People come to Tanzania to experience nature on a grand scale, from the great migrating herds to the heights of the majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro. But of course, this is a guidebook material. The country has a subtler and softer side, which always rises up in me at the mere mention of Tanzania. Here are 10 things you might not know about a safari in Tanzania.
1. NO TANZANIA PARK IS FENCED OFF.
Expect to see all the beautiful animals Tanzania is known for. It is, after all, a country that gives you the opportunity to see the “BIG FIVE,” and if you are lucky, you will see them all, and more. None of the Tanzania national parks are fenced off. On safari you will be driving on thousands of square miles of unfenced area, allowing the animals to roam free in their natural habitat.
To optimize your safari experience you should plan for an early morning start and spend as much time as possible in the bush/nature. You will spend a lot of hours in a safari vehicle under the sun and on bumpy roads but you won’t feel uncomfortable. Beautiful vistas and incredible wildlife are all rewarding. It’s impossible to describe the feeling of being on an early morning drive watching the sunrise, the acacia trees forming beautiful silhouettes, birds chirping, the fresh cool air warming up as soon as the sun kisses the savannah—it’s pure bliss!
2. THERE IS NO TYPICAL DAY IN TANZANIA.
While your overall route is pre-planned, you will never know what to expect on any given day. You might drive for hours with little game to see but the next second you may encounter dozens of elephants or witness a thrilling chase and a successful hunt! Be patient and go with the flow to make the best of your time in the bush.
3. WARM AIR, GLORIOUS MUD, AND CLEAN DUST
Tanzania is located a few degrees south of the equator, which means there are only two seasons—dry and wet. Going on safari during the wet season can mean muddy road conditions and there is a possibility of getting stuck. However, guides have a very strong sense of comradery. There are always people out there to help in this situation. The dry season brings what is called the “clean dust of Africa.” It might be bothersome to some but it cleans your skin.
4. WARM PEOPLE
There is much more to Tanzania than its wildlife and national parks. Many people only associate game drives with a safari experience but Tanzania has 120 tribes living peacefully in one country as one people. There is a lot of cultures to explore and experience while on safari!
People in Tanzania match the weather. They are warm and hospitable and will go out of their way to ensure that your safari is comfortable and enjoyable.
5. FABULOUS FLYING CREATURES AND PESKY ONES
Many people tend to focus on seeing the big animals, but the birds one can observe on safari in Tanzania are fantastic. There are also, unfortunately, smaller, more annoying flying creatures like mosquitos and tsetse flies, so don’t forget to bring insect repellent and long sleeve clothing. If you come prepared, you will be fine!
6. A LOO WITH A VIEW
In the wilderness in Tanzania, on game drives, there aren’t many proper bathrooms; every now and then one might have to go to the nearest safe bush to answer nature’s call while enjoying the view.
If you get the chance to fly in a small bush plane that takes you from national park to national park, be sure to go the bathroom BEFORE you board the plane – there are no bathrooms on these small bush planes…and I had to learn the hard way myself. ☺
7. SPORADIC NETWORK COVERAGE
In many areas in the national parks, there is no cellphone network coverage. But many camps and lodges provide Wi-Fi, which can vary from strong to weak. A good opportunity to disconnect!
8. YOU WILL NOT STARVE.
The food at lodges and camps is plenty and they prepare both local and international cuisine which is normally served buffet style so you usually have lots of options to choose from. When you go on a full day game drive you should always take packed lunch boxes with you. Chefs will prepare meals according to the guests’ dietary requirements but in some camps options for lunch boxes can be limited so be sure to notify your guide in advance of what your dietary restrictions are.
9. OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD ACCOMMODATIONS
The lodges and camps range from basic to luxurious. There is no need at all to “rough it.” Even in the most remote areas of national parks or game reserves, expect to be able to sleep in a comfortable king-size bed with an en suite bathroom and excellent cuisine. Most camps and lodges are located strategically where there is a good game, by the rivers or watering holes, or where you have an amazing view of the epic African sunset or sunrise. Expect to fall asleep and wake up to a variety of animal sounds like lions roaring, hyenas, or hippos chomping grass by your tent. Not something to worry about once you are inside your accommodation. You are safe, so relax and enjoy the bush orchestra.
10. A FABULOUS MEMORY
A Tanzania safari gives incredible experiences, sights, and sounds that will amaze you and touch your soul. Take in the vast open skies filled with bright stars at night and land that stretches forever, fresh air, new experiences, fantastic fauna and flora, new friends, and natural exhilaration.