Has an African Safari been on your dream list of vacations to do? Not sure how to go about it? Where to go? What to expect? Should you bring your children? The only thing I can recommend to you is...GO! We chose Tanzania and it was an experience like nothing we could have imagined. Honestly, your senses will be on overdrive the whole time. Imagine a herd of elephants walking right in front of you, a lion hunting down its dinner, walking through lush forests, eating things like banana soup, and meeting local tribe people that you have only read about in books. For us, Tanzania was an experience that we will never forget. Below is our trip broken up by location, Kilimanjaro, The Serengeti, The Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park. Click on the location name, have a read and take a look at the photos. I'm sure you are going to be inspired to go yourself. Do it!
Who Should you Book With?
There were many tour companies to choose from for Tanzania. I didn't have any referals to go from so I randomly chose a few I found through searching and sent emails off to them. From the responses I got back, the one that seemed to check all our boxes was Access to Tanzania. I did not regret the choice. I gave them a rough idea of what I wanted and they tailored a trip for us. I asked for a few activities they had not done before to which they worked into our schedule. Our guide, Danny, was top notch all the way. If you decide to go with Access to Tanzania please ask for Danny-he was great!
Where to Stay on Safari?
We stayed in a variety of accommodations throughout our stay in Tanzania. I wanted a mixture of tent camping - but luxury tent :-) to mid-level accommodations. Access to Tanzania took this into account and booked us in with Tanganyika Wilderness Camps. At each location, something different, and well above our expectations, was waiting for us. These accommodations were one of the highlights of the trip!
10 tips when going on Safari to Tanzania
- try to prebook your VISA. Regretfully, we found out about this too late so were not able to do it. If your embassy or consulate to Tanzania allows you to do this, do it. It saves a lot of time on arrival.
- allow for the cost of anti-Malaria meds and vaccines into your trip budget. We did not do this and were quite shocked at the amount this came to for a family of five. Astonishingly, it was around $2000 USD! Not all medication is this expensive, we chose the pricier ones because they had minimum side effects. Make sure your yellow fever vaccine record is in your passport-they checked ours before we were even allowed to get into the immigration line on arrival.
- don't wear dark blue or black! Tsetse flies are a real pain in parts of Africa and they are attracted to dark blue and black. In problem areas, large blue and black flags can be seen waving trying to attract the flies away from the people.
- buy or rent a good camera with a good zoom lens. A smartphone camera is not going to do the trick. While you can get very close to the animals, you can't get close enough for good mobile phone photos. This is a trip of a lifetime, you are going to want the photos.
- stay in a temporary luxury tent! This was so much fun for us. After a midday nap, we opened our tent flaps to see three giraffes in front of us. It was amazing!
- make sure your tour company employs local Tanzanian people. You want your money to go towards the country you are visiting and you want an authentic experience with someone who really knows Tanzania.
- bring headlamps. Thankfully we did and they came in handy.
- bring a medicine/first aid pack. There are no easily accessed pharmacies.
- bring lots of one dollar US bills. You will need to be tipping along the way and there is not many places to change money. The people we met wanted USD more than the local currency.
- learn a few words of Swahili. Its a fun icebreaker and Tanzanians are super friendly so you don't need to be nervous trying your words. Jambo (Hi) and Asante (thank you) are just for a start!
Go, you are going to love it!