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Why Tanzania is a great safari destination

Date Added: November 25, 2011 03:57:28 PM
With all the safari destinations on offer out there, it can be very daunting for the first-time safari goer to decide where’s the best place to go on safari and what’s the best way to go about it. First off the country needs to be decided on and though Kenya has been a longtime favourite amongst those wanting an authentic safari, Tanzania is fast becoming a popular safari choice because of the quality of the experience that you’ll find there. There are great National Parks, fantastic wildlife, unique camps and seriously good guides but as with everything you need to know what you’re doing to get the very best out of a safari in Tanzania. There are many National Parks in Tanzania which all provide a very different experience and where you go depends on what you want to see and do. There are also a wide selection of safari camps and lodges in Tanzania, so this again depends on what you prefer. It’s really important to find exactly what suits you; if you want to keep away from crowds then the big lodges definitely aren’t for you. Similarly you won’t want to end up in a traffic jam of SUVs staring at the same dusty lion. And at the other end of the spectrum, the small tented mobile camps which move with you when you go place to place offer the luxury of wilderness and the time to move at your own pace depending on what you want to stop and look at. Just how much it’s going to cost is obviously and important factor and there are cheaper ways of going on a safari than some of the tailor made trips but you do have to weigh up the quality of the safari experience. It can be worth going for a shorter length of time but being sure that you’re in the right place with the right guide, so that you get the most enjoyment and satisfaction from your safari.  One of the most important factors is when’s the best time to visit Tanzania. The received wisdom amongst most Tanzania safari specialists will maintain it’s best to go in the dry season, particularly if you’re interested in seeing large quantities of wildlife however there can be outstanding game viewing all the year round, depending on which area you’re visiting. Dry season in western and southern Tanzania falls between June and October so if you want to visit the Selous or Ruaha or the Mahale Mountains on Lake Tanganyika, this is the best time to go. However in the so-called out of season, there’s outstanding game viewing in the Serengeti and its surrounding areas. There can be some fantastic offers for those travelling at this time of year; therefore it’s really worth talking to a safari company who has specialist knowledge.

When choosing the right safari it’s extremely important to get expert advice. The time of year you can travel obviously matters, as does getting to the right area in Tanzania. Tanzania is one of the better countries in Africa to go on a walking safari and Tarangire National Park is no exception. This park is known for its giant elephant herds that are particularly good to visit in the dry season between July and the end of October. The reason the dry season is popular is because of the concentration of game around the rivers and waterways mean that you have a much higher chance of seeing all the wildlife that you want to. It’s very wild here but you’re well away from the crowds and it’s perfectly suited to a mobile tented safari. One very good guide even offers a night in a specially prepared tree nest, so you can watch the families of elephants pass beneath your feet.

The Ngorongoro crater has extraordinary dramatic topography and a huge array of wildlife but you need to choose the time of year to keep away from the crowds, and those SUV traffic jams. The surrounding highlands are much quieter and just as full of game. The dry season here is from the end of July through till October, however all year round is good for elephant and the beginning of the year is great for birdlife.

The Serengeti can be good all the year round and if you’re after watching the wildebeest migration then as long as you’re in the right place, you do get to see this awe-inspiring event. However the river crossings happen between July and October, though November can be good too and you need to station yourself around the Mara or Grumeti River. The calving takes place around February but March, April and May are a really good time to visit and since there aren’t many visitors at this time of year, you can have the place to yourself.

Selous and Ruaha in Southern Tanzania are very different from the north there isn’t quite the same concentration of game but the topography is wonderfully diverse and there are masses of things to do. There’s great walking in the Selous as well as fishing and game drives and it’s often a good idea to spend a few days in each park to make the most of the scenery and game.

Visiting the chimps in the Mahale Mountains, on the shores of the stunning Lake Tanganyika offers a very different safari experience and it can be combined with a camping in Katavi, which is about as wild and isolated as it gets, though you certainly won’t be slumming it in the camps here. It’s a great place to just take your time and really get underneath the skin of Tanzania.

Tanzania safaris are great for all the family, though you do need to check with some of the lodges and camps as some of them don’t allow children under the age of 8 and sometimes 12, and indeed you have to be this age to visit the chimps in Mahale. However the private guided mobile camps are excellent for a family safari, even for the very young.

Going on a safari in Tanzania can be one of the experiences of a lifetime and therefore it’s worth finding one of the good Tanzania safari specialists, to advise where and when is right for you.