Exclusive Tanzania Wildlife Destinations You Must Visit

Tanzania is one of the most visited wildlife destinations in East Africa. The country’s size gives it an advantage of a large area size for wildlife no wonder it has some of the highest wildlife concentrations in the region. East Africa in general is a great place to visit but destination Tanzania stands out. It is highly recommended for those seeking exclusive wildlife destinations and adventures. Let us briefly look at the major exclusive wildlife destinations you must not miss out while on a visit to this beautiful country.

Lions in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania. Tanzania Wildlife destinations
Lions in Selous Game Reserve Tanzania. Courtesy Photo

The Selous

Selous game reserve also known as Nyerere national park is Tanzania’s leading exclusive wildlife destination. The park is located in the remote southern part and is also Tanzania’s and Africa largest protected area with a land area of 19,000 square kilometers. Selous has a number of wildlife species including giraffes, elephants, hippos, wild dogs, buffaloes, greater Kudus, elands and over 440 bird species. There is also unique vegetation species of the Miombo woodlands including baobab trees. It is from this basis that the park was listed among the world heritage sites by UNESCO.

Much as the biggest part of the park is used as a hunting area, about 8% of it is strictly for tourism and hunting in the tourism area is prohibited. Here adventure tourist especially wildlife photographers get to capture best moments in the park. The location of the park makes it not easily accessed by Many tourists and it therefore among the less crowded places in Tanzania. Unlike mass tourism experienced in parks like Serengeti, a safari in Nyerere national park is totally exclusive. The park can be best explored while on game drives and guided walking safaris.

The dry season from June to October is the best time to visit Selous game reserve. Here major game drive trails are dry easy to maneuver and the short grass makes it easy to spot wildlife. During the dry season some of the animals can be seen along River Rufigi as they take water. If you are seeking for exclusive wildlife safaris in Tanzania ensure to have sells as your number one destination.

The Ngorongoro Crater

This is world’s largest unfilled volcanic caldera with 610 meters deep and a floor of 260 square kilometers. It is also listed among the World heritage sites and it is one of Africa’s natural wonders. The crater is an attraction it self but has many other attractions including the various relief features within the crater. These include Rivers, lakes, vegetation varieties like forests, woodlands, grasslands all of whom are habitats to a number of wildlife species.

Notable wildlife seen on game drives on the crater floor include waterbucks, lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, wildebeest and many bird species. The Ngorongoro crater being a natural enclosure makes it one of the exclusive wildlife destinations in Tanzania. It also offers a wide range of activities that once can engage in including birding, game drives, nature walks among others.

Just like many other wildlife destinations in Tanzania, the best time to visit the crater is during the dry season. Here there are minimal rainfall disturbances and game drives can easily be executed with easy wildlife viewing. The wet season from November to May is also a good time to visit and with the rains the number of guests reduce. The wet season is also a time the migratory birds from Europe set in and is the best time for birding.

Much as Uganda’s Kibale national park and Nyungwe forest Rwanda are most famous for chimpanzees, Tanzania’s Gombe national park is another beautiful chimpanzee trekking destination. The park is located near lake Tanganyika in the rugged mountainous forested landscapes that are not only home to chimpanzees but also other primates and birds.

Gombe national park has a number of steep valleys with streams. There is also a waterfall that can be seen while on a guided nature walk in this forested national park. Chimpanzee trekking is the most commonly done wildlife activity here. The chimpanzees here were made famous by Jane Goodall who started her research In the early 1960’s and has done a tremendous job in primate conservation not only in Tanzania.

The park can be mainly explored on foot on the guided primate treks, natures walks in the forest or along the shores of Lake Tanganyika Africa’s deepest lake. For exclusive primate trekking in Tanzania and East Africa in general visiting Gombe national park would be great.

Ruaha is Tanzania’s second largest national park also located in the southern part. The park covers a land area of 7,809 square kilometers and also home to a variety of wildlife species. The four of the big five mammals occur here namely elephants, buffaloes, lions and leopards. Ruaha is also a great place to see Africa’s predators and big cats. It is the best places to see lions as prides of over 20 individuals are seen in the park.

Giraffes, hippos, zebras and over 450 bird species also occur in the park and all these can be seen on game drives and guided walks. Hot air ballon safaris are incredible offering great panoramic views of the parks wildlife. The park Is totally exclusive with limited accommodation facilities. Wildlife safaris here are very classic and undisturbed best for honeymooners and those who prefer their peace and quiet.

The park can be accessed by both road and air transport though air transport is the most convenient one. The road transfer from Dar-es-salaam takes about 10 hours drive with en route stop overs for photography and a lunch break. Incase you do not want this long drive you can have a stopover at Mukumi national park for an adventure and then proceed to Ruaha the next day. Since air transport is costly the road transfer would be an option and very rewarding in terms of adventure.

Ruaha is undoubtedly one of Tanzania’s most exclusive wildlife destinations and can be visited throughout the year. For better wildlife experiences though you can visit in the dry season from May to October.

Wildebeest Migration Safari Diaries

The wildebeest migration safari is an annual mass animal migration in the Masai mara and Serengeti Eco system. The migration involves a movement of millions of wildebeest, Thompson gazelles, zebras across the open plains searching for fresh pastures. The wildebeest migration safari is a wildlife wonder to look out for when visiting Kenya and Tanzania for a classic African wildlife experience.

The annual animal movement features the mating, calving and growth stages that keeps the crowds alive. A number of these are also targeted by the deadly predators the ecosystem has from Lions to the deadly crocodiles in the River Grumeti and Mara. Despite all these challenges, the births along the trail keeps the animals in the migration going year in year out.

All these happen in a particular month transcending into another. This helps travellers to know the best month or stage to catch up with the migration.

Wildebeest Migration Safari. African Safaris
Wildebeest Migration. Courtesy Photo

Wildebeest Migration safari Month by Month

The wildebeest migration being an annual migration gives a unique experience each month or quarter. The calving period is a great time to view the newly borns and how they adopt with the deadly open savanna’s. The River Crossings are the most anticipated as wildebeest struggle crossing the paths of the deadly crocodiles. Let is briefly look the the wildebeest migration safari activity month per month. For anyone planning a safari featuring the migration this would help to know when to visit or what to expect at a particular month.

December to February

The rains in November favours growth of pasture that the wildebeest continue to feed on as they slowly drift south of Serengeti. From mid November throughout January Southern Serengeti is the best place to catch up with the migration. More wildebeest continue calving reaching the peak in February.

A Serengeti Safari around February is humbling as you might get to see wildebeest births in the wilderness. The predators use this time attacking the young and  isolated wildebeest as the crowd slowly moves towards Central Serengeti.

March to April

These months are wet and high chances of rainfall. This however does not deter the wildebeest migration journey in Central and western Serengeti. There is often plenty of pastures to feed on and much it is a low tourist season, the migratory birds set in making a wildebeest migration safari even more enjoyable.

While in Tanzania ensure to book your accommodation strategically to catch up with the live a action wildebeest migration.

May to June

As May sets in, the wildebeest move towards Northern Serengeti always driven by the need for fresher grazing grounds. May is also a transition month from the wet to the dry season and a great time for wildlife viewing.

The wildebeest plus other major herbivores continue sweeping across the north as they prepare for their adventure in the Masai Mara. The rains in March and April increase the water levels of Grumeti River but by June it starts reducing and the wildebeest start their River crossing quest. At the Grumeti River you can spot some crocodiles but River crossings are not as enjoyable as the Mara River crossings. Nevertheless, it is always fascinating to see the bold wildebeests that take the first jump leading the whole group.  

July to September

The July to September period doubles as the peak tourist season and it is very significant time for a wildebeest migration safari. It features the migration River crossings in the Serengeti and Masai Mara Ecosystems. Two major Rivers are Grumeti and Mara. These are home to some of world’s deadliest Nile crocodiles that the Wildebeest have to overcome on their journey northwards to the great Masai Mara.

The wildebeest River crossings start in July as the wildebeest would have reached Western Serengeti. The major first River Crossing obstacle they meet is River Grumeti and tense but quite a sight to see for adventure lovers. Towards the end of July, the surviving herds of the wildebeest continue to northern Serengeti. From early to mid August, the crowds proceed through northern Serengeti into Masai Mara and cross the Mara River yet another obstacle on their journey.

In the Mara region they get to enjoy the lush grasses that act as hiding places for worlds’ fierce predators especially the lions. While in the Mara ecosystem, the wildebeest traverse the northern Mara conservancies before starting their journey back to the Serengeti. Here they once again Cross the Mara River an event that attracts a number of tourists.

For those interested in the River Crossing, the best time to catch up these in Serengeti is early July. From Mid July to September Masai Mara would be place to be.

October to November

By this time the wildebeest start slowly drifting towards northern Serengeti. Those visiting Tanzania during this time of the year the best place to catch up with the migration is the Serengeti Lobo Area. The month of October being a transition month from the dry to wet season, the rains set in especially towards the end. This gives a boost to vegetation growth enabling the wildebeest enough pastures for grazing.

The calving period also starts and with the young ones coming in it reboots and rejuvenates the wildebeest population. The lush vegetation however attracts a number of predators that sometimes target the young ones. Survival in the Serengeti is by chance but many survival despite the attacks from the predators.

Plan your visit to magical Kenya and Tanzania to be part of the never ending Wildebeest migration safari adventures. Remember these feature classic African encounters of major wildlife species including birds and predators.

There are a number of tented camps and lodges where one can stay to enjoy the wildebeest migration. Some tented camps are temporary and change to new locations depending on the movement of wildebeest. Now that the peak season has set in it is time to book your bucket list adventure to either Serengeti or Masai mara. The best time for these safaris are early mornings as you get to see the early risers some returning from hunting. 

Reasons Why Tanzania is East Africa’s Ultimate Safari Destination

Millions of adventure tourists visit Tanzania every year to be part of East Africa’s ultimate safari experiences. The country is blessed with diverse wildlife species topping bucket lists of many adventure lovers. Here are some of the reasons why Tanzania is East Africa’s number one safari destination.

1. Safari Destination of all Seasons

Many believe that the dry season from June to October is the only best time for a safari in Tanzania. This is totally untrue as the best time is dependent on the wildlife you would like to spot.

Tanzania can be visited anytime of the year and experience varies depending on when you choose to visit. The wildebeest migration is among the leading safari attractions in Tanzania and be best viewed from July to September.

If you are interested in viewing wildebeest river crossings, August to September are the best months for your safari. November to May are best times for those who don’t like crowds. The season is wet but characterised with wildebeest and antelope calving in southern Serengeti.

The scenery of the park is beautiful green and its usually the time for migratory birds. This is the best time for a birding safari and for predator viewing as they take advantage of the calves.

Wildebeest Migration. Tanzanian Safari Experiences
Wildebeest River Crossing. Photo by George the Explorer

2. Vast Wildlife Numbers

Tanzania is one African safari destination where you get to witness wildlife species in large numbers. Serengeti National park alone has an estimated lion population of over 3,000 lions seen in prides of up-to 20 lions. Selous Game reserve in the south has over 15,501 elephants that are usually seen on game drives in the reserve.

over 200,000 zebra, 300,000 Thompson gazelles and 1.5 million wildebeest take part in the wildebeest migration. This makes Tanzania an outstanding safari destination and best place to see wildlife in large numbers.

Most of these large wildlife populations are seen while on game drives or while on hot air balloon safaris.

3. Cradle Land for Africa’s Highest Mountain

Mount Kilimanjaro Africa’s highest mountain at an Elevation of 5,895 meters is located in northeastern Tanzania. The mountain is actually world’s highest single free-standing mountain another wonder to look out for on a Safari in Tanzania.

Those interested in Mountain climbing can take on the Kilimanjaro adventurous hike offering scenic views of the greater East Africa. Visit Kilimanjaro National park a UNESCO World heritage site with wildlife species like elephants, bush-bucks, tree hyrax among others.

A mount Kilimanjaro hike takes 5 days for experienced hikers though at-least seven to eight days are recommended. The best time for the Kilimanjaro hike is in the dry season from with minimum rainfall disturbances.

5. BigFive Safari Destination

You can experience Africa’s big five mammals in Tanzania’s National park while on a safari there. The big Five include Lions, Elephants, Buffaloes, Rhinos and Leopards. Tanzania’s national parks like Serengeti has all these often seen while on game drives.

These particular animals were named the big five because they were difficult animals to be hunted by trophy hunters. Wild animal lovers on safari are usually eager to see them in the wild and Tanzania gives one that opportunity.

The Big Five can also be seen is the Ngorongoro crater a unique ecosystem and home to other wildlife species. Wildlife here is seen on game drives on the Crater floor that is flat offering endless views over the horizon.

6. Perfect Beach Holiday Destination

Tanzania having a long coastline is one East African destination for beach holidays. The coastline has beautiful white sand beaches perfect for sunbathing and beach sport like Volleyball and beach soccer.

The white sand beaches are usually great getaway destinations after a safari in the Savanna national parks. They are also great for honeymooners as here you just relax enjoying scenic views of the blue waters of the Indian ocean. Most popular Tanzania Beaches include Nungwi beach, Kendwa beach, Unguja beach all along the Zanzibar Island.

Nungwi Beach Tanzania Safari
Nungwi Beach Tanzania. Courtesy Photo

Wildlife Safari Tales of The Serengeti Wilderness

Serengeti national park is one stop wildlife destination located in northwestern Tanzania. Serengeti is famous for the wildebeest migration an exodus of animals including hartebeest, wildebeest and antelopes  seeking for fresh pasture.

The name Serengeti was derived from a Maasai word “Seringit” meaning endless plains explaining the geographical nature of the park.

The Serengeti ecosystem covers an area of 30,000 square kilometers combining Serengeti national Park and other small game reserves. With this vast size, the Serengeti plains are homes to various wildlife species with natural wonders like the wildebeest migration.

The wildebeest migration is the second largest animal migration on Earth an excellent experience for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers.

Wildlife in Serengeti

The Serengeti area boosts various wildlife species with East Africa’s big five mammals like Lions, Elephants, buffaloes, Leopards and Cheetahs. Its one of the wildlife destinations with large lion populations and best place for seeing these fierce cats. The total Lion population here is estimated at 3000 and its supported by the many herbivores the lions prey on.

Other predators in Serengeti include African Leopards, Cheetahs, spotted hyenas, wild dogs though these are a bit scarce.

Serengeti has many East Africa’s grazers including many antelope species like the topi, elands, gazelles, water-bucks, zebras and the wildebeest. Major giants include elephants, giraffes, hippos often sighted in large groups of up to 100 of them in one place.

For birders, Serengeti is a birders haven with over 1000 bird species recorded including native and migratory bird species. Often seen birds include the Fischer’s lovebird, Silver-bird, Eagles like the Verreaux’s eagle, rufous-tailed weaver among others.

Serengeti has many wildlife habitat landscapes like rivers, swamps, grasslands, kopjes, all acting as homes to the diverse wildlife species. Rivers like Grumeti are homes to large crocodile populations and hippos in the shallow waters.

Zebras and Topi in the Plains of Serengeti National Park Tanzania
Wildlife in Serengeti NP. Courtesy Photo

Tourist Activities in Serengeti

Game drives are the most common activities in Serengeti done seeking to meet the major wildlife species in the park. Early morning game drives offer nocturnal wildlife encounters especially the big cats lions lions, leopards and cheetahs.

You also get to see early risers and enjoy sounds of nature plus a morning sunrise over the Serengeti horizon. You can opt for mid morning and evening game drives that are equally rewarding.

There are air balloon safaris that give an aerial view of the park offering a wide coverage of sight seeing. This offers great views of the herds of animals even those on the wildebeest migration.

For more intimate experiences with wildlife then guided nature walks are best options in Serengeti. These are often led by local Masai warriors and trained park rangers with great knowledge about the wildlife in Serengeti.

Birding is widely done in Serengeti national park and various birds are often spotted freely flying over the Serengeti plains.

Best time to Visit

Serengeti national park can be best visited in the dry seasons with minimal disturbances of rainfall. Rainfall usually occur in the two dry seasons from March to May and from October to November.

For remarkable East African wildlife safaris visit Serengeti national park in Tanzania and have your Serengeti and African wildlife tale.

The Great Wildebeest Migration

Wildebeest Migration. Tanzanian Safari Experiences
Wildebeest River Crossing. Photo by George the Explorer

The wildebeest migration is one of East Africa’s great wildlife wonders.  Millions of animals including the wildebeest, Gazelles and zebras move in the open plains of the Masai Mara and Serengeti Ecosystems.

The migration is combined with natural phenomena including reproduction with newly borns during the course of the journey.  Other wildebeests and antelopes are feasted on by the ecosystems great predators. 

The Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti

The wildebeest migration is an amazingly circular journey throughout the Serengeti national park in northern Tanzania. It then transcends to Masai Mara game reserve across the border in southern Kenya and the edge of the NgoroNgoro Crater in Tanzania as the cycle continues. This natural trek attracts a number of tourists who usually visit Kenya’s Masai Mara Game reserve and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and the Ngoro Ngoro crater areas where they get a chance to witness this amazing wildlife experience while on game drives along the major wildebeest tracks.

It should be noted that during the wildebeest migration, an estimated 1.5 millions wildebeest, over 200,000 zebras and over 350,000 gazelles plus other hoofed animals take park in the wildlife trek and up to now its not clearly known how these herbivores know which direction to take up north though some believe that they are guided the animals response to weather including rain and lightening and the growth of new pastures.

What’s more amazing about the grazers of the Serengeti and Mara ecosystems is that they have various eating habits while on their great wildlife trek. The first grazer group feeds on the top to the middle of the tallest grasses followed by the grazer group that feeds on from the middle height grass till the pasture is about to be completely finished and then they continue with the course of the journey looking for fresh pasture a journey that attracts some of the lands deadliest predators including the big cats like Lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and also the large Crocodiles along the major rivers in the ecosystem readily await to take down their prey.

The Migration Per Month

This annual animal migration has no defined start or ending but can be categorised by months depending on the animal movements and characteristics at that particular time. During the early months of the year that are January, February and March its when most births take place where in just a period of about three weeks over 400,000 calves are born. At this time of the year the animals occupy and move along the edge of Serengeti National park moving towards the Ngoro Ngoro crater and around the Olduvai gorge area all in Tanzania.

This area has massive lands covered with pastures and usually great places for the mother animals to raise the calves. Some people actually consider the births as the start of the wildebeest migration as in the process the young ones if not eaten by the predators also join the massive journey and by the end of the year when the animals are back in Serengeti and the Ngoro Ngoro area there are new births and the cycle continues.

The Predators

With the over 400,000 herbivore births, there are usually a number of predators in the area that usually hunt down the young ones with ease and even take down the old ones as well as long as they can manage the attack. The tourists interested in seeing the births and calving can consider visiting southern Tanzania in these early months of the year. During the first quarter of the year that are the months of April and May, the animals move steadily towards central Serengeti that at that time has fresh pastures a key attraction of the grazers.

Central Serengeti national park also has other herbivores like gazelles and zebras that are integrated in the wildebeest crowds naturally and during this time the mating season begins where the male contenders battle for the females. The migration still continues towards western Serengeti when the Month of June and July set in with a dry season and the herbivores on their trek northwards are challenged with having to cross Grumeti River that has many crocodiles that early await for prey.

The Wildebeest Migration River Crossings

This river crossing provides spectacular views as the animals fight for their way to continue with the journey north of Serengeti towards the border and then cross over to Kenya’s’ Masai Mara where they have to cross the Mara River that is even more deadlier with many crocodiles. By the end of July the many animals are usually in the Masai Mara region and more continue with the challenge of crossing the Mara River. In the months of August and September they spread more over the Masai Mara region feeding on the fresh pastures here as some more that initially remained in the northern Serengeti parts also keep crossing over a process where many are eaten by the predators.

The animal crowds continue to move eastwards of the Mara plains during the months of September to October where they are challenged again with the Mara River crossing on their quest southwards. When November and December sets in, the animals spread over Eastern Serengeti and then further south where at this time the pastures are usually lush attracting many of these herbivores. While here, as the first months of the year sets in, the calving process begin once again and the cycle continues.

Other Adventure Activities

While on your journey to destination East Africa and are very much interested in this incredible wildlife Safari experience that also features big five animals, you can choose to visit Kenya or Visit Tanzania depending on the time of the year you plan to come. The East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania apart from the wildebeest migration have other tourist safari attractions that can be explored in the countries’ major national parks.

In case you also want beach holidays then you can add them as a supplementary to the wildebeest migration tours where you can later visit Zanzibar islands or the coastal beaches of Diani, Malindi, Dar es salaam or Watamu that have pure white sands and you can get to enjoy marine wildlife experiences seeing water animals like dolphins, whales, sharks, sea turtles, features like coral reefs and many other outstanding attractions.