Tanzania > Activities & Special Interest

Tanzania

  • Hello Mary, First a big thank you for having arranged our holiday, we enjoyed both camps, Kwihala and Impala, they were different and complimentary and we were very fortunate to have good guides at both camps. We found Tides a great place to relax and do very little other than read. Thanks again.

    Mark and Deborah travelled to southern Tanzania
Tarangire walking safari, Tanzania

Tanzania

Activities & Special Interest

Special interest & safari activities in Tanzania

Big-game viewing

Serengeti game drive, Tanzania

Most big-game viewing in Tanzania occurs on game drives in either open or closed 4×4 vehicles. In the north of the country, it is usual to take a private ‘closed’ vehicle (and guide) and travel overland between the safari regions which are close together, although there are an increasing number of camps now offering a fly-in option with game drives in open vehicles. In the south and west of the country, where regions are linked by internal flights, open vehicles are used. The best regions for seeing big game are the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Selous, Ruaha and Katavi. Please view our regions page for more information on these and other areas.
Back to top »

Night drives

Serval on a night drive, Tanzania

Night drives are not possible in National Parks and Game Reserves, and are therefore limited to a few specific private conservancies/properties.
Back to top »

 
 
 

Walking Safaris

Serengeti walking safari, Tanzania

Walking is widely available in Tanzania. Whilst some safari properties offer nature walks as individual activities, the country is also an excellent destination for longer, more adventurous walking trails, often walking over several days and staying in fairly basic ‘fly-camps’ in the wilderness. All walks are fully guided with a back up crew to provide meals, drinks and undertake camp chores. In Mahale and Gombe Stream national parks, walking is the main activity when searching for primates such as chimpanzee.

Some of the best ‘dedicated’ walking safaris are found in the Selous Game Reserve, where operations such as Sand Rivers Selous Walking Safari offer genuine wilderness walking with big game encounters. Other regions that offer good overnight walking safaris or trails include Katavi, Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Serengeti ecosystem, including the National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Loliondo.
Back to top »

Mountain trekking & Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro summit trekking, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro offers superb mountain trekking and the trek to Uhuru Peak (at 5,895 metres/ 19,370 feet, the highest point in Africa) is a challenging and rewarding adventure. From the dense forests of the lower slopes, where wildlife can be seen, you traverse rolling moorland, rocky ridges and alpine desert before the final ascent up the prominent ‘Kibo Dome’. The views from on top of the Kibo Dome are awesome and inspiring, if not especially picturesque.

There are several different routes you can take, none of which involve technical climbing, but all of which are exhausting and expose you to freezing temperatures. You need a minimum of 4 or 5 nights on the mountain (often 6 nights), as well as a night either side close to the mountain. Accommodation is either in mountain huts (Marangu route only) or camping (all other routes including Machame, Shira, Lemoshi Glades and Rongai) with all food and services provided by your climb outfitter.

Mount Meru offers a shorter high altitude trek (usually 3 days/ 2 nights from Arusha), whilst the Ngorongoro Highlands offer some good lower level trekking, with an ascent of the active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai possible for the really hardy and experienced (we actually do not recommend this as the conditions on the volcano are incredibly dangerous).
Back to top »

Birding

Purple crested turaco, Ruaha, Tanzania

With over 1100 species recorded, Tanzania is one of Africa’s premier birding destinations. On any safari, even those with little bird knowledge are likely to record around 100 species over a period of a week. Changing habitats and altitude will prove even more productive. We do not specifically arrange birding group tours, but many of our customers are keen birders and putting together an individually designed itinerary is very easy. Some of the key areas to include are the montane forests around Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, the riverine woodland and waterways of the Selous Game Reserve, the drier bush habitats and miombo woodland of Ruaha and Katavi and the Great Rift Valley lakes of Natron and Manyara. In particular, Lake Natron is one of the largest breeding grounds for the lesser flamingo. Specialist guides are available for the more serious birder, who may also wish to consider destinations such as the Usambara Mountains, and Udzungwa Mountains National Park and the southern highlands.
Back to top »

Species specific interests

Mahale chimpanzee, specialist species, Tanzania

Tanzania offers a very wide range of wildlife viewing, but some of the key species that can be specifically focused on include chimpanzee, elephant and the big cats.

The Serengeti is one of the best regions in Africa to see all three big cat species – lion, cheetah and leopard, whilst elephant viewing is especially good in Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, and at the end of the dry season elephants can be seen in vast herds in Katavi National Park.

In Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains National Parks on the shores of Lake Tanganyika,  Tanzania offers some of the best places in Africa to see chimpanzees in the wild. Chimps have been studied in these regions for many years, and some families habituated to the presence of humans, making viewing excellent.

Tanzania is also a great country for seeing giraffe, and there is a growing population of wild dogs, especially in the Selous Game Reserve. The waterways of the Rufiji River are some of the very best areas in Africa to see hippo and crocodiles. On Zanzibar, it is possible to snorkel with dolphins.
Back to top »

Cultural Experiences

Masai granny, Lake Natron, Tanzania

Tanzania is a fairly heavily populated country with a multitude of ethnic tribes and colourful peoples, and even staying within the designated National Parks & Reserves, you will meet local people in the form of guides and camp staff. Some safari camps and lodges, especially those outside of national reserves, work closely with local villages and as a guest you can learn as much about the local community as you desire. The best opportunities are arguably around the Ngorongoro Highlands, where the colourful Maasai dominate, and hunter-gatherers such as the Hadzabe provide a less touristy experience.
Back to top »

Photographic Safaris

Photograph of leadwood tree at sunset, Serengeti, Tanzania

Most people who head out on safari plan to take a few photographs. However, in depth photographic safaris are growing in popularity, whether in the form of small group trips (please see the ‘Groups’ section for links to specialist photographic tours) or individually tailored holidays.

We are best equipped to arrange individually tailored photographic holidays. The flexibility and service we offer allows you to carefully plan your safari to meet your exact requirements, whilst our specialist knowledge is crucial, not just in terms of knowing where to photograph particular species, but also in terms of being able to provide suitable vehicles and guides.

In Tanzania, photographing big game is possible in many of the parks, especially prime areas such as the Serengeti, where the wildebeest and zebra herds can also be found. The Ngorongoro Crater is an amazing scenic spectacle and the best place to see rhino, whilst the Selous Game Reserve will offer a different opportunity with magical waterways and fantastic opportunities to photograph birds and water-dwelling species such as hippo and croc. In the west of the country, Mahale and Gombe are without doubt the best places in Africa to photograph chimps in the wild.
Back to top »

Water-based Safaris

Selous boat cruise, Tanzania

The Selous Game Reserve, with the Rufiji River and a string of four beautiful lakes that connect off the main river, offers some of the best boating safaris in Africa. Throughout the rest of the country, there is very little on offer, though Lake Tanganyika offers scenic cruises and kayaking, and canoeing is sometimes possible on Lake Manyara.
Back to top »

 
 

Fishing

Fishing boat, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Whilst there are some freshwater fishing opportunities on Lake Tanganyika and in some of the great rivers such as the Rufiji, the best fishing on offer in Tanzania is big game fishing off the coast (both traditional and on fly). There is not really a ‘fishing culture’ but most beach hotels can arrange deep-sea fishing through local specialists. Bill fishing, particularly for sailfish, is superb from September to March. Marlin (blue, black and striped), broadbill swordfish, shark, barracuda, trevally/kingfish are just some of the other species regularly caught.
Back to top »

Scuba-diving and Snorkelling

Diving, snorkelling and fishing, Tanzania

Diving is widely available off the islands of Mafia, Zanzibar and Pemba, where there is some excellent diving. Mafia Island, Mnemba Island off north-east Zanzibar and Mesali Island off western Pemba are some of the best diving locations. Snorkelling is good in most places, but it is usually necessary to go out in a boat, rather than snorkel from the beach. Mnemba and Chumbe Islands off Zanzibar offer some of the best conditions. On Zanzibar, it is possible to snorkel with dolphins.
Back to top »

Other activities

Hot-air ballooning, Serengeti, Tanzania

Other activities available on a limited basis include sailing, kayaking, mountain biking. We can also cater for very specific interests such as dendrology, Lepidoptera, archaeology etc.

Horse-riding is not widely available in Tanzania, and limited to the areas of Arusha, West Kilimanjaro, Manyara, the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Grumeti Reserves in the western Serengeti.

Most places that offer riding concentrate on half day or full day rides, and are usually available for all capabilities. Serious riding enthusiast should consider the more dedicated operations found in Kenya and southern Africa.

Hot-air balloon safaris are possible in a couple of places in Tanzania, most notably in the Serengeti National Park. Take-off is at dawn, and you float over the plains for about an hour before landing (usually bumpy). A ‘champagne’ breakfast is served before you transfer back to your lodge/camp. Although expensive and commercial, balloon safaris are memorable and the views are magical.
Back to top »