One Week Safari Tanzania
If you only have one week to make the most of Tanzania, do not fear. Whilst there is so much to do in this beautiful East African country, the relatively easy transport systems make both safari and beach easily accessible allowing you to make the most of a relatively short amount of time.
As with all Tanzanian safaris, (unless you have a large budget and an extended period of time) the choice is whether you decide to head to the North of the country or to the South.
Northern Circuit Tanzania
A typical Northern circuit would start with a night in Arusha at somewhere like Rivertrees. Acting as a buffer night, this gives you some time to relax and sleep away any possible jet lag – if you are really short on time though, this can be skipped as there are a couple of flights from Kilimanjaro Airport per day into the surrounding wildlife areas.
The Ngorongoro Crater would typically be your next stop unless you are wanting to spend a full week in the Serengeti. We only recommend two nights in and around the Crater area, with the only exception if you stay at Asilia’s Highlands. Although the Crater is renowned for its great wildlife viewing, it does get busy and it can be covered in one day, so another drive here would be redundant. If you fancy a driving itinerary, stopping off in Lake Manyara National Park one afternoon makes for a great excursion, as does visiting the Masai Tribes.
Flying into the Serengeti is the quickest way to get from the Crater or Kilimanjaro Airport. If you want to focus your time on solely the Serengeti, then splitting your time between two parts of the National Park would be an excellent choice. Since the migration moves throughout the year, personally we would combine a migration camp like Nomad’s Serengeti Safari Camp that may be in the Kogatende Area or the Ndutu region, and a permanent camp like Asilia’s Namiri Plains. This combination would give you the perfect amount of time between focussing on one of the world’s great spectacles before focussing on some of the world’s best big cat sightings.
If however you decide to visit the Crater and then the Serengeti, choosing a migration camp would be preferable. This way you get to witness the millions of wildebeest, but you also have a very high chance of seeing the big cats like lions, cheetahs who will be following the ungulates closely.
Southern Circuit Tanzania
A Southern circuit of Tanzania is another brilliant way to spend a week, if that’s all the time you have. The choice with a Southern circuit would be to combine both the Selous and Ruaha or choose one of these and combine it with a few days in Zanzibar.
Just like Arusha in the North, an overnight in Dar es Salaam is probably needed upon your arrival. Although there are three flights to the Selous per day, there is only one to Ruaha which leaves at 08:30 am, so logistics for the South are quite important if you restricted by time.
Selous is only an hour internal flight from Dar, so you can land in Tanzania and be on safari the same day. With vein-like waterways that stretch across the landscape and a wild dog population that is thriving, a safari in the Selous is one of the most varied in Tanzania. The vast waterways make for brilliant boat safaris and fishing excursions, whilst the vehicle and walking safaris are always full of fun and surprise. Since the Selous is a game reserve and not a National Park, there are more relaxed rules about off-roading which allows you to follow animals through their habitat, something that isn’t to be taken for granted. Sand Rivers and Beho Beho are the pick of the lodges here and both offer exceptional service, hospitality and guiding. Since Selous is so close to Dar, Zanzibar is only an extra twenty minutes away, meaning a Selous and Zanzibar holiday can be very affordable.
In contrast to Selous’ lush and vibrant landscape, Ruaha is a dry and parched landscape with baobab dotted outcrops. With a spectacular lion, elephant and buffalo population, Ruaha is both wild and untamed. Jongomero in the South of the park sits all alone on a beautiful meandering dry riverbed, providing you with the true essence of safari. Not seeing another vehicle is bliss and ensures a private and intimate experience. Ikuka is another one of our favourite camps here and if Ruaha is a favourite of yours, then a full week split between Jongomero and Ikuka would certainly not be a bad idea, that said combining Ruaha with Selous makes for the perfect holiday. If you wanted to combine Ruaha with Zanzibar, the flights are almost double in price (than from the Selous) and the flight time is longer so it is perhaps not ideal if you are looking for a safari and beach itinerary with a limited amount of time.
Some rest and relaxation on the beach is a great way to end any trip. If you only have a week to spare and insist on a beach getaway, then a Southern circuit is far more suited to this. The island of Zanzibar is littered with numerous hotels and a lot of the island has a very tidal coast, so picking the best hotel for you is essential. Zuri Zanzibar is one of the few hotels lucky enough to be situated on a non-tidal beach. With the glistening white sand ever present throughout the day, it is our top pick for a beach stay.
Pongwe Beach Hotel is another great value option, it is smaller than Zuri, but still maintains a great standard of service and hospitality. Although the beach isn’t as good as Zuri’s, Xanadu Villas are perfect for a honeymoon. With each suite lavishly decorated and with every amenity one could ask for, it is the perfect way to end a short trip. With Zanzibar being a hop across from Dar es Salaam, connecting with your onward international flight is extremely easy.