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Ultimate Safari Experience In Tanzania

Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventure – Lovelle Drachman.

When someone says safari in Tanzania, immediately Serengeti comes to mind. Well, there are numerous national parks and game reserves that can give anyone an ultimate safari experience in Tanzania.

Choosing which national park or game reserve to start ticking off your bucket list can be daunting. So, I have chosen a national park and a conservation area that can spark an interest for you to visit. To make things a little easier, I have indicated when to visit, suggested a tour company and lodges that I stayed in and loved.

girl at the airport

1. Lake Manyara National Park

The National Park is 126 kilometers west of Arusha town. If you decide to drive from Arusha it is approximately a 2 hrs journey. I live in Dar es Salaam and to maximize on time I decided to take a flight.

I flew with Air Tanzania to Kilimanjaro, and connected for 4 hrs to Manyara via road. It is not the ideal route because if there are any flight delays then the day’s itinerary potentially gets ruined. Unfortunately, Air Tanzania does not land in Arusha, so I had no choice but to take the Kilimanjaro route.

When I landed from Kilimanjaro airport, I was picked up by Extra-economical Safari Limited. Straight from the airport we headed to Lake Manyara Serena lodge where I freshen up and had a quick lunch.

lady at Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park – Entrance

I couldn’t wait till the next day to explore the national park, so right after lunch I went for a game drive. In October we are blessed with sunny days with a chance of light showers of rain. However, last year the month had unusual heavy rains. When I landed, I witnessed a change in weather and it rained the whole day.

My prayer was to just get a couple of hours of sun so I can see the animals with the vehicle’s roof hatch. But that proved to be a challenge!. I think there was only an hour of cloudy skies and it just poured till the night. Luckily for me, the elephants are not shy of a little rain. They majestically strolled my way and I managed to snap a couple of photos.

girl at Lake Manyara Serena Hotel entrance

On the first night, I stayed in Lake Manyara Serena Lodge. The view of the lake is visible on all angles of the property. Moreover, the pool area is a delight for sun downers after a long day of game drive or outdoor activities. Most importantly, the view from the bedroom balcony is splendid in the morning times, so I suggest you don’t miss that sun rise.

Other Activities

In addition, the lodge has a variety of other activities that can be enjoyed before or after experiencing the game drive.

  • Archery
  • Football
  • Volley ball
When To Visit
JanFebMarAprMayJunlady next to a safari vehicleJulAugNgorongoro crater view pointSepNgorongoro crater view pointOctSafari vehicleNovDec
Good GoodFairFairFairExcellentExcellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Good Good

The national park can be enjoyed all year round. However it is wise to know the best time to visit to maximize on the ultimate safari experience in Tanzania. June till October is the best time due to it being the dry season of the year. Meanwhile, Light showers of rain starts to be experienced from November till February, where the vegetation is luscious and very scenic. Moreover, heavy rains is between March till May and the roads may be difficult to travel on.

June – October (Dry Season)
  • Sunny and warm
  • A lot of tourists visit the National Park
  • Animals are more easily seen
November – May (Wet Season)
  • Heavy rains especially between March to May
  • April and May is low season, so rates are usually low
  • Roads are difficult to travel on
High Season (rates are high)
June – March
Low Season (rates are low)
April & May

2. Ngorongoro Conservation Area

This 8,292 square kilometer conservation area is home to the “big 5” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and Rhino). However, I was particularly eager to explore the conservation area because of it having the large volcanic Ngorongoro Crater.

The Crater is not a national park but a conservation area. This means the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority granted the Masai people the right to continue to live there. It is such a marvelous sight of little Masai settlements, and children herding cows and goats within the conservation area. No where in the world will you see humans and wild animals coexisting as a way of life. In that regard, it adds to the ultimate safari experience in Tanzania.

Ngorongoro crater sign board
Hyena inside Ngorongoro crater
lady on the balcony at Ngorongoro Serena hotel

For my second day in the wild, I wanted to spice up my living experience and booked a room at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge. The lodge has a rustic African charm which can be seen in the interior design and even the physical structure of the lodge.

Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

I was in awe at the magnificent view of the crater which could be seen from the bedroom balcony. Being able to see the crater at the convenience of my balcony was an added bonus to the game drive experience. Therefore, I would recommend this lodge for honeymooner, family vacation as well as company retreats.

girl on the balcony
When To Visit
JanFebMarAprMayJunlady next to a safari vehicleJulAugNgorongoro crater view pointSepNgorongoro crater view pointOctSafari vehicleNovDec
ExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent Excellent Excellent Excellent ExcellentExcellent

Ngorongoro crater is splendid to visit at all times. During the dry season (July – October) the grass in the crater is short which makes it easier for spotting animals. Meanwhile, in the rainy season (November – May) it is more luscious with green scenery.

June – October (Dry Season)
  • Plenty of sunshine
  • Animals are easy to spot due to grass being short
  • The crater gets crowded with tourists
  • Weather is cold in the early morning and evenings
November – May (Wet Season)
  • Even with the rain the crater offers beautiful viewing experience
  • less tourists
  • April and May is low season, so rates are usually low
High Season (rates are high)
June – March
Low Season (rates are low)
April & May

Safari Tour Company

ultimate safari experience in Tanzania
Ultimate safari experience in Tanzania

Extra-economical Safari Limited was a company recommended by a colleague and I am glad I chose them for my ultimate safari experience in Tanzania. From the initial stage of planning, airport pick-up and eventually the safari tour, they showed utmost professionalism and great customer service.

The 4 wheel drive vehicle assigned to me had great seats with cup holders attached to them. It had a roof hatch, air-conditioning and a fridge with fully stocked drinks. Most importantly, it had USB and power outlet charging ports beside every seat. As a result, I never missed an opportunity to take photos and Instagram stories during the game drive because my phone was always fully charged.

I had a friendly guide, his name is Ben. If you ever choose this tour company, I highly recommend you request for him. He speaks good English, knowledgeable about the animals and birds of the national park and crater. Above all, he was very patient and accommodating with my lack of punctuality and constant change of plans.

Below is my safari and tour package that I customized with Extra-economical Safari Limited based on my needs.

Cost: $500
The safari and tour package included
  • 2 days Game safari (Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro crater)
  • Private 4 wheel drive vehicle with a roof hatch, air-conditioning, refrigerator, USB and power outlet charging port
  • Soft drinks and bottled water
  • Professional safari and tour guide / driver
  • Lake Manyara, and Ngorongoro Crater park fees
  • Any airport transfers
The safari and tour package excluded
  • Hotel/lodge accommodation (stayed at Serena Hotels)
  • All meals on the safari (Serena Hotels provided since I stayed with them)
  • International and local airfares
  • Airport taxes
  • Entry visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Wi-Fi in the vehicle
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Ngorongoro crater view point

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