When it comes to the best of the best, Tanzania may just be the most spectacular of all. Home to some of the best safari parks in the world, an African safari here offers endless encounters with the world’s most impressive animals.
From its deep-rooted history to the breathtaking beauty of its varied landscapes, the best safari parks in Tanzania lives up to their renowned reputation for unforgettable wildlife experiences.
Whether you are traversing along the plains of The Serengeti or encountering the largest concentration of wildlife in Selous National Park, these national parks all have something unique to offer. Here are the best safari parks in Tanzania worth exploring.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti is one of the oldest and most prominent national parks in Tanzania and is renowned for its annual migration, where around six million hooves hammer the vast plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeests’ trek for fresh grazing.
Full of abundant wildlife, The Serengeti checks all the boxes on anyone’s dream trip of an African safari. Here you will find extraordinary herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and countless topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle among many others. It is estimated that in the park live about 3,000 lions, 300 cheetahs, 250 leopards, and 7,500 spotted hyenas as well.
With the remarkable Kjopes in the north and the acacia sprinkled never-ending plains to the south, it is not just the animals that makes an African safari in the Serengeti so noteworthy. If you are lucky enough to visit the Moru Kopjes, you can explore with an expert guide to discover the cave paintings made by Masai centuries ago.
When To Go
If you are looking to experience the very best of The Serengeti, aim for June and July if you can, as the wildebeest migration usually tramples the plains at this time. However, it can be visited all year round and still offers endless exhilarating wildlife encounters. It’s no surprise why Serengeti National Park is at the top of our list for the best safari parks in Tanzania.
Tarangire National Park
If you haven’t heard of Tarangire National Park, this is most likely due to it being one of Africa’s most underrated parks. While most itineraries only include a day or so at most, there’s so much more to be discovered about this hidden gem in Africa which is why it tops our list as one of the best safari parks in Tanzania.
An Elephant Lovers Paradise
Located 75 miles southwest of Arusha, Tarangire National Park covers over 2,600 square miles of diverse wildlife and endless scenic views. Here, elephants are the leading appeal, with over 3,000 roaming within the park during the peak months of June through September.
The peak season also welcomes a large number of giraffe, buffalo, Thompson’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudu, eland, leopard and cheetah. If you are lucky, you might encounter the dwarf mongoose, oryx and generuk – but viewings are very rare for the most part.
Dynamic Landscapes And Vibrant Birdlife
Along with the other animals listed above, Tarangire National Park includes a good number of leopards, lions, hyenas, and cheetah that are commonly sighted on the southern edges of the park. If you are into birding, Tarangire offers the best year-round bird-watching in Tanzania.
While Tarangire National Park includes many of the major species of wildlife in Tanzania, it’s the surrounding landscapes that truly makes this park stand out. With its rolling hills and deep valleys lined with baobab trees, the backdrop during your adventure here is nothing short of magical.
Created 2.5 million years ago from an inactive volcano collapsed on itself, the Ngorongoro Crater is often referred to as Africa’s “eighth wonder of the world” and with good reason. This is where paleoanthropologists Louis and Mark Leakey notoriously identified traces of first known human species, homo habilis, reaching back over 2 million years.
Protecting The Endangered Black Rhino
Home to over 25,000 large animals, including the largest concentration of lions in the world, the Ngorongoro Crater is now a thriving self-contained ecosystem filled with a variety of exciting wildlife. This includes a good number of severely endangered black rhinos. Because the rhino is constantly favored by local poachers, the exact number of rhinos inside the crater is a close kept secret.
Where Wildlife And Local Tribes Co-habitate
Outside of the Ngorongoro Crater, the conservation area is comprised of 3,200 square miles which include dense mountain forests, woodlands, grasslands, lakes, and swamps. Beyond the wildlife and topography, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to over 40,000 Masai which makes it one of the only places in Tanzania where humans and wildlife can live among each other in a protected environment.
A Trip Along The Crater Rim
Not to be missed is a walk among the Ngorongoro Crater rim accompanied by an armed ranger. This experience takes visitors on a naturally created path where you are immersed in the breathtaking highlands, far away from the crowds. The views and scenery of the crater below are truly unforgettable making it one of the best safari parks in Tanzania worth exploring.
Choosing The Best Time To Go
While wildlife flourishes year-round in the Ngorongoro Crater, from May to October it’s drier and the bush thins out providing the best encounters. If you aren’t a fan of the masses, we’d recommend going in March or April, but make sure you get an early start to avoid any chances of rain impacting your adventure.
Selous Game Reserve
One of the largest animal reserves in the world and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Selous Game Reserve contains a large variety of unique wildlife and offers guests a pristine natural environment. This ever-changing landscape of over 45,000 square kilometers boasts grassy plains, open woodlands, majestic mountains, and lush forests.
The Biggest Safari Park In Tanzania
Selous Game Reserve is around three times the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and two times the size of the Serengeti National Park. That being said, it is no surprise it claims the title of being one of Tanzania’s three World Heritage Sites. Here, you can find the largest numbers of cheetah, hippos, African wild dogs, elephants, giraffe, Cape buffalo and crocodile than any other national park.
Home To The Endangered African Wild Dog
The true hidden gem of the Selous Game Reserve is the significant population of the endangered African wild dog with over 50 percent of the species residing in the park. With over 400 species of birds, it’s not only the wild animals that make Selous such a sought-out destination. Including both resident and migratory birds, you can find everything from pink-backed pelicans all the way to the elusive Pel’s fishing owl which often emerges at dusk to hawk above the water.
Take To The African Bush On Water Or On Land
One of the best advantages of an adventure in Selous is the wide array of activities to choose from. Many of the lodges/camps offer excursions throughout the reserve whether by on foot, in a vehicle or on the water. Boat safaris allow you to smoothly traverse the lakes and channels, offering close wildlife encounters, including crocodile and hippo. If staying ashore is more your style, a guided game walk is full of exhilarating encounters with big game such as; elephant, buffalo, and even lion.
Best Time To Visit Selous Game Reserve
The best time to visit is during the dry season, between late June and October. This is due to wildlife being easier to spot since animals gather at water sources and vegetation is thinner providing better game viewing. At the end of the day, the Selous Game Reserve is distinguished for its tranquil and isolated wild, providing the ultimate African safari for both first-timers and seasoned travelers.