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6 reasons why you need to visit Tanzania

By Rebecca Browning

Is Tanzania the most exciting destination in the world for wildlife lovers? We reckon it might be. Not only does it offer spectacular game sightings and gorgeous lodges and camps, but there’s also a tremendous diversity of animals from the big cats to migrating birds and mountain chimpanzees. Here are six places in Tanzania you really must visit in your lifetime.

Serengeti

1. Serengeti

The most magnificent game park in Africa, the Serengeti is also one of the oldest on Earth. Surrounded by vast open plains and large amounts of game, it is known for the annual Great Migration when 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra make their way towards the Masai Mara. One of the best times to visit is January to February, when you can see wildebeest calves born in the Southern Serengeti and get a glimpse of some predator action. Stay in Sanctuary Kusini for the best chance of witnessing these sightings.

Tarangire

2. Tarangire

One of the best-kept secrets in Tanzania’s Northern Safari circuit, Tarangire has the greatest concentration of wildlife outside of the Serengeti. It is home to more than 550 different species of birds from starling to ostrich. Visit in the rainy season to see a large concentration of elephant, or the dry season for zebra, gazelle and wildebeest. We’d recommend waking up before the sun rises to catch the predators on the move before they find a shady spot to hide from the heat of the African sun.

Selous Leopard

3. Selous Game Reserve

The Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected area uninhabited by man in the whole of Africa. With the Rufiji River flowing through the reserve, it attracts an abundance of game including elephant, wild dog, hippopotamus, crocodile and leopard. Often overlooked by visitors, the Selous is a great location for boating safaris on the Rufiji River and both walking and vehicle safaris in the park. From June to October the days are dry and warm and the animals are searching for water in the lakes and river making it the best time to visit. The grass is dry and short at this time of year, so it’s great for exploring on foot with a guide.

Saadani National Park

4. Saadani National Park

Tanzania’s youngest National Park, Saadani has a combination of river, bush and beach offering a unique safari experience. Set along the Indian Ocean, this national park is located near sandy beaches perfect for snorkelling and swimming and offers a real diversity of activities and sights. As the only coastal wildlife sanctuary in East Africa and one of the last remaining protected coastal areas in Africa it is not to be missed. Stay at Saadani River Lodge, located on the beach but surrounded by the jungle so you’ll still feel like you are in the heart of Africa.

Katavi

5. Katavi National Park

Far from the main circuits, Katavi National Park is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream and can be visited all year round. During the wet season (November – June) it is a birder’s paradise as all the migratory birds return. Katavi has some of the largest wildlife areas in the region and has some of the biggest herds of buffalo in East Africa. The only camp within a million acres is Chada Katavi. This small, intimate and sophisticated camp features individual private verandas with views of buffalo herds, elephants and lions roaming the open plains.

Mahale

6. Mahale Mountains

A piece of pure African paradise and home to some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa, The Mahale Mountains are a popular location for trekking to see the primates. As well as the chimpanzees, the forest is also home to bushbucks, bushpigs and an array of birds and butterflies. For accommodation there really is only one option: Greystoke Mahale overlooks Lake Tanganyika and is situated on the white sandy beaches at the foothills of the mountains. After a morning tour spent with the chimpanzees we’d recommend taking an afternoon trip on the lake with a guide who will pack a cool box, and set sail for the perfect sundowner.

Find ideas for safari holidays in Tanzania. All images courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent.

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