Tanzania Travel Guide

Tanzania Travel Guide

Tanzania has three safari circuits, and each one of them, in its own right, would make Tanzania a top wildlife destination. The popular Northern circuit with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater offers one of the best classical safaris in Africa, especially if timed with the annual wildebeest migration.

Best Time to Go : Jun to Oct (Migration from Jun-Jul & Jan-Feb) High Season : July to March (Northern circuit parks get crowded) Size : 947,303km² / 365,756mi

PROS AND CONS

  • Superb wildlife viewing, including the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti
  • Off-the-beaten-track safaris in Nyerere and Ruaha parks
  • Several wildlife viewing circuits for repeat visits
  • Best chimp trekking in Africa in Gombe and Mahale Mountains
  • Beach holiday extensions in Zanzibar
  • Traditional indigenous cultures
  • Relatively expensive safari destination
  • Some popular parks can be crowded

WILDLIFE

You’ll have few problems spotting the more-prominent African animals in Tanzania, including lion, elephant, giraffe and buffalo. For big cats, you’ll want to head to the Serengeti, while Ngorongoro Crater is where you want to be for a chance of

seeing black rhino. Other wildlife highlights include chimpanzee trekking, checking out African wild dogs, and being awestruck by the several

million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra on their annual migration

WILDEBEEST MIGRATION

The wildebeest migration is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacles. At least two million ungulates – mainly wildebeest, but also zebra and gazelle – move around the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. The wildebeest calving season is also a very special time to visit. The large concentrations of wildebeest and their calves attract many opportunistic predators, and this is a good time to see some action.

Wildlife Highlights

The Serengeti is famous for its abundance of big cats and the highly endangered African Wild Dog is relatively easy to find in Nyerere and Ruaha where their numbers are quite healthy. Gombe Stream and Mahale are Africa’s best chimpanzee reserves.

BEST TIME FOR WILDLIFE VIEWING

The Dry season (late June to October) is the best time for wildlife viewing. The Wet season (November-May) is often more beautiful and tourist numbers are lower. The best chance for seeing the wildebeest migration is during June and July. The parks in the Southern and Western circuit are less accessible in the long rains (March to May) and some lodges close in that period.

RECOMMENDED WILDLIFE BOOK

  • A Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Tanzania

Charles Foley

  • Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa

Chris Stuart

  • Pocket Guide to Mammals of East Africa

Chris Stuart

WEATHER

Weather & Climate

The Dry season (June to October) sees the temperature vary between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F. It’s useful to remember, the higher the altitude, the cooler it will be. The Wet season (November to May) kicks off with showers (the ‘short rains’), followed by a drier interlude and then heavy downfalls (the ‘long rains’) from March.

Tanzania has a pleasant, tropical climate but has large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. The hottest and most humid part of the country is the coast. Other low-lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are also hot but less humid. The rest of the interior is much milder and cools down significantly at night. Tanzania has a distinct Dry and Wet season.

Arusha’s climate compared to Tanzania’s parks Tanzania

ARUSHA’S CLIMATE COMPARED TO TANZANIA’S PARKS

Arusha is the town closest to the most popular northern parks and has a comparably mild climate. The peak amount of rainfall in April is considerably less in most parks than in Arusha. The Ngorongoro Crater rim receives quite a lot of rain and is very cold during evenings and mornings due to its high altitude (about 2,300m/7,545ft).

Lower lying parks, such as Manyara, Nyerere, Mikumi, Ruaha, Gombe, Mahale Mountains and Katavi, are slightly warmer than Arusha.

DRY SEASON – June to October

There is very little rainfall during this period and humidity is very low. It cools off at night; be sure to pack warm clothing because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold, especially in the northern parks.

  • June, July, August, September & October – Afternoon temperatures are usually between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F and vary greatly according to altitude and Most days have a fine, clear sky and sunny weather.

WET SEASON – November to May

During most of the Wet season, afternoon temperatures are consistently hot (a bit above or below 30°C/86°F) but it is colder above 1,300m/4,265ft. Mornings are cold in most northern parks due to the high altitude.

  • November & December – ‘Short rains‘ – A period of about a month of short rains which occurs sometime between November and December. Its timing is unpredictable and, in Northern Tanzania, it can even happen in October. The rains will rarely interfere with your
  • January & February – The northern parks and coastal areas tend to have a break in the rainy The other parks don’t really experience a dry spell.
  • March, April & May – ‘Long rains‘ – These are the wettest months. It tends to rain heavily almost every day, although not often for the whole day. Humidity tends to be high, especially in the hotter southern and western

NATIONAL PARKS & GAME RESERVE – TANZANIA

Premier Parks & Reserves

  • Ngorongoro Crater
  • Nyerere National Park
  • Ruaha National Park
  • Serengeti National Park
  • Gombe National Park
  • Katavi National Park
  • Lake Manyara NP
  • Tarangire National Park

BIRDS – TANZANIA

Tanzania is one of Africa’s best birding destinations. It has one of the largest species lists of any African country: over 1,100, of which over 800 species are resident, and nearly 200 are regular migrants. There are 22 species endemic and thus unique to Tanzania, and a further 43 near-endemic, restricted to Tanzania and neighboring countries only. Migrants are present from November to April.

Endemic  Birds

Endemic birds only occur in Tanzania.

  • Ashy starling
  • Banded green sunbird
  • Fischer’s lovebird
  • Grey-breasted spurfowl
  • Iringa akalat
  • Kilombero weaver
  • Loveridge’s sunbird
  • Moreau’s sunbird
  • Mrs Moreau’s warbler
  • Pemba green pigeon
  • Pemba scops owl
  • Pemba sunbird
  • Pemba white-eye
  • Rufous-tailed weaver
  • Rufous-winged sunbird
  • Tanzania seedeater
  • Tanzanian red-billed hornbill
  • Udzungwa forest partridge
  • Uluguru bush-shrike
  • Usambara akalat
  • Usambara eagle owl
  • Usambara weaver

OTHER BIRDING SPECIALS

Treats for Avid Birders

  • Bar-tailed trogon
  • Böhm’s spinetail
  • Broad-tailed paradise whydah
  • Brown-breasted barbet
  • Brown-necked parrot
  • Chestnut-fronted helmet-shrike
  • Golden-breasted starling
  • Green tinkerbird
  • Green-headed oriole
  • Hartlaub’s turaco
  • Lappet-faced vulture
  • Livingstone’s flycatcher
  • Long-tailed fiscal
  • Marsh tchagra
  • Pale-billed hornbill
  • Pallid honeyguide
  • Secretary bird
  • White-headed mousebird

BEST TIME FOR BIRD WATCHING

The birdlife in Tanzania is good year-round, but at its best from November to April when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in breeding plumage. The wettest months are March and April, when parts of the country may experience storms on a daily basis. The Wet season is also the hottest time of the year. This may make it uncomfortably hot on the coast. For wildlife viewing, the dry season,

BEST PARKS FOR BIRDING

Includes Birding Rating

All the well-known safari parks offer good birding opportunities, and specials can be found pretty much everywhere you go. The often-overlooked Arusha National Park has an amazing diversity of habitats that host an incredible list of 400 species in a small area. Lake Manyara offers a good variety of water birds.

Nonlone
Nonlone
2024-02-27
Very Wonderful Safari Trip Lappet Faced Safari left a very good impression on me about Safari. When discussing the itinerary, Francisco responded very promptly and provided a lot of useful suggestions; during the entire trip, there were no extra costs or extra services. During this trip, we are very grateful to our guide Mike, who worked tirelessly to help us find animals and introduced various animal knowledge, making us have a very enjoyable trip; we also booked a ride from Arusha to Kilimanjaro For the airport shuttle bus, thank you to Noel for his superb driving skills; and thank you to Francisco for helping us book a fruit lunchbox in advance so that we did not go hungry. We were very satisfied with this trip.
Scott
Scott
2024-02-25
7-Day Wildebeest Migration Safari We had an amazing 7-day safari visiting Tarangire National Park, the Ndutu region of southern Serengeti, Central Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater. Before arriving in Tanzania I had regular communication with Francisco, the owner of Lappet Faced Safaris. Francisco always responded promptly and answered all of our questions as we planned this custom safari. I was very impressed by his prompt and thorough responses to questions and his willingness to be flexible with our itinerary during the planning stages of this trip. We were met at the airport by our driver/guide, Amani, who accompanied us for the duration of the safari. To say that Amani went above and beyond was an understatement. He was an amazing guide and he did a great job in finding various wildlife and putting us in an excellent position to observe and photograph. He was also very good at answering our questions about the wildlife, the vegetation and the people of Tanzania. I was very impressed and I could tell that he enjoyed his work and that he knew what he was talking about when explaining things about different animals. It really made the trip a more complete experience. I was very pleased with our accommodations throughout our safari, as well as with the food. Everything matched the information that we received from Francisco when we were planning our trip. Lappet Faced Safaris is a small locally-owned safari company and they provide first-class service. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is interested in visiting Tanzania and experiencing a safari. Francisco is flexible in putting together a trip itinerary so do not hesitate to share what your interests are for your safari experience and he will work with you to meet those plans. We wanted to see the wildebeest migration during their calving season, as well as seeing other resident wildlife and what we experienced during our safari was simply amazing.
Kenny C
Kenny C
2024-02-21
Amazing experience The 3-day safari was an unforgettable experience and were extremely delighted we went with Lappet Faced Safaris for the trip. Our guide and chef were both extremely professional and they both went out of their way to make sure we had the best experience possible. We would 100% recommend this safari trip.
Tatiana C
Tatiana C
2024-01-09
Breathtaking, Wild, Unforgettable!!!! MUST DO!!! That was an unbelievably wonderful experience of a lifetime! We had just 6 days in Zanzibar and 2 of them we decided to devote to safari in Tarangire and Ngorongoro national parks. It was one of the wisest decisions because the amount of emotions and feelings you would get from the beauty of the nature and animals you have seen only on discovery channel before would bring you infinite happiness and pure joy :))) Thanks to Lapped Faced Safaris for making it real! The service was exceptional. Francisco ( the owner of the company) was always in contact with us all the time. He answered all our million questions and made sure everything would go smoothly. He took care about everything from the moment we left Zanzibar and came back. Our guide/driver was the best guide we could imagine: attentive, caring, choosing the best angles to observe the animals. Together with him we saw all Big Five (leopard, lions, elephants, zebras and rhinos) and more))) however it’s always a matter of luck whom you would spot ;) Karankari lodge - is a gorgeous hotel I would highly recommend to stay at for 1 night between the safaris. Look forward to coming back for 3-4 days safari! Lapped Faced Safaris - THE BEST!
Sachin K
Sachin K
2023-11-25
Best expeirence Our guide was knowledgeable and very well behaved. The sunset tour has been remarkable. No issue at all Thanks....
Sandra M
Sandra M
2023-11-20
Epic Adventures On my recent trip, Michael and his crew (shoutout to Joshua, Stive, and Frank!) totally made the experience awesome. Their know-how and passion, along with the smooth coordination and personal touch, made every moment unforgettable. Seriously, I highly recommend this travel crew for an epic trip!
Abdul A
Abdul A
2023-11-18
Family-Friendly Adventure Lappet Faced Safari was an amazing experience for our family. The guides whose name Joseph were not only knowledgeable but also fantastic with kids, making it a great experience.
pami k
pami k
2023-11-17
Exemplary Expedition: A Journey Elevated by Expert Guides Embarking on a recent travel expedition, I was fortunate to have Michael as our guide. His expertise and passion for the destinations we explored added immense value to the journey. The seamless coordination and personalized touch from Michael and his team, including Joshua, Stive, and Frank, made every moment unforgettable. Their commitment to excellence was evident in the meticulous planning and insightful commentary. I highly recommend this travel experience, where the guides' dedication and knowledge elevate the trip to extraordinary heights.
Ranvir K
Ranvir K
2023-11-16
Thrilling Night Safari Lappet Faced Safari's night safari was a thrilling addition to our adventure. Armed with spotlights, we delved into the nocturnal world of wildlife. From elusive predators to creatures of the night, the experience was both exhilarating and educational. A unique and captivating way to witness the diversity of the animal kingdom.
Mama B
Mama B
2023-11-15
Sunset Safari Splendor Lappet Faced Safari took the traditional safari experience to new heights with their sunset tour. The colors of the African sky painted a breathtaking backdrop to our wildlife encounters. Watching the sun dip below the horizon while surrounded by nature's wonders was a mesmerizing and unforgettable spectacle.

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