Tanzania in East Africa is one of the world’s best safari destinations, offering grasslands and savannah peppered with acacias and vast lakes, a snow-topped peak and a wealth of wildlife. The Serengeti and the Great Wildebeest Migration are the most famous, but there are lots more things to do on safari on the Northern Circuit, Tanzania.
Since Tanzania is a vast country, it’s hard to do and see everything on a single two-week safari. That’s why it’s generally divided into two: the popular Northern Circuit that includes Serengeti and Ngorongoro, and the less touristed Southern Circuit, which includes the Ruaha and Selous national parks. Here’s a guide to some of the highlights of a Northern Circuit safari.
1. Lake Natron
2. Lake Manyara National Park
3. Tarangire National Park
4. Serengeti National Park
5. The Great Wildebeest Migration
6. Maasai cultural visit
7. Olduvai Gorge
Between Ngorongoro and Serengeti, you’ll find the important paleoanthropological site of Olduvai Gorge (also spelled Oldupai or Olduwai). This 48km long steep-sided ravine is where Mary and Louis Leaky discovered human fossils and tools from some two million years ago, and is a must for anyone interested in the origins of man. The discoveries included fossil remains of more than 60 hominins (human ancestors) and expanded our knowledge of human evolution. Today, Olduvai forms part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
8. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
9. Mount Kilimanjaro
10. Gombe National Park
Best time for safari in Tanzania
Northern Tanzania is an all-year round safari destination. Calving season is January to March, when there’s a glut of young ones (and predator interactions) in Ngorongoro and the southern Serengeti, but good sightings of both these and other species all over. June to July is rutting season, when the wildebeest and zebra herds are in the western Serengeti but you can still see the resident species from elephants to predators throughout the northern parks. From July to October, the herds of the Great Migration are in northern Serengeti and making their river crossings into Kenya’s Masai Mara, but sightings of big cats, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and antelope are good in other parts of the Serengeti and the other northern parks.
The long rains come in April/May, and the short rains in November to January; these wet season months are strikingly green, deliver great sightings and make for excellent photographs.
Do remember that the cooler months of May to August can be really cold at night, so remember to bring something warm.
Add on a Zanzibar beach break
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