How many days for Tanzania tour?

Quick Answer

Recommended duration for a safari in Tanzania is:

  • 3 to 5 days for a quick taste of wildlife safari, covering a couple of national parks or
  • 6 to 8 days for visiting the top parks including Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire
  • 9 to 11 days for covering the top parks with a relaxed schedule
  • 12+ days for once in a lifetime trip with maximum wildlife spotting potential

Recommended Duration for Zanzibar is:

  • Skip if your primary interest is wildlife & you have less than a week
  • 3-4 nights, If you want to relax at a beach after your safari
  • 4-6 nights, If you want to relax at beach + explore cultural tours at stonetown
  • 5-9 nights, If you want to relax at beach + explore cultural tours at stonetown + engage in waterbased tours like scuba diving, snorkerling, sea excursions, etc.

Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Tanzania offers a diverse range of stunning attractions, from the towering peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the sprawling plains of the Serengeti, and the picturesque beaches of Zanzibar.

With so much to explore and experience, it's essential to plan the duration of your Tanzania tour carefully. The duration of your trip is bound to be impacted by several factors, with some of the most important ones being the amount of time you have, the purpose of your tour, budget, if you want a fast-paced or a relaxed tour etc

To help organise your planning we have created a detailed article on how to plan a safari to Tanzania

For the purpose of this article, we will not consider the Kilimanjaro climbing tour, which is one of the popular and highly recommended tours in Tanzania, but if you are interested in climbing Kilimanjaro, you can add an extra 7-10 days to the safari duration recommended below.

We will be focusing mostly on the duration of safari tours in Northern Tanzania.

Maasai women

Factors to consider for Tanzania safari duration planning

1. How Much Time Do You Have for Vacation?

If you have up to 7 days or less for overall Tanzania tour, we recommend you spend the entire time on the safari itself and skip Zanzibar. For first-time travellers, we recommend safari in the northern parks which include Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha, Lake Natron, and Lake Eyasi. To know more about these parks and understand how our team of guides rate the throughout the year, check this page on Tanzania parks


While the beaches at Zanzibar are beautiful, other tropical islands and beaches across the world offer comparable alternatives. But what is truly unique about Tanzania or East Africa is the wildlife safari experience. So, for most clients visiting Tanzania for a unique holiday experience, we recommend prioritizing safari over Zanzibar.

If you have more than 7 days you can consider splitting time between Safari and Zanzibar or, you can consider doing a more relaxed safari just in the northern circuit parks. You may even decide to combine a safari in northern circuit parks with Southern circuit parks (Ruaha, Nyerere, Mikumi) to experience diverse ecosystems with fewer crowds than north. Adding Western circuit parks (Mahale or Gombe, Katavi) for off the beaten track experience is also an option.

2. Budget

Tanzania safari costs in the range of USD 350 per person per safari day and can vary quite a bit depending on several factors that we listed in this article on Tanzania safari costs.

If you are interested in visiting Zanzibar, the hotels there cost anywhere between USD 70 to USD 1000 per person per night.

10000 tz shillings

Your pre and post-safari hotels in Arusha cost in the range of USD 30-300 per person per night and a flight between Arusha to Zanzibar costs in the range of USD 150 per person.

So if you have a hard budget limit, it can be the most important factor for deciding the number of days for your Tanzania tour and how you wish to split between Safari and Zanzibar.

3. The Purpose of Your Tour

Some of the top experiences that clients usually ask us about and where you can expect to find them in Tanzania are listed below for your quick reference.

Here is how our tour guides rated the parks in Northern Tanzania. You can also check short and detailed reviews for all of the parks and other popular attractions in North Tanzania in that link.

Once you shortlist a few locations, you can search for Tanzania safaris that cover those locations. Or if you are open to ideas for the tour, you can just take look at our list of Tanzania safaris and filter tours based on your dates, duration, party size and check the top recommended options.

4. How Many Days At Each of The Selected Locations?

Parks like Serengeti and Tarangire are large and rich in wildlife so they need multiple days to cover. With multiple days for game drives in each park, you can explore the various sections of these parks that offer different wildlife and enjoy the safari at a leisurely pace. With more days, you will have time to stop and observe wildlife behaviour at leisure and are more likely to see rare sightings like leopards, cheetahs, lions mating, stalking, hunting or interesting behaviour of herbivores and also focus on birds, flora or smaller wildlife like dung beetles etc.

If you are visiting large parks like Serengeti for short time, you might still come across majority of wildlife sightings but you won’t have time to spend at each wildlife sighting and will be rushing from spot to spot.

Parks like Manyara and Ngorongoro however are small and can be covered in a day each, unless you wish to do additional tours like cultural tours, and hikes.

Here is a brief note on recommended duration at each of the top parks:


If visiting only Central Serengeti, we recommend 3 days.

If visiting a migration location in Serengeti (South Serengeti between January to March, West Serengeti between May to June, and North Serengeti between July to October), we recommend 3 days.

Lioness Serengeti

For clients visiting both Central Serengeti and migration locations in Serengeti, we recommend a minimum of 4 days (2 days at each location) although 6 days (3 days at each location) would be ideal for a relaxed tour if time/budget allows.


If visiting between June to October, we recommend 2 days at Tarangire. 3 days can be considered if you are interested in birding or if you want a relaxed tour.


Between November to May, 1 day can be considered for Tarangire if your focus is on wildlife only but 2 days are recommended if you are interested in birds or if you want a relaxed tour where you can explore different sections of the park with diverse scenery.


If interested only in safari in Ngorongoro crater, 1 day is enough. Crater tours are done only for 5-6 hours due to the time limit on the crater permit and this duration is enough to cover the crater floor end to end.

Ngorongoro Crater But if you are interested in hikes - like the Empakai crater hike or the Mt Makarot hike, then you can add one more day at Ngorongoro.

Lake Manyara:

If interested only in safari, then 1 day is enough. Along with safari, you will also have time to do activities like canoeing, and night game drives in a single day here.

But you can do several activities at Lake Manyara on top of regular game drives and depending on your interest in these activities, you can consider adding a day.

Lake Manyara hippo pool

There are more parks and attractions in the Northern Circuit like Arusha national park, Lake Natron, and Lake Eyasi where you can spend a day each if you have time. You can check more information and relative rating of Tanzania parks here.

In addition to the parks and nearby regions, a lot of clients choose to spend 3 to 6 days at Zanzibar Island. You can just relax at the beach while at Zanzibar or can engage in cultural tours or water sports or nature tours while at Zanzibar.


5. Are You Travelling With Kids Or Someone With Mobility Issues?

If you are travelling with very young kids (usually under 8), then we recommend not spending more than a week on safari. The distances between parks can be tiring for kids and if you are spending too long on safari, kids might get bored. They might not have the patience required to observe wildlife behaviour or might not be able to appreciate rare sightings like adults would. So when travelling with kids, we recommend planning for a safari for under a week and if the itinerary includes Serengeti, we recommend you consider flying one way. We also recommend clients travelling with kids to add activities to safari tours that kids can join in and stay for some nights at lodges with a pool.


If you or someone in your party has mobility issues, then we recommend you to consider itineraries that are less than 7 days and if the itinerary involves Serengeti, we recommend you to fly one way. Given the poor condition of roads on safari, driving on these roads for multiple days and long distances can be hard to handle for some with back problems. So we recommend a shorter safari with a flight one way. Or you can also consider break days in between your safari where you just relax at the lodge and not venture out for game drives.

Recommended Safari Tours For Each Duration

Below you will find recommended safari tours based on your duration and dates of travel, with prices based on your party size. The below links assume you are travelling in September in a party of 2 adults, but you can reset the date, and group size and check recommended tours with prices.

The duration mentioned in the below links is for a safari tour alone which starts from Arusha on the morning of day 1 and ends at Arusha in the evening of the last day. Depending on your flight schedule, you might need to add a day at Arusha before or after the safari. For example, if you are landing at Kilimanjaro airport on day 1 at 1:00 PM and your flight out of Arusha is on day 10 at 1:00 PM, then you will have 8 days left for safari.

Kilimanjaro airport

If you are interested in Zanzibar, you can add a Zanzibar extension for your preferred duration (usually 3 to 6 days) at the end of your safari and fly out from Zanzibar to your next destination.

2 Day Safari in Tanzania

3 Day Safari in Tanzania

4 Day Safari in Tanzania

5 Day Safari in Tanzania

6 Day Safari in Tanzania

7 Day Safari in Tanzania

8 Day Safari in Tanzania

9 Day Safari in Tanzania

10 Day Safari in Tanzania

11 Day Safari in Tanzania

12 Day Safari in Tanzania

13 Day Safari in Tanzania

14 Day Safari in Tanzania

We recommend you talking to your Tanzania safari consultant ([email protected]) for suggestions on the ideal duration for you and the recommended itineraries for your duration and interests.

We hope this article gave you an idea about what would be the ideal safari duration for you. Hope to connect with you soon!


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