Tanzania is a vibrant and beautiful country with world-class parks. Safaris have been a way of life in Tanzania for decades and the country is blessed with the winning combination of both superb big game and stunning tropical beaches. You can fly from a Tanzania safari camp in the morning to an Indian Ocean beach for an afternoon swim.
Because the country is vast, it helps to think of Tanzania safaris falling into four broad areas: the famous 'northern circuit' safaris - most famously the Ngorongoro and Serengeti; the wild parks of southern Tanzania, including the Selous, and Ruaha national parks; the remote safaris of western Tanzania - Katavi and Mahale; and the beaches of the coast & islands. Tanzania's three safari areas are very different and this country is worth visiting several times to truly understand its size and diversity.
Tanzania is a country very close to Alex's heart and he enjoys nothing less than showing guests the wondrous diversity this country has to offer.
Tarangire National Park covers an undulating area of 2,600km2, between the plains of the Maasai Steppe to the south-east, and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the north and west. The northern part of Tarangire is dominated by the perennial Tarangire River, which flows through increasingly incised ravines until it leaves the north-western corner of the park to flow into Lake Burungi. In the south are a series of vast 'swamps' which dry into verdant plains during the dry season.
Imperious, classically shaped, with no less than seven summits (three of which are volcanic), Mount Kilimanjaro is situated just inside northern Tanzania. At 5895m, it is Africa’s highest mountain.
While there is no definitive explanation as to the meaning of its name (in Swahili kilima is small hill, and njaro is, variously, white or shining) Mount Kilimanjaro has been an object of fascination for longer than anyone can say. For climbers, Mount Kilimanjaro represents the sort of challenge that can be managed without a great deal of technical know-how. There are a number of routes – all of which make for different sorts of climbs
In 2008 the Usangu Game reserve merged its borders with Ruaha transforming it into Tanzania’s largest national park; it now covers more than 20,000km². Despite the size of the park there are still only a handful of camps found here, which has built Ruaha’s reputation as Tanzania’s best kept game viewing secret. Ruaha’s wild and untrammelled feel is what sets it apart from other reserves, making it a popular choice for regular east African safarigoers.
In 1951, the enormous Serengeti National Park was declared, encompassing the present Serengeti, plus the Ngorongoro area and surrounding Crater Highlands. Today, this is split into the present-day Serengeti National Park, and the current Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The conservation area now encompasses a large area of the short-grass plains on the southern side of the Serengeti Plain and also the Ngorongoro Highlands, a range of largely extinct ancient volcanoes on the west side of the Great Rift Valley.
The Serengeti is vast and beautiful; it's one of Africa's most captivating safari areas. The sheer amount of game here is amazing: estimates suggest up to about two million wildebeest, plus perhaps half a million zebra, hundreds of thousands of Thompson's gazelle, and tens of thousands of impala, Grant's gazelle, topi (tsessebe), hartebeest, eland and other antelope – all hunted by the predators for which these plains are famous.
Some of this game resides permanently in 'home' areas, which are great for safaris all year round. But many of the wildebeest and zebra take part in the migration – an amazing spectacle that's one of the greatest wildlife shows on earth
Quite simply one of the most beautiful parks anywhere in Africa. The lakeshore here is a beach of the finest powder-white sand, behind which rises a range of imposing mountains, clad in verdant tropical vegetation.Covering about 1,600km² of the Mahale Mountains, this national park is home to around 1,000 chimpanzees. Most significantly, one group of Mahale chimps – the Mimikire clan – has been habituated by researchers since 1965. They go where they want and when they want but are relaxed near people, so it's possible to track and observe them from very close quarters
Katavi National Park is one of the best parks in Africa and many safari operations would love to start camps here. However, the logistics and costs are so difficult, that there are only a couple of small, permanent safari camps sharing this 4,500km² of wilderness. You sometimes run across more prides of lion than other people on a game drive.Katavi National Park is at its best in the dry season, when the plains fill with thousands of zebra, topi and impala. Hartebeest, giraffe, and Defassa waterbuck are also very common, there's a large population of resident elephants, and some impressive herds of buffalo. Katavi is a great park for watching lion-buffalo interactions.
Covering 45,000km² of wilderness, with grassy plains, open woodland, mountains and forests, the Selous Game Reserve(pronounced 'seloo', and named after the great explorer and hunter, Frederick Courtney Selous) is Africa's largest game reserve. At the heart of the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania’s largest river, the Rufiji, forms a complex network of channels, lakes and swamps that create one of the most outstanding ecological systems in East Africa.