Simply one of the best destinations in Africa, Tanzania has it all.
In the North, the great migration in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Africa's highest peak: Kilimanjaro.
Vast, remote and untouched wilderness areas in the South.
Fantastic chimpanzee experiences.
Pristine tropical island beaches and world class diving.
Add to that the fascinating history, culture and the wonderful people and this is a staggering place.
Tanzania is close to our heart. The people are wonderful, welcoming and diverse in culture. Although the population is made up of many different tribes, there is definitely the feeling that they are all first and foremost Tanzanian and because of this mindset do not experience the inter-tribal difficulties present in some places. Although English is widely spoken, faces will light up when you learn a few KiSwahili phrases and your experience will be all the better for it.
The Northern Circuit comprises some of Tanzania's most iconic landscapes. Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are the most well known, but other destinations like Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park which are often visited very briefly either on route to and from the Ngorongoro crater really do warrant a longer stay and are fantastic destinations in their own right.
One of the most popular stops along this circuit is the famous Ngorongoro Crater, actually properly called a caldera (a collapsed volcano). It is a spectacular sight and unique with its plentiful wild inhabitants on the crater floor. The game viewing is very accessible and reliable, flamingos frequent the lake at its centre and with no lodges in the crater itself, access is via day trips out of lodges on the crater rim and further afield.
For these reasons this spectacular area is extremely busy and can become quite overcrowded. It is through a unique spectacle that should be visited at least once and a 2 - 3-night visit in a carefully selected lodge can be a great addition to a safari in the north.
Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain. A dormant Volcano which is a hugely impressive sight, even though its ice fields are, sadly, quickly disappearing. There are several very well established hiking trails which vary in difficulty and the number of days required on the mountain to acclimatise to the elevation as you climb. Finishing at its highest summit: Uhuru peak. Fantastic for those who wish to add an adventure and sense of achievement to their safari.
The Serengeti is the real flagship and one of the most famous National parks in the world. With its seemingly endless plains interspersed with rocky outcrops, it plays host to extraordinary concentrations of predators and huge amounts of herbivores, ensuring the park boasts fantastic year-round game viewing.
The biggest draw, however, is to witness the vast numbers of Wildebeest, Zebra and accompanying gazelle that form the Great Migration and the epic drama which unfolds around it.
This really is one of the most spectacular natural spectacles on earth and although the migration draws big crowds during certain times of year, it can be done, with careful planning in less crowded areas and still being at the heart of the migration.
The migrating herds of wildebeest move in a roughly circular route in response to the seasons, the rains they bring and the availability of palatable grasses.
They congregate on the short grass plains of the south Serengeti from January through April. The volcanic soils offer rich short grasses to feed on and these provide a wonderful resource for a mother to rear suckling young on, therefore this is where they calve during January and February. This is done on mass whereby near 500,000 young are born in roughly a 6 week period and the concentration of predators that congregate in the area at this time adds to the drama of this amazing spectacle.
By May, the grasses are well depleted and the young wildebeest are ready to begin the journey north on the western side of the park towards the Grumeti and western corridor areas.
In June, the herds are generally in the Grumeti region and you may be lucky enough to witness their crossings of the Grumeti River with some big crocodiles lurking in this river in wait. During July, the herds start to move towards the Lobo area, the area around Kogatende and the Lamai Wedge in the very north of the Serengeti and the Mara River, this period during late July through to October the herds are spread across northern Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masaai Mara in Kenya and the big spectacular river crossings occur.
By November and into December, the herds are starting to head back down south again, through eastern Serengeti on the way back to those rich short grass plains in the south, where the cycle starts again.
A great migration safari never fails to deliver an eventful and exciting safari experience. It must though be carefully planned in order to avoid areas that are overpopulated with mass tourism. Luckily we know exactly how to plan that perfectly.
The South of Tanzania is much less visited, remote and has some of the best safari destinations on the continent. It's one of our favourite places on earth.
The Southern circuit as it is referred to includes two vast and ultimately wild parks: Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserve.
Nyerere National Park, formerly Selous Game Reserve, is one of the biggest protected wilderness areas in the world, 3 times the size of the Serengeti and a World Heritage site!
It is also home to some really top lodges. We have a special affinity with the reserve as Phil, our founder, spent seven years of his career here guiding driving, boating and walking safaris, training guides and managing 2 of its most loved camps. It has some of the biggest populations of species in Africa notably buffalo and African wild dogs.
In the south-east of the country, the park is situated inland from the coast but still on the coastal plateau. It is a lush green and well-watered reserve and can get a bit balmy at certain times of the year. The main safari area is centred around the Rufiji River and its associated oxbow lakes. A wide range of activities is offered including boating, fishing and walking in addition to the standard game drives. Lions and hyena are the prevalent predators here, but it is also one of the best places to look for African wild dog too. Elephants are seen on most drives even though they have had a tough time in recent years here due to poaching, but signs are looking good that the population is starting to recover. Towards the end of the dry season, as the lakes start to recede, the cloying muddy shorelines are the setting for many a lion hunt and great opportunities to witness some action. The lakes and the lacustrine landscapes are a birders delight especially in the summer when Nyerere NP plays host to a plethora of migratory birds and the experience of driving along surrounded by 50 or 60 stunningly beautiful Northen carmine bee-eaters swooping all around the car never gets old.
Ruaha National Park is a great contrast to Nyerere and the two complement each other greatly.
Ruaha is rocky, rugged and absolutely awesome, all-round one of the finest safari destinations in Africa.
The Great Ruaha and Mwagusi Rivers run through the park and have their confluence here, they are a big draw to Ruaha's diverse and fascinating wildlife.
Fantastic cat sightings of lion, leopard and if you are lucky cheetah can be had. A very good elephant population and a hugely diverse selection of antelopes live here. There is so much to see its a real delight: lesser kudu, the diminutive dik-dik and Dufassa waterbuck being some of the more localised species you would not see in many other parks, as well as the wonderful bat-eared fox. Fantastic birdlife, great floral diversity, baobab forests - it has it all. Safari is generally driving or walking activities and there are also some great camps and experiences to be had in the reserve. In fact, the reserve has some of the best experiences available in Africa today.
The west of Tanzania is remote and very few tourists manage to get here, but for those willing to pay that little bit extra to fly across on twice-weekly scheduled flights, it offers truly exclusive and jaw-dropping experiences.
People who have visited or are going to visit the Mahale Mountains National Park are the envy of seasoned safari travellers and everyone in the industry as a whole. The park offers the most magical chimpanzee experiences available anywhere. It has only a couple of lodges and one of them: Greystoke Mahale, is quite possibly the most wonderful and iconic lodge in all of Africa. Depending on where the Chimps are on the day it may require a bit of trekking to find them and so a reasonable level of fitness is required. With limited accommodation and high demand, the lodges can get booked up quite far in advance. It is through an utterly unique and for some life-changing experience.
Katavi National Park links up well with Mahale for a more traditional safari experience. Katavi itself is a very remote and a sought-after destination with very few camps and very good overall game-viewing. Lion and buffalo interactions are a frequent occurrence and you are unlikely to encounter very many other tourists.
Tanzania really does have it all, such diversity of quality destinations are just not possible in other countries and when you couple this with the excellent coastal Islands such as Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia island, its the perfect all-round safari and beach destination