Best Safaris in Tanzania

Best Safaris in Tanzania

With animal antics and diverse ecosystems galore, Tanzania is blessed with a plethora of desirable safari spots. This beautiful nation provides everything you’d want from a safari holiday, whether you’re a seasoned safari-goer or an eager first-timer. And with 22 national parks to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice. Each has distinct draws, ample game viewing and stunning scenery, so where do you go? From well-known names to off-the-beaten-track tips, read on for our list of the best safaris in Tanzania…


1. Ngorongoro Conservation Area Park
2. Serengeti National Park
3. Lake Manyara National Park
4. Tarangire National Park
5. Mahale Mountains National Park
6. Ruaha National Park


Ngorongoro Conservation Area Park

First up on our selection of the best safaris in Tanzania is the UNESCO World Heritage site, Ngorongoro. Known as ‘Africa’s Eden’, this park is home to the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera and one of the most abundant wildlife areas in Africa. Sitting on the country’s Northern Safari Circuit, the park benefits from year-round fertile ground with a landscape of lakes, swamps, grasslands and forests for animals to thrive. With 25,000 large mammals calling Ngorongoro home, game sightings here are nothing short of magical. You might be lucky enough to glimpse one of the country’s last black rhinos and be in with a chance of ticking off the infamous Big Five animals (the lion, buffalo, elephant, black rhino and leopard).



Serengeti National Park

If you’ve not heard of the Serengeti, where have you been? As one of the most famous national parks in Africa, it’s no surprise that you’ll find some of the best safaris in Tanzania here. The second UNESCO World Heritage site on the list, it plays host to the magnificent annual Great Migration, the largest overland migration on earth. Observe the circle of life firsthand as millions of wildebeest (and other herbivores) journey 500 miles north across the park to the Maasai Mara. The dry season (June to October) is considered the best time to visit but head there in January or February to witness wildebeest calving and unbeatable predator-prey interactions. Want to get in on the action without the crowds? Consider a safari in the wet season where lush vegetation colours the landscape.


Lake Manyara National Park

Another unmissable stop on Tanzania’s Northern Circuit is Lake Manyara National Park. Covering a third of the park, the lake is an important life source for many animal populations. This means you’re in with a good chance of spotting a diverse range of wildlife, from elephants and buffalo to zebra and baboons. The park is also renowned for its tree-dwelling lions (a phenomenon which has scientists baffled), so keep your eyes on the branches to catch a glimpse of a snoozing big cat. Stealing the show, however, are the fabulous flamingos, which are drawn to the lake’s alkaline waters. Thanks to our favourite feathered friends, Lake Manyara transforms into a carpet of pink plumage for most of the year. Flamingo fans (and other bird enthusiasts) shouldn’t miss this park.



Tarangire National Park

Sitting on the southernmost part of the Northern Circuit is Tarangire National Park. Despite seeing far fewer visitors than its more prolific neighbours it remains among the best safaris in Tanzania. During the dry season, the meandering Tarangire River becomes one of the only available water sources in the region. Animals from miles around are drawn to its riverbanks in what becomes a marvellous mini migration (and feeding frenzy). Much like in the Serengeti, you’ll be a spectator to Mother Nature here. On safari, drive through spindly fever tree forests and past towering baobab trees, in the hopes of laying your eyes upon rare species like the fringe-eared oryx and the greater kudu. Good news for elephant enthusiasts, too. Tarangire is home to huge concentrations of these gentle giants.


Mahale Mountains National Park

Are you in search of something a little different? While Mahale Mountains National Park might not fit the traditional safari description, it sure scores points for originality. Instead of wide plains of savannah, expect lush, dense forests and sandy beaches (yes, beaches). This park sits on the shores of freshwater Lake Tanganyika (the longest and second deepest in the world) in far west Tanzania. Mahale has a diverse ecosystem where abundant flora and fauna thrive; animals such as lions, elephants, primates and rare bird species are found here. The main draw to Mahale is its resident chimpanzee population. Only accessible by air or water, the remote park is one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in Tanzania. Don’t miss Mahale if you want to track these cheeky chimps in their native habitat.  


Ruaha National Park

The only park in the Southern Circuit on our list of the best safaris in Tanzania, Ruaha National Park is the largest protected area in the country. Boasting the largest number of elephants in the country (sorry, Tarangire) and one of the largest lion populations in Africa, this underrated safari spot is worth shouting about. Its wild, untamed landscape of mountains, acacias and vast savannah makes for an especially authentic safari experience. Exploring the park on foot (supervised and at a safe distance, of course) is more common here; look out for cheetahs, wild dogs and the evasive striped hyena. Home to almost 600 species of birds, Ruaha is also a twitcher’s paradise. With binoculars at the ready, get ready to explore a park you’ll virtually have all to yourself.

Written by Hannah Whitehall