Why is Tanzania the Top Safari Destination in Africa

Top Safari Destination in Africa

Africa may not be the place that instantly comes to mind when you think of vacation, but it’s got quite a lucrative tourist industry. By 2030, spending on tourism and related fields is expected to pump over $250 billion into the various economies of Africa.

A notable portion of Africa’s tourism revenue comes from safaris. The Top Safari Destination in Africa is Tanzania overall, a country in Southeast Africa, bordered by Kenya and Uganda in the north and Mozambique and Malawi in the south.

What is it about Tanzania that makes safaris so appealing? Keep reading to find out:

1. Safety and Political Stability

Amongst many countries of the world, Tanzania is quite a safe safari destination. Tanzania is a very stable country politically, with an elected government. Given that the country depends so much on tourism, it makes no sense for them to hurt visitors or fail to protect them. Tourism contributes about 18% to the country’s GDP and it has been the second productive industry in the economy of Tanzania after agriculture.

Back in its history, Tanzania has not had any war on its soil since 1979, and that war mostly took place on Ugandan soil. It was a Tanzania – Uganda War during the reign of Idd Amini. Idd Amini, who was by then the president of Uganda, ordered an invasion of a part of Tanzania, in the northeast of Tanzania and so Tanzanians had to go into war to reclaim their territory. Tanzania and its allies defeated Uganda and the war was over within a year. Tanzania also won every major battle that it participated in.

When one talks of peace and political stability of other countries in Africa, the role of Tanzania to facilitate such positive vibes and development can not be overlooked. It’s leadership in peace-making in various African countries has earned this country an outstanding reputation over decades, as not just the primary facilitator of peace but also as a great model on the continent. In other words, Tanzania is the center of peace in the whole of Africa.

The State Department does advise visitors to take increased precautions to always keep visitors on the safe side, but the country is mostly safe. It is recommended to visitors to avoid isolated areas as well as walking independently in the dark in certain cities, a recommendation given in other vacation destinations in the world.

There is also an advisory for terrorism, but that is a precaution the State Department includes for every country that has ever been threatened with attack. Several countries are given the same advisory even though nothing has come of any threats made against them.

2. Superb Wildlife Viewing

If you love animals or interested in the sighting of wild animals, Tanzania should be on top of your list. Apart from game reserves, Tanzania has more than 16 national parks with the greatest abundance and diversity of wildlife in Africa. Visiting this country for a safari is not just once in a lifetime experience but an experience like no other. It is easier to spot some of the rare animals like “The Big Five Animals” in Tanzania than any other African country. The Big Five Animals are the African Elephant, Black Rhino, African Cape Buffalo, African Lion and African Leopard.

Tanzania is a country of superlatives. This country features places such as Serengeti National Park, the best and most celebrated national park in Africa; Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world; and the famous Ngorongoro Crater.

If you are planning for a safari to/in Tanzania, your bucket list should definitely consider the following safari destinations amongst many others:

  • Serengeti National Park
  • Ngorongoro Crater
  • Lake Manyara National Park
  • Tarangire National Park
  • Arusha National Park
  • Ruaha National Park
  • Selous Game Reserve
  • Nyerere National Park
  • Mikumi National Park
  • Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Mount Meru

Your choice of safari destinations in Tanzania is made easy and more comprehensively on our list of Tanzania Safari Destinations

3. The Wonders of Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

This is the spectacular movement of over two million animals (Wildebeests, Zebras, Gazelles, and a few other small animals) in search of better pasture. This movement is referred to as “The Great Wildebeest Migration” or “The Serengeti Great Migration”, which occurs annually, for the whole year. In our case, we prefer The Serengeti Great Migration as there are other species of animals involved than just the Wildebeests.

The Serengeti Great Migration stretches through parts of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Maasai Mara in Kenya, comprising roughly 1200 miles. This extraordinary migration of animals and their predators have contributed in making Serengeti as a World Heritage Site.

World Heritage Sites are similar to baby photo albums, except for all of humanity. They include amazing natural places we have seen and interesting things we have accomplished through ages. It helps to document humanity and explains the human experience.

Serengeti is among these sites of international importance, partially owing to the Serengeti Great Migration. The best time to see the Great Migration depends on what part of the country you are visiting. Our African Safari Specialists will help you plan the best Tanzania Safari and make your dreams a reality.

4. Zanzibar Archipelago

The name “Zanzibar” is said to be a derivative of an Arabic word “zanjibār”, which in turn was extracted from a Persian word “zangbâr” which is a cocktail of two words, “Zang for “black” and “bâr” for “coast”. Etymologically, it entails the “land of the black people” or the “land of the dark-skinned inhabitants”.

The word “archipelago” is said to have originated from an Italian word “archi” to mean principal or chief and the Greek word “pelagus” to mean “sea or open sea”. Now the two words were coined together to imply “a group of oceanic islands” or “a large body of water with many islands”. These islands or ocean ridges are formed through volcanic eruption from the sea floor.

Zanzibar is a Swahili Island in the Indian Ocean and on the East Coast of the United Republic of Tanzania with a very long and exciting history that any tourist might be interested to hear. From the Portuguese invasion and control of the Swahili Coast and thereafter Arab dominion, Zanzibar remains a landmark of ancient history on the Swahili Coast. Zanzibar’s Stone Town holds the history of those ancient days, including the building of the Sultan’s Palace.

There are numerous small Islands in Zanzibar, two are the main ones. The two major Islands of Zanzibar are Unguja and Pemba. Unguja is mostly referred to as Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is a home of world beautiful beaches.

Many people visit Zanzibar just for the amazing beach experience. Zanzibar has one of the best and undisturbed beautiful beaches in the world. Each year, more than 300,000 tourists visit Zanzibar. Some of the best places to visit in Zanzibar for beach holidays include Nungwi, Kendwa, Paje, Matemwe, Kiwengwa, and Nakupenda.

Located in the north of Zanzibar, Nugwi is so far the most preferred beach with a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful white sandy beaches. You will also enjoy watching turtles that roll gently onto the beach.

In order to have a maximum Tanzania experience, we recommend a mix of both Safari and Zanzibar Beach Vacation.

5. The Best Safari Country in Africa by SafariBookings.com

Safari Booking is one of the largest online marketplaces that help travelers to compare safari offers from a list of more than 1000 specialized tour operators in Africa.

Each year, safari booking conducts research based on traveler’s reviews of how they see and recommend a certain African country that they have visited on their safari. For several years now, Tanzania emerged as the top safari country in African based on traveler’s reviews in 2013, 2015, 2017 years and a second runner from 2018 up to date.

Serengeti National Park in Tanzania has been voted as the best Africa Safari Park three years in a row.

6. A wide range of Safari Options: Budget, Mid-Range & Luxury

Tanzania is the Top Safari Destination for any kind of traveler. The country has all the facilities to accommodate and meet the interests of any traveler, from solo, family safaris, to group safaris. You can customize your Tanzania Safari as much as you may wish to meet your interests.

For those who are limited on their budget, Budget Safari is an available option to most of the parks. You can enjoy the beautiful nature of this amazing country while taking advantage of budget camping accommodation.

If a budget safari is not your cup of tea, you have an option for a Standard (Mid-range) or Luxury Safaris. Mid-range safari is the most preferred choice for most travelers who wish to have a comfortable safari while spending an average budget. For travelers who like the most luxurious experiences, a Luxury Safari will be the best option.

7. Direct Flights from Abroad

Most direct flights to Tanzania start from Europe and Middle East Countries.

If you are coming from North America, you will need to make one or two stops at Istanbul using Turkish Airways or Amsterdam by using KLM, and then you will fly directly to Tanzania. Alternatively, you can also use another one-stop flight to Johannesburg and later to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Most direct flights from South America to Tanzania use a Johannesburg’s route using South African Airways. For Australia and Asia travelers, there are a lot of en-route options of either through the Middle East, Addis Ababa, and Nairobi Kenya. For travelers who are coming from India, Tanzania has its own flight, Air Tanzania, which offers direct flights from Mumbai to Tanzania.

8. Diversity of Tribes

Tanzania has more than 120 distinct ethnic groups of which 80% are those of  Bantu origin. Having a wide cultural diversity from different ethnic groups had helped Tanzanian people to learn and live together peacefully. Since its independence in 1961, a lot has been done to unite all indigenous groups across the whole country. Each ethnic group has its own local language, but after getting independence, the government managed to unite all tribes by promoting one language, the Swahili language. Now all Tanzanian people speak one language which plays a major role in uniting all ethnic groups. This is the way Tanzanian people learned to love and live together as one united nation in spite of their ethnic differences. Tribal differences have been one major source of civil wars in Africa.

The most popular ethnic groups in Tanzania are Sukuma, Nyamwezi, Chagga, and Maasai. The majority of these tribes have the largest populations in the country compared to other ethnic groups.

Although the people of Tanzania speak one language, they have never left behind their ethnic norms and belies. Each group/tribe is still practicing all the things that they believe in, in their respective societies. This made Tanzania to have a bursting cultural diversity that is interesting to learn and experience. Your visit to Tanzania will be a lifetime experience in case you wish to include a cultural tour on your itinerary.

There is a lot to talk about how the people of Tanzania have been diversified culturally. This is why ethnic diversity in Tanzania is one of the reasons that make Tanzania the Top Safari Destination in Africa.

9. Largest Population of Lions in the World

If you are thinking about traveling to Africa for a lifetime experience, seeing a Lion on your trip will always credit your trip to be an amazing experience.  In 2019 Tanzania launched a special program to protect the decimation of lion populations in the country. This is because, 60% of all Lions live outside of the protected area making them vulnerable to habitat loss, bush-meat trade and human conflicts.

Tanzania has almost half of the total lions that are found in Africa. Recent research shows that 14,000 to 15,000 Lions are found in Tanzania. Having a larger population of Lions than any country in Africa also makes Tanzania the Top Safari Destination in Africa.

If seeing a lion on your safari is a priority, then Tanzania is, without doubt, the best country to visit.

10. Top Bird Watching Destination

Africa is home to almost 2341 bird species with 67% endemic to the continent while Tanzania hosts a total of 1116 bird species, an approximation of 48% of all the birds found on the African Continent. This is because, Tanzania is a tropical country with a lot of water bodies, swamps, grasslands, woodlands, and forests, that provide varied habitats for an unbeatable diversity of birdlife. Tanzania has designated a large portion of its land for wildlife conservation including these avian species. In addition, Tanzania also plays a significant role as a migratory corridor for birds from other parts of the African continent (Intra – Africa migratory birds) and those from other continents (Palearctic migratory birds).

Because of its exceptional richness in terms of birdlife, Tanzania has become a bird paradise of its own and attracted many bird-enthusiasts and photographers worldwide. Diversity, abundance, and beauty of the birds found in Tanzania have all made the country one of the Top Bird Watching Destinations in Africa! Even those who happened to visit Tanzania and without serious interests in birds have found themselves eager to know the names of the birds they encounter during the trip or taking pictures of the most beautiful birds in the course.

Some of the critical bird watching areas in Tanzania are Arusha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Ruaha, Mahale, Udzungwa Mountains, Usambara Mountains, Uluguru Mountains, Tarangire, Katavi, Lake Manyara and Gombe.

The Top Bird Watching Destinations in Africa

RankCountrySpecies CountEndemic Species CountThreatened Species CountIntroduced Species Count
1.Uganda10861371
2.Tanzania112525524
3.Kenya11228443
4.Cameroon95711352
5.Ethiopia87319391
6.South Africa866305111
7.Zambia8481261
8.Mozambique7811364
9.Central Africa Republic761131
10.Rwanda704222
11.Zimbabwe692254
12.Namibia6862334
13.Malawi6841212
14.Gambia613182
15.Botswana607213
16.Madagascar304102357
17.Seychelles277182012

Data Source: Avibase – The World Bird Data Base

Bird Watching Safari is not famous for most tourists, but this experience is the best alternative to tourists looking for other experiences than just Big Game Safaris. And in most cases, the bird – watching enthusiasts will always find themselves spotting more of the Big Game Animals in the course of searching for and identifying birds.

11. Extensive and Diverse Wildlife Areas

Tanzania is one of the leading countries in the world for conserving its wildlife and other natural resources. This country endowed with extensive and diverse wildlife areas, from National Parks, Game Reserves to the historical sites has ensured that almost 40% of the country’s total area is devoted to wildlife conservation.

If you are planning for a safari in Tanzania, you will have a lot of safari options, from the North, South, East, and West. You will have many chances to see wild animals in any part of the country in a pristine environment. Tanzania Parks have dozens of animals and it is easy to spot animals when you are on game drives, possibly than any other African countries.

In Africa, Tanzania harbors incomparably large numbers of Elephants, Lions, Cheetahs, Hippos, Zebras, Wildebeests, just to mention a few. The diversity of animals in Tanzania is very huge that you can’t find it in any country in Africa. Wildlife areas are also so extensive, not like the normal protected areas found in other places of the world – Serengeti alone for example encompasses an area of about 14’763sq.kms/5’700sq.mi which is bigger than the size of the Northern Ireland in Europe or the State of Connecticut in the USA. Ruaha National Park covers an area of approximately 20’226sq.km/7’809sq.mi and Nyerere National Park measures about 30’000sq.km/11’583sq.mi. So when we talk of extensive wildlife areas in Africa or in the world, Tanzania will stand out taller.

If you prefer to see the Big Five Animals, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater can be the perfect places to visit. If your interests are on seeing elephants on their natural habitats, Tarangire, Selous, Katavi, or Ruaha are the best parks. The possibilities of seeing different animal species in Tanzania is by far more than any other country in Africa, This is what makes Tanzania the Top Safari Destination in Africa.

12. Friendliness and Generosity of the People

If you have been on holiday to any part of the world, the kind of people you are going to meet can determine your travel experience. As we live in a new world with fast-growing technology, people’s generosity has changed in most parts of the world. But this is not the case when it comes to the people of Tanzania.

Tanzania is well known for its political stability and the primary reason for this is its people. As it was explained earlier, there are more than 120 tribes in the country, each with its own indigenous local language but connected with the Swahili language. This diversity has nurtured the citizens of Tanzanian to be generous to even new people coming from any part of the world. Tanzanian people like guests and tourists are not exceptional. Most Tanzanians are ready to help each other as well as help or talk to any strangers that they have never met before and made friends. This is why the people of Tanzania are considered as the friendliest people in Africa.

13. Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa, and it is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Most mountaineers, who like an adventure of high altitudes, travel to Tanzania to climb this mountain. More than 35,000 people from many parts of the world climb Mount Kilimanjaro annually.

Apart from being the top peak of Africa or others call it the Roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro climbing is once in a lifetime experience and it is the dream of most world travelers. When you are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, you will experience different ecological systems, from the deep rain forest zone, alpine desert, moorland, and the arctic summit. Every climber who has been to the peak of Kilimanjaro, Uhuru Peak, can tell how special it is to celebrate such a lifelong achievement on the peak of Kilimanjaro!

Because of it being right at the border of Tanzania and Kenya, there have been misconceptions and misinformation that Kilimanjaro is in Kenya. Mount Kilimanjaro is actually, geographically, administrative, and politically found in Tanzania and it can only be climbed from the side of Tanzania.

14. Infrastructure and Facility Development for Tourism

As one of the leading safari countries in Africa, the Tanzania government has done a massive investment in infrastructure. Most regions in Tanzania have been connected with tarmac roads and the country is still working on making more roads to facilitate movement. Tarmac roads are important for easy transfer from one park to another, or from national parks to the airports.

The Northern and Eastern Circuits have the most tourism favorable infrastructures compared to other circuits. This is because these circuits have the most famous destinations like Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar. Tourists also prefer to go to these circuits than Western and Southern Circuits of Tourism– and the main reason being that tourist attractions in northern and eastern Tanzania were the first to be known to the rest of the world and so does the infrastructure development in these areas.

Tanzania also has more than 22 Regional Airports, 5 International Airports, and more than 12 airstrips. All international Airports have daily international flights from all parts of the world.

Most Tanzania Parks have the best and world-class accommodations for all kinds of travelers.  Accommodation ranges from budget camps, luxury tented camps to lodges, and hotels.

15. Monetary and Payment System in Tanzania

Revolution in the Monetary System and safety has proven to be of great importance in the tourism industry in Tanzanian. As the Top Safari Destination in Africa, the use of multiple currencies and currency exchanges are well supported in Tanzania. Currencies are easily exchangeable in almost all major cities. Most of the hotels also provide exchange rates to tourists, which some of the tourists find it as the best way to ease transactions.

There is no need to carry a large amount of money in your pocket when visiting Tanzania. Most banks in Tanzania provide ATM machines that have also serve international credit cards (Visa Cards and Master Cards are all acceptable).

16. International Languages Spoken in Tanzania

There are various international languages that are spoken in Tanzania. Swahili and English are the main national languages spoken in Tanzania, with Swahili being spoken by 99% of the citizens and English as the commercial language.

Other languages like German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Chinese are rarely spoken by ordinary citizens or at some of the hotels. If you are not coming from Anglophone countries, Tanzania has safari guides who are conversant in other international languages. Having the best guides who can speak various international languages is very important for world travelers. And so Tanzania is proud of this!

There is no doubt that anyone who is planning a safari to Tanzania will have no language barriers when getting around for a superb safari experience.

17. Top Class Wildlife Areas

No doubt, Tanzania is the Top Safari Destination in Africa also because of its top-class national parks and game reserves. There is no place in Africa that has many parks that are rich in wildlife and most celebrated for safaris in the world than Tanzania. Big names of areas like Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater have been referred by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites due to their amazing wildlife diversity.

Serengeti National Park has been named by safari booking as the best safari park in Africa for more than three years in a row now. Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti are the only places in Africa where you can witness all the African Big Five animals in a day. Ruaha National Park is the only park that has the largest number of elephants in Africa.

There are no enough words to use in describing the richness of Tanzania Parks than advising you to pack your own bag and embark on a trip to Tanzania.

Conclusion

There are a lot of factors that make Tanzania the Top Safari Destination in Africa. We have only discussed some of them as above – there are more out there. Come with us to discover more of Tanzania in a special way.

If you want to know more about travel to Tanzania, we recommend you take more time on our website or send us an email.

If you are not a safari type, there are a whole lot of things to do in Tanzania. Remember, nothing will remain the same – age, prices, quality of parks, et cetera – the best time to visit Tanzania is now.