Though going on a safari in Tanzania as a guest of Shadows of Africa was one HUGE bucket list check, there were also a number of mini checks during this incredible four day adventure.
Bucket List of 15 Things to Do on Safari in Tanzania
1. SPOT THE BIG FIVE
If you are traveling all the way to Africa for an African safari there is little doubt that one of the things you will want to do is spot the Big Five, the five animals that are said to be the hardest to hunt on foot. This highly coveted group includes the African elephant, leopard, lion, Cape buffalo and the every so elusive rhino.
Read about my experience: Spot the Big Five on an African Safari
2. WITNESS THE WILDEBEEST MIGRATION
The annual wildebeest migration is where herds of the animals migrate from Serengeti National Park to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. With the number of wildebeest estimating at over 1 million, plus hundreds of thousands of other animals, this immense movement is powerful and the singular reason many travelers go on an African Safari in Tanzania.
More Information: Serengeti Wildebeest Migration month to month map
photo by brian scott
3. SEE A KNEELING WARTHOG
Warthogs are an easy find while on safari in Tanzania, but during my four days I only saw one that was kneeling on its front legs. This position is used for eating grasses on the low ground, because their necks are short and legs are long. They have adapted nicely by creating calloused kneepads.
4. GO BIRDWATCHING
One of the most surprising things on my African safari was the incredible variety of birds that can be seen. With over 1000 species, some you may be able to spot are the Grey Crowned Crane, Malachite Kingfisher, Red-and-Yellow Barbet, Nubian Woodpecker. I had never understood why people would be bird watching hobbyists until traveling to Tanzania.
Get inspiration to create your own Tanzania bird bucket list: Birds of Tanzania
5. TAKE YOU SAFARI INTO THE SKY ON A HOT AIR BALLOON
Can you imagine viewing the vastness of Serengeti in a hot air balloon? Serengeti Balloon Safaris will have you floating high in the sky where you can witness wildlife from a completely different perspective.
6. PARTICIPATE IN THE MAASAI TRIBE WELCOME DANCE
During my safari with Shadows of Africa, we were taken to visit a maasai tribe. We were immediately welcomed by the residents with a lively dance, which consisted of chanting in combination with the men jumping high and the women performing in a rhythmic bouncing motion. I was brought into the center of the group to participate into this tradition.
Read about my experience: Visit a Maasai Tribe in Tanzania, Africa
7. SEE A HIPPO POOL
You will probably stumble upon a hippopotamus or two on your safari game drive, but what is more unique is to see a cluster of active hippos sloshing about in the water. At the Hippo Pool in Central Serengeti it’s possible to encounter up to an impressive 200.
8. STAND IN NGORONGORO CRATER
Ngorongoro crater is not only a great place to spot the big five and interact with the Maasai people, but you also have the opportunity to stand in a crater(so it really is worthwhile going to the ngorongoro crater). Make sure there are no animals lurking close by and do it at your own risk, but now I can check “Stand in a Crater” off my bucket list.
9. GO GLAMPING IN SERENGETI
After a long, dusty day on safari in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, we were booked at Osupuko Camps for a luxury camping experience, a night of glamping. It is miles away from any other camps, out in the wilderness where the wildlife run…wild. But, if you must camp, glamping is the way to go.
Read about my glamping experience: Go Glamping in the Center of Africa’s Serengeti
10. STARE INTO THE EYES OF A LONG TUSKED ELEPHANT
African elephants are a dime a dozen on a Tanzania safari, but I only saw the long Tusked version in Gnorongoro crater. Their tusks grow longer than its normal siblings due to the calcium found in the grass in that area.
11. PHOTOGRAPH CRADLING BABOONS
You will see baboons all over the safari trail, including sitting on the picnic tables at the rest stops. Some will even jump on the hood of your land cruise mobile. But, finding a mother cradling and grooming her baby is special. Very special.
12. HEAR A LION ROAR
A Tanzania safari bucket list would not be complete without hearing the bellowing roar of a lion. They may be roaring simply to communicate with other lions or it may be used to stun their prey making them an easier target.
13. SEE HUGGING ZEBRAS
While on safari there was a wild vision that that never grew dull, the sight of zebras hugging. This sweet sight won’t be terribly difficult to spot, I got a glimpse of them in Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarengire National Parks. Though this moment may be interpreted by humans as being nothing but tender, the zebras are technically not hugging, they are protecting each other from predators. Still adorable.
14. CHECK OUT A BLUE BALLED MONKEY
The male blue balled monkey, also known as a velvet monkey, stand out with their bright blue balls. Quite an interesting choice of testicle color made by mother nature.
15. SEE A SAUSAGE TREE
This odd tree, that is also known as Kigelia Africana, has characteristically long fruit that dangles from the branches and looks similar to a sausage. This fruit can disguise the hanging tail of leopard or lion that may be relaxing on one of the limbs.
More About Africa
The African Big Five: The Top 5 Animals to Spot on Safari
African Safari in Tanzania: The Ultimate Itinerary and Tour
Africa’s Maasai Tribe: The Culture & Traditions of The People
Safari Animal Bucket List: 35 Top African Wildlife to Spot
Four Seasons Safari Lodge: Luxury in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park
9 Things To Do on a Long Haul Flight to Cure Boredom