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Top 5 Best Tanzania Itinerary Ideas

It’s no exaggeration to say that Tanzania is probably the world’s most alluring safari destination. So much so that first-time visitors planning a Tanzania itinerary can find the options bewildering. Serengeti National Park and its famous wildebeest migration dominate the popular Northern safari circuit, while the vast Nyerere (Selous) and Ruaha National Parks are highlights of the wilder Southern circuit. Other tempting landmarks include snowcapped Mt Kilimanjaro, the sultry island of Zanzibar and the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater. Here we help you get your head around a few recommended Tanzania itineraries and some popular variations on them.

1. Ol Pejeta Conservancy

If you want to see the rarest large animal on Earth, then central Kenya’s superb Ol Pejeta is the place to come. The conservancy is home to the last two northern white rhinos on the planet. Unfortunately, both are female, which makes this creature functionally extinct. Ol Pejeta also contains the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, which houses around 40 rescued chimps.

2. Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

Encompassing forests, mountains, rivers and grasslands, the roughly 100km²/39mi² Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary lines up against the vast Tsavo West National Park and is a vital biodiversity hot spot. As well as classic game drives, there are dedicated bird-watching safaris and conservation programs that guests can join.

3. Mara North Conservancy

This is Africa as you always imagined it. Much of the vast Mara North Conservancy, which curls around the northwest of the Masai Mara National Reserve, consists of gently rolling grasslands packed full with wildlife. The Mara River, site of the famed wildebeest river crossings, stakes out the conservancy’s western boundary, making this a natural place to go when the wildebeest flood in and out of Kenya.

4. Naboisho Conservancy

Naboisho Conservancy, which covers more than 200km²/77mi², is one of the most celebrated of the Masai Mara–area conservancies. It’s known for having one of the densest populations of lions in Africa (as well as all the other cats). The landscape ranges from wide-open grasslands to light bush, both of which attract plenty of elephants. There are lots of activities on offer here, including walking and bush-camping safaris, that cannot be done in the nearby national reserve. Naboisho runs a highly regarded community-development program.

5. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

This is the original Kenyan conservancy and probably the most famous. Lewa was once a large cattle ranch that was converted to wildlife conservation. It continues to lead the way in the conservancy field. The landscapes of Lewa, which are overlooked by Mt Kenya, are archetypal East Africa and the conservancy is home to all of the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino).

6. Sera Conservancy

The sunburned acacia scrublands of the far north of Kenya were once home to a thriving population of black rhino, but by the turn of the 20th century these had all been wiped out by poachers. Today though, the rhinos are back, having been recently reintroduced to the remote Sera Conservancy. The highlight of a visit to Sera is tracking rhinos on foot! Yes, you read that right. This is the only place in Kenya where you can do so.

7. Namunyak Conservancy

Namunyak Conservancy covers a vast area of northern Kenya. The core focus of this Kenyan conservancy are the hot, elephant-filled scrublands north of Samburu National Reserve and the densely forested, jungle-like Matthews Range. Due to the way these mountains rise up out of the searing semi-desert, scientists have described them as ‘sky islands’.

8. Nashulai Maasai Conservancy

The first in a new breed of wildlife conservancy in Kenya, the award-winning Nashulai Maasai Conservancy safeguards a key parcel of wildlife-rich landscape fringing the Masai Mara National Reserve. Nashulai is the first conservancy to be created, governed and managed by the Maasai. Unusually, when the conservancy was created, the local people remained in their homes and on their land and were encouraged to live in harmony with the wildlife.

Visitors to Nashulai will find a strong focus on community activities and walking safaris, but there is plentiful wildlife as well. The somewhat bushy and wooded terrain is especially popular with elephant and buffalo, while the remote open plains in the west of the conservancy host the Loita wildebeest (as opposed to those that migrate into the Mara from the Serengeti), who come here in February and March to give birth. The variety of habitats here also makes this conservancy exceptionally good for bird watching, and specialist bird guides are available.

9. Ol Kinyei Conservancy

Ol Kinyei was the first conservancy created in the Masai Mara region and is a partnership between Gamewatchers Safaris and Porini Camps, and local landowners. Over the years Ol Kinyei has won many awards thanks to its forward-looking attitude that combines wildlife conservation with community development. The rolling hills here have great concentrations of buffalo, giraffe and wildebeest, and there’s also a healthy lion population. You have to be a guest of a Porini camp to visit, but, unusually for a conservancy, it also caters for mid-range travelers.

10. Borana Conservancy

Borana is considered one of Kenya’s finest conservancies. What started as a private cattle ranch has grown into a successful 130km²/50mi² conservation area. It now teems with wildlife, including a substantial black rhino population and many elephants. The conservancy has a very impressive community-development angle supporting a number of education and health projects.

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