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Tanzania Wildlife

Tanzania offers great opportunities to view the Big Five roaming the savannah plains, it is not uncommon to see cheetah prowling, gazelle grazing, herds of elephant wandering, lions resting atop kopjes and leopard lazing or climbing trees.

Wildlife in the North vs the South

The principal northern and southern wildlife regions cover a vast range of destinations, each of which has its own unique wildlife and ecosystems.

The southern region offers more remote and unspoiled safari terrain and is much less frequented, whilst the northern circuit is busier but still has some great wildlife. The Southern Circuit includes the Selous Game Reserve and is one of the few areas you can explore on foot, offering the chance to view wild dogs, wildebeest, hippos, over 70,000 elephants, zebra and predators in their natural habitat. In the wilds of the west, Katavi is one of the least visited parks yet boasts some of the largest populations of crocodiles and hippos, while lion and leopard feed from the huge herds of herbivores.

In the north, the likelihood of spotting Big Five game, crocodiles, hippo, zebra and giraffe is strong in the renowned National Parks of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire.

The Serengeti is perfect for the quintessential landscapes of Africa; golden plains that teem with life of the numerous resident animals that one associates with Africa. Here you can also find the Great Migration for a majority of the year, where millions of wildebeest traverse the plains with predators such as lions, leopards, hyenas and crocodiles in hot pursuit.

The Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking volcanic caldera that contains its own unique ecosystem and this animal sanctuary literally throngs with a staggering variety of wildlife, including buffalo, wildebeest, endangered black rhino, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, elephant and lions.


Tanzania is famous for the annual wildebeest migration, where over a million wildebeests, along with thousands of zebras and gazelles, migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya. Visitors to Tanzania can witness this incredible spectacle in several national parks, including Serengeti National Park.

TAN St Tanzania Lake Manyara Flamingo Shutterstock Tonyzhao120


The Serengeti is home to the largest population of cheetahs in the world, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 live there. They have adapted to the open plains and grasslands where they use incredible speed to chase their prey and their distinctive spotted coats help them blend in with the savannah. They face competition from predators such as lions and hyenas. The Serengeti Cheetah Project (SCP) tracks the population and has a database of all cheetah encounters in the Serengeti plains since 1975 and this information is vital to what we know about wild cheetahs.


In the stunningly beautiful areas of Mahale and Gombe, the rainforest-clad slopes are home to some of the oldest habituated chimpanzee troops in Africa. Trekking through the forests to track these familiar-looking distant relatives is one of the highlights of a wildlife holiday in Tanzania and can range between 1 to 4 hours, awaiting the upshot of a monkey hunt or the pant hoots of their frenetic communication is worth the tiring trek.

The Masai Giraffe

The national animal of Tanzania, also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies of giraffe and one of the most easily recognisable animals. Using their long tongues to reach between thorns, they will find and eat large amounts of leaves, flowers, fruits and twigs, feeding for 16-20 hours each day. They can be found in several national parks such as Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park, and Lake Manyara National Park.

Tanzania Birdlife

Tanzania is famous for its national parks and conservation areas like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and the various parks in the Eastern Arc Mountains, which provide excellent opportunities for birdwatching. The country is home to over 1,100 bird species, making it one of Africa's premier birdwatching destinations. Whether you're a seasoned birder or a novice, Tanzania offers a wide range of avian biodiversity to explore and appreciate.

Some highlights include the Secretary Bird - a striking and unmistakable bird of prey known for its long legs and crest of quills, often found in savannas. The superb starling is known for its iridescent plumage and is found in savanna and woodland areas and the grey-crowned crane has a crown of golden feathers, often seen in grasslands and wetlands. You can find the yellow-billed stork wading through the rivers or wetlands with a distinctive yellow bill, and th iconic bird of prey the African Fish Eagle is often seen near lakes and rivers, where it hunts for fish.