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Kenya vs. Tanzania: No Wrong Choice

Kenya vs. Tanzania: No Wrong Choice

As both Kenya and Tanzania are brimming with wild and wondrous creatures, sun-drenched beaches and richly diverse cultures, it can be difficult to pick between the two, so we’re here to do our very best to help you decide. Tanzania may be one and a half times bigger than Kenya, but both have plenty to offer; on a Kenyan safari you may be lucky enough to see the last northern white rhinos or in Tanzania you could head up Mount Kilimanjaro for the trek of a lifetime. There is so much more to these countries than just standard safaris, making the battle of Kenya vs. Tanzania a close one, but as you’ll see, there really is no wrong choice...

 

Wildebeest jumping into river in the Great Migration, Tanzania

 

Landscapes

Golden grasslands and vast sun-kissed savannahs dominate both Kenya and Tanzania’s landscapes. While these endless plains are the main attraction for many visitors, there is so much more to these countries. Both are dotted with cloud-topped dormant volcanoes and mountains covered in blankets of emerald vegetation, making their landscapes much more varied than most realise. While driving through the bush in a grumbling safari truck in Kenya, you will be greeted by the silhouette of a journey of giraffes with Mount Kenya and the setting sun as their backdrop. Tanzania, on the other hand, is host to the world-famous dormant volcano – Mount Kilimanjaro. This impressive feat of nature has become a test of human strength and endurance, and certainly stands out as a highlight of Tanzania’s landscape. From here, venture to the coast for a contrasting perspective of Kenya and Tanzania. Dipping your toes or plunging straight into the Indian Ocean is one of the greatest non-safari related pleasures that these countries have to offer. Explore Lamu in Kenya or Tanzania’s archipelago of Zanzibar for a piece of paradise. With expansive, serene sandy beaches that are lapped by the sapphire sea, you might just find yourself falling in love with this corner of East Africa.

So who comes out on top in the first round of Kenya vs. Tanzania? With similar landscapes and natural attractions, it is too close to call. This round is a tie. One all.

Elephants in front of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

 

Culture

Although the plethora of wild creatures found in these countries is the main reason tourists flock from far and wide, Kenya and Tanzania are home to some wonderful cultures and gastronomic scenes. There is a strong British influence left over from colonial rule in both Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Middle Eastern and Indian influences along the East coast after years of maritime trade. Ugali (a cornmeal paste-like dough) and nyama choma (grilled meat) are staple foods in both countries, as well as mandazi (fried bread) and fresh seafood along the coast. As well as food, the Kenyan and Tanzanian people will have a large impact on any trip. Spend an afternoon with the Masai Mara tribe and learn about their traditions and cuisine, followed by a lesson on how to do their famous jumping adumu (traditional dance). Both countries are known for their gracious, friendly and respectful populations, making both destinations charming to visit.

One thing that might affect your destination decision is the cost of exploring. Kenya’s accommodation (on the whole) is cheaper than Tanzania and there are more accommodation options available, including tree houses, fly camps and luxury lodges. National park and conservancy fees are less expensive, making Kenya more accessible on the whole.

With similar cuisine and a shared Swahili culture, this one was close, but the lower costs of Kenya’s parks and accommodation means that Kenya takes its first victory. Two to Kenya, one to Tanzania.

Fabric drying on the Kenyan coast

 

Wildlife

With films such as The Lion King and Out of Africa fuelling the appetites of wannabe safari guides around the world, Kenya and Tanzania are the ultimate destinations to get your wildlife fix. Both are home to the African Big Five, so this is a tough contest. The Serengeti in Tanzania is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is teeming with wildlife, including 4,000 lions and 550 cheetahs as well as hundreds of species of birds. This national park is raw and wild. It is filled with umbrella-like acacia trees acting as a sunshade for baby hyenas or as a look out for a sentinel leopard. Keep your eyes peeled for Tanzania’s national bird, the endangered grey crowned crane with its impressive fascinator-like hairdo, as well as giraffes, the country’s national animal whose heads bobs above most trees and bushes. The Masai Mara in Kenya is the Serengeti’s main competitor. Its gently rolling plains found in the west of the country are a unique haven for a whole range of wildlife. Flashes of blue will catch your eye as a lilac breasted roller, Kenya’s national bird, flits above your 4x4. Your senses will continue to be amazed through the night, as you hear the distant grunt of Simba or a hippo honking at the river’s edge. Kenya is also renowned for its conservation efforts, with over 160 conservancies. In Ol Pejeta Conservancy, the meticulous safeguarding of Najin and Fatu, the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos, is one of Kenya’s most spectacular conservation projects. Pay your respects at the rhino cemetery on a guided walking tour, before visiting the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary where orphaned and abused chimps now take refuge.

Due to its vast size, Tanzania has a greater quantity of wildlife, however Kenya is rich with conservation projects. The saying ‘quality over quantity’ leads Kenya to a win in this round. Three to Kenya, one to Tanzania.

Leopard sleeping in a tree, Kenya

 

Unmissable Experiences

Both Kenya and Tanzania are famed for hosting the natural phenomenon of the Great Migration. Kenya is a spectacular place to watch the river crossing, as wildebeest battle the raging waters of the Mara River while trying to avoid the powerful jaws of lurking crocs. Tanzania on the other hand, due to its vast size, has endless options of when and where to watch the migration. Relax in your 4x4 as wildebeest, young and old, travel through the Serengeti in the lemony haze of the morning sun.

Nairobi is jam-packed with unmissable experiences. Head to the Giraffe Centre to get an up-close and personal understanding of the endangered Rothschild Giraffe, before heading up to the viewing platform for a smooch with one of nature’s most gentle giants. After this, head to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where you can watch as orphaned baby elephants trundle through the thick undergrowth in time for their dinner. Being able to interact so closely with these amazing creatures is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one that can’t be missed.

There is no way to decide who wins this category as you can’t compare these experiences, so this one is a tie. Four points to Kenya, two to Tanzania.

Kenya vs. Tanzania was a close contest, and we probably haven’t made it much easier for you to choose where to have your next adventure. We will leave it up to you to decide…

Elephant being fed at the Sheldrick Trust, Kenya