You’ve travelled the world far and wide, took the train from one European capital to the next, steered your scooter along the palm-fringed roads on Bali, road-tripped the USA from the East to the West – all of it organised and run by yourself. Next destination: Tanzania! And you find out you need to book a guided safari and won’t be doing any of the driving or guiding yourself.
Bummer? Far from it!
Here are 4 reasons, why a private guided safari in Tanzania is the best way to experience East Africa.
1. A private guided safari is safe
You may be used to doing the driving yourself. Arrival at the airport, checking in with the trusted rental company of your choice, quick signature, keys and off you go. That most likely won’t be happening in Tanzania. If you are new to this area of the world, there are few rental companies which will trust you with their vehicles to go on safari. The risk is simply too high. Unlike in southern Africa, where self-drive safaris are more common, the driving conditions in East Africa especially within the national parks do not cater for inexperienced safarians. Few road signs, few petrol stations, few options for a plan b and many police road blocks are not the only challenges. Driving on dusty dirt roads may be manageable. Driving on muddy dirt roads – not so much.
Organising and making payment for national park entries is another topic altogether. On a private guided safari on the other hand, all you need to do is hop in the car, lean back – and listen, feel, smell, and experience the adventure.
While this may sound as if a private guided safari is simply the only option, we think it’s in fact simply the best option.
2. A private guided safari gives you access to local knowledge
We believe, a safari is only as good as the guide accompanies you. And for one important reason: their local knowledge is invaluable. Your guide will not only know whether to turn right at the acacia or the duka, but be your window to the local way of life. All our guides grew up in Tanzania and are keen to share their perspective on everyday life with you. On a guided safari in Tanzania you not only pass by a local village, you see it through the eyes of locals.
Possibly even more important: your guide is a qualified safari guide with ample knowledge and experience when it comes to spotting and studying wildlife. You may see a male and a female lion hanging out at the side of the road, while your guide knows you just have to wait a few minutes to see them mate. Your guide will also recognise signs of warning when a buffalo or elephant are not in the mood for visitors. A safari in Tanzania is not a stroll across the Bangkok night market. It’s a venture into the wilderness.
No guide book can provide the level of insight your guide will share with you.
3. A private guided safari remains a private experience
If you’re used to organising and driving your own travels, you may find the thought of a stranger being part of your trip a little unusual. Afterall, you haven’t signed up for a group tour (or have you?), but a romantic honeymoon safari. Not to worry. An experienced guide knows when you want to hear comments and explanations on what’s going on around you and when you simply want to be in the moment and enjoy the silence. And while you can invite your guide to join you for dinner at some of the lodges, the general rule is you will be spending the evening alone enjoying the facilities of the lodge or tented camp while your guide calls it a day as well and rests for the next adventure ahead.
4. A private guided safari turns strangers into friends
Self-driving from one lodge to the next and going on game drives organised by the respective accommodation for the night is an option popular in southern Africa. The advantage of going on a private guided safari on the other hand is exactly that – it’s a private and guided safari. This means, your guide is not only your personal and private guide he is also your driver and accompanies you from the first day to the last. He takes you on every game drive, knowing which animals you have seen, which things you have learnt and what it is you’re still missing to make it the safari you’ve always dreamt of. You get to know each other and it may not be long before you too will say you met as strangers and parted as friends.
If you are from East Africa or have travelled the region extensively, you can do a self-drive safari in Tanzania. If not, we’d suggest you plan your safari of a kind together with our experienced consultants, arrive in Arusha, hop into your guide’s vehicle – and take a break from the world as you know it. Let’s go!