Vibrant with abundant wildlife and spectacular natural beauty, Tanzania undoubtedly offers one of the most outstanding safari experiences in East Africa.
Visit the Serengeti, hike Kilimanjaro, or relax on the beaches of the island paradise, Zanzibar. These are each beautiful destinations, offering distinctive sights and sounds, wildlife, and a rich cultural history all their own.
Whether you're traveling to enjoy an oh-so-special honeymoon safari or checking off a bucket-list vacation destination, a safari in Tanzania can only exceed your expectations. The Serengeti, with its most abundant wildlife, and Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. These names became iconic for a reason.
For those who have never traveled to Africa, the entire planning process can seem unfamiliar and challenging. But once you figure out what you really want to do and understand your practical constraints, such as time, budget, group size, etc., you can learn the best ways to maximize your safari experience.
So, how can you get the most out of your Tanzanian vacation or honeymoon safari experience? First, get organized by listing the most important destinations and activities you'll want to experience. What are the must-dos and must-sees? And then, as with any vacation travel to the African bush--and especially for your honeymoon safari when expectations run even higher--we hope you'll take these four pieces of advice listed below to heart.
Planning ahead helps ground your dream of a Tanzanian safari holiday in reality. The trip will only fall into place with your focus and planning. Because of such diversity in terrain, seasonal considerations, and so much to do, it will be challenging to choose from all that Tanzania offers.
Are you planning a Tanzania honeymoon safari? Are you and your beloved on the adventurous, athletic side and hoping to trek Mt. Kilimanjaro? Or are you and your family looking for a trek through forested hills, considering Mahale Mountains National Park in western Tanzania, to see chimpanzees in the wild? Or will it be nature at its most raw and dramatic? A visit to the Serengeti to witness a river crossing of hundreds of thousands of wildebeests? And then there's sunbathing on the beaches of Zanzibar.
Think about what wild animals you want to see the most, your favorite part of the country, your budget, the time of year you can travel, and your safari duration. And then there are your other favorite activities like scuba diving, birdwatching, or even shopping. A travel itinerary will help you rank your top destinations, your must-do activities, how to go from point A to point B, and monitor your spending.
And plan for unfortunate events out of your control, like poor weather conditions or traffic--anything that can slow you up or even delay your travel. While it's important to not stress too much over what you can't change, being prepared for contingencies will make all the difference in overcoming the inevitable challenges.
Pack Only the Essential Things
Always remember, less is more when packing for a safari expedition. You'll need to pack light and pack only the most essential items. Not only do airlines have limitations on baggage, but tour operators usually allow even less. All the luggage for the group has to fit in the truck.
Fortunately, most lodges offer washing services to their guests.
Keep to a small piece of luggage that fits the specifications given by the tour operator. Here are our suggestions for items you will need to include on a Tanzanian safari vacation:
- Passport, Visa, copies of travel insurance, health insurance, and itinerary
- Cash and credit cards
- SPF-rich sunscreen
- Day bag
- Different specialty items for planned activities (swimwear, trekking poles, etc.)
- Comfortable shoes both for trekking and game drives
- First aid kit including pain relievers, antiseptic ointment electrolyte tablets or powders, bandaids, travel sickness tablets, insect repellent, etc.)
- Pack toiletries such as shampoo and moisturizers in small, reusable travel bottles to minimize space.
- Carry chargers and gadgets like cameras, binoculars, and smartphones.
- Sunglasses and hats
And all seasoned travelers will tell you that you'll be happy that you remembered to prepare and pack these travel essentials a few weeks before your trip!
Get Travel Insurance
We can't overstate the importance of being prepared while traveling. Well, at least to the extent you can anticipate issues and cover them. And the easiest way to cover a host of issues is by purchasing travel insurance for your safari vacation before leaving home.
Being in a foreign country, in unfamiliar territory with potential language and cultural issues, can be a real challenge if problems pop up. And it can happen in a second--you lose your passport, your luggage, or you need medical attention.
Yes, travel insurance is an extra expense, and it's easy to hope for the best and let it go. But in the end, you will feel protected and more at ease if you know you're covered, and you'll be happy you purchased travel insurance whether or not you need it.
And if you do need it, if you or your spouse suddenly require medical attention, hospitalization, and emergency evacuation, or in case of trip cancellation, you'll want someone to help you through the process. Your insurance provider will help you cover these extraordinary expenses and provide assistance when you are most in need.
Respectfully Follow the Game Drive Guidelines
One important point worth keeping in mind is absolute adherence to the game drive guidelines. These guidelines are in place to keep you, everyone around you, and the animals safe. You are a visitor in their home, and it's a fragile habitat at that. To stay safe and ensure a seamless, fun-filled adventure, remain aware and respectful of the guide's instructions and safari rules.
On safari, never startle or yell at the animals. Remember, you're there to see the animals, not pique their interest! To see them in their natural habitat, avoid introducing any strangeness into their surroundings.
Refrain from imitating animal sounds, clapping, banging on something, or tossing objects out of the vehicle. Of course, this can agitate the animals (and your fellow travelers) and turn an exciting game drive on your honeymoon safari or family vacation into a potentially dangerous event and harmful to the animals.
Also, respect the driver's and tour experts' assessment of the wild animals in the vicinity of your game drive. Your local expert in charge will want this to be a fantastic experience for you and will do everything they deem safe to get you the best views of wildlife. Leave it to them and refrain from asking for a closer approach. That's why you have binoculars! Most animals blend into their surroundings--their survival depends on it--and can be very difficult to spot. Fortunately, your guide will have a good eye for them.
And while the larger animals have less fear of humans and aren't as affected by our proximity, the smaller animals are on constant alert for predators. They're far more elusive, but you'll be able to watch them graze through your binoculars.
Tanzania has so much in store for any traveler looking to be wowed. Expect to immerse yourselves in the boundless safari scenery and wildlife that make this country a standout--even in a continent rich in the rare, exotic, ancient, and glorious!
Just be sure to travel smart with a detailed yet flexible plan, travel insurance, and the necessities when traveling in a foreign country and the African bush. Carry sunglasses and keep your water bottle full!
Once you've received some good advice from a reputable tour operator and checked off every item on the list above, you'll know it's time for your once-in-a-lifetime Tanzanian safari.