Why Tanzania is the Best Luxury Safari Tour Destination

Tanzania may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of safari tours, but this East African country offers some of the best and most exciting safari experiences in the world. In fact, Tanzania has the highest density of wildlife in Africa, with the Serengeti boasting a density of over 3,000 animals per square mile!

Besides its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife, Tanzania boasts five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and six National Parks – it’s easy to see why this gem of Africa attracts so many tourists every year.


Luxury safari tours are the most popular safari tours on offer in Tanzania and with good reason, too. Most safari tour itineraries will bring you to the major wildlife attractions in Tanzania, including national parks like Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara as well as game reserves like Katavi, Mahale Mountains and Rubondo Island National Park, among others.

Why choose Tanzania for a safari?

Tanzania has some of Africa’s most diverse wildlife, so there are many safari tour operators to choose from. You can find well-reviewed Tanzania luxury safari tour operators as far north as Tarangire National Park in Arusha, or as far south as Mikumi National Park near Dar es Salaam. Many travelers book a Tanzania luxury safari based on which parks they want to visit. One common route follows Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire on day one; then goes to Ruaha and Katavi National Parks on day two; and ends with Mahale Mountains National Park and Rubondo Island Conservation Area on day three. The most popular place for your accommodation will be at an elevated tree house in Mahale Mountains National Park. These lodges have great views over Lake Tanganyika and offer good opportunities to see primates like black-and-white colobus monkeys.
Tanzania Luxury Safari
Tanzania Luxury Safari

However, you should also consider going on a Tanzania luxury safari tour that doesn’t include national parks. If you don’t have time for all of Tanzania’s national parks (or if you’ve already been to them), consider visiting other parts of Tanzania instead. For example, you could spend time in northern Tanzania’s cultural triangle (Arusha, Moshi and Kilimanjaro) or go island hopping off Zanzibar’s coast. These areas are not only culturally interesting but also home to great wildlife—including hippos!

 

How do I start planning my own trip?

1. The Serengeti

Every Tanzania luxury safari tour should include a Serengeti safari and an Ngorongoro Crater safari. The vast plains of Africa’s largest game reserve are home to an estimated 120,000 large animals—more than in any other African national park. That means that on your Tanzania luxury safari tour, you’ll see leopards, lions, zebras, wildebeests, and more. Each day will be spent cruising through open land in one of our chauffeur-driven 4×4 vehicles as you search for big cats like cheetahs and lions.
Tanzania Luxury Safari
Tanzania Luxury Safari
Our guides are experts at tracking down wildlife and know exactly where to go each morning so you don’t miss out on anything. A Tanzania luxury safari tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ngorongoro Crater, where herds of elephants roam freely among volcanic peaks in Tanzania’s most biodiverse conservation area. As well as being home to some of Africa’s most incredible wildlife, including black rhinos and rare bird species, it’s also famous for its stunning scenery: green grasslands dotted with acacia trees contrast against deep blue skies above stark orange cliffs.

2. Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of Arusha, formed as a result of volcanic activity that also created Africa’s highest peak—Mount Kilimanjaro. The crater itself offers prime safari viewing: A number of endangered animals live here, including black rhinos and Masai giraffes. But one of its most famous residents was Cecil, a well-known lion who was killed by an American dentist in 2015. The incident sparked international outrage and debate over hunting practices in Africa.
Ngorongoro Crater Safari
Ngorongoro Crater Safari
Many tour operators have since opted to stop offering safaris that allow visitors to hunt or photograph animals. A typical day on a Tanzania luxury safari: Most trips start early so you can take advantage of cooler temperatures and avoid mid-day heat. At dawn, your guide will set up spotting scopes on a high point so you can see animals like elephants and zebras grazing at first light. As it gets warmer, you’ll break for breakfast before heading out again for more wildlife spotting. Later in the day, it’s time for lunch before heading back to camp or moving on to another destination.

3. Lake Manyara

The Manyara National Park has a wide variety of wildlife and bird species in its nearly 100,000 hectares. This makes it one of Tanzania’s most popular parks for safari tours and a top destination for ideas for vacation planning. Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are only one of its many iconic attractions; while they may not be active during day tours due to their sleep patterns, night tours offer ample opportunities to catch a glimpse of them in action.
LAKE MANYARA safari
LAKE MANYARA safari
Other interesting activities include tracking baboons or hippos near park lodges, exploring Ngoitoktok Caves, and taking boat trips on Lake Manyara itself. . Lake Manyara can also be combined with Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater safaris. Accommodation options range from luxury tented camps to simple guesthouses with basic amenities. Costs of a Tanzania luxury safari are very reasonable compared to other destinations.

4. Zanzibar

With its whitewashed buildings and beautiful, palm-lined beaches, Zanzibar has all of the charm of an idyllic tropical vacation spot. To top it off, there are remnants of Arab culture throughout, making for a cultural experience that’s incredibly rare in East Africa. It’s no wonder that visitors love to get lost in Zanzibar’s labyrinthine streets as they explore its many attractions. Sample some traditional Indian food or island cuisine with spice-infused flavors at one of many outstanding restaurants. Zanzibar also has plenty to offer history buffs who want to learn about African independence movements and trading empires from centuries past. Don’t be surprised if you wind up falling in love with Zanzibar, though—it’s hard not to!
ZANZIBAR luxury tour
ZANZIBAR luxury tour
The Pemba Channel is just off of Unguja Island and provides plenty of opportunity for snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming, boating, fishing and other water sports. At night you can even see manta rays feeding on plankton. For those looking to stay dry during their visit to Zanzibar, hiking through Jozani Forest Reserve offers a different kind of adventure. The lush green vegetation serves as habitat for leopards and monkeys along with more than 1,000 species of birds; don’t forget your binoculars! Just outside town are several historic ruins including 11th century Stone Town which was once home to Arab traders before becoming capital city under British rule until 1964 when Tanganyika became independent.

5. Tarangire National Park

The Tarangire National Park, covering an area of about 2,650 square kilometers in eastern Tanzania, can be accessed from Arusha and Dodoma. The park boasts a rich diversity of wildlife including lions, elephant, zebra and buffalo. Visitors here have plenty to see with over 21 species of mammals as well as 240 species of birds. There are numerous lodges in Tarangire where you can stay while on safari in Tanzania with rates varying greatly based on what you want and how much luxury you want to enjoy on your trip.
Tarangire National Park Tour
Tarangire National Park Tour
As its name suggests, Lake Manyara is made up of two lakes. Manyara was formed by lava flows which dammed off water in carbonate-rich layers below. This resulted in particularly high salinity levels within it that gives it its distinctive red colouration. Wildlife at Lake Manyara includes many migrating bird species such as ostriches and flamingos, monkeys like olive baboons, fish eagles and jackals, impalas among others.

6. Nyere National Park

Come experience wildlife and safari in Nyere National Park. Nyere National Park is one of four national parks in Tanzania, located to the west of Arusha, southeast of Lake Manyara and north of Ngorongoro Crater. Nyere features diverse landscapes including volcanoes, lakes and grassy plains which attract a variety of wildlife. One such attraction is lions – up to 48 live within Nyere’s boundaries.
NYERE NATIONAL PARK safari
NYERE NATIONAL PARK safari
The park’s vegetation also provides shelter for hippos, zebras, hyenas and buffalos among other animals. Chances are you will see at least one animal while on safari here – just sit back and enjoy! At any given time, there are approximately 30 adult lions living in Nyere’s borders. Other native fauna include elephant, spotted hyena, cheetah, waterbuck and buffalo – most of these can be seen during any safari trip in or around Nyere.

7. Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is the largest National Park in Tanzania. The park is a part of the 45,000 square kilometres (17,000 sq mi) Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem,and includes the Rungwa Game Reserve, the Kizigo and Muhesi Game Reserves, and the Mbomipa Wildlife Management Area. More than 571 species of birds have been identified in the park, with many other amazing animals which include the East African cheetah, lion, African leopard and wild dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, hippopotamus, African buffalo, and sable antelope.
Ruaha National Park Safari
Ruaha National Park Safari
But beyond Ruaha, there are plenty of additional reasons why a safari in Tanzania would be your best choice for an African adventure. It’s no surprise that some safari companies offer multi-country itineraries; it’s not feasible for most to travel across countries. However, if you have a few weeks or months set aside for a journey in Africa and you want to combine two (or more) destinations into one trip, Tanzania has plenty of options For example, many experts suggest visiting Rwanda before doing a luxury safari in Kenya or joining up with a Botswana tour after exploring Lake Malawi and Zanzibar in Tanzania. Another reason to consider choosing Tanzania over other countries on your African dream vacation?

8. Mahale Mountains

One of my favorite safari experiences to date has been a visit to Mahale Mountains, located on an island off Tanzania’s eastern coast. For me, there is something magical about exploring a place like Mahale Mountains—something that one doesn’t experience while staying in an urban environment like Arusha or Zanzibar.
Mahale Mountains Luxury Safari
Mahale Mountains Luxury Safari
The local fishermen and fishermen, who still live off their catch of the day have so much enthusiasm for life and they feel so authentic (especially when compared to other luxury destinations). It’s also clear that Tanzanians love tourists – no matter how many times we visited with them, they always welcomed us as though it was our first time meeting.

9. Katavi National Park

Located in southwest Tanzania, Katavi National Park protects approximately 35 percent of Lake Katavi, one of Africa’s largest freshwater lakes. As such, it has a profusion of game and birdlife (over 450 species) that makes for excellent safari activities. And due to its remoteness, it’s able to provide an authentic taste of wilderness with fewer tourists than other parks in East Africa.
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
On top of all that: It provides opportunities for unique activities like traditional fishing, boat trips on Lake Katavi, and visits to Maasai villages – great ways to get off-the-beaten path.

10. Arusha

Despite not being a typical tourist hub, Arusha makes a great base for your safari adventure. There’s plenty to see and do here, which means it’s easy to get distracted. Local markets such as Meatu are perfect for picking up souvenirs and exploring interesting African culture.
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
If you can tear yourself away from Arusha’s charms, there are several great safari tours on offer; including trips to Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater—two of Africa’s most famous attractions! All in all, Arusha is an underrated gem on any safari itinerary, so be sure to set aside time for a couple of days here before (or after) embarking on your outdoor adventure.

11. Rubondo Island Safari

Lesser-known and more intimate, Rubondo Island safari offers a unique experience for those who want to venture off on their own for some good old fashion safari fun. If you’re looking for solitude, look no further than Rubondo Island Lodge in north-western Tanzania. This small resort boasts a mere 12 large chalets, ensuring that your trip isn’t crowded with lots of people. The true highlight of an island safari (or any wildlife safari) is simply coming face to face with animals and Rubondo certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to that aspect of wildlife viewing.
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
If I had to choose one thing about my time at Rubondo, it would be the amazing amount of game we saw. Our guide would take us out into the bush around 5:30am every morning and we wouldn’t return until around 8pm. And while there were always animals out during our daily game drives, most are sleeping during these early hours so they can avoid being eaten by lions or hyenas while they sleep! It was incredible how much activity started after 8am though as all of a sudden elephants would be feeding near our car or giraffes came down from their trees to browse for food—and these were just some of many amazing sightings!

How much does a luxury Tanzania safari cost?

The average cost of a luxury safari in Tanzania falls somewhere between $5000 and $10,000 per person, depending on the number of days spent on safari and the level of luxury. On a typical day on a luxury safari in Tanzania, you’ll wake up before dawn to get breakfast and be escorted to your game viewing vehicle for the morning drive.
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
Tanzania Luxury Safari Tour
You’ll likely have several full days of safari, so you’ll need to bring some snacks or light meals with you; as lunch is usually taken at a lodge or in town rather than mid-safari. Expect it to take most of an afternoon to drive from one place to another and then another few hours once you arrive at your new destination.