One of Africa’s top safari destinations, Tanzania has wonderful wildlife, beautiful beaches, idyllic islands and charming culture. From the Great Migration across the Serengeti plains, the untamed wilderness of Selous and Ruaha, trekking up Mount Kilimanjaro, to relaxing on Indian Ocean beaches, Tanzania makes the perfect safari and beach holiday.
Home to some of Africa’s most famous national parks, Tanzania offers a wide range of safari experiences and some of the most diverse and rewarding wildlife viewing of anywhere on the planet. In fact, it’s no surprise that the word, ‘safari,’ which is Swahili for journey, originated here. Added to that, coupled with Zanzibar’s beautiful beaches, Tanzania offers one of the most impressive opportunities for the classic safari and beach holiday.
One of the big draws is Serengeti National Park, Tanzania’s most iconic safari destination. Its open savannah plays host to both the Big Five and the Great Migration, often described as the greatest show on earth. From mid-October to mid-August, you can witness the annual migration of over a million wildebeest, along with hundreds of thousands of zebra, seeking out fresh pastures. Trust us, it is a natural phenomenon like no other and a real once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Serengeti is part of Tanzania’s northern circuit of parks, which also include the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro Crater - the world’s largest unbroken caldera; the cool swampy park of Tarangire with its huge population of elephant, as well as Lake Manyara filled with rosy-hued flamingo and inhabited by tree-climbing lion. As these parks are relatively close to each other, it’s possible to combine a visit to more than one during your stay.
Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is also found in the vicinity. For those with an adventurous spirit and reasonably fit body, we recommend you take on the ultimate challenge by scaling its peaks. To be fair, the ascent is more of a trek than a climb and no technical climbing experience is required. In return for your effort, you will be rewarded with stunning views as you make your way up through lush rainforest, alpine meadow, snow and ice, to the barren lunar landscape at the top.
For those who relish a wilderness experience with excellent game viewing, we suggest heading to southern Tanzania and the more remote parks of Selous and Ruaha. Far from the crowds and off the beaten track, Selous offers the opportunity to experience activities such as walking and boating safaris and is also one of the best places to spot African wild dog. Ruaha is even more remote with plentiful wildlife and offers the chance to explore the bush on foot.
But if you want a taste of what Africa must have been like a century ago, we suggest you head west to Katavi and the Mahale Mountains. Katavi is home to some of the largest herds of big game still left on the continent and is one of Tanzania’s best-kept secrets. And if you love chimps, the Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the best places in the world to view these lovable primates in their natural habitat, on the shores of the breathtakingly beautiful Lake Tanganyika.
After the intense excitement of safari, there can be no better place to retreat than one of Tanzania’s beautiful beaches. While the mainland has some lovely isolated spots, the Zanzibar Archipelago delivers the tropical paradise that visitors to the Indian Ocean expect. For impressive diving and snorkelling around the pristine coral reef, head to Pemba or Mafia Island. For those looking for beach life and culture, Zanzibar has stunning beaches and a trip to Stone Town will deepen your understanding of the central role that Zanzibar played in both the spice and slave trades.