TANZANIA

WILDLIFE VIEWING AT ITS BEST

If you are looking for the ultimate wildlife self-drive overland safari, Tanzania is your destination.

Our suggested itineraries are focused on the Northern parks and allow you to visit 5 of Tanzania’s amazing National Parks. You will get close to the Tarangire’s elephants, Lake Manyara’s flamingo’s and if you are lucky, the tree-climbing lions. Depending on the seasonality, we will help you enjoy one of the most amazing natural events: the Serengeti’s ‘Great Migration’. Last but not least, Ngorongoro’s Crater, the world’s largest caldera.

Depending on when you will plan your trip, we will also be pleased to invite you to our lodge at Lake Ndutu. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, antelopes. Elephants, giraffes, lion prides, and leopards are residents in the area.

For mountaineering enthusiasts, we plan a guided and fully-equipped climb to Kilimanjaro, the highest summit in Africa.  

Should you want to relax after a long trip in the wilderness, we will be happy to organize for you a relaxing stay on the beaches of Pemba, Mafia Island, or Zanzibar.

Tanzania, the ultimate wildlife experience! 

We offer self-drive or traditional safaris.

    • We recommend our selection of self-drive itineraries to guests with an experience of self-drive and camping in remote areas or glamping accommodations. The road conditions may become challenging, and remoteness, together with proximity to wildlife, is almost guaranteed.
    • In traditional safaris, experienced guides drive you from lodge-to-lodge in a full-immersion cultural and wildlife journey.
  •  
    • Exclusive fly-in safaris are offered to our clients who like to enjoy the wild, together with the lodge guides’ experience and the transfer from lodge-to-lodge on comfort charter flights.

Areas of Interest

Parks and Reserves

It is the most famous park in Tanzania, UNESCO World Heritage, and probably the most famous in the World for wildlife viewing.

The park covers 5,700 sq mi (14,760 sq km), it is larger than Connecticut, and it is a massive landscape of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. It lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. To the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve. To the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves. To the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem and the legendary Great Serengeti Migration, a stunning natural spectacle‎.

The park is usually described as divided into three regions:

  • Serengeti plains: the almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. 
  • Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the savannah of this region. The Grumeti River and its gallery forests are home to Nile crocodiles, patas monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
  • Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August and in November), this is the best place to find the elephant, giraffe, and dik-dik.

The migratory -and some resident- wildebeest, which number over 2 million individuals, constitute the largest population of big mammals that still roam the planet. They are joined in their journey through the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem by 250,000 plains zebra, half a million Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, and tens of thousands of topi and Coke’s hartebeest. Masai giraffe, waterbuck, impala, warthog, and hippo are also abundant. Some rarely seen antelope species are also present in Serengeti National Park, such as common eland, klipspringer, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, fringe-eared oryx, and dik-dik.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located 110 mi (180 km) west of Arusha in Tanzania’s Crater Highlands area. 

The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 2,000 feet deep, and its floor covers 100 square miles. Seven Natural Wonders voted the crater as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania, in February 2013.

Approximately 25,000 large animals live in the crater. Large mammals in the crater include black rhinoceros, the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, and hippo.

Although conceived as “a natural enclosure” for an extensive variety of wildlife, 20 percent or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the crater in the wet season, while Cape buffalo stay; their highest numbers are during the rainy season.

A safari holiday in Tanzania is not complete without a descent to the mighty Ngorongoro Crater.

This Park is well known for the tree-climbing lions, the soda ash lake, and its flamingos. We are talking about breathtaking scenery! 

Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is worth a stop in its own right. The ground-water forests, bush plains, baobab strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds.

This is the sixth-largest national park in Tanzania; it is located in Manyara Region. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The Tarangire River is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season.

The park is famous for its high density of elephants and baobab trees. Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem.

Visitors to the park from June to November, in the dry season, can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and cape buffalo. Other common resident animals include waterbuck, giraffe, dik-dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baboon. Predators in Tarangire include lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, and African wild dog.

Culture and Ethnic

The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. The Maasai occupy a total land area of 62,000 sq mi (160,000 sq km) with approximately one half million people. 

Popular tourist destinations in East Africa such as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Maasai Mara, Amboseli, and Tarangire game reserves are located inside the Maasai region. The reserves are now considered protected areas set aside for conservation, wildlife viewing, and tourism. Maasai people are prohibited from accessing water sources and pasture land in game reserves.

With the arrival of formal schooling in the wider Maasai region, livestock herding is becoming a parents’ responsibility. Young boys resume the responsibility of livestock herding only on weekends when schools are out.

As a result of global warming, droughts are becoming severe in East Africa, forcing the Maasai people to seek alternative livelihoods. Herds are smaller than ever before, and most people are relying on relief food.

Maasai tribal leadership, the council of elders, is now losing its power year after year due to emerging Western leadership and governance forms.

Extensions

Whether you come to climb it or to gaze in awe at this remarkable, snowcapped equatorial mountain, drawing near to Mt Kilimanjaro is one of the great experiences of African travel. And for once in Tanzania, visiting Mt Kilimanjaro National Park, the protected area surrounding the mountain, is not about the wildlife.

At 5896m Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and one of the continent’s magnificent sights. The name itself, “Kilimanjaro”, is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness, or Mountain of Caravans.

Above the gently rolling hills and plateaux of northern Tanzania rises Mt. Kilimanjaro’s snowy peak, its slopes and glaciers shimmering above the rising clouds. Kilimanjaro is located near Moshi and is a protected area, carefully regulated for climbers to enjoy without leaving a trace of their presence. The mountain’s ecosystems are as strikingly beautiful as they are varied and diverse. Much of the mountain is farmland on the lowland slopes, with coffee, banana, cassava, and maize crops grown for subsistence and cash sale. A few larger coffee farms still exist on the lower slopes, but much of the national park area has been subdivided into small plots. Once inside the park, thick lowland forest covers the lower altitudes and breaks into alpine meadows once the air begins to thin. Near the peak, the landscape is harsh and barren, with rocks and ice the predominant features above a breathtaking African view.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is the highlight of most visitors’ experiences in Tanzania. Few mountains can claim the grandeur, the breathtaking views of Amboseli National Park in Kenya, the Rift Valley, and the Masaai Steppe, which belongs to Kilimanjaro. Hiking on the ‘rooftop of Africa’ is the adventure of a lifetime!

Zanzibar is an island in the Indian Ocean, lying 22 mi (35 km) off east-central Africa. In 1964 Zanzibar, together with Pemba Island and some other smaller islands, joined with Tanganyika on the mainland to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Area 600 sq mi (1,554 sq km). 

Zanzibar is rich in history, with numerous archaeological sites dotting the island, most notably at Unguja Ukuu, just to the north of the causeway which links Unguja and Uzi Islands.

The island has been deeply influenced by Arab culture for many centuries and was part of the Sultanate of Oman starting in 1698. In 1896, Zanzibar was the location of the world’s shortest war — they surrendered to the British Army after 38 minutes.

– What to see

Jozani Forest has excellent nature trails, featuring some very exotic (and large) trees. Even more interesting, though, are the Red Colobus Monkeys that live here. Native to the Island, these monkeys are now nearly extinct. They are very curious and playful and will likely pose for a picture. The entry fee (US$8) includes an optional visit to a beautiful mangrove forest which is highly recommended.

Stone Town

  • The inner city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Blending Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African traditions and architectures, it is possible to spend days winding through Stone Town’s labyrinthine alleys. That said, a day will give you plenty of insight. The inner city is small and can easily be explored by foot. It is estimated that 85% of the historic building fabric (coral stone) of Stone Town is irredeemably lost. Only very few of the old magnificent buildings shine brightly, i.e. if they have been converted to (boutique) hotels, clubs, or restaurants. Most buildings are in bad shape and the rough sea climate has taken its toll on the structure.

  • While in Stone Town, you can shop for souvenirs, drink the occasional tea, or visit the few city’s historic sites. Be aware that -being close to the equator- even the narrow alleys may offer little shade/protection from the sun. Water is also important and can be bought in plenty of stores along the way.

  • The House of Wonders is closed due to reconstruction work (Oct 2014). It carries this name because it was the first house in Stone Town to have electricity, running water, and an elevator.

  • Former Slave Market (entry fee is TSh 11,500 or USD 5 – this fee includes a guide (June 2018), who you may or may not tip). This is the site of the old Slave Market. The museum only consists of slave chambers (one for 50 men and one for 75 women and children), a memorial, and an Anglican Church built on the site of the tree that served as a whipping post. It provides only very limited information on the history of the building or slave trade in Zanzibar. Apart from the slave chambers, nothing is left, as a hospital has been built into the old market. However, you can go into the holding chambers in the cellar to see how this wretched piece of history played itself out in small dark dungeon-type cells. The property was purchased by Dr. David Livingstone (one of the biggest proponents of the abolishment of slavery) who wanted to turn the grounds into a haven after the atrocities committed there by the Oman Arab and British slave traders.

– What to do

Spice tour. Zanzibar Island, a.k.a., the Spice Island, was an important stop in the Spice Trade centuries ago. Today, it is one of the few places in the world where saffron is produced, and many other Middle Eastern/Asian spices (cardamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) are grown here. Several companies take you on a tour which winds you around the island, showing you how cinnamon, jack fruit, kukurma or anise (licorice) are grown; letting you sample some of the exotic fruit grown on the island; and allowing you to tour the beautiful plantations. In Stone Town be wary of booking and paying directly on the street, in which case the tout might just take your money (from US$10) without a booking. Another common scam is for a tout to follow you into (or give you directions to) the office, in which case the tour price will increase by US$5, with you paying the commission. If you have a car you can drive to the Kizimbani area yourself, where spice tours are offered. Again, depending on your bargaining skills you may be able to get it for Tsh 22,500 (two persons) plus the tips (TSh 6,000). On the tips: you will be expected to tip the guy that climbs up the coconut tree singing a song (yes, it is that touristy), the guy that does the fruit tasting, the guy branding stuff from palm leaves while you walk around, and of course your guide. Usually, TSh 1,000-2,000 should be fine. While you have never asked, nor were made aware of this entourage, this is how their scheme works. Given the nature of this, even more, people may show up during your tour and may expect tips. edit

East Beaches. The seemingly endless beaches near Paje or Jambiani are very popular among travelers. The sand is brilliant white, and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean are a deep teal. 

Kendwa Beach (on the North-Western coast, some km south of Nungwi). With a beautiful sand beach, here you can swim during low and high tide, which is not always possible on the East side of the island. Just beware of the Sea Urchins that give a powerful sting if stepped upon during low tide. Kendwa offers lots of beach bars and restaurants serving everything from pizza to local curries. Kendwa Beach is also known for the Full Moon Party, arranged Saturdays just before or after a full moon. While not as big or extreme as those arranged in Thailand, the parties on Zanzibar attract quite a large group of people, especially when the full moon coincides with public holidays in Europe and North America (i.e. Easter and Christmas).

Scuba diving and snorkeling. Crystal clear water and beautiful reefs make Zanzibar a great place for underwater activities. Unfortunately, in some areas reefs are in poor condition and fish populations are low. Snorkel boat trip with equipment from US$35 per boat. edit

Dolphin tour. This intense (but not necessarily moral) tour starts in Kizimkazi on the south tip of the island and includes snorkeling and chasing dolphins. Tours can be arranged from Stone Town to the village, a few hours boat tour that, local lunch, nap on the beach and an optional tour to Jozani Forest (see above). The full tours leave town at 8 am and come back at 5 pm – a complete day of fun and very memorable experience, especially for the dolphins. Tourists in the boat are chasing dolphins in the India Ocean near Zanzibar
Boat trip with snorkel equipment from US$40 per boat. edit

Ride on a local’s dhow. These traditional boats make for a wonderful sunset cruise. edit

Sit and stare at the water for hours on end.

Zanzibar Butterfly Centre (Located near to Jozani National Park). 9 am – 5 pm. The Zanzibar Butterfly Centre is a community development project and tourist destination just down the road from Jozani Forest. Revenue from admissions is used to pay farmers in the village sustainably farming butterflies. This genuine little project really makes a real difference to the farmers’ income and provides a wonderful experience for visitors as they can see spectacular local species flying close at hand in a beautiful tropical garden. US$5 per person.

Zanzibar is an island in the Indian Ocean, lying 22 mi (35 km) off east-central Africa. In 1964 Zanzibar, together with Pemba Island and some other smaller islands, joined with Tanganyika on the mainland to form the United Republic of Tanzania. Area 600 sq mi (1,554 sq km). 

Zanzibar is rich in history, with numerous archaeological sites dotting the island, most notably at Unguja Ukuu, just to the north of the causeway which links Unguja and Uzi Islands.

The island has been deeply influenced by Arab culture for many centuries and was part of the Sultanate of Oman starting in 1698. In 1896, Zanzibar was the location of the world’s shortest war — they surrendered to the British Army after 38 minutes.

– What to see

Jozani Forest has excellent nature trails, featuring some very exotic (and large) trees. Even more interesting, though, are the Red Colobus Monkeys that live here. Native to the Island, these monkeys are now nearly extinct. They are very curious and playful and will likely pose for a picture. The entry fee (US$8) includes an optional visit to a beautiful mangrove forest which is highly recommended.

Stone Town

  • The inner city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Blending Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African traditions and architectures, it is possible to spend days winding through Stone Town’s labyrinthine alleys. That said, a day will give you plenty of insight. The inner city is small and can easily be explored by foot. It is estimated that 85% of the historic building fabric (coral stone) of Stone Town is irredeemably lost. Only very few of the old magnificent buildings shine brightly, i.e. if they have been converted to (boutique) hotels, clubs, or restaurants. Most buildings are in bad shape and the rough sea climate has taken its toll on the structure.

  • While in Stone Town, you can shop for souvenirs, drink the occasional tea, or visit the few city’s historic sites. Be aware that -being close to the equator- even the narrow alleys may offer little shade/protection from the sun. Water is also important and can be bought in plenty of stores along the way.

  • The House of Wonders is closed due to reconstruction work (Oct 2014). It carries this name because it was the first house in Stone Town to have electricity, running water, and an elevator.

  • Former Slave Market (entry fee is TSh 11,500 or USD 5 – this fee includes a guide (June 2018), who you may or may not tip). This is the site of the old Slave Market. The museum only consists of slave chambers (one for 50 men and one for 75 women and children), a memorial, and an Anglican Church built on the site of the tree that served as a whipping post. It provides only very limited information on the history of the building or slave trade in Zanzibar. Apart from the slave chambers, nothing is left, as a hospital has been built into the old market. However, you can go into the holding chambers in the cellar to see how this wretched piece of history played itself out in small dark dungeon-type cells. The property was purchased by Dr. David Livingstone (one of the biggest proponents of the abolishment of slavery) who wanted to turn the grounds into a haven after the atrocities committed there by the Oman Arab and British slave traders.

– What to do

Spice tour. Zanzibar Island, a.k.a., the Spice Island, was an important stop in the Spice Trade centuries ago. Today, it is one of the few places in the world where saffron is produced, and many other Middle Eastern/Asian spices (cardamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) are grown here. Several companies take you on a tour which winds you around the island, showing you how cinnamon, jack fruit, kukurma or anise (licorice) are grown; letting you sample some of the exotic fruit grown on the island; and allowing you to tour the beautiful plantations. In Stone Town be wary of booking and paying directly on the street, in which case the tout might just take your money (from US$10) without a booking. Another common scam is for a tout to follow you into (or give you directions to) the office, in which case the tour price will increase by US$5, with you paying the commission. If you have a car you can drive to the Kizimbani area yourself, where spice tours are offered. Again, depending on your bargaining skills you may be able to get it for Tsh 22,500 (two persons) plus the tips (TSh 6,000). On the tips: you will be expected to tip the guy that climbs up the coconut tree singing a song (yes, it is that touristy), the guy that does the fruit tasting, the guy branding stuff from palm leaves while you walk around, and of course your guide. Usually, TSh 1,000-2,000 should be fine. While you have never asked, nor were made aware of this entourage, this is how their scheme works. Given the nature of this, even more, people may show up during your tour and may expect tips. edit

East Beaches. The seemingly endless beaches near Paje or Jambiani are very popular among travelers. The sand is brilliant white, and the warm waters of the Indian Ocean are a deep teal. 

Kendwa Beach (on the North-Western coast, some km south of Nungwi). With a beautiful sand beach, here you can swim during low and high tide, which is not always possible on the East side of the island. Just beware of the Sea Urchins that give a powerful sting if stepped upon during low tide. Kendwa offers lots of beach bars and restaurants serving everything from pizza to local curries. Kendwa Beach is also known for the Full Moon Party, arranged Saturdays just before or after a full moon. While not as big or extreme as those arranged in Thailand, the parties on Zanzibar attract quite a large group of people, especially when the full moon coincides with public holidays in Europe and North America (i.e. Easter and Christmas).

Scuba diving and snorkeling. Crystal clear water and beautiful reefs make Zanzibar a great place for underwater activities. Unfortunately, in some areas reefs are in poor condition and fish populations are low. Snorkel boat trip with equipment from US$35 per boat. edit

Dolphin tour. This intense (but not necessarily moral) tour starts in Kizimkazi on the south tip of the island and includes snorkeling and chasing dolphins. Tours can be arranged from Stone Town to the village, a few hours boat tour that, local lunch, nap on the beach and an optional tour to Jozani Forest (see above). The full tours leave town at 8 am and come back at 5 pm – a complete day of fun and very memorable experience, especially for the dolphins. Tourists in the boat are chasing dolphins in the India Ocean near Zanzibar
Boat trip with snorkel equipment from US$40 per boat. edit

Ride on a local’s dhow. These traditional boats make for a wonderful sunset cruise. edit

Sit and stare at the water for hours on end.

Zanzibar Butterfly Centre (Located near to Jozani National Park). 9 am – 5 pm. The Zanzibar Butterfly Centre is a community development project and tourist destination just down the road from Jozani Forest. Revenue from admissions is used to pay farmers in the village sustainably farming butterflies. This genuine little project really makes a real difference to the farmers’ income and provides a wonderful experience for visitors as they can see spectacular local species flying close at hand in a beautiful tropical garden. US$5 per person.

These are  the most beautiful areas in the Southern Circuit of Tanzania’ parks.

Ruaha National Park

This park forms the core of an extended wild ecosystem covering about 40,000 sq km and provides a home to Tanzania’s largest elephant population, estimated at 12,000. Besides, Tanzania’s largest national park hosts buffaloes, greater and lesser kudus, Grant’s gazelles, wild dogs, ostriches, cheetahs, roan and sable antelope, and more than 400 types of birds.

The Great Ruaha River and other rivers like Mwagusi, Jongomero, and Mzombe are the park’s lifeline. During the dry season, these rivers become mostly the primary source of water for wildlife. Few natural springs are saving the same purpose.
In the pick of the dry season, elephants obtain water from dry sand rivers using their front feet and trunks. The remaining waterfalls located along the Great Ruaha River are also an important habitat for hippopotamus, fish, and crocodiles.

The park boasts of her almost untouched and unexplored ecosystem, making visitors’ safari experience very unique.

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is a vast, 48,000-sq-km wilderness area lying at the heart of southern Tanzania. Africa’s largest wildlife reserve and home to large herds of elephants, buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos, wild dogs, many bird species, and some of Tanzania’s last remaining black rhinos. Bisecting it is the Rufiji River, which cuts a past path woodland, grasslands, and stands of Borassus palm, and provides unparalleled water-based wildlife watching.

The park’s beauty matches the quality of safaris; boating, walking, and fly camping-complement standard game driving in thriving wildlife areas. This is an outrageously good safari park and an essential component of any southern circuit itinerary.
The Selous is a superb safari destination for both family safaris and African honeymoons, all the better for the ease of getting there and the lack of crowds.

The park has the widest diversity of safari activities, offering boating safaris and standard game drives, walking safaris, and legendary fly camping trips.

The Northern section of Selous is home to channels and lagoons that run off the Rufiji River. This lush landscape provides a water supply for the region’s game, and towards the end of the dry season, the concentration of animals around these water sources is phenomenal. We can find the main camps around the river and the lakes, which successfully rely on the animal’s need for water to provide game viewing areas.

Selous is in its peak season from July through to the middle of November – this when the dry season is raging and all the game homes in on the few permanent water sources.

The sheer volume of game in the Selous is outstanding, with statistics putting most parks in Africa to shame. Elephant, buffalo, and lion are ‘arguably’ found in no greater numbers year-round anywhere on the planet. But it is the Selous’ reputation as the last true stronghold for African wild dog that draws the enthusiasts.

Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve is one of its most scenic wildlife destinations; the Selous is utterly beautiful.

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