First Time Tanzania – A Road Trip Safari in Parks

Tanzania is truly gifted by Mother Nature with its northern region as the spoiled kid. One legendary safari park after the next; the Northern Circuit is the classic safari self-drive circuit of Tanzania. Tanzania has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the world: over 4 million animals, including all the Big Fives: lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, and buffaloes. You will also get to see thousands of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, as well as giraffes, cheetahs, warthog, baboons, hippos, etc. And then drive to the southern circuit.

While on this safari, you need to hire a 4×4 rooftop tent car capable and ready for the rough terrains in Tanzania. Before you embark on this journey, you must be ware of the driving rule in Tanzania as well as having a valid international driving license. All the rules will be listed in the contract made with your car hire company so make sure you understand them fully to avoid any inconveniences.

This Tanzania safari will take you to a number of national parks in this country:

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park is home to Mount Kilimanjaro which is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.

Mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding national park area is unique compared to most national parks because almost all ecosystems are accounted for from the area between the base and summit.  The summit provides for an arctic ecosystem with a trek up the mountain delivering visitors through cultivated land, rain forest, heath, moorland, and alpine desert.

Elephants, leopards, and buffalo may be seen in the montane forest.  These sightings are not something to anticipate with a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro.  One of the fun wildlife sightings is the western black and white colobus monkeys as they jump from tree to tree.

Arusha National Park

The Park is nested on the foothills of Mount Meru, the Africa’s most beautiful volcanoes and fifth highest peak. Only 45 minutes’ drive from Arusha City centre, one finds this beautifully Park. The Park offers way too much attractions compared to its area

Visitors to this Park will have opportunities to do game viewing, ride a horse ,climb the mount Meru as well as do organized walks with a ranger! Cape buffalo, elephants, hippos, zebra are found here in abundance, and the occasional lion and leopard can also be sighted on a game drive.

Walking safaris are a great alternative to the traditional safari experience, and over the last year national park authorities have allowed walking safaris to take place in other parks on the northern safari circuit.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire hosts a wildlife migration which is not as dramatic as the Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti, but receives a somewhat large number of animals. Tarangire River remains the only source of water and consequently attracts large numbers of wildebeests, elephants, gazelles, zebras and hartebeest, buffaloes plus various predators like lions that come to drink and graze around the river banks.

This park is home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa with several herds of up to 300 members per herd. In addition, there are large numbers of impalas, elands, buffaloes, giraffes, Bohor reed buck, Coke’s hartebeest, Thompson’s gazelle, the greater and lesser kudu and on rare occasions, the unusual gerenuk and fringe –eared Oryx are also seen. The main activity in this park is game driving however if you live outside the park boundaries you might be able to enjoy walking tours and night safaris.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park offers a wilderness experience in diverse habitats, from its Rift Valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides. A Lake Manyara safari is a fascinating experience, as the park also features a ground-water forest, vachellia tortilis woodland and hot springs called Maji Moto. Troops of several hundred olive baboon appear alongside Sykes monkey and short-eared galago. Cape clawless otter, Egyptian mongoose, hippo and klipspringer are other park residents.

It offers a blend of unique experiences and sights that make it a must-visit destination for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. The park’s diverse ecosystem and variety of habitats offer exceptional game viewing. Around the lake and wetlands, bird viewing is magnificent with over 400 species to see. These scenic landscapes can be explored on game drives driving the day and thrilling drives at night to observe some of the nocturnal species.

Join the Tree-climbing lions; These lions are unique with a behaviour of climbing trees. They climb trees because they are avoiding insects or looking for shelter. Tree climbing lions are among the animals visitors can see on various activities in the park. The park is a home to a number of elephants that can be viewed roaming in the park.

Lake Manyara national park offers morning, afternoon and evening game drives depending on the visitor’s interest. In the park, game drives take place in the lower slopes of the Great Rift Valley. During the game drive, you will sight a variety of wildlife such as cheetahs, elephants, antelopes and buffaloes which can be spotted all day, also bird species and beautiful forest vegetarians of ground.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Crater is often referred to as ‘the Garden of Eden’ because it is a true paradise for animals. The Ngorongoro crater is one of the best places to view wildlife in Africa. It is estimated that over 24,000 large mammals live in the Ngorongoro Crater. They include water bucks, African leopards, black rhinos, buffaloes, cheetahs, crocodiles, East African wild dogs, elands, grant’s gazelle, zebra, hippopotamus, impala, lions, oribi, Thomson’s gazelles, Topi and wildebeest. Most of these animals remain in the natural enclosure without migrating except for a few wildebeest and elephants. This has led to significant inbreeding in some species like lions.

Get the chance to visit the Olduvai Gorge found in-between the Serengeti plains and the Ngorongoro Crater. Archaeologists consider it to be the seat of humanity because remains of the very earliest known humans were first discovered there.

learn about the work of the Leakey family and understanding how the earliest humans evolved. There is a small museum at the sight where fossils dating back to about 3 million years ago are kept.


Serengeti National Park is a Tanzania Safari destination where you experience millions of Wildebeests Migrating from Serengeti National Park Tanzania to Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya via Maasai Mara River. The diversity and beauty of the park will leave you yearning to visit the park as soon as you can.

One of the most spectacular events that take place in the Serengeti, is that there is an annual migration of vast herds herbivorous animals such as the zebras, wildebeests and gazelles followed by their predators across Grumeti river.

The park gives its guests the opportunity to go on game drives twice a day, at the break of dawn and in the evening. On this ride, you will be able to spot Elephants, Buffaloes, Wildebeests, Warthogs, Zebras, Antelopes, Lions, Hyenas, Leopards, Cheetahs and many more animals as well as beautiful birds.

Take part in the wildebeest migration that takes place once every year and several people from all over the world come with the hope of experiencing this beautiful site. This activity is mind-blowing and mouth gaping because the sight of such large animals causing great waves and splashes in the Water as they move in search for greener pastures is worth the visit.

Olduvai Gorge is another fascinating attraction within the borders of the Serengeti national park. This is the site where archaeologist Dr. Louis Leaky dug up the remains of the first early man from about a million years ago. This site represents the history of man and a fascinating place to visit while at the Serengeti.

Lake Natron

It is the world’s most acidic body of water. The alkalinity levels of the lake can become so concentrated that they almost approach that of straight ammonia, and the water is often too viscous to touch.

Take a great walk leading up to the Engero Sero Waterfalls. It will guide you through a shady gorge (very welcome in the heat) and between various cliffs. After a few hours, you’ll reach a beautiful natural swimming pool surrounded by steep rock walls – showered by cascades of spring water and overlooked by palm trees.

The fit and brave might like to try and climb Oldoinyo Lengai, an active volcano. To avoid the heat, this climb usually starts at midnight, and guides you to spectacular views and a stunning sunrise in approximately six hours. Oldoinyo Lengai is a very tough climb, and not one to take lightly.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha is the second-largest national park in Tanzania, home to many wildlife species. Due to its low visitor numbers, a safari here feels secluded and exclusive. During the dry season, the savannah are golden and dotted with baobab trees, while misty hills stretch across the horizon. The annual rains bring lush green grasslands and nudge the ancient baobabs to bloom.

Ruaha is known for offering a rugged wilderness experience. Its dramatic terrain features rolling hills, large baobab trees, and the Great Ruaha River. This unspoiled natural beauty provides a backdrop for diverse wildlife and spectacular bird watching, making it a hidden gem in Tanzania.

Go for a safari adventure game drive through the Ruaha wilderness in search of magnificent herbivores, predators, and the diverse array of plains game that inhabit the park.

Selous National Park

The Selous is one of the few big game reserves to allow hiking, offering wildlife enthusiasts the chance to explore Tanzania’s pristine landscapes on foot.

The park is situated in the southeastern region of Tanzania in East Africa. It’s a lesser-known destination and, therefore, is less crowded than the popular northern parks in Tanzania, which gives it a wilder and more private atmosphere.

The park is home to many species, including a good population of wild dogs and the Big 5, which reside in the Miombo woodlands and marshy floodplains.

Mikumi National Park

The park is endowed with spectacular concentration of wildlife which are rarely seen in other parks like magnificent Sable antelope, African hunting dog, blue wildebeest, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and others.

Visit Mikumi National Park to spot the ‘Big Five’ (Cheetah, Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, and Rhino), and they are always not disappointed. Hippo pools provide close access to the mud-loving beasts, and bird-watching along the waterways is particularly rewarding. Mikumi National Park borders the Selous Game Reserve and Udzungwa National Park, and the three locations make a varied and pleasant safari circuit.

Lions survey their grassy kingdom – and the Zebra, Wildebeest, Impala and Buffalo herds that migrate across it – from the flattened tops of termite mounds, or sometimes during the rains, from perches high in the trees. Giraffes forage in the isolated acacia stands that fringe the Mkata River, islets of shade favoured also by Mikumi’s Elephants.