Chada Katavi lions

Tanzania’s Undiscovered Safari Spots

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Niarra Travel

With a billing that features names like the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, and events like the Great Wildebeest Migration, of course Tanzania is the classic safari destination. It’s well known, wildlife-filled plains and parks are exactly what you imagine a safari to be – wonderfully wild with so much to see, while also being wholly accessible.

We want to let you in on a secret. A quarter of the nation’s landscapes are protected in national parks in Tanzania, and many of them are lesser known but just as astounding as the likes of the world famous Serengeti. These are the places far, far away from the crowds, where you can revel in the raw romance of Africa, retreat from the noise of the everyday and lose yourself to the rhythms and cycles of nature. You’ll need to be intrepid, we’ll grant you, and ready for an adventure, but you’ll get to be right in the heart of the action and the rewards will be extraordinary.

If this sounds like you, read on for our list of the best undiscovered national parks in Tanzania.

Olivers Camp Tanzania leopard

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha is Tanzania’s largest national park, a vast expanse of remote wilderness at the centre of the country that offers sanctuary to a huge density and diversity of species and an array of dramatic landscapes, dotted with skeletal baobab and rocky outcrops.

The climate here is hot and dry, so much of the action takes place around the park’s water sources. As you explore savannah, forest and swamp, by game drive or walking safari, keep an eye on waterholes, rivers and lakes to spot the sizable populations of lions (10% of the world’s lions, in fact), cheetahs and wild dogs, supported by an incredible array of herbivorous creatures large and small.

Ruaha lions

Despite its size, Ruaha remains wonderfully under-the-radar with just a handful of camps within its boundaries, magnifying the wildness of your surroundings and the feeling of being beyond the reach of normalcy. What makes time at Ruaha even better is that, while you’re there embracing the spirit of adventure, you’re also supporting the local conservation and community projects that keep this spectacular haven of biodiversity untamed.

Katavi National Park

One of the remotest national parks in Tanzania, a visit to Katavi, in the far west, is like taking a step into the landscapes of ancient Africa, so untouched is the wilderness that dwells here. This is a place where nature is still able to reign supreme and, thanks to its inaccessibility, you’re more likely to spot a dodo than a fellow safarist as you explore it.

From your intimate canvas camp – bumping into a giraffe nibbling on a tamarind tree by your tent is the only way to start the day – Katavi is best explored on foot or by 4x4 with one of the park’s fantastically enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, who will lead you through landscapes that range from grassland plains to marshlands to lakes and reed-filled waterways.

Chada Katavi Safari Tanzania 10

Aside from the giraffes and elephants that may amble through camp, there are the largest herds of buffalo on the planet, hippos, crocodiles, spotted hyenas, Africa’s three famous big cat species, and much more to see. For those who fancy a bit of culture, visit the scared tamarind tree near Lake Katavi to leave an offering to the spirit of the legendary hunter and park’s namesake, Katabi.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Where the forest-swathed slopes of the Mahale Mountains meet the eastern shores of the mighty Lake Tanganyika is Mahale Mountains National Park. This is a park for true adventurers, for dauntless souls who revel in the prospect of being the only humans within its boundaries and can embrace the fact that this is the only national park in Tanzania that can only be explored on foot.

A true Tanzanian hidden gem, the park originally was created to protect the world’s largest known population of eastern chimpanzees, who patrol its jungles, and these extraordinary creatures draw adventurous visitors to this day. While no wild animal sighting can be ever be guaranteed, hiking into the forest here with expert trackers makes it very likely you’ll come across, and be able to spend time with, one of the region’s troops.

Greystoke Mahale chimpanzee 2

The park is also home to leopards, lions, elephants, giraffes and giant pangolins, all roaming a range of landscapes that run from forest to rainforest to grassland. After a day of explorations, the waters of the lake, which can also be explored by dhow, are welcomingly refreshing – flop down on the powder-soft sand beach post swim to soak in the glorious sunsets.

At Niarra Travel we specialise in creating African wildlife experiences that combine luxury and conservation, revealing the very best sides of the continent in a purposeful manner. We don’t just organise luxury trips but create unrivalled travel experiences for all ages to enjoy. If you are looking for a trip to the lesser known corners of Tanzania, get in touch with our team on +44 (0) 20 3821 5994 (UK), +1 (833) 215 9353 (US), or at explore@niarratravel.com and begin creating your fun-filled family adventure now.

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