I spent 5 days on a Tanzanian safari and saw wild lions, elephants, and rhinos - but it made me realize there are 2 factors that can make or break your trip
- Located in East Africa, Tanzania is home to some of the greatest conservation areas and parks in the world, including the Serengeti, an area spanning 12,000 miles of grasslands, forests, swamps, and woodlands teeming with wildlife.
- On a recent five-day safari in Tanzania, I visited the Serengeti, Ngorongoro, a 3,202-square mile volcanic crater filled with wildlife, and Tarangire, a national park typically filled with thousands of migrating elephants.
- In five days, I witnessed the Great Migration - 1.5 million wildebeest traveling across Tanzania's grasslands to give birth - as well as countless lions, elephants, and giraffes.
- What the trip drove home for me was how important doing your research on the guide and the company is: A safari is only as good as its guides.
"Safaris are different in every country. But there is no safari like a safari in Tanzania."
That's what my guide, Charles Nnko, told me, after I touched down in Arusha, Tanzania last month. We were in a Franken-Land Rover, rumbling down a highway that inadvertently turns into a windy dirt road every few miles.
Nnko is a guide for Tanzania Experience, a company that organizes safaris, camping trips, mountaineering expeditions and beach holidays throughout Tanzania. Located in East Africa, Tanzania is home to one of the greatest conservation efforts on Earth. A full 28% of the country lies in sixteen protected national parks, as well as game and forest reserves, and other protected areas. Not even that is enough land to fully protect or accommodate the migration patterns of its unique mass of wildlife, from lions and leopards to cheetahs, zebra, wildebeest, and everything in between.
Those parks include Ngorongoro, a 3,202-square mile volcanic crater filled with wildlife; Tarangire, a national park typically filled with thousands of migrating elephants; and the Serengeti, where 1.5 million wildebeest migrate annually along a nearly 2,000-mile cycle in search of new grass, fresh water, and a place to birth their calves.
Nnko and Tanzania Experience had arranged for me to see a greatest-hits collection of a Tanzanian safari, including all three of the aforementioned parks. By the end of it, I was convinced it was the greatest experience I had had in a year of travel.Here's what it was like.