An African safari is a definite must do, but very often guests ask, why should we choose Tanzania? 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 neighboring Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to an extraordinary selection of predators. Further south, Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve offer wild, off-the-beaten-track 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 shores of Lake Victoria and you have one of the most beautiful, vibrant and diverse countries in Africa.
1. The Great Migration
Few lifetime experiences can beat that of watching over a million wildebeest plus hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebra – followed by their predators – embark on a 1 000km-long circular trek through the unfenced Maasai Mara and Serengeti in search of seasonal pasture and water. This natural spectacle is both thrilling and profoundly moving.
Strictly speaking, there is no ‘migration season’ as the Great Migration is, in fact, an eternal annual cycle from place to place, year in and year out. Check out our month by month migration breakdown here.
2. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The NCA is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that takes its name from the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera, formed two to three million years ago. Approximately 25 000 large animals live in the natural enclosure formed by the 300km² crater, while the greater conservancy surroundings are home to wildebeest and zebra migratory movement in the wet season. It was recently voted one of the new Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. A Ngorongoro safari is one for the books.
Where to stay : The Highlands Camp
Experience the highlands of the wild Ngorongoro Conservation Area surrounding the camp, home to leopard, buffalo and elephant. A Ngorongoro Crater safari is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Follow ancient Maasai trails to the summit of the Olmoti crater and visit local communities to catch a glimpse into the traditional Maasai way of life that has defined this corner of East Africa for centuries. The famous Ngorongoro Crater is easily accessible from camp, while the setting ensures maximum privacy, a rich adventure and a range of activities not possible elsewhere in Ngorongoro.
3. Ruaha National Park
Ruaha is Tanzania’s largest national park yet unknown, this park covers 20 226km² of the country’s land. Ruaha – named after the Great Ruaha River that serves as a lifeline for the animals of the park in the dry season – forms the core of a much larger wilderness ecosystem of 150 000km². The banks of the Ruaha are a permanent hunting ground for lion, leopard, cheetah, jackal, hyena and the rare and endangered African wild dog, who prey on the waterbuck, impala, and gazelle that come to the river to drink. This is a remote wilderness area that offers an authentic and profound safari experience for those in the know and those who have a special place in their hearts for Tanzania safari parks.
4. Selous Game Reserve
This wild and unspoiled game reserve in southern Tanzania boasts an enticing mix of abundant wildlife and varied terrain to explore. Game-viewing here is rewarding, with plentiful numbers of wild dog, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and more than 400 species of bird. A real highlight of the Selous is the variety of safari activities available, making every day entirely different from the next. Choose from traditional game drives, boat safaris to get up close to the hippos, or walking safaris to take a slower approach to understanding the flora and fauna of the Selous National Park.
Where to stay : Roho ya Selous
Set on a hill overlooking the water, Roho ya Selous sits in the very heart of the Selous Game Reserve. Explore this vast wilderness, home to one of Africa’s largest populations of wild dog, with our expert safari guides. Whether you’re exploring on a game drive in search of leopard lurking in the shady boughs of a fig tree, or out on foot tracking wildlife that’s ventured close to camp during the night, this reserve is full of surprises. With just eight canvas tented rooms, each with air-cooling systems over your bed to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep in the hotter months, Roho ya Selous strikes the perfect balance between comfort and adventure. The Selous is larger than Switzerland and is home to just a handful of small safari camps, ensuring an exclusive safari experience.
On the northeast coast of Zanzibar Island, framed by coconut palms and white sand, is Matemwe village and beach, home to Asilia’s Matemwe properties. Privacy and exclusivity rule at this tropical paradise. Matemwe Beach is one of the most peaceful places on this lush tropical island. With a shallow, coral-fringed lagoon, it is the perfect place for a tropical beach holiday or to relax and unwind after a busy game-viewing safari. Just off the coast is the world-famous Mnemba Atoll, said to provide some of the best diving and snorkeling on the continent. The waters off these mesmerising coral reefs provide brilliant sightings of colourful reef fish, turtles and many species of dolphin, while the deeper Indian Ocean gives you the chance to see humpback whales on their annual migration route between July and November.
Where to stay : Matemwe
The Matemwe properties are perched on an outcrop overlooking a shallow coral-fringed lagoon, with the Indian Ocean glittering ahead. The long stretch of beach has not been noticeably altered by tourism and it remains an important thoroughfare for locals. Fishing and seaweed harvesting are still key to the local economy – at high tide, fishermen can be seen sailing across the lagoon in their dhows. The lodge has a close relationship with the local fishing village, Matemwe Village, situated under the palm trees on the far side of the beach.
6. Communities & Culture
The Masai people originated in the Nile Valley in Northern Africa and migrated south around the 15th century with their cattle. They are possibly Africa’s most famous ethnic group, the Maasai people are semi-nomadic people located primarily in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Once considered fierce warriors and feared by all tribes in the area, the Maasai lost much of their power in the 19th century. Intribe fighting was detrimental to the growth of the tribe as a whole and combined outbreaks of human and cattle disease, followed by severe droughts, decimated both the herds and population of the Maasai. As a result, the masai tribe lost lands they had already conquered and when the British and German colonisers arrived, the Maasai were in no position to avoid colonial conquest and their lands diminished.
Nevertheless, the Maasai turned their backs upon the prizes and temptations offered by the West, and despite education, civilization and western cultural influences they remained faithful to their ancestry and traditional way of life, making them the strong symbol they are today of East African culture. Read more about this East African tribe here
7. Rubondo Island
Lying in the southwestern corner of Lake Victoria, the whole of Rubondo Island is given over to conservation. It is Africa’s largest island national park. Over three-quarters of its 25000 hectares are blanketed in untouched equatorial forest – an unusual protected habitat for Africa’s wildlife. One of the most undisturbed ecosystems on the planet, Rubondo is a paradise for wildlife. Visitors to Rubondo Island have the unique opportunity to experience the Chimpanzee habituation process of one of man’s closest relatives.
Where to stay : Rubundo Island Camp
Rubondo Island Camp is the only lodge on Rubondo Island, the largest island national park in Africa. Tropical forests provide a protected habitat for wildlife that includes sitatunga, elephant, giraffe, 200 species of birds and wild chimpanzees. From its lakefront location to the eco-friendly design of the eight fabulous cottages, the camp offers unrivaled access to this one-of-a-kind destination, where elephant roam wild, colourful birds and butterflies flit through the pristine indigenous rainforest and the waters teem with hippo, crocodile and the iconic Nile perch.
8. Tarangire National Park
Tarangire is a park for those who want to step that much further off the beaten track to experience a truly wild area. A Tarangire National Park safari boasts large herds of elephant and buffalo, and a remarkable concentration of big cats and is one of the best National Parks in Tanzania. The African wild dog, kudu, oryx and gerenuk, rarely found in other parks in the northern circuit, can also be found here, along with arguably the best bird diversity in Africa.
Tarangire National Park has wonderful experiences to offer throughout the year. The vast herds of wildlife drawn to the waters of the Tarangire River in the dry season make for outstanding viewing, while the lush grasslands and wildflowers that flourish just after the long rains provide the best opportunity for walking safaris. It is particularly hot during the short rains in November and December.
Journey with us on a safari that takes you into the heart of Africa. Witness nature’s greatest wildlife spectacles from our intimate camps, situated to deliver the very best experiences. Our expert guides reveal to you the secrets of the wild, and our sensitive approach helps crucial wilderness areas to thrive.