Talk to anyone who goes on a Tanzania safari, and they will probably mention their first time crossing the wide-open Serengeti or listening to the thunder of hooves during the Great Migration. Every day offers something unexpected. It’s part of the reason we’ve been in love with this country since 1981; Tanzania is the ultimate adventure.
Here are seven reasons why a Tanzania safari should top your bucket list.
1. See the Big Five
Lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and African buffalo – these are Africa’s “Big Five” game animals. It’s what guests come on safari to see. But not all Big Five are spotted equally! It’s normal to see plenty of lions, elephants and buffalo on the plains. Leopards and rhinos, on the other hand, are much trickier to spot.
We recommend heading into the bush with expert guides who will take you on a drive through Tanzania’s legendary parks, where hard-to-spot members of the Big Five, like the rhinoceros, are more easily visible. And if you want to maximize your chance of seeing all of the Big Five on one trip, we recommend taking a longer safari.
2. Get Out on the Open Plains of the Serengeti
Most people who think of the Serengeti landscape imagine vast fields dotted with acacia trees and prowling lions. Step off the plane in Tanzania, and you’ll realize this image is a reality! Gorgeous sunsets, wide, spacious skies – the vistas on a Tanzania safari are just as memorable as the wildlife.
The Big Five are a big deal in the Serengeti. All five can be found in the park. While leopards and rhinoceroses are hard to spot, wildebeest, elephants and lions are a common sight. About 3,000 lions call the Serengeti home – that’s more than anywhere else on Earth!
Perhaps the Serengeti’s greatest spectacle is the Great Migration. About 85% of this annual migration occurs in the Serengeti, making it a great staging ground for witnessing one of the natural world’s most dynamic forces.
3. See the Great Migration
The Great Migration is one of the most dramatic sights in the animal kingdom, where some two million animals (mostly wildebeest, some zebras and some gazelles) roam in a year-round search for food and water. The herds constantly cycle from the southern Serengeti, where calves are born, up to the northern borders of Tanzania and into Kenya.
Depending on the time of year, guests on a Tanzania safari can expect to see wobbling newborn calves trying (and often failing) to stay on their feet in the green season. In the dry season, expect an increasingly dense concentration of animals – among them predator and prey – converging on the few permanent water sources that remain.
If you’re lucky, you may witness a river crossing, where hundreds (usually thousands) of wildebeest cross dangerous waters as a group.
Just as the wildebeest follow the rains, your safari guides will have a plan in place to follow the herds.
4. Experience the Incredible Density of Wildlife in Ngorongoro Crater
Descend 2,000 feet from the rim of Ngorongoro Crater and you’ll understand why UNESCO called it “one of the greatest natural wonders of the planet.” Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unbroken volcanic caldera on Earth, home to a density of wildlife unlike anything you’ve seen before. Approximately 25,000 animals live in the crater, which measures around 11 miles wide and encompasses 102 square miles. That’s almost 250 animals per square mile!
This vibrant, grass-green caldera is an adored stop on most of our safaris. Your best chance to see one of the most elusive members of the Big Five, the black rhino, is in Ngorongoro.
5. Wake Up Among the Wildlife
Your safari accommodations determine so much about the quality of your trip. Through time and experience, Thomson Safaris has learned that seasonal mobile camps strike the right balance between nature and comfort. Because your campsite is relocated seasonally according to where the wildlife is, you will be close to the action all the time. You’ll hear wildlife in the distance when you go to bed. You’ll often find animal tracks in camp when you wake up!
Seasonal mobile camps are designed for comfort and accessibility. Expect unforgettable meals, comfortable rooms and stylish lounges. Thomson Nyumbas are equipped with en suite bathrooms, pump-flush toilets and gravity fed showers – these eco-friendly options are unusually comfortable amenities for Tanzanian mobile camps.
6. Perfect Your Photography
To say Tanzania is photogenic is putting it lightly. Nature photographers from around the world come to the Serengeti to hone their art and skill in a beautiful landscape, full of beautiful wildlife. You don’t have to be a veteran, either – all safaris offer time and space for photography at every level, whether you’re a trained professional or just want to have fun taking breathtaking photos.
Thomson goes a step farther to offer a few special itineraries led by veteran photographers. These trips come loaded with photo-centric upgrades to make your experience meaningful:
- Photo tips and training by your photography trip leader
- Maximum of three guests per Land Rover
- Unlimited weight allowance for extra camera gear
- Camera tech tents with generators and lighting at each Thomson Nyumba Camp
- Boxed breakfasts provided for early AM start times