The best way to spend 11 days on safari in Tanzania
It’s not surprising that Tanzania is one of the most well-known safari destinations in Africa. I love the country for its sensational landscapes and its warm, welcoming people. The wildlife viewing is superb, as well as the range of safari activities on offer. Of course, the Serengeti is the star of the show. People flock here to see the great wildebeest migration, as well as an abundant ensemble cast of non-migratory wildlife ensuring a year-round performance that never fails to dazzle.
Most of the country’s highlights lie in the north of the country, making them easy to access in the circular itinerary described below.
Tarangire National Park | 2 nights
Tarangire is a very pretty park, known for its large herds of elephants and baobab trees. It’s substantially quieter than the Serengeti and is a great place to begin your safari adventure. Depending on the lodge you stay at, activities such as night drives and walking safaris are possible and highly recommended. At least once on your trip, you should get out of the safari car and walk with a qualified guide. Smell the fresh, wilderness air as you feel the subtle undulations of the ground beneath your feet, listen to the unadulterated sounds of nature and drink in the scenery with your eyes.
Ngorongoro Crater | 3 nights
While it’s more common to only spend two nights in the crater, I suggest staying three nights if you have the time. The Ngorongoro Crater offers incredible scenic beauty, and its wildlife sightings are plentiful and diverse. This stop also provides the opportunity to visit one of the authentic Masai villages located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). A highlight for me was a hike down into the Empakaai caldera. The high altitude makes the hike back up challenging, but it’s worth it. The primary forest and soda lake with its pink flamingos are exquisite. An easier hike is one to the caldera rim at Olmoti. However, if you would like to hike Empakaai, you’ll almost certainly need to spend a third night here. I suggest staying at The Highlands which provides easy access to this hike.
Serengeti | 5 nights
Where you stay will depend on the time of year you travel. The northern Serengeti is particularly beautiful, but I also loved my time in the central and eastern Serengeti. If you are travelling from January to March, you’ll want to be in the southern region to experience the calving season. To see a river crossing you should stay in the Grumeti area around June and the Mara area from around August to October (although these timings are never guaranteed).
Dunia is a particularly good camp in central Serengeti. Besides being entirely run by a team of competent women, it has excellent wildlife sightings and is really visually captivating, with massive boulders which are perfect for big cats to lounge on, photographers to capture and safari-goers to gaze out at over sundowners!
I suggest splitting your five-night stay into a two-night and a three-night stop in different areas of the Serengeti. The specific choices will depend on your particular interests and your budget (I’d be happy to share the different options with you). If you have the time, why not add an extra night and take a break from days spent on safari to relax at the lodge and enjoy its facilities?
I’m aware that this suggested itinerary is a broad one and your trip should be tailor-made to your interests and style of travel. Curating trips that delight our clients is our speciality and first-time clients are often surprised that it doesn’t cost them any extra to have us design the perfect trip for them.
If you’re considering travelling to Tanzania (or anywhere else in Africa), email us at [email protected] and we’ll weave our magic to bring your dream holiday to life!
P.S. I made this short video of my time in Tanzania. It’s no National Geographic film, but I think it gives a realistic and accessible idea of what you can expect on a Tanzania safari, and covers the above itinerary, visually!
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