Tanzania is a big country, and the main safari destinations can be split into the north (The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater) or the south (The Selous and Ruaha). Most tourists flock to the north as it is comprised of the famed highlights of Tanzania – and rightly so as the wildlife is phenomenal. However, the fame of the north can often overshadow the south, which in our view is one of East Africa’s best kept secrets. West Tanzania is also an option, though this is extremely expensive to get to and hardly any tourists do as a result. As a rough guide – when 70% of travellers head to the north, 25% go to the south, and only 5% or less venture to the West.
Northern Tanzania is expensive (comparatively to the south) but offers unrivalled wildlife viewing and is completely iconic. The Serengeti (which borders the Masai Mara in Kenya) is world-class and home to The Great Wildebeest Migration as well as the biggest concentration of predators on the planet. We would recommend spending a minimum of three nights in the Serengeti – there is so much wildlife to see and areas to cover, that it would be a shame to travel all the way there and stay for any less. The Ngorongoro Crater has a huge amount of the big 5 in a unique and dramatic setting. Surrounding the crater, the Ngorongoro Highlands is home to colourful Masai culture and rolling coffee farms. We usually only recommend one big game drive into the crater, as it is small so one day is enough. You can either stay on the crater rim, or in the Ngorongoro Highlands a night either side of your game drive. Tarangire National Park is another option with night drives, fantastic views and a colossal number of elephants. However, it is more of an “add-on” park to the main northern circuit of the crater and Serengeti. It can be visited for a few nights en route to the crater, if you have ample time and money. Lake Manyara is another smaller park with flamingos, fantastic land-birdlife and some truly beautiful spots for safari. It can be seen in an afternoon rather than as the focus of a trip as it is small. Most people who drive to the crater vo via Lake Manyara for a few hours to tick it off the list.
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