Choosing a Tanzania Safari Company
There are hundreds of safari companies to choose from for Tanzania safari planning. Two international companies that tour regularly are G Adventures and Intrepid Travel. Safari companies supply vehicles, English speaking driver & guide, permits, water and accommodation arrangements. Wildlife parks in Tanzania require a licensed guide, so renting your own vehicle is not an option. The camps and lodges usually do not have internet, but will have radio communication with Nairobi and mobile reception. Tented accommodation is not what North Americans might expect. Safari tents often have queen beds and separate washrooms with running water and showers. You can use the provided nets over the bed for protection from mosquitoes while sleeping.
Electricity throughout Tanzania is 220-240 AC, so North Americans should bring a British Type G adapter. Use the adapter for charging batteries and electronic equipment, but recharge before night fall. Electrical generators are usually turned off for the night. Don’t expect to have wifi in hotels. An SLR lens works well for wildlife photography, because it’s better at capturing motion. An alternate is a 20x zoom pocket camera. Ask the driver to turn off the vehicle for photos, so that you can stabilize the camera on the frame of the vehicle.
The Land Rover
To me, nothing is better than a Land Rover for wildlife viewing in the Serengeti. I love the way the tops pop off, which allows you to stand on the seats to see every direction. The Toyota Land Cruiser is taking over in popularity, but the top only lifts slightly. This forces you to squeeze through the narrow opening to see and take pictures. If you have an option, choose a Land Rover.
Tanzania Safaris start in Arusha. They head to Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater before reaching the Serengeti from the south. Early spring is the best time to visit the Serengeti in Tanzania, because of all the newborn wildlife. Tanzania Safari tours frequently add on a flight to Zanzibar for some time at the beach. Temperatures in Zanzibar can be stifling after the pleasant climate of the Serengeti. Safaris to the Serengeti can also start in Nairobi, Kenya. Kenyan safaris typically make a couple stops en route, such as Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and the Maasai Mara. Kenya Safaris access the Serengeti from the north and fall is the best time to visit.
Getting to Tanzania
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is a perfect choice for visiting Tanzania. In 2011 they flew a daily circuit that started in Amsterdam (AMS) in the late morning. The flight was non-stop to Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) in Tanzania. The flight then continued on to Dar es Salaam (DAR). Just after midnight, KLM then flew 9 hours back to Amsterdam. This flight path makes it common for Tanzania Safaris to start in Kilimanjaro and end in Dar. KLM was always on time, had exceptionally friendly staff, current movies and great meals. The ice cream was particularly enjoyable.
My Tanzania Safari
In February of 2011, we travelled to Tanzania on a Tanzania Safari, which was managed by ChrisCat Safaris from Vancouver Island, Canada. They subcontracted with Arumeru Tours and Safaris. I went to Africa to see the Serengeti, but the real experience was the people of Tanzania. Despite unimaginable poverty, they are friendly and happy. The song Jambo Bwana (Hello Master) is the most popular one in the country. This song is continually sung to tourists. What an amazing contrast Tanzania is to the civil unrest in many other poor nations.
During our stay there was unrest in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, but the people of Tanzania showed only happiness and kindness. A remarkable country!