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Tanzania 5 day Safari - Serengeti National Park

A 5 day safari adventure in Tanzania is an immersive journey into the heart of Africa’s natural wonders, providing an opportunity to witness the untamed beauty of the wild.

From the sprawling plains of the Serengeti to the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the country’s national parks are a must-visit nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Tanzania offers an unparalleled safari experience, boasting diverse landscapes and extraordinary wildlife encounters.

We spent 5 days exploring the allure of Tarangire National Park, the majestic Serengeti, and the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater on our Tanzanian safari with Joagro Safaris Tanzania. We were lucky enough to see the Big 5 (Leopard, African lion, African buffalo, African elephant, Black rhino)!

If you’re hoping to see the Big 5, I don’t recommend a safari shorter than 4 or 5 days. 4 days or longer will give you a better chance of spotting each and every animal!

Tanzania 5 day Safari (11) - Serengeti National Park
Tanzania 5 day Safari (18) - Joagro Safaris

Types of Safaris

There are countless options for budget, mid-range, and luxury safaris

Budget safaris

Provide affordable options without compromising adventure. This type of safari will typically involve sleeping in a tent.

Mid-range safaris

Combine accessibility and comfort, offering a balance between cost and experience. Mid-range safaris usually include sleeping in a nice lodge or mid-luxury camp.

Luxury safaris

A luxuy safari indulges guests, boasting lavish accommodations and exclusive wildlife encounters. This experience usually comes with a hefty price tag.

Each safari type caters to different preferences and budgets. It will be an unforgettable adventure regardless of which safari style you choose. The main distinctions in price lie in the accommodations, amenities, and additional experiences available, allowing travelers to select the perfect safari that aligns with their expectations and financial considerations.

We chose to go on a mid-range safari and had the perfect experience! The accomodation was incredible, the food was delicious, and it was a comfortable experience.

In the future, we do hope to stay at the iconic luxury Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, for an ultimate bucket list experience though. If you have the budget, you should 100% stay here!

Tanzania 5 day Safari - elephant in serengeti
Tanzania 5 day Safari - hippos in serengeti national park

Planning Your Safari

While it is possible to plan a safari on your own, it is much easier and more convenient to book through a reputable (preferably Tanzanian owned) safari company.

When it comes to crafting a personalized and memorable wildlife safari adventure, Joagro Safaris Tanzania was our top choice!

The owner’s (Jonas) expertise in tailoring safari itineraries to suit individual preferences ensures an unforgettable journey through the awe-inspiring landscapes and diverse wildlife of Tanzania.

From the moment we contacted Joagro Safaris to help plan our 5 day safari in Tanzania, we knew we were in good hands. Jonas’ dedication to understanding our interests and preferences translated into a thoughtfully curated plan that exceeded all of our expectations.

With Joagro Safaris, each detail of the safari, from accommodations to the best wildlife sightings, was carefully considered and seamlessly arranged. Leaving us with no stress and only excitement about our safari experience!

Creating Your Perfect Safari Itinerary

  • Prioritize the iconic destinations: Tarangire National Park, known for its large elephant herds; Serengeti National Park, renowned for the Great Migration and predator sightings; and Ngorongoro Crater, a natural amphitheater brimming with remarkable biodiversity.
  • Make sure to allocate ample time at each location to fully appreciate the distinctive experiences they offer.
  • Factor in cultural interactions, such as visiting a Maasai tribe, to enrich your itinerary with authentic experiences.

Where to Stay Before and After Your Safari

Many of the safari tours in Tanzania start and end in a city called Arusha. We flew into Arusha the day before our tour started and flew out one day after.

There are countless hotels to stay at in Arusha, but we went with New Safari Hotel. It was affordable ($80/night), convenient to the city center and was pretty basic, but had everything we needed for a quick stay.

The hotel also ended up being super close to the Joagro Safaris office, so we were able to meet with Jonas the night before and discuss more details about our safari plan.

Other hotels to consider in Arusha:

  • Four Points by Sheraton Arusha ($$)
  • Gran Melia Arusha ($$$)
tanzania 5 day safari - Kilimanjaro International Airport
tanzania 5 day safari - Arusha

Tarangire National Park

After a 5 am wake up call, we set off on an adventure to our first stop on the safari – Tarangire National Park.

Its iconic baobab trees, colossal and ancient, create a surreal backdrop for the diverse wildlife that roam the area.

Mighty elephants and baby elephants (when I saw a baby elephant for the first time, I cried) gracefully move through the landscape. We also saw zebras, gazelles, lions, and so much more.

The park also boasts vibrant birdlife, making it a haven for birdwatchers.

What sets Tarangire apart is the river that winds through the park, attracting an impressive array of animals, from wildebeests to lions, offering some of the most thrilling wildlife encounters.

Tanzania 5 day Safari - Tarangire National Park
tanzania 5 day safari (26) - zebras in tarangire national park

Where to Stay near Tarangire National Park

All of our accommodation was booked by our safari tour company – Joagro Safaris. We stayed at the lovely Pamoja Farm Lodge after our day in Tarangire.

Pamoja Farm Lodge is a unique eco-lodge located near the town of Karatu. The luxury lodge is set on a working farm, providing guests with an authentic farm experience amidst stunning natural surroundings.

Accommodation at Pamoja Farm Lodge is in beautifully designed cottages, each with its own unique charm and character. The cottages are built using locally sourced materials and blend seamlessly with the natural environment.

Each room is equipped with comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, and private verandas offering panoramic views of the farm and surrounding landscapes.

For us the main highlights of staying at Pamoja Farm Lodge were:

  • The opportunity to explore the farm and learn about sustainable agriculture practices
  • A swimming pool
  • Delicious food
  • Incredible service
Tanzania 5 day safari - Pamoja Farm Lodge
tanzania 5 day safari - pamoja farm lodge

Serengeti National Park

This national park had been on the top of my bucket list for as long as I can remember! It lived up to every expectation and more.

Serengeti National Park is by far one of the most iconic safari destinations in the world. It is known for its expansive plains, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking natural scenery.

The park is most famous for the annual Great Migration, a spectacular event where millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other animals cross the Serengeti in search of fresh grazing grounds. This remarkable phenomenon is considered one of the world’s most magnificent wildlife displays.

Apart from the Great Migration, Serengeti National Park boasts a thriving wildlife population year-round.

It is home to a remarkable array of predators, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas. You can also witness large herds of elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and various antelope species roaming the park.

We spent two days exploring the park and were lucky enough to see all of the animals listed above. There’s something so incredibly special about finding these incredible creatures in their natural habitats.

Tanzania 5 day Safari - lions in Serengeti National Park
Tanzania 5 day Safari - cheetah in Serengeti National Park

Where to Stay in Serengeti National Park

We had the opportunity to stay the night in the middle of the Serengeti at Kontiki Africa Serengeti Camp. This is definitely a bucket list experience and you should ensure you have at least one night staying in the park!

Kontiki Serengeti Camp is a luxury tented camp located in the heart of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The camp is designed to offer guests an authentic safari experience while providing modern comforts and amenities.

Accommodation at Kontiki Serengeti Camp consists of spacious luxury tents, each with en-suite bathrooms, comfortable beds, and verandas overlooking the surrounding wilderness. The camp offers a blend of traditional African decor and modern design, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere for guests to relax after a day of safari adventures.

One of the highlights of staying at Kontiki Serengeti Camp is the opportunity to witness nature throughout the evening. While we were enjoying our delicious dinner and a bottle of wine, 8 lions walked by only 10-15 meters away from our table! We heard lots of animals and movement outside of our tent during the night as well.

The experience of staying at Kontiki Africa Serengeti Camp is unparalleled, as we found ourselves amidst the untamed beauty of the Serengeti National Park. A night under the stars, surrounded by the wild, offered us an experience we will never forget! This way by far our favorite place we stayed on our 5 day Tanzania safari.

If you’re on your honeymoon or have a larger budget, opt to stay at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge! It is one of the most phenomal hotels in the world.

Tanzania 5 day Safari - Kontiki Serengeti Camp
tanzania 5 day safari - kontiki serengeti wild camp

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Formed by the collapse of a volcano millions of years ago, the crater is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

The crater is renowned for its stunning landscapes and incredible biodiversity. The crater floor is home to a vast array of wildlife, including the “Big Five”, making it one of the best places in Africa to see these iconic animals in their natural habitat.

We were able to find 4 of the big 5 during our safaris in Tarangire and Serengeti, but we were still searching for a rhino up until our last moments of the safari. Just as we were about to give up and accept defeat (haha) we saw a black rhino! Ngorongoro Crater is a wonderful place to see an abundance of all sorts of wildlife.

In addition to the Big Five, the Ngorongoro Crater is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including cheetahs, hyenas, wildebeest, zebras, and more. The crater’s diverse habitats support a rich array of plant and birdlife.

Tanzania 5 day Safari - Ngorongoro Crater
tanzania 5 day safari - ngorongoro crater

Where to Stay near Ngorongoro Crater

The final night of our safari, we stayed at Ngorongoro Wild Camp. It’s a charming tented camp located on the outskirts of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Accommodation at Ngorongoro Wild Camp consists of spacious and comfortable safari-style tents, with bathrooms, cozy beds, and private verandas.

The camp’s tents are facing the bush and allow for perfect views of the animals crossing by. We saw tons of zebras eating right from our veranda! Every evening there are sundowner cocktails and a group walk to watch the sunset.

tanzania 5 day safari - ngorongoro wild camp
tanzania 5 day safari (46) - ngorongoro wild camp

Visiting a Maasai Tribe

After we finished our morning safari in Ngorongoro Crater, we started the long drive back to Arusha. On the way, we made a stop to visit a Maasai Tribe. In my opinion, this is an absolute must on a trip to Tanzania!

The experience was incredibly enriching as we were warmly welcomed into their village. We observed their daily activities, such as making fire and crafting jewelry, gaining a deeper understanding of their traditional way of life.

Javi had the unique opportunity to participate in their customary high-jumping ritual, which holds immense cultural significance. Witnessing their dance and songs, adorned in vibrant attire, provided an authentic glimpse into their customs and heritage.

tanzania 5 day safari - maasai tribe
tanzania 5 day safari - maasai woman
tanzania 5 day safari - maasai tribe

Continuing the Adventure: From Safari to Zanzibar

After we finished our 5 day Tanzania safari, we were dropped off at our hotel in Arusha and got some quick rest before heading to the airport to catch a plane to Zanzibar.

Zanzibar is the ideal place to relax in paradise after an adventurous safari. If you have a few extra days, this is truly the perfect end to your time in Tanzania!

We stayed for 1 week in Zanzibar and had the best time. There are tons of great beaches, snorkeling spots, and things to do in Zanzibar.

Embracing the tranquil turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and historical charm of Stone Town, Zanzibar offers a rejuvenating escape that complements the exhilaration of the safari experience.

zanzibar
zanzibar

Vaccinations and Malaria Pills

Don’t forget to talk with your doctor or visit a travel clinic before your trip! Ensuring that necessary vaccinations are up to date is essential for a worry-free trip.

Additionally, taking Malaria pills as a preventive measure is highly recommended to safeguard against the risk of Malaria in the region.

We took Malarone (Atovaquone / Proguanil). This is one of the most expensive options, but with the least side effects in our personal experience. There are some generic brands you can opt for instead to save some money.

Both of us were already vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Tetanus shots before the trip.

tanzania 5 day safari (35)

What to Pack for a Safari in Tanzania

Here’s a snippet from my ultimate Tanzania safari packing list

  • Sturdy, comfortable walking shoes for safari walks and hikes.
  • Wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for sun protection during daytime activities.
  • A good pair of binoculars for wildlife spotting and observing distant animals.
  • Sunscreen with high SPF and insect repellent to protect against sunburn and insect bites.
  • A camera with extra batteries and memory cards
  • A small backpack for day trips to carry essentials like water, snacks, and personal items.
  • Lightweight, waterproof jacket for unexpected weather changes and cooler evenings.
  • Personal medications, including Malaria pills if recommended by a healthcare professional.
tanzania 5 day safari - maasai tribe at serengeti
tanzania 5 day safari - ngorongoro crater

When is the best time for a safari in Tanzania?

The best time to visit Tanzania for a safari is during the dry season, from June to October. This period offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, as the animals gather around water sources, making them easier to spot.

The weather is normally pleasant with clear skies, ensuring optimal visibility and photography conditions.

If witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti is a priority, consider visiting from late June to September, when millions of wildebeests and zebras traverse the plains in search of greener pastures.

For bird enthusiasts, the wet season from November to May presents a unique spectacle with an influx of migratory bird species.

It’s important to note that the wet season may involve occasional showers and lush landscapes, yet it offers pristine greenery and fewer crowds.

We opted to take our safari in early July and had no rain and perfect temperatures!

Tanzania 5 day Safari - tree in serengeti national park
Tanzania 5 day Safari - giraffe in serengeti national park

Budget + Safari Costs (for a 5 day safari in Tanzania)

For a mid-range Tanzania 5 day safari like the one we embarked on, the approximate cost was around $1,400 per person.

This price included comfortable accommodations, park entry fees, meals, a knowledgeable guide, and an immersive wildlife experience.

The cost of your safari will vary greatly based on the season of travel, budget, and any specific add-on experiences or upgrades (like hot air balloon safaris).

Average cost of a 5-day Tanzania safari by type –

Budget safari – $950/per person (for a shared tour with camping)

Mid-range safari – $1,600/per person (for a private tour with lodges and tented camps)

Luxury safari – $2,500+/per person (for a private tour with luxury lodges and hotels)

tanzania 5 day safari (34) - words in swahili
tanzania 5 day safari - kontiki serengeti camp

What is the food like on a Tanzania safari?

Generally, during our safari, we found the food to be much better than we expected.

From hearty breakfasts with a breathtaking view of the African landscape to delectable dinners with a bottle of wine, the meals were a memorable part of the whole experience.

The mid-day picnic lunches were a bit of a let-down, but we didn’t mind too much since the breakfast and dinner buffets were quite filling.

We especially loved the traditional Swahili dishes packed with exotic spices and sauces!

tanzania 5 day safari (32) - food

Safari Photography Tips

My #1 safari photography tip is to ensure that you have a super long lens – at least 200mm or more. If you don’t own a long lens and you live in the USA, you can affordably rent one from somewhere like BorrowLenses.

  • Ensure your camera settings are optimized for safari conditions, with a fast shutter speed to capture moving subjects and a lower aperture for stunning depth of field in landscape shots
  • Bring a tripod to help you stay super still and get crisp shots
  • Utilize the golden hours of sunrise and sunset for the most magical lighting, adding a warm glow to your photographs
  • Patience is key – take time to observe animal behavior and movement patterns to anticipate captivating shots
  • Avoid using a flash to respect the animals and rely on natural lighting
  • Experiment with different angles and perspectives to add a unique touch to your safari photos
  • Drones are not allowed in any of the national parks
tanzania 5 day safari photography
Tanzania 5 day Safari - elephant in serengeti national park

The Impact of Safari on Local Communities

Responsible safari operators, such as Joagro Safaris, prioritize sustainable practices and ethical engagement with local residents.

We urge you to choose a Tanzanian-owned reputable safari company, to ensure that your safari experience benefits the locals.

This support can help locals by providing employment opportunities and community development initiatives.

The positive influence of safari tourism extends beyond wildlife encounters, empowering local populations and fostering a sense of pride in their heritage and environment.

As travelers, it’s essential to recognize the impact of our choices and seek out operators committed to ethical and sustainable tourism. This ultimately contributes to the well-being of local communities and the preservation of Tanzania’s natural beauty for years to come!

Tanzania 5 day Safari (20) - Joagro Safaris
tanzania 5 day safari (49) - maasai tribe

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Hi! I'm Carrie Salter, a travel blogger originally from the USA, but now traveling and living abroad full time. I share travel guides, travel tips, and inspiration from around the world!

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