Every time I travel to East Africa, I get people asking how they can plan their own trips there, especially when it comes to going on safari. I have so much to say on this topic, so I definitely won't cover everything here, but hopefully this is a start. Both Kenya and Tanzania are amazing destinations for safari, so you really can't go wrong, but I am partial to safaris in Tanzania!
Travel Agents/ Guides
Depending on your comfort level, you may want to book your trip through a travel agent so every detail is organized. That said, you don't need a travel agent in all cases.
Journeys By Design is a great company that can help plan your safari and entire trip. They are a top notch company committed to offering beautiful, unique experiences all over the world.
If you're looking for someone a little more budget friendly, my friends Baraka and Agnes have a travel company called Lifetime Safaris and they will be able to help you plan an amazing trip in Tanzania - from Safaris to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to the beaches of Zanzibar.
If you're looking to have a bit of adventure, my good friend Milton has a tour company called Bike Heroes Tanzania. He can hook you up with seeing some of the most amazing things all while on a bike...and you can even bike up Mt. Kilimanjaro! Milton also has a car and is available for transport service to and from the Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Planning Your Safari
Where you go on Safari will very much depend on the time of year you're traveling and how long you will be there. In most cases the minimum number of nights for a worthwhile safari is three (in which case I'd spend the entire time in the Serengeti or Maasai Mara if you're in Kenya), but if this might be your one and only chance to experience a safari, I'd highly recommend staying at least 10 days so you can experience life and culture outside safari in addition to fully enjoying the Serengeti as well as visiting a couple other places like the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park that are both nearby.
There really is no bad time of year to go on safari. I've been in December, January, February, June, and July, and each was special in its own way. Whatever you do, don't miss the Serengeti - it is truly the most magical place. No photos or words can do it justice. You just have to experience it.
There are many incredible lodges and camps that range from luxury to rustic, and Tanzanian hospitality is on full display! You'll want to discuss accommodation with your guide as the time of year and itinerary will determine the best locations to stay. Below are the camps/lodges I've stayed at and have loved each one of them. I've also stayed at public camp grounds in the serengeti on two different occasions when I was traveling on a very tight budget. Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, it's definitely an experience!
Before or after your safari you'll want to spend a couple days exploring the town of Arusha.
Places to Stay in Arusha, Tanzania
Boulevard Inn - budget friendly, great location - close to town, good food, beautiful view
Ilboru Safari Lodge - a little more off the beaten path, very peaceful, good food
Arusha Coffee Lodge - great location for safari - close to town and Arusha airport, 4 star hotel accommodations, good food
Gran Melia (shown below) - great location, 5 star hotel accommodations, spa, incredible views, good food
Sites to See/ Places to Go
Cultural Heritage Center
Sanaa (shown below)
Blue Heron (shown below)
If you have time to take, visiting Zanzibar is something you'll want to include on your travel itinerary. You can take a short flight from Arusha or Kilimanjaro directly into Zanaibar, or you can take a ferry from Dar Es Salaam. Zanaibar is home to some of the best beaches in the world. Nungwi Beach is so special and home to countless places to stay. Paje Beach is where you'll find world class kite surfing if that's something you're interested in. You'll love meandering through the streets Stone Town, snorkeling, maybe a spice tour, and generally enjoying the island life.
Please don't hesitate to ask questions below - I'd love to be able to help!