Tanzania is renowned for its abundance of wildlife and exceptional game viewing opportunities. With so many different camp and lodge options, there are also a plethora of many wonderful safari activities. With hot-air ballooning, walking and vehicular safaris being the norm for visitors, it is easy to fall in line with everyone else and miss some of the most exciting and adventurous activities. Once travel has fully resumed across the globe, making the most of your safari will be even more special.
Fly camping in Ruaha
Ruaha in the South of Tanzania is the largest National Park in the country. Larger than the famous Serengeti, Ruaha spans an area the size of small countries. It is about the size as South Africa’s Kruger, yet there is one big difference: Ruaha only has a handful of lodges.
Offering a very private and intimate experience, staying in Ruaha gives a very wild feel to your safari. Seeing other vehicles is unlikely and wildlife sightings are fantastic. As the dry season progresses, buffalo congregate at the depleting water sources in their thousands and are preyed on by the large lion prides that inhabit this hostile landscape.
For visitors, Ruaha is a land of mystery. The baobab dotted horizons and the rugged landscape is brilliant for game viewing and walking safaris are always a highlight here, especially at camps like Ikuka where knowledgeable guides take you across the rocky escarpments near to where the camp is situated.
The unmissable and secret activity in Ruaha is fly camping. For this, look no further than Jongomero. Situated in the Southern region of the park all by itself, seclusion and privacy are key here. Seeing anyone else on safari is extremely rare and the remoteness of the area makes it the perfect destination for fly camping. Your expert guide will take you on an afternoon walk before settling down under a canopy of stars. This is by no means a luxury sleep-out, it is rustic and adventurous, but it is the perfect opportunity to enjoy nature in its truest form. As the embers of the fire glow, stories are swapped, and experiences are shared before settling down under the mesmerising night sky of Africa.
Treehouses in the Selous
In contrast to the arid landscape of Ruaha, the Selous is a vast watery maze, with a lush and vibrant background. Whilst fly-camping is also available at certain camps in the Selous, for those wishing for a more luxurious night under the stars, Beho Beho has a luxury sleep-out option.
Nestled amongst the branches of an ancient leadwood tree, the luxury treehouse provides every amenity one could wish for, yet still provides you with that wild and adventurous experience. The four-poster bed has fine bed linen and the en-suite bathroom with a flushing toilet completes the set-up. Upon arrival you are met with cocktails before heading to a clearing for your candlelit dinner where after you are escorted to your tree house to spend the evening gazing at the stars and listening to the sounds of the wilderness around you. It is perfect for honeymooners and couples.
The Selous is also very accessible to the island of Zanzibar which gives you the opportunity to rest and relax after your safari. Nothing finishes a holiday better than sipping a cool drink whilst reclining on the white sand beaches of the island.
Visiting the Hadzabe
The Serengeti is arguably the most famous wildlife destination in Africa. With the year-round wildebeest migration, people flock from all over the world to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. Whether it is the calving season on the Ndutu plains in February or the mighty river crossings that occur from July through to October, the wildebeest migration is certainly not to be missed. Visitors can therefore be forgiven for solely focusing on this spectacle, yet the people who inhabit much of the land are just as fascinating.
Located on the southernmost tip of the short grass plains, just inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s boundary is Serian’s South Camp. Comprising of six luxury tents, staying here will certainly tick your safari needs and wishes, with the opportunity to off-road and night drive, it is the perfect all-round experience, yet one activity stands out from the rest. Visiting and walking with the Hadzabe tribe.
The Hadzabe are hunter-gathers are an indigenous group of people from Central Northern Tanzania who live a traditional lifestyle, just as their ancestors did. And with Serian you can meet and experience what life is like as a tribesman. It is an experience that you would never forget and should be added to everyone’s bucket list.
Rwanda and Uganda rightly steal the spotlight when it comes to primate trekking. With fantastic gorilla opportunities, the chimps of Uganda and Rwanda tend to take a back seat. However, Tanzania has its own primate secret.
Located in the far West of the country, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika is Greystoke Mahale. A jungle-chic lodge operated by Nomad Tanzania. It is slice of utopia that’s perfect for adventure seekers and those wishing to escape the conventional wildlife destinations. From kayaking on the lake to resting on the sandy shores with a book, Greystoke is an experience not to be missed. The real reason people visit Mahale is for what lies within the surrounding forests.
Every morning groups set out to hike through the vegetation in search of chimps who roam freely through the landscape. Hiking can take an hour or several, but during the dry season, the primates tend to congregate lower on the slopes meaning finding them is often less challenging. Spending time with these animals will leave you awe-inspired and this unforgettable experience has been hailed as the best the chimp experience in Africa.
The crocodiles of Katavi
Accompanying Mahale in the West of Tanzania, Katavi is a land very few people get to see.
There is no hiding the fact that flights to the West are expensive and infrequent, yet every penny is worth it. Katavi is a wild land and as close to a true wilderness as you could wish to find. Walking and camping here are some of the most spectacular activities you can do in Tanzania, yet there is a very special area that must be explored.
Nomad run a brilliant no frills camp in Katavi called Chada. This is as rustic and authentic as it comes and with excellent guiding, service and hospitality, it is the perfect destination for adventure lovers.
Whilst buffalo herds make those of Ruaha look small, it is the crocodiles and hippos that draw the attention of many. As the dry season shrinks the water points, crocodiles and hippos numbering in their hundreds come together to make use of the depleting resource. When the temperatures start to soar in late September and October, the crocodiles use the eroded caves within the dry riverbanks as shelters from the sun. There is no spectacle on Earth that is quite as prehistoric and it makes for an incredible spectacle.
Marc Harris is Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey. Tanzania Odyssey is a leading tour operator that has specialised in Tanzania since 1998.