Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika—Another one of Africa’s Great Lakes, it tends to play the role of understudy to Russia’s Lake Baikal. Lake Tanganyika is the second largest by volume, the second deepest, and the second oldest freshwater lake in the world. The longest lake in the world, it actually borders three other countries (Congo, Burundi, and Zambia). With significance for geological and human history, not to mention a huge amount biological diversity, it’s a great spot for lake-lovers. 

This amazing African lake was discovered in the mid-1800s by a couple of English explorers named John Speke and Richard Burton. These explorers were actually looking for the source of the Nile River. However, they ended up arriving at Lake Tanganyika in February of 1858. They thought they found the Nile River when they discovered that the Ruzizi River was just to the north of Lake Tanganyika. There was a movie created about their journey called Mountains of the Moon.

Another interesting aspect of Lake Tanganyika is that there were battles that were fought there in World War I. The British fought the Germans several times in naval battles on the lake. Lake Tanganyika held a lot of strategic benefits for whichever side held it. The Germans held the lake since the war began.

Lake Tanganyika is famously clear. It allows visitors to see beneath the lake’s surface for up to 20 meters. You can see a lake bottom that is covered with shells. You can also see amazing drop-offs. Finally, there are massive boulders that you can see beneath the surface that are breath-taking.

Another spectacular thing about Lake Tanganyika is that the lake’s temperature no matter what region of the lake you are in. Basically, if you go deeper into the lake, it’s only 3 degrees cooler than the surface of the late. Scientists are still not sure how this is possible. It does make the lake very comfortable. 

Lake Tanganyika is an amazing lake when it comes to biodiversity. It hosts over 350 different species of fish, for example. When it comes to the fish, 95% of them are endemic. Because of its isolation, there has been an evolution of a large amount of fish over several decades. All of the time new species of fish are being found within Lake Tanganyika. 

The waters flow into the Congo River from Lake Tanganyika and, surprisingly enough, end up in the Atlantic Ocean.  This lake is an amazing lake to visit for a variety of reasons. 

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park—Lake Manyara is a great example of how much the dry and wet seasons affect the Tanzanian landscape. During the wet season, the lake can swell to more than 7 square miles. During the dry season, it shrinks to a size that most people find it hard to believe it’s a lake at all. More than the lake itself, the park is largely defined by the strip of land between the lake and the rock wall that is the Gregory Rift. Along with other safari wildlife, the lake is known for its indigenous flamingos. 

Lake Manyara is a great example of how much the dry and wet seasons affect the Tanzanian landscape. During the wet season, the lake can swell to more than 7 square miles. During the dry season, it shrinks to a size that most people find it hard to believe it’s a lake at all. More than the lake itself, the park is largely defined by the strip of land between the lake and the rock wall that is the Gregory Rift. Along with other safari wildlife, the lake is known for its indigenous flamingos.

Manyara national park is a center of attraction. There are beautiful sceneries and wildlife. You will not only see the dazzling wildlife animals like zebras, impalas, and lions but also, different species of birds. The life of birds in Lake Manyara is exceptionally unusual. The attractive vegetation around Lake Manyara is just magnificent. Grassy flood plains, mixed acacia woodland, and evergreen forests are captivating.

Manyara is located 300km on the North rift valley floor in the southwest of Arusha. You can get to the park by air. You can charter a plane from Arusha to Serengeti, then Manyara Airstrip. From there, usually, you will drives for about ten minutes after landing in the Manyara airstrip. Besides, you can flexibly get there using a road safari vehicle. The park is accessible throughout the year.

Lake Manyara national park is open throughout the year for visitors. However, the best time to enjoy the beautiful sceneries and wildlife is in the dry seasons. The dry season runs from late June to September. June to March marks a high season of the park, and it is always crowded, especially in the morning hours. April and May mark the off-peak season and hence no congestion.

Adventure safaris are exciting in discovering the dazzling and real wildlife of Africa. The packages are designed to favor your preferences, time of the visit, and your budget. The operators are there to serve and ensure you enjoy your holiday. Wildlife safaris include game drives, bird watching, fishing, snorkeling, and boating. 

If you are looking for a destination to enjoy a diversified ecosystem, incredible birdlife, and breathtaking sceneries, Lake Manyara national park is the best place to visit. You can’t miss watching the famous tree-climbing lions this season, Manyara. 

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria—The greatest of Africa’s Great Lakes, Victoria is the world’s largest tropical lake, the second largest fresh water lake by surface area, and the world’s 9th largest continental lake. Wildlife, the Nalubaale Dam, and lake recreation make this a popular spot. It was once mistaken as the source of the Nile. 

The greatest of Africa’s Great Lakes, Victoria is the world’s largest tropical lake, the second largest freshwater lake by surface area, and the world’s 9th largest continental lake. Wildlife, the Nalubaale Dam, and lake recreation make this a popular spot. It was once mistaken as the source of the Nile. (paragraph)

It is currently the largest reservoir of the Nile within Africa, but not the source. The total distance that Lake Victoria covers is measured to be over 2000 miles merely in Diameter. One could only imagine the circumference. Despite this body of water being nothing but a freshwater lake, there are still plenty of islands within its waters to explore and discover. However, this lake has not been without its bad days. Lake Victoria and all of the wildlife and vegetation around it were greatly impacted by over-fishing and heavy traffic back in the early parts of the 21st century. It has taken a few years to recover from the onslaught on the lake’s marine life, but it is getting there slowly but surely. Now it is protected from such harmful actions and reveled for the beauty that it is without others wanting to mess with it.

Lake Victoria is often a tourist spot for those new to Africa because of its direct link to Britain-or more importantly, queen Victoria. However, with all the protection and tourism, do not think it hasn’t gained a population of its own. Not just within 50 miles of the lake all around you can find small African settlements and villages that help maintain and care for the lake. The villages are so connected with the lake, that they even built local steamers around it to anyone who would like to take a moment to relax and enjoy the view. Surprisingly enough though, even if the lake attracts the youth of many generations, this lake is over 400,000 years old. It has dried up a couple of times, this is true, but it always comes back. The last tie Lake Victoria dried up was over roughly 17,000 years ago and shows signs of those years growing. 

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro—Known as Kili to many of the locals, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa. More than a mountain, Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with three volcanic cones: KiboMawenzi, and Shira. There are five commonly used climbing routes that reduce down to two paths to the summit. About half of the climbers who attempt the climb fail to reach the summit, but even if you’re not a hardcore climber, there are amazing views from a distance as well.  

At approximately 5,895m high Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s largest free-standing mountain and rises from a completely flat plain. It is not as far above sea level and the difference between its peak and base is much bigger. Mount Kilimanjaro is a UNESCO world heritage and covers approximately 755km². Dense vegetation is scarce and primarily there is just palm trees and acacias, but due to volcanic ash, the grass is richly nourishing. Herds of Zebras, elephants, buffalo and wildebeest relish and sought after the grass. In mount Kilimanjaro, melt-water streams from its summit nourish a lush belt of tropical forest that is home to herds of elephants. There is a moorland that is dotted with massive lobelias and heathers. The temperature around Mount Kilimanjaro drops down to sub-zero at night and the oxygen level is half that of sea level.

The mountain boasts of many hotels and Kilimanjaro National Park. There is a vast majority of wildlife available here. Healthy herds of elephants roam around there freely. Among the herd of lumbering elephants with much sought after tusks that are over 50 years old, They can be seen with their huge ivory tusks almost dragging them to the ground. Other animals found there are, warthogs, hippos, impalas, zebras, giraffes, elands and gazelles that are less common. Cheetahs, lions, leopards and jackals are also present among others. The diverse habitats around mount Kilimanjaro also house a wide variety of bird species. There are avian species and 13 that are classified at risk of extinction. It is the ultimate superlative destination for anyone wanting to do an East-African bird trip, especially during the wet season. To top it off, on the beautiful scenery is mosses and lichens that are clinging on to the rocks.

Mount Kilimanjaro can be visited anytime throughout the year. However, the best times to visit is during the dryer season, from January to February and August to September. There are two rainy seasons that are worth avoiding from March to mid-May and October to the beginning of December. During the rainy seasons, the routes become highly slippery. Hotels and lodges for accommodation are available too. 

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve—This is one of largest fauna reserves in the world. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, much of the land is set aside for big-game hunting, and it’s a world-class spot if that’s your thing. If it’s not your thing, but you’re in this southern part of Tanzania, there’s a section in the northern part of the reserve that’s just for photography and sightseeing. 

The protected reserve spans over 19,000 square miles (about 33,600 square kilometers) and is filled with diverse wildlife and undisturbed nature. While permanent human habitation is not allowed, there are many interesting places to check out while you are there. There are hot volcanic springs and channels from nearby rivers that help diversify the landscape. You can take in the beauty and peaceful surroundings on a walking safari.

While only about 10 percent of the reserve is open for photography, the game hunting at Selous Game Reserve is the real deal. Full of tributaries and lakes, you can hear the sound of hippos and crocodiles never too far away as you embark on your hunt. Additionally, the terrain varies between vegetation zones, dense thickets and open grasslands. Big game hunting is a very lucrative business opportunity for the area and is ran based on the wildlife density. The big selling point here is authenticity, it is not your average tourist destination. You will not find lodges and the camps are very basic.

Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve is home to about half the country’s elephant population. You will find large numbers of rhinos, cheetahs, hippos and giraffes. Additionally, the reserve is home to over 350 various species of birds, such as the rufous winged sun bird and the Udzungwa forest partridge. Contributing to maintaining the integrity of the property, it actually sits nestled within the 56000 square mile (or 90,000 square kilometer) Selous Ecosystem. Selous Ecosystem offers national parks, forest reserves and other wildlife areas.

Truly, Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve is one of the most awe-inducing wonders in the world with the site boosting one of the largest uninhabited wildernesses in all of Africa. The beauty of the reserve has been immortalized over the years by writers and photographer alike. Furthermore, it has so much to offer in the way of hiking, boating, camping and other safari activities. It is because of all of this that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) has designated the spectacular Selous Game Reserve a World Heritage Site. Such a site must remain protected and preserved, however it is a sight that must be beheld. 

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National ParkThis is the largest national park in Tanzania and all of East Africa. Along with several interior and adjoining game reserves, this park is almost 8,000 square miles. Like the Serengeti, the park is part of the larger Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem. This park is also home to pretty much all of Africa’s famous safari wildlife. May through December is usually best for seeing large animals and predators. January through April is best for birds and flowers. 

The Park is located in central Tanzania and is easily accessible throughout the year. For visitors traveling by road, it is about 81 miles drive from Iringa town and 388 miles from Dar-es-salaam city. The park has two airstrips at Msembe and Jongomeru. You can use the scheduled flights or opt to charter a flight from Dar-es-salaam, Dodoma, Arusha, and Kigoma.

Get guided tours, safaris, and enjoy what the park has to offer, ranging from wildlife, natural features to vegetation. The park is a paradise of birds, having over 571 species of birds. Ruaha National Park has a high number of elephants as compared to other National Park in East Africa. You will spot magnificent mammals like the greater Kudu, Sable, and Roan antelopes in Miombo woodland. Other animals you will get to see in the park include lions, cheetah, leopards, zebras, giraffes, impala, and Jackals.

You will also experience the thrill of being up-close with some reptiles such crocodiles, poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, various types of lizards, and frogs. Experience firsthand interaction with the Great Rift Valley that passes right through the park. The park has a variety of other physical features ranging from rivers, springs, wetlands, and mountains. 

Ruaha National Park has a wide range of semi-arid vegetation comprising woodland trees such as baobab, Acacia and other woodland species. Studies show that there exist over 1,650 plant species within the park.

Right within the park is Ruaha River Lodge, which offers dining and accommodation services at affordable prices. Ruaha River Lodge is near a river that is a water source for most wildlife in the park. This proximity gives you an amazing view in the morning as wildlife converges to drink water.

You can also get accommodation from Ruaha Hilltop Lodge and four other camps neighboring the park. These facilities offer mid-range to luxurious accommodation comprising self-contained cottages, common and private dining.

Book a multi-day tour for you and your family and enjoy this memorable lifetime experience in Ruaha National Park. 

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park—The Serengeti can refer to both Tanzania’s national park as well as the larger surrounding ecosystem. A big part of what makes this area so famous is the Great Migration in which over 1.5 million wildebeest, as well as plentiful zebra, crocodiles, honey badgers, and other animals. More than just migratory species, you can also find lions, leopards, cheetahs, rhinoceros, buffalo, and elephants in one of the most diverse and remarkable ecosystems in the world. 

A safari to Serengeti National Park is definitely worth everyone’s time. Inclusive of the beautiful scenery is a wide array of activities too. The activities and attractions include game drives in Serengeti National Park, nature walks, community tours, hot air balloon safaris, seeing wild species, the wildebeest migration, viewing kopjes, the retina hippo pool, the Grumeti river, the Seronera river valley and the
Maasai people culture.

Game drives in the Serengeti National Park include morning game drives, full-day game drives and evening game drives. This is a great way of experiencing a variety of wildlife. Morning game drives are the best since the wildlife is active and easy to spot in the morning. Full day game drives offer a rewarding chance to see and observe the behaviors of the wildlife species during different hours of the day. The big five, elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes and rhinos can be spotted during game drives among other animals. Also, a wide variety of birds can be seen including migratory and native birds such as grey breasted spurfowl among others.

Nature walks in Serengeti National Park are conducted with the presence of an armed ranger and a guide. This gives the tourist a unique experience exploring the open plains of the park and beautiful scenery on foot. Tourists also get the chance to interact with the local communities during the community tours. They get to learn of the culture, art and craft of the Maasai people plus see their traditional dances. Hot air balloon safaris give the unique experience of viewing wildlife from an aerial
view.

The most popular attractions of the Serengeti National Park is the wildebeest migration. An annual natural wonder of wildebeest migrating in search of water and greener pastures. Predators such as lions can be seen waiting to attack the prey. Other attractions include kopjes granite outcrops, the retina hippo pool with hippos swimming, the Grumeti River where the migration takes place and the Seronera River Valley with a highly spectacular view of wildlife. An excellent time to visit the area is in June, July, August, September and October. 

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park—You can find almost all of Africa’s wildlife in this one spot, especially during the dry season. That’s because the Tarangire River serves as a fresh water source for many types of wildlife. From June to November, you can find plenty of zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo, to go along with the elephants that love this spot year-round. The park is also home to more than 550 species of birds. 

Often overshadowed by the Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Parks, Tarangire is a gem worth exploration in the northern circuit of Tanzania. This seasonal park is located 118km southwest of Arusha. Tarangire is home to Tanzania’s largest elephant population. There a variety of activities including game drives, guided safari walks, and cultural visits to various neighboring villages.

The diverse wildlife will leave you in awe during your safari. Tarangire boasts of all of Tanzania’s most iconic animals, from towering elephants to the diminutive dik-dik and giraffes. In addition to the wide array of animals, it is also home to the fringe-eared oryx, the towering greater kudu and the tiny ashy starling. Those three are endangered animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the country. These are some of the many wildlife species that highly attract tourists.

The largest population of elephants in Tanzania is found here. During the dry season, up to 300 elephants can be found at Tarangire digging in the dry river bed of Tarangire river looking for underground streams. Elephants remain a constant sight at the park even during the wet season when all animals scatter out the entirety of the park’s 20,000km², all thanks to the elephant’s high population.

While not as impressive as the legendary Serengeti wildebeest migration, Tarangire offers a migration too. The migration happens between June and November annually. During the dry season, water sources dry up and Tarangire river becomes the main water source. Herds of Wildebeest, zebras, hartebeests and gazelles are seen here. Also, predators such as lions and leopards are spotted too as they prey on them.

Bird-watching is also an interesting activity with the highest number of bird species in all of Tanzania. The venerable baobab tree that stores up to 1000 liters of water within its bloated trunk and can live up to 600 years is also a sight to see at Tarangire National Park. There is also a rocks art site called Kolo located just outside the park, with ancient rock art left behind by hunters and gatherers plus remains of prehistoric rock shelters. 

How to Promote Tanzania Safari Adventures

The safari experience can be life-changing for both the participant and the guide. In some parts of the world, however, it can feel like there is a safari adventure company for every person visiting. There is an influx of safari companies, especially in places like Tanzania, and without proper strategizing and integrated marketing, a company could lose thousands of participants to competitors. Even if a company has a great safari, it takes some work on the back end to get that product to customers.

The key to promoting a Tanzania safari adventure is to get authentic content in front of an audience. You’ll want to target a specific customer with a specific strategy, but knowing how to do that can be difficult. Below, we’ve broken down some of the most important facets of promoting a safari adventure.

 

Find What Sets You Apart

In most cases, customers won’t be able to tell safari companies apart from one another. Most rely on the stereotype: images of zebras, lions, and giraffes, off-road vehicles buzzing through the savannah, and experienced guides to help along the way. While this sounds like the picture-perfect experience, it’s not often enough to get customers through the door.

As a company, you must figure out how to connect what’s specific about your safari company to the universal ideal of a safari adventure most travelers have in their heads. If you have access to a site that no other company does, put that information out there. Maintain your branding as a safari company, but point out how your service differs. Can customers get off the vehicle and walk around? Do you have a secret spot for viewing gazelles? If so, put that information in front of your potential customers. They’ll gravitate toward your service because it fits with their conception of an idea safari while offering something more.

 

Know What You’re Good At

Similar to finding what sets your company apart, knowing what you are good at is a crucial step in figuring out a marketing strategy. If you have excellent customer service, make that known. If you have a graphic designer on your team, allow them the space to be creative with the branding process. By figuring out what tools and skills employees bring to a team, you can better assess what needs additional work.

 

What is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing is an attempt to fuse all aspects of marketing communication for a single entity. This includes communication through advertising and sales promotions to public relations and social media. The mix works together to create the appearance of a unified force, ensuring that all messaging is consistent and that all marketing channels are centered on what the customer needs.

Integrated marketing can include a number of platform outlets, such as:

  • Web design
  • Website support
  • Social media
  • Email newsletters
  • Online advertising

Additionally, to push your content toward the customers you want, you may want to consider more advanced digital marketing, like search engine optimization. Regardless of your company, you’ll want to explore integrated marketing options. This provides customers with a comprehensive understanding of your business while simultaneously building and supporting your brand.

 

Know When to Ask for Help

Strategic marketing requires a lot of work and expertise. While it may be possible for a company to excel in one part of a marketing project, like having a great social media presence, it can take a lot of labor and helping hands to get the full strategy off the ground.

When you need that extra boost, hiring some outside help could be what you need to put your brand or company over the top. For example, here is a creative marketing agency and services that has done similar projects, and they helped point us in the right direction. It is important to find an agency that addresses multiple aspects of marketing so that they can better suit your company’s specific gaps.

Average Cost of Tanzania Safaris

We’ve heard about safari experiences that cost as little as $100/day, but these typically involve large groups, few extras, and primitive camping for lodging on some or most nights. Which isn’t to say these can’t be great experiences and reasonably safe, but $800-$1000+/day is more the standard for luxury-style safari experiences. Certainly, you can find even higher-end, truly extravagant vacation packages. In fact, in recent years, there’s been a concerted effort to expand the market for Tanzania safaris by adding more budget-friendly vacation packages, especially for no-frills adventurous types.

Like other online sources for Tanzania safari costs, we consciously listed the prices per day, rather than total trip costs. Some of the Tanzania safari companies and vendors advertise their prices this way, but regardless, there’s no such thing as an average total cost of a Tanzania safari vacation. 5 Days. 7 Days. 9 Days. 14 Days. We’re not saying you can find a safari package for every number between 3-30 days, but the reality isn’t too far off. In our personal experience and through a little bit of online research, we know that airfare to Tanzania costs about $500-$1,000+ depending on the city, time of year, and flight upgrades. We saw on this Quora forum that a one-week Tanzania safari that is “semi-luxurious” runs about $3,000-$3,500—not counting your basic travel expenses to get to Tanzania.

Still, taken as a whole and looking at all the various choices, you can begin to understand where some sources suggest that Tanzania and other African safaris might cost anywhere between $2,500 and $25,000. We know from a recent email from a couple we know who took a family Tanzania safari for 13 days and six people with Rothschild and it cost $51,000. That included all the shots and airfare from Chicago, food, lodging, everything. They didn’t provide much more detail than what you see, so it could have been extravagant or it could have been skinny. But you have an idea about what to expect.

 

Finding the Right Fit for You and Your Group

If this wasn’t vaguely complicated enough, things can get even trickier when you have members of your party with various financial means, personal standards, and tolerance level for roughing it. It may make a lot of sense to shop together as a group, but in our experience, some people are just too busy and so one person usually takes the lead. One of the ways in which you can narrow down your search is to look for themed Tanzania safaris that feature the Great Migration, gorillas, or the Masai Mara Extension.

Even so, it’s important to research and clearly communicate the options to the rest of your party members. Some compromises may be necessary along the way, but it’s often impossible to know what those compromises are—or if they’re necessary at all—until you see what the choices. A lot of people have nothing but the slightest inconveniences, or else nothing at all, to say against their Tanzania safari experience. But time and time again, when we do hear people talk about the frustrations with their trip—it tends to focus on the planning and failing to find the right safari package for their group. Lock this stuff down, and then start packing because you’ll be well on your way.

Another great way to calm nerves among those more high-strung friends and travelers, and to just make sure you make the most of your time there, you can look into day-by-day itineraries and guided tours for some of the best rated safaris in Tanzania.

Tanzania Climate

Wondering whether Tanzania’s climate is all semi-arid desert and savanna? There’s actually comparatively little desert in Tanzania, but there’s a large amount of tropical and subtropical savanna. It’s also a big country with a long coastline, huge plateaus, mountainous regions, and inland geography that’s more suitable for agriculture. Like a lot of equatorial locations, the average temperature isn’t based so much on moving north or south—Tanzania is located just south of the Earth’s equator—but rather moving up or down in elevation and moving toward or away from the coastline.

Near the coast, it stays hot and humid pretty much year-round, with the months of December through March being the most oppressive. The plateaus greatly moderate temperatures into a generally comfortable zone, but this also means you’ll need to be prepared for both the warm and the cold. Get far enough into the mountains, and you’ll see snowfall and glacier formations. Tanzania is the home of Mount Kilimanjaro, after all.

Average Precipitation in Tanzania

Much of the country sees average precipitation in a moderate 40-50” range, but there are definitely drier and wetter spots. That said, this rainfall occurs disproportionately during two different rainy seasons. A major feature of the annual climate in Tanzania is the Intertropical Convergence Zone—an area where different equatorial trade winds converge. This zone sweeps south through the country from October to December, stays at the southern border of the country and then returns north from March to May. This first period in which the ICZ heads south at the end of the year is known as Mvuli or “short rains” and the second period from March to May is known as Masika or “long rains.” For this reason, there’s also something of a tourist pop during June and July—school’s out for the summer—and January and February as people look to avoid their winter back home in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you want to do an even deeper dive into the averages, records, and other details, you can check out this online resource.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Pack for Tanzania Travel and Safaris

Going on a Tanzania safari is going to take your best organization and packing skills. If you haven’t already checked it out, our write-up on the Tanzania climate helps explain some of the challenges that come with traveling long distances over such diverse terrain and elevation specifically. You’re traveling a long way and usually for more than just a couple days. You’re going to need more than just an overnight bag. At the same time, you’re going to be travel-weary and if you haven’t made a bellhop-type service arrangement, you’re going to have to lug everything around. You need to pack everything you need to have with you and nothing more.

We aren’t trying to re-create the wheel here, as this question has been asked and answered many times. This is just our specific view of this as it relates to Tanzania travel and safaris.

 

Luggage

Here’s your first tip: Most, though certainly not all, safari itineraries call for both a main flight into one of Tanzania’s major cities and then secondary domestic flight to start the safari expedition itself. In this case, you’ll want to make sure you have an appropriate-sized bag for this secondary trip packing. Crucial to this packing strategy is knowing how much stuff you can bring during both the main international flight and the secondary trip. Many domestic safari flights have weight limits as low as 30lbs., though you can usually bring more for an extra cost. Here’s a great resource for choosing luggage for safari travel.

 

Safari Packing Brochures

Now, a safari company will likely provide some of the essential supplies. More than likely, you’ll want to consult the safari brochure and/or contact the company before finalizing your packing plan. Crucially, the same brochure and company-provided packing list may be used for different safari trips and during different times of the year, when the weather can be remarkably different. Put another way, these brochures will tell you to pack light, while listing out everything you might need on any trip, rather than what you personally will likely need on any particular safari trip. If it feels like you’re over-packing and you have questions about specific items, don’t hesitate to contact the safari company.

 

The Tanzania Online Packing List

Indeed, here’s our Tanzanian vacation and safari packing list. This is a great place to start your own packing list, but you’ll undoubtedly want to add and subtract items based on the length of your stay, time of year, local destination spots, and personal preferences.

 

Clothing

  • Lots of loose-fitting layers are the foundation of your clothing packing choices, especially if you’re looking to get the full Tanzania experience with some time in the hot and humid beach town resorts as well as the drier savannas and cooler mountain climes.
  • Unless you’re attending a destination wedding and even then, there’s little reason to think you’ll need formal wear. Romantic and semi-formal wear for fine dining in one or more resort towns, sure. But you can leave the ballroom gowns and tuxedos at home.
  • Neutral, earthy tones—typical safari browns, olives, khaki, etc.—are the best bet for safari days. At the resorts, there’s a more eclectic mix of white, black, and brightly colored apparel.
  • The local custom in many areas is to dress conservatively, but it’s not like you have to be covered from head-to-toe, either. Tank tops and shorts/skirts above the knee may generate whispers and side-eye. If you try to enter a place of worship or some other place in which strict decorum is observed—and then you may be asked to leave until more appropriately dressed.
  • Shoes are a big space-consumer, and there’s often no good substitute for it. You should probably bring sandals, but these are pretty much just for the beach or indoor use. You’ll also want comfortable hiking shoes/boots and quite possibly waterproof or at least “river shoes” for most Tanzania safari itineraries.

 

Toiletries, Medicines, and Travel Essentials

Most lodging will have soap, shampoo, and conditioner, and most guided tours will have first-aid kits, but it’s not a bad idea to bring your own. In addition to oral care, feminine hygiene, and other personal toiletries, there are a number of other travel essentials to include on your list.

 

  • Get mosquito/insect repellant and sunscreen. We recommend the full strength stuff, but the good news is that the most common and annoying insects have a similar enough physiology the world over that it’s not like you need to buy special African bug spray. Sunscreen is another essential. Use your preferred SPF, but look for something that’s convenient to apply as well. When the sun’s out in full force, you’re going to want to apply sunscreen more than once a day.
  • Antihistamines, antacids, and anti-inflammatories, we like to think of these AAA. Who knows what personal allergies may flare up from the Tanzanian flora? Aches and pains are frequently part of traveling. Or maybe the flying is the worst part for you, and a benzo is the only way you can get through it. Whether you like ibuprofen, tylenol, or aspirin, whether Claritin or Benadryl works better for you, don’t forget to bring your prescription and over-the-counter medications.
  • You may want to pack some sleep aids and jet lag remedies. From the U.S., you’re going almost halfway around the world. Expect to experience jet lag and take all the best precautions and mitigating steps. More than just jet lag, you want to be able to get as much decent sleep and general rest as you can. A travel pillow, neck-rest, or similar devices can come in handy even after you’ve gotten off the plane. Even a sleep aid medication may not be a bad idea for travel and short-term use.

 

Small-Item Accessories and Big-Item Shipping

  • Smart phones, cameras+memory cards, chargers, and portable electronics. All the modern gadgets you can fit in your luggage, really. But there is a catch: The Tanzania electrical grid uses 220-240 volts and 50 hertz and British-style sockets that use three rectangular blade pins. Bring books or magazines for the plane, and binoculars for the sight-seeing. Want to be extra cool? Find and bring a pair of night-vision goggles.
  • Some vacation activities require considerable props and equipment that may need to be shipped ahead of time. Golf is one example. You can choose to rent clubs, but you can also ship your clubs to one of the country’s resort-based golf courses. It’s not cheap. When we tried, popular services like ShipSticks didn’t provide direct service to Tanzania but will instead have you contact them and try to set something up for you.
  • Skiing is another example. Ski rentals are few and far between—if only because there are no actual ski resorts in Tanzania, but we did tell you about the mountains and snow, right? People have been skiing with some regularity in Tanzania since the 1990s. If you’re part of this hardcore group of primitive and international skiing destinations, you may also be a fanatic about having your personal skis shipped to Tanzania.

 

 

Things to Do and Places to Visit in Tanzania

Wondering what there is to do on a Tanzania vacation? Even if you’re just starting your search, there’s little doubt that you’ve heard some of the names and places on this list. Tanzania is home to some of the most iconic destinations in all of Africa and the world. We couldn’t possibly list all the things to do and see in Tanzania here, but as a beginner’s guide, here are some of the things you should try to get to, here are some of things you can have to whet your appetite for this amazing vacation experience:

 

Safari and Wildlife

  • Serengeti National Park—The Serengeti can refer to both Tanzania’s national park as well as the larger surrounding ecosystem. A big part of what makes this area so famous is the Great Migration in which over 1.5 million wildebeest, as well as plentiful zebra, crocodiles, honey badgers, and other animals. More than just migratory species, you can also find lions, leopards, cheetahs, rhinoceros, buffalo, and elephants in one of the most diverse and remarkable ecosystems in the world.

 

  • Tarangire National Park—You can find almost all of Africa’s wildlife in this one spot, especially during the dry season. That’s because the Tarangire River serves as a fresh water source for many types of wildlife. From June to November, you can find plenty of zebra, wildebeest, and buffalo, to go along with the elephants that love this spot year-round. The park is also home to more than 550 species of birds.

 

  • Ruaha National ParkThis is the largest national park in Tanzania and all of East Africa. Along with several interior and adjoining game reserves, this park is almost 8,000 square miles. Like the Serengeti, the park is part of the larger Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem. This park is also home to pretty much all of Africa’s famous safari wildlife. May through December is usually best for seeing large animals and predators. January through April is best for birds and flowers.

 

  • Selous Game Reserve—This is one of largest fauna reserves in the world. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, much of the land is set aside for big-game hunting, and it’s a world-class spot if that’s your thing. If it’s not your thing, but you’re in this southern part of Tanzania, there’s a section in the northern part of the reserve that’s just for photography and sightseeing.

 

Mountains and Volcanoes

  • Mount Kilimanjaro—Known as Kili to many of the locals, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest peak in Africa. More than a mountain, Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano with three volcanic cones: Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. There are five commonly used climbing routes that reduce down to two paths to the summit. About half of the climbers who attempt the climb fail to reach the summit, but even if you’re not a hardcore climber, there are amazing views from a distance as well.

 

  • Mount Meru—You don’t need to be Hindu or Buddhist to appreciate the sacred vibe that’s given off by this mountaintop and its five peaks. Members of many religious faiths have a special meaning and connection to this place, sometimes considered the center of the universe. Maybe you’re a religions buff or maybe you’re intrigued by the natural phenomenon with such immense religious influence.

 

  • Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area—Along with the breath-taking experience that is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, there’s also a beautiful gorge and other natural features in the surrounding landscape. There’s a ton of wildlife in this protected area. This includes lions, rhinoceros, zebra, wildebeest, and hyenas.

 

  • Ol Doinyo Lengai—Tanzania also has active volcanoes. Ol Doinyo Lengai, The Mountain of God, is undoubtedly the country’s most famous. Part of the East African Rift, this volcano produces a particular kind of natrocarbonatite lava. It’s also important in the history of science. Its 1960 eruption gave scientists the opportunity to confirm that carbonatite rock comes from magma.

 

Famous Lakes

  • Lake Victoria—The greatest of Africa’s Great Lakes, Victoria is the world’s largest tropical lake, the second largest fresh water lake by surface area, and the world’s 9th largest continental lake. Wildlife, the Nalubaale Dam, and lake recreation make this a popular spot. It was once mistaken as the source of the Nile.

 

  • Lake Manyara National Park—Lake Manyara is a great example of how much the dry and wet seasons affect the Tanzanian landscape. During the wet season, the lake can swell to more than 7 square miles. During the dry season, it shrinks to a size that most people find it hard to believe it’s a lake at all. More than the lake itself, the park is largely defined by the strip of land between the lake and the rock wall that is the Gregory Rift. Along with other safari wildlife, the lake is known for its indigenous flamingos.

 

  • Lake Tanganyika—Another one of Africa’s Great Lakes, it tends to play the role of understudy to Russia’s Lake Baikal. Lake Tanganyika is the second largest by volume, the second deepest, and the second oldest freshwater lake in the world. The longest lake in the world, it actually borders three other countries (Congo, Burundi, and Zambia). With significance for geological and human history, not to mention a huge amount biological diversity, it’s a great spot for lake-lovers.