If you're looking for a Tanzania safari experience that is away from the crowds and offers a more exclusive wildlife viewing experience, the classic Tanzania northern circuit including Central Serengeti, Ngorongoro crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park may not be the best option for you.
During peak season, the northern circuit can be very busy, and it's not uncommon to find a large number of visitors in safari vehicles in the parks and reserves. This can make it difficult to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the region and can also limit the opportunities for wildlife sightings.
Furthermore, many of the accommodations on the northern circuit are designed to cater to large groups of tourists, which can detract from the overall experience. It’s inevitable that cars radio each other when they get sightings of cats which is, of course, exciting but not as exhilarating as finding them alone with your guide. So, if you're looking for a more intimate and exclusive safari experience, you may want to consider other options.
Alternative Tanzania Safari Options
Fortunately, there are plenty of other safari options in Tanzania that offer a more exclusive and intimate experience. Some of the more remote places in the parks and reserves, such as Western Serengeti, Selous Game Reserve (now Nyerere National Park) or Saadani National Park, offer a more authentic and immersive wildlife experience, away from the crowds.
In these areas, you can expect to encounter fewer tourists and more opportunities for authentic wildlife sightings. Additionally, the accommodations in these areas are often more exclusive, with smaller, more intimate lodges and camps that provide a more personalised experience.
Western Serengeti is a great alternative safari destination in Tanzania. Located in the western part of the Serengeti National Park up to the edge of Lake Victoria, this area offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path safari experience away from the crowds.
One of the main attractions of Western Serengeti is the Grumeti River, which is home to large numbers of crocodiles and hippos. The river also provides a prime location for wildebeest migration crossings, which is a truly unforgettable experience to witness.
It is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including lion, leopard, elephant, and hyena, as well as many different bird species. The landscape of this area is characterized by rolling hills, savannah grasslands, and scattered acacia trees, providing a unique and picturesque backdrop for your safari adventure.
In addition to game drives, Western Serengeti also offers bike safaris in Kijereshi Game Reserve, guided walks, cultural tours to nearby fisherman village Mwaburugu on Lake Victoria, providing a glimpse into the traditional way of life, and different perspective on the landscape and wildlife.
Saadani National Park
Saadani National Park is a unique safari destination in Tanzania that offers both a wildlife experience on land and a marine park experience on the coast. One of the highlights of the marine park is the green turtle hatching beach.
Saadani is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania that is located on the Indian Ocean coast, making it a great destination for those who want to combine a safari experience with a beach vacation. The park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including elephant, lion, buffalo, giraffe, and several different antelope species.
One of the unique features of Saadani National Park is its green turtle breeding beach. The beach is a nesting site for green turtles, and visitors can witness the incredible spectacle of the tiny hatchlings emerging from their nests and making their way to the ocean. The best time to witness this is from June to September.
In addition to the green turtle breeding beach, Saadani Marine Park offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving, providing a chance to explore the colorful coral reefs and diverse marine life, including dolphins, humpback whales, and whale sharks.
Overall, Saadani National Park and Marine Park is a unique and unforgettable safari destination in Tanzania. With its diverse wildlife, stunning landscapes, and exciting marine activities, it is sure to be an unforgettable addition to your Tanzania safari itinerary.
Nyerere National Park
Nyerere National Park, formerly Selous Game Reserve, is another alternative. Located in the southern part of Tanzania, the park is the largest protected area in Tanzania and one of the largest in Africa.
Nyerere National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including wild dogs, elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and giraffe, as well as more than 400 different bird species. The park is characterised by vast open plains, swamps, and riverine forests, providing a unique and varied landscape for your safari adventure.
One of the unique features of Nyerere National Park is the opportunity to go on walking safaris, allowing you to explore the park on foot and get up close and personal with the wildlife. The park also offers boat safaris on the Lake Tagalala, providing an opportunity to spot hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of bird species close up.
In addition to wildlife viewing, Nyerere National Park also offers cultural tours to a nearby Maasai village, led by long-standing Maasai friend Saita, providing a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the local people.
While the classic Tanzania northern circuit is undoubtedly a popular choice for many travellers with famous names like Ngorongoro Crater, it’s a shared experience and may not be the best option if you're looking for an exclusive and unforgettable safari experience away from the crowds. By exploring alternative safari options and seeking out more remote parks and reserves, you can enjoy a more authentic and personalised wildlife experience in Tanzania.
Tanzania is a diverse and beautiful country, with a wide range of national parks and reserves to explore. While the Tarangire, Manyara, Ngorongoro and central Serengeti is a popular choice for many, there are plenty of other safari destinations in Tanzania that offer a unique and unforgettable wildlife experience.