What is a safari and what makes it different from a typical vacation?
The word safari comes from the Swahili language, meaning ‘a journey’ and is the root of the verb ‘to travel’ in this East African language. Tanzania is by far the best country in Africa to go on a safari – it boasts the largest national parks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as the highest mountain in Africa.
As further testament to Tanzania’s claim as the top country in Africa for a safari, Serengeti National Park has been awarded the ‘Best Safari Destination’ out of numerous national parks across Africa by the pundits for multiple years in a row.
Hence, a safari is not just a vacation, but a travel experience in Africa. While other places (such as Thailand or India) may advertise ‘safaris’, these game drives to view animals are not comparable to an African safari, nor do they have any historical connection to this Swahili word.
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Many people dream of going on safari in Tanzania, consistently voted the best safari country in Africa. For some, it’s a bucket list adventure, for some it’s a once in a lifetime experience, and to others it’s a passion that needs to be fulfilled. One thing is for sure – you will never forget the first moment you see African animals in the wild! Whatever the reason for traveling, many people don’t quite know what to expect and it can be intimidating to plan.
With that in mind, here are a few things you can expect on your Tanzania safari:
Tanzania has a diverse ecosystem that ranges from golden savannas and plains to mountains and forests to waterfalls and walled cities to islands that offer visitors an unequaled paradise. You will be able to drive on unpaved roads while enjoying the gorgeous natural scenery.
One of the most visited natural sites is the Ngorongoro Crater (located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Africa’s “Garden of Eden”. The crater is the biggest intact volcanic caldera in the world and provides a safe haven to 25,000-30,0000 large animals including black rhinoceros, elephants and lions. Water is never scarce and its gorgeous vistas make it a must-visit to be included in any Tanzania safari checklist. Another attraction is the famous Serengeti National Park which is home to the Great Migration, the biggest migration of land mammals in the world. And for anybody who is looking for a physical challenge, how about conquering majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain!
Tanzania has always been popular and is world-famous for its diversity of wildlife and variety of bird species. It is not unusual to find a herd of zebras along with wildebeest in one corner and then a pride of lions and a cackle of hyenas in another. Due to the parks’ vastness, animals can be hard to spot if you don’t know how and where to look but thanks to our professional and knowledgeable driver guides, you will be brought to where the action is. One legendary spectacle is the Great Migration in the Serengeti, where millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles move across the East African plains in an endless cycle in anticipation of rains and better grazing. This happens year-round so whatever month you are looking to visit the Serengeti, you will surely be able to experience this spectacle as long as you have an experienced guide to navigate your Tanzania tour.
LONG DRIVES AND BUMPY ROADS
Since most national parks are huge and nature has its own way of showing up, you might need some time to find the best spots to see animals. You’ll spend most of your day inside the safari vehicle keeping your eyes peeled for some amazing animal sightings. Since there are no paved roads in the national parks, be prepared for a lot of bumping and bouncing around (safari massage at no extra charge)!
Since we only offer private safaris, every day can be planned to your liking. From trees pushed over by elephants, blocking the road, to watching a lion cub frolic and play with its mother, time is not a concept in the wild: we recommend leaving your watch at home! If you would like to follow a herd of elephants for hours, you can do that. If you want to head back to camp early, no problem! Most animals show the greatest activity just before sunrise, so typically your safari will start early in the morning. Animals in Tanzania roam free so if you want to see lions, giraffes, zebras and cheetahs, sometimes it takes a little patience to be rewarded. Another thing to keep in mind is that everything can always change in an instance – you might drive for a long time without seeing much and just when you want to give up something extraordinary happens – we have experienced this many, many times! It is an adventure!
Most people come to Tanzania to see its wildlife, but they fall in love with Tanzania’s people. Our mission is to introduce our guests to the country’s diverse village life and many different people…Maasai and Hadzabe, Datoga, Iraqw people and Zanzibaris, all of whom will greet you as friends. Tanzania has 120 different tribes so getting to know some of them is a must-do on any Tanzania safari!
COMFORTABLE SAFARI CARS
The Tanzanian tourism industry maintains a high level of standard, which extends to safari vehicles. When you book with Toto Africa Adventures , there is no compromise of driving in a van for your safari – you will certainly be in a modern, comfortable safari vehicle. Our safari cars come with Wi-Fi internet, a fridge for cool drinks, electric outlets to charge devices on-the-go, air conditioning and extendable tops. The option to lift up the roof of the safari car means better viewing all around for a fun safari adventure.
QUALITY LODGE & CAMPS
The simple ambiance of a Tanzania safari does not mean an uncomfortable experience. Instead, you will find accommodations featuring rooms with hand-carved wooden beds or thatched bomas, traditional enclosures reflecting superb quality and comfort. Many of them have ecologically friendly concepts that are essential to communities across the country. Materials are taken from the local environment and blended into the landscape, and solar panels provide hot water and power to camps and lodges situated hundreds of miles from the nearest road or village.
Lodging in Tanzania range from mid-range tented camps mainly used by travelers on a budget, to luxurious lodges and extravagant tented camps. Private verandas and/or plunge pools, communal campfires, or a boma meal under the glittering Tanzanian sky often become remarkable vantage points to observe wildlife in the immediate vicinity of your camp.
Depending on your choice of accommodation, you will either stay in an exclusive area surrounded by stunning vistas or you’ll be in camps/lodges strategically located along areas of frequent wildlife encounters because animals roam free and there are no fences. There is no limit to how extravagant or special an accommodation can be – Tanzania offers a wide range!
PROFESSIONAL SAFARI GUIDES
Toto Africa Adventures carefully selects safari guides who have experience in the field, and in-depth knowledge of Tanzania’s plants, animals and history. Your safari experience will be both memorable and informative. All around, you will learn about the incredible features of nature, and the behavior of Africa’s animals, in a fun and engaging way. Despite the lengthy time in the cars, many families who do bring their children on safaris find the experience opened their children’s minds to nature in a completely new way. Electronic devices seem dull compared to the excitement of the real wild!
Our guides consistently are given positive reviews from our guests. The professional and friendly manner of our guides is often considered one of the aspects that took a traditional safari above and beyond expectations.