Every year, millions of people travel from across the globe to Tanzania to see the world famous Safari animals with their own eyes. The graceful and magnetic Elephants, the fields of Beest and the pride of Africa: the Lion.
But, what you may just be realising is that Tanzania is a huge country, the Tanzanian National Parks are often very far away from each other and you may not get to see everything you'd like to.
Let me be honest with you too, if you're not careful, you'll be spending of your time in a hot car seeing not very much of anything. What you need is local knowhow and a guide who has an intimate understanding of how to make your Safari experience perfect, and to knit together an itinerary that makes the most of the few days that you'll be on safari.
So, let me run down the very best places to visit while on Safari in Tanzania, and how to make the most of your time in the country.
A huge shout out to Nkingo Adventures who have made all of my trips to on Safari amazing. Send them a message and they will be able to put together the most amazing packages.
Ngorongoro Crater Floor
If I am to be brutally honest, seeing the animals is great and all, but once you've been driving for 6 hours in the Serengeti to see noting but grass you'll feel pretty over the whole thing. After a while, a zebra just becomes another Zebra. Even the Lions get boring.
In my mind, and what I always say to people who ask, the best thing to do is head for the Ngorongoro Crater for a day's game drive. The place is like Disneyland for animals.
The crater is the remains of a volcano which blew itself apart millions of years ago. What remains is a crater with high mountains on all sides, trapping some of the animals inside.
When you are there, it is extremely likely that you'll encounter most, if not all, of the big 5 within a day. Not to mention that it offers stunning scenery and the climate is much more comfortable for travellers from the UK. It gets pretty cold at night and a stable 25-30 degrees in the day.
Going to the crater first saves a whole bunch of time seeing nothing, and keeps all of your game driving activities close to the accommodations.
Ngorongoro Crater Viewpoint & Siedentopf Brothers Farm
When you're at the crater, you're very likely to visit the viewpoint too. But just in case your driver or accommodation forget, make sure that you visit the famous Viewpoint 1 which looks over the crater floor and almost the entire crater highlands.
The view here is spectacular and you could spend hours standing, looking over the vast dramatic landscape.
Close by too are the remains of an old German encampment - a farm to be exact. There are two sites where the remains of German farms were founded by the Siedentopf brothers - Adolph and Friedrich Wilhelm.
The stories of the brothers' lives are fascinating and a glimpse into the life and times of the crater in the early 1900's, when the German colonial powers were still in place.
The German encampment is not usually a stop on Safari tours but ask the guys at Nkingo Adventures and they will include it for you!
Ol Doinyo Lengai & Secret Waterfall
Most people who travel to Tanzania for a Safari overlook Lake Natron- yet it is one of the best places to visit while on a Tanzanian Safari. The drivers generally don't like going there because it is sandy, and there aren't many animals there. It is a waste of a trip to some.
So why would I suggest you go to Lake Natron? The Maasai, the home of their god (an active Volcano) Ol Doinyo Lengai, and a secret waterfall which is hidden in the walls of the Gregory Rift.
You may think that the most rewarding aspect of a Safari is the animals, but the humans who live in and around the national parks will surprise you. The Maasai are a fascinating nomadic tribe who have a rich history, strong culture and way of life which is still preserved today. It is possible to meet members of the tribe and learn about their way of life... the their is the home of their god: Ol Doinyo Lengai.
To some, it may just be a mountain. But it is a very interesting site of volcanic activity, cultural importance and stunning scenery.
The Serengeti National Park
Of course, you've heard of the Serengeti national park. For most westerners, it is the place where the Lion King was set, and where David Attenborough hides in bushes and narrates epic tales of the natural world.
Of all places you could go, the Serengeti is the most famous and iconic. The landscapes, the rocks, the vast wilderness all give you that 'classic safari' feeling. It makes you want to put on your adventurer's hat and cast yourself into the wilderness.
The appeal of the Serengeti is mostly to say you've been there. It is a great place to see the animals, however, the land-area is so huge that you could also be driving for hours with a view of nothing but grass and sky.
It is still one of the best places to go for Safari in Tanzania. That is for certain.