First time on safari – my experience and tips

First time on safari – my experience and tips

Safari has been on many bucket lists and for very good reason. It is something completely different to see animals interact with each other in the wild. Certainly very different than any zoo experience. My first time on safari was certainly an experience of a lifetime. This article will be both about what to expect and about my experience, so you will get some example of how it is.

First time on safari – my experience

Zebras in one of the national parks
Zebras in one of the national parks

I went for safari for the very first time to Tanzania. Tanzania has a big variety of national parks, some of them are notoriously known, like Ngorongoro crater or Serengeti. Either way, there is a lot of them. I guess if you are not on a tight budget, you can spend a week or more on visiting all of them. However, I was on a budget. Thankfully, there was a solution.

A company called Budget Safari Tanzania offers real budget safaris. The owner, Adeline, is very nice and she truly tried her best to make my experience very unique and amazing. So on the second day in Tanzania, I was picked up very early in the morning, for safari for the first time.

Because I choose to go for a budget safari, I got to be with a group of people who I didn’t know before. Either way, we all were at the same age and understand each other, so it was really nice.

First day on safari

First time on safari
Seeing giraffes is could harder than you thing. And yet it is a must on your first time on safari

Our first day started in Tangerine national park. Even though my tour said I was supposed to visit Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. But I didn’t really mind too much, because I had to change a day to go to safari. My flight got delayed the day before, so the safari company organized for me another day and I didn’t need to pay anything extra. Which was really nice.

So anyway, We arrived in Tangerine around 12 o’clock, which is when our safari started. There were already a lot of people at the gate, going around and eating lunch. Because most of us were on safari for the first time, we kept asking our driver to stop at every animal. Later on, when we were tired of zebras, we were fine with just driving around them.

On our first day, we managed to see all kinds of animals, but from the big 5 we saw only herbivores – so elephants and buffalo. Tangerine was super interesting mainly with all the baobab trees around us. When it was around 4 o’clock, it was time to head to the place where we were accommodated.

Night in the tents

storks in lake Manyara
We slept on the border with Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara with a fantastic view. The white things in the trees – those are not flowers, those are storks.

Now, because we did travel on a budget, we also choose the cheapest accommodation. Which in this case meant to sleep in tents on the border with Ngorongoro. Here is a thing. I was warned about being cold by the tour company before, but I didn’t think it could be that bad. But it was.

Sleeping in the tent was certainly a great adventure. It got dark very soon and soon after, it also got very cold. So it was quite an adventure to go for a shower when you cannot see too many things around.

The sleeping tent seemed very comfortable, there was a bed in it, so I didn’t have to sleep on the ground. But it had some flaws. Mainly the cold. And I really wasn’t prepared to have warm pyjamas with me. At the same time, it was quite windy, so I didn’t sleep too much. But hey, it was cheap and the meal was good. So for one night, it really wasn’t too bad.

Second day in Ngorongoro

lions on first time safari
This is a really miserable picture. But that is how far they were, Even this could be your experience of seeing lions on safari for the first time

On my second and last day, we went to promised Ngorongoro. Ngorongoro is quite high – around 2000 meters above sea level, so it can get really cold in the morning. But at the same time, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful parks in Tanzania. It is a relatively small area, so you will see, how easy it is to get crowded here.

But it is also a good opportunity to see a lion here if you are not going to Serengeti. We manage to see two lions. At that point, there were a lot of cars around us. But that is something that will always happen in places like this. Ngorongoro was absolutely stunning, and we saw quite a lot of vegetation and life around here.

And in the end, I had to switch cars to go back to my hotel in Moshi. But what I really like about this tour, was that even though everything was on a budget, I was very well taken care of. And I didn’t need to worry about anything. Which is nice, especially when you are going on safari for the first time.

First time on safari – tips and tricks

ngorongoro crater

Take warm clothes – If you read my experience, you know that I cannot stress this enough. Especially if you are sleeping outside.

Make sure you know where you are going. I don’t mind changing Lake Manyara for Tangerine. But there were some members of our group that did mind it. If you want to visit a specific park, make sure you ask about it.

Don’t forget your headlamp. Sure, mobile phones are cool, but have you ever tried a good old headlamp? If you are sleeping in a tent, it could be good to have one.

Take binoculars with you. My mother in law borrowed me one, so I was covered. But some members of our group didn’t have one and it was harder for them to see animals that were further away.


Bright clothes are the must. And by bright I mean khaki or green. Here is the thing – some flies prefer to sit on darker or very colorful places. So, if you take your dark clothes, not only you might get too warm during the midday, you will be also bitten.

Going out of the car is a no-no! You probably know this, and your driver will probably tell you that as well. In the car, you are like canned food for some animals. So going out is a big risk and forbidden in most of the places in any national parks.

Go in the morning. If you want to see a lion in action, go to safari in the early morning. Of course, all animals have a different time when they are active, but there is a big chance, that if you see a lion in the afternoon, it will be very similar to any house cat. Just sleeping.

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First time on safari

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8 Replies to “First time on safari – my experience and tips”

  1. A safari is on my bucketlist. These are some great tips. I would have never thought that it would be cold or to wear a certain colour of clothing. Thank you!

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