Tanzania is most well-known for the vast, magnificent Serengeti. Being one of the best wildlife parks in the world, it has an incredible variety and abundance of animals, including elephants, lions, giraffe, hippo, leopard, cheetah, rhino, monkeys, buffalo, hyena, jackal, hundreds of bird species, and more. It is also home to the Great Migration, the annual mass migration of millions of wildebeest and Zebra. In pursuit of nutritious grasses, they circle from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara, and back again, making dangerous river crossings along the way.
Other wildlife parks include the Ngorongoro Crater, an ancient caldera full of animals, Tarangire, well known for its large elephant population and magnificent baobab trees, Selous and Ruaha for truly wild experiences, and Mahale, for encounters with habituated chimpanzees. Visitors coming to Tanzania for their dream safari are never disappointed.
But Tanzania is not just a wildlife destination. There is also Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, for climbing enthusiasts, and the beautiful, exotic island of Zanzibar, with its turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean as well as Stone Town’s fascinating culture and history.
Some would say Tanzania really does have it all.
Regions of Tanzania
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is the iconic safari destination and, inarguably, one of the greatest wildlife parks in Africa, if not the world. This enormous wilderness, bigger than the state of Connecticut, is home to an extraordinary variety of wildlife, offering exceptional game viewing year round, as well as the thrilling annual spectacle of the Great Migration, the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet – more than a million animals following the rains in search of food. The Serengeti is a “must see” for any visitor to Tanzania.
The Ngorongoro Crater, located in Northern Tanzania, is an enormous crater – about 100 square miles – created millions of years ago by a volcanic eruption. It is home to an abundance of wildlife, including over 25,000 large animals, who live on the mineral-rich floor, surrounded 360 degrees by the spectacular scenery of the lush, forested walls. Visitors descend 1800 feet into the Crater for a unique safari experience.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire is a beautiful and incredibly diverse park, famous for its magnificent giant baobab trees and large herds of elephant, as well as breathtaking views and a wild, rugged landscape. During the dry season, the Tarangire River is a magnet for thirsty wildlife, attracting the highest concentration of mammals of any of the country’s parks, including large herds of buffalo, big cats, and arguably the biggest diversity of birds in Africa, with more than 550 species. This park is often overlooked, but those who do venture here are treated to some of Tanzania’s best wildlife viewing and scenery.
Straddling the Kenya/Tanzania border, Mount Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak emerges from the sprawling plains of Tanzania, reaching into the clouds. It is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in Africa. With a summit at 19,000 feet, it is the highest free-standing mountain on earth, attracting trekkers and mountaineers from around the globe. Hikers who take on the colossal challenge of climbing this majestic mountain experience the thrill of the climb, a magical landscape of glacial ice fields, moorlands, mystical moonscapes, and dense tropical rainforests, and one of the most memorable views of their lives.
Zanzibar is an island paradise about 25 miles off the coast of Tanzania. It is the perfect destination after a safari to relax, offering exquisite white sand beaches and turquoise waters with spectacular coral reefs. Stone Town, an old city once bustling during the Spice Trade, can be explored on foot, wandering a maze of narrow alleyways lined with boutiques, restaurants, lively bazaars, and ornate houses. Watersports include scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, kitesurfing, and sailing on traditional dhows.
Selous & Ruaha
Although many visitors never travel to southern Tanzania, those that do are rewarded with pristine parks, few tourists, fantastic wildlife viewing, and thrilling experiences in the wild. Selous, Africa’s largest game reserve, covering nearly 20,000 sq. miles (the size of Maryland and Delaware combined) is a great destination for adventurous travelers seeking a safari off -the- beaten path. The game viewing here is exceptional, not just for the amount and diversity of wildlife, but also for the opportunity to see wild animals in such a remote and raw wilderness. Activities include game drives as well as boating, walking safaris and fly camping.
Ruaha has been called “Africa’s new safari frontier.” It is East Africa’s biggest national park and the second-largest on the African continent, yet it is relatively unknown and untamed, visited by only a handful of intrepid travelers each year. It is home to Tanzania’s biggest elephant population, endangered and elusive African wild dogs and an estimated 10% of the world’s lion population.