Can you do a self-drive safari in Tanzania?
A number of people have a dream of flying to the African continent for a self-drive exercise but end-up unfulfilling their dreams due to fear and doubt about the safest and suitable country for the memorable experience. Among the 56 countries on the continent, there is a United Republic of Tanzania which should be one of the destinations to opt for during your safari planning. Situated in the Eastern sub region of Africa within the African Great lakes region, the Republic of Tanzania is among the best places to explore during your African self-drive trip. Stretching on an area of approximately 947,303 square kilometers, the country stands as the 30th world’s largest country by area. Driving yourself at your own pace is one of the amazing experiences during a Kenya safari
Bordered by Uganda to the north, Kenya to the northeast, Comoro Islands the Indian Ocean to the east, Mozambique and Malawi to the south, Zambia to the southwest and then Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo to the west, Tanzania is a home to various attractions in different destinations which can be explored comfortably during your self-drive exercise. Among these attractions include the cultural and historical sites, game reserves, national parks, cities, lakes and rivers, and the Africa’s free standing mountain – Kilimanjaro, and many others. Planning to travel to the Republic of Tanzania for a self-drive experience is a very possible activity and below are the important things to note that will be the main key to your enjoyment and adventure.
Best time to visit Tanzania for a self-drive safari
Tanzania safari destinations can be visited all year round though always at their best from July to October. This is because the climate is always mild, and the surface dry which provides an excellent game viewing experience. The rainy season in the country starts between April and May and then between November and December. During your self-drive, you are advised to avoid moving during night hours in order to prevent harmful encounters from different people.
Best vehicle to hire for a Tanzania self-drive experience
There are various vehicles that can be used during a safari in Tanzania but the best cars to tame the terrains and surfaces of the country are the customized 4×4 vehicles. Among these vehicles include the safari tour vans, land cruisers, safari microbus, and others. These vehicles are strong enough to navigate the country safari destinations like national parks, game reserves and many others. Also, the cars feature a pop up rooftop which provides a clear game viewing exercise during game drives in national park tracks.
How safe is Tanzania for a self-drive experience
The Republic of Tanzania is safe to visit for a both a guided and self-drive safari and the visitors are perfectly catered for. The country has a number of tour companies that will design for you a perfect tour package to follow during your travel and will definitely take you to only safe destinations. The tour operators will also make sure that your belongings are safe and this will happen when you follow the safety precautions raised to you during the tour briefing activity.
Destinations to visit during your self-drive exercise in the beautiful Tanzania
With a size of 947,303 square kilometers, Tanzania encompasses several attractions including national reserves, safari parks, mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches, beautiful islands and many others. Among these attractions in details include;
Dar es Salaam
Although isn’t the capital city of the country, Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania. The city is also the busiest port ad commercial hub of the country. Dar es Salaam comprises of different attractions including beautiful beaches, national museum, restaurants, botanical gardens, markets, Mbudya Island, the former state house and many others. While in the city during your self-drive exercise, access beautiful beaches and islands of Zanzibar since it is along the shores of Indian Ocean.
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti national park is among Tanzania’s most popular attractions comprising of savanna grasslands, acacia trees, small forests and woodlands. The park provides a great encounter of wildlife species since it hosts the great migration of wildlife. The migration involves the flock of over 1 million wildebeests and thousands of zebras as they move towards the Mara river so as they can cross to Kenya. During the cross over to Kenya, the animals undergo various challenges like the infested crocodiles and lions that make a number of them lose their lives. Other wildlife to spot during the safari include the elephants, cheetahs, buffalos, hyenas, impalas, wild dogs, elands, gazelles, lions, ostriches and many others. The wildlife can be encountered during different park experiences including game drives, nature walks, hot air balloon experiences and others.
Situated within Ngorongoro conservation area, Olduvai Gorge is where the oldest fossils of the earliest humans were found thus referring it to as a cradle of mankind. The first fossil was discovered by a German professor who was looking for butterflies in 1911 in the area but later, the Leakey family unearthed the bones and skulls which are believed to be about 2 million years old after advanced explorations. The tools and bones discovered in the area evidence that the oldest humans lived in Olduvai Gorge.
Ruaha National Park
Stretching over an area of 13,000 square kilometers, Ruaha national park is the largest national park in Tanzania. The park encompasses various game reserves including Usangu Game reserve, Rungwa Game reserve and other smaller reserves. It derived its name from River Ruaha which is an important water system in the area since it supports the lives of various species like animals and plants. Ruaha national park provides an encounter of a large prides of lions, wild dogs and elephants. Other games in the park include jackals, zebras, leopards, giraffes, bat eared foxes and many others.
Tarangire national park
Deriving its name from the river of Tarangire that crosses through it, the national park is among the country destinations suitable for a self-drive safari. The river provides an excellent view of the games in the park that surround it so as to quench their thirst. With an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers, the park encompasses various features including the old baobab trees and numerous termite mounds. Tarangire national park boasts one of the largest populations of African elephants in Africa and also hosts the rare tree climbing lions. Also, the park is one of the birder’s havens in Tanzania hosting over 600 species of birds including the migratory and resident species.
The Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley of East Africa passes through the Republic of Tanzania leaving it with adventurous and amazing features like rivers, lakes, volcanoes, and hot springs. Among the lakes in Tanzania that are part of the Great Rift Valley include Lake Natron, Lake Manyara, Lake Eyasi, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria and Lake Makati. All these lakes provide splendid views of various wildlife species and water birds.
For cultural and religious tour lovers, Tanzania has got a lot to offer with various ancient mosques and churches. Among the religious places to visit include the Anglican Cathedral in Zanzibar which was constructed in 1887 to commemorate the end of slave trade along the coast. Another amazing place one shouldn’t miss out is St Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral also in Zanzibar which was constructed in the last decade of the 19th Century. Other religious establishing that are good for a tour include the mosques like Darkhana Jama’at-Khana mosque, Memon Mosque and Ibaddhi mosque. The country also comprises of impressive Hindu temples that are situated along the Kitsu Street.
Selous Game reserve
Lying in the southern part of the country, Selous Game Reserve is another attraction in Tanzania occupying an area of approximately 54,600 square kilometers. The reserve was named after Sir Fredrick Selous who was a great game hunter and later turned into a conservationist. He was killed while fighting against the Germans in the first Great War. Selous national reserve is a home to a number of games such as buffalos, hippos, elands, greater kudu, hartebeest, spotted hyena, warthog, waterbuck, zebras, elephants and many others. Besides the animals, other attractions in the reserve include over 350 species of birds, lakes, rivers and the volcanic springs.
Often referred to as the roof of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest free mountain on the African continent standing at a height of 19,331 feet above the sea level. The mountain was formed by earth movement million years ago in the north eastern part of the country. The highest peak of the mountain is called Uhuru peak and for one to reach its summit, he or she can use the following routes – Rongai, Shirea, Machame, Lemosho, and Marangu. Every route to the summit of the mountain provides a different experience and challenge due to the fact that each starts from a different part of the park.
Mahale Mountains National park
Situated close to the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Mahale mountains national park is mostly known for hosting thousands of chimpanzees. The main experience in the park is chimpanzee tracking which involves hiking through the rainforests of the park in search of the endangered chimps. During the trek, get a chance to spot other primates like the yellow baboons, and the red colobus monkey. Other experiences in the park include photography, bird watching, and research and guided nature walks.
Lake Manyara National Park
Close to Arusha city, Lake Manyara national park is another safari destination in Tanzania. The park was named after Lake Manyara which is also the main feature in it. Lake Manyara is an alkaline lake which attracts a number of bird species including the flamingos which visit during the rainy season. Aside the birds spot a variety of games in the park including the hippos, elephants, wildebeest, giraffes, and the tree climbing lions of Lake Manyara. Lions can be spotted on the top of the acacia trees as they are resting and looking for sheds. The rare tree climbing lions can also be seen in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
With all the above destinations, the United Republic of Tanzania is surely among the best countries to opt for while planning your self-drive experience on the African continent.