Wildlife Safari

Resources

Find below important information about our safaris. Click on a box to toggle open the content. See also resource information pages about SENE, Tanzania, climbs, eco-adventures, and Zanzibar. If you have any questions not answered here, please feel free to contact us.

SENE Safari

Private Bespoke Safari
By combining our expertise and your interests and objectives, we build a custom private safari according to your preferences for number of days, destinations, activities, and types of accommodation.   You may be as involved in the planning process as you wish – discussing each detail or just answering a few basic questions and letting our expert safari planners create your adventure.

During the safari you will discuss each day’s game drive and activity plan with your SENE guide, making adjustments and tweaks as the adventure unfolds.  All SENE game drives are unlimited in time and distance (within the constraints of park restrictions and safety).

We feel this freedom produces a more intimate, personalized, and richer safari experience for your once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Who travels with us during safari?
Your private group will be accompanied by your SENE guide, a trained expert in East African wildlife and ecology.  The guide is also the driver of the vehicle.  All of our guides are fluent in English, have many years experience on safari, and have taken several wildlife courses.   Our safari vehicles hold a maximum of 7 people (plus guide), so if you are fewer in your group, you will have plenty of seating choices!

If you choose a standard camping safari, you will also travel with a SENE chef, who will prepare all of your meals while in the bush.

We at SENE only join clients on a shared safari with pre-approval by all safari-goers.  This is done only on request by clients who may wish to safari with a group (for example, a solo traveler) or as a way to share some expenses of the safari.  SENE is not a wholesale safari company – we provide customized trips only for our clients and partners.

What type of safari vehicles do we use?
We use exclusively four-wheel drive Land Rovers and Toyota Land Cruisers – safari-ready with large sliding windows, pop-up roofs, padded seats, cooler boxes, and charging outlets.  A comfortable window seat is guaranteed for every person.

 

WILDLIFE VIEWING & Game Drives

Safari Seasons
There is never a bad time to go on safari in Tanzania.

In northern Tanzania, the dry seasons generally last from mid-June through October and January through mid-March.  During the dry seasons brush and grasses are low and animals tend to congregate around permanent watercourses – for easier spotting.  These are the high seasons for game viewing in Tanzania, and the number of tourists and prices reflect that.

During the light rains of November to December and long rains from late March through early June the savanna bursts into green, previously dry rivers flow, and wildlife disperse.  These “green seasons” find fewer tourists, lower prices, and a landscape that seems more alive, yet still plenty of wildlife sightings under the expertise of SENE guides.

Bird-watching in Tanzania is spectacular any time of year.  As with animals, visibility increase with the dry season, but Tanzania also has many migratory bird species that are resident during the northern hemisphere winter.

When is the wildebeest migration?
The migration is the annual movement of 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra though Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park.  It is a cyclical process with different features at different times of year, during which the herds can always be observed – along with the ever-present predators – offering excellent opportunities to see the natural cycle of life on the African savanna.

The general pattern of the migration is as follows.  During the months of December through March, the wildebeest are amassed in the nutrient-rich southern grass plains of the Serengeti, around Lake Ndutu, and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where nearly half a million calves are born annually within a two-week span (usually in February).  As the young calves gain strength and the long rains fall in March, April and May, the animals are on the move.  The migration will split into several sub-groups roaming northward to find fresh grasses.  With June and July the herds can be found throughout the Western Corridor and Seronera areas and approaching the Grumeti River, the first of many dangerous river crossings.  The swollen rivers have deep water, swift currents, and hungry crocodiles lying in wait.  From July through October  the herds press northward where green grass persists as the dry season reaches its pinnacle.  They cross the Mara, Bolongonya, and other rivers in search of grazing land in the far northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara.  With the short rains of November and December, the migration returns southward, passing through the eastern Serengeti areas of Lobo and Namiri, as well as back through Seronera.

We will endeavor to prepare your custom safari itinerary so that you are in the prime migration viewing location for the time of year you are traveling.

Are other activities available on safari?
Yes.  When not on game drives or relaxing at your lodge or camp admiring the landscape, beautiful sunset, or brilliant night sky, there are a number of physical and cultural activities available.

To see more details about the different walks and hikes, as well as the cultural interactions, historical sites, and special activities such as spa treatments and flights by balloon or light aircraft, please see our Safari Activities Page.

What is a bush walk?
A bush walk is a nature walk or walking safari inside or near a national park. A bush walk can be a leisurely stroll or strenuous hike and ranges in length from thirty minutes to several hours. We can tailor a bush walk to your interests. If you are a bird lover, we will take you to excellent bird-viewing areas. If you want to see wildlife on foot (and at a safe distance), we can arrange a bush walk in a national park (these walks require an armed guard).

There are many walks that mainly explore the beautiful environments within or around the parks.  If you are interested in Tanzanian culture, we can guide you on a cultural walk. SENE is proud to offer a cultural experience in which you stay in cottages on SENE owner Simon Mtuy’s family farm in Mbahe Village and get to know the surrounding village with exploratory walks.

What are roads like on safari?
The main roads between Arusha, Moshi, Kilimanjaro, and the entrances to national parks are all tarmac and well-maintained.  The roads inside the national parks and through villages are mostly dirt or gravel, and may have some bumps and dips.  During the dry season roads can be dusty, while during the rainy season roads may be muddy.  On game drives our guides drive slowly to ensure a comfortable ride and for maximum opportunity to spot wildlife.

SENE Guides

Who are SENE safari guides?
When you are on safari you don’t want a driver who finds animals by looking for the traffic jams of other vehicles. You want a guide and naturalist who knows wildlife habits and locations from training and experience. Our safari guides have what it takes to give you the type of wildlife safari you want in the uncluttered wilderness of Tanzania’s beautiful national parks.

Meet SENE’s safari guides

Tipping
Tipping is a traditional practice after all safari and a way of showing satisfaction for your guide. The appreciation of good service helps ensure continued good service for those who follow you.

As with any tipping situation, if the service was of particularly high quality, we encourage you to give generously; if the service did not meet your expectations, adjust the tip accordingly.

Please note that all SENE crew are paid a fair living wage so that no one relies on tips as their only source of income. However, tips provide valuable additional financial assistance to the crew and invaluable interpersonal benefits to all.

Check our tipping guidelines.

 

ACCOMMoDATIONS & Food

How does SENE select safari accommodations?
We match the type of safari experience you desire with the most appropriate accommodations. Lodges range from exclusive luxury to very comfortable tourist standard to meet any budget.  Tented camps generally cost more than lodges of the same class, and also range from high end luxury tented camps to standard tourist class (still, all have full beds and en suite bathrooms).  For those on a budget, standard camping or basic tourist lodges provide excellent affordable comfort. We make it a priority to learn and meet individual clients’ accommodations needs and interests.
What is the difference between types of accommodations?

Tourist lodges in Tanzania are similar to those you might encounter in North America or Europe.  They are full service facilities with private rooms or cottages, all with private en suite bathrooms, and have restaurants and lounges. Some have swimming pools. Many lodges are architecturally stunning – made with local materials and inspired by local designs and the surrounding environment. Some lodges can accommodate up to 200 guests.

Tented camps are permanent or semi-permanent camps sited in areas of excellent game viewing. These provide all the comforts of a lodge within private spacious canvas tents with beds and private bathrooms connected to the tents, and gourmet meals.  The tents at permanent camps are built on wooden foundations and may be raised off the ground.  Tented camps are more intimate than lodges as they generally accommodate 12 to 20 guests.

On a standard camping safari guests sleep in private car-camping size tents in designated campsites in or near national parks. Our safari crew sets up the camp and prepares all the meals.  Whenever possible, we use more remote campsites to make your camping experience more private. There are permanent toilet and hot water shower facilities at most of the campsites.

What is the food like on safari?
 Safari lodges and tented camps offer a wide assortment of excellent western and traditional African dishes with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are camping you can expect the same nutritious, delicious, and filling meals that our expert SENE chefs serve on our climbs.
Are vegetarian meals available?
Yes!  Safari lodges and camps can accommodate most dietary requirements.  Most offer buffet meals or a wide selection of options at all meals.  Please indicate your diet restrictions on your registration so that we can make any arrangements as necessary.
Do I need to bring a water filter?
 No, we provide bottled water on all safaris.  Bottled or filtered water is available at all lodges and tented camps.