Tanzania luxury travel guide

Tanzania luxury vacations guide


2 MINUTE SUMMARY

While Kenya brims with a pick ‘n’ mix of visitor options to suit every pocket, tourism in Tanzania has developed more thoughtfully, with fewer cheap packages and more personalised experiences. It’s a largely undeveloped country, huge enough to keep some corners off the tourist trail, but it can also serve up its most famous attractions in high style. The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, the Maasai, Zanzibar and the Great Migration, which roams across the northern plains throughout the year, can all be experienced the luxury way, with private guides, comfy vehicles, domestic flights and deluxe accommodation. Intrepid, independent travelers might blanch at bolting all this comfort onto a travel experience, but luxury in Tanzania doesn’t have to be about pointless, pricey pampering. Unique wildlife experiences, speedy access to remote parks and islands, and the best environmentally-friendly lodges are what a bigger budget buys, along with the sun-downers and soft sheets, of course.

Our Tanzania luxury travel guide reveals more…

Best time to visit Tanzania


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

The best time to take a luxury vacation to Tanzania is outside the rainy season. Rains fall Mar-May and can ruin a beach experience, causing poor visibility for diving, and spotting wildlife is harder as animals disperse. Many lodges in the south close, too. Dry Jul-Aug are peak months, with the Great Migration in full swing and mild temperatures, but can be really busy. To escape the crowds, come in Jun or Sep, when the Mara river crossing is still happening; or head to the south, which is never crowded. Nov-Mar is best for snorkelling with whale sharks; Apr-Sep is when green turtles hatch along the coast.

Why choose a luxury vacation in Tanzania?


The difference between a budget and a luxury trip to Tanzania can be as much as £3,000 per person, but does a bigger price tag bring tangible benefits? In terms of ease of travel and seeing some truly spectacular, remote corners of this vast country, then yes. Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park are far off the beaten track in the south, with only a handful of lodges, and they’re best reached by an internal flight. All this pushes up the price tag, but their remoteness and exclusivity means you’ll have the impressive wildlife pretty much to yourself. When it comes to accommodation and optional activities, though, paying the luxury full-whack is simply a matter of choice, but if you have the budget and want an unforgettable, supremely comfortable experience, Tanzania will happily deliver.

Accommodation


Although a couple of Tanzania’s lodges regularly feature in Top 10 lists of the most exclusive places to stay in Africa, there is accommodation to suit the less affluent traveler. Affordable trips tend to rely on overland travel, though, and staying at National Parks Board-run campsites, which can be poorly maintained, or wild camping sans facilities, so you’ll be doing your own cooking and washing up, too!
A luxury trip, on the other hand, will include some seriously gorgeous accommodation. On safari, most upmarket lodges offer the kind of comfort that is extremely welcome after days out on dusty, bumpy game drives. Think unlimited hot and cold water in ensuite bathrooms, wonderful cuisine and solar powered electricity. There are often extras such as a bar and health spa, too, with services such as same day laundry available. You’ll be paying for the compact and bijou size of the lodge, too, and for the location, which often allows for game viewing from the comfort of your private terrace. On Zanzibar and the Mafia archipelago, going luxe scores you your own castaway fantasy tree house or eco lodge with private beach!

While many lodges emphasise superior service and campfire hospitality as their luxury offer, others go big on modern conveniences and decadent interior design. It may be impressive that trucks with WiFi now roam the Serengeti and lodges boasting brocade sofas, gilt mirrors and beaded chandeliers sit on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, but this level of luxury can feel a bit artificial and distracting. Rooms featuring grand pianos and copper baths on the veranda may be the height of decadence, but they can also seem wildly out of context. Be sure to shop around for the brand of luxury that best suits your sensibilities, as well as your budget.

Responsible tourism


There is no need to leave your responsible tourism concerns back home when you opt for a premium vacation in Tanzania. Many luxury hotels and lodges boast impressive environmental and social credentials, from employing Maasai guides and investing in local schools and clinics, to tree planting and other environmental projects. For many responsible travelers, enjoying a luxury experience is only justifiable if it brings genuine benefits to the community and wider environment, too. Happily, Tanzania caters to this ambition.

Options


A luxury tour gives you the freedom and flexibility to tailor make your Tanzania vacation, spending as much time as you like in each destination, perhaps with the benefit of a dedicated driver or guide for a truly personal experience. In the parks and reserves, walking safaris and the chance to spend a night fly camping in the bush are available, but the menu of optional activities doesn’t stop there. Choose to take a spice tour of Stone Town in Zanzibar, an ethno-botanical guided walk, hot air balloon rides, horse riding, helicopter flights, visits to local communities or mountain biking.
Photo credits: [Topbox: Ben & Gab] [Tempchart: Justin Raycraft] [Accommodation: Roderick Eime] [RT: nh53] [Helpdesk: Sankara Subramanian]

Written by: Joanna Simmons
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