Meet the Big 5 on an Tanzanian Safari
Lions stalk through the grass to your left, Giraffes mingle with zebras in the plain ahead & Elephants graze on nearby trees. Kristen Bor, of Bearfoot Theory, takes us on a Tanzanian safari in search of the ‘Big 5’. To find out more about Kristen, visit the bio page of Kristen Bor and Bearfoot Theory.
Tanzania, voted best country in Africa for safari
It’s the unpredictable nature of the African savanna that makes a Tanzanian safari so exhilarating. It’s life as it was millennium ago. Wild, barely touched by humanity. You don’t know what is going to happen next and what you’re going to see. Big game and big predators in the biggest game of all… the game of survival.
Tanzania was recently voted the best country in the world to go on safari, by safari-goers and experts, closely followed by Zambia, Botswana and Kenya. Why? Because Tanzania boasts not one but two incredible locations—the Ngorongoro Conservation area and the Serengeti. (Not to mention Lake Manyara and Tarangire.)
The main feature of the 8,000 km2 Ngorongoro Conservation area is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera (sunken volcano). The 260 km2 plains in the centre of the crater hold a vast concentration of animals.
The 30,000 km2 Serengeti hosts the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world, is home to about 70 large mammal and 500 bird species, and contains an admirable lion population. The annual Great Migration (almost 2 million wildebeests and zebras, plus gazelle, eland and impala) runs from late May through to the end of October. Each year the big game mammals follow water sources and the fresh grasses that follow the ‘long rains’ in a clockwise direction around the Serengeti ecosystem.
In Tanzania, you can not only see ‘big five’ game animals (the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo) but also zebra, hippos, elephants, leopards, wildebeest, crocodiles, giraffes, monkeys, flamingos, warthogs, gazelle, impala, eland, hyena, and an incredible array of bird life. Everywhere you go there’s something new, something you’ve never heard of, something different.
If flying in to Nairobi, Kenya, a night at the Giraffe Manor on the outskirts of Nairobi is an incredible experience!
Keep in mind that malaria medication, plus Hepatitis A and B inoculations, tetanus, and polio are recommended. Yellow fever inoculations are required if you come from some countries like India or Kenya.
If you want to avoid tourists in the Serengeti, consider the Grumeti concession. There’s plenty of wildlife but less tourists and lodges in the area.
Mount Kilimanjaro is very close to the safari areas and if you’ve ever wanted to climb it, you could combine a climb and a safari in one amazing holiday!
The luxury Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is one of the most amazing places in the world to stay, overlooking the entire crater. It has been described as ‘Maasai meets Versailles’.
June to October is the best time to view the animals but also the peak time. (No muddy tracks, not many mosquitoes, but can be dusty.) January, February and May are also considered very good.
To see the wildebeest migration, your best time is June/July (peak time), and to see the wildebeest calving, February is the time to go.
There are safari regions all over Tanzania but the best are in the north between Arusha and Lake Victoria. The easiest is to fly into Nairobi in Kenya. The map below depicts the Serengeti.