For wildlife and nature lovers alike, there is no greater experience than going on safari. Though there are tours offered all around the world, the African safari is considered the most adventurous. There are many great countries to choose from, with an assortment of diverse animals and scenery.
Out of all the national parks and game reserves to choose from, I am partial to those located in Tanzania. There are 16 parks in total, located all around the country. The most common parks, usually called the Northern Circuit, are Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara, sometimes with Arusha National Park thrown in. In these locations you are almost guaranteed to see the big five game animals, which includes lions, elephants, water buffalo, black rhinoceros, and leopards. Other abundant animals are zebra, gazelle, emus, ostriches, and birds, but there are thousands of species you can view.
How much does it cost?
This can depend on length of trip, which parks you go to, and how fancy your accommodation. People typically take 3-6 day trips, but you can go for shorter or longer. Parks in the northern circuit are more touristy than parks like Ruaha and Mikumi in the south, so therefore they cost a bit more, but are also more accessible and have more animals. Prices can range from $150 for day trips to several thousand dollars for luxury, extended trips in tented camps.
When should I go?
The rainy season is March-June, so avoid this time. July-September is better weather, but the grasses are taller, so felines may be hidden. December-February can be hotter, but this is the time of the Great Migration in the Serengeti, so there are tons of animals roaming around.
What should I bring?
Dress according to the season you are going, but typically knee length pants and long sleeve shirts. Don’t wear bright colors because this attracts the tsetse fly, which can bite pretty fiercely. Comfortable shoes are key because you will be standing quite a bit in your safari jeep. A hat is important, along with sunglasses and sunscreen, for protection from the sun. At night you’ll mostly be at lodges, so there is no need for fancy clothes. Of course, binoculars, a good camera and extra batteries are imperative for all the awesome sights you will see.
Lastly, listen to your guide, respect the animals, and don’t get out of your car!