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A Tanzania Wildlife Safari Experience

Dubbed as the “Capital of Safari, Tanzania ranks among the must visit African destinations for wildlife enthusiasts. With the famous wildebeest migration in the Serengeti and rich wildlife including the Big 5- lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and cape buffaloes, endemic species of the country in both terrestrial and marine species protected in various protected areas including marine national parks, game reserves and sanctuaries.

Tanzania is a country in East Africa located on the Eastern coast thus attracting visitors from various coastal activities including those looking for a beach holiday on Zanzibar coast’s crystal white beaches lined with palm trees looking to also experience the marine wildlife.

Tanzania has designated 25% of its land to protected areas – wildlife sanctuaries, reserves and national park, without doubt it is among the highest in the world.

Tanzania wildlife safari experiences are majorly done in the Northern Circuit including Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Arusha National Park and Kilimanjaro National Park among others.

Other circuits of Tanzania where wildlife safari experience are done include

The Southern Tanzania Circuit hosting the remote parks like Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park and Mikumi National Park.

The Western Tanzania Circuit hosting Mahale National Park, Katavi National Park and Gombe Stream National Park.

The Best Places to See Wildlife in Tanzania

Wildlife is the main reason why Tanzania is visited by millions of travelers from all over the world.

 If witnessing the various species of wildlife in Tanzania during your African safari, here are the best places in Tanzania to visit for wildlife safari experience. 

  1. Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is not only the oldest national park in Tanzania but the best places to spotting wildlife on a Tanzania Wildlife Safari, the park attracts at least 350,000 visitors every year and was crowned the Africa’s Best Safari Africa of 2024.

Serengeti National Park is the number one pick for safari destination in Africa to many travelers’ thanks to the World’s largest annual migration of approximately 2 million wildebeests which occurs in the park and abundant wildlife.

Located in northern Tanzania, Serengeti is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet, stretching to the Masai Mara in Kenya to form the might Mara – Serengeti Ecosystem – the oldest ecosystem in the world. In this ecosystem, the climate, plants and animals have barely changed over the past one million years, making it also one of the least disturbed ecosystems on earth.

Serengeti is home to all Africa’s Big Five, Serengeti is a wildlife lover’s dream with a chance to see various animals like lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, spotted hyenas and elands among others. Serengeti is also a haven for bird watchers with over 500 species of birds including Black-headed gonolek, Fischer’s lovebird, Green-backed woodpecker, Grey-backed fiscal, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Hildebrandt’s starling, Red-capped robin-chat, Rufous-tailed weaver, Rüppell’s vulture, Schalow’s turaco, Silverbird, Southern ground hornbill, Usambiro barbet, Verreaux’s eagle, Yellow-throated sandgrouse among others.

Top Highlights of Serengeti National Park

  • One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The annual Great Migration of more than 1.5 million wildebeest across the plains of the Sernegeti to the Masai Mara
  • One of the best destinations in Africa to spot wildlife, home to all of Africa’s Big Five as well as rarer species
  • Thrilling hot air balloon safaris at dawn
  • Stunning, diverse geography and scenery.

2. Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a unique destination where both humans and wildlife harmonious co-exist.

Located in the Crater Highlands of Northern Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the most famous wildlife safari spots in Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater which is the largest intact caldera in the world is home to remarkable abundance and diversity of wildlife, this ancient volcanic caldera spanning 260 square kilometres is surrounded by a 600-meter-high crater wall and is home to over 25,000 large animals.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the few places in Africa where you can see all the Big Five – lion, elephants, leopards, rhino and buffaloes in a single day, the conservation area also protects Tanzania’s last remaining population of the endangered black rhino.

In Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you will have a chance to see spotted hyenas, cheetahs, the elusive leopard, large herds of buffaloes, gazelles, wildebeests, giraffes, the endangered Africa wild dog, hippos and huge pink flocks of flamingos at the soda lakes such as Lake Magadi in the crater.

Top Highlights of Ngorongoro Conservation Area

  • One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Resident population of the endangered black rhinos
  • One of the few places where you can see all of Africa’s Big Five in a single day
  • Incredible wildlife viewing all year round
  • One of the most unique safari destinations with a stunning natural backdrop
  • Visit the local Maasai culture and the ancient hominid fossils of Olduvai Gorge

3.  Ruaha National Park

As one of the largest national parks in Tanzania, Ruaha National Park formed after joining the Usangu Game Reserve in 2008 is one of the country’s best kept safari secrets and home to massive wildlife populations.

Located in Southern Tanzania, the park is only accessible by airplane. The park is wildly remote and bursting with wildlife making it the ideal escape from the well beaten safari track.

Ruaha National Park’s beautiful landscapes are made up of vast open plains, rolling hills, ancient baobab trees and the Great Ruaha River, the heart of the national park.  Animals in the park are drawn to this great river to drink and hunt for prey and the park is home to an incredible abundance of diversity of wildlife.

Ruaha is home to about 12,000 elephants, one of the largest populations in Tanzania, you will also find cheetah, leopard, spotted hyenas, black-backed jackal, large prides of lions, giraffe, zebras, buffalo, waterbucks, hartebeests, kudu, impalas, bushbuck, roan, gazelles, the endangered African wild dog and other species of antelope.

Top Highlights of Ruaha National Park

  • Remote location and only accessible by plane
  • Exceptional wildlife viewing without crowds
  • One of the best destinations to see African wild dogs
  • Home to unusual antelope species
  • Home to some of the largest herds of elephants in East Africa
  • Go fly camping and sleep under the stars.

4. Tarangire national park

Ranking as the 6th largest National Park in Tanzania at about 2,600 square kilometers, Tarangire National Park is one of the amazing destinations to visit for wildlife safari experience in Tanzania. The park is renowned for its large herds of elephants compared to any other park in Tanzania, it features amazing landscape with diverse habitats such as wetland, woodland and is dotted with acacia and baobab trees.

Tarangire National Park is located in the Manyara Region of Northern Tanzania, approximately 2 hours from Arusha.

Tarangire National Park is home to a variety of wildlife including large herds of elephants, leopards, cheetahs, lions, African wild dogs, hippos, hyenas, zebras and more than 500 bird species including Kori Bustard, Pygmy Falcon, Northern white crowned shrike, Yellow necked spurfowl, Black necked weaver, White faced whistling duckand Ashy Starling making it a birder’s haven.

Top Highlights of Tarangire National Park

  • One of the biggest elephant population in Northern Tanzania
  • Highly concentration wildlife viewing during the dry season
  • Excellent birding opportunities
  • Night safaris and walking safaris
  • Spectacular scenery famed for its ancient baobab trees

5. Lake Manyara National Park

Home to the rare tree climbing lions, Lake Manyara National Park is a great Tanzania Safari Destination to visit for wildlife safari experience located between Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.

Lake Manyara National Park lies between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley, sitting on an area of approximately 325 sq.km of which 230 sq.km is occupied by the soda lake – Lake Manyara. The park is renowned for its unique ecosystems bursting with diverse wildlife, at least 11 different ecosystems, groundwater forests, floodplains, hot springs and open savannahs.

Lake Manyara National Park boasts one of the world’s highest concentrations of large mammals, animals you will spot in the park include the famous tree climbing lions, wildebeests, zebras, buffaloes, giraffe, warthogs, impala and waterbucks. The park is also home to primates include to baboon, vervet monkey, common monkey and nocturnal bushbabies.

Top Highlights of Lake Manyara National Park

  • The rare tree-climbing lions
  • Huge herds of elephants
  • Highly concentrated wildlife in a relatively small park
  • Excellent bird watching
  • Unique and beautiful natural scenery
  • Night safaris and hiking adventures

6. Arusha National Park

Located just outside Arusha City, Arusha National Park is a small yet rich in wildlife national park. The park can be accessed with an easy day trip from the city centre.

Arusha National Park is one of the country’s most exciting parks with plenty of activities to do such as game drive, canoe safaris and bush camping. Due to lack of predators in the park, walking safari can be done in the park.

Arusha National Park is home to one of the country’s largest populations of giraffe, buffaloes, zebras, waterbuck, bushbuck and other species of antelope. Other animals to lookout for include elephants, hippos and shy dik-diks and red forest duikers which roam the region.

In the Ngurdoto Forest, there is a population of primates including blue monkeys and black and white colobus monkeys.

The park is a great destination for bird enthusiasts with over 400 different bird species recorded, including the bright pink flocks of flamingoes that cover the shores of the Momella Lakes. With open grassland, dense forest, glittering lakes and the Ngurdoto Crater “known as Little Ngorongoro”, Arusha National Park is scenically stunning.

To spice up your wildlife safari experience in Arusha National Park, consider climbing the nearby Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second highest mountain.

Top Highlights of Arusha National Park

  • Excellent populations of giraffes and primates
  • Prime birding destination in Tanzania
  • Walking safaris, canoe safaris and bush camping

7. Nyerere National Park (Selous Game Reserve)

Formerly Selous Game Reserve, Nyerere National Park is Africa’s largest game drive at size of 30,893 km ² and an extraordinary amount of wildlife. The park is a perfect destination for an off-the-beaten wildlife safari in Tanzania.

Located in southern Tanzania, a remote region far from the crowds of the more popular parks in the Northern Circuit. Visitors to the Nyerere National Park will find a much quieter yet just as impressive Tanzania safari experience.

Nyerere National Park’s abundant wildlife include elephants, cheetahs, leopards, crocodiles, giraffes, zebras, impalas, wildebeests, eland, hyenas, the African wild dog and the critically endangered black rhinos

Top Highlights in Nyerere National Park

  • Largest game reserve in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • One of the few destinations in Africa to see African wild dogs
  • Excellent lion population and sightings
  • Prime wildlife viewing during the dry season without the crowds
  • Boat safaris

Best Time for Wildlife Safari Experience in Tanzania

For a classic wildlife safari experience in Tanzania is during the dry season from June to October, during these months of the year there is no rainfall, wildlife congregates around water holes and rivers creating the best possible game viewing experience. However for the tourists looking for less crowds, the wet season could be the best to visit Tanzania. Get in touch with our knowledgeable team of consultants and let us discuss further.

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