The first decision couples need to make is where in Tanzania they will travel to – a decision that is often made much easier by the time of year that you are looking to travel. If you want to travel between December and June then the Northern Circuit is likely to be the destination you choose. The primary reason is that the South and the West are not in their peak seasons for game viewing at this time of year, whereas the Northern Circuit is superb.
If you are looking at traveling between July and November then you have the whole country to choose from….so your destination choice becomes much more tailored to the style of safari you want to experience.
When you have the full choice of options available, choosing where to go in Tanzania may seem rather confusing. The first thing to say is that if you have the Serengeti and Ngorongoro in your mind as your destination of choice then don’t be persuaded otherwise –you will not regret going there! However, if you are open to simply ‘experiencing Africa’ then you must also look into the lesser-known parks – they offer a different but equally rewarding style of safari.
Northern Tanzania is the more commercial safari destination. The downside to this is that you simply cannot avoid crowds at either Lake Manyara or the Ngorongoro. However the quality of safari here is undeniably superb, and if game viewing in prolific big game areas is your priority then this area should definitely be considered.
Southern Tanzania offers a more laid-back style of safari away from the crowds and in peak season months the game viewing is truly superb. The area also has a much wider diversity of safari activities with Nyerere (formerly Selous) being the best walking safari destination in the country as well as the only place in Tanzania to offer boating safari. It is rare to see other vehicles from many of the camps here – something that cannot be said about the north.
Western Tanzania is a destination for serious safari enthusiasts. Mahale is a possible exception to this rule – a magnificent park where the chimpanzee trips are for any client. However nearby Katavi really is the park for the connoisseur; this park has only a handful of rustic, no-frills safari camps. It is also worth mentioning that Western Tanzania is a ferociously expensive area to travel to.