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Tanzania VS Kenya: A Point-by-Point Comparison of the Top 2 Safari Destinations

When you think of an authentic African safari, East Africa’s Tanzania and Kenya always stand out. Both countries feature a sensational African scenery, superior game-viewing, and a series of bucket-list activities that defy comparison. Not to mention these are the only places where you can see the iconic Great Wildebeest Migration. However, due to its prestige that echoes throughout the world, many people are left with the question: Which of the two offers the best safari experience, Tanzania or Kenya?

SCENERY

When it comes to the terrain as well as the kind of vibe the country projects, Kenya and Tanzania are actually similar in many ways. This is mainly because the two safari countries share a border, sit along the Indian Ocean and basically follow have the same climate which is composed of two seasons: wet and dry. Kenya’s landscape is composed of mostly highlands in the middle, sandy beaches on the coast, and fertile plains in the west. Tanzania, on the other hand, has similar diversity but also around one and a half times larger. The country is blessed with plains and plateaus running west across the country, highlands in the north and south, and long stretches of white sand beach on the coast.

COST & INFRASTRUCTURE

Nairobi cityscape

With Kenya being a richer country than Tanzania, Kenya’s travel infrastructure is better and more reliable. They have more hotels and guesthouses, it is easier to exchange foreign money to shillings as all major banks can do so, and public transportation is ample. You can easily find taxis, matatus, trains and even domestic flights that could take you to almost anywhere in the country. However, despite having an advancing infrastructure, many roads in Kenya remain unmarked. This doesn’t make it any less interesting, though. In fact, it adds to the feeling of being in the wild.
In Tanzania, roads are not well-marked either. Options for public transportation are readily available but since the country is huge, many parts may still be hard to access. Travelers who love taking off-the-beaten paths are still likely to take the challenge (It couldn’t be any wilder than that, could it?). For accommodation options, Tanzania also has plenty although limited in certain parks. This promises an experience with exclusivity and lesser crowds even on peak seasons.
When it comes to the costs, international air travel fares and safaris in Kenya are relatively cheaper simply because of the wider availability of options. In Tanzania, since competition is not that tight compared with Kenya, fees can be higher. But, if you stay in their major cities, let’s say Nairobi in Kenya or Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, hotels in Kenya are generally more expensive. For example, a 3-star hotel in Nairobi can cost you about 75 USD while a 3-star hotel in Dar is only 43 USD on average. 

WILDLIFE & BIRDLIFE

African Wildlife - Gosheni Safaris Africa

Kenya’s wildlife is in no doubt spectacular especially in its flagship Masai Mara safari park. Aside from the migration animals that come here in July, Kenya is mainly known as an excellent place to see big cats. It also homes to many endangered black rhinos as well as exotic animals like the Sitatunga.
But if we let it all boil down to one country that’s best in terms of wildlife, Tanzania wins — hands down. The density and diversity of animals in this huge country is phenomenal, almost guaranteeing a life-changing experience. In fact, it is known to have the largest concentration of animals per square kilometer in the world. It is also a prime cheetah country with one of the largest concentration of large predators in the world; a country endowed with unique animals like tree-climbing lions and several highly-endangered ones like the African wild dogs. 
For birdlife, both countries offer a world-class birdwatching experience. Tanzania has over 1,000 bird species recorded while Kenya has an impressive 1,135 bird species.

THE GREAT MIGRATION

Do you know that the Great Migration, otherwise known as the Wildebeest Migration or Serengeti National Park Migration, is an annual event that draws millions and millions of tourists each year? It is the world’s largest inland animal movement that happens all throughout the year in nowhere else but Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

Calling it the largest animal movement is not an overstatement. The Great Migration exhibits over two million wildebeests alongside hundreds and thousands of zebras and gazelles that travel together in a search for better grazing. Naturally, many predators remain at large — lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs and crocodiles being the top five. So not only will you be able to see a spectacular amount of wild animals in one place, but you will also have lots of opportunities to witness action-packed dramas of predator vs prey and even predator vs predator! No wonder this particular event is deemed the Seventh Natural Wonder of Africa and the “Greatest Show on Earth.”

In Kenya, you can find the herds in the Mara plains around August to October but the mega herds start to cross the Mara River around July. Since the river crossing happens between Serengeti and Mara, visitors in either park can take the front-row seats to this major event.
By the end of October or early November, the herds start to move out from the already barren Masai Mara plains and head back to Serengeti in Tanzania where they spend the rest of the months until July when the herds start to cross the Mara River again. 

INTERNATIONAL ACCESS

Both Kenya and Tanzania hold several international flights from many parts of the world. However, Kenya has notably more flights available which means airfare is also cheaper. Some visitors to Tanzania even opt to fly from their country of departure to Nairobi in Kenya and then just take a connecting flight to Tanzania as this is usually the cheaper option.
If you come from New York, the average flight duration to Nairobi is 17 hours. If you come from the UK, a direct flight will take about 8.5 hours and if you come from Australia, it will be 15.5 hours. Of course, flight duration will depend on how many stopovers you have and how long each stop will take.
Going to Tanzania is the same. Stopovers greatly affect the schedule. On average, flights from New York to DAR take 19 hours and 20 minutes; from the UK to DAR, 11 hours; and from Oz to DAR, about 15 hours. You also have the option to fly to Arusha if you’re planning to visit the northern circuit safaris first. Note that this route may be more expensive and not as many flights compared to Dar and Nairobi.

CROWDS

This factor has already been covered but still needs a special space. Since both countries are world-renowned safari destinations, tourist influx should be expected especially during peak months. Since Kenya offers more lodges, camps and hotels plus plane tickets are relatively cheaper, crowds are thicker here. You can even experience being surrounded by many other vehicles while on a safari.
Tanzania, although considerably more expensive, guarantees more exclusivity as a number of lodges, hotels, and camps are limited and most parks are huge.

TOP ATTRACTIONS

We all know that both Kenya and Tanzania are abound with world treasures. With different national parks being radically different from one another, here are Kenya’s and Tanzania’s finest attractions:

KENYA:

  • 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Fort Jesus, Mombasa, Lamu Old Town, Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests, Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Turkana National Parks, Mount Kenya National Park, Thimlich Ohinga Cultural Landscape
  • Masai Mara National Reserve
  • Amboseli National Park
  • Lake Nakuru National Park
  • Aberdare National Park
  • Mount Kenya
  • Diani Beach

TANZANIA:

  • 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Songo Mnara, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Stone Town, Serengeti National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Kilwa Kisiwani, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • Serengeti National Park
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • Selous Game Reserve
  • Lake Manyara National Park
  • Mount Kilimanjaro
  • Zanzibar

OTHER SAFARIS

There are safaris beyond the iconic game drives that you can enjoy, too. Kenya has a wealth of private conservancies that not only lets you enjoy a more exclusive safari but also other activities including horseback riding, guided nature walks, and night game drives. These private conservancies are usually parts of the Masai Mara ecosystem. Laikipia, Motorogi and Lewa Conservancies are some of the top ones in the country.
In Tanzania, wildlife safaris have been a hit that has made a resounding noise internationally. But did you know that primate safari are available in Tanzania, too? In the western region of the country lies national parks that welcome you to a visit to chimpanzees and other unique primates. Not to mention the view that the western circuit provides, covering Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria.

UNFORGETTABLE, NEVERTHELESS.

Any safari to either Kenya and Tanzania would be an adventure beyond your wildest dreams, whether you’re an avid safari-goer or a first-timer. If you’re keen on having that exclusive feeling and spending a bit more cash is no issue, Tanzania is definitely perfect for you. But if you have a certain budget and still aim for that wonderful safari experience (not to mention Nairobi has perfect day trip spots which include a safari wilderness in the city), you should head to Kenya. Of course, one major factor you need to consider is WHEN you’re going to visit. Ideally, Kenya gets most votes in October since wildebeest herds are gathered in its plains. For November to March, Tanzania has an edge because of the phenomenal calving season in Southern Serengeti. On other months which are April through September, both Kenya and Tanzania are spectacular. Plus, accommodation options in either country are superb — from hotels in the city to hotel-style lodges in parks to luxury tented camps in the wild! So given this point-by-point comparison of the top 2 safari destinations in the world, it’s definitely safe to say that whether you go to Kenya or Tanzania, your safari would be undeniably unforgettable, nonetheless.

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LoveTravel259094
LoveTravel259094
August 8, 2023
Asante Gosheni and espacially Hassan Nous tenons à recommander Hassan car nous venons de passer un séjour mémorable avec lui. Grâce à son expérience, sa connaissance parfaite du monde animal et des parcs, Hassan nous a permis de voir de nombreux animaux en étant extrêmement bien placé.
Bien évidemment les big five (même le rhinocéros!), la traversée de la rivière par les gnous et bien d'autres animaux.
En faisant un safari avec Hassan vous trouverez tout ce que vous êtes venus chercher.
A l'avenir si nous décidons de refaire un safari, nous voudrions repartir avec Hassan.
Myriam D
Myriam D
August 8, 2023
Hassan is the best guide !!!! Nous avons eu la chance de faire un safari de 8 jours dans les parcs nationaux du nord de la Tanzanie avec Hassan comme guide. Hassan est un guide très expérimenté.
Grâce à lui et sa grande expérience nous avons découvert et appris énormément de choses sur la Tanzanie, les animaux, les végétaux etc. Hassan est un véritable passionné qui aime transmettre son savoir.
En plus de ses connaissances, Hassan a un véritable œil de lynx et sais débusquer le moindre animal caché.
Grâce à Hassan nous avons eu la chance de voir beaucoup d’animaux et tous ceux du « Big Five ».
Parmi tous les véhicules présents lors des safaris, Hassan sait se frayer un chemin pour nous permettre d’avoir toujours le meilleur point de vue.
Hassan sait où se placer pour nous permettre d’avoir une vue sans égal sur les animaux, en les observant de très près.
Hassan est également un excellent conducteur. La route n’a aucun secret pour lui.
C’est également un guide très attentionné, toujours aux petits soins pour nous et d’une extrême gentillesse.
Nous recommandons Hassan les yeux fermés et si nous devions refaire un safari, nous demanderons d’être guidés par Hassan sans hésitation.
Merci encore à Hassan pour ces merveilleux moments qui resterons gravés dans notre mémoire !!
bonny l
bonny l
August 6, 2023
amazing Safari experience wiz gosheni nice trip wiz our amazing guide Samir We saw all the wild animals during Safari
thx a lot for the thoughtful and excellent service
highly recommend
FENG Y
FENG Y
August 6, 2023
愉快的非洲之旅 幸运的选择了gosheni Safari,我们的向导samir服务非常好,小朋友们都很喜欢他,非洲五霸除了犀牛没有看到外,其他都替我们找到了,寻找动物经验丰富,在超远的地方就能看到目标。可以在众多的车子中抢到一个很好的观赏位,办事灵活。
Vladimir T
Vladimir T
August 6, 2023
Great experience! Great experience! Starting from the trip planning the communications were very clear and smooth to organize the tour and select itinerary. In the end we opted for 5 days/4 nights route including the Tarangire, Serengeti and Lake Manyara nations parks as well as a visit to the Ngorongoro crater. The tour itself was excellent and very punctual, here kudos to our guide Wilson who is very experienced and knowledgeable about his job and also went well beyond his duty and gave us a nice summary of country’s history. It was really a pleasure to spend time with him and we managed to see the big 5:) Accommodations were superb: great camps, an amazing farmhouse close to Ngorongoro, meals were also good and picnic lunches well organized.
In summary the experience was highly satisfying, I sincerely recommend Gosheni Safaris and to ask for Wilson as a guide.
Allison B
Allison B
August 5, 2023
Great Taste of Tanzania Had a great 5-day tour. Our guide James was very dedicated to making sure we saw amazing sights. He asked us our favorite animals to see and made it his mission to help us spot them. The food was good, the lodging was very pleasant, and enjoying a glass of wine on lunches was a nice touch. Favorite lodging was definitely the Farmhouse by Ngorongoro. Beautiful landscapes along the entire tour, covered a lot of ground and got a great introduction to Tanzania.
Sukhraj S
Sukhraj S
August 5, 2023
Gosheni number 1 What an unforgettable 6 days, courtesy of Gosheni Safari and our guide/driver Zadock!!!
I booked this holiday back in 2020 but then had to cancel due to Covid. That was after a lot of research of tour companies and finally picking Ghosheni. The time was right to get this once in a lifetime trip set up again, so working via email with William at Gosheni we compiled the agenda…he was so helpful and we settled on one day in Tarangire, one day in Lake Manyara, three days in Serengeti and one day in Ngorongoro Crater…I’m now on the way to Zanzibar after an amazing experience, Gosheni took care of the whole package for my wife, three teenage sons and I.

Our guide and driver was Zadock, a humble, honest, genuine, proud and generous man. He did absolutely everything for us, answered every question and took us to all the places to see the big five up close, hunts and more.

The food was served every lunch time as a picnic, with plates, blanket, wtc whilst others had lunch boxes. The Jeep was cleaned daily, and was extremely comfortable along the difficult rough terrain…a credit to Zadock.

Zadock had so much knowledge not only of the animal kingdom’s hundreds of species but also the history of Tanzania, Africa, politics, and social customs, we felt as though he was part of our family.

Thankyou Zadock and Gosheni, I very rarely write reviews after holidays and I have travelled extensively around the world, but these guys are special and have made this so memorable for my family and I….I recommend to everyone if you are unsure about who, how, what, these guys will sort out the whole trip and at a very reasonable price.

Well done William, Gosheni and Zadock, and I really hope you get to be recognised as the number one tour company in Tanzania!
Eric W
Eric W
August 4, 2023
Extraordinary Safari with Gosheni I am so glad to have Gosheni as our tour operator. They provide excellent service starting from arranging the tour till the end of our safari.
As our city had quarantine arrangement due to COVID-19, we were so worry about our trip. Luckily, Gosheni is so considerate and try their best endeavors to rearrange our scedule. With their assistance, everything is set and we feel comfortable for all of their kind arrangements.

During the safari, we have a terrific tour guide, Edward! He takes care of all the stuff and administration including liaison with hotels, lunch packing, other add-on safaris so that we can fully enjoy the trip.

Not only Edward spots a lot a lot of animals and birds for us, including the top 5 in the trip, he also introduces us the habitat and features of the animals and birds. We are very impressed by his rich knowledge and do enjoy listening the "stories" of the animals.

Edwward is definitely experienced and propose the best programme during the safari, e.g. he tries to maximise our time for the game drive in different locations and tribe visit. We fully trust his expertise and professionalism.

We are very happy with Edward and Gosheni. We will absolutely consider them in our next Africam safari.
Priyank S
Priyank S
August 4, 2023
Amazing Safari with Gosheni and Ombeni Our guide, Ombeni, was the best part of our trip. He is really knowledgeable, friendly, and we trusted his expertise for the whole 9 days across Tarangire, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro. We were lucky to see some amazing things on our game drives. Having grown up in Kenya, I have been lucky to go on many safaris, and this is one of the best I've been on.
The food was excellent, and even on the all-day game drives we had a cooked, sit-down meal for lunch which was a big plus point. All the accommodation was excellent as well.

We had a bespoke itinerary which we planned in advance with William from Gosheni, and he was extremely helpful in answering our questions and accommodating our requests.

I would highly recommend Gosheni and especially Ombeni for future travels.
Banu
Banu
August 4, 2023
Dreams come true!!! Thanks to best guide Hassani I have been dreaming Serengeti Safari tour for a long time and Gosheni Safaris made my dreams come true. We completed our 5 days safari at the end of July and it was wonderful. We visited Central Serengeti, North Serengeti and Ngorongoro.
The company is very professional from beginning to end. Peter the owner of Gosheni Safaris helped us a lot about planning our itinary. I asked too many questions and he replied all of them everytime. Sometimes he can be in the bush and has no internet connection but be sure he always will reply your questions. Just be sure that you are in safe hands and Hakuna Matata☺️

Our guide was Hassani who is a perfect guide, safari driver, friend and everything. He always did his best to show us as much as possible. We always felt safe and witnessed lots of amazing moments by help of Hassani. Beside being a perfect safari guide, he prepared very nice lunch tables every afternoon. He is very funny person and makes lots of jokes during the safari. I higly recommend Gosheni Safaris which is best one and Hassani who is a very good guide. I want to thank Hassani in person for making our safari perfect and looking forward to meet again🙏🏻

Tips: I recommend ‘Morning Hot air Balloon safari’.

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