How Many Days for Tanzania Safari?

Recommended Safari Duration:

  • For a brief wildlife safari experience encompassing a couple of national parks, we suggest planning for 3 to 5 days.
  • To fully explore the top parks, which include Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and Tarangire, consider allocating 6 to 8 days.
  • If you want to take your time and have a more relaxed schedule while visiting the top parks, a duration of 9 to 11 days is ideal.
  • For an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime trip with the highest potential for wildlife encounters, aim for 12 days or more.

Recommended Zanzibar Duration:

  • If your primary interest is wildlife and you have less than a week, it’s advisable to skip Zanzibar.
  • For those seeking relaxation on the beach after a safari adventure, 3 to 4 nights in Zanzibar is a suitable option.
  • If you desire a combination of beach relaxation, cultural exploration in Stonetown, and engaging in water-based activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, a stay of 4 to 6 nights is recommended.
  • To fully embrace all the offerings, including exploring cultural tours and participating in various water-based activities, aim for 5 to 9 nights in Zanzibar.

Factors to Consider for Safari Duration Planning

Vacation Time: If you have a limited timeframe of 7 days or less for your overall Tanzania tour, we strongly recommend dedicating the entire duration to the safari and skipping Zanzibar. For first-time travelers, we suggest exploring the northern parks, encompassing Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha, Lake Natron, and Lake Eyasi.

Budget: The costs for a Tanzania safari typically range from USD 350 per person per safari day and can vary significantly based on several factors, going as high as USD 3,500 per person per day. For those interested in visiting Zanzibar, keep in mind that hotel prices there vary between USD 70 to USD 1,000 per person per night. Additionally, your pre and post-safari accommodations in Arusha typically cost between USD 30 and USD 300 per person per night, and a flight from Arusha to Zanzibar typically costs around USD 150 per person.

The Purpose of Your Tour: Various experiences are sought after by our clients in Tanzania, and the locations to find them are summarized below for quick reference.

  • Best wildlife viewing: Central Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire.
  • The Big Five: Ngorongoro, Central Serengeti.
  • Wildebeest migration (Great Migration): Central, North, West, or South Serengeti based on the time of the year.
  • Big cats: Central Serengeti, Ndutu.
  • Birding: Tarangire, Central Serengeti, Lake Manyara.
  • Cultural tours: Ngorongoro, Lake Eyasi, Lake Manyara.
  • Unique or beautiful scenery: Lake Manyara, Lake Natron, Tarangire, Ngorongoro.
  • Scenic hikes in nature: Lake Natron, Ngorongoro, Arusha National Park.
  • Add-on tours like
    • Canoeing: Lake Manyara, Arusha National Park
    • Hot air balloon: Serengeti, Tarangire
    • Night game drives: Manyara, Tarangire, etc.
  • Easy/short road access: Tarangire, Lake Manyara.
  • Specific wildlife like:
    • elephants: Tarangire
    • flamingoes: Lake Natron
    • rhinos: Ngorongoro, etc.
  • A Romantic getaway: Tours with short transfers, small/boutique tented lodges in Serengeti/Tarangire followed by a few nights at an intimate resort in Zanzibar.

How Many Days at Each of The Selected Locations?

Parks like Serengeti and Tarangire are large and rich in wildlife, necessitating multiple days for comprehensive coverage. With several days dedicated to game drives in each park, you can explore different sections, each offering unique wildlife encounters, and enjoy a leisurely safari experience. Longer stays provide opportunities to observe wildlife behavior at a relaxed pace, increasing the likelihood of encountering rare sightings such as leopards, cheetahs, and unique herbivore behaviors. Additionally, you can focus on birdwatching, flora, or smaller wildlife like dung beetles.

In contrast, smaller parks like Manyara and Ngorongoro can be explored in a single day, unless you wish to engage in additional activities such as cultural tours and hikes.

Here’s a brief overview of the recommended duration at each of the top parks:

Serengeti

If you’re visiting only Central Serengeti, we recommend allocating 3 days.

For those visiting a migration location in Serengeti (South Serengeti between January to March, West Serengeti between May to June, and North Serengeti between July to October), we suggest 3 days.

Clients planning to visit both Central Serengeti and migration locations in Serengeti should consider a minimum of 4 days (2 days at each location), though 6 days (3 days at each location) would be ideal for a relaxed tour if time and budget allow.

Tarangire

For visits between June to October, we recommend spending 2 days at Tarangire. You may consider 3 days for birding or a more relaxed tour.

Between November to May, 1 day may suffice for wildlife-focused visits, but 2 days are recommended if you are interested in birding or prefer a relaxed tour that allows exploration of different sections of the park with diverse scenery.

Ngorongoro

If your interest is solely in exploring Ngorongoro Crater, 1 day is sufficient. Crater tours typically last for 5-6 hours due to the time limit on the crater permit, providing ample time to cover the entire crater floor.

However, if you wish to embark on hikes such as the Empakai crater hike or the Mt Makarot hike, you can add an extra day at Ngorongoro.

Lake Manyara

For those primarily interested in safari, 1 day is adequate. In addition to game drives, you will have time to partake in activities like canoeing and night game drives within a single day.

Nevertheless, if you wish to engage in several activities at Lake Manyara beyond regular game drives, the addition of a day may be considered.

Moreover, there are more parks and attractions in the Northern Circuit, including Arusha National Park, Lake Natron, and Lake Eyasi, where you can spend a day each if your schedule allows. For more information and comparative ratings of Tanzania parks, refer to the linked resource.

In addition to exploring parks and their nearby regions, many clients opt to spend 3 to 6 days on Zanzibar Island. During your Zanzibar stay, you can relax on the beach, engage in cultural tours, participate in water sports, or embark on nature tours.

Travelling with Kids or Mobility Issues

If you are traveling with very young children, typically under 8 years old, it is advisable to limit the safari to less than a week. The distances between parks can be tiring for children, and extended durations may lead to boredom.

Younger travelers might lack the patience needed to observe wildlife behavior or fully appreciate rare sightings. When traveling with kids, it is recommended to plan a safari for under a week, and if your itinerary includes Serengeti, consider flying one way.

Additionally, clients traveling with children can add activities to their safari tours that are suitable for kids and choose lodges with swimming pools for some nights of the trip.

For those with mobility issues, it is advisable to consider itineraries lasting less than 7 days, particularly if the itinerary includes Serengeti. Flying one way is recommended due to the challenging road conditions on safari routes, which can be physically taxing for individuals with back problems.

Alternatively, consider incorporating rest days during your safari, allowing time to relax at the lodge without venturing out for game drives.

In conclusion, the duration of your Tanzania tour should align with your interests, budget, and personal circumstances, ensuring you make the most of this incredible destination.



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