Tanzania Safari Holidays and Tours
Discover Tanzania’s iconic destinations
Tanzania is Africa’s visual masterpiece. It is a country of natural splendor, astounding wildlife, seductive beaches, charming ancient towns, archaeological sites and geological wonders.
Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, rises from lush, grassy plains and towers over the land. Its snow-capped peak is a sight to behold. Climbing Kilimanjaro is surprisingly easy and standing on the roof of Africa is a life-changing experience.
The ideal bush and beach destination, visitors can witness the mighty herds of the Great Migration thundering across the Serengeti plains and end their unforgettable safari with a serene beach holiday on Zanzibar, the intoxicatingly beautiful and exotic Spice Island.
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.
|3 Days Tarangire – Ngorongoro – lake manyara Safari||4 Days Ngorongoro – Lake Manyara – Serengeti Lodge safari||5 Days Ngorongoro – Lake Manyara – Serengeti Lodge safari|
8 Days Manyara Serengeti Ngorongoro Tarangire Lodge Safari
9 Days Tarangire Ngorongoro & Serengeti Safari Holiday
Best Safari Parks and Game Reserves Near Dar Es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania and where many people will start their trip. The coastal city is often a jumping-off point for those traveling to nearby Zanzibar and the popular northern circuit, which includes the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park.
However, the game reserves near Dar es Salaam are generally less expensive and less crowded, but they still have stunning scenery and great wildlife-viewing opportunities. The southern parks are ideal for those who like to get off the beaten track. Take ‘near’ with a pinch of salt. Tanzania is a massive country, but these parks and reserves are all within a day’s driving distance of Dar es Salaam.
|Nyerere (Selous) National Park|
Probably the most famous safari park near Dar es Salaam, Nyerere (Selous) National Park is a 6 to 7 hour drive from the city, depending on where in the reserve you’re staying. It’s one of the biggest national parks in Africa, though most of the accommodation is in the north. The fastest access route is the 240km/149mi road to Mtemere Gate. The drive takes about six hours. The alternative route through Mikumi NP takes longer. Daily flights are available, too.
This massive park is a Unesco World Heritage Site, with a range of landscapes including miombo woodlands, savannah and swamps. The Rufiji River provides a water source for the many animals who inhabit the park: lion, leopard, black rhino, hippo and one of Africa’s largest wild dog populations. There are over 400 birds that can be checked off your birding list, too. The migratory species arrive between November and April.
– Driving distance from Dar es Salaam: 6 to 7 hours
– Accommodation options: Camps and lodges for various budgets
– Activities: Game drives, walking, boat safaris, fishing
5 days Safari Selous Game Reserve (Nyerere national park)
|Mikumi National Park|
Mikumi National Park is the closest park to Dar es Salaam, 4 to 5 hours away, and connected by a tarmac road that runs through the park. It’s the fourth largest national park in the country, connected to Nyerere National Park, which lies to the south. As one of the lesser known wildlife reserves, it’s rarely busy.
On grassy savannah plains dotted with baobab trees, you might spot herds of elephant, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu and impala, alongside giraffe and troops of yellow baboon or vervet monkey. Lions are in the park, but not as populous or easy to spot as in Tanzania’s more well-known parks such as the Serengeti. If you’re lucky, there’s a chance of seeing leopard or wild dog.
As a park close to Dar es Salaam, Mikumi is a popular weekend destination for residents. For those on a longer trip, it is often used as stopover between other southern parks. The best time to visit is from June to October, when it’s driest and animals are attracted to permanent waterholes, such as those on the Mkata floodplain.
– Driving distance from Dar es Salaam: 4 to 5 hours
– Accommodation options: Camps and lodges for various budgets Camps and lodges for various budgets (some close during the March to May rains)
– Activities: Game drives, walking safaris
4 Days Udzungwa and Mikumi safari package
|Saadani National Park|
Another game reserve near Dar es Salaam, but this time to the north, Saadani National Park is about three hours away by car. Set along the Indian Ocean, the park is the only seaside wildlife destination in mainland Tanzania.
Saadani’s stunning beach is fringed by mangrove swamps giving way to woodlands further inland. The shores are breeding grounds for green turtles. The park is home to four of the Big Five: lion, elephant, buffalo and leopard. There are also Maasai giraffe, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, yellow baboon, sable antelope and hippo. It should be noted that animals are not as easily spotted here as they are in the more popular Tanzanian parks.
Avoid the long rains from March to May and aim to travel to Saadani in January and February or June to August.
– Driving distance from Dar es Salaam: 3 hours
– Accommodation options: Luxury and mid-range lodges and camps
– Activities: Game drives, walking safaris, boat trips
4 Days Saadani National Park Safaris from Dar es salaam
|Ruaha National Park|
Many people stop off at Mikumi or Udzungwa en route to Ruaha National Park, which is about 10 hours from Dar es Salaam. There are also flights into the park, though this option is much more expensive.
Ruaha is arguably the best safari park near Dar es Salaam. It is one of the biggest national parks in Africa and the second largest in Tanzania but receives barely a fraction of the northern parks’ visitors. A landscape of old baobabs and rocky outcrops, Ruaha is named after the Great Ruaha River that runs through it. The park is the size of New Jersey and there’s an incredible array of wildlife to see: over 570 species of bird (best seen over the migratory period from November to April), cheetah, lion, leopard, hyena, giraffe, hippo, buffalo and wild dog.
Go in the dry season from June to October. Even at this peak time of the year, you’ll find the park relatively free of crowds.
– Driving distance from Dar es Salaam: 10 hours
– Accommodation options: Lodges and tented camps for various budgets, including some high-end options
– Activities: Game drives, walking safaris
4-Day Ruaha National Park safari tour from Dar-Es-Salaam
|Udzungwa Mountains National Park|
Rather than wildlife, Udzungwa Mountains National Park is known for its various hiking trails that cut through the tropical rainforest. You can take a half-day hike to Sanje waterfall, a popular swimming spot. Or spend a few nights in the park on routes such as the tough 5-day Lumemo trail.
Keep an eye out for the Iringa red colobus and the Sanje crested mangabey. Both primates are endemic to the area. In fact, Udzungwa Mountains has the second highest biodiversity rate of any African national park. There are over 400 bird species and 10 primates. There are also buffalo, elephant, leopard, hippo and croc, though these animals are rarely seen by visitors.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park makes a convenient day trip from Mikumi (or vica versa), which is around 90 minutes away. The driving time from Dar es Salaam is about 6 hours.
– Driving distance from Dar es Salaam: 6 hours
– Accommodation options: Lodges and camps for different budgets and campsites
– Activities: Hiking, swimming
4 Days Udzungwa Mountain Trekking Safari in Tanzania from Dar es salaam
| Mafia Island Marine Park|
Mafia Island is a sleepy island located south of Zanzibar, where days are spent exploring exposed sand bars, fishing and diving. Scuba is seriously good here, especially in whale shark season.
Mafia is a 30 minute flight from Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam. It is home to the largest marine park in Africa and is a very good destination for spotting whale sharks. The diving here is even better than off Pemba – in fact, we think it is the best to be found in Tanzania.
Something a bit different from a typical Tanzanian wildlife experience, Mafia Island Marine Park is the largest MPA (marine protected area) in the Indian Ocean. There are flights here from Dar es Salaam.
Mafia Island is a dream for snorkeling or diving, with over 400 fish species, turtle and dugong dwelling around the reefs and mangrove forests. It’s also a great place to just chill out and relax after a hectic safari itinerary around southern Tanzania.
August, September and October are great months in which to travel, with dry, hot weather. June is cooler and July can be windy. There are showers and increasing humidity from November to March, which is the hottest period.
– The best way to get to Mafia Island is by light airplane
– Accommodation options: Mostly luxury lodges with some mid-range and budget options too
– Activities: Snorkeling, diving, boat trips