Why should I travel with HERI AFRICA TOURSand Safaris?
We specialize exclusively in Tanzania. No
other company comes close to our level of quality control and superior service.
We employ over 150 full-time staff including highly trained guides, logistics
specialists, office staff, reservations managers, drivers and mechanics. We are
large enough to be respected as the premier tour operator in Tanzania and still
small enough to care about every single one of our travelers.
Why is Tanzania the best safari destination?
Safari in Kiswahili, the language of East Africa,
simply means “journey.” Today, the word is synonymous with a wildlife viewing
adventure in the African Bush.
If your primary reason for traveling to Africa
is to experience an abundance of African wildlife in unspoiled wilderness, then
Tanzania should be your destination of choice. Tanzania protects over 30% of
its land through national parks and reserves, more than any other country on
the continent. You simply cannot beat the wildlife concentrations found in
The parks and wildlife reserves of Tanzania
are inhabited by vast herds of wildebeest spread out across the Serengeti
savanna, huge populations of elephant and buffalo, as well as plains game and
their predators. All these animals interact and roam freely, the same as they
have for thousands of years. Here you’ll witness an incredible diversity of
ecology and will find the vegetation and bird life as fascinating as the big
Tanzania is home to 90% of the film series
produced on African animals. Tanzania also boasts a remarkable number of World
Heritage Sites including, Serengeti National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park,
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Selous Game Reserve (this reserve alone is the
size of Denmark), Kilwa Kisiwani and the Songo Mnara Ruins.
When is the best time of year to go on safari
Anytime is a wonderful time to be on safari.
April tends to be rainy, but for the more adventurous travelers, we can arrange
a private trip for you during that time. At HERI AFRICA TOURSwe
adjust our safari itineraries to take advantage of the best possible game
viewing in accordance with the seasonal concentrations of wildlife.
Where is the best place to go for wildlife
viewing in Africa?
You simply can’t beat northern Tanzania for
wildlife concentrations. Most people have heard of the spectacular Ngorongoro
Crater and the wide array of wildlife dwelling on the crater floor. Most have
heard of the vast Serengeti, which hosts the annual migration of wildebeest and
the predators that follow in its wake. This is only the beginning of the
natural phenomena awaiting your discovery on a safari to Tanzania. Guests of
Gap Holiday Tours consistently tell us the wildlife they experienced far
surpassed their most optimistic expectations.
What kinds of animals will I see on safari in
Tanzania is home to over 35 species of large
mammals and has over 1,000 species of birds. On a typical safari in northern
Tanzania you can expect to see elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, baboon,
monkeys and a variety of plains game such as wildebeest, hartebeest, zebra,
impala and gazelle. Most people see lion and hyena, and possibly cheetah or
In Ngorongoro Crater you may see one of the
few remaining black rhino to be found in Tanzania, in addition to bull
elephant, lion, gazelle, hyena, wildebeest, African buffalo and more. You’ll
undoubtedly also see several different species of mongoose, hyrax and other
smaller mammals you may not expect on safari. If you’re lucky you’ll see one or
more of the smaller cats, foxes, wild dog or the more reticent antelope like
lesser kudu, bushbuck, oryx or eland.
What is the Migration?
Almost everyone has heard of the Great
Migration of the Serengeti, where millions of wildebeest, Gap Holiday Tours’s
gazelle and zebra traverse the plains in search of food and water. But how many
of us know the real story?
At Gap Holiday Tours, we believe in setting
the right expectations. There’s so much more to a safari than the Migration!
There’s more wildlife, culture and beautiful scenery than you can imagine, and
with new animal species still being discovered, who knows what exciting
sightings you’ll make.
We think an informed traveler is a happy
traveler, so here are some important facts about the Migration that you need to
Fiction: The main reason to go on safari is to see the Migration.
Fact: There’s so much more to a safari! The Great Migration
consists largely of wildebeest, gazelle, and zebra,
all of which you will see in abundance whether you witness the Migration or
not. What about elephant, lion, giraffe, African buffalo, rhinoceros, flamingo,
hippo, leopard, warthog, hyena, impala and countless other species, some of
which you may have not even heard yet?
One thing is certain, Tanzania has the largest
biodiversity on the planet, has the greatest concentration of wildlife, devotes
fully one-third of its land to national parks, conservation areas and reserves
and has wowed innumerable safari-goers with its sheer beauty and its diversity
and quantity of wildlife.
Fiction: The Great Migration takes place during a specific time of
Fact: It’s actually a year-round phenomenon. The simple story is
that these vast herds are on a continual search for food and water and spend
the entire year moving in a more-or-less clockwise direction around the
Weather, specifically rain, is the driving
force of the Migration, so any change in the seasonal weather patterns (more,
less or no rain) has a huge impact on the location of the Migration and the
size of the herds.
Fiction: The Migration is predictable.
Fact: While we can do our best to reference historical patterns,
study weather trends and stay in touch with a superior team of guides out in
the bush, no one can predict with any certainty where the great herds will be.
When was the last time you were able to accurately predict the rainfall totals
and regional location of rain within your state?
Fiction: If there are so many animals on this migration, it would
be impossible NOT to see them.
Fact: First of all, it’s important to understand that Serengeti
National Park is the size of Connecticut, and the much larger Serengeti
eco-system spans far beyond the park’s borders. It includes not only the park
itself (6,000 square miles!), but Kenya’s Masai Mara (only 600 square miles),
parts of the neighboring Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and beyond.
Then, you must consider that wildebeest, while
they tend to travel in herds, are not joined at the hip! Groups of wildebeest
may range from 10 to 100 to 1,000 or 100,000 individuals, and these can be
spread over miles and miles. Sometimes, you may see what appears to be a
single-file line of wildebeest that spans the horizon. Other times you may see
clusters of smaller herds here and there. And, yes, sometimes you may even be
lucky enough to see the massive herds that turn the grassy plains into a vast
tapestry of ungulates.
Finally, you must also understand that the
reason the National Park is so rich with wildlife is because the land is so
highly protected. Keeping as much of the landscape as possible in pristine
condition means limiting the road system in the park. There are vast swaths
that are – wonderfully – ONLY accessible to the wildlife.
Taking these facts into consideration, Gap
Holiday Tours will arrange expert guides with rugged, customized vehicles to
take you as close as possible to the wildlife – with the most up-to-date
information from the bush and without any mileage restrictions.
Fiction: The Great Migration consists of vast herds crossing
rivers, dodging crocodiles and making death-defying escapes as they flee.
Fact: Well, yes that does happen, and, yes, it’s just as
dramatic as what you’ve seen on the Travel Channel. The reality, however, is as
much about luck as it is about patience. In order to get that kind footage, a
film crew positions themselves for weeks or months in one spot, waiting
patiently for these bursts of absolutely astounding activity. On safari, it is
much more likely that you’ll see varying sizes of herds grazing quietly on the
Fiction: Other companies can guarantee that I’ll see the Great
Fact: This is simply not true. Mother Nature offers no
guarantees. To anyone. Ever. But don’t worry!
You will definitely see examples of all the animals that comprise the “great
migration”: wildebeest, zebra and HERI AFRICA TOURS gazelle
throughout your trip. They may not necessarily be part of the Great Migration
of the Serengeti (for example, at Ngorongoro Crater the herds are mostly
non-migratory). Even the quantities may vary widely from one location to
another and from one time of year to another.
Still, having said all that, it is true that
on a HERI AFRICA TOURSyou are very likely to see some part of the
migration. You may not see that dramatic river crossing (few people ever do),
but you’ll probably see varying sized groups of wildebeest, zebra and Gap
Holiday Tours’s gazelle as they graze, play and gather on the plains.
Almost all HERI AFRICA TOUR Itineraries
include staying in two separate, seasonally appropriate regions during your
four days in the Serengeti. It’s all about maximizing your chances of seeing
the most abundant wildlife during your safari.
Above all else, do not get your heart set on the TV-version of the Great
Migration. There is SO MUCH MORE to the safari experience.
You WILL see a great deal of wildlife! You are
not only going to Tanzania, the world’s best safari destination, but you are
going with one of the best, most experienced companies out there; it’s a given
that you will see a magnificent variety and quantity of animals.
Twenty-seven years of experience in the wilds
of Tanzania allow us to make that promise without hesitation.
Will I have a chance to interact with the
local people of Tanzania?
The vast majority of Tanzanians are still
living very close to their traditional lifestyles. Most of the people are
subsistence farmers. The Maasai live a pastoral existence following their herds
of cattle to better grazing areas, still adhering to the traditions and
ceremonies of their ancestors. Their “villages” are located throughout northern
Tanzania. Other small tribes of hunter-gatherers, living according to their
ancient customs and traditions can also be found in this area.
At Akaro Tours, we consider the
cultural component of any safari to be subtle yet essential. All of the guides
are Tanzanian born. They are an excellent resource to help you gain greater
insight into the local culture. On some of our trips, we begin with a visit to
a traditional village where you are welcomed as friends of Akaro Tours.
As we drive between parks, we pass many villages and Maasai Bomas giving you
further glimpses into the lives of the Tanzanian people. More often than not,
we are able to stop at one of these bomas to get a more in-depth perspective on
What if I want a custom safari?
We would be delighted to work with you to help
you and your family, friends or organization plan the best possible safari to
match your interests and budget. We organize custom safaris for professional
photographers, honeymoon couples, families and many museums and educational
institutions, including Boston’s Museum of Science, Harvard University,
American Museum of Natural History, Princeton University and Stanford Travel
Study, to name just a few.
Can I take my children on safari?
YES! HERI AFRICA TOURS has a personal
understanding and deep commitment to meeting the special needs of families. We
have designed unique Family Safari programs to allow you and your children to
experience the wonders of Africa together. Special features for children ages 6
– 16 include: Penpals with whom kids
will correspond and then meet in Tanzania
40 page Safari Logbook
including a journal, bird lists, mammal lists, games, sketchpads, and address
Safari Guides who
enjoy and relate to children
You’ll have a chance
to deepen your understanding of cultural diversity, discover the many miracles
of nature, and at the same time play, laugh, and enjoy the pleasure of one
another’s company. Our trips are well suited for children six years and older.
Will I stay in tents or lodges?
Our safaris offer a wide array of safari
styles to suit your interests and budget. Please see our brochure or the
accommodations section of this site for a description of the different types of
accommodations we use on our trips.
How big are your safari groups?
Our scheduled safaris vary in size depending
on the nature of the safari, family departures being slightly larger to
accommodate for kids and grandkids. On a typical sold out trip, we may use 3 to
4 customized Land Rovers, guaranteeing everyone a window seat, and allowing for
a more intimate connection with the African bush.
What’s the weather like in Tanzania?
Located at an altitude of 5,000 to 7,600 feet,
northern Tanzania’s dry, sunny climate is nothing like the steamy African
jungle of Tarzan movies. The weather is spring-like year round, with daytime
temperatures in the 70s and 80s, evenings in the 60s. From June until August,
temperatures are slightly cooler, ranging from the upper 50s to the mid-70s
during the day. The coastal and lowland areas tend to be more tropical in
What clothes should I bring on safari?
Safari dress is comfortable and casual –
layers are recommended. Keep it simple and bring things you don’t mind getting
dusty. After you have booked your safari, we will send you a pre-departure
information booklet including a detailed packing list to help you prepare for
What’s the food like on safari?
You will be pleasantly surprised by both the
quality and the variety of the food available on safari. In most lodges, meals
are served buffet-style so you can choose what you like. The food is prepared
according to western tastes, with some curries and local cuisine included. If
staying at any of the Gap Holiday Tours Safaris, fresh meat and produce is
procured locally and then prepared by expert chefs to the highest standards.
Returning guests are consistently amazed by the meals we are able to prepare
out in the bush.
Can special dietary requirements be
Special dietary requirements such as
vegetarian or diabetic meals can easily be arranged with advanced notice. If
you are vegetarian or vegan you may wish to bring along some alternative
protein sources. If you have multiple food allergies, you’ll definitely want to
bring along supplemental snacks. It is important we know of any possible
dietary restrictions as soon as possible.
Are safaris in Tanzania safe?
Today’s modern safari is a far cry from the
rugged safaris of the past and the images we see in old movies. After a
stimulating day of wildlife viewing, you can relax at comfortable, attractive
lodges, with amenities like swimming pools, full service restaurants and
en-suite bathrooms. Located right in the heart of scenic settings within
wildlife reserves, the lodges and Safaris are close to nature, but not too
close for comfort. Askaris (night watchmen) patrol the grounds at night, just
to make sure that all is well.
Tanzania is one of Africa’s most stable
countries, where you’ll receive a warm welcome from its gracious people. Every
care is taken to ensure your health and safety on safari.
Is it OK to drink the water?
We provide bottled water on wildlife viewing drives
and in any of our Safaris, and you can purchase good quality bottled water at
all the lodges.
Are there a lot of bugs in Tanzania?
There are more bugs in many places in the USA
than you will encounter on safari. Again, remember that most of the areas
you’ll be visiting are arid (especially from July – November). The bugs you
will see are fascinating, but certainly not anything to be concerned about.
How far in advance should I book my safari?
It is better to book as far in advance as
possible to ensure availability at the time you wish to travel, especially
during the peak seasons (June through August and Christmas time). This is
especially important for those wishing to travel on private custom safaris and
those adding extensions to the scheduled trips.
Can I use a credit card to pay for my safari?
We accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express
for your safari deposit. The balance is due 90 days prior to departure and is
payable by check, wire transfer or money order.
For medical advice, it
is always best to consult your doctor or travel clinic. Most travelers into
Tanzania get, at minimum, a yellow fever vaccination and anti-malarial
medication. Bear in mind that you will be staying in camps and lodges oriented
to meet the needs of American and European guests.
What additional costs can I expect when I
travel with Akaro Tours?
Our safari land packages include all
accommodations, meals, airport transfers, park fees and services of Gap Holiday
Tours guides and drivers.
It is customary to tip your guide and driver,
as well as the HERI AFRICA TOURSNyumba staff (we suggest typical
amounts in the pre-departure information we send you after you book on one of
our safaris). You must remember, however, that tips are not required and are
You will also need to pay for your own bar
beverages (we provide water at meals and on game drives) and personal items
like laundry service and phone calls. Before you go, you are responsible for
any passport and visa fees (we send you the visa application form with your
pre-departure information). We also highly recommend you purchase travel
insurance (a pamphlet is included in your pre-departure packet). And finally,
if you know yourself to be a big souvenir shopper you’ll need to budget