Where to Go in Tanzania
Comprising the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Parks, Tanzania's famous northern safari region is where to go for classic game viewing and the wildebeest migration. But the country's long tropical coastline is home to fabulous beaches as well as can't-miss Zanzibar and other tropical islands - and that's before you discover wild savannah and rainforest destinations, located in barely visited central and southern Tanzania.
Read more about East vs Southern Africa Safari experiences.
- The Serengeti is where to go in Tanzania for game viewing at its most dramatic. Host to the wildebeest migration between November and July, the Serengeti's accessibility, sheer size and year-round abundance of wildlife also means that amazing game viewing in a wilderness setting is always on offer.
- Take 30 000 animals - including the Big 5 - and place them inside the crater of an extinct volcano close to the Serengeti. Add wetlands, forest and grasslands, some out-of-this-world cliff-top accommodation and the result is the Ngorongoro Crater, a safari destination that offers excellent game viewing in the most unique of settings.
Note that the nearby town of Karatu is well-positioned for excursions to both the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, there is a wide range of accommodation in Karatu with many activities on offer such as guided walks and horse rides.
- The undisputed safari capital of Tanzania, the ever-busy town of Arusha is on the itinerary of virtually anyone visiting the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara: indeed, logistics often dictates an overnight layover in or around the town. Set in the shadow of the 4556m Mount Meru, Arusha has its own international airport (Kilimanjaro International Airport) but safari-goers will head for the smaller Arusha Airport for charter flights into their final destinations.
If you do have some time in Arusha, there are many opportunities to buy souvenirs and take in cultural activities and visit local places of interest. A visit to nearby Arusha National Park is worthwhile, if only as an introduction to the wildlife that is to come in the region's bigger parks.
- Most visitors to Dar es Salaam are on their way to Zanzibar or the Indian Ocean coast but this thriving city provides easy access to Tanzania's lesser-known reserves such as the Selous as well as the world-famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. High quality accommodation is available if you need to overnight.
- Complete your East African experience with a stay on Tanzania's Spice Island: Zanzibar. Perfect for both families and honeymooners, it's where to go in Tanzania for dhows, minarets and back-street markets on the one hand, and glorious beaches, coral reefs and private Indian Ocean islands on the other.
And Tanzania's other Indian Ocean islands won't disappoint either. Pemba, Mafia and Chole islands are superlative luxury beach holiday destinations with superb diving, exclusive boutique accommodation and all the indulgent pampering you could want for.
- Close to Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire is worth more than the usual day visit: during the June to October dry season, animal concentrations along the Tarangire River are among the highest in the country. Especially good for elephants in the late dry season, Tarangire's bird count of 500 species will keep bird watchers happy while its full range of large predators complete the appeal.
- Part of Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit, modestly sized Lake Manyara shouldn't be compared to the Serengeti or Ngorongoro Crater but it is nevertheless home to a good range of heavyweight species including hippo, giraffe, elephant, leopard and its famous tree-climbing lions. The good mix of habitats means Lake Manyara is an amazing bird watching destination and there's the chance to do canoe safaris and boat trips.
- Whether you're content to stand in its shadow or climb to its icy summit, Mount Kilimanjaro won't fail to move you. At 5896m it's Africa's highest mountain but its glacier-capped peaks are far more accessible than you may think. Climb Kilimanjaro in the July to October or January to March dry seasons - no technical climbing is required but organising and executing a 5-day mountain hike is not easy: a guide, food and porters are needed. Talk to us about a Kili hike and it'll all be arranged before you go.
- With 19 000km³ of clear freshwater hemmed in by the mountains of the Great Rift Valley, Lake Tanganyika is the world's second deepest, and by volume, second largest lake in the world.
It's also one of the planet's most biologically rich habitats, not least due to the lakeside presence of the Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream National Parks. These two remote and hard-to-reach destinations are worth the effort however as both deliver Tanzania's unique safari experiences - tropical forest wildlife and superb chimpanzee trekking.
- Suitable for intrepid safari-goers and those who have already experienced the more familiar destinations in East Africa, Tanzania animal reserves set in the little-visited south and central regions of the country offer many places of interest ranging from savannahs and swamps to rainforests and lakes.
Head for the raw and rugged Katavi or Ruaha National Parks for classic savannah game viewing, or the vast Selous Game Reserve - Africa's biggest and wildest conservation area and home to Africa's greatest numbers of elephant, lion, buffalo and hippo.
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