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Tanzania vs Kenya Safari: Which to Choose?

Tanzania and Kenya are two of the premier safari destinations in Africa, and you cannot lose, whichever one you choose. Our repeat safari clients like to experience both countries and sometimes combine them during one safari.

Kenya is the country where modern day safaris in Africa originated, but it shares with Tanzania incredible wildlife that knows no borders, highly professional safari industry, good tourism infrastructure, and a full and varied range of East African landscapes.

More Details On Tanzania Vs Kenya Safari:

Tanzania vs kenya safari

1. Location, Landscape and Scenery

Both countries are in East Africa and have coastlines and beautiful beaches along the Indian Ocean. Both countries are known for their extensive golden savannah plains– the type of landscape made famous by The Lion King and Out of Africa.

As neighbours, they share a common border, a sizable portion of which consists of the Masai Mara on the Kenyan side and Serengeti on the side of Tanzanian side.

These two national game parks together form the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem – one of the oldest and biggest protected ecosystems on the planet. Here, huge herds of grazing mammals and the predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas that follow them see little difference between the two, and nor will you. Both are glorious, awe-inspiring places.

Tanzania vs kenya safari

Beyond Serengeti and Masai Mara two, from Amboseli National Park in Kenya to the plains of Tarangire National Park in Tanzania and so many places in between, you cannot be disappointed on safari in Kenya or Tanzania safari.

Tanzania vs kenya safari

Thanks to the Great Rift Valley and escarpment that cuts through the heart of both countries, both Kenya and Tanzania features some pretty special high-altitude scenery.

Kenya has the shapely Mount Kenya to be sure, and the Aberdare Ranges are unlike anything you will find elsewhere. Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes including Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru are also fine examples of stunning landscapes. But it’s hard to top Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa’s tallest mountain), Mount Meru, Ngorongoro Crater, and the rest of Tanzania’s Crater Highlands.

If you interested in desert scenery, then Kenya wins that particular battle. The far northern region of Kenya has no rival in Tanzania for its spare desert horizons, or for the arid beauty of Lake Turkana and surrounds. The dry and semi-arid Kenyan interior offers habitat for wildlife that you just don’t see anywhere else in East Africa.

Tanzania vs kenya safari

When it comes to pristine rain-forests, Tanzania is far more likely to satisfy your needs. Kenya has Kakamega Forest, but it is an outlier, the last remnant of the rain-forests that once extended across the country from Central Africa’s Congo Basin.

In contrast, deep, dense rain-forest jungles blanket the far west of Tanzania, especially in Mahale Mountains and Gombe National Parks.

2. Which country has the best wildlife safari

Tanzania vs kenya safari

Tanzania and Kenya share similarities, both having plentiful wildlife parks.

Both countries are fantastic for big cats, the Big Five, and a full suite of prey and herd animals, among them zebras, giraffes and wildebeest.

When it comes to African Big Cats and African bush elephants, populations are generally larger in Tanzania National Parks, but Kenya’s national parks tend to be more compact, and kilometers between the parks significantly fewer.

Of course, there are differences when you zoom in to look a little closer. The north region of Kenya near Samburu National Reserve is drier and hillier, meaning rare species are found here like the ‘Samburu Special 5’. Endemic to the region, they are reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Beisa Oryx, Grevy’s zebra and gerenuk or giraffe gazelle.

Then again, if you are interested in seeing the forest wild animals it really has to be Tanzania. Tanzania is one of the best places in Africa to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat, as well as several other species of primates. Birding enthusiast also has many more opportunities to see forest birdlife in Tanzania compared to Kenya.

3. Great Wildebeest Migration Safari

Tanzania vs kenya safari

Timing is important when considering whether to see the great migration in Tanzania or in Kenya. As a general rule, the Great wildebeest migration is in Serengeti, on the Tanzanian side of the border, from October through to July or August, and in Kenya’s Masai Mara the rest of the year.

Given that we are talking about gloriously unpredictable wild animals that are not the whole story. Precise dates for where you will find the massed herds of wildebeests, zebras, topis and gazelles (and the predators that stalk them) at any particular time can be difficult to predict, and can vary from one year to the next.

All that can be said with any degree of certainty is this. In a normal year the great migration spends more months of the year in Tanzania. The best river-crossing scenes are usually on the Kenya side. And the best vantage points are usually more crowded in Kenya.

Tanzania’s vibe, though, is generally less stressful – perhaps due to the fact that the Serengeti is nearly 10 times bigger than Kenya’s Masai Mara, offering endless horizons.

4. Tanzania Vs Kenya Safari Activities

The main safari activity in Kenya and Tanzania is daily game drives in search of wildlife. This is the classic way of passing your days on safari in Africa.

But added extras – like guided bush walks, night drives or hot-air balloon safari adventures – depend on where you go: a national game park or a private conservancy.

There are more private conservancies in Kenya vs Tanzania, so if you are keen to extend your safari beyond game drives, then think of staying in private parts of the Masai Mara if you want to see the Great Wildebeest Migration and be able to go off-road, see crepuscular species and learn more about the Maasai way of life.

In fact, Kenya has retained more authentic Maasai Cultural experiences and offers greater choices for authentic cultural immersion options than Tanzania. However, if you are interested in trekking to the top of Africa’s tallest mountain or exploring remote safari areas, visit Tanzania.

5. Tanzania Vs Kenya Safari Accommodation Options

Tanzania vs kenya safari

Both Tanzania and Kenya offer excellent accommodation, from hotels and guesthouses to lodges and tented camps. Also, there is no overall reason to choose one over the other based on possible places to stay. This applies across all budgets – both countries have outstanding accommodation no matter where you sit on the safari price spectrum.

One minor difference is the growing community and private conservancy accommodation in Kenya, especially in Masai Mara, up north on Laikipia Plateau, and, to a lesser extent, around Amboseli.

Because access to these conservancies is only for those with a confirmed reservation in one of a handful of upmarket safari camps or lodges it usually makes for a more exclusive and intimate safari experience.

6. Tanzania Vs Kenya Safari Price

Tanzania vs Kenya safari

Honestly, a Kenya safari is slightly less expensive than a safari in Tanzania. Kenya has done much more on the international stage to promote itself, which means more flights, more tourists, stiffer competition and a greater variety of affordable accommodations than Tanzania.

Also, despite having a shorter migration season, the Masai Mara is the most wallet-friendly location for seeing the wildebeest migration.

A Tanzania safari is slightly more expensive, especially if you want to take in very special reserves like the Nyerere National Park, Mahale Mountains National Park and Ruaha National Parks. Tanzania is a far bigger country, which means almost all travel outside the Northern safari Circuit involves transfers by light aircraft.

  • The average cost of a Tanzania safari ranges from US$250 to US$750 per person per day
  • The average cost of a safari in Kenya is US$150 to US$700 per person per day

7. Best Time to Visit Tanzania Vs Kenya

Tanzania vs Kenya safari

Unless you are planning on joining up with the great migration which requires careful planning, the best times for visiting Kenya and Tanzania are pretty much the same.

The main safari season in both Kenya and Tanzania is from around late June to October. It is during these months that you can experience the best weather and the best conditions for viewing wild animals, regardless of where you go.

Rains and road conditions can pose a problem in both countries from around November to May. Remember, however, that the birding is often excellent in these months.

8. Traveller Types: Best Suited For;

Tanzania vs kenya safari

Largely, Kenya is the best option for families with younger children, because more of the lodges and camps have family-friendly elements like private vehicles, age-appropriate activities and family suites. Tanzania is on the up, but Kenya still has the edge for family travel.

Couples and adventurers are spoilt for choice: both Tanzania and Kenya offer sensational honeymoon suites, exciting activities like camel trekking, chimpanzee trekking, mountain hiking and excellent Great Wildebeest Migration viewing.

Kenya has the edge in the number of private conservation areas, but Tanzania has superb options if you’re willing to splurge. If you are conscious of your budget, opt for Kenya safari first as it offers excellent value for money. But if you have your heart set on Tanzania safari, have a conversation with us on your budget and interests, and allow us to help you shape a tailor-made itinerary that ticks as many of your boxes as possible.

9. Kenya vs Tanzania beaches

Tanzania vs Kenya safari

We know after a long safari the perfect way to recuperate and relax at a beautiful beach. In terms of the beaches themselves, both the Kenya Coast and Zanzibar are going to offer the picturesque Indian Ocean you see plastered on postcards.

Most likely your decision will be affected by many factors, such as the overall experience you’re looking for and perhaps even budget.

If you are seeking a relaxed and secluded experience filled with plenty of beachtime and seafood, your best bet would be the Kenyan Coast. But if you are after some epic watersports, culture, and spice, Zanzibar is the beach destination for you.

10. Tanzania vs Kenya safety: Is Kenya or Tanzania more safe?

Tanzania vs Kenya safari

Both Tanzania and Kenya offer the same level of safety to visitors, with the exception of the border areas that are far from interesting safari destinations.

You are advised to avoid Kenya’s northern border with Somalia due to potential instability. In Tanzania, steer clear of the southern border with Mozambique. Rely on your common sense and follow the basic safety rules and nothing can stand in the way of your relaxed safari holiday.

You may also like; how safe is Tanzania?

11. Combines Best With;

Tanzania vs kenya safari

If you have enough budget and time, then Africa is your oyster when it comes to extending your safari from Kenya or Tanzania to other countries, as it is simply a case of chatting to our safari experts. There are, however, some ‘add-ons’ that are more popular because they are easier logistically and thus more cost- and time-effective:

  • Uganda offers affordable, safe and superb mountain gorilla trekking in unspoiled rainforest is also located within East Africa and a logical next step during an East African safari.
  • Rwanda is the home of the easiest and most accessible gorilla trekking in Africa.
  • Victoria Falls – some direct flights make reaching one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World much easier than ever before. From the fall, it is a short-haul flight to sought-after safari destinations like Botswana, South Africa and even Namibia.

12. Safari Itinerary Ideas

All our suggested safari itineraries can be fully customized and easily adapted to your safari budget, schedule and interests. Browse them to get inspiration for your Kenya or Tanzania safari:

Tanzania Safaris:

Kenya Safaris:

Ready to Start Planning Your Tanzania or Kenya Safari?

Tanzania vs kenya safari

As always, our best advice when faced with two equally enticing choices is to chat with someone who’s been there. Get in touch with one of our expert safari consultant to help you customize a Kenya or Tanzania safari package based on your travel preferences and budget: