Tanzania has always been a favorite wildlife safari destination wildlife safari destination. In fact, when one thinks of going on an exotic adventure, Tanzania always makes it to the list of options. Of course, this is not surprising given its plethora of amazing safari parks amazing safari parks and unique activities. But, do you know that there are other fascinating parks beyond the usual tourist routes like the world-famous Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Selous Game Reserve? If you’re up for an adventure, consider exploring the unspoiled Tanzania wildlife parks here…
6 Magnificent Tanzania Wildlife Parks
#1: Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park is the largest park in Tanzania as well as in East Africa. It is located in the quieter region of Tanzania, the southern safari circuit; and is one of the most remote and off-the-beaten-path parks in the country. The park hosts 10% of the world’s lion population and also one of the largest elephant populations anywhere. Plus, it also a habitat for endangered wild dogs and a predator’s paradise. It is also one of the only national parks in the country where both the greater and lesser kudu co-exist. Not to mention the incredible landscape, named after the great Ruaha River which cuts through the heart of the park.
How to get there: The best way to get to Ruaha is to fly into Dar es Salaam Airport (DAR) and then from there, catch a chartered flight to one of Ruaha’s airstrips. Another option is to drive from Dar via Iringa. This trip may take longer but you can really feel the off-the-beaten vibe and enjoy pristine landscapes on the way.
Best time to visit: Ruaha rarely experiences visitors crowds at any time but experts advise that the best months to visit are between June and October.
#2: Mahale Mountains National Park
Not everyone knows this but Tanzania also has national parks that offer primate safaris. Being overshadowed by the spectacular parks with lions, cheetahs, wildebeests, etc. in the country, Tanzania wildlife parks remain unspoiled and untouched. Mahale Mountains National Park is a top primate safari park in Tanzania, located on the remote western safari circuit. It offers a lush forest scenery with a gorgeous backdrop of Lake Tanganyika. It is one of the best places in the world for up-close encounters with chimpanzees, mankind’s nearest living genetic kin.
How to get there: Mahale is not the easiest or cheapest place to get to. You can start from Arusha, Dar or Zanzibar and then fly to Mahale via Zantas Air which offers flights twice weekly (Mondays and Thursdays). These flights sometimes also stop in Kigoma.
Best time to visit: July to October when chimpanzee trekking is easier
#3: Saadani National Park
Featuring wildlife inhabiting grasslands, mangrove swamps, and a palm-fringed lined beach, Saadani National Park is the only wildlife park with a beachfront along the captivating Indian Ocean. The park sits almost directly across Zanzibar’s Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features great ancient architecture, interesting flea markets, quirky shops, and charming cafes. What makes this park even more enjoyable is the fact that it is normal to often see dolphins and whales passing by the Zanzibar channel. Plus, safari activities here can go from the usual game driving to the more unique walking and boating safaris!
How to get there: There are scheduled flights connecting Saadani to Dar and Zanzibar so if you start from either of the two, traveling is going to be a breeze. If you want to take the road, there’s a daily bus between Saadani and Dar es Salaam’s Mbezi transport stand (west of Ubungo along the Morogoro road). The bus departs Dar between 11 am and 1 pm, and departs Saadani between 4:30 am and 5 am. Travel can take around five to six hours.
Best time to visit: January to February and June to August
#4: Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is one of the listed famous Tanzania wildlife parks. However, albeit its location which is on the more famous side of Tanzania (northern safari circuit), the park is still “out of the way”. Because of this, many tourists overlook Tarangire. Too bad for them because Tarangire National Park is a gem in the Northern Safari Circuit. It has an unbelievably breathtaking forested landscape peppered with baobab and acacia trees. This, obviously, remains to be majorly untouched by mass tourism. The park’s most famous attraction is the migrating herds of elephants that come during the dry season (June to October). Elephant mud baths are also a common sighting in the park, one that’s frequently photographed by many tourists.
How to get there: The best option to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which is only 46 kilometers from Arusha. From Arusha, Tarangire is a comfortable two-hour drive, of which only the last 7 kilometers is not tarred. There are also regular flights from Arusha and the Serengeti to Tarangire.
Best time to visit: late June to October
Suggested Tour: 7 Days Astonishing Tanzania Safari
#5: Gombe Stream National Park
With an area of only 56 square kilometers, Gombe National Park is the smallest of all Tanzania wildlife parks. Albeit its small size, however, its attractions pack a bunch. In fact, its famous primate inhabitants plus its connection to Jane Goodall make it world-famous. The park hosts more than 100 habituated chimpanzees and it also highlights an exciting chimpanzee tracking expedition that not only guarantees an unforgettable, fulfilling trek but also a very scenic one. There is even a chimp-feeding station, too!
Aside from the playful chimpanzees, common animal sightings include bushbuck, bush pig, vervet monkey, olive baboon, blue monkey, red colobus monkey, white-tailed monkey, and leopard. And, if you want a more relaxing trip, you can take walks along the lakeshore.
How to get there: Gombe is a very remote park. It is near the Mahale Mountains, which means getting there is not the easiest nor the cheapest. The only way to reach Gombe is to ride a boat from Kigoma. The boat ride duration will usually not take more than an hour.
Best time to visit: July to October
#6: Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park is the oldest and one of the largest Tanzania wildlife parks covering an area of 3,230 square kilometers. The park is mostly made of open plains that display an idyllic African bush, especially the seemingly endless Mkata Floodplain (the park’s main attraction) which resembles the Serengeti. The park is also part of the Selous ecosystem and it lies adjacent to the gorgeous Udzungwa Mountains. Aside from a spectacularly picture-perfect scenery, the park is famous for its large herds of game animals including an incredible population of buffalos and elephants. Other wild animals you can encounter include giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, hippos, waterbucks, hyenas, impalas, baboons, lions and many more. What makes Mikumi a must-visit attraction in Tanzania is that despite its sheer beauty, faunal wealth and ease of access, it is still highly untouched by mass tourism making its landscapes greatly unspoiled and its safaris more authentic and exclusive.
How to get there: You can easily reach Mikumi via air or road. The park is about a four-hour drive away from Dar es Salaam and five hours away from Ruaha National Park. For air travel, you can catch a flight with Safari Air Link which offers a daily connection to Ruaha, Selous and Dar es Salaam.
Best time to visit: June to October
Discovering untouched wilderness paradise…
It has been said that life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Yes, any Tanzania safari is an adventure by itself. But, wouldn’t you want to explore further beyond what every tourist may have seen? Experience an even more authentic and raw adventure in an even more real African scenery – rugged and remote but spectacularly rich in wildlife? That’s what you get in these unspoiled Tanzania wildlife parks. Besides, unpopular paths and unexpected adventures make for a better story, don’t you think?