Tanzania vs Kenya Safari: Is Safari Better in Kenya or Tanzania?
Tanzania vs Kenya: Is Safari Better in Kenya or Tanzania? – One of the most difficult decisions in the world is whether to go on a safari in Kenya or Tanzania. Both nations provide breathtaking landscapes, excellent wildlife viewing, unique perspectives on the Great Wildebeest Migration, and a variety of must-do activities that defy comparison. For instance, did you know that Tanzania allows for chimp trekking?
Since the 2000s, we have designed tailor-made safaris in Kenya and Tanzania for hundreds of tourists from around the world, and we are aware that organizing an African safari may occasionally be a difficult undertaking. To make things a bit simpler, we’ve compared the specifics of a Kenya vs Tanzania safari to aid in your decision:
Location & Landscape
Both nations are in East Africa and have coasts that go along Lake Victoria and the pleasantly warm Indian Ocean. Being neighbors, it should come as no surprise that they share a border. A significant portion of this border is made up of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, which together make up the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, one of the largest and best-protected ecosystems on Earth. It is around the same area as South Carolina at 30 000 square kilometers (12 000 square miles).
|Major National Conservation Areas||Serengeti
Nairobi National Park
|Private Conservation Areas||Grumeti||Laikipia
|Off-the-Beaten-Path Reserves||Nyerere (Selous)
|Beaches & Islands||Zanzibar
|Most Popular Routes||Northern Circuit: Arusha, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater||Nairobi, Amboseli, and the Masai Mara|
Both nations are renowned for their vast savannahs and golden grasslands, the kind of scenery that was featured in the movies Out of Africa and The Lion King. This open landscape provides plenty of grazing, and where there are grazers, there are bound to be predators. As you can see practically 360 degrees of the horizon in the Serengeti and Mara, this is one of the easiest places in the world to spot animals. The Great Wildebeest Migration, which involves a continuous movement of two million primarily wildebeest, antelope, and zebra in search of fresh grazing and water, takes place in this area.
Due to the drier climate and hillier terrain in the north of Kenya, uncommon species, such as the “Samburu Special 5,” can be found here. They are the reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, gerenuk (giraffe gazelle), and Grevy’s zebra, which are all native to the area. Tanzania’s western region continues to have extensive native forest. To go chimpanzee trekking in virgin rainforest, visit the Mahale Mountains National Park. Explore the largest terrestrial conservation area in Africa, if not the entire globe, in Ruaha National Park and Nyerere National Park (Selous), both of which are located in southern Tanzania.
Costs & Your Budget
A safari in Kenya or Tanzania is still reasonably priced, even though an East African safari may not be the cheapest vacation you’ll ever take. We have assisted thousands of people in finding them by customizing each safari to fit the individual’s financial needs. Working closely with clients to identify the points that are non-negotiable and those that are more flexible entails this.
The prices listed below are simply estimates based on a general evaluation of the costs associated with different types of lodging:
|4-STAR COMFORT||4-STAR LUXURY||5-STAR LUXURY|
|$500 – $675||$550 – $725||$800 – $1,200||$950 – $1,350||$1,250||$1,850|
|4-STAR COMFORT||4-STAR LUXURY||5-STAR LUXURY|
|$375 – $450||$500 – $600||$600 – $700||$750 – $950||$1,000 $1,150||$1,200 – $1,600|
Tanzania and Kenya Combined
|4-STAR COMFORT||4-STAR LUXURY||5-STAR LUXURY|
|$450||$600||$650 – $1,050||$1,1000 – $1,250||$1,300||$1,900|
IMPORTANT: The prices listed above are merely averages for sharing a room with another person during high and low seasons. They don’t include international travel, visas, or extracurricular activities. Keep in mind that permits, levies, and fees related to conservation could all change. The peak or high season typically lasts between July and October and over Christmas and New Year.
If You’re on a Tight Budget:
Although both nations have fantastic off-season discounts, a safari in Kenya is definitely more affordable. It’s a numbers game: Kenya has promoted itself more aggressively on a global scale, which has resulted in more flights, more lodging options, and more safari enthusiasts (though don’t assume that this implies crowded). Africa is not a location of large hotels with thousands of rooms — a 40-room lodge in Kenya is regarded rare and gigantic! Even then, there won’t be as much traffic as at an intersection in a typical metropolis; the Mara River will be the busiest spot on safari during the Migration).
Your Africa Safari Expert can advise you on how to make the most of your money by selecting appropriate lodging near wildlife areas and possibly forgoing frills like a private pool in favor of an additional day spent game viewing.
If You Want to Splurge
Generally speaking, a safari in Tanzania is more expensive than one in Kenya, particularly if you want to visit extremely exceptional reserves like the Grumeti, Nyerere (Selous), Ruaha, and Mahale. Due to Tanzania’s larger size, transfers by small aircraft are required for practically all travel outside of the Northern Circuit (this is also true if you visit northern Kenya but the distances are shorter).
Best Places to Stay
Walk-in Meru tents, high-tech “space bubbles” at The Highlands Ngorongoro, and opulent suites carved out of the rocks at Saruni Samburu are just a few of the accommodations available in Kenya and Tanzania. Your preferred form of lodging is highly individualized, just like your spending limit, and your Africa Safari Expert can assist you in making your lodging selection.
In both countries, there aren’t many big hotels or resorts, so during the busiest/highest safari season, lodges and camps quickly fill up. Plan your trip at least a year in advance if you wish to go during the middle of the year.
General Tips on Accommodation
- Because there is a long waiting list for accommodations like The Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, which is quite popular, make sure to inquire well in advance (at least a year or more).
- There are just a few inter-leading or family suites available, so make an inquiry as soon as you decide you want to go.
- If you are traveling with young children, opt for a resort that is fenced in rather than one that is unfenced and open to wild animals. View our list of the top 10 family safaris in East Africa.
- If you have unique dietary needs (such as being vegan, kosher, or halal), let your Africa Safari Expert know in advance so they can inform your hosts.
- The guide will often drive and track at most lodges in East Africa, unlike many of those in South Africa. Additionally, cars are frequently “closed” as opposed to “open” like those in Southern Africa.
Our Best Kenya Safari Lodges
Angama Mara Safari Lodge | MASAI MARA, KENYA | From $1,400 per person sharing
Activities travelers enjoyed: Game drives, Local village visits, Guided walking safaris, 4×4 Drives, Bird watching, Guided walks, Hot air ballooning, Picnics
Saruni Samburu | SAMBURU, KENYA | From $500 per person sharing
Activities travelers enjoyed: Bush dining, Cultural Visits, Game drives, Guided walks, Night drives, Bird watching
Governors’ Il Moran Camp | MASAI MARA, KENYA | From $605 per person sharing
Activities travelers enjoyed: Cultural Visits, Day tours, Game drives, Guided walks, Hot air ballooning, Local village visits, Guided walking safaris
Our Best Tanzania Safari Lodges
Sanctuary Kichakani Serengeti Camp | SERENGETI, TANZANIA | From $925 per person sharing
Activities travelers enjoyed: Game drives, Sundowners
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge | NGORONGORO CRATER, TANZANIA | From $1,160 per person sharing
Activities travelers enjoyed: Bird watching, Game drives, Local village visits, Picnics, Live music & entertainment, Bush dining, Cultural Visits, Day tours, Game viewing, Guided walking safaris, Guided walks, Hiking, Spa treatments, Sundowners, Wine tasting
Jabali Ridge | TANZANIA | From $875 per person sharing
Activities travelers enjoyed: 4×4 Drives, Bird watching, Bush dining, Dinner under the stars, Fine dining experience, Full-day safaris, Game drives, Guided walking safaris, Guided walks, Night drives, Photographic safaris (additional cost), Picnics, Private game drives (additional cost), Private guide (additional cost), Private vehicle with driver (additional cost), Spa treatments, Specialist guides, Star gazing, Sundowners, Walking safaris (seasonal), Bush walks.
Big 5 Sightings, The Wildebeest Migration & General Game Viewing
Kenya and Tanzania aren’t Big 5 locations in the same way that South Africa’s Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve and Kruger National Park are. Every safari there nearly always includes seeing rhinos, leopards, lions, buffalo, and elephants; some lucky visitors even get to see them all in one game drive!
In some ways, striving harder to find the Big 5 makes it more satisfying when you do, even though things are a little trickier in Kenya and Tanzania. Rhinos are among the most endangered species on the planet, making it impossible to see these magnificent creatures. The Ngorongoro Crater is the best location in East Africa for dependable Big 5 sightings. The Crater, which is a part of Tanzania’s well-known Northern Circuit, is a very popular location to look for the Big 5. It is home to some 30 000 animals who are protected within its unbroken caldera walls.
Ngorongoro Crater (most reliable)
Lewa (most reliable)
|Elephants Strongholds||(Nyerere) Selous||Amboseli|
|Wildebeest Migration||Serengeti||Masai Mara|
Of course, twice-daily game drives to look for wildlife are the main activity. This is the tried-and-true method of spending a safari day. A national park or a private conservancy or concession, however, may offer amenities like guided hikes, night drives, or hot-air balloon safaris.
|NATIONAL PARK||PRIVATE RESERVE / CONSERVANCY|
|Morning & Afternoon Game Drives||✔||✔|
|Guided Nature Walks||✖||✔|
|Off-road Game Drives||✖||✔|
|Access to National Park||✔||✔|
|Vehicle Limit at Sightings||✖||✔|
|Chimp or Camel Trekking||✖||✔|
In order to view the Wildebeest Migration, go off-road, see crepuscular species, and learn more about the Maasai way of life, consider staying in private portions of the Mara, which have more private conservancies than Tanzania. If you’re eager to expand your safari beyond game drives.
Best Time to Go
|Peak / High Season||June – October (dry winter)||June – October (dry winter)|
|Low / Green Season||November – May||November – May|
|Wildebeest Migration||January – March (calving / birthing season)
May – September / October (river crossings)
|October – December|
|Rainy Seasons||November – December (short rains)
April – May (long rains)
|November – December (short rains)
April – May (long rains)
Tips on When to Book
- Plan your Kenyan or Tanzanian safari at least a year in advance if you want to catch the Wildebeest Migration during its busiest period. Due to the high demand for this activity, there are few places to stay in Tanzania and Kenya along the Mara River.
- You should try to begin preparing around three to six months in ahead for the remainder of the year (more if you have a very specific lodge or camp in mind).
Traveler Types: Best Suited For…
- In general, families with young children choose Kenya since most of the lodges and camps offer family-friendly amenities including private vehicles, kid-friendly activities, and family suites. Kenya still maintains the advantage for family travel, notwithstanding Tanzania’s growth.
- Couples and adventurers have an abundance of options, as both Kenya and Tanzania provide breathtaking honeymoon suites, thrilling excursions like chimp or camel trekking, and superb Migration viewing. Kenya boasts the most private conservation areas, but if you’re ready to spend more, Tanzania provides excellent possibilities.
- Budget-conscious travelers can start with Kenya because it gives exceptional value for their money. However, if Tanzania is where your heart truly lies, don’t lose hope. Instead, be honest with your Africa Safari Expert about your spending limits and travel goals, and let him or her work with you to create a personalized itinerary that checks as many of your travel must-haves as possible.
Ready to Start Planning Your Kenya or Tanzania Safari? – As always, when presented with two equally alluring options, our best suggestion is to speak with a veteran. To create a Kenyan or Tanzanian safari itinerary that fits your needs and price range, get in touch with one of our Africa Safari Experts: