Where to go for a Tanzania SafariBroken down by the 3 major Tanzania Safari Circuits - Northern Circuit, Southern Circuit & Western Circuit
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One of the first questions we are often asked is Where to go for a Tanzania Safari.
Bordered by Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda and Kenya and bounded by the shores of the Indian Ocean on the west, Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa. It is famous for being one of the best wildlife destinations in the world, and there are few places where nature so fully abounds. As the first president Julius Nyerere said, “These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are… a source of wonder and inspiration”.
Tanzania does however have a lot of other things to offer tourists including the snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, the island paradise of Zanzibar and the amazing south.
Different Areas For Tanzanian Safari
Tanzania Safari Locations are split into 4 different areas
- Northern Circuit – the most popular area to visit home to the world famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater – a must see for Tanzania visitors. Mt Kilimanjaro and the volcanic Meru & Ol Doinyo Lengai tower over the parks.
- Southern Circuit- this is the real Tanzania – remote, off the beaten track areas, few tourists and some hardships. A place for real adventure in the massive Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.
- Western Circuit– embracing the parks along Lake Tanganyika, the western border of Tanzania. This is home to Tanzania’s resident chimpanzee populations.
- Swahili Coast & Islands – the historic Swahili Coast towns of Kilwa and Tanga combine beautiful beaches and history; while the magical Spice Islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia are world
Tanzania is an east African behemoth lying in equatorial splendour; Tanzania’s eastern borders are the warm waters of the Indian Ocean; including it’s white sandy beaches and the balmy islands of Pemba, Mafia and exotic Zanzibar.
Tanzania’s inland borders are largely bounded by natural frontiers – Lake Tanganyika Africa’s deepest lake to the west, Lake Malawi in the southwest, the southern Ruvuma River forms the border with Mozambique, and Lake Victoria the world’s second largest lake borders the north-west. The huge extinct volcanoes of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru form the border with Kenya.
These 95,0000 sq.km country is dotted with permanent and seasonal lakes and rivers including the great Ruaha, the Rufiji and tributaries of the Nile which give the country more surface water than any other African country and provide the lifeblood for many Tanzanian destinations.
Tanzania includes the highest and lowest points on the African continent snow-capped Kilimanjaro at 6000m and the bottom of Lake Tanzania 400m below sea level both of which can be combined with a Tanzania safari.
Nearly a quarter of all Africa’s animals are found in the magical land of Tanzania and over a quarter of the country is made up of national parks – in short a land made for wildlife safaris.
Budget is also a factor when choosing where to go on a safari read our article on the costs involved behind a Tanzanian safari and the official Tanzania National Park Fees
Savannah is perhaps the quintessential African landscape but Tanzania has much more. – mountain ranges, woodland and forest, marsh and swamp, rivers and lakes, mangroves and coral reefs.
From the fertile coastal zone the planes rise up the Maasai Steppe an area encompassing 50,000 square kilometres of open grassland supporting over 3,000,000 large game animal in the Serengeti alone. Semi-arid, the steppe is a gently undulating carpet of red oat grass in the rainy season broken only by the eroded stumps of old hard basement rocks called inselbergs or kopjes. Have you seen the Lion King? Pride rock is based on a very famous kopje in the central Seronera area of Serengeti – now you know where to go on a Tanzania Safari with kids.
The eastern arm of the rift valley which has done so much to form the topography the of the continent is about 100 km wide here and divides the northern steppe from the vast central plateau. Roughly encircling the interior is a broken curve of ancient crystalline hills that rise near Kilimanjaro and follow the north and south Paare mountains, the Usambaras, Udzungwa and finally finishing in the southern highlands. These areas such as Udzungwa Mountains National Park preserve isolated remnants of the equatorial forest which in the long past stretched in an unbroken belt from west to east Africa, now they are reduced to these islands of endemic species; home to animals and plants found nowhere else in the world.
Tanzania’s predominant vegetation in the west is miombo woodland – grasslands filled with Brachystagia trees. This belt flows from Lake Victoria in the north to Mozambique in the north over 1200km.
This is occasionally broken up by features of the rift valley including small lakes and craters such as Lake Eyasi. Eyasi is home to one of Tanzania’s 120 tribes and probably the most unique. The Hadzabe are hunter gatherers and speak a similar click language to the Bushmen of the Kalahari- a great location for a Tanzanian coastal safari.
The coastline of Tanzania known as the Swahili Coast was at Kilwa Kisiwani the starting point for the Swahili culture where Arabs arrived and integrated with the tribes producing the Swahili culture we know today.