Tanzania, home to several top-of-the-class national parks and 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, has always been a favorite wildlife safari destination. Thanks to its sheer concentration of wildlife, phenomenal views and easy to reach international airports, many safari-goers from all over the world are able to tick it off their list of travel goals. As there are plenty of guides to Tanzania for travelers from countries like US and UK, Scandinavian travelers may not easily find guides that are directly for them. This is a special Tanzania Safari Guide for Scandinavian Travelers, tackling everything you need to know about your Tanzanian adventure.
Tanzania Safari Guide Key Facts
- Area: 945,087 sq. km (364,900 sq. mi)
- Capital: Dodoma
- Government: Federal Republic
- Safari Capital: Arusha
- National sport: Football
- National dish: Ugali
- Currency: Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
- Voltage: 230V 50Hz AC
- Timezone: EAT (UTC+3)
- Calling code: +255
- Driving: Left
- The country is made up of 130 tribes, each is culturally distinguished by their batiks, unique masks, hand-woven baskets, etc.
- Dar es Salaam is the largest city in the country and the largest Swahili-speaking city in the world.
- The earliest human skull in the world was discovered in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.
- At least 25 to 30 percent of its land is dedicated to wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. It’s among the highest in the world, and the total area is greater than the size of Germany.
- Tanzania has the largest concentration of animals per square kilometer in the world.
- Tanzania is home to the only tree-climbing lions in the world.
- The major attraction in Tanzania is Serengeti’s wildebeest migration which is named one of the world’s 7 Natural Wonders.
- Serengeti National Park has once again been named the best safari park for 2018 by SafariBookings.
- Tanzania’s picture-perfect Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and the world’s tallest free-standing mountain. It is considered a world in itself as it has five different climatic zones. The entire USA has a total of 7 climatic zones.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Stone Town, Kilwa Kisiwani, Selous Game Reserve, Kilimanjaro National Park, Songo Mnara
Weather & Climate
Generally, Tanzania has a pleasant, tropical climate but due to factors like altitude, there are large regional climatic variations. Northwestern highlands are cool and temperate while the central plateau remains dry and arid throughout the year. The hottest and most humid part of the country is on the coast.
In Tanzania, there are only two seasons: dry and wet. Dry seasons are the end of June to mid-October and January to mid-March. The wet season is classified into two: “long rains”, the wettest season, which happens around the end of March and ends on the onset of June; and “short rains” which is on late October to December.
During wet seasons, the vegetation becomes lush and so wildlife enthusiasts always recommend visiting during dry season where vegetation is scarce and wildlife viewing is at its prime. Also, June to October is the best time to see the magnanimous river crossings of the Great Migration; while January to March is the best to see the incredible wildebeest calving season.
Tanzania Safari Guide to Top-rated Parks
A Tanzania safari guide won’t be complete without featuring the routes to Tanzania’s top-rated parks. To better understand the usual tourist routes in Tanzania, the country is divided into regional circuits that host a number of parks/attractions. The main safari circuits are southern and northern, with the latter being the more tourist-flooded.
Northern Safari Circuit
The more touristy route, holding safari parks that are more or less close to each other compared to the parks in other regions.
- Serengeti National Park
- Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Lake Manyara National Park
- Tarangire National Park
- Kilimanjaro National Park
Southern Safari Circuit
More remote safari parks with landscapes that are unspoiled by mass tourism.
- Selous Game Reserve
- Ruaha National Park
- Mikumi National Park
- Saadani National Park
Western Safari Circuit
The less popular route that offers unique opportunities to visit chimpanzees in their natural habitat on the fringes of one of Africa’s greatest lakes, Lake Tanganyika.
- Mahale Mountains National Park
- Katavi National Park
Beyond its fascinating safari scene is a sublime coastline that stretches at 804 kilometers of fine white sand and turquoise blue waters.
- Zanzibar beaches
- Pemba Island
- Mafia Island
- Stone Town
Tanzania Safari Guide to Getting to Tanzania
Tanzania has a wealth of airports including domestic hubs and airstrips in parks and game reserves. The main international hubs listed in our Tanzania safari guide are:
- Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam. This is the main gateway for tourists planning to visit the southern safari circuit or begin their trip with a visit to the coastal region.
- Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha. This airport is the closest hub to the popular northern safari circuit. It also offers several flights to and from DAR, ZNZ and even Nairobi in Kenya.
From Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, several flights to Tanzania are available via several major airlines. One-stop, two-stop and multiple-stop flights are available whether you’re going to Dar or to Arusha. Other convenient options would be catching a flight that starts in the UK in which Heathrow airport offers several flights daily, Amsterdam, France, Brussels, and Istanbul. Naturally, flights costs will vary depending on factors such as dates of travel and even how early you book your trip.
|Airport||Airport Code||Average roundtrip cost||TO DAR||TO JRO|
|Airlines that offer one-stop flights||Other Airlines offering multiple stop lights||Airlines that offer one-stop flights||Other Airlines offering multiple stop lights|
|Stockholm Arlanda Airport||ARN||$1,200||Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines||KLM, SWISS, Etihad, Kenya Airways, Scandinavian Airline||Ethiopian, KLM, Qatar Airways||Lufthansa, Etihad, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Turkish Airways, Vueling|
|Oslo Airport Gardermoen||OSL||$1,450||Turkish Airlines||British Airways, KLM, Norwegian, Ethiopian, SWISS, Vueling, Kenya Airways, Scandinavian Airline||KLM, Qatar Airways||British Airways, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways, Norwegian, Scandinavian Airlines|
|Kloten Airport Zurich||ZRH||$1,120||SWISS, Qatar Airways, Emirates||Ethiopian Air, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways||Qatar Airways, Emirates||Ethiopian, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways, Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa|
|Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup||CPH||$1,100||Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines||Etihad, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Air, Lufthansa||KLM, Qatar Airways||Lufthansa, Ethiopian Air, Turkish Airlines|
Tanzania Safari Guide to Getting around Tanzania
The most common mode of transportation in most parts of Tanzania is by bus. Minibusses called “dalla-dalla” are usually packed as these are the preferred rides of most locals. There is also a train, although service is quite limited.
If you plan to self-drive around Tanzania especially on a safari, it is not encouraged as a lot of roads are not well-paved and signs are not present in many areas. Some roads may also be impassable and thus, expert drivers are needed. Some parks in the country also do not allow self-driving.
Domestic flights link Dar es Salaam with Kilimanjaro and a number of other airports. There are also small airlines such as SafariLink that serve game parks, small towns and the coastal area in Zanzibar. For travelers who wish to travel by boat, ferries are available in larger lakes and offer water transportation to and from Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar and Pemba.
Requirements for Entry
If you’re a Scandinavian foreigner who’s seeking entry to the United Republic of Tanzania, this Tanzania safari guide will give you the information you need about the following entry requirements:
- Passport which is valid for not less than six months issued by a State or an International Organization recognized by the Government of Tanzania. The passport must have at least two blank pages upon arrival.
- A valid Visa which is obtained at any Tanzania Mission abroad or upon arrival at any designated entry points in Tanzania. The entry points are as follows:
- Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) in Dar es Salaam
- Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha
- Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (ZNZ) in Zanzibar
- Namanga Entry Point (Tanzania-Kenya border point to the north)
- Tunduma (Tanzania-Malawi border point to the south)
- Taveta and Holili (Tanzania-Kenya border point to the northeast)
The Visa types available for tourists are:
- Ordinary Visa: Single-entry visa that is valid for three (3) months only. Visa fee: $50
- Multiple-Entry Visa: Visa issued for visitors who wish to visit frequently for leisure and holiday purposes. This may be issued for a period of 3, 6 or 12 months wherein the visa holder may be allowed to enter and re-enter the country provided that a single stay of the holder must not exceed 3 months. Visa fee: $100
- Transit Visa: Short-time visas granted to travelers who will visit Tanzania for only a short time. Validity for this type of visa is 14 days. A traveler must have onward tickets to another country, sufficient funds for subsistence and proof that he/she can be allowed entry to the next country. Visa fee: $30
For more information, visit: Tanzania Airports Authority
Tanzania Safari Guide to the Top Tanzania Safaris
To give you a taste of what you can expect in your next safari adventure, this Tanzania safari guide will give you a sneak peak of the top things you can see and experience in Tanzania:
Witness the jaw-dropping, epic annual struggle for survival deemed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and the “World Cup of Wildlife.”
Experience an authentic African lifestyle, witness incredible wildlife and behold magnificent sights across Tanzania.
Cap your African adventure by spending it in one of the world’s most beautiful beaches!
Bring your adventure to greater heights and witness the beauty of Tanzania from up high.
What to expect in Tanzania
There is a huge contrast between Tanzania’s infrastructure, food, culture, etc. as opposed to Scandinavia — many of Tanzania’s roads are unpaved, its cities aren’t as advanced as Scandinavia’s, phone and internet coverage are minimal, and food options may differ — but this is what makes Tanzania an interesting place to discover. It shows you a different side of the world. Our Tanzania safari guide will give you an idea of what you can expect in your travel to Tanzania and things you would most definitely love!
Diverse landscapes and incredible wildlife
Scandinavian countries are always known for its mind-blowing sceneries and charming towns. Tanzania also offers surreal stretches of diverse landscapes that host some of the most incredible wild animal population in the world. If Denmark has the Little Mermaid, Tanzania has the Lion King. You can really imagine the vastness of the wilderness, just like that of the classic Lion King’s setting.
When it comes to wildlife in their natural habitat, Tanzania will not disappoint. You can even get close encounters with them during your game drives! Simply put, Tanzania is really perfect for the adventurous, although many fun activities are also enjoyable for families, couples, and groups.
Compared to the weather in Scandinavia which is generally cold, the weather in Tanzania is tropical all year-round! Especially in December when the southern tip of Denmark experiences pretty much no sunlight, Tanzania’s southern Serengeti plains are blessed with so much sunshine and best of all, it is the inception of the wildebeest calving season in which about 8,000 baby wildebeests are born each day.
A typical safari package could cost between 100 USD to 1000 USD per person per day, depending on the level of luxury you’re aiming to get. This package usually includes accommodation, food, daily transportation, and guide/driver. Note that all foreigners are charged differently as opposed to local prices but don’t worry because this applies to all foreign citizens and rates do not go any higher if you’re from a first world country.
Safety and Service
Although Tanzania is known as an ultimate African adventure destination, the country is completely safe. When it comes to service, the standards may sometimes test your patience as efficiency takes on a different meaning but anyway, just bring a camera and an open mind. Remember, this is Africa. Yes, luxury safaris are also available and yes, luxury tours might be more at par to the standards you’re used to (African style, of course) but for those who really want to experience a raw sense of adventure in the wild, a five-star resort service in the first world cannot be expected.
In the cities like Dar es Salaam and Arusha, you can find plenty of options to satiate your gastronomic fix. When you’re on a safari, food quality may vary. For example, because you’re most likely to spend your lunchtime in the midst of the wild, your lunch will be a packed meal usually consisting of fried chicken or white bread sandwich. This might make you frown a bit but remember that they don’t have an easy access to healthier alternatives. In luxury lodges, though, well-trained chefs are there to prepare international and African cuisines. Breakfast and dinner are usually served buffet style with both international and local dishes as well.
What’s unique in Tanzania is that you will have a lot of opportunities to get in touch with nature and dine right at the heart of the wild. You will either use picnic tables, picnic mats or even your safari vehicle.
In Scandinavia, you can find a plethora of wooden cabins and cottages, pastel-colored houses, white igloo-like abodes, and many more. In Tanzania, you will see a totally different type of sanctuaries. There are budget camps, hotel-style lodges, and of course the iconic tented camps which are often located in an exclusive area among the animals in the wild.
Thanks to Tanzania’s wealth of exciting activities, there will absolutely be something in store for every type of traveler whether you’re coming in for a solo expedition, a family retreat, a romantic honeymoon or a group holiday. Of course, there are things that you have to consider especially if you’re bringing kids: your flights, your accommodation, your preferred activities. Always communicate with your tour operator about this because some camps/lodges have age restrictions.
Choosing a tour operator
It is important to book with an operator who’s familiar with their target market so they can meet halfway especially in terms of expectations and budget. To ensure peace of mind, it would be better if you could personally discuss things with your operator instead of just relying on e-mails and phone calls. Luckily, you can get in touch with us at Napanda, the best Tanzania safari guide, while you’re still in Scandinavia!
Steven Edwin Näslund
Managing Director, Scandinavia Stockholm, Sweden
Mobile: +46 76-224 78 26