Tanzania's National Parks are world-renowned for their vast and breathtaking landscapes, diverse wildlife, and unique cultural experiences. From the sweeping savannahs of the Serengeti to the lush forests of Manyara, Tanzania's National Parks offer an unparalleled safari experience. While many travelers visit during peak season, there's a hidden gem to discover during the low season. I had the opportunity to visit Tanzania's National Parks during the low season and had an experience that surpassed all expectations. Not only was it an affordable option, but the lack of crowds provided an intimate and exclusive experience with the wildlife and natural beauty of Tanzania. In this article, I'll share my journey through Tarangire, Manyara, Serengeti, Masai Boma, and Ngorongoro, highlighting why the low season is the best time to visit Tanzania's National Parks.
Day 1: Arrival in Arusha
I arrived in Arusha, Tanzania, full of excitement for my upcoming safari adventure. I was picked up by my tour operator, Vianney’s Untamed Expeditions, and taken to my accommodation for the night. We stayed in a luxurious apartment near the airport called Dexter Homes, which was well-furnished and had a beautiful swimming pool. Despite the cold weather, the apartment had a bar and a bonfire, which created a cozy atmosphere. After settling in, I had a chance to relax and unwind before the start of my safari the following day. The hospitality and comfort of my accommodation set the tone for a fantastic trip, and I couldn't wait to see what the next few days would bring
Day 2: Tarangire National Park
On the second day of my Tanzania trip, I woke up early to meet my guide at my apartment. He greeted us with a warm smile and handed us a copy of the itinerary, so we could fully understand the trip's events and plan accordingly. We set off for Tarangire National Park, a vast landscape known for its abundant wildlife, including elephants and lions. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day, so we were unable to go on the planned walking safari. However, this didn't detract from the excitement of our full-day game drive, during which we saw countless animals roaming the savannah. I was particularly struck by the herds of wildebeest and zebras, which seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and pointed out a variety of bird species and plant life along the way. We stopped for lunch at the beautiful Lemala Mpingo Ridge, which exceeded our expectations with its delicious food, stunning scenery, and friendly staff. We even wished we could have spent the night there, but our itinerary called for us to continue on to Karatu for the night. Despite the rain, our day in Tarangire was truly unforgettable, and I couldn't wait to see what the rest of the trip had in store.
Day 3: Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park
After a restful night at Plantation Lodge, we set off early for Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most stunning natural wonders in Tanzania. As we approached the entrance, a playful group of monkeys welcomed us, but our guide cautioned us to keep the windows closed to avoid any unwanted guests in the car. Once inside the crater, we were awestruck by the sheer beauty of the landscape. The vast, bowl-shaped depression is home to an abundance of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, and even endangered black rhinos. We were fortunate enough to see all of these animals and more during our game drive, as well as some of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. After our thrilling day at Ngorongoro Crater, we set off on a bumpy ride to Serengeti National Park. Along the way, we encountered a breathtaking sight - a massive herd of wildebeests and zebras, numbering in the millions. The sheer number of animals was staggering, and we watched in awe as predators lurked nearby, waiting for their chance to hunt. By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was already dark, and we were a bit late, having stopped to take in the incredible animal migration. We arrived at around 8:14 pm, but were greeted with warm hospitality by the Acacia team, led by a beautiful Masai manager. They welcomed us with a traditional song, "Jambo....habari nzuri, hakuna matata," before taking us to a great late dinner and then to our awesome rooms.
Day 4 and 5 were undoubtedly the highlight of our trip as we embarked on a thrilling game drive through the vast expanse of Serengeti National Park. As we ventured deeper into the wilderness, we were mesmerized by the unspoiled beauty of the park and its abundant wildlife. Our knowledgeable guide, Ombeni, took us on an unforgettable journey through the savannahs, grasslands, and woodlands of this remarkable national park.
We were incredibly fortunate to witness the annual wildebeest migration, an awe-inspiring spectacle of nature that truly takes your breath away. As we drove through the plains, we saw a seemingly endless sea of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes moving in a synchronized rhythm, driven by the instinct to survive. We watched in amazement as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas prowled through the herds, waiting for their opportunity to strike.
One of the highlights of our Serengeti experience was visiting the luxurious Luxurious Lemala Nanyukie for lunch. The Camp's stunning location and impeccable service provided the perfect respite from our exhilarating game drives.
As the sun began to set, we retired to our cozy tents at the Into the Wild Camp, an intimate and secluded camp that offers an authentic bush experience. The nights were filled with the distant sounds of lions roaring and hyenas cackling, reminding us that we were truly in the heart of the wild.
Throughout our time in Serengeti, we were privileged to see the Big Five animals, including lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo etc . We witnessed lions on the hunt, elephants roaming the savannah, and leopards perched in trees. But one of the most unforgettable moments was seeing a lion wedding, a rare and beautiful occurrence that left us speechless.
On our last day in Serengeti, we set out with a mission: to find the elusive cheetahs that had eluded us so far. Our guide, Ombeni, knew just where to go. We drove eastward, where the grass was shorter and the terrain more open. As we were scanning the horizon, Ombeni suddenly pointed out a group of impalas, all looking in one direction. He explained that this was a clear sign that there was a predator nearby. We eagerly followed his lead and, sure enough, there they were: a mother cheetah and her cubs. It was a breathtaking sight to see these graceful animals in their natural habitat, and we felt incredibly lucky to have witnessed it. With our mission accomplished, we left Serengeti and headed back to Arusha.
As we made our way back to Arusha, we couldn't help but feel a sense of awe and gratitude for the breathtaking experiences we had encountered over the past six days. Our hearts were full from witnessing the magnificent wildlife and natural wonders of Tanzania's national parks, and we were thankful for the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the beauty of this incredible country.
Along the way, we stopped to visit a Masai village and experience their unique way of life. Our guide introduced us to the friendly and welcoming community, and we learned about their customs, traditions, and daily routines. We were invited into their homes, where we were warmly greeted and offered a taste of their local cuisine.
As we continued our journey back to Arusha, we reflected on the unforgettable memories we had made and the friendships we had forged with our guide and the people we had met along the way. We knew that this trip to Tanzania's national parks was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we would always cherish.
Visiting Tanzania's national parks during the low season is an excellent choice for several reasons. First and foremost, the prices are significantly lower than during peak season. The hotels and campsites are less busy, so you can enjoy a peaceful and relaxing stay with fewer people around. This is perfect for travelers who prefer privacy and tranquility.
Another advantage of visiting during the low season is that you can enjoy the parks without the crowds. You won't have to jostle for the best vantage points or wait in long lines to see the animals up close. You can take your time and savor the beauty of the parks at your own pace. This is especially true for game drives, where the animals are more active and easier to spot during the low season.
Lastly, traveling during the low season gives you a unique opportunity to experience the parks in a different way. The landscape is greener, and the air is cooler, providing a more refreshing and serene atmosphere. Lastly , there are fewer tourists, so you can interact more with the locals and learn more about their culture and way of life.
If you're planning a trip to Tanzania, here are some tips that could help you
Consider visiting during the low season: As we've mentioned earlier, visiting Tanzania during the low season can save you money and give you more privacy and a better game viewing experience. The low season is from Mid-March – Mid June and November to mid-December.
Use a reputable tour operator: It's important to choose a tour operator that is reputable and has experience operating in Tanzania. Vianney’s Untamed Expeditions https://vianneysuntamedexpeditions.com/ was our tour operator and they provided us with excellent service throughout our trip.
Book in advance: To ensure that you get the accommodations and activities you want, it's best to book in advance because some hotels are In renovation during Low season so it will give time for your Tour Operator to find your accommodation.
Bring appropriate clothing: Tanzania can have hot and humid weather, so it's best to pack light, breathable clothing. Also, don't forget to bring warm clothing for early morning and evening game drives.
Be respectful of local cultures: Tanzania has a rich cultural heritage, and it's important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Learn some basic Swahili phrases and be open to learning about the local way of life.
Get travel insurance: Travel insurance can protect you against unexpected events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost luggage. Make sure to get comprehensive travel insurance before your trip.
Support local communities: Many lodges and tour operators in Tanzania support local communities through various projects. Consider staying at lodges that give back to the local community or participating in community projects
Make sure to pack a camera with a good zoom lens to capture wildlife from a distance. A sturdy tripod is also recommended for those early morning and late afternoon shots when the lighting is low. Don't forget to bring extra memory cards and batteries to avoid running out of space or power during your trip. But if you don’t have don’t mind Vianney’s untamed expeditions sounds like they provide excellent service in this regard by offering to arrange a camera or photographer for those who need it…. And having a power source in the safari car is definitely a plus, as you'll want to make sure your camera is fully charged to capture all the amazing wildlife and scenery you'll encounter on your trip.
And finally, be sure to respect wildlife and follow park rules and regulations when taking photographs.
In conclusion, Tanzania is a breathtaking destination that offers a unique and unforgettable safari experience. Whether you visit during the high or low season, you will have the opportunity to witness the stunning wildlife and landscapes that the country has to offer. By choosing a reputable tour operator you can ensure that your trip is safe, enjoyable, and well documented. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Tanzania safari adventure today!
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