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.

Post Lock down Safari Adventures in East Africa

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

The end of year 2019 hit the world with the Corona virus disease forcing many to cancel their safari adventures. The disease spread very fast around the globe forcing a number of countries to lock-down their economies.

The tourism and travel sector were among the most affected as airports were closed shattering hopes of adventure travelers. After over 5 months of lock-down, there is hope to the tourism industry as economies are opening up once again. 

Some East African countries that are worlds’ leading wildlife destinations have responded positively to restarting tourism.  So far Kenya, Rwanda & Tanzania have open to international travelers and those interested in safari adventures can visit.

Below are your favorite East African wild places where you can have the best post lock-down break.

Located in the great rift valley region is the famous Masai Mara game reserve an ecosystem with diverse wildlife species. The Reserve is inhabited by over 95 mammal species, 400 bird species a number of reptiles and amphibian species. A combination of all these make safari adventures in the game reserve worthwhile.

Safari Adventures in Masai Mara

Masai Mara game reserve is one of the best places to see predators like lions, hyenas, leopards and cheetahs.

The predators take an advantage of the wildebeest migration a mass movement of over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles.  These move annually from the Serengeti plains of northern Tanzania across the border into Kenya searching for pastures. 

These natural wonders attracts various tourists and would be one of the best post lock-down safari adventures to opt for. Wildlife in Masai Mara can be enjoyed on game drives  where you see animals and birds the reserve has.

Safari adventures you engage in here include game drives, balloon safaris, guided nature walks, cultural encounters, camping, birding among others.

Best time to Visit

The best time to have a wildlife tour in Masai Mara is in the dry season from June to November.  In the wet season from December to May, you can still visit the park and have a great time.

Getting There

Kenya opened the airport to international travelers on 1st August 2020 and you can therefore a safari to Masai Mara.  Those who are in Kenya already can directly drive to the reserve for safaris after 5 months of lock-down.

Masai Mara can be accessed by road and air transport from Nairobi Kenya’s capital city. Main airstrips in the reserve include Mara Serena airstrip and Kichwa Tembo airstrip which reduces on the travel time.  A road trip is also rewarding as you start your wildlife experiences as soon as you enter the game reserve.  

Rwanda Safari Adventures

Just like Kenya, Rwanda also opened the airport to international travelers on 1st August 2020. Rwanda gorilla tours are among the most rewarding wildlife safari adventures while in East Africa.

In Rwanda’s Volcanoes national park  you can have ultimate post lock-down tours to meet the mountain gorillas. The mountain gorilla population is now 1063 and Volcanoes national park Rwanda is among the best places to see them. The park has over 10 habituated mountain gorilla families that are open to tourist visitation. 

Note that only 8 tourists are allowed to track one gorilla family per day. Tourists are allowed in the presence of the gorillas for one hour after a 2 to 6 hours hike. 

While on the hike, you get to see other wildlife species like birds and if lucky can spot forest elephants. Volcanoes national park has other primates like golden monkeys and you can have tailor made itineraries featuring them. Wildlife activities you can enjoy in the park include mountain gorilla tracking, birding, guided nature walks in the park.

Other Rwanda Safari Adventures

You can also opt for mountain hiking with a hike to mount Karisimbi and have an overnight in the mountain. For cultural experiences, visit the gorilla guardian village where you will get to know more about the local peoples’ culture.

You can visit Nyungwe national park further south to meet the chimpanzees, have a canopy walk and other primates.  For a combined primate and wildlife safari experience in Rwanda you can add Akagera national park to the itinerary.

Now that the airport is open, visit Rwanda for exclusive post lock-down safari adventures.

Tanzania was against all odds of lock-down and totally refused to close its border to international travelers.  While other countries lock-down economies, Tanzania was open and welcoming those interested in exploring the wildlife destinations in the country.

Now that other countries are opening up airports, travel has increased and you can visit Tanzania’s Seregenti National park. Tanzania has many safari destinations but Serengeti takes the number one spot of the Must visit places while in Tanzania.

Serengeti Safari Adventures

Serengeti is the genesis of the wildebeest migration exodus of animals up-north across the border to Masai Mara game reserve. This is not your usual exodus but a mass movement of millions of animals. Animals on the migration include gazelles, zebras, and wildebeest as they look for fresh grazing grounds.

While in Serengeti you can have endless game drives following the wildebeest migration and spotting the predators. Major predators in Serengeti include lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, crocodiles. Savanna wildlife giants like Elephants, hippos can also be seen here in large herds plus a number of bird species.

Serengeti can be visited any time of the year but if best experiences can be enjoyed from June to September. This is the best time to witness the wildebeest migration and predator action. 

For now these three East African countries are very open for both local and international tourism. They are very highly recommended destinations as the world of tourism regains momentum.