Largely based on the ease of access and a choice of accommodation to the parks, you'll find that there is a hearty variety of national parks and game reserves you can explore during a Tanzanian safari.
I've visited several notable parks in Northern, Southern, and Western Tanzania over the years. Each experience has given me perspective on the importance of wildlife conservation and appreciating the beauty of the untamed East African landscape.
In this article, I'll give you brief outlines of the most popular national parks for the ultimate Tanzania safari and how to reach them using our dynamic Tanzania Safari Map.
Let's crack on!
As you'll see, our user-friendly Tanzania Safari Map above contains all the national parks in Tanzania, including the popular Serengeti, the more remote Gombe, and the total wilderness paradise that is Katavi.
Now, let's dive further into the Tanzania Safari Map!
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Tanzania Safari Map
Time Needed For Your Tanzania Safari
The time needed for a typical Tanzania safari is anywhere from 7 days up to 14 days in total. This should give you enough time to travel, get settled in your accommodation, view unique wildlife species, and enjoy some specialised activities like hot air balloon rides or scuba diving.
Here's a brief outline of how much time you'll approximately need to experience a safari in each part of Tanzania:
Which tour? Here are 5 Tanzania safari tours I highly recommend:
- Mahale Chimpanzee Safari (4 days)
- Budget Serengeti Safari (5 days)
- Tanzania Camping Adventure (incl. Arusha and Mto wa Mbu) (6 days)
- Scenic Northern Tanzania Safari (7 days)
- Epic Ruaha Adventure Safari (incl. Mikumi and Selous (9 days)
See more Northern Tanzania safari deals.
Northern And Southern Tanzania Safaris
In the North, you will need about 8 days to visit all the parks, since there are 5 of them and they're relatively close to each other. In the South, you'll ideally go for 8-12 days, as there are 8 national parks in total that you can visit and they're more spread out than the Northern Circuit parks.
A Western Tanzania Safari
In the West, you'll likely spend 12-14 days on a Tanzania safari. This is because specialised safaris like tracking chimpanzees in Gombe and Mahale might take more than a day. Plus, the nature there is out of this world, so you might want to enjoy it whilst you are there. As those six national park are in some of the most remote and exclusive locations in East Africa, this type of Tanzania safari will probably be an only once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you.
Read more on the best time of year for a Tanzania Safari.
Where to stay? Here are 5 of my favourite safari accommodation options in Tanzania:
- Serengeti Mawe Camp
- Ngorongoro Crater Serena Lodge (see reviews
- Lake Manyara Kilimamoja Lodge (see reviews)
- Mikumi Faru Tented Camp (Morogoro)
- Africa Safari Selous (near Mtemere main gate and airstrip)
National Parks in Tanzania
As I said before, there are three regions of Tanzania available to tourists for curating the ultimate safari adventure: the Northern Circuit, the Southern Circuit, and the Wild Wild West.
Let's talk about each region and their most popular national parks in more detail.
Northern Circuit Parks
The most notable national parks in the Northern Circuit are Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire and Lake Manyara. Northern parks are by far the most popular due to Serengeti’s fame and the Wildebeest Migration that takes place there.
These northern parks are also popular in terms of logistics – these parks (Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara) are very easily accessed from Arusha and Kilimanjaro Airports. The whole journey from those airports to each park might be about 2-3 hours in total.
Southern Circuit Parks
The most notable national parks in the Southern Circuit are Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park.
Southern parks are far less visited and this is due to the fact that they are harder to reach. To avoid five-hour drives from Dar es Salaam, visitors usually fly directly into these parks.
As you'll see from our Tanzania Safari Map above, flights to these locations take about under an hour but come with heftier price tags. Selous and Ruaha are also connected by flights (roughly 90 minutes each), which makes a trip down south even more invigorating.
The most notable national parks in the Wild Wild West are Mahale Mountains, Gombe Stream, and Katavi.
Western parks (like Mahale and Gombe) are only visited by about 5% of all travellers for a classic Tanzania Safari. And this is not because chimpanzee tracking available there is lacking in excitement, but because the roads get muddy and accessing these parks is often a challenge on top of the higher price of flying in here. For instance, to reach Katavi National Park, you have to endure a 4-5 hour flight from Arusha or Dar es Salaam.
However, these challenges are exactly what makes these western Tanzania parks so unique and definitely worth considering.
These distinct safari locations outlined in our Tanzania Safari Map above should give you an idea of the size of this exquisite country. It’s about 1.5 times bigger than the US state of Texas. Says it all in terms of true adventure being hard to find!
And that's a wrap on the Tanzania Safari Map! I hope this article gives you a better idea of all the opportunities available to you for the best and most memorable Tanzanian safari.