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Wayfairer Travel Guide: Tanzania

If you’re planning a holiday to Tanzania our travel guide will help you decide where and when to go and what to do whilst you’re there.


On a Wayfairer tailor made holiday to Tanzania you can discover Tanzania's dramatic beauty and phenomenal wildlife.

Experience the remote wilderness of Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park in the south, track wild chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park in the west, or challenge yourself by climbing to the snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro.

You can also head to Tanzania's pristine coast to combine your Tanzania luxury safari holiday or trekking adventure with a few days of relaxation at Ushongo Beach on the northern coastline, the exotic island of Zanzibar or laid-back Mafia Island.

Where to go in Tanzania

Our tailor made Tanzania itineraries focus on the national parks, game reserves and private wildlife conservancies in the north (northern circuit), south (southern circuit) and the west (western circuit), plus the mainland coastline and the islands of Zanzibar and Mafia Island.

Northern Circuit: Serengeti National Park > Lake Manyara National Park > Ngorongoro Crater > Tarangire National Park

Southern Circuit: Selous Game Reserve > Ruaha National Park

Western Circuit: Katavi National Park > Mahale Mountains National Park

Mainland Coast and Islands: Ushongo Beach > Zanzibar > Mafia Island

Our Tanzania holidays typically start in either Arusha or Dar es Salem.

Located at the foothills of Mount Meru, Arusha is the gateway to the northern safari circuit. For holidays that start in Arusha you’ll need to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO) and then you’ll be transferred by private vehicle to your accommodation in Arusha (transfer time approximately one hour).

Dar es Salem (often referred to as Dar) is Tanzania's largest city. Dar es Salem means "Haven of Peace" in Arabic – a name which was perhaps more fitting for its former status as a sleepy fishing village rather than the busy, bustling city which it is today.

For most travellers Dar es Salaam is simply an arrival destination before flying across to Zanzibar or Mafia Island or flying inland to start their safari. There are daily flights from Dar es Salem (airport code DAR) to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar (flight duration 20 minutes) and Mafia Island (flight duration 30 minutes). Tanzania's less-visited southern and western parks, such as Selous, Ruaha, Katavi and the Mahale Mountains, are also easily accessed from Dar es Salaam.

What to do in Tanzania

Fine below 8 different activities and excursions to choose from in Tanzania:

  1. Witness huge herds of wildebeest and zebra migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya
  2. Conquer Mt Kilimanjaro and watch the sunrise from ‘The Roof of Africa’
  3. Enjoy an adventurous and authentic bush experience in Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania
  4. See resident hippo pods at Lake Manyara
  5. Visit the Mahale Mountains National Park in western Tanzania to see chimpanzees in the wild and enjoy activities such as hiking in the forests, swimming in ice-cold pools in the mountain waterfalls and kayaking on the turquoise water of Lake Tanganyika
  6. Enjoy a river safari in the Selous Game Reserve
  7. Spot an abundance of wildlife, including zebra, buffalo, warthog, wildebeest, hippo and elephants in the Ngorongoro Crater
  8. Relax on the idyllic, palm fringed and secluded Ushongo beach on the northern coastline (voted “One of the World’s best beaches” by The Sunday Times Travel Magazine)

When to visit Tanzania

Tanzania is a vast country with much regional variation in geography and climate, plus two distinct rainy seasons, therefore deciding when to visit Tanzania depends on what you want to experience whilst you’re there.

Game viewing in Tanzania's parks (including the Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park) are at their peak during the dry season from June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July, whilst late January to February is the time to visit for the wildebeest calving season.

The ideal time to visit Tanzania's coast and the Zanzibar Archipelago is between August and October, whilst the coast and the islands are best avoided during the long rains from March to May.

Our month-by-month guide to Tanzania’s weather will help you plan when to visit this incredible East African country.

If you’re interested in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro we recommend that you do so during the warmest and driest times of year - December to mid March and mid June to end of October. Our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro’s weather will help you plan when to climb this iconic mountain.

Where to stay in Tanzania

Discover where to stay in Tanzania with some examples of fantastic accommodations we use for Tanzania safaris:

Northern Circuit

Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge – a Maasai village-inspired lodge located high on a hill with 360 degree views over the Serengeti National Park

Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge – a luxury safari lodge with panoramic views over Lake Manyara National Park

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge - situated on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater with incredible views

Tarangire Treetops - a secluded, luxury lodge set at the border of Tarangire National Park

Southern Circuit

Lake Manze Camp – an authentic safari camp situated on the shores of Lake Manze in the Selous Game Reserve

Mdonya Old River Camp – a 12 tent camp set in acacia woodland in the heart of Ruaha National Park

Western Circuit

Chada Katavi – a stylishly simple bushcamp located in Katavi National Park in the far west of Tanzania

Greystoke Mahale - a remote tented camp in the chimp-inhabited forests of the Mahale Mountains


Mainland Coast and Islands

The Tides Lodge – a barefoot-chic lodge set on the palm fringed Ushongo Beach on the mainland coast of Tanzania

Pongwe Beach Hotel - a relaxed and peaceful property located on one of the most beautiful beaches on Zanzibar.

Chole Mjini - a charming, rustic eco-lodge on Chole Island in the heart of the Mafia Island Marine Park on Mafia Island

Itinerary Ideas

The suggestions below are examples of holidays which we can arrange, however they can be tailored to suit your personal preference.

Northern Tanzania Safari & Zanzibar – 12 days

This classic itinerary covers includes incredible game drives in the national parks of Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Serengeti, plus the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater. You’ll also have a few days of post-safari relaxation on the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar.

Remote Tanzania: Safari & Beach – 12 days

This holiday offers a remote and authentic safari experience in the Selous Reserve and Ruaha National Park, plus five nights of rest and relaxation on remote Mafia Island in the Indian Ocean.

Selous & Zanzibar Holiday – 10 days

Enjoy a remote and personal safari experience in the Selous Reserve in southern Tanzania, and then relax on the romantic island of Zanzibar.


Responsible Travel in Tanzania

We are committed to responsible, sustainable and ethical tourism and we’re proud to work with a fantastic supplier in Tanzania that wholeheartedly shares our core values with regards to responsible tourism. You can read more about our responsible tourism values here.

We encourage all of our clients who are visiting Tanzania and Zanzibar to travel in a responsible and respectful manner to ensure that tourism has a positive impact on the economy, the environment, and the local communities. You can read our guide to responsible travel in Tanzania and Zanzibar here.

Travel Essentials 

Flying time: London to Dar Es Salaam Airport = 11 hours 50 minutes via Nairobi. London to Kilimanjaro International Airport = 11 hours 10 minutes via Nairobi

Recommended airlines: Kenya Airways

Time difference: Tanzania is 2 hours ahead of United Kingdom

Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TSh). The exchange rate is approximately UK£1 = TSh 2,988.59, US$1 = TSh 2,239.21 and €1 = TSh 2,637.94

Visa requirements: British nationals require a passport with at least one blank page and six months' validity, plus a visa to enter Tanzania. Single-entry visas are available upon arrival at Tanzanian airports or you can obtain one in advance. Click here for further information about visas.

Vaccinations: Visitors to Tanzania should ensure that they have Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Tetanus vaccinations. There is a high risk of malaria in most areas of Tanzania (including Zanzibar), therefore anti-malaria medication is recommended and you should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Avoid mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and sleeping under a mosquito net.

Although there is low risk of yellow fever in Tanzania, vaccination is generally not recommended. Under International Health Regulations a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers who have transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Click here for further information about yellow fever vaccination certificates and recommended vaccinations for Tanzania.

Tanzanian Language Tips

We encourage our clients to travel with a Swahili phrasebook in their hand luggage and make an effort to learn some key words and phrases.the Tanzanian language, Swahili, is easy to pick up for native English speakers as the words are pronounced exactly as they look to an English speaker.

  • Welcome/Come in - Karibu (kah-ree-boo)
  • Hello - Jambo (jah-mboh)
  • Goodbye - Kwaheri (kwah-heh-ree)
  • How are you? - Habari yako? (hah-bah-ree yah-koh)
  • Very well - Mzuri sana …and you?
  • Na wewe je? - Okay Sawa
  • What’s up? (informal) - Mambo?
  • My name is… - Jina langu ni… (jee-nah lah-ngoo)
  • What is your name? - Jina lako ni nani? (jee-nah lah-koh nahnee)
  • Pleased to meet you - Nimefurahi kukutana
  • Thank you - Asante (ah-sah-nteh)
  • You are welcome - Karibu (kah-ree-boo)
  • Please - Tafadhali (tah-fah-thah-lee)
  • Sorry - Pole (poh-leh)

If you'd like to plan a holiday to Tanzania, call our Luxury Travel Specialists for a chat about your dream trip or fill out our no-obligation enquiry form.

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