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Kenya Tanzania Safari – Get The Best Of Both Countries

Alison Macallister

What makes a combined Kenya-Tanzania safari so special? Tanzania and Kenya are neighbours and thousands of wildebeest, elephants, zebras and various antelope species cross freely between the Serengeti and Masai Mara.

A Kenya-Tanzania Safari gives you the opportunity to visit some of East Africa’s most legendary parks and get close to the Big 5 as well as hundreds of other animals and bird species.  

I've done a combined Kenya-Tanzania safari before. As a visitor, there were slightly more logistics involved like multiple flight bookings and visa applications for my friends and I. But this didn't stop me and it shouldn't stop you from crossing borders, exploring all the historic sites, natural wonders and array of cultures that Tanzania and Kenya have to offer in one unforgettable East African trip.

Let's get started. 

Dry-season-safari-plain

Kenya Tanzania Safari FAQs

Which is the better safari destination - Tanzania or Kenya? 

Ideally, Tanzania is a better safari destination than Kenya for several reasons: 

With that said, Kenya is still a fantastic safari destination. Kenya has been in the tourism game for longer and has more options with accommodation and flights, making it slightly cheaper than Tanzania. Finally, Kenya also has more family-friendly lodges on offer than Tanzania. 

If you're torn between where to go, a combined safari tour in both countries might be the best choice. Both countries have major attractions and offer top sightings of wildlife. Kenya and Tanzania also share a common border and a coastline on the Indian Ocean, so it makes sense to split the difference and go on a joint safari. 

Micato Safaris

Plan your Safari experience

Get a quote from our recommended local safari operator

How much does a combined Kenya-Tanzania safari cost? 

On average, a Kenya-Tanzania safari costs $200-$2000 per person per day. You might find that a combined safari is one of the more expensive holidays you will plan. However, different types of tours and accommodation can help you plan an affordable safari budget.

See more info on how much an average Tanzanian safari will cost you

Below is a handy spreadsheet outlining how much you're likely to spend on a combined Kenya-Tanzania safari: 


Kenya

Tanzania

Combined

Budget Safari

$120-$250

$285-$340

$250-$350

Mid-Range Safari

$375-$600

$500-$725

$450-$600

Luxury Safari

$1,000-$1,600

$1,250- $1,850

$1,300-$1,900

What do I get in a Tanzania Kenya safari package? 

You get a lot of things in a Tanzania Kenya safari package like unique tours and accommodation to name a few. 

Here is a handy spreadsheet of what local tour operators typically include and exclude in Tanzania Kenya safari packages: 

Included

Excluded

Transfers by road or air

International flights

Accommodation as specified 

Personal travel insurance

Meals (sometimes picnics or outdoor dining)

Alcoholic beverages

Sometimes cooldrinks too

Unlimited drinking water

Laundry fees

Park fees

Included activity fees

Extra activities

All drives in parks and reserves with an expert guide

Gratuities

(very important, see our article on porter tips for Kilimanjaro, and don’t forget your safari staff)

Use of binoculars

Cell

When is the best time to go on a Kenya Tanzania safari?

The best time to go on a Kenya Tanzania safari is the dry season (June-October) by far. This is because the weather conditions make it easier to travel between both countries and view the wildlife. 

When going on a safari in Kenya and Tanzania, you have a choice between two distinct travelling seasons:

  • Peak season
  • Out of season

Peak Season

The dry season (June-October) is best for animal sightings as vegetation is thin and animals gather at water sources. Safari destinations are more crowded and prices are highest at this time.

Out of Season

East Africa has two distinct rainy seasons: November-December (short rains) and April to May (long rains).

During the short rains, camps stay open and viewing is still good but many close over the long rainy season when wildlife is more scattered and roads can become flooded. Operating accommodation and tours are often cheaper out of season.

See more on the best times of year for visiting Kenya and Tanzania.

Where to stay? Here are 5 of my favourite safari accommodation options in Kenya and Tanzania: 

See more popular Kenya and Tanzania safari accommodation options.

When is the best time for viewing the Wildebeest Migration? 

The best time for viewing the Great Wildebeest Migration during a combined Tanzania-Kenya safari is from September-October when the herds are located near the Mara River in the Serengeti and when they then cross over into the Masai Mara in Kenya. 

January-March: calving season in the southern Serengeti of  Tanzania. 

May-September: visitors flock to watch Mara River crossings in Northern Serengeti

October-December: some of the herds are in Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Here is a user-friendly map outlining the entire schedule of the wildebeest migration in Tanzania and Kenya:

Great Wildebeest Migration Map

Please Note: If you are planning a safari to watch the Great Migration, be sure to book at least a year in advance.

How long should I spend in Tanzania and Kenya on safari?

Ideally, you should spend at least 12 days on a Kenya and Tanzania safari. This will give you about two full days each in some of the major destinations of both countries.

What should I expect on a Kenya Tanzania safari?

There are a few things to expect on a Kenya Tanzania safari like where you begin and end your journey as well as how to best travel between destinations. 

Arrival and Departure Points

Most Tanzania and Kenya safari tours have start and endpoints at the international airports of Nairobi or Arusha.

Travelling Between Nature Reserves

Overland safari options drive between safari destinations while fly-in safaris save time by transferring guests between landing strips in parks and reserves. Transfer flights are more expensive but save time on travelling.

Kenya-Tanzania-Safari

What are the most popular safari routes in Tanzania and Kenya?

In Tanzania, the most popular safari route goes along the Northern Circuit while in Kenya, the most popular safari route goes through the famous Masai Mara National Park. Both safari routes are popular because many tourists love viewing the Great Wildebeest Migration in both settings. 

Below is a complete breakdown of Tanzania and Kenya's most popular safari routes and what tourists love doing there: 

Tanzania

Kenya

Following the Great Migration and searching for lions and hyenas in the iconic Serengeti National Park. 

Visiting the open savannahs of the Masai Mara, home of the Masai warriors and end-point of the wildebeest migration.

A quest to find the Big 5 in the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area.  

Exploring Amboseli National Park, which is best known for its elephant herds.

A half day visit to  watch birds  and drive through the groundwater forests of Lake Manyara National Park.

The National Parks on the Great Lakes like Lake Nakuru, Lake Naivasha and Lake Victoria.

Seeing herds of over 300 elephants in Tarangire National Park.


What are the least visited safari destinations in Tanzania and Kenya? 

Some of the least visited safari destinations in Tanzania and Kenya are Selous Game Reserve and Tsavo National Park because they are in remote locations and difficult to access by road.

While some of Tanzania and Kenya's less visited safari destinations are more difficult to get to and have more limited accommodation offers, they also offer a much more exclusive and unforgettable safari experience well away from the crowds.

Here are a few more of these unknown and unspoiled safari gems in Tanzania and Kenya: 

Tanzania

Kenya

Nyerere National Park is part of the Selous Game Reserve and the largest wilderness area in Africa.

Tsavo is so huge that it is divided into Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks.

Ruaha National Park where  baobab scattered savannahs are home to 10% of the world’s lions.  

Meru National Park – made famous by Joy Adamson and her lions.

Katavi National Park best known for exciting buffalo-lion interactions

Aberdare National Park, which has a good number of black rhinoceros.

Mahale Mountains and Gombe Stream National Park offer trekking to see habituated troops of chimpanzees. 

Samburu National Park with its drier and rockier landscape.

Can I get add-ons with my Tanzania and Kenya safari?

Of course. Whether you make your own bookings or do it through a safari tour operator, you have the rare opportunity to create an authentic safari experience in Tanzania and Kenya based on your personal preferences and your favourite hobbies. 

Island Destinations

Add a beach element to your safari by spending a couple of days on the idyllic island destinations of Zanzibar or Seychelles with their perfect tropical weather. Both are just a short flight away.

Read more on the best time to visit Zanzibar

Gorilla Trekking

Take a few extra days to visit the neighbouring country of Uganda to see the magnificent gorillas in their jungle home.

More Things to Do

Some days on your safari itinerary you may have a choice of activities or the opposite to do something special at an additional cost. 

Some of the extra activities in Tanzania and Kenya are;

Serengeti Balloon Safari

Book a Maasai Mara Balloon Safari

 Get a quote from our recommended       local operator

What wildlife will I see on my Tanzania-Kenya safari? 

There will be so many animals to see on your Tanzania-Kenya safari. Both countries are likely to surpass your wildest expectations in terms of wildlife sightings.

With landscapes straight out of The Lion King, both countries are home to the Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos) as well as a huge diversity of other antelope, giraffe, zebra, primates, hyenas, cheetahs, hippopotamus and many other predators and prey.

Birdlife is also rich in these areas and bird watchers will encounter hundreds of different species of avifauna including migratory and endemic species. 

Each animal has a different habitat preference. These are wild animals in huge areas and there are no guaranteed sightings of them all. Rest assured that you will get the best opportunity to see as much as possible by taking multiple game drives with experienced guides in the different parks.

Kenya and Tanzania Wildlife Conservation

Many safari trips include visits to wildlife research centres such as the Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre. Presentations and discussions with conservationists and researchers add to the safari experience by giving you a more in-depth understanding of animal behaviour and conservation issues like poaching.

What other things can I do while visiting Kenya and Tanzania? 

There are plenty of other things you can do while visiting Kenya and Tanzania, like taking unique cultural tours of indigenous villages, learning more about our ancient ancestors who first came from Africa, as well as visiting the cosmopolitan capital of Nairobi. 

Local Village Visits and Cultural Highlights

From a few hours to a full day, local village tours are guided visits to communities close to parks like the Masai warrior communities of Kenya or the tribally diverse town of Mto Wa Mbu near Tarangire National Park. These cultural tours can include the following:

  • Traditional dance demonstrations 
  • Weaving, beading, pottery or other craftwork demonstrations or interactive lessons
  • Sampling local food and drink 
  • Curio shopping
  • Local cooking experience and shopping for local ingredients.
  • Discussions with community members on interesting and sometimes controversial topics
hadzabe-tribal-man

Hadzabe Tribal Man

Meet Our Ancient Ancestors

Retrace the steps of ancient man when you visit the Olduvai Gorge Museum near Ngorongoro Crater. Learn about evolution in Africa through Louis Leakey and his discovery of ancient fossils and footprints. Most itineraries include this as a stop on the way from Ngorongoro Crater to Serengeti National Park.

Famous Attractions

Nairobi Attractions

Feed treats to the tame giraffes of Giraffe Manor or, learn about the rehabilitation work of the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust while you watch elephant calves play in the mud. You can also visit the Karen Blixen Museum, the famous Out of Africa author’s former home. All of these attractions are close to Nairobi city centre.

Elsamere Conservation Centre

On the shores of Lake Naivasha, this was the home of Born Free Author Joy Adamson. The Elsamere Conservation Centre continues the Adamsons legacy through environmental education programmes and a museum. 

Conclusion

And that's a wrap on what makes a combined Tanzania-Kenya safari not only ideal, but an absolute must for visiting these jewels of East Africa. 

Better safe than sorry... I highly recommend travel insurance for Tanzania. Use the quote calculator from our partner, World Nomads. World Nomads provide comprehensive travel cover as well as specific coverage for hiking up to 6000m, which is perfect for Kilimanjaro.

Alison Macallister

With a degree in Nature Conservation and experience working with wildlife including the Big 5, Alison works as a guide for a 5-star reserve. She enjoys sharing her passion for all things nature-related. She enjoys hiking, horseriding, 4x4 driving and kayaking.

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