Best Places to Visit in Tanzania
From witnessing millions of wildebeest, zebra and other antelope traverse the plains of the Serengeti to ascending to the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro or sipping chilled drink on the white-sand beaches of Zanzibar, Tanzania offers travellers some of the most diverse safari experiences in Africa.
A vibrant and beautiful country with exceptional parks and reserves, Tanzania is blessed with the winning combination of unparalleled game viewing and dazzling tropical beaches. Because Tanzania is so vast (almost 1.5 times the size of Texas), it helps to divide the country’s major holiday destinations into four areas:
- Northern Safari Circuit – the most popular Tanzania safari route comprising the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Kilimanjaro.
- Tanzania Coast and Islands – the country’s beaches, especially those on islands like Zanzibar, are breath-taking and very accessible.
- Southern Tanzania – includes the wonderfully wild and underrated Nyerere (previously Selous) and Ruaha, some of the best-kept Tanzania safari secrets.
- Western Tanzania – head to the far-flung corners of Katavi and Mahale for the ultimate off-the-beaten-path Tanzania safaris.
Ngorongoro Crater: Haven for the Big 5
Take about 30 000 animals and place them inside the crater of an extinct volcano. Add wetlands, forest, grasslands and some out-of-this-world cliff-top accommodation, and the result is the Ngorongoro Crater. This superb Tanzania safari destination offers excellent game viewing in an unbelievably unique setting. It’s renowned for delivering the easiest and most reliable Big 5 sightings in East Africa, and is provides what is arguably the best safari in Tanzania.
Serengeti National Park: A Safari Superstar
Synonymous with safari, the Serengeti is where to go in Tanzania for game viewing at its most dramatic. Hosting the lion’s share of the Wildebeest Migration (from about January to September), the Serengeti’s sheer size, accessibility, top-quality lodges and camps, and year-round abundance of wildlife make it one of the best safari destinations in Africa. It’s also a regular stop on the best Tanzania safari tours.
Tarangire National Park: An Elephant Empire
Close to Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire is worth much more than the usual day visit. During the June to October dry season, animal – especially elephant – concentrations along the Tarangire River are among the highest in the country. The park’s bird count of more than 500 species means that a visit here is one of the most rewarding Tanzania safaris for twitchers, while its full range of large predators complete the appeal. Tarangire is a beautifully diverse wilderness featuring riverine forest, huge swamps and open woodlands that include Africa’s iconic baobab trees.
Lake Manyara National Park: Home to Tree-climbing Lions
Part of Tanzania’s famed Northern Safari Circuit, Lake Manyara offers easy game viewing in a beautiful setting. The park is home to a good range of heavyweight species, including buffalo, hippo, giraffe, elephant, leopard, and its famous tree-climbing lions. Lake Manyara is an exceptional bird-watching destination. You’ll often see flocks of pelicans and flamingos in the middle of the lake, and the floodplains, woodlands and evergreen forests are equally vibrant.
Zanzibar and Tanzania Islands: Indian Ocean Bliss
Crown your East Africa safari experience with a stay on Tanzania’s Spice Island: Zanzibar. Perfect for both families and honeymooners, it’s where to go in Tanzania for glorious beaches and coral reefs, dhow (traditional boat) trips at sunset, and exploring fragrant back-street markets. Tanzania’s other Indian Ocean islands won’t disappoint either. Pemba, Mafia and Chole are superlative beach holiday destinations with superb diving, exclusive boutique accommodation and all the indulgent pampering you could wish for.
Ruaha National Park: A Hidden Gem
Ruaha’s wild and unbridled character is what sets it apart from other safari destinations. This hidden gem is Tanzania’s biggest national park and there are only a handful of safari camps despite its size. You won’t see other tourists around – only a plethora of animals like buffalo, giraffe, kudu, sable, roan, lion, cheetah and leopard. It’s home to Tanzania’s biggest elephant population and a stronghold for rare African wild dogs.
Selous Game Reserve: A Wild Dog Sanctuary
Selous (pronounced ‘suh-loo’) is Africa’s largest game reserve – bigger than Switzerland. Its lifeblood, the colossal Rufiji River, forms an intricate network of channels, swamps and lakes from which one of East Africa’s most magnificent ecosystems is born. Buffalo, hippo, crocodile and lion thrive here, while the reserve is also one of Africa’s most important sanctuaries for endangered wild dog. Don’t miss a boat safari, guided walk or fly-camping excursion is this breathtaking wilderness.