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How to Choose the Best Tanzania Safari Tours

This article shares helpful tips on how to choose the best Tanzania safari tours.

A few years ago, I had the ultimate 30th birthday celebration in Tanzania! I spent the last days of my 20’s on a once-in-a-life time trip: a 4 day/3 night safari in Serengeti National Park and Nogorongoro Crater. However, choosing a tour operator for such a special trip can be challenging…

Tanzania safari tours

Tanzania safari tours

Tanzania safari tours are at the top of most people’s bucket-lists, and rightly so, it is an adventure of a lifetime! However, planning your dream trip to Africa can be quite the undertaking. How does one even choose a safari company among thousands of options?

Of course, there is the obvious: check the reviews. Companies like ‘Safari Bookings‘ (the largest online marketplace for safari tours) compile the best tour options which are vetted and reviewed.

This article serves as a list of 4 additional considerations when choosing the best Tanzanian safari tours.

I personally went with Fortes Africa out of Mwanza because that is where I was living at the time. They exceeded all of my expectations, so I am using them as the ‘gold standard’ to highlight why these 4 items are so important to consider when booking your dream safari!

You can also read my guide on the 9 things to expect while on safari in Tanzania.

Personally tailored

Tanzania safari tours

For many travellers, an African safari is a dream trip they have saved up to go on for years. Whether you are planning a honeymoon, are in retirement or a gap year, or seeking an African family safari, you will benefit from your trip being personally tailored to align with your dream and your pocket book.

Fortes Africa offers the ultimate customizability in safari packages. Regardless if you are traveling in a group or solo, or whether you are on a shoestring budget or seeking the epitome of luxury, you will be accommodated. Their ultimate goal is customer satisfaction, so you can literally go to them with your safari ideas and they will plan it according to your budget.

With short or long-term packages offering unlimited fuel and mileage in all of the Tanzanian National Parks, the sky is the limit! Fortes Africa has offices in Mwanza, Dar es Salaam and Arusha, meaning you have more flexibility to select where you would like to explore, and where to start and end your safari.

It might also be useful to ask if safari companies cater their food or hire a chef. Fortes Africa has an in-house chef who accompanies you on the trip and cooks the majority of meals for you. This means they can ensure their Tanzania safari tours accommodate dietary needs, including vegetarians, vegans and gluten free individuals. In my case, traveling as a vegan (sometimes vegetarian depending on my health), our chef Joseph was able to accommodate my dietary needs.

If you or a loved one has reduced mobility, inquire about the options for truck accessibility and the amount of walking required. Fortes Africa, for example, can offer a step to assist getting in and out of the truck as the 4×4 tend to be quite high.

Knowledgeable and qualified guides

Tanzania safari tours

When selecting your safari company, you will want to ensure they employ qualified guides fluent in English (or your preferred language) who are extremely familiar with the National Parks. For example, I couldn’t believe how well our Fortes Africa guide Michael navigated the unmarked roads as if it was the back of his hand…meaning we saw tons of wildlife!

Tanzania safari tours

Michael has been guiding safaris in the Serengeti National Park and Nogorongoro Conservation Area for a decade! His kindness, patience and warm smile immediately put us at ease, and his knowledge of the park, the roads and the wildlife absolutely exceeded all of my expectations!

Tanzania safari tours

Michael knew I had an affinity for photography, so he made every effort to help me get that special shot. He organized a lakeside photo shoot opportunity just for me and helped us get the perfect sunset photos.

Tanzania safari tours

Tanzania safari tours

Truck quality and maintenance

It is extremely important to consider all Tanzania safari companies’ truck quality and maintenance when choosing safari packages. This is both to limit the risk of breakdown during your safari and to ensure the actual truck style will meet you or your group’s needs. I witnessed several trucks broken down on the road within Serengeti; it happens more often than you think because the trucks really do take a beating on those roads.

Tanzania safari tours

Fortes Africa uses 4×4 trucks which range in size to meet your needs and all come with air conditioning, pop-up roofs, charging ports and tarp awnings for shade. If you are lucky, you will even get one equipped with a beer fridge in the back like we did!

In my opinion, the thing that really sets them apart from other companies is that they own and operate their own garage in Mwanza, with over 50 full-time mechanics, including a team of international specialists. In 2011 and 2012, they were even awarded best-practice acclamations, including the Arch of Europe and the New York Quality Summit Award respectively.

Tanzania safari tours

As you can imagine, their trucks are in superb condition, and are replaced every 3 years. This substantially limits the risk of a break down on the bumpy, unpaved bush roads within the National Parks you will be exploring. This is a huge perk — I mean you are spending so much time and money to come all the way to Tanzania to do this once-in-a-lifetime safari, so why risk booking with a company that uses shitty trucks. In the rare incidence of a break down, Fortes Africa has ‘rescue’ trucks on stand-by in both Mwanza and Arusha.

Credibility

The last thing to consider when sifting through the many Tanzania safari companies is the operator’s credibility. How long have they been in business? Are they registered with the Tanzanian Association of Tour Operators (TATO), a national platform and guiding organization for tour operators to establish best practice, as well as to receive training and education. This is an added layer of protection for you as the customer, meaning if you were to book with a private guide or company not registered, you could risk being scammed, going out with a driver or guide who is inexperienced, or in a truck that is not properly equipped to handle off-roading.

Tanzania safari tours

If a company has glowing reviews, you can probably assume they only want their customers to have their expectations met and truly enjoy this ultimate bucket list adventure!

Things to consider are: do they have a customer feedback section on their website? Are they on sites like Trip Advisor or Safari Booking.com.

Tanzania safari tours

Overall, I had a great experience with Fortes Africa and highly recommend based on my personal experience.

You may also want to browse reviewed safari tours on ‘GetYourGuide’ for more budget friendly options.

Tanzania safari tours

Is a safari on your bucket list?

Let me know in the comments below!

This post was sponsored by Fortes Africa.

As always, I only recommend experiences I have personally tried and loved.

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Tanzania safari tours

Heading to Tanzania? Read Next:

9 Things to Expect on a Serengeti Safari

Serengeti Safari Itinerary: 4 days in Tanzania’s Largest National Park

The Best beach in Dar es Salaam

Where to go scuba diving in Zanzibar

How to get to Gombe Stream National Park

Epic Wildlife Photos of Serengeti National Park Safari

Malaika Beach Resort in Mwanza, Tanzania

Beautiful Photos of Rock City: Mwanza, Tanzania

Traveling Overland Around Lake Victoria

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Tatiana said:
Beautiful blog post
December 13, 2023 at 6:03 am
Anna Makridi said:
Nice post! Thanks for sharing!
October 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm