Tarangire National Park
Tarangire is located slightly off the main safari route and is extremely popular during the peak season from July through October. Tarangire is famous for the massive elephant migration, is Tanzania’s best park for bird watching, and is truly an authentic African safari atmosphere. The majority of travelers that visit Tanzania either miss out Tarangire altogether or venture into the park for only a matter of hours. If you really want an intimate experience, most of Tarangire is virtually untouched!
Tarangire is exceptionally large, Tarangire National Park is roughly ten times the size of nearby Lake Manyara and the best month for wildlife viewing is from July through to October. This little gem on the Northern safari circuit is an elephant lover’s paradise! During the peak months up to 3,000 or more elephants can be found in the park. During the peak months, Tarangire also has huge concentrations of other animals like giraffe, buffalo, gazelle, kudu, eland, leopard and cheetah. A safari in Tarangire is outstanding as it has a fraction of the visitors compared to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park’s name originates from the Tarangire River. The landscape and vegetation are incredibly diverse and the hilly landscape is dotted with the infamous Baobab trees. Tarangire is known for its huge elephant herds that roam the national park consuming the grassy vegetation and shrubs. There are also many resident animals like migratory wildebeest, zebra, impala, buffalo and eland that are often found crowded around the lagoon and waterholes. The Tarangire is also home to the more unusual species like the rare fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk.
Tarangire is one of Tanzania’s best kept secrets. Tarangire is a must see during the peak season and if you are an avid birder. If you are traveling to Tanzania between July and October, we will highly recommend that part of your safari is spent in the incredible Tarangire National Park.
WHAT ARE THE BEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO GO ON SAFARI?
Tanzania is arguably the best safari country in Africa and many consider it to be the ultimate safari country. The Serengeti National Park is famous for the wildlife documentaries that almost help paint the picture of most people’s dream safari. Tanzania good weather allows for staying under canvas tented camps. The Serengeti National Park is famous for being endless plains teeming with animals.
Tanzania has world renowned famous destinations like: Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar and Mount Kilimanjaro. It also has parks that are barely known, yet would be the crowned jewel in almost any other African country, like Ruaha, Tarangire, Katavi and Mahale National Parks. Tanzania is home to an estimated 4 million wild animals, including the continent’s largest populations lions. You cannot mention Tanzania without talking about the great migration of roughly 2 million wildebeest and gazelle all slowly moving through the Serengeti ecosystem. Some of the most famous wildlife videography occurs when the wildebeest cross the crocodile infested waters of the Mara river.
The majority of tourism in Tanzania occurs in what is called the northern circuit; which includes the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Tarangire. As the great migration movement occurs so do best locations to be in the Serengeti. Many of the tented camps are also seasonal set ups that move with the migration.
Katavi and Ruaha National Park are among Africa’s best kept secrets. These parks offer astounding big game viewing in very wild and secluded areas. Safaris in southern Tanzania are very different compared to the northern circuit. Lake Tanganyika in Mahale National park is known for its white sand beach, thick jungle and the thrill of hiking to find chimpanzees.
Chacha Tours Africa is a Tanzanian government licensed safari operation and we have an office in Arusha, Tanzania. Our Managing Director, Phileomon “Chacha” was born and raised in Tanzania and has guided climbs to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro over 200 times.
Botswana is one of the world’s best safari destinations. Its main highlight is the Okavango Delta which features pristine wildness. Botswana has a wonderful system which allows for private concessions; this is where there are only a few safari camps (2 or 3 camps) that have exclusive rights to tens of thousands of acres. This system allows for more freedom which allows for full off-road game driving. This is similar to the Ndutu area of the Serengeti and it allows you to drive within a few meters of an animal. Botswana also allows for night drives, walking safaris, and the Okavango Delta is famous for its mokoro canoe safaris.
There are a few reasons why Botswana is not the world’s best location to go on safari. First, the low-density model has led to the majority of the safaris being of the much more expensive luxury type. Botswana’s second main issue is that the majority of the animals leave the Okavango Delta from November through March. During the months of May through September, the Delta is flooded with water and the animals return. Overall Botswana is a wonderful destination to go on safari, the only caveats are that it is best to visit during the peak season of May through September and it is going to be expensive.
The two best countries to go on safari are Kenya and Tanzania. Kenya is where the safari experience began. The Masai Mara Game Reserve is basically the same as the Serengeti except it is in Kenya. The Mara is an incredible park any time of year because it is a prolific area for big cat viewing. When the great wildebeest migration is in Kenya it is absurdly good but absurdly busy.
Kenya is a diverse country, with a vibrant culture, and has many diverse game parks. Amboseli National Park is famous for its elephant population and Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop. Laikipia wilderness camp in Central Kenya, has become an outstanding place for game viewing of extremely rare species like African wild dogs, the endangered Grevy’s zebra, and the extremely rare black leopard. Lake Naivasha is a wonderful small park that allows you to get up close and personal with hippopotamus. Lake Nakuru is known for its rhino viewing and Hell’s Gate National Park is famous for the its walking safaris and for being the model for the opening scene of the movie the Lion King.
There are a few downsides to Kenya. First, the game parks tend to be small and spread around the country. This requires either flying between the parks or long drives on some poorly maintained roads. Unfortunately, Kenya has also been the target of terrorist attacks from a Somalia based group Al-Shabaab. Fortunately, no attacks have occurred in any of the safari areas. Even though Kenya has had a few problems it is still a very safe country to visit and is probably only second to Tanzania when it comes to wildlife safari destinations.
Unfortunately, we do not offer tours inside of Kenya because of government rules; however, we do have a sister company that we work with and is an excellent safari company.
Namibia is a very unique and special destination. It has some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa with the Namib desert pushing against the cold Atlantic Ocean coastline. The spectacular red sand dunes at Sossusvlei are world famous and a must see. The Skeleton Coast is one of the last remote places on earth. Etosha National Park is an incredible park and is famous for masses of wild animals, including the desert elephants and black rhinos, gathering around the few watering holes trying to quench their thirst. This makes for a unique safari experience; instead of driving around looking for animals, visitors tend to stay in one spot watching the animals come and go. Namibia also has a great diversity of cultures that can be experienced.
The down side to Namibia is there is only a few areas to view wildlife and they are spread all across the country. This makes for some long drives between National Parks. The diversity of activities makes Namibia is a wonderful country to visit; however, if your main goal is to go on safari then Etosha National Park is your best bet for seeing high concentrations of wildlife.
South Africa is an incredible country with a tumultuous history. It has a bit everything to offer; from beaches, mountains, cities, vineyards, culture, shopping, and of course bush safaris. Many travelers also feel comfortable as it sometimes feels like being in the USA or a European country. This adds comfort to a first-time traveler to Africa, but many visitors desire a more unique cultural experience than South Africa can offer.
Many believe the best place for safari is in private game reserves near Kruger National Park. South Africa is well known as the premier location to see leopards and rhinos. Compared to other African countries safaris seem a bit tamer, more managed, and many safari roads are paved with asphalt. It is common for lodges to have internet connections, gyms, and spas to use between game drives. This makes South Africa a great location to have a ‘cozy’ safari, and it is excellent for those who need to be in constant contact with their home or business.
South Africa isn’t the best African country for wildlife safaris, but it is a wonderful travel destination for other activities. South Africa is particularly attractive with stunning vineyards, with fine wines and world-class gourmet restaurants. Cape Town is considered by many to be a must visit city in Africa and a visit to Table Mountain is a must. The famous Garden Route is very popular among travelers.
Krugar National Park is the most famous park in South Africa but there are many other compelling regions that have small game parks like Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Kgalagadi Game Reserve, Karoo National Park, Ithala Game Reserve, and Mapungubwe National Park. Due to its quality infrastructure and paved roads in the parks, South Africa is one of the best destinations for those who want to do some self-driving.
Uganda is a lesser known and possibly underappreciated country for wildlife safari viewing. Gorilla trekking is the main reason to people visit Uganda, but the country is full of other safari gems. Uganda has excellent chimpanzee trekking which makes Uganda the best country for safaris for viewing great-apes. Bwindi National Park is world renowned for its mountain gorillas and Kibale National Park is a must see for chimpanzee viewing.
Murchison Falls is a popular addition for those looking for an extended and more traditional safari experience where one can view lions, buffalo, and elephants. Hidden away against the border of Sudan and Kenya in an extremely remote corner is Uganda’s best park – Kidepo Valley National Park. To get there one must purchase some relatively expensive flights, but it just might be worth the effort.
Similar to Kenya, Uganda’s parks are spread out over the country and a traveler must decide between flying or some very long drives over some very poorly maintained roads. Uganda’s safari lodging and activities tend to be less expensive and more rustic than most other safari countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana, but the logistics of transportation tend to wipe out any savings on lodging. Uganda might be Africa’s best country for overall diversity of scenery, experiences, and wildlife. There aren’t many African countries where you can see a mountain gorilla, a chimpanzee, an elephant, and a lion without a border crossing.
Zambia is possibly Africa’s best kept secret and if you are looking for the road less traveled then Zambia might be your destination of choice. Zambian safaris are distinguished by the adventure that they deliver with the out of the way wilderness camps that are teeming with wildlife. The bush camps tend to be very small and intimate and getting to them can be a journey in itself. The camps are rustic, yet they still deliver comfort, while maintaining a wonderful connection to the wilderness.
Zambian guides are exceptional and are rivaled only by Zimbabwe. Many Zimbabwe’s best guides have moved to Zambia due to the difficulties with the Zimbabwe government. The more extreme walking and canoeing safaris do require exceptionally trained guides.
It is a quite a unique experience to walk in areas where animals are habituated to humans on foot. South Luangwa National Park is famous for their walking safaris. In Lower Zambezi National Park offers canoeing and boating activities that are exceptional. Adding to the adventure with game drives that are almost absent of other vehicles, they feel like they are exclusive.
Zambia’s Kafue and Liuwa National Parks are some of Africa’s lesser known great safari destinations. Livingstone is famous as being the Zambian side of Victoria Falls and is very popular among tourists.
Zambia’s a very unique safari destination and requires a lot of knowledge about where to go and when to visit. The small and independent operations make for one of the best safari offerings in Africa.
Zimbabwe is probably best known as being the home of Victoria Falls, and is one of Africa’s biggest attractions. Many safari goers only visit Victoria Falls but do nothing else within Zimbabwe and this is a major mistake. Safari insiders know that Zimbabwe has some of the best guides in all of Africa. Zimbabwe has many problems but it has some of the best walking safaris in all of Africa.
Zimbabwe’s tourism has suffered greatly under the reign of the Robert Mugabe regime. Zimbabwe offers a supreme experience for travelers, but is not recommended for the first-time traveler to Africa. The adventure and cultural experience of Zimbabwe is very intense. Many safaris focus on searching for wildlife while on foot, through active tracking. This is especially true in Mana Pools National Park, where adrenaline and adventure can be combined by canoeing the Zambezi River. Another wonderful national park is Hwange, where man-made watering holes attract elephants and buffalo in a very dry environment.
As adventure tourism is growing in popularity Zimbabwe might become an adrenaline enthusiast’s destination. Zimbabwe is a unique African adventure because they offer walking, canoeing, boating safaris, and even mountain biking is now being introduced. Zimbabwe is an excellent value compared to Botswana or Zambia, but it is still a country for the more advanced traveler.
"Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing." - John Donne