With almost a third of its land protected for wildlife viewing and some of the best game parks on the continent, safari is a way of life in Tanzania. Visitors flock here to witness the epic annual Great Migration pass through the legendary Serengeti – a massive spectacle with wildebeest herds so large they can be seen from space.
The neighbouring Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to an extraordinary selection of predators. Further south, Ruaha National Park offers wild, unconstrained game viewing in a spectacular setting. Add to this the exotic island of Zanzibar and its palm-fringed beaches, Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain – and the jungle-clad shores of Lake Victoria and you have one of the most beautiful, vibrant and diverse countries in Africa.
Snapshot of Tanzania
- Classic safari territory with incredible wildlife
- Serengeti hosts majority of the annual Great Migration
- Numerous iconic highlights and rich culture
- The Great Migration
- Huge, diverse national parks
- Tropical hideaways on Zanzibar Island
With a landmass of 945 203km², Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa and was founded in 1964 with the merger of mainland Tanganyika and the island of Zanzibar. Safari has been a way of life in Tanzania for many years and the country has some of the best game parks in the world.
Among Tanzania’s neighbors are Kenya and Uganda to the north; Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Zambia to the west; and Malawi and Mozambique to the south. The terrain can be broadly divided into three major geographical zones; the narrow lowland coastal strip that adjoins the Indian Ocean; a vast interior plateau that extends over most of the interior, cut in two places by branches of the Great Rift Valley, and lastly, the scattered mountainous regions. Key landmarks include Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park and Lake Victoria. The varied ecosystems include wetlands and marine habitats, vast savannahs, and tropical, subtropical and montane forest.
The 8 292km² Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in the Southern Serengeti has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for four reasons: it contains crucial palaeontological evidence of human evolution; the presence of Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world; the large concentration of wildlife, including 25 000 large animals; the variations in climate, landforms and altitude, resulting in several overlapping ecosystems and distinct habitats.
The country is now home to approximately 120 tribal groups and the citizens are proud of their multicultural heritage. The dominant religions are Christianity and Islam, the latter especially along the coast. The official languages of the country are Swahili and English, however many indigenous languages are still spoken. Arabic is widely spoken in the coastal areas and Zanzibar.
Tanzania’s natural beauty and the sheer density of its plant and wildlife species make it a top destination for ecotourists. Almost a third of the country is protected, providing habitat for hundreds of species across 14 national parks. A fifth of Africa’s large mammals can be found within its borders, including lion, hippo, elephant, zebra and wildebeest, whose mass migration through the Serengeti is a major draw for safari-goers.
The Serengeti’s vast grass-covered plains are home to the world-famous Great Migration and offer unmatched wildlife experiences throughout the year.
Famous for its giant baobab trees and vast herds of elephants, this wild and untamed part of Tanzania gives you a glimpse into an Africa untouched by time.
One of the largest national parks on the continent yet relatively unknown, Ruaha is Africa’s new safari frontier. Ten percent of the world’s lion population lives in this spectacular wilderness area, which is home to an astonishing range of big game in a beautifully diverse landscape
A unique ecosystem in the middle of Lake Victoria, Rubondo Island is a must for those seeking exceptional adventures in a truly wild area.
One of the most iconic wildlife areas in the world, the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater supports some of the richest concentrations of wildlife on the continent.
Tanzania enjoys warm days and cool mornings and evenings year round throughout most of the country. Temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru drop to below freezing, while the coast and lakeside regions are the hottest and most humid. There are two rainy seasons in the country – March to May (long rains) and the period from November to December (the lighter short rains).
Modest clothing is advisable in the bigger towns and cities in Tanzania and particularly in Zanzibar out of respect for Muslim beliefs. It is especially important to cover shoulders and knees. Of course, in the various lodges and camps, and on the beaches of Zanzibar, it is perfectly fine to wear shorts and T-shirts or beachwear.
Generally speaking, light layers of clothing in neutral safari colours of green, khaki and beige are the best items to bring with you, as well as a warmer jacket or fleece for the colder evenings. A hat is also a must! Dark colours such as navy or black are best avoided (they can attract tstese flies) as are bright colours if you are going on safari.
What to pack?
Less is more when it comes to packing. Flights to safari camps are in small planes and you will be limited to a soft bag. A complimentary laundry service is available in all our camps and lodges, and the turn-around time is quick, so we recommend you take fewer items of clothing in light or quick-drying technical fabrics.
- Layers – long- and short-sleeved shirts and trousers
- A warm fleece or jumper
- A lightweight waterproof jacket
- Comfortable but sturdy shoes
- Flip-flops or sandals
- A hat or baseball cap, plus a warm beanie for cold nights and early-morning game drives
- Sunscreen (essential)
- Toiletries – most camps will provide shampoo, shower gel & soap
- A small torch (headlight torch is best)
- Spare batteries, plug adapters and charging equipment
- A good pair of binoculars
- Books or a fully loaded Kindle or iPad for siesta time
At a glance
Capital City: Dodoma (official/administrative); Dar es Salaam (commercial)
Land mass: 945 203km²
Population: c. 49 million
Language: Swahili & English (official); numerous indigenous languages; Arabic is widely spoken in the coastal areas & Zanzibar
Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (Tsh)
International dialling code: +255
Time zone: GMT + 3 hours