exclusive safaris in tanzania
Tanzania is perhaps the most diverse and alluring country in East Africa, with a remarkable range of exclusive safari options to combine with the amazing tropical islands of Zanzibar.
The so called Northern Circuit, centred on Serengeti and Ngorongoro, is generally considered to be the best location for traditional overland safaris, providing an awesome combination of scenery, wildlife and culture. This is also where the incredible migration of thousands of wildebeest and zebra takes place.
Northern Tanzania is also home to several tribes, most notably the Maasai and the Hadzabe.
Nearby Mount Kilimanjaro is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic mountain peaks… and both are located within a short flight of the wonderful tropical beaches of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia islands.
In the south and west of thje mainland are the superb fly-in reserves of Ruaha, Selous, Katavi and Mahale (the latter being perhaps the best location for primate interaction in Africa).
Ruaha is one of the finest game reserves in Africa… one whose reputation is founded upon its enormous size, lack of human encroachment, broad range of landscapes and habitats, rich and diverse range of wildlife, the quality of its camps and superb quality of guiding. A very special place indeed!
Apart from a few isolated springs, the main water source is the Ruaha river itself, which acts as a major lure for game from an enormous dry hinterland, where gameviewing highlights include elephant, lion, leopard and hunting dog. (The dry season is from June – November.)
During the converse green season (December – March) Ruaha is an absolutely beautiful and verdant place, where game viewing may be more difficult, but where the overall experience should be no less intense.
Ruaha is best visited for five or more nights, in a combination of two or even three camps.
At a massive 44,800 square kilometres … bigger than Switzerland … Selous is one of the largest and most important game reserves in Africa.
Being located on the humid coastal plateau and with the Great Rufiji river winding its way through the heart of the landscape, Selous has an unusually tropical and languid atmosphere. Selous is not nearly as crowded as the Serengeti, and is particularly famous for elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, black rhinos, African hunting dogs, hippos and crocodiles. The Selous swamps, rivers and wetlands also allow tourists to enjoy their safari by boat, which is a big draw. Walking safaris are also popular here, as are night drives.
The numbers of game in the Selous are astounding. The reserve is thought to contain up to 70,000 elephant (around 8% of the total population in Africa)… 120,000 buffalo, 40,000 hippo, 4,000 lion … the list goes on.
In recent years the reserve was badly mis-managed and there was a great deal of poaching, but a new regime now seems to be getting things back under control.
Selous North only represents about 20% of the land area, but this is the only part of the reserve open to the general public – and it contains almost all of the safari camps. Selous South, the remainder of the reserve, is a vast and virtually uncharted wilderness, largely comprised of hunting blocks and therefore off limits until recently…
when to go…
If you’d like to see the Great Annual Migration of thousands of zebra and wildebeest unfold, head to Tanzania’s northern parks – the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas. The best time to witness the migration is probably February – March when the wildebeest and zebra have their young. Not only can you enjoy seeing baby animals, but the predators are at their highest number too. The migration usually moves out of the Serengeti area by the end of June and doesn’t return until December.
June to November is Tanzania’s dry season and is the best time to visit all the parks, especially Tanzania’s Southern Parks (which become more difficult to reach during the wet season). During the dry season the animals tend to congregate around permanent water and it isn’t so hot and humid.
All of Tanzania’s parks suffer from the rains which generally fall from March to May in the North, and from November to May in the South and West. Roads get washed out and given the sheer size of Tanzania’s parks, the animals tend to spread out, which makes wildlife viewing less satisfying (if you’re looking for sheer numbers of animals).