Tanzania boasts some of the best game-viewing opportunities in Africa, if not the world.
While it is has four separate safari circuits, we focus on the Northern Circuit, which includes some of the most recognized locations on the continent—the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire National Park, and Arusha National Park—each with its own fascinating and enchanting identity.
Serengeti National Park is one of the most iconic destinations in Africa and stands as one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world. Its endless plains and kopjes, the large rock outcroppings that provide shelter for large cats, make it vastly different from any other park in the circuit.
Read more about what you can see and do in Serengeti National Park
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is not only one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, but is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a highly revered destination thanks to its history, incredible beauty, and sheer immensity.
Outside of having a dense population of lions, the Ngorongoro Crater is also home to the rare and critically endangered black rhinoceros, and plenty of other ungulates.
Read more about what to expect on a Ngorongoro Conservation Area safari.
Famously coined the loveliest lake in Africa by Ernest Hemingway, Lake Manyara and the surrounding national park is renowned for the beauty of its diverse habitats. It’s the best place to see tree-climbing lions, the largest baboon troops in the region, and stands as one of absolute the best places to see water birds, such as flamingoes. It’s also the only park that allows game drives at night—a completely different and exciting experience—and exceptional views of the Great Rift Valley.
It’s a great place to see:
• Birds – Lesser and greater flamingoes, great white pelicans, silver cheeked hornbills, pink-backed pelicans, yellow-billed storks, Marabou storks, grey herons, palm-nut vultures, African fish eagles, and over 390 other species
• Large mammals – Elephants, giraffes, African buffalo, and hippos
• Ungulates – Wildebeest, zebras, dikdiks, hartebeest, bushbuck, waterbuck, gazelle, impala, and warthogs
• Large predators – Lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas
• Small predators – African wild cats, jackals, foxes, servals, honey badgers, civets, ganets, and mongoose
• Primates – Baboons, vervet monkeys, and blue monkeys
When it comes to iconic images of Africa, Tarangire National Park is near the top of the list thanks to it having the greatest abundance of elephants in the region, as well as termite mounds, and baobab trees. It’s famous amongst bird enthusiasts, as it’s home to 550 bird species that can be spotted throughout the park. Tarangire often plays host to herds of zebra, wildebeest, and cape buffalo that number in the thousands and is also the most recent home of Omo, the rare white giraffe.
It’s a great place to see:
• Large mammals – Elephants, giraffes, African buffalo, and wildebeest
• Birds – Ostriches, yellow-collared lovebirds, red-bellied parrot, tawny eagle, rufous-tailed weaver, Von der Decken’s hornbill, and plenty more
•Predators – African lions, cheetahs, leopards, caracals, honey badgers, dwarf mongoose, hyenas, jackals, and African wild dogs
• Olive baboons and vervet monkeys
• Ungulates – Zebras, warthogs, hartebeest, waterbucks, bushbucks, dik diks, impalas, topi, kudus, eland, oryx, and gazelle
Although much smaller and lesser known than other parks in the northern circuit, Arusha National Park possesses some dramatic landscapes, ranging from Tanzania’s second-highest peak, Mount Meru, to lakes and grasslands. On a clear day, it has the best view of Mt. Kilimanjaro of any park.
Read more about what to expect from Arusha National Park as a safari destination.