By By Alawi Masare
Experts and visitors voted Tanzania for it is a host to the best chimp tracking in Africa, and visitors can climb the highest mountain on the continent.
According to an analysis released yesterday by an online marketplace for African tours, SafariBookings.com, Tanzania has been voted overwhelmingly as the best safari destination in Africa, viewed as the ideal getaway for tourists.
SafariBookings.com conducted an extensive analysis of 3,061 reviews of over 1,000 tourists and travel experts who participated in a survey and concluded that both parties concurred Tanzania is tops in the continent. The country has an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, the highest score of all eight major safari countries. Botswana and Kenya scored 4.7 each, followed by South Africa and Zambia which scored 4.6 each against Namibia’s 4.5 stars. Uganda took 4.2 against Zimbabwe’s 4.1 stars.
Why do experts and travellers prefer Tanzania?
Reputable guidebook authors from such renowned publications as ‘Frommer’s’ and ‘Lonely Planet’ teamed up to create a database of expert reviews which determined the many reasons Tanzania is the best safari country.
“The reasons are simple: Two of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, are located in Tanzania’s northern safari circuit. The Serengeti is home to the “great migration”, an event in which over 2.5 million zebra and wildebeest migrate annually,” says The Netherlands-based Wouter Vergeer, owner of the website. He adds:
“Experts and visitors voted Tanzania for it is a host to the best chimp tracking in Africa, and visitors can climb the highest mountain on the continent. Visitors can enjoy authentic African wilderness without paved roads and fencing. There are safari options for any budget and holidays can be spent enjoying beach extensions on Zanzibar Island. Travel is simple, with direct access flights to the two major safari circuits. Tanzania is also a politically stable and safe country.”
He notes that when breaking down the reviews, monthly ratings remained consistently high emphasising the notion that tourists can safely visit Tanzania any time of the year. The team at SafariBookings, he says, found it surprising that even the wet season received very positive ratings from experts and tourists.
Furthermore, says Mr Vergeer, the afternoon rains don’t typically hamper a Tanzanian safari, yet wildlife viewing in Tarangire, the southern and western circuit parks is considerably less rewarding during these times and could, therefore, lower ratings.
The reviewers responsible for collecting and analysing data came from 53 nationalities; 42 per cent were first time safari-goers, 37 per cent had been on over 5 safaris and 21per cent had taken 2 to 5.
Ms Mary Fitzpatrick, a US-based author of six Lonely Planet guides to Africa, including Tanzania, writes: “With its abundant wildlife, excellent species diversity and evocative acacia- and baobab-studded landscapes, Tanzania is one of Africa’s most rewarding safari destinations.”
However, her main concern was about the cost of daily park entry fees, high accommodation prices and fuel costs.
Mr Philip Briggs from South Africa, an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the ‘Bradt Guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa’ rated Tanzania the highest possible score – five stars.
“There is arguably no better safari destination than Tanzania. And, to be honest, I’m not even sure I should be using the word ‘arguably’ here! Tanzania’s superb network of wildlife reserves is the most extensive in Africa, collectively covering a quarter of the country’s surface area, and harbouring around 20 per cent of the continent’s large mammal biomass,” he writes.
“It includes … a well fed entourage of lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena plus various smaller predators and lynchpin of a northern safari circuit that also incorporates the superlative Ngorongoro Crater (the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera) and pretty Lake Manyara National Park, with its giant tuskers and tree-climbing lions,” adds Mr Briggs.