Premier Parks and Reserves near Kilimanjaro Region
Kilimanjaro National Park in northern Tanzania is a unique and surprising place. And we're not just saying that. For starters, it's home to the highest mountain in Africa (5,895 m!), yet that mountain rises up out of a vast, relatively flat plain.
Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is famous for being the location of the Great Wildlife Migration, which involves two MILLION wildebeests, zebras and antelopes. It's also an extremely large and wild game park, and home to the Big Five of Africa.
Ngorongoro Crater is a natural sanctuary for some of the densest populations of large mammals in Africa. Due to its enclosed nature, the Ngorongoro Crater has effectively formed its own ecosystem. A visit to the Ngorongoro is a life time experience.
Tanzania Tourism Profile
Tanzania offers excellent wildlife viewing. There are three different safari circuits, and each one of them alone would make Tanzania a great wildlife destination. The Big Five and most other sought-after safari animals are easily seen. The black rhino is very rare throughout, with the exception of the Ngorongoro Crater.
The wildebeest migration is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacles. At least two million ungulates – mainly wildebeest, but also zebra and gazelle – move around the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. The wildebeest calving season is also a very special time to visit. The large concentrations of wildebeest and their calves attract many opportunistic predators, and this is a good time to see some action.
The Serengeti is famous for its abundance of big cats and the highly endangered African Wild Dog is relatively easy to find in Nyerere and Ruaha where their numbers are quite healthy. Gombe Stream and Mahale are Africa’s best chimpanzee reserves.
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
The Dry season (late June to October) is the best time for wildlife viewing. The Wet season (November-May) is often more beautiful and tourist numbers are lower. The best chance for seeing the wildebeest migration is during June and July. The parks in the Southern and Western circuit are less accessible in the long rains (March to May) and some lodges close in that period.
Tanzania is one of Africa’s best birding destinations. It has one of the largest species lists of any African country: over 1,100, of which over 800 species are resident, and nearly 200 are regular migrants. There are 22 species endemic and thus unique to Tanzania, and a further 43 near-endemic, restricted to Tanzania and neighboring countries only. Migrants are present from November to April.
Other Birding Specials–Treats for Avid Birders
Best Time for Bird Watching
The birdlife in Tanzania is good year-round, but at its best from November to April when the migratory birds from Europe and northern Africa are present. At this time, many resident bird species are nesting and are in breeding plumage. The wettest months are March and April, when parts of the country may experience storms on a daily basis. The Wet season is also the hottest time of the year. This may make it uncomfortably hot on the coast. For wildlife viewing, the dry season is better.
Best Parks for Birding –Includes Birding Rating
All the well-known safari parks offer good birding opportunities, and specials can be found pretty much everywhere you go. The often-overlooked Arusha National Park has an amazing diversity of habitats that host an incredible list of 400 species in a small area. Lake Manyara offers a good variety of waterbirds.
The best time to visit Tanzania is during the Dry season, from late June to October, when wildlife viewing is generally at its best. The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is usually during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round.
June to October –Dry Season
November to May –Wet Season
Best Time To Go by Major Park
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration, and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good wildlife viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Nyerere and Ruaha) are best visited in the Dry season, from June to October.
Tanzania has a pleasant, tropical climate but has large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. The hottest and most humid part of the country is the coast. Other low-lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are also hot but less humid. The rest of the interior is much milder and cools down significantly at night. Tanzania has a distinct Dry and Wet season.
Arusha’s climate compared to Tanzania’s parks
Arusha is the town closest to the most popular northern parks and has a comparably mild climate. The peak amount of rainfall in April is considerably less in most parks than in Arusha. The Ngorongoro Crater rim receives quite a lot of rain and is very cold during evenings and mornings due to its high altitude (about 2,300m/7,545ft). Lower lying parks, such as Manyara, Nyerere, Mikumi, Ruaha, Gombe, Mahale Mountains and Katavi, are slightly warmer than Arusha.
Dry Season–June to October
There is very little rainfall during this period and humidity is very low. It cools off at night; be sure to pack warm clothing because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold, especially in the northern parks.
Wet Season–November to May
During most of the Wet season, afternoon temperatures are consistently hot (a bit above or below 30°C/86°F) but it is colder above 1,300m/4,265ft. Mornings are cold in most northern parks due to the high altitude.
Northern Circuit (1 to 2 weeks)
The northern circuit is the most popular circuit in Tanzania. In most cases, you will fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK) near Arusha, the gateway of the northern circuit.
Southern Circuit (1 to 2 weeks)
The ‘off-the-beaten-track’ character of the southern circuit makes for a holistic wilderness experience. It’s an excellent choice for a second safari on which marking off the Big Five is less of a concern. In most cases, you will fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam and fly on by small airplane to Ruaha or Nyerere National Park.
Western Circuit (1 week)
Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is situated 50km/31mi east of Arusha, the gateway of Tanzania’s popular Northern safari circuit. The drive from the airport to Arusha takes about 1½ hours*.
Tanzania’s main airport is Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), located 13km/8mi southwest of Dar es Salaam. This is the entry point for visitors to the southern parks.
From Arusha or Dar es Salaam, you can fly or drive between reserves. Some domestic flights out of Arusha will leave from Kilimanjaro International Airport, while others leave from the much smaller Arusha Airport (ARK) located 8km/5mi west of town. However you choose to travel, in most cases, your local tour operator will pick you up from the airport and arrange all further transportation as part of your safari package.
*Driving times are only a rough indication. You should always consider the possibility of significant delays.
Flights & Airlines to Tanzania
Please check Skyscanner to see which airlines can take you to Tanzania and what tickets would cost.
Domestic Airlines & Flights in Tanzania
Domestic and charter flights between parks are usually booked by tour operators as part of the tour package. Domestic flights can be booked with several domestic carriers.
Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements
Entry requirements can change, so please contact your local Tanzanian embassy/high commission to verify that the information below is current.
The information on this page is just a general guide and should not be used instead of a consultation with your travel doctor. The government organizations and travel clinics below are trusted resources for complete and up-to-date info about travelers’ health in Tanzania.
Recommended; see websites below for more detailed immunization advice.
High risk throughout the country except in high altitude mountains over 2000m including the Ngorongoro Crater rim, Mt. Kilimanjaro and parts of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Most safari parks are high-risk zones. The highest risk of transition is in the rainy season from November to May. See websites below for more detailed advice.
Staying Safe in Cities and Towns
Most crime in Tanzania is in the cities (as is the case throughout the world). Petty theft and pickpocketing are quite common, but violent crime is very rare. You are unlikely to encounter any problems on a guided tour. Venturing out in the cities unguided is fine as long as you follow a few simple safety precautions: check with your hotel whether the area is safe to walk; only take a bit of cash with you; don’t display any valuables; don’t walk around after dark. For more safety tips that apply to African cities in general:
Other Tips on Staying Safe
Please read the pages below regarding malaria and vaccination information for Tanzania and general travel safety precautions.
Governments’ Travel Advice
Please use the links below for governments’ travel advice on Tanzania.
Accommodation in Tanzania Northern Tanzania
The Northern Safari Circuit in Tanzania is the most popular route. The Northern Circuit includes Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara, Lake Natron, and the Serengeti National Park.
In each park, there are a number of small, luxury tented camps and lodges. There are also moving camps and fly camps that follow the route of the Great Migration, depending on the season.
There are some less expensive options in the parks, but Tanzania isn’t a cheap safari destination. The remote location of these lodges, combined with the harsh conditions and resources needed to keep the camps running, means prices are high across the board, and accommodation will almost always be the biggest component of your trip cost.