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Wildlife Locations

15 recommended locations:

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti supports Africa’s greatest concentration of plains game. Its ranges include wooded highland, grass plains, acacia savannah and rivers. With an estimated three million large animals, most of which take part in a seasonal migration, you can experience one of nature’s greatest wonders.

  • Where: Northern Tanzania
  • Ideal for viewing: Burchell’s zebra, cheetah, leopard, lion, white-bearded wildebeest
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is the gem in Tanzania’s ’Northern Safari Circuit’. The park consists of lush swamps of the Ngurdodo Crater, the changing colours of Momela Lakes and the rugged alpine peaks of Mt Meru. Its habitat sustains an array of wildlife including the black-and-white colobus monkey.

  • Where: Northern Tanzania
  • Ideal for viewing: black and white colobus monkey, bohor reedbuck, bushbuck, Kirk’s dik dik, olive baboon
  • Excellent for: Vehicle safaris

Gombe Stream National Park

Although small, this park is nevertheless magnificent and was made world famous by British researcher Jane Goodall for her work on its primates. The main attraction is around 100 habituated chimpanzees, and there are also large numbers of olive baboons. In the absence of roads, all wildlife-viewing is done on foot.

  • Where: Kigoma
  • Ideal for viewing: blue monkey, chimpanzee, olive baboon, red colobus monkey, bushpig
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Walking with wildlife

Katavi National Park

Forming part of Tanzania’s ‘Western Safari Circuit’, Katavi National Park is a remote area of unspoilt nature. This undiscovered wilderness is awash with plains game and over 400 species of birds. Its isolated location results in low visitor numbers, making it ideal for watching wildlife in peace and solitude.

  • Where: Western Tanzania
  • Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, lion, puku, roan, sable
  • Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

Lake Manyara National Park

Often seen as just a stopping off point on the popular Northern Circuit, this small park definitely warrants a visit in its own right. Mahogany and sausage trees are abundant and well laden with fruit for the wildlife to feed upon, and it is a sanctuary for its most famous residents – the tree climbing lion.

  • Where: Manyara District
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, hippo, leopard, lion, augur buzzard
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale National Park is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and split in two by the Mahale Mountains. Home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, this is a magical place of tropical forests with vines and tall trees growing on the banks of rivers which then tumble into countless waterfalls.

  • Where: Kigoma District
  • Ideal for viewing: blue duiker, chimpanzee, red colobus monkey, Sharpe’s grysbok, brush-tailed porcupine
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris

Mikumi National Park

An extension of the Selous ecosystem, this secluded park nestles between the Uluguru and Rubeho mountains, and visitors can spend a day here without seeing another tourist vehicle. Families of yellow baboon live at the southern end, near Kiboga, and more than 300 species of birds have been recorded.

  • Where: Morogoro Region
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, spotted hyena, yellow baboon, eland
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Birdwatching

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro, at 5,895 metres, is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. Intensely cultivated lower slopes give way to lush montane forest inhabited by elephant, leopard, buffalo, endangered Abbot’s duiker, other small antelopes and primates.

  • Where: Kilimanjaro Region
  • Ideal for viewing: black and white colobus monkey, blue monkey, malachite sunbird, variable sunbird, silvery-cheecked hornbill

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Crater is a natural amphitheatre and one of the most dramatic settings in Africa. Its swamps, forests and soda lake attract thousands of flamingos and other waterfowl, and the plains enclose the largest concentration of game – the predator prey balance is so precise that animals seldom leave.

  • Where: Crater Highlands Region
  • Ideal for viewing: black rhino, African elephant, greater flamingo, spotted hyena, lion
  • Excellent for: Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is Tanzania at its wildest, and its remote location means it has remained unchanged for centuries. Bordered by the rapids of Great Ruaha and Mzombe Rivers, a vast expanse of wilderness, dotted with fig trees and baobabs, stretches to the hazy blue southern highlands.

  • Where: Central Tanzania
  • Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, African elephant, lesser kudu, wild dog, Grant’s gazelle
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris

Saadani National Park

A stone’s throw from the spice island of Zanzibar, Saadani National Park shares its eastern border with the Indian Ocean and its southern border with the Wami river, allowing wildlife viewing in bush, river and coastal settings. Saadani is the only park in Tanzania, where you can enjoy a safari on the beach.

  • Where: Eastern Tanzania (Indian Ocean)
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, hippo, Grévy’s zebra
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Its vast tracts of wilderness contain perhaps the greatest concentration of big game on earth, sustained by the waters of the Rufiji River whose tributaries form a network of lakes and lagoons to help create a home for a bewildering array of birds.

  • Where: Southern Tanzania
  • Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, eland, African elephant, greater kudu, wild dog
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is one of Africa’s best kept secrets. Dominated by the Tarangire River, the landscape is a rich mix of trees, grassland plains, swamps and rocky outcrops providing habitats for superb wildlife. There are vast herds of elephants and Cape buffalo here, and the area is also excellent for birds of prey.

  • Where: Northern Tanzania
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, fringe-eared oryx, kori bustard, warthog, wild dog
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris

Udzungwa National Park

Udzungwa is a remnant of the rainforest that stretched along the eastern side of the Rift Valley 165 million years ago, when Madagascar broke off the mainland. The park demonstrates a high degree of endemism – many of its plants are unique, and there are several endemic primates, including hehe red colobus.

  • Where: Morogoro Region
  • Ideal for viewing: hehe red colobus monkey, rufous-winged sunbird, sanje crested mangaby, Udzungwa partridge, iringa red colobus

Zanzibar, Mafia, Pemba

Zanzibar Island is a short hop from the mainland by plane or ferry, and offers white sandy beaches combined with rich cultural heritage. Depending on the time of year, whale sharks or humpbacks can be seen migrating through its waters. Mafia and Pemba are more off the beaten track, and thus quieter.

  • Where: Coastal islands
  • Excellent for: Beach stay

View trips to these locations

Wildlife trips

Tanzania is a safari destination without equal. World class national parks offer some of Africa’s best game viewing, while Mount Kilimanjaro, Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika, and Indian Ocean coastline add to its attraction. Zanzibar, and the nearby islands too, offer dazzling white sand beaches and stunning marine life.

5 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Spirit of the North

Experience the major wildlife highlights and contrasting locations of northern Tanzania on this excellent value, classic safari. Combining the wide open plains of the Serengeti, the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire’s outstanding birdlife, this is a perfect introduction to Tanzania.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,845 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Best of the South

This is Tanzania at its wildest and an ideal choice for the discerning wildlife enthusiast seeking a pioneering Africa trip. Rugged and remote, crossed by wide rivers and inhabited by large numbers of predators including lion, leopard and cheetah, Selous and Ruaha are two of Tanzania’s best kept secrets.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Northern Tanzania: The Great Migration

Join acclaimed wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt in the Northern Serengeti during the migration. The sheer density of wildlife at this time of year provides no end of photographic opportunities, and witnessing the spectacle of the migration is one of the ‘must-see’ events of the natural world.

  • When to go: Aug-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £11,195 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Tanzania’s Wild West

This itinerary takes you to two contrasting national parks in the remote reaches of Western Tanzania: the seldom visited Katavi, with its rich plains game and predators, and Mahale, possibly the best place in Africa to see chimps in the wild. There’s also ample time to relax on the idyllic shores of Lake Tanganyika.

  • When to go: Jun-Feb
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,995 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Serengeti Migration

Witness the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and other game around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem - truly one of the world’s greatest wildlife wonders. Accompanied by wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt, daily vehicle safaris will take you close to the action.

  • When to go: Mar-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 19 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £12,175 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

When to go

Best visited during the long dry season from June to October, or the shorter one from January to February, although the wildebeest migration is best seen from February to March.


  • Dry Season

    Jun to Sep: The best time of year to travel, but peak season
  • Short rains

    Oct to Dec: A couple of months of intermittent rain freshen things up
  • Dry season

    Jan to Feb: A brief lull between the short and long rains, but hot
  • Long rains

    Mar to May: The wettest season of the year

Wildlife events

  • Jun to : Dry season starts – wildebeest and zebra head to Masai Mara
  • Aug to Oct: Best wildlife watching – whales off the coast
  • Sep to Mar: Best season for climbing Kilimanjaro
  • Nov to : Short rains break – wildebeest and zebra return to Serengeti
  • Jan to Feb: Short dry season – Serengeti wildebeest and zebra give birth

Where to stay