Planning a Luxury Safari to Tanzania
Luxury Safari to Tanzania
Luxury safari sounds like an oxymoron.
- Aren’t African safaris supposed to be rustic affairs?
- Shouldn’t you be in a sleeping bag with lions roaring in the background?
- Aren’t you supposed to drive in a rugged SUV through streams and uneven terrain?
- Won’t the menu just feature chewy gamy-tasting meat?
Far from it.
Of course, such hardcore safaris are available, but nowadays you can glamp in such an ostentatious way that would make Teddy Roosevelt and Ernest Hemingway envious.
Why do a luxury safari?
For many people, a safari is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and for good reason. First, there’s the travel involved. You’ll get slammed with jetlag, expensive flights, and a time-consuming drive to the national park.
Second, even the cheapest safaris can break the bank. Dirt cheap operators cost $100 per day—and you’ll get little for that.
You’ll get crammed in a bus, where your view is limited. You’ll camp on the floor and in a sleeping bag. Food and expensive park fees are all extra.
How much does a luxury safari cost?
Luxury safaris start at $500 per day per person. This will include everything from the airport pickup, luxury accommodations, park fees, three tasty meals per day, a private 4×4 Land Cruiser with a pop-up roof, a naturalist, and a driver.
Like anything, it’s easy to spend much more, especially on lodging. For example, you can stay at fancy camps for over $1,000 per person, per night. Most luxury tour operators will happily customize your trip according to your budget.
Which Route to take?
Most tourists flock to the following national parks in northern Tanzania:
- Ngorongoro Crater
- Arusha National Park
They go there for good reason: they’re amazing.
Lodging options in northern Tanzania are endless, but here are a few I’ve stayed at and can recommend:
- Kibo Palace hotel in Arusha
- Maramboi Tented Camp in Tarangire
- Kitela Luxury Lodge in Karatu
- Nasikia Semi Mobile Tent in Serengeti
- Ngorongoro Farm House Valley
Don’t tell anyone I told you this but because most tourists crowd into northern Tanzania, southern Tanzania is an oasis of calm. What few people know is that the wildlife is southern Tanzania is as remarkable as the north. Your best bets in southern Tanzania are:
- Selous Game Reserve
- Udzungwa and Uluguru Mountains
- Ruaha National Park
Although you can create your own safari itinerary, it’s usually best to book with a tour operator. Their fee is minimal, they know all the options better than anyone and they their connections may end up saving you money and headaches.
In northern Tanzania claim to fame is the Great Migration. It would be a shame to miss it. August to November is the challenging time to go to northern Tanzania because it’s when the Great Migration is in Kenya. These dates aren’t guaranteed but it’s a good guideline.
The worse time to go to southern Tanzania is March to June when it’s the rainy season.
On the other hand, going on the offseason has benefits of low prices and few tourists.
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