Top 5 Reasons to Travel to Tanzania
East Africa’s second largest country, Tanzania, is one of the most captivating and diverse African safari destinations. Boasting a remarkable array of national parks and game reserves, ranging from the expansive and world-renowned Serengeti National Park to the wild and secluded hidden wilderness gem of Katavi National Park, Tanzania has it all. In fact, few destinations in Africa can rival Tanzania’s sheer diversity and abundance of wildlife and vast and varied landscapes. From the classic savannah destinations of the Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater to the stunning beaches and coral reefs of Zanzibar, a Tanzanian safari offers travelers an endless variety of destinations to explore, safari adventures to experience, and wildlife species to see.
#1 Extraordinary Wildlife Sightings & Encounters
Deemed one of the most sought-after and wildly diverse safari and wildlife destinations in Africa, people travel from all corners of the globe to experience Tanzania’s extraordinary wildlife sightings and encounters firsthand. Renowned for its exceptional year-round game-viewing, superb Big5 sightings, which are easily spotted and highly prevalent, and famous Great Wildebeest Migration, Tanzania, along with the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem and its neighbours, offer some of the country’s best wildlife encounters and opportunities.
In addition to its big game and being a stronghold for predators, Tanzania is renowned for its vast and wonderful variety of endangered and rarely seen wildlife species, some of which include the critically endangered African wild dog, black rhino, chimpanzees, African white-bellied Pangolin, Lesser Kudu, and Thomson’s Gazelle, to mention a few.
The critically endangered East African black rhinos of Ngorongoro and Mkomazi, giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania, and abundant flamingos that visit Lake Manyara seasonally round out a wildlife experience in Tanzania unlike any other.
#2 Tanzania is home to the Serengeti National Park & the Great Wildebeest Migration
Spanning northern Tanzania, the world-renowned Serengeti National Park is not only Tanzania’s flagship conservation area, but one of the greatest national parks in Africa, if not the world. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Serengeti is regarded as one of the most celebrated global wilderness areas. The Serengeti National Park covers an immense 14 800 km² (5 700 square miles) on Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya, encompassing up to 50% of the wider Serengeti–Mara ecosystem – Making the Serengeti the most famous protected wilderness area in all of Africa. As Tanzania’s oldest game reserve, the Serengeti National Park not only boasts one of the oldest and most varied ecosystems on earth, but one of the world’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. Not to mention one of the most diverse.
The profound Serengeti National Park Great Migration is undoubtedly one of the Serengeti and Tanzania’s top wildlife attractions, attracting both local and international wildlife enthusiasts alike. Deemed a wildlife and natural phenomenon in its own right and one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world, no other destination on Earth can offer a wildlife encounter to match the annual Wildebeest Migration. Forming the centerpiece of most inaugural Tanzania safari itineraries, the Migration is a mind-blowing display of nature at her most extraordinary.
The Serengeti Great Migration sees millions of wildebeest, zebra, and antelope run the gauntlet of predators as they migrate around the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Freely traversing the open plains of the park in search of fresh grazing from seasonal rains, the millions of wildebeest, antelope, and zebra move northwards into the neighboring Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, after returning south to the Serengeti National Park once again.
#3 Best Time to go to Tanzania
Most safari areas in Tanzania enjoy a relatively constant year-round tropical climate. However, as Tanzania is made up of such a large diversity of landscapes, each one vastly different from the next, you can expect an equally diverse climate from every distinct landscape or wilderness area.
Despite many safari areas within Tanzania enjoying a wonderful year-round tropical climate, other regions do not share the same fortune. Temperatures are known to drop far below freezing on the famous Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, whereas, in complete contrast, Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast and lakeside regions are notorious for their exceptionally hot and humid conditions.
Essentially, Tanzania has two distinct seasons:
- Dry Season (Winter): June to October
- Wet Season (Summer): November to May | Tanzania’s wet / rainy season can be further divided into two categories, the ‘long rainy season (long rains)’ which takes place from April to May, and the ‘short rainy season (short rains)’ during November and December.
Generally, Tanzania’s main rainy season (the long rains) produces tropical downpours in the afternoons and many safari camps and lodges close down as a result. The short rainy season on the other hand is known for its occasional brief showers, allowing several safari camps and lodges to stay open. Not to mention the game viewing is absolutely incredible during this time.
Despite Tanzania being one of the top, and undoubtedly the most thrilling, year-round African safari and wilderness destinations, each season offers visitors, travelers, and enthusiastic explorers something unique, extraordinary, and exciting to experience.
That begs the question, when exactly is the best time to go to Tanzania?
The answer is largely dependent on what you’re most eager to experience on your bucket-list trip to Tanzania.
With that being said, the best time to go to Tanzania and embark on an exhilarating Tanzanian safari depends on where in Tanzania you would like to go, what you’d like to explore, experience, and discover while you’re there, as well as what adventures, safari activities, and off-the-beaten-track pursuits you’d like to enjoy on your trip.
**Tip: For first-time safari goers, the best time to go to Tanzania is typically during its dry season, June – October, as wildlife are far easier to track and spot, resulting in exceptional wildlife sightings and encounters.
Reasons To Visit Tanzania During The Dry Season:
- Prime time for wildlife sightings as game viewing is at its peak.
- June & July are the prime months & heart of the Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration in the Western Corridor | The BEST months to see the magnificent wildebeest migration.
- Optimal visibility for wildlife sightings due to sparse vegetation.
- Wildlife are far easier to spot as they congregate around water sources, waterholes, and rivers.
- Clear skies with mild-moderate day-time temperatures & minimal rain.
- August & September are the best months to see the spectacular wildebeest river crossings in the northern Serengeti.
- Fewer mosquitos due to the low rainfall & the risk of malaria is at its lowest.
- The Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park is at its best during the dry season.
Reasons To Visit Tanzania During The Wet Season:
- Lush greenery & surrounding scenery due to high rainfall.
- Tanzania & its surrounding parks & national reserves are filled with new-born wildlife.
- Bird watching is at its best as migrant birds are present & in breeding.
- Prime time for predator action & sightings due to the wildebeest calving & abundance of new-born wildlife.
- Despite wildlife being easier to spot in the dry season, Tanzania’s wet season boasts equally remarkable wildlife sightings, especially in the northern circuit parks.
- Tanzania’s wet season coincides with its low season, meaning lower rates all around and less crowded parks, resulting in optimal crowd-free wildlife and birdlife sightings.
- January & February is the best time to see the wildebeest calving in the Southern Serengeti, making it a very special time & a truly remarkable sight to see.
- Except for March, April & May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers & seldom interfere with your trip and safari experiences.
#4 Tanzania is home to the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro, located in the captivating, elusive, and vastly diverse East African country of Tanzania, is undoubtedly one of the most phenomenal natural wonders and breathtaking mountains in all of Africa.
Located in the East African country of Tanzania, inside of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, just south of the Kenyan border, the famed and wildly acclaimed Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain, standing tall at a staggering +/- 5,895 meters / 19,341 feet above sea level. Mount Kilimanjaro is also the largest free-standing mountain rise in the world. This means that Kilimanjaro does not form part of a mountain range, but instead, stands entirely alone – Tall, grounded, strong, independent, fierce, free, captivating, with a commanding, yet elusive, intriguing, and all-consuming (in the best possible way) presence. It’s safe to say that the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro is a true natural wonder and Mother Nature masterpiece in every sense of the word.
Also called a stratovolcano (a term used to describe a very large volcano made of ash, lava, and rock), Kilimanjaro is essentially a dormant volcano made up of three cones visible from miles away: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Kibo is the summit of the mountain and the tallest of the three volcanic formations. While Mawenzi and Shira are extinct, Kibo is dormant, however, the possibility that it could potentially erupt again is there. Before your head starts spinning and you fall down a deep rabbit hole, to help set your mind at ease, scientists estimate that the last time Mount Kilimanjaro erupted was 360,000 years ago. So, while there is a possibility, the likelihood is slim.
The highest point on Kibo’s crater rim is called Uhuru, the Swahili word for “freedom.” The mountain is also known for its snow-capped peak; however, scientists warn that the snow might disappear within the next 20 years or so – which is nothing short of tragic! But, if there’s one thing that is, and will forever remain true, irrespective of everything, it’s the undeniable and breathtaking natural beauty of the one and only Mount Kilimanjaro along with its snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and sweeping views that are simply unparalleled. There truly is nothing quite like it – and we dare you to prove us otherwise!
**Interesting Fact: In 1973, the mountain and its six surrounding forest corridors were named Kilimanjaro National Park in order to protect its unique environment. The park was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site in 1987. The area surrounding the mountain is also home various wildlife, including the blue monkey, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards (to mention merely a few).
One of the most crucial aspects (in fact, it may be the MOST important aspect) to a successful Mount Kilimanjaro hike / climb and triumphantly summiting one of the world’s Seven Summits (the highest mountain peaks on each continent), is choosing the perfect / right Mount Kilimanjaro route that suits your needs, requirements, fitness, skill, and experience level.
The three most popular Kilimanjaro routes are the Machame Route, the Lemosho Route, and the Rongai Route. Each of which are unique in their own right as well as have their advantages and disadvantages – It’s up to you to choose the ideal route for you.
**Mount Kilimanjaro has become a popular (if not the MOST popular) destination for local and international travelers, globe-trotters, avid hikers, die-hard climbing enthusiasts, adventure seekers, daring adrenalin junkies, and absolutely anyone and everyone who’s eager to get out there, explore, and tick something immensely thrilling off their bucket-list.
To top it off, its popularity has only continued to grow and flourish over the years. This is not only a true testament to the extraordinary Mount Kilimanjaro itself, but speaks volumes about the incredible, exhilarating, potentially life-changing, and bucket-list worthy experience climbing Kilimanjaro truly is. Not to mention the willingness and die-hard commitment of millions of people from across the world jumping at the bid to tackle and conquer the summit of this glorious free-standing mountain and African natural gem – the one and only Mount Kilimanjaro!
#5 Experience the iconic Flamingo Migration in the Rift Valley of Tanzania & Kenya
The lakes of the Great Rift Valley in East Africa are a birdwatcher’s paradise.
- Best months to witness the famous Flamingo Migration in East Africa’s Rift Valley: April, May, and June.
Although it may be a relatively short migration, the greater and lesser flamingo migrations see millions of flamingos migrating and moving along the various lakes within the Great Rift Valley between Kenya and Tanzania (with them often migrating as far as Botswana in some instances). While it may not seem as sizeable or significant as some of Africa’s other wildlife migrations, it remains an equally impressive African wildlife and birdlife spectacle.
A complement to the plethora of big game and vast diversity of other wildlife species that reside in this ecologically rich area is its glorious abundance of birdlife. From raptors like eagles and vultures to sparrows, finches, kingfishers, storks, herons, ducks, ostriches, and so much more, birdlife in East Africa comes in an incredible variety of shapes and sizes – it’s an absolute joy and marvel to see. Not to mention the massing of flamingos on these lakes in Kenya – it is undoubtedly a special kind of wonderful to bear witness to!
It goes without saying that East Africa’s Rift Valley lakes is an absolute must-visit destination for any and all avid birders and birding enthusiasts – so if you’re a head-over-heels bird lover at heart, a visit to East Africa’s Rift Valley during its prime birding season should be right at the top of your African safari bucket-list.
Lake Manyara National Park is located in the Arusha Region and Manyara Region of Tanzania. Offering a thrilling wilderness experience and diverse habitats, from its Rift Valley soda lake, forests, and vast grasslands to swamps, dense woodlands and steep mountainsides, Lake Manyara National Park is both a sought-after safari destination and top tourist attraction in Tanzania. As two-thirds of the park is covered by water, it is renowned for attracting a vibrant and abundant bird life, as well as a copious number of flamingos. During Tanzania’s wet season, Lake Manyara is home to more than 400 species of birds, many of them waterfowl or migrants, as well as thousands of flamingos – Providing visitors and birding enthusiasts with truly sensational sightings.
Between the months of September to December, lesser flamingos migrate to Lake Natron in Tanzania to breed. Despite the lake being incredibly alkaline and water temperatures often reaching between 40 to 60 degrees Celsius, making it beyond inhospitable for most plants and animals to both live and survive, believe it or not, this is exactly where flamingos thrive! They depend on this remote lake during their breeding season with up to 75% of the population congregating at the lake in a gloriously flamboyant flurry of pink with some experts calling it ‘the greatest ornithological spectacle on Earth’.