Tanzania Safari Holidays - Serengeti Migration Tours - Planning Guide

Tanzania Safari Holidays

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Tanzania Safari

Tanzania Safari Holidays visit a virtual litany of Africa’s most evocative place names on the continent. Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, Selous, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Gombe Stream, Dar es Salaam, Kilwa, Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Malawi, the Rift Valley, the Maasai Steppe are some of the country’s most evocative places to visit. Tanzania is the Africa safari destination you have always dreamed about: vast plains teeming with wild animals; rainforests alive with cackling birds and monkeys; Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak rising dramatically above the flat scrubland; colorful Maasai herding their cattle alongside herds of grazing wildebeest; perfect palm-lined beaches lapped by the clear warm waters of the Indian Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see.

At Nkuringo Safaris’ we task our local experts with knowing every little bit of information that can help our guests plan an unforgettable safari or holiday in Tanzania. Whether you chose to stick to the conventional Serengeti-Ngorongoro-Zanzibar tourist circuit, strikeout to the more offbeat likes of lakes Natron and Eyazi, visit the mysterious rock art of Kondoa, or track to the breathless peak of Kilimanjaro, a Tanzania safari will bring your dreams of Africa to life in unimagined experiences.

Serengeti Great Migration

The plains that stretch southeast from Eronera into Ngorongoro Conservation Area form the Serengeti’s main wildebeest calving grounds between December to April. A fantastic time for Tanzania safari in the Serengeti, thanks to the lush green scenery and the preditor concentrations at their peak between March and April.

Where to go, which places to visit?

A Tanzania Safari Holiday promises some of Africa’s most evocative places that’ll touch the heart of any kind of traveler. There’s the magical offshore ‘spice island’ of Zanzibar. The snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro rising dramatically above the surrounding scrubland. The endless plains of Serengeti National Park, the alienesque vistas of Ngorongoro Crater, and the vast tracts of bush enclosed within the Selous Game Reserve. Dusty Olduvai Gorge is the site of some of the most important hominid fossil finds ever, while the lush Gombe Stream is where Jane Goodall embarked on her pioneering chimpanzees’ study, our closest living relatives. The Maasai Steppe in the north, where Africa’s most charismatic pastoralists herd their cattle alongside fields of grazing wildlife. On the same map, you’ll find an Indian Ocean coast lined by the modern port of Dar es Salaam and its legendary medieval forbear Kilwa, as well as the sky-blue expanses of lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, Niassa-Malawi, Manyara, and Natron, the last situated below the temperamental volcano Doinyo Lengai. 

Complemented by its fabulous natural wealth, Tanzania, as a leading East Africa safari destination, boasts of the finest and most exclusive safari lodges and camps and a world-class selection of city hotels and beach resorts you’ll find anywhere in Africa. The latter concentrated on the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia. 

We tailor our Tanzania wildlife safari holidays around Arusha and the northern safari circuit. Here, a well-defined tourist trail centers upon the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire national parks. But the region also boasts a wealth of more obscure highlights, among them ancient rock art of Kondoa, the hunter-gatherer cultures of Lake Eyasi, the biodiverse forests of Amani, and the primeval volcanic landscape of Lake Natron and Doinyo Lengai. It is also a region that offers some fine hiking, most famously the sapping climb of Kilimanjaro, the scenic ascent up Mount Meru (the fifth highest in Africa), and limitless opportunities rambling in the Usambara. 

Safaris and wildlife viewing are also conducted by many operators in the southern and western safari circuits, though not as well known as the Serengeti and other Tanzania safari parks of the north. The south boasts three superb safari destinations, namely Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha and Mikumi national parks. These parks feel very untrammeled by comparison with the north, and Selous, in particular, is recommended to adventurous safarigoers who want to supplement conventional game drives with guided bush walks and boat trips on the Rufiji River. Wilder still is Katavi National Park, a great plains reserve which, together with the Mahale Mountains – the finest place in Africa to track chimpanzees – forms the cornerstone of the truly off-the-beaten-track western safari circuit. 

Finally, there is the coast and offshore islands. The prime Tanzania holiday attraction here is the island of Zanzibar, with its atmospheric Swahili stone town, postcard-perfect beaches, and world-class diving and snorkeling adventures. The lesser-known islands of Pemba and Mafia offer a similar bouquet of attractions. At the same time, those with a yen for exploration point to the historic but little-visited old ports of Bagamoyo, Kilwa, Pangani, and Tanga. Also surprisingly characterful and unaffected by tourism is Dar es Salaam’s port, Tanzania’s largest city, and former capital.

Serengeti National Park

The Great Migration, Family Safari

Rated as the continent’s finest game-viewing destination, the Serengeti Tanzania’s oldest, largest, and most famous national park. It is home to dense populations of lions, a great number of other famous predators, and renowned for the great annual migration of over two million wildebeest and other plains grazers. Serengeti is genuinely a reflection of all the excitement you’ve heard about, notable both for the sheer variety and volume of the wildlife that inhabits its vast plains and for the liberating sense of space attached to exploring them. Extending over 14,763 square kilometers, the Serengeti National Park is the centerpiece of a twice-larger cross-border ecosystem that includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Kenya‘s Maasai Mara National Reserve, and several smaller game reserves and private protected areas.

Much of the national park comprises open grassland. Still, other areas support a denser cover of acacia woodland, and the region as a whole is studded with prominent but isolated granite hills. There is little permanent water aside from a few perennial rivers, notably the Mara and Grumeti, so animal migration within the ecosystem is linked strongly to rainfall patterns.

Because of the easy direct-regional-flight connection between Serengeti and Bwindi Impenetrable NP, it’s a perfect addition to seeing the incredible gorillas of the mountains.

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania Safair Destination

Ngorongoro Crater

Photography & Awesome Wildlife

Immediately west of Lake Manyara is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), a vast biosphere reserve where the iconic Maasai people live alongside a bewildering diversity of wildlife. From the lions and elephants that strut fearlessly across the floor of Ngorongoro Crater to the secretive forest birds that flit through its jungle-swathed rim, Ngorongoro can’t be missed, especially if you’re heading to the Serengeti plains.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) shares a border with Serengeti National Park to the southwest. Its dominant feature is the geological marvel, the Ngorongoro Crater — the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera with stunning scenic beauty and the wildlife that teems across its verdant 260 square kilometer floor. The caldera plains are essentially a continuation of the Serengeti ecosystem, supporting a cover of short grass that attracts significant grazers’ concentrations during the rainy season.

Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania

Lake Manyara

Excellent Wildlife Viewing, Birding & Wildlife Photography

With only two hours’ drive from Arusha on a good asphalt road, Lake Manyara forms a major first port of call on any northern Tanzanian safari. Lake Manyara National Park, which protects the northwestern shores of the lake that gives the park its name, is a compact but ecologically varied area known for its dense elephant population, tree-climbing lions, and extensive birdlife.

Along the northwestern lakeshore of Lake Manyara and the park’s hinterland is a diversity of terrestrial habitats, including grassy floodplain, rocky escarpment, acacia woodland, and lush groundwater forest. Lake Manyara’s varied mammalian fauna is what a Tanzania safari is made of, with buffalo, giraffe, olive baboon, blue monkey, and various antelopes likely to be seen in the course of any game drive. The park is also renowned for its tree-climbing lions.

Manyara’s well-defined game-viewing circuit kicks off a high proportion of safaris through northern Tanzania. And while visitors with limited time might reasonably choose to forsake Manyara’s more subtle attractions in favor of additional time in the Serengeti, the park is a valuable addition to a more extended safari holiday. It offers the opportunity to see several species less common or shyer elsewhere on the northern Tanzania safari circuit.

Zanzibar Island holidays

Zanzibar Island

Holiday Getaway, Coastal Beaches

Zanzibar is one of those magical travel names, richly evocative even to the many Westerners who would have no idea where to start looking for it on a global map. Steeped in history and blessed with a sultry tropical climate, Zanzibar is that rare travel destination that genuinely does live up to every expectation. Whether it’s a quick cultural fix you’re after, scintillating diving, or just a palm-lined beach where you can laze away the day, some time on Zanzibar is the perfect way to round off a dusty Africa safari on the Tanzanian mainland.

Zanzibar offers tourists facilities suitable to all tastes and budgets. For many, the highlight of a holiday on the island is a tour of the old Stone Town, with its traditional Swahili atmosphere and wealth of fascinating buildings. For others, it is the sea and the coral reefs, which offer diving, snorkeling, and game fishing to compare with anywhere in East Africa. And then there are the clove and coconut plantations that cover the interior of the ‘Spice Island’; the dolphins of Kizimkazi; the colobus monkeys of Jozani; and the giant sea turtles of Nungwi. And above all, some will say, those seemingly endless tropical beaches.

Mount Kilimanjaro climbing


Mountaineering, Scenery

Towering at an altitude of 5,895 m (19,340 ft), Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. Its distinctive silhouette and snow-capped peak from afar form one of the most breathtaking sights on the continent. Kilimanjaro is effectively the world’s largest single mountain, a free-standing entity that towers an unbelievable 5km above the surrounding plains. It is also the highest mountain anywhere that any amateur mountain climber can ascend. Kilimanjaro straddles the border with Kenya, but its peaks fall within Tanzania and can only be climbed from within the country.

There are several places on the lower slopes of the mountain where climbers can ascend, but most people use the cheapest option with good facilities, the Marangu Route. The other popular option that is popular with climbers is Machame Route. Climbers can use several more obscure routes, though they are generally only available through specialist trekking companies. Most prospective climbers arrange their ascent of `Kill’ – as it is popularly called – well in advance, through Nkuringo Safaris. Climbers can take on the Kilimanjaro any time of year, but the hike is more difficult in the rainy months, especially between March and May.

As Africa’s highest peak and most identifiable landmark, Kilimanjaro offers an irresistible challenge to many tourists. Dozens of visitors to Tanzania set off for Uhuru Peak every day, ranging from teenagers to pensioners. Those who make it generally regard the achievement to be the highlight of their time in the country.

Planning Your Tanzania Safari Holidays

Tanzania’s tourist circuit is conveniently defined for first-time safari planning. We estimate ninety percent of visitors divide their Tanzania safari time between the northern safari and Zanzibar islands. If you’re planning on taking this rewarding option, then a Nkuringo Safaris Expert can help you put together a holiday package that satisfies your needs. An 8 to 14-day is perfect for safari-Zanzibar and safari-gorillas combinations.

When considering Zanzibar, you’ll have to carefully consider whether you’ll stay at a hotel in the old Stone Town, out on one of the calm beaches, or a combination of the two. For mountain gorillas, the choice is between gorilla trekking in Rwanda or further northwest in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Both countries offer excellent gorilla experiences, but Uganda provides a longer time with a semi-habituated gorilla family, an activity called Gorilla Habituation Experience.

For a short trip to Tanzania, it is advisable to fly between Arusha (the main starting point for northern Tanzania safaris) and Zanzibar, or Serengeti and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kigali and Serengeti. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll get more of your Tanzania Safari Holiday by flying between lodges and destinations. A fly-in safari will also be less tiring than the standard 4×4 drive-in safari.

After the northern safari circuit and Zanzibar, Tanzania’s other main tourist attraction is Kilimanjaro, which hikers usually climb in five to seven days. Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of those insignificant items on a trip to Tanzania. It is of little interest to a majority of tourists that visit Tanzania. But climbing the great Kilimanjaro is a worthy addition to a safari. Ask one of our experts to guide you on planning.

While most Tanzania safaris concentrate on the super northern reserves (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, and Lake Manyara), the southern and western safari reserves (Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha, Katavi and Mahale Mountains Nationa Parks) form an incredible alternative for laidback visitors that intend to avoid mainstream destinations. Only small exclusive camps catering mainly to fly-in clients are in the southern and western reserves. Consider them if your budget is flexible.

Before you travel, please be informed of the likelihood of catching CORONAVIRUS if you don’t timidly follow operating procedures put in place to protect you and others. For up-to-date local information, visit travelbans.org/africa/tanzania/ or the WHO website. Otherwise, Tanzania is open for tourism and entry, and you’ll need a negative PCR COVID test certificate issued not more than 72 hours before your trip.

With the constant development of the safari industry in Tanzania and regular lodge and camp openings, the message is loud and clear: Tanzania is thriving and open for business. And there’s a reason it remains one of the most sought-after safari destinations: the game viewing is incredible year-round, the people friendly, and the logistics easy.

Because we live right in the center of this enchanting safari destination, we give first-hand travel advisory. Our guests are like family, and we would never give out wrong information to our families. Tanzania’s superb open-space safari attractions are safe to visit, and its warm, open spaces will make your safari holiday a memorable one.

Tanzania is a very secure country with a proud record of internal stability since independence. The 1998 bombings of Dar es Salaam created a panic that has since then faded. Aside from this, those parts of Tanzania regularly visited by tourists have a good safety record. However, occasional armed robberies might occur anywhere, and seasonal political campaigns that concentrate in cities.

Tanzania, like many other democracies across the globe, occasionally goes through short periods of political change. This is centered around Dar es Salam, far from the country’s magnificent safari attractions. And cities, in this Coronavirus age, are a hot-bed for infections. In fact, in some instances, you’ll fly out of Arusha immediately after landing, heading to the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, or any other attraction. Our staff traveling to Tanzania regularly with travelers have reported high airport security levels and standard operating procedures to keep everyone safe.

Crime exists in Tanzania as it does practically everywhere in the world. Tourists, as seen by locals as much richer and conspicuous in their dress, behaviors, and skin color. For all that, Tanzania remains a lower crime risk than many countries, and the social taboo on theft is such that even petty criminal is likely to be beaten badly should they be caught in the act.

Before you travel, please be informed of the likelihood of catching CORONAVIRUS if you don’t timidly follow operating procedures put in place to protect you and others. For up-to-date local information, visit travelbans.org/africa/tanzania/ or the WHO website. Otherwise, Tanzania is open for tourism and entry, and you’ll need a negative PCR COVID test certificate issued not more than 72 hours before your trip.

Tanzania International Restrictions:

Commercial flights are operating to and from Tanzania. To enter Tanzania, passengers must prove a negative COVID-19 test performed within the 72 hours before boarding their flight. Passengers should fill in Health Surveillance Form on the plane or any other transport means and submit them to Port Health authorities upon arrival. The Government of Tanzania is implementing temperature scanning for all international passengers arriving in Tanzania. If you show symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival, you may be required to quarantine at a government-designated facility at your own expense. Travelers entering the country should be aware of possible health risks posed by inadequate protocols and facilities within the quarantine locations. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities. The Government of Tanzania is collecting tracking information for all international passengers arriving in Tanzania.

Please find public health requirements for humanitarian flights here.

Internal Restrictions:

If you’re in Tanzania, you should continue to take sensible precautions and preventive steps to reduce infection risk. Limit your movements and the number of visitors entering your accommodation. It would be best if you visited the NaTHNaC and WHO websites for further advice.

Everyone should comply with the measures in Tanzania to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Some hotels remain closed for the time being. You should contact your accommodation provider for more information. There are no restrictions on public gatherings or services. Some hotels, bars, and restaurants remain closed for the time being. It would be best if you continued to practice measures recommended by PHE, such as hand washing and social distancing.

Before you go to Tanzania, make sure all your routine vaccinations are up to date. The risk of malaria is low during Green Season and very low during peak season. It is higher if you are going into rural areas and villages outside the parks and reserves. If you are going scuba diving afterward, please let them know to ensure they prescribe the correct prophylactic. Check with your travel doctor if you need vaccinations, and be sure to get them timeously.

Yellow fever

The country requirement at entry: a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers aged one year or over arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. For accurate Tanzania yellow fever information http://moh.go.tz/en/yellow-fever-entry.


Due predominantly to P. falciparum, malaria risk exists throughout the year in the entire country except for the Ngorongoro Crater rim. Standard precautions should be taken. WHO recommended prevention: C

Tsetse Flies

Tsetse flies are occasionally abundant in well-wooded areas such as Tarangire and the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. Sleeping Sickness is not a cause for serious concern. Still, the flies are sufficiently aggravating that it is worth applying insect repellent to your arms and legs before game drives (though this doesn’t deter tsetse flies) and avoiding the dark (in particular blue) clothing that attracts them.

Back Problems

Roads between Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti are very rough, for which reason safari-goers with serious back problems or low tolerance for bumpy road trips may want to consider fly-in safaris. If you can’t avoid the drive, one may consider driving a shotgun or central row of seats in a 4×4 safari vehicle. The seats above the rear axel tend to soak up the bumpy punishment. And, carry a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from dust and sunlight.

From Europe

There are only two direct routes from Europe to Tanzania.

  1. 1. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flies directly to Dar es Salaam (DAR) and Kilimanjaro (KIA) from Amsterdam (AMS).
  2. Turkish Airlines from Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (ISL).

Alternatively, travelers from Europe can fly to the pivotal East Africa ‘hub’ of Nairobi then connect to Tanzania with Kenya Airways. KQ offers daily flights to Arusha and Dar es Salaam. Options to Nairobi include British Airways from London Heathrow; Air France from Paris; Swiss Air from Zurich; Brussels Airlines from Brussels; Lufthansa from Frankfurt; and Kenya Airways from London Heathrow or Amsterdam.

You can also connect to Dar es Salaam through Cairo with Egypt Air, Dubai with Emirates, Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways, Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines, Muscat with Oman Air, Doha with Qatar Airways. Some of these airlines also have routes into Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

From North America

There are no direct flights from North America to Tanzania. Travelers have to either make two stops en route; or a single stop in Istanbul or Amsterdam. Turkish Airlines has direct flights from about 13 cities in North America to Istanbul, and then directly to Tanzania; similarly, KLM links rather more North American destinations to Tanzania via Amsterdam. For example, New York’s journey to Dar es Salaam with KLM via Amsterdam takes about 21 hours; getting from Los Angeles currently takes only an hour or so longer, albeit with a tighter flight connection in Amsterdam.

Alternatively, North American travelers can fly directly to Johannesburg from Atlanta with Delta Air Lines, New York (JFK), or Washington-Dulles with South African Airways. Many travelers will then overnight near the airport in Johannesburg before continuing on the relatively short (3 hours 30 minutes) hop to Dar es Salaam with South African Airways.

From South America

The most direct route from South America to Tanzania uses South African Airways direct flight from São Paulo to Johannesburg before connecting to Dar es Salaam. This whole journey typically takes about 15 hours. Other alternatives are often less convenient, using hubs in Europe or the Middle East: key airlines include Ethiopian Airlines, Emirates, KLM, and Turkish Airlines.

From Asia

Kenya Airways has three direct flight links with Asia: with Bangkok, Hanoi, and Mumbai – and then onward connections to all Tanzania’s gateway airports. Alternatively, travelers from Asia will usually fly via a hub in the Middle East, probably using Emirates, Etihad Airways, Oman Air, or Qatar Airways.

Foreigners who intend to visit Kenya do not have to go through the hassle of applying for visas. With US$50 and a couple of questions, you get a visa once you arrive In Dar es Salam or Arusha. The East Africa Single Visa does not apply to Tanzania if you’ll over-landing.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may want to avoid contact with the visa process at the entry point and make sure you have your visa before you jet in. Thanks to technology, this can be done online with little or no hustle as long you have the requirements to getting the visa like passport copy, yellow fever card copy, and other Covid standard requirements by the government. Here are links to help you get started: immigration.go.tz/index.php/en/services/visa-information

When is the best time for a Tanzania safari holiday?

Generally, a Tanzania safari is an all-year-round holiday. Travelers consider many options to tell when the best time is for a safari in Tanzania. A traveler can estimate how much they’re willing to spend, which places they’ll be visiting and how much time they have fixed for the trip on the calendar.

The northern safari attractions are showcasing their best during wildlife drama action between December to April. During this time, the climate is friendly, mostly no rains, and wildlife viewing is climaxing. This is when the Wildebeest have returned to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro area washed with grazers, it’s calving season, the plains are greener, and the preditor steak out in equally impressive numbers. We also believe it’s the best wildlife photography season.

On the whole, everyone else will plainly tell you the best time to visit Tanzania’s attractions is during the Dry season, from late June to October, when wildlife viewing is generally at its best. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round.

When is the best time for the great migration in Tanzania?

The best time for viewing the great migration in Serengeti on safari is usually during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February.

When is the best time to visit Kenya’s coastal beaches?

The best time to visit Tanzania beach destinations is debatable: Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast is hot and humid all year round, and rain can fall at any time. However, we would recommend avoiding the Tanzania coast during the mid-March to late May season when temperatures and rainfall are highest.

Explore the magic of a Tanzania Safari on an airlift over the vast savannah plains.

Tanzania Safari Packages

Photography Safari

Tanzania & Uganda Wildlife Photography Safari

10 Days | Tanzania & Uganda
Arusha, Serengeti, Bwindi

View the itinerary

Classic Kenya Luxury Safari Holiday

Classic Kenya Luxury Safari Holiday

13 Days | Pure Luxury Travel
Nairobi, Tsavo, Laikipia & Masai Mara

View the itinerary

Masai Mara & Gorilla Trekking Safari in Kenya and Uganda

Masai Mara & Gorilla Trekking Safari

10 Days | Fly-in Kenya & Uganda
Entebbe, Bwindi, Masai Mara, Nairobi

View Safari Idea

Kenya Family Safari Holiday, Masai Mara & Mobasa coastal beach

Kenya Family Safari Holiday With Kids

10 Days | Best for Kids 4-10 yrs
Nairobi, Masai Mara & Mombasa Beach

View Holiday Idea

Private/Tailor-made Safari Trips

What is a tailor-made safari?: A Tailor-made safari or private safari is a vacation trip in Africa that is crafted around the traveller’s preferences—likes, expectations, recommendations and travel style—with the guidance of an expert safari consultant. The trips listed above can all be customized to each individual for a perfect safari holiday.

With a wide range of experiences, attractions and great expectations to choose from, putting together a perfect Africa safari vacation can be a daunting task, especially when it’s your first time visiting Africa. And buying a pre-planned Africa safari package may not cut it.

Nkuringo Safaris consultants will listen and learn about your dream of Africa, what type of traveller you are, what moves your emotions, makes you smile and what lasting memories you expect. We’ll then—with you—craft an Africa safari holiday, take care of all the ground handling and take you to your dream with little or no hustle on your part.

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