by Chris Walker Bush
December 12, 2015

What makes Tanzania the ultimate place to have your safari experience? The largest and most peaceful of the East African countries, over a quarter of Tanzania’s land has been set aside for national parks and conservancies. Tanzania is home to some of Africa’s richest wildlife areas, with the entirety of the Big Five and the legendary Great Wildebeest Migration both found within the country’s northern circuit.

Names such as Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro have already become synonymous with Africa, but these stunning locations are only the tip of the iceberg. Tanzania is home to more than a dozen parks and conservancies ranging from the massive Selous Game Reserve (the largest protected area in the world) to beautiful lakes such as Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika.

Beautiful Zanzibar off the country’s eastern coast is one of the most recognizable island paradises in the world, and its exotic history as a spice and slave port is matched only by the affordability of its many luxurious resorts.

Tanzania is also home to more than 120 different ethnic groups, with the Masai being perhaps the most famous tribal people in the world. With their iconic brightly colored clothing and their distinctive jumping dance, they’re known the world around for their adherence to tradition and their broad smiles. A visit to Tanzania can also include visits with the traditional Hadzabe Bushmen, who still lead a hunter-gatherer lifestyle much as they have for millennia.

With such variety in its offerings, it’s easy to see why Tanzania is the safari capital of the world. It’s perfectly equipped for all levels of tourism, while still retaining its African charm. Karibu Tanzania!

When to Visit Tanzania

visit tanzania

There is no bad time to visit Tanzania. The best time to visit Tanzania really does depend on what you’re looking to take from your Tanzanian experience.

Rather than the four seasons that Europe, North America, and Australia experiences, Tanzania experiences alternating wet and dry seasons. The long dry season stretches from June through October, and during this time rain is rare even on the islands of Zanzibar. Temperatures vary based on altitude, but the weather is usually warm and sunny – making this the most popular time of year to visit Tanzania.

The short rainy season is in November and December, with bright and sunny ‘summer’ weather interspersed with the occasional rainy day. This is followed by the short dry season in January and February.

March to May is the country’s wet season. This period sees rivers swell and green return to the country. While this is the least popular time to visit Tanzania, it’s also the cheapest time to visit – perfect for the budget traveler.

For the beaches of Zanzibar the best time of year is from the end of June until the end of February, but weather is generally pleasant year round.

For the Great Wildebeest Migration, late October through until mid-August sees the vast herd of wildebeest, zebras, and antelope on the move. You can read ahead to our Great Migration section for a more detailed breakdown of the migration’s movements.

Big Five Safaris can be done year round. The only thing that changes in this regard is the parks we’ll take you to.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is possible year round, although January, February, and September are considered the best months for good climbing weather. January through mid-March offer the warmest and clearest weather, while June through August offer up clear but cold conditions. November and December’s short rainy season generally brings afternoon showers on the mountain, but visibility remains good. March through June are seen as the worst time of year due to heavy clouds obscuring climber’s views.

For game fishing, August through October is the best time of year for tuna, black marlin, blue marlin, and yellowfin. November through March is best for striped marlin, shortbill spearfish, broadbill, and sailfish.

For kite-surfing on Zanzibar, the wind and waves are best in January-February or July-July, with wind (but not waves) also being good from mid-December to March and from June to September.

For Events

The Kilimanjaro Marathon is held each March in Moshi. Recreational and professional joggers from around the world descend on the quiet mountain city to try their luck in the grueling race.

In February, the Sauti za Busara Festival in Stone Town, Zanzibar is a four day music festival celebrating African music. The largest African music festival in East Africa, Sauti za Busara attracts some of African music’s biggest acts as well as offering film screenings, seminars, and workshops.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival occurs each June, sees cutting edge film-makers from across Africa come together in a celebration of creativity not to be missed by film fanatics.

Safari Drivers and Guides

Over Shadows of Africa’s years in operation, we’ve carefully selected only the best guides, drivers, and auxiliary staff to ensure you get the absolute best service during your trip. All of Shadows of Africa’s staff have many years of experience in the industry.

All of our safari guides are fluent in both English and Swahili, and have received training at schools such as the College of African Wildlife to ensure they have the best working knowledge of African wildlife, plant-life, and birdlife. This makes them excellent at knowing where to find the animals you’re looking for, and they’ll make it their main goal to ensure you spot the animal you’re most excited to see. Over their years of safari experience, they’ve not only become experts in the parks and their residents, but have also become open, gregarious people you’ll soon come to consider as a friend. Local people with a passion for Africa, Shadows of Africa’s safari drivers are consummate professionals whose love for Africa is infectious.

Our mountain guides are experts at climbing the mountains of Tanzania and Kenya.. Speaking fluent English and Swahili, they’re the men charged with ensuring you make it safely to the top (and back).

For each climb we assemble a team of lead guides, assistant guides, cooks, porters, and other camp who will do their utmost to ensure you attain your goal of summiting the mountain. Possessed of an in-depth knowledge of the mountain and the hazards that climbing at altitude may pose, they’re responsible ensuring you feel safe on your climb, while also possessing an in-depth knowledge of the flora, fauna, and topography of the mountain. They know when to give encouragement, when to stop for rest, and how to spot the tell-tale signs of altitude sickness or hypothermia that might derail a climb. They know the challenges that the mountain poses, but they also know the feeling of accomplishment that climbers will feel when they reach the top. They’re one part guide, one part assistant, and one part personal trainer.

You can get to know your guide ahead of time by checking the site’s About Us page.

Safari Vehicles: Safe & Comfortable

Your safety and comfort are extremely important to us here at Shadows of Africa. Our fleet of safari vehicles has been specifically designed to handle the rigours of a true African safari while still affording you the maximum possible comfort on Africa’s dusty and often bumpy roads.

All of our safari vehicles are equipped with comfortable seats, 4x4 drive for handling rough terrain, a first aid kit, a HF radio, slide windows, a pop up roof, and plenty of storage space so you can bring all of your luggage along for the ride. Each safari vehicle is also equipped with multiple electrical outlets so you can charge your electronics while on the move.

Each safari vehicle is equipped to carry up to six people in comfort. Each seat is equipped with a seat belt, and the vehicle has the latest safety features to ensure your peace of mind.

Our safari vehicles go through regular maintenance checks that include oil checks, fluid checks, electronics checking, new tires (if necessary), and any additional maintenance necessitated by Africa’s often unforgiving roads.

Types of Accommodation in Tanzania

accommodations tour safari africa

Shadows of Africa offers four distinct tiers of accommodation designed to suit all budgets and tastes. Ranging from traditional camping out under the stars all the way up to the ultra-luxurious, your safari can be designed to use only one tier of accommodation or to mix and match.

Shadows of Africa provides bookings for both traditional lodges and tented camps. Far from being a tent pitched under the stars, tented camps can be every bit as luxurious as traditional hotel accommodations. Most tented camps include private bathroom facilities, king sized beds, gourmet food, and WiFi access where possible. Far from roughing it, they're every bit as luxurious as a hotel built with bricks and mortar.

Ultra Luxury

Featuring world renowned luxury brands, this tier of accommodations offers the very best of service and the very best of facilities. If you’re looking for something truly special in your accommodation, the Ultra Luxury tier of accommodation provides just that.

Ranging from traditional lodges to extravagant tented lodges under the stars, Ultra Luxury is for those seeking the absolute best Africa has to offer.

Luxury

For those who want the five star experience without paying five star prices, our Luxury tier offers lodges and tented camps that can boast magnificent views, spacious rooms, excellent service, and stunning wildlife viewing.

The equivalent to a four or five star hotel, our Luxury accommodation partners can be expected to offer such diverse services as spa facilities, nightly entertainment, world class cuisine, and more!

Our luxury lodges are as diverse as the landscapes of Tanzania, ranging from lodges built in the treetops or among the rocks of the Serengeti, to accommodations built along the rim of Ngorongoro Crater or at the heart of a fragrant coffee plantation.

Many different options, but all of which offer top level service at affordable prices.

Medium

Whether they’re located amid the hustle and bustle of Arusha or out in the bush, all of our Medium accommodations are chosen for their ability to foster an atmosphere of tranquility and remoteness.

Our medium lodges and tented camps can generally be expected to have WiFi internet, full service bars and restaurants, laundry service, money exchange, and gift shops. Individual establishments may vary.

Medium tier lodges are perfect for families or couples wanting their western creature comforts, but who are traveling on a budget. The equivalent to three star accommodations, all of our Medium lodges are carefully chosen for their service, facilities, and location.

Budget

For those traveling on a budget, our Budget tier offers a mixture of budget lodges and camping facilities that cater to both the budget conscious traveler or the adventurer.

Our budget lodges offer you western style bathroom facilities and the usual comforts you’d expect to find in a budget hotel back home, while all camping sites are equipped with western bathrooms and running water.

Even though you’re ‘roughing it’, you’ll be accompanied by one of our chefs who will prepare delicious meals for you, and your guide will set up your tent as you eat.

All campsites in and near Tanzania’s national parks and conservancies are patrolled 24 hours a day by armed rangers who are adept at keeping you safe without detracting from the beauty of falling asleep to the sounds of Africa’s wildlife.

Tarangire National Park

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A short drive from Arusha, the Tarangire National Park offers a fantastic game driving experience all year round.

In the wet season the parks swamps and waterholes are home to cape buffalo and elephants, but really comes into its own when the dry season forces its animal population to move closer and closer to the Tarangire River.

Home to Tanzania's largest population of elephants, Tarangire is the best place to see these gentle giants in their natural habitat from the adorable calves all the way up to the intimidating bulls. It is also an ideal place to snap photos of the baobab tree (the Tree of Life), as it grows in great numbers throughout the park. Tarangire is also the best place to see the fringed-eared oryx, greater kudu, and ashy starling in the wild.

Tarangire is a particularly enchanting prospect for bird-watchers, with a massive 550 species of bird calling the park home. These range from the sizable ostrich and Kori bustard all the way down to tiny weavers and warblers.

Predators such as the lion and leopard also call the park home, and lucky visitors might get to see these ferocious hunters in action as the dry season forces herbivores to move closer and closer to the Tarangire River.

Size: 2,850 square kilometres.

Location: 118km southwest of Arusha.

Best Time: Year round, but dry season (June to September) is the best.

To Do: Guided walking safaris, game drives, and cultural visits to nearby villages.

Known For: Elephants.

Optional Activities

  • Night game drive
  • Hot air balloon safari
  • Walking safari with rangers
  • Mountain biking
  • Bird watching
  • Cultural visits to villages in the area

Arusha National Park

arusha (3 of 6)

Arusha National Park is a perfect trip for day safaris, as it is close to both Arusha and Moshi. With terrain that ranges from open savannah to tropical rainforest, the park is dominated by the shadow of Mt. Meru whose summit offers an unparalleled view of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

The park's highlights can easily be seen in a single day, with a morning or afternoon game drive accompanied by either a walking safari or canoeing in Small Momella Lake where the hippos are at play.

Arusha National Park is also home to Africa's largest giraffe population, and its diverse landscapes are also home to antelopes, buffalo, monkeys (including the blue monkey and the black and white colobus monkey), hyenas, and even the ever elusive leopard.

Size: 542 square kilometres.

Location: North-east of Arusha.

Best Time: Year round. For climbing Mt. Meru, the best time is June-February. For views of Kilimanjaro, the best time is December-February.

To Do: Game drive, canoeing, walking safari, Mt. Meru climb, and picnic sites.

Known For: Perfect for a day trip from Arusha, and a great place to mix a traditional game drive with a walking or canoeing component.

Additional Activities

  • Canoeing safari on Small Momella Lake
  • Trekking to Mt. Meru
  • Bird watching
  • Forest walks
  • Picnicking

Lake Manyara National Park

lake manyara national park flamingoes

With a variety of landscapes, Lake Manyara National Park offers a compact safari experience that gives visitors the chance to see everything from the vibrant flamingoes to the fearsome lion.

Named for the seasonal alkaline lake at its heart, Lake Manyara National Park is a great place for canoeing in the wet season and traditional game drives year round. Described by Ernest Hemingway as "the loveliest I have seen in Africa", Lake Manyara is an ideal starting or finishing point for the northern circuit.

In addition to its flamingo population, Lake Manyara is perhaps most famous for the tree climbing lions who call it home. Found nowhere else in Tanzania, these agile predators cut a striking figure as they lounge lazily in acacia trees.

Also calling the park home are Africa's most iconic animals such as elephants, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest, and cape buffalo, as well as less well known but no less intriguing Kirk's dik-dik and klipspringer.

Size: 330 square kilometres.

Location: Northern Tanzania. Roughly ninety minutes drive from Arusha.

Best Time: July to October for game or November to June for bird-watching.

To Do: Game drives, canoeing, cultural tours, mountain biking, abseiling, and forest walks.

Known For: Elephants and flamingoes.

Additional Activities

  • Walking safari
  • Horse riding safari
  • Night game drive
  • Bird watching
  • Mountain biking
  • Canoeing
  • Cultural visits to Mto wa Mbu

Kilimanjaro National Park

kilimanjaro national park

Home to Africa's highest mountain and the tallest free standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is dominated by the stunning vista that 'Kili' provides.

Standing at 5,985 metres tall, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world's most accessible summits. That isn't to say that reaching Uhuru Point isn't a massive achievement, but its lower reaches can be explored without any formal climbing training or professional equipment.

Beyond the climbing experience, Kilimanjaro offers the opportunity to explore a number of distinct climate zones as it ascends from the tropical savannah all the way up to the icy Arctic of its peak.

Serengeti National Park

serengeti national park lions

The home of the legendary Great Wildebeest Migration, the name Serengeti has become synonymous with the African safari experience. The seemingly unending savannah plains of the park are home to Africa's most famous animals as well as a cast of lesser known but no less interesting animals.

Most famous for the Great Migration that sees more than 2 million animals migrating north into the Masai Mara before returning to the Ngorongoro region, the park is no less fascinating at any other time of the year. It is the best place in East Africa to spot lions and leopards in the wild, and is home to the entirety of the 'Big Five'.

Home to more than 9000 hyena, almost 3000 lions, and more than a thousand leopards, the park is a great place to see predators going about their grisly but essential business.

Perhaps most startling about the park is just how ever present the animals are. Your entire drive will be accompanied by game-viewing, meaning there's never a dull moment.

It is important to appreciate the sheer size of the Serengeti when planning to visit the park, as it is often divided into North, South, East, West, and Central. Each region offers a different game drive experience as well as different accommodation options, and the Great Migration passes through some regions more than others.

Serviced by everything from humble camp sites to the luxurious Four Seasons Serengeti, the sheer scope of the park means it can be explored in a single day or over the course of weeks.

Size: 14,763 square kilometres.

Location: 335 north of Arusha.

Best Time: December to July for the Great Wildebeest Migration. June to October for predators.

To Do: Great Migration, hot air balloon safaris, game drives, Olduvai Gorge, Lake Natron, Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, and flying safaris.

Known For: The Great Wildebeest Migration. The world's most famous game viewing park.

Additional Activities

  • Hot air balloon safari
  • Bird watching
  • Maasai village visit
  • Nature walk

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

ngorongoro crater safari

Your first glimpse of stunning Ngorongoro will likely come from the heavily forested viewpoint that looks down upon its sun-drenched, cloud dappled magnificence. Ringed on all sides by the tropical forest draped walls of the caldera, Ngorongoro looks like something out of myth.

One of the best places in the country to see the endangered black rhinoceros, the park is home to the entirety of the big five and is a particularly good place to see lions and cape buffalo year round. The verdancy of the park means that animals can be seen here year round, although a large number of them participate in the Great Wildebeest Migration as it emigrates north to the distant Masai Mara in Kenya.

As you wind your way down into the vast bowl of the collapsed caldera, you're immediately able to see vast herds of buffalo, wildebeest, gazelles, and zebra moving about apparently unphased by the stalking hyenas, the prowling lions, and the opportunistic jackals.

In the great alkaline Makat Lake, a vast flock of colourful flamingo can be seen, while the Ngorongonro Picnic Area is highlighted by a hippo pool where you can observe these deceptively peaceful looking creatures while eating your lunch.

On the fringes of the crater, where the forest hugs the steep walls, leopards and the black rhino can occasionally be seen moving through the undergrowth. Playful baboons can also be seen going about their foraging all day long.

Another fascinating aspect of the Crater is that it is also home to the Maasai people, and they live in harmony with the wildlife as they raise their cattle and go about their daily lives.

Nearby landmarks such as Olmoti Crater, Empakaai Crater, Lake Ndutu, and the Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano also offer exciting day trips for those who wish to remain in the area for more than a single day.

Size: 8,300 square kilometres.

Location: Between Lake Manyara National Park and Serengeti National Park.

Best Time: Year round.

To Do: Game drives, Olduvai Gorge, visits to nearby Empakaai Crater or Olmoti Crater, and cultural visits.

Known For: Rhinoceros, the starting point of the Great Migration, and stunning views.

Additional Activities

  • Trek to Empakaai Crater
  • Trek to Ngorongoro crater highlands
  • Bird watching
  • Visit Olmoti Crater
  • Forest walks and waterfall hikes
  • Cultural visits to Maasai village
  • Visit the Cradle of Manking at Oldupai Gorge
  • Climb Mt. Ol Doinyo Volcano

The Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania

Migration_Small

The Great Wildebeest Migration is a yearly migration of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes that defies belief. This massive movement is sometimes called the Greatest Show on Earth; a monumental feat of stamina and determination from the wildebeest & zebra (not to mention the predators that harry their every move) that is a true bucket list item and something not to be missed.

The world famous Great Wildebeest Migration draws people from all over the world to witness the movement of more than a million wildebeest as well as the 400,000 zebra and 200,000 gazelle that accompany them.

Depending on the time of year, you may be able to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration yourself.

January – March: Calving Season (Southern Serengeti – Ndotu)

During the wet season, the Ndutu region of the Serengeti/Ngorongoro region comes to life. The rich volcanic soil of the region produces the greenery needed to support over a million mouths. This growth draws the wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes south from the woodland to commence the calving season.

During these wet and fertile months, the females produce and suckle calves, but it’s also the predators who seize the opportunity to fatten up. With so many inexperienced and ungainly young animals about, the leopards, lions, cheetahs, and hyenas enjoy a buffet of fresh meat.

Activities

  • Walking safari
  • Visit a Maasai boma
  • Visit Oldupai Gorge, the Cradle of Humanity
  • Visit the Gal Mountains and Nasera Rock
  • Bird watching
  • Game viewing
  • Bush meals and sundowners

April – May: Carnage Season (Between Naabi Hill and Seronera)

It may be low season in Tanzania, but it’s high season for those who wish to see the vast herd in motion as opportunistic predators skulk around on the fringes looking to pick off confused young wildebeest.

Activities

  • Hot air balloon safari
  • Game viewing
  • Bird watching
  • Bush meals and sundowners

June – July: Grumeti Crossing (Grumeti River)

As the monsoon stops and the plains begin to dry out, the wildebeest move west past Lake Victoria in search of greener pastures. The Grumeti River stands between the migration and its goal, and it is here that some of the most spectacular elements of the Great Wildebeest Migration can be witnessed as the herd must battle the swollen river, the big cats who continue to harry their movements, and the crocodiles who call the river home.

It is these Nile Crocodiles that draw viewers from all over the world, as these sixteen feet monsters seize on the opportunity to snap up wildebeest and zebra who must approach the river to drink. Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts camp out for hours hoping to see a kill in action, but the herd alone is worth the trip.

August – November: Mara River Crossing (Mara River)

As the herd moves from the Serengeti into the Maasai Mara of Kenya, the herd must confront another obstacle: the Mara River. Much like the Grumeti River, this river acts as both a source of life-giving water and a dangerous obstacle for the vast herd.

The largest lion pride on the Serengeti dogs the movements of the herd from behind, while the river’s crocodile population means that there’s no escape in going forward either. It makes for some spectacular viewing, and witnessing this crossing is one of the most sought after experiences in all of Africa.

Activities

  • Game viewing
  • Mara River Crossing
  • Bush meals and sundownders
  • Stargazing
  • Dawn game viewing

December: Southern Movement

As the northern plains begin to dry up, it is time for the vast herd to begin its movement south to start the process all over again. At this time of year, the vast herd is scattered across the Serengeti, making it easy to spot large groups of herbivores and predators alike.

Activities

  • Hot air balloon safari
  • Game viewing
  • Bird watching
  • Bush meals and sundownders

Safari Add-Ons

Walking Safari

Accompanied by an armed guide who is extremely knowledgeable about the area you’ll be exploring, you’ll have an unparalleled opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the African bush. Your guides don’t just know the animals, but also the local flora as well. As you walk, you’ll learn all about the plants, trees, birds, reptiles, and big mammals that call the area home.

Popular areas for a walking safari include Kilimanjaro National Park, Arusha National Park, Lake Eyasi, and the Ngorongoro Highlands (including nearby Empakaai Crater).

Bird Watching

A guided bird watching tour in Africa is every true bird lover’s heart’s desire. Tanzania boasts the highest bird count in Africa, with over 1100 bird species, while Kenya falls only just behind with 1070 species.

Shadows of Africa can arrange guides with professional ornithological qualifications, providing you with expert guidance to spot a variety of bird species including some endangered or rare indigenous species. Bird watching is best during the warm season, when endemic as well as migratory species can be spotted in the same area. We can also arrange for you to be accompanied by specialized safari guide, Mike Taylor. With more than thirty years of experience in the region, Mike is a font of knowledge when it comes to local bird species.

The most popular sites for bird watching include Lake Manyara National Park, Arusha National Park, the Eastern Arc Mountains, Mikumi National Park, Ruaha National Park, Mkomazi National Park, Rumbodo Island, Selous Game Reserve, and most of Tanzania’s other national parks and reserves.

Night Game Drive

If you want the opportunity to spot some of Africa’s nocturnal animals such as hyenas, hippopotamus, lions, leopards, genets, civet cats, porcupines, aardvarks, and cape hares; a night game drive might just be the option for you! Night game drives are by far the most popular safari addition, and can be an exciting and memorable adventure you’ll treasure for the rest of your life.

Many predators do their hunting at night, and so a night game drive is a fantastic opportunity to see lions and leopards doing what they do best.

Night game drives are not permitted within most national parks, and so Shadows of Africa makes use of a private reserves and special game areas. However, night game drives are possible within Lake Manyara National Park.

Balloon Safari

There’s nothing quite like soaring high over the Serengeti for a bird’s eye view of the park’s boundless plains and teeming animal population. Hot air balloon safaris over the Serengeti can be arranged to fit in with any itinerary that includes a night in the Central Serengeti area of the park.

Taking off at dawn each morning, each balloon holds up to 12 passengers and takes you up to 1000ft to see the sun rising over the park and ride the early morning breeze. Your pilot will help you spot and identify the animals going about their business below, affording you a magnificent platform from which to view and photograph lions, elephants, zebras, giraffes, and more.

After your early morning exploration, you’ll touch down in a peaceful corner of the Serengeti for a champagne breakfast. Toast the coming of the new day with champagne before enjoying a delicious English breakfast in the shade of one of the park’s iconic umbrella trees.

Once your appetite has been sated, you’ll be presented with a certificate as a memento of your adventure before being driven back to your lodge to start your day of game driving.

Tanzania Cultural Tours

Datoga tribe-cultural tour

You can enhance your experience in Tanzania by adding a cultural tour to your itinerary. Meeting the different tribes gives you a valuable insight into the daily lives of the people who call Tanzania home.

Shadows of Africa can arrange a number of unique cultural experiences to add-on to any safari, including:

  • Cultural tour to a Maasai village with possible overnight stay;
  • Cultural visit to Hadzabe tribe at Lake Eyasi with hunting demonstration;
  • Cultural visit to Datoga tribe at Lake Eyasi;
  • Local lunch in Arusha including such Tanzanian staples as ugali, beans, cooked bananas, nyama choma, rice, and local fruits & vegetables;
  • Snake Park visit;
  • Maasai museum visit;
  • Visit the Chaga village at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro;
  • Mto wa Mbu village tours visiting various local farms of the Chagga people.

Hiking in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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Your visit to the world famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area can be enhanced by adding in a hiking trek to one of the surrounding landmarks. These hikes are a fantastic opportunity to take in the stunning views and unique flora & fauna of the region from a more intimate perspective.

Trek to Empakaai Crater

A collapsed caldera dominated by a deep freshwater lake that covers 75% of the crater floor, Empakaai Crater is a fascinating day trip offering as the opportunity to view animals such as the water buck, cape buffalo, and the mischievous blue monkey.

Hiking the crater rim offers a spectacular view of the lake, as well as views of other Tanzanian landmarks such as Mount Kilimanjaro, the Great Rift Valley, and Ol Doinyo Lengai.

The hike typically takes ninety minutes (southern wall) or two hours (eastern wall), with both hikes involving a steep descent.

Trek to Ol Doinyo Lengai

The only active volcano in East Africa, Ol Doinyo Lengai is the Maasai word for 'sacred mountain of God' and lives up to its name with occasional eruptions spewing out its unique natrocarbonate lava. The views from atop the volcano are stunning, with distant Lake Natron, the Great Rift Valley, and even noble Kilimanjaro visible on a clear day.

The hike up Ol Doinyo Lengai is a demanding one, starting at 3am to avoid the fierce midday heat. Reaching the volcano’s summit takes approximately five hours and if the weather allows, it is possible to descend briefly into the active crater before making the return journey.

Mount Legamarut Trek

On the western wall of Ngorongoro Crater stands Mt. Legamarut, which on a clear day offers spectacular views of the Serengeti plains, Lake Eyasi, and the Ngorongoro Crater.

It takes roughly four hours to make the ascent and descent, meaning the trek can be added on to your Ngorongoro game drive experience.

Trek to Olmoti Crater

A perfect place for a walking safari, Olmoti Crater is a verdant lost world of steams, waterfalls, and animals just north of the more well-known Ngorongoro Crater. Entered through a Maasai village where it is possible for visitors to camp, the crater is home to big mammals such as the cape buffalo and eland.

This guided trek can be made in as little as two hours or extended to up to seven hours for those wishing to see more or move at a more sedate pace.

Culture and Tribes of Tanzania

masai tribe kenya

Although there have been many attempts by the Tanzanian government to “tame” the Maasai people by taking their ancestral land and turning it in to farms or game reserves, the tribe has managed to maintain their customs and habits. These include traditional rituals such as rites of passage.

They are predominantly cattle breeders, eating meat and milk that they produce themselves.

Traditionally, the Maasai people are recognizable by their distinct attire. They wear sandals and wrap their bodies in robes of red, blue, or black. Women spend much of their spare time doing bead work, and they often adorn their bodies with their creations as well as bracelets & earrings of wood or bone.

The Maasai society is a patriarchal one in which groups of male elders typically decide on important issues concerning the community.

The warrior caste within the Maasai culture is one of the most respected and world renowned. These brave men are afforded many privileges such as being able to wear their hair long.

The Maasai believe in one God, “Engai”. He is a God of two facets, one kind and the other vengeful. Within tribal groups, a “Laibon” (spiritual leader) oversees matters of spirituality, although he has no position of power when it comes to deciding matters of tribal importance.

Maasai Culture Village Tours

On your way to the Serengeti, you can choose to spend a few hours or even a night in a Maasai village. You’ll be given a tour of the village, learn about local village life, see a traditional dance performance, and have the opportunity to purchase hand-made jewellery produced by the women of the village.

You may also wish to pay a visit to the Amini Life Lodge, a not for profit luxury lodge that passes its earnings back to the local Maasai people. While visiting you can learn about traditional herbal remedies, learn how to weave beautiful baskets and jewellery, participate in the ritual preparation of goat meat, and other activities.

Hadzabe Tribe

hadzabe tribe cultural tour lake eyasi

With an estimated population of less than 2,000 individuals, the Hadzabe tribe are one of the last tribes to stay true to their tribal history. Existing far from the crowds and globalization that inevitably follow tourism, they exist much as they always have.

Men typically hunt and bring home honey to feed their families, while women and children gather fruits, berries, and roots with which to supplement their diet.

The men are particularly adept hunters, and their daring and inventive hunting style is a sight to behold. Using parts harvested from other animals, they cunningly lure and put down game. As this is their only source of food, they are the only tribe permitted to hunt in the Serengeti.

Hunting with the Hadzabe Tribe

A visit to the traditional lands of the Hadzabe is not just an opportunity to interact with these fascinating people, but also an exciting chance to learn more about our hunter-gatherer roots. Overnighting with the Hadzabe gives you the chance to witness a dawn hunting display, as the men of the tribe practice traditional hunting techniques to catch food while the women collect berries and other necessities.

 

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