Tanzania’s varied and plentiful National Parks, AWARD-WINNING lodges and tropical Indian Ocean islands make it one of our favourite destinations for an all-encompassing safari holiday or luxury honeymoon.
With Africa’s highest mountain, largest lake, and the world’s biggest concentration of wild animals during the spectacular wildebeest migration, Tanzania certainly has plenty of superlatives to boast about. In northern Tanzania, vast and varied landscapes provide plenty of big-five spotting opportunities. The Serengeti is famous for the annual wildebeest migration, whilst the Ngorongoro Crater’s steep forest-covered sides give way to vast, wildlife-filled plains below. To escape the crowds, keen safari-goers can head south to the Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.
To the west, the Mahale Mountains and Katavi National Park provide ample opportunity for alternative safari trips off-the-beaten path. A stint on the beach in the Zanzibar archipelago basking in the warm turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean before heading to explore the UNESCO protected site of Stone Town makes for a picture-perfect finish to any Tanzania holiday or honeymoon. Fitting the right accommodation with the right person in Tanzania is key – our hand-picked lodges, hotels and camps in Tanzania are as varied as the landscapes our guests travel through.
THE S&A TO DO LIST
- Try fly camping at Sand Rivers Selous, sleeping out under the stars with the luxury of a down pillow and crisp linen surrounded by the sounds and smells of the bush
- Include a stay at the remote and utterly beautiful Greystoke Mahale in the Mahale Mountains National Park, the best place in Africa for viewing chimpanzees
- Bypass the busier migration season and instead visit the Serengeti in February during calving season for lots of babies (and predator action!)
Alex Walker’s Serian Serengeti are a collection of pleasantly small and authentic mobile tented camps whose movement is governed by the wildebeest migration. From July through to mid-November the camp takes residence in Kogatende, the northern region of the Serengeti, to make the most of the famous Mara River crossings - very few mobile tented camps or permanent lodges can claim to be as close to the river. From mid-December to mid-March, while the other mobile tented camps move south to Ndutu, the main camp moves far further, into an area that is outside of the Serengeti’s boundaries, meaning the camp is able to offer walking; cultural visits to see the Hadzabe, the last hunter gatherers in Africa, as well as almost total seclusion. Most importantly, these are rare owner-hosted camps where all guests are offered a private safari vehicle and dedicated guide, which further enhances the overall experience. Serengeti Safari Camp is another excellent mobile camp which moves seasonally to be close to the wildebeest migration, far away from the larger and busier permanent lodges. If the thought of sleeping under canvas does not appeal, then Lamai Serengeti is a gorgeous semi-permanent lodge perched on a kopje in the northern Serengeti with stunning views stretching over the Mara River. To mix an epic safari experience with luxury like no other, Singita Grumeti Reserves accommodations are made up of a tented camp Singita Sabora, a classic early 20th-century–style safari camp, accessorised with antique mahogany chests, windup gramophones and thick Persian rugs, and two lodges - the contemporary Singita Faru Faru, overlooking the Grumeti River, and the reserve’s flagship Singita Sasakwa, an East African ranch house set on a plateau with panoramic views of the plains. In southern Tanzania, located on the banks of the Rufiji River in the Selous Game Reserve, Sand Rivers Selous is an intimate lodge with just eight spacious stone and thatch cottages, open-fronted to incredible vistas across the river and the cacophony of sound from hippos honking at night. The Selous is one of the best reserves for an all-round safari with 4×4 drives, guided walks, boat trips, fishing and fly-camping under the stars all on offer. For a more rustic tented camp experience head to Kigelia Camp in Ruaha National Park, famous for its huge elephant population and giant baobabs.
Whilst famed for the northern parks, Tanzania also offers a host of other areas where one can still feel something of a pioneer, and the west of the country in particular is a surprisingly remote region and very little visited. The main draw here is the chimpanzee reserve in the Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest habituated troops of chimpanzees in the world and offering one of the best animal interaction experiences in Africa. Greystoke Mahale is a lodge on a remote, quiet stretch of white sand beach on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Here guests can spend days trekking into the foothills of the Mahale Mountains in search of the chimpanzees (made famous by Jane Goodall) who share 98% of our genes. Lush tropical jungle surrounds you and excitement builds as you follow the pant hoots of the chimps off in the distance until you finally come upon a group sitting in their natural habitat. Returning to camp in the afternoon guests can spend time relaxing on the soft sands of the private beach, swimming in the lake, sailing on their dhow and simply soaking up the serenity of this far-flung corner of Africa. Combine Greystoke Mahale with a safari at Chada Katavi a bush camp in the heart of the remote and seldom-visited Katavi National Park in western Tanzania, an area which claims to have the highest bio-density of any reserve in Africa and is something of a holy grail for safari aficionados. The camp itself is extremely comfortable and stylish, with six luxury tented suites. We love supporting passion projects and Kichaka Ruaha is undoubtedly one of Tanzania’s most remote and exciting camps, set in a remote area of Ruaha National Park with a focus on walking safaris and giving visitors a really wild bush experience. It is for the exclusive use of a single group of guests and is led by one of the best guide and host teams in Africa, the fabulous Moli and Noelle. Activities include vehicle safari and some serious walking safari options, some in to previously unexplored areas.
For barefoot luxury in the Zanzibar archipelago, Mnemba Island's thatched bandas and Fundu Lagoon's canvas under thatch tented suites both retain a strong sense of African style, designed in a style which takes nothing away from the stunning location. On the main island you’re spoilt for choice but a few of our favourites for families, couples and honeymooners alike looking for a luxury and an exclusive stay on the island are Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas and Spa, a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group nestled on the East with a lovely swimming pool and beach and a comprehensive watersports centre that offers kite-sufing. Also on the east coast, Baraza on Bwejuu beach is a very high-quality resort comprised of 30 individual villas, elegant public areas, a choice of bars and restaurants, a large swimming pool, an extensive spa and a range of further facilities and activities. The resort is privately owned, part of the Zanzibar Collection which also includes the recently opened Zawadi. Both properties benefit have professional staff and a reputation for excellent food. Next door Xanadu Villas offers six unique and beautifully designed villas which can be taken exclusively for up to 18 people, allowing big family groups to have an extremely private and top-end retreat. For something more laid-back and intimate we love owner-run Unguja Lodge tucked down in a quieter corner of the island, perfect for post-safari chill-out. Finish with a night at Kisiwa House in Stonetown, the atmospheric island capital and UNESCO heritage site, steeped in history and culture.
Looking to extend your trip?
Safari in Tanzania combines well with beach time in northern Mozambique or gorilla trekking in Rwanda...