What to do in Tanzania
Home to more than 43,000 elephants, 14,000 lions and 2 million wildebeest, the wildlife in Tanzania is second to none. As a result of expansive national parks, free from fences or boundaries, a safari is the first activity that comes to mind when you think of what to do in Tanzania. Thousands of visitors travel to Tanzania each year for a safari which, for many, is imagined to be done in a 4×4 safari jeep, guided by a professional guide.
This is certainly the most popular way to enjoy a safari and all of the national parks you can visit will offer game drives. A typical day on safari will include an early morning and late afternoon game drives – timings which take advantage of the animal’s most active parts of the day.
Most Tanzanian safaris revolve around classic game drives, typically conducted in 4×4 safari vehicles. These drives are excellent for wildlife viewing, covering substantial ground in a short time. The schedule usually includes early morning game drives when animals are most active, focusing on big cats. As the day gets hotter, wildlife gathers around watering holes or rests in the shade. Late afternoon drives are also popular. In some parks, such as the Serengeti, full-day drives with picnic lunches are possible, ideal for witnessing river crossings. Private conservancies offer night drives, providing unique experiences. Our safaris include private game drives, like our Classic Tanzania Safari & Beach example itinerary.
All of our safaris include private game drives including our Classic Tanzania Safari & Beach example itinerary
Tanzania is home to around 20 primate species, including red colobus monkeys in Jozani Forest, olive baboons in the north, and approximately 2,500 chimpanzees. These chimpanzees are found in Gombe National Park and Mahale National Park in the west. Mahale National Park is a pristine gem with stunning landscapes—lush forests against Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest freshwater lake. Due to the dense forests, access is limited to light aircraft or boats. Activities include kayaking, forest hikes, and chimpanzee trekking, guided by specialists, allowing you an unforgettable hour with these fascinating primates. Greystoke Mahale, a luxury camp, enhances the experience.
Witness the Great Migration
One of the most magnificent spectacles in Tanzania, and all of Africa, is the Great Migration—a journey of about 1.5 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra covering 300 miles around the Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara each year. Their goal is to find fresh pasture and rains. The migration varies slightly each year, but the general journey can be predicted. From January to March, the herds are in the southern Serengeti, calving. During April to June, they move to the western plains of the Serengeti and then to the northern plains in July. The July to September period is iconic as the herds cross the perilous Mara River, with lurking crocodiles.
Experience this spectacular event on our example itinerary – Tanzania Migration Safari
Boat safaris offer a more leisurely game viewing experience in select Tanzanian destinations, with the Selous Game Reserve being the prime spot. Cruising along rivers, lakes, and waterways allows for bird watching and observing smaller wildlife. You’ll also encounter larger animals, like hippos, crocs, antelope, giraffes, zebras, and possibly even predators like leopards and lions. Watching elephants swim or cross waterways is particularly beautiful and humbling.
Explore southern Tanzania on our Off The Beaten Track example safari itinerary
Climbing Mount Kilimajaro
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at 5,895 meters, can be admired from afar on safari or climbed by the physically fit and well-prepared. For climbers, a few days to acclimatize in northern Tanzania before attempting the ascent is recommended. There are six routes, each with varying landscapes and difficulties, the Marangu Route being the only one with hut accommodation. The Machame Route, spanning seven days, is favored for its higher success rate. Our specialists can help plan the best route and itinerary for aspiring Kilimanjaro conquerors.
Visiting the Maasai
Many visitors to Tanzania seek to immerse themselves in the rich culture and traditions of the Maasai people, an ethnic group in East Africa. Renowned for their vibrant attire, beaded adornments, and high-jumping feats, the Maasai live in tight-knit communities in traditional mud and dung huts called bomas, shared with extended family and sometimes livestock. While some Maasai villages near the Ngorongoro Crater are on commercial safari routes, we can arrange visits to more authentic Maasai communities, schools, and villages as part of your itinerary.
Norman Carr, a pioneer of walking safaris, famously declared that “you do not know a place until you have walked it.” Walking safaris, also known as bush walks, offer a thrilling experience in Tanzania. Led by professional guides and armed rangers, these safaris typically accommodate up to six guests. Unlike vehicle-based safaris, walking safaris provide a more vulnerable and immersive encounter with the wilderness. Safety is a priority, with guides explaining essential rules and practices. In Tanzania, you can enjoy walking safaris in the Selous Game Reserve, often conducted in the early morning for cooler temperatures. For a more authentic and extended experience, Kichaka Expeditions in Ruaha offers 3, 5, and 7-night walking safaris. Bush walks are also available in select areas of northern parks like Tarangire National Park, the crater rim, and northern Serengeti.
Diving and Snorkeling
Tanzania’s coastline along the Indian Ocean offers pristine white sands and warm waters. The coral reefs teem with a diverse marine ecosystem, including fish, rays, sea anemones, and turtles. For exceptional snorkeling and diving, head to Mafia Island, located south of Zanzibar. The marine park established in 1996 has nurtured vibrant coral life and abundant fish species. Kinasi Wall and Milimani Reef in Chole Bay are popular dive sites, and you can spot whale sharks migrating past the island from late October to December. Due to limited accommodation options, early booking is advisable. Pemba Island also offers fantastic underwater activities, and the Manta Resort features an extraordinary underwater room for a unique experience.
Fly camping in the African safari industry entails sleeping under the stars with minimal facilities. Despite its rustic essence, fly camping offers unexpected luxury. Professional guides, chefs, and staff set up your tent and prepare gourmet meals. You’ll experience top-notch service amid the wilderness. Fly camping typically lasts for a night, letting you listen to distant hyenas and lions’ calls and wake up to elephant tracks outside your tent. You can enjoy fly camping in southern Tanzania’s Selous and Ruaha, as well as in certain private conservancies in northern Tanzania.
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