Roam Serengeti Safaris

What to expect on your first Tanzanian safari

Although it’s also exciting, planning and preparing for an African safari can seem a bit intimidating. In fact, outside of seeing wildlife, the term “going on safari” is still ambiguous to many, and that’s OK—we’ve got you covered.

So to help you better understand the entire process, trip, what to wear, and everything in between, we’ve got answers to some of the most common questions first-timers ask.

If you don’t see an answer here, check out our FAQs page or don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re happy to walk you through anything you want or need to know to ensure your safari dreams are turned into reality. 

A safari vehicle drives along a dirt path past wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater

What's being on safari like?

When most people hear the word “safari,” thoughts of gorgeous sprawling landscapes filled with wildlife come to mind—and that wouldn’t be inaccurate.

For most, a large portion of time on safari is spent on game drives, where you hop into a safari vehicle with your guide and venture out into the parks to see Tanzania’s incredibly diverse and vibrant wildlife—often up close—in their natural habitat.

But that’s not all you’ll do. You’ll enjoy local meals, relax in camps and lodges nestled into the landscape, and even explore markets and local culture should you so desire. While many guides simply self-identify as a “safari guide,” they’re really here to help you explore and immerse yourself in the areas you want to visit and safely enjoy everything your safari has to offer.

Two cheetahs relax in the dirt

What animals will I get to see on a safari in Tanzania?

That all depends where and when you go! While there are plenty of species that stay in the region or even specific parks throughout the year, many others migrate in and out based on the season. 

If there are any specific animals you’d like to see, make sure to let your guide know while you’re in the planning process so they can make sure to include areas where sightings will be common. However, regardless of where you go in the Northern Circuit, there are plenty of opportunities to see some of the region’s most sought-after wildlife. Barring a few animals that are exclusive to certain parks, the chances are good you’ll see:

Big cats: Lions, cheetahs, and leopards.
Large mammals: Elephants, giraffes, hippos and the rare black rhino. 
Hooved mammals: Wildebeest, zebras, gazelle, warthogs, elands, dik-diks, kudu, waterbuck, hartebeest, and more.
Other predators: Hyenas, crocodiles, several fox species, serval, jackals, mongoose, civets, and wild dogs.
Primates: Baboons, red colobus and blue monkeys, and other smaller species.
Hundreds of bird species including hornbills, Fischer’s lovebirds, vultures, and parrots.

How close do the animals get?

While we always want to give our customers incredible experiences with our native wildlife, we have to remain respectful of the comfort and safety of every animal we encounter and always give them the space they need—but that doesn’t mean we can’t get close or that many won’t come right up to the vehicles. 

It’s not uncommon to have an African lion, elephant, or baboon just feet away from the safari vehicles, so often much closer than you could ever experience in a zoo—let alone while they’re in their own natural habitat.

A dirt path winds off into the Tanzanian wilds

What kind of safari should I choose for my first time?

At Roam Serengeti Safaris, we offer three different safari types: Private Custom, Private Classic, and Classic safaris. 

Custom safaris are for those who want to assemble their safari preferences down to the very last detail, from specific lodging, locations, experiences, length, etc. By contrast, classic safaris are all pre-arranged to make the planning process as easy as possible for visitors. Private safaris just means the vehicles, experiences, and so on, are reserved for you and your party alone, whereas non-private safaris may be shared with other parties. 

So long story short…

Want to have full control over every detail? Go custom.
Want to minimize the hassle of planning? Go classic.
Want the vehicle and experiences to yourself? Go private.

Each safari is also broken up into accommodation types. The game drives and many activities will be the same, but the accommodations and their respective amenities will be different. 

Want all the comforts of home and more? Book a luxury safari.
Good with four walls and basic amenities? Go economical.
Looking for bare-bones adventure and campsite living? Book an adventure-filled camping safari.

For more in depth descriptions of the accommodation types, check out our All Safaris page.

Elephants spotted while on a one week safari through the Serengeti

When is the best time to go on safari in Tanzania?

Tanzania’s Northern Circuit has two main seasons: the dry season, from early June to October, and the wet season, which is broken into the short rains of November and December (which don’t affect game drives) and the long rains from March to May—though there are plenty more that factors in to the best time to take a safari in Tanzania.

The dry season generally has clear, sunny weather in which animals congregate around watering holes, which is ideal for wildlife viewing. 

The wet season is at its wettest in March, April, and May, but otherwise, most rains are short afternoon showers and don’t have a significant impact on wildlife viewing or the safari experience in general. 

Tents at sunset at a campsite along the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater
A tented camp in Tanzania
A sky shot of a safari lodge in Tanzania
The interior of a luxury tented camp in Tanzania

What are accommodations like?

Accommodations depend on what kind of safari you choose and there are plenty of options to choose from. 

For those who prefer not to live without the comforts of home, let alone spoil themselves on holiday, luxury camps and lodges are an easy choice. While each one is different, most come with plush, comfortable bedding, en suite washrooms, and plenty of privacy. The only difference between the two are the way they’re built—lodges are made up of a primary manor house and separate permanent cottages whereas camps feature a main house and airy, intimate tents—but both can provide lavish living options. 

For those who prefer a bit more adventure, bush camping is the way to go (top left). While there are often fewer deluxe amenities, there is absolutely nothing like sleeping the wilds of Tanzania’s most incredible landscapes. 

Of course, there are always options in between as well, as there are plenty of modest tented camps and lodges for those looking for the perfect balance between comfort, adventure, and cost. 

Classic safaris will have the lodging information included on the main safari’s page so you’ll know where you’ll be staying ahead of time. For those who choose a custom safari, it can be as simple as choosing the accommodation type or specifically selecting them from options nearby your destinations.  

Four plates of tasty Tanzanian breakfast food on a small table
A local saucy Tanzanian dish in a bowl

What's the food like?

While luxury camps and lodges have their own seasoned chefs ready to prepare your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, even those who opt for bush camping will have a dedicated chef to prepare delicious meals on-site included with their safari. 

Regardless of which you choose, meals are generally local dishes made with fresh, native ingredients. Breakfast is often a selection of perfectly ripe fruit paired with eggs, crepes, and bread. Lunch and dinner often center around grilled and marinated proteins like fish, beef, goat, chicken, and mutton, handmade breads, fried pastries, rice, and vegetables like okra and spinach. 

Many lodges do offer a more specialized menu that extends beyond local delicacies, but nearly all chefs are able to accommodate any dietary restrictions upon request. Bush lunches, a combination of non-perishable, fresh, and prepared foods are also common when travelers are in the midst of a park when mid-day hunger strikes. 

Water is always available during game drives, but tea, coffee, and juice are often served with meals. Alcoholic beverages are also available upon request in many locations or with advanced notice for those who are bush camping.

Two giraffes look over towards the viewer

What are the advantages of booking with Roam Serengeti over a plan-it-yourself approach?

We’ll put it this way: our goal is to provide each and every customer an immersive, life-changing experience with minimal hassle. Not only do our partnerships with local camps, lodges, farms, and indigineous people help save you money, but plenty of time as well. By putting together a comprehensive package that provides you door-to-door service, we make sure your time is spent on taking everything in—not having to plot and plan for what’s next.

In addition, our guides are incredibly knowledgeable about everything Tanzania, from where to find its wildlife, to how to speak the local language, to how to maximize every moment you experience. By joining us for your first safari, let alone any in the future, we’ll be your helpful, convenient one-stop-shop for anything you need and help you make the absolute most of every minute you spend with us.

Share this: