belt
  • Several pairs of cotton underwear
  • Detergent (for hand washing any items)
  • Plastic or zip lock bags for dirty laundry items
  • Shewee for the ladies (comes in handy for long game drives)

Technology

 An epic safari experience in Tanzania should be well-documented, so don’t forget the following electronic devices to capture everything you may see while on safari, from elephants to lions, and hippos:

  • Camera or smartphone
  • Binoculars
  • Tripod
  • Memory cards
  • Portable chargers
  • Adaptor
  • Flashlight (to get around the grounds or tent in the evenings)
  • Tablet or e-reader 

Safety in Tanzania

 Overall, Tanzania is a safe country to visit. It is even more so safe if you book an organized safari through a tour company, where a knowledgeable driver and guide are there to assist you every step of the way. Theft and pickpocketing are common in bigger cities, of course, but with a bit of know-how and wits, most visitors will be fine. While viewing animals on the drives, your guides’ main duty is to keep you safe at all times. General tips for good measure are never getting too close to animals and keeping your arms inside of the vehicle or 4X4 at all times.

It is recommended to be up to do date on your vaccinations before traveling to Tanzania. Additionally, the risk of malaria is high throughout the country except at higher altitude mountains over 2,000 meters, including the Ngorongoro Crater rim, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and parts of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Many safari parks are high-risk zones, so take the necessary precautions to avoid malaria transmission while on safari, which includes making an appointment with your doctor or nearest travel clinic to discuss the need for anti-malaria medication.

Giraffes,Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Johnny Johnson / Getty Images

Wildlife

 Depending on which national park you decide to visit in Tanzania, expect to see a wide range of wildlife while exploring either wetlands, grasslands, or lush forest terrain. Most notably, many parks in Tanzania will allow you to glimpse the Big Five, including leopard, lion, buffalo, elephants, and rhino. Tarangire National Park, in particular, is known for three regional species of animals: the fringe-eared oryx, the gerenuk, and the mongoose. Additional animals often spotted there include zebra and wild buffalo.

While visiting Lake Manyara National Park, one can spot hundreds of baboons, pink flamingos, and the famed tree-climbing lions of the park. Most are pretty familiar with the Serengeti National Park, which is home to loads of different wildlife species includes millions of wildebeests, thousands of zebras, and Africa’s largest population of lions. We would be remiss not to mention the opportunity to spot cheetahs and hyenas in their natural environment.

Best Safari Destinations in Tanzania

Tanzania is home to a wide range of amazing safari destinations around the country. From the East to the West, the choices are abounding. Below are our top choices for safaris in Tanzania:

  • Serengeti National Park: Often coined “The Serengeti,” this is the oldest game reserve in Tanzania. It is located in the north and where many tourists visit to enjoy the annual Great Migration. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Tarangire National Park: Further to the south of the country is Tarangire National Park, which is not as popular as other parks but well worth a visit due to its massive concentration of wildlife per square kilometer compared to other parks in Tanzania.
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area: Celebrated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the most famous safari destinations in Tanzania. It is home to a host of wildlife, including the Big Five, wildebeest, and approximately 500 bird species.
  • Lake Manyara National Park: This national park features diverse habitats, from the Rift Valley lake to commanding mountains and woodlands. Herds of buffalo, giraffes, cheetahs, and more roam the massive park.
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