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Top 10 Tanzania Safari Tours for a Wild Adventure

Top 10 Tanzania Safari Tours for a Wild Adventure

Tanzania Safari

June 3, 2024

Tanzania, a land of breathtaking landscapes and rich biodiversity, stands out as a premier safari destination in East Africa. Home to some of the world’s most iconic national parks and game reserves, Tanzania offers a wild adventure for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Whether it’s witnessing the majestic Great Migration in the Serengeti or exploring the awe-inspiring Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania promises an unforgettable safari experience. This guide will delve into the top 10 Tanzania safari tours that provide an unparalleled glimpse into the heart of the African wilderness.

Geographical Information

Tanzania is located in East Africa, bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south, and the Indian Ocean to the east. The country’s diverse landscapes range from the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the expansive plains of the Serengeti and the lush wetlands of the Selous Game Reserve. Tanzania’s climate varies significantly, with the best times to visit being the dry seasons from June to October and January to March, when wildlife is most easily spotted.

Cultural Insights

Tanzania’s rich cultural tapestry is woven from the traditions of over 120 ethnic groups. Visitors are welcomed with warm hospitality and can experience local customs through village tours, traditional music, and dance performances. Tanzanian cuisine, influenced by Swahili, Arab, Indian, and colonial flavors, features dishes like nyama choma (grilled meat), ugali (maize porridge), and pilau (spiced rice). It’s important for travelers to respect local customs, such as dressing modestly and asking permission before taking photographs of people.

Must-Visit Attractions

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is perhaps Tanzania’s most famous park, known for the annual Great Migration where millions of wildebeest and zebras traverse the plains in search of fresh grazing. This natural spectacle is accompanied by dramatic river crossings and predator-prey interactions, making it a top safari destination.

Ngorongoro Crater

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ngorongoro Crater is a massive volcanic caldera teeming with wildlife. It’s one of the best places in Africa to see the Big Five—lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard—in a single day.

Tarangire National Park

Known for its large elephant herds and baobab trees, Tarangire offers excellent wildlife viewing with fewer crowds than the Serengeti or Ngorongoro. It’s also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 500 species recorded.

Lake Manyara National Park

This park is famous for its tree-climbing lions and large flocks of flamingos. The diverse landscape includes a soda lake, dense forests, and open grasslands, offering varied wildlife viewing opportunities.

Selous Game Reserve

As one of the largest faunal reserves in the world, Selous is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles, and endangered African wild dogs. The reserve offers unique safari experiences like boat safaris along the Rufiji River.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha is Tanzania’s largest national park, known for its rugged landscapes and high density of predators, particularly lions. It’s an excellent choice for those seeking a more remote and off-the-beaten-path safari experience.

Gombe Stream National Park

Famous for its chimpanzee population, Gombe offers an intimate experience of primate behavior and social structures. The park was made famous by the pioneering research of Dr. Jane Goodall.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Mahale is another top destination for chimpanzee trekking. The park’s remote location and stunning scenery make it a hidden gem for adventurous travelers.

Kilimanjaro National Park

Home to Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, this park offers a unique combination of trekking and wildlife viewing. Climbers can explore diverse ecosystems as they ascend from rainforest to alpine desert.

Top 10 Safari Tours

1. Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari

Overview: The Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari is one of the most sought-after experiences in Tanzania. This tour offers a front-row seat to the dramatic journey of over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles as they migrate across the Serengeti in search of greener pastures.

Best Times to Witness: The migration can be seen at different times of the year, with specific highlights including the calving season in the southern Serengeti from January to March, the dramatic Grumeti River crossings from May to July, and the Mara River crossings in the northern Serengeti from July to September.

Tour Highlights:

  • Game Drives: Multiple game drives to witness various stages of the migration.
  • Hot Air Balloon Safaris: Aerial views of the migrating herds.
  • Luxury Camps: Stay in mobile camps that move with the migration.

2. Ngorongoro Crater Safari

Description: The Ngorongoro Crater Safari offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera. Known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” the crater’s lush grasslands and abundant water supply support a high density of wildlife.

Unique Wildlife Experiences: The crater floor is home to around 25,000 large animals, including the rare black rhino, making it one of the best places to see this endangered species.

Tour Features:

  • Guided Game Drives: Explore the crater with expert guides.
  • Luxury Lodges: Stay in lodges with spectacular views of the crater.
  • Cultural Tours: Visit local Maasai villages to learn about their way of life.

3. Tarangire National Park Safari

Introduction: Tarangire National Park is famous for its large elephant population and baobab-dotted landscapes. This park offers a quieter safari experience with excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Wildlife and Birdwatching: Besides elephants, the park is home to lions, leopards, cheetahs, and over 500 bird species.

Tour Itinerary:

  • Game Drives: Explore the park’s diverse habitats.
  • Walking Safaris: Experience the bush up close.
  • Birdwatching Tours: Specialized tours for bird enthusiasts.

4. Lake Manyara Safari

Overview: Lake Manyara National Park is known for its diverse ecosystems and rich wildlife, including the unique tree-climbing lions.

Famous Wildlife: The park is home to elephants, hippos, giraffes, and large flocks of flamingos that turn the lake pink.


  • Game Drives: Explore the varied landscapes from groundwater forests to open plains.
  • Canoeing: Paddle on Lake Manyara when water levels are high.
  • Cultural Visits: Interact with local communities.

5. Selous Game Reserve Safari

Introduction: The Selous Game Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its vast wilderness and diverse wildlife.

Diverse Wildlife: The reserve is home to a wide range of animals, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and African wild dogs.

Tour Details:

  • Boat Safaris: Cruise along the Rufiji River.
  • Walking Safaris: Explore the bush on foot.
  • Luxury Camps: Stay in remote camps with all the amenities.

6. Ruaha National Park Safari

Overview: Ruaha National Park offers a rugged and remote safari experience with fewer tourists and abundant wildlife.

Unique Wildlife Viewing: The park is known for its large lion prides and significant populations of elephants and buffalo.

Tour Itinerary:

  • Game Drives: Explore the park’s diverse habitats.
  • Birdwatching: Ruaha is home to over 570 bird species.
  • Walking Safaris: Experience the wilderness on foot.

7. Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Safari

Introduction: Gombe Stream National Park, made famous by Dr. Jane Goodall’s research, offers intimate chimpanzee tracking experiences.

Chimpanzee Tracking: Observe chimpanzees in their natural habitat and learn about their behavior and social structures.

Tour Features:

  • Guided Walks: Trek through the forest with expert guides.
  • Boat Trips: Explore Lake Tanganyika.
  • Research Centre Visits: Learn about ongoing chimpanzee research.

8. Mahale Mountains Chimpanzee Safari

Overview: Mahale Mountains National Park is a remote and stunningly beautiful park known for its chimpanzee population and scenic landscapes.

Chimpanzee Trekking: Track chimpanzees in the lush forested slopes of the Mahale Mountains.

Tour Details:

  • Guided Treks: Led by experienced trackers.
  • Lake Tanganyika: Enjoy activities like kayaking and snorkeling.
  • Luxury Lodges: Stay in exclusive lodges with lake views.

9. Kilimanjaro Trek and Safari

Combining a Trek and Safari: This tour combines the adventure of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with a classic safari experience.

Best Routes for Trekking: Popular routes include the Marangu, Machame, and Lemosho routes.

Safari Extensions:

  • Serengeti: Add a safari in the Serengeti after your trek.
  • Ngorongoro Crater: Explore the crater’s abundant wildlife.
  • Tarangire: Enjoy a more secluded safari experience.

10. Luxury Safari Tours

Overview: For those seeking the ultimate in comfort and exclusivity, luxury safari tours in Tanzania offer the finest accommodations and personalized services.

Top Luxury Lodges and Camps: Stay in premier lodges like Singita Grumeti, Four Seasons Serengeti, and &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.

Unique Features:

  • Private Game Drives: Personalized safaris with expert guides.
  • Gourmet Dining: World-class cuisine in stunning settings.
  • Wellness Treatments: Spa services and wellness programs.

Activities and Experiences

Game Drives: The quintessential safari activity, game drives offer the chance to see a variety of wildlife in their natural habitats.

Walking Safaris: Experience the bush on foot with a guided walking safari, allowing for closer encounters with nature.

Balloon Safaris: Float above the Serengeti or Tarangire in a hot air balloon for a unique perspective of the landscape and wildlife.

Boat Safaris: Explore waterways in parks like Selous and Lake Manyara, where you can see hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of birdlife.

Cultural Tours and Village Visits: Engage with local communities and learn about their cultures, traditions, and daily lives.

Birdwatching: With over 1,100 bird species, Tanzania is a birdwatcher’s paradise, offering numerous opportunities for birdwatching tours.

Travel Tips

Packing Essentials: Include lightweight, neutral-colored clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, binoculars, and a good camera.

Health and Safety Precautions: Ensure you have all necessary vaccinations, take antimalarial medication, and carry a basic first aid kit. Always follow the guidance of your safari guides.

Travel Insurance Tips: Invest in comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost luggage.

Safety and Health Precautions

Vaccinations and Health Advice: Recommended vaccinations include yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and rabies. Consult with your healthcare provider before traveling.

Safety Tips for Wildlife Encounters: Always keep a safe distance from animals, follow your guide’s instructions, and never leave your vehicle during game drives unless instructed.

Emergency Procedures and Contacts: Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures and keep a list of important contacts, including your safari operator and local emergency services.

Budget Planning

Average Costs of Tanzania Safari Tours: Safari costs can vary widely, with budget safaris starting around $200 per day and luxury safaris exceeding $1,000 per day.

Tips for Budget-Friendly Safaris: Travel during the low season, join group tours, and opt for mid-range lodges and camps to save money without sacrificing the experience.

Value-for-Money Experiences: Consider combining less expensive parks with a few days in the more popular (and expensive) parks to balance your budget.

Local Cuisine

Traditional Tanzanian Dishes to Try: Sample local dishes such as nyama choma (grilled meat), ugali (maize porridge), pilau (spiced rice), and samaki wa kupaka (fish in coconut sauce).

Dining Experiences on Safari: Enjoy bush dinners, picnic lunches, and sundowner cocktails as part of your safari experience.

Popular Food Markets and Restaurants: Visit markets in Arusha and Dar es Salaam for a taste of local street food, or dine at renowned restaurants like The Ridge in Arusha or Akemi in Dar es Salaam.


Tanzania’s diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and unique cultural experiences make it a top destination for safari enthusiasts. From the iconic Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater to the remote and rugged Ruaha and Selous, Tanzania offers a safari experience for every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly adventure or a luxurious escape, these top 10 safari tours provide unforgettable journeys into the heart of the African wilderness.

Best Tanzania Safari Tours

Whether you’re traveling alone, with a partner, or in a group, we can customize the duration, accommodation, and activities to suit your preferences. From luxury lodges to budget camping, there’s an option for everyone. You can also add unique experiences like cultural visits or hot air balloon rides to make your safari unforgettable.

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Tanzania offers some of the most iconic and diverse safari experiences in Africa