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  • Writer's pictureBecca Jackson

Want to know what safari is like in Tanzanian? You'll have a lion of a time!

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

After our incredible journey to the Roof of Africa, we set off on a 4 day safari across the Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater. Again, we chose Pristine Trails to guide us on this adventure and we are so glad we did.

If you are planning a safari read here about how to choose the tour company and type of safari for you.

Giraffe sticking it's tongue out

A personal experience of a Tanzanian Safari

Day 1

We were picked up from our hotel in Moshi by our guide, who was aptly named Kili, at 7.30am. He drove us in the pop top Landcruiser that was to be our safari vehicle for the next 4 days, towards Tarangire National Park. The journey took about 4.5 hours including a few toilet and supplies stops.

Pristine Trails Toyota Land Cruiser for safari
Our wheels for safari

At the park entrance we were given packed lunches to enjoy in the picnic area, but we had to be very careful as there were lots of naughty monkeys who were taking every opportunity to steal our food!

After lunch Kili popped up the roof and we entered the park for our first game drive. We had an amazing afternoon seeing zebra, giraffe, baboons, elephants, mongoose, ostrich and lots of beautiful birds. The highlights of the day had to be a cheetah sighting and mating lions!

Upon leaving the park we had an hour and a half drive to our camp for the night. This camp was actually a permanent site and although we were staying in tents they were made of thick canvas, housed under a covered structure and contained a small wooden bed for each of us to sleep on. A toilet block provided hot showers and toilets.

Dinner was prepared by our chef, George, and served in a covered wooden dining area and featured delicious soup, BBQ goat meat and roasted potatoes, all washed down with a local, quite sweet wine.

Day 2

At 8am the next morning we were served a tasty breakfast of sausage, eggs, toast and pancakes. To allow more space in the vehicle we were asked to leave the majority of our belongings at this camp, where they would be stored safely in the office, and just take what we needed for the next 3 days.

From camp we drove to Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area (it is not classed as a National Park as the Maasai people are permitted to live on the crater rim, although not in the crater itself). We drove for a couple of hours before stopping at tomorrow nights’ camp where the guide dropped off a few things to make even more room in the vehicle. Another couple of hours along the crater rim from here to a similar picnic area to yesterday, where George served up a feast he had pre-prepared this morning before setting off. Chicken in a vegetable sauce, rice and salad. At today’s lunch we were watched by the beady eyes of lots of very colourful starlings, much more exotic looking than the starlings we get in the UK and thankful a lot less cheeky than the monkeys.

Tasty safari lunch out with Pristine Trails
Tasty safari lunch

After lunch we walked to a nearby lookout point and marvelled at the extremely vast plains of the Serengeti.

Back at the vehicle we drove into the Serengeti to tonight’s camp to drop off George and our luggage. On the way we were lucky enough to come across two cheetahs stalking a herd of Impala; they were spotted though and the Impala took off across the plain and the quest was over for now for the cheetahs. By the time we left camp again it was already 4pm and we had to be back out of the park by 6pm but it ended up being the most fabulous 2 hours! We saw warthogs, a big family of elephants very close by with a tiny baby among them, hippos and a very large pride of lions that walked right past our vehicle. One of the female lions started to stalk a giraffe; now I know it is only natural and we were keen to see some action but I love giraffe so this is not quite the action I wanted to see! Kili was laughing at us when we were urging the giraffe to run, saying “it is nature, it is nature”.

At camp that evening dinner was an incredible beef in coconut sauce, served with potatoes and vegetables and a bottle of sweet white wine.

Hippo returning after a night of feeding
Hippo returning after a night of feeding

Day 3

We had a really early start today, having a quick hot drink and then heading straight out for a game drive at 5.30am. Generally, animals are more active outside the heat of the day so early morning is usually a good time to spot them. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for us this morning, we didn’t see an abundance of animals or any kills however we did see a Leopard! It was amazing, it stalked through the long grass making it difficult to keep your eyes on it but suddenly jumped high into the air among a flurry of guinea fowl. It didn’t manage to catch one and slinked off into the undergrowth.

We stopped at a hippo pool where it was considered safe enough to get out the vehicle and watch from a viewing platform. Apparently hippos stay in the water during the heat of the day to stop their skin cracking but we did see a couple of late comers lumbering their way into the pool after a night of grazing.

Dik-diks, mongoose a jackals rounded up our morning’s game drive.

Back at camp brunch was served; chicken pizza, roast potatoes and salad. Once again George had done a wonderful job. At midday we were packed up and loaded back into the vehicle where we headed back to Simba camp which we had briefly stopped at the day before. The drive was pretty rough as we had rain in the night and the tracks were really corrugated. Kili called it an African massage!

Facilities at this camp were basic but we still enjoyed much needed warm showers as the dust in the park was bad. The rest of the afternoon was spent enjoying the sunshine and some beers we had bought on the way out of Mosh, that Kili had kindly kept cold in his plug-in cool box in the vehicle.

Dinner was chicken curry, rice and salad, tasty as always.

Day 4

An early start again but breakfast before we set off as we had a long day ahead of us; a game drive through the Ngorongoro Crater and the drive back to Arusha. It was a cold, damp morning and the visibility was really poor due to a low hanging fog. Kili assured us that the visibility would be better when we dropped down into the crater, which it was, but sadly still cold and damp!

I must admit I had expected the crater to be more densely populated that it appeared. Don’t get me wrong, it is a huge expanse, 8,292 km squared, but I had wrongly expected it to be teaming with animals everywhere we looked! We did however see a lot of animals; hippos, lions, hyena, a caracal cat (which is rare to see as they are nocturnal), and a huge bull elephant that got a little too close for comfort!

Lone bull elephant in Ngorongoro cCater
Lone bull elephant in Ngorongoro crater

Our permits meant we had to be out of the park by 1pm so we collected George and our belonging from camp and Kili floored it out of there! A stop at the camp from the first night to collect our other bags and then onto a tourist museum/shop where George served up his final delight on the picnic tables outside.

A final hours’ drive to our hostel in Arusha where we thanked George, our incredible chef, and Kili, our funny, informative guide. It has been such an incredible experience and we only wished we had had the budget for it to go on longer.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom though as our next stop was the beautiful island of Zanzibar.


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