Trip: October 2016
Below is our Top 5 Things To Do on Safari in Tanzania, which included visits to Lake Manyara and Serengeti National Parks and Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, part of the Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series. These lists are favorite activities, eats, and drinks from our travels around the world.
*We went on a 5 day, 4 night safari with Bobby Tours, one of many tour companies based in Arusha, Tanzania. We would certainly recommend them for budget camping safaris. We’ve also sent many of our friends and family with Lomo Tanzania Safari, run by an experienced Tanzanian guide named Erasto. We highly recommend him if you’re doing anything other than camping, as he doesn’t offer these trips (tell him we sent you!).
1. Enjoy the journey
There are a lot of ways to get worked up on a safari, especially given the one or several thousand dollars it costs to go. There’s the Big 5, a lion kill, and any number of other things people put on their “must see” list. It’s understandable; many fly halfway around the world and want badly to see it all. But there are no guarantees. And we actually found that the open space and long periods between animal sightings were incredibly peaceful and some of our favorite moments on safari.
2. Ngorongoro Crater
Our strongest recommendation to go on safari at all came from a couple who visited all the Tanzanian national parks while they lived here several years ago. They singled out Ngorongoro Crater, calling it “a spiritual experience”. It certainly was—among the most magical places we’ve ever seen. Most safaris that include the crater are slightly more expensive because entrance fees are quite high, but the sunrise drive down into the crater and the cool breeze of morning on the crater surface left us speechless.
If you’re on a budget and enjoy car camping, a camping safari is the way to go. They are cheaper by $500 or more per person and the actual game drive safari experience is the same. Win win.
4. Download a lot of podcasts
The reality is that you’re driving around in a jeep a lot, sometimes between parks or in and out of them, often with nothing in particular to see. And while reading on a bumpy road isn’t always enjoyable or possible, podcasts are a nice alternative solution. If you bring a couple pairs of headphones and a splitter you can share the time with someone else too.
5. White Wine
Cooling drinks at night on a camping safari isn’t always possible, but when it is, white wine is the perfect refreshment after a long day of game driving. South African wines are plentiful in Tanzania so ask your guide to stop at the grocery before leaving town. For those nights when there is no power or ice around, bring some red wine as backup. It works just about as well.
Bring a plug adapter, portable battery pack charger, quick dry towel, travel yoga mats (if so inclined), and mosquito repellant. Also consider taking along some quick-dry clothes you can wash in the sink at night; it can get very dusty. Our guide thankfully had a pair of binoculars for us to use. One of the enduring surprises of our travel experience continues to be the time spent with other travelers along the way, so be open to group trips. We ate dinner with a lovely Dutch couple (with their 9 month in tow!) every night of our trip and thoroughly enjoyed sharing the experience with them.
Top 5 Things To Do on Safari in Tanzania is part of Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series, which offers our best travel recommendations from around the world.