What to expect on a Tanzania Safari
Many people dream of going on safari in Tanzania, consistently voted the best safari country in Africa. For some, it’s a bucket list adventure, for some it’s a once in a lifetime experience, and to others it’s a passion that needs to be fulfilled. One thing is for sure – you will never forget the first moment you see African animals in the wild! Whatever the reason for traveling, many people don’t quite know what to expect and it can be intimidating to plan. With that in mind, here are a few things you can expect on your Tanzania safari:
Tanzania has a diverse ecosystem that ranges from golden savannas and plains to mountains and forests to waterfalls and walled cities to islands that offer visitors an unequaled paradise. You will be able to drive on unpaved roads while enjoying the gorgeous natural scenery.
One of the most visited natural sites is the Ngorongoro Crater (located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Africa’s “Garden of Eden”. The crater is the biggest intact volcanic caldera in the world and provides a safe haven to 25,000-30,0000 large animals including black rhinoceros, elephants and lions. Water is never scarce and its gorgeous vistas make it a must-visit to be included in any Tanzania safari checklist. Another attraction is the famous Serengeti National Park which is home to the Great Migration, the biggest migration of land mammals in the world. And for anybody who is looking for a physical challenge, how about conquering majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain!
Tanzania has always been popular and is world-famous for its diversity of wildlife and variety of bird species. It is not unusual to find a herd of zebras along with wildebeest in one corner and then a pride of lions and a cackle of hyenas in another. Due to the parks’ vastness, animals can be hard to spot if you don’t know how and where to look but thanks to our professional and knowledgeable driver guides, you will be brought to where the action is. One legendary spectacle is the Great Migration in the Serengeti, where millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles move across the East African plains in an endless cycle in anticipation of rains and better grazing. This happens year-round so whatever month you are looking to visit the Serengeti, you will surely be able to experience this spectacle as long as you have an experienced guide to navigate your Tanzania tour.
LONG DRIVES AND BUMPY ROADS
Since most national parks are huge and nature has its own way of showing up, you might need some time to find the best spots to see animals. You’ll spend most of your day inside the safari vehicle keeping your eyes peeled for some amazing animal sightings. Since there are no paved roads in the national parks, be prepared for a lot of bumping and bouncing around (safari massage at no extra charge)!
Since we only offer private safaris, every day can be planned to your liking. From trees pushed over by elephants, blocking the road, to watching a lion cub frolic and play with its mother, time is not a concept in the wild: we recommend leaving your watch at home! If you would like to follow a herd of elephants for hours, you can do that. If you want to head back to camp early, no problem! Most animals show the greatest activity just before sunrise, so typically your safari will start early in the morning. Animals in Tanzania roam free so if you want to see lions, giraffes, zebras and cheetahs, sometimes it takes a little patience to be rewarded. Another thing to keep in mind is that everything can always change in an instance – you might drive for a long time without seeing much and just when you want to give up something extraordinary happens – we have experienced this many, many times! It is an adventure!
Most people come to Tanzania to see its wildlife, but they fall in love with Tanzania’s people. Our mission is to introduce our guests to the country’s diverse village life and many different people…Maasai and Hadzabe, Datoga, Iraqw people and Zanzibaris, all of whom will greet you as friends. Tanzania has 120 different tribes so getting to know some of them is a must-do on any Tanzania safari!
CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS
Tanzania is near the equator so it only has two seasons: wet and dry. But its weather can be unpredictable at times. Sometimes showers can last as little as 5 minutes, sometimes the rains last for a few hours, and other times it can rain all day (typically only in the rainy season though).
The summer months can become hot, the winter months (dry season) tend to get dusty!
Believe it or not, it can get very cold in certain areas of Tanzania during the dry season (between June-October)! So a light scarf, warm jacket and a beanie for morning game drives are not an over-reaction! The wind-chill factor in an open 4×4 can add to the cold temperatures in the morning. Usually, as soon as the sun comes up the temperature warms up and you can take off the warmer layers of your clothes.
INCONSISTENT PHONE AND WIFI CONNECTION
When it comes to connecting to the internet, almost all camps and lodges have WiFi so you can still go online in the mornings and evenings to check your e-mails or post photos. However, the internet connection can also be intermittent or unreliable so if you require a high bandwidth, don’t expect too much. Besides, why would you want to stare at your screen for too long if you have the beautiful African savannah as backdrop?
VARIABLE FOOD QUALITY
Food quality in the lodges is usually excellent but when you’re out on your safari you are typically provided with a lunchbox for which options can be limited because it has to last several hours. Lunchbox items often include sandwiches, fried foods (chicken), boiled eggs and some fruit. But back at the lodge/camp, breakfast and dinner more than make up for it, as the chefs prepare both local and international cuisine.
Sundowners have become a ritual for Africa safari-goers. The tradition consists of enjoying a beverage, often with alcohol for those of age and juice or soda for kids, while the sun slowly sets on the African horizon and turns the sky red, pink and orange…an unforgettable backdrop to bathing elephants, parading wildebeest, or zebras quietly snuggling…!