Tanzania Big Game Safari Trip Report August 2023 - Bluewater Dive Travel
Tanzania Big Game Safari Trip Report August 2023

Tanzania Big Game Safari Trip Report August 2023

Tanzania Big Game Safari Trip Report


Words and pictures by Craig Dietrich

After long plane rides and a good night’s sleep at a hotel, our group left Arusha (the safari capital of Tanzania) and made our way to our first destination: Tarangire National Park.  Covering 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 miles), the park is the home of the Tarangire River, which is the main source of water for the park’s residents during the dry season.  Tarangire’s landscape is dotted with the majestic baobab trees, also known as the “upside down tree”, which can grow as tall as 100 feet tall and have a single trunk (or multiple trunks) measuring up to 10 km (33 feet) in diameter.  Tarangire is known for being home to tree climbing pythons—averaging 10 feet in length--but our group was lucky to see one out in open making his way across the grasses of Tarangire!  We also saw multiple elephant families (including baby elephants who love to play in the mud!), lots of zebras, African cape buffalo, giraffe---and our first leopard of the trip, a cat made even more beautiful by the golden afternoon sun.   

 Baobab Tree at sunset in Tanzania Playful elephants in Tanzania

Leopard in a tree in Tanzania Giraffe grazing in Tanzania Cuddling zebras in Tanzania

After two action-packed days in Tarangire, we made our way west to the famous Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Ngorongoro Crater.  Formed two to three million years ago—it is the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera.  Our guests were all blown away at seeing the massive expanse of the crater and the surrounding area.  The biggest highlight of Ngorongoro Crater this trip?  A (very close) black rhino sighting!  The black rhino is on the critically endangered list, with the world population hovering around only 6,200, so we knew what a special moment this was.  The black rhino differs from the white rhino by size and the shapes of their lips:  Black rhinos are smaller and are known for their hook shaped lip, while the white rhino is larger and known for their square shaped lips. 


White rhino in Tanzania White rhino in Tanzania White rhino in Tanzania


Just a few days in and our group had already seen the Big Five of Africa! 


Warthog and cubs in Tanzania Lions in Tanzania 


From Ngorongoro, we headed to Serengeti National Park, which covers 15,000 square kilometers (approximately 9,400 square miles, larger than the state of New Jersey!) and I was excited for the guests to experience the differences in landscapes and animal life from the southern to the northern Serengeti.  We witnessed a large pride of lions—including three males and several cubs, it was interesting to see the dynamics between the males, females, and cubs.  There were plenty of giraffe, zebra, warthogs, hippo, and cheetah sightings too!   


Elephant in Tanzania Giraffe grazing in Tanzania Baboon in tree in Tanzania 

While in the Serengeti, we saw one of the most majestic things in nature--- the great wildebeest migration.  An estimated 1.5-2 million wildebeest (aka gnu, members of the antelope family) migrate on a loop path through Tanzania and Kenya following the seasonal rains even when that involves passing through dangerous territory—often fighting rapids and gigantic Nile crocodile, (which generally grow between twelve and fifteen feet!). We were fortunate enough to witness the “crossing”---thousands of wildebeest making their way from miles away in the Serengeti to cross the Mara river.  The wildebeest gather at the edge of the river, all waiting for the brave one to take the first leap and follow—a stampede that must be seen to believed.  We had a front row seat this year, and the feeling of the wildebeest rushing past our safari vehicle was magical.


 Wildebeest crossing the Maya river in Tanzania Wildebeest crossing the Maya river in Tanzania


After ten days filled with excitement, wildlife of all kinds, tented camp living, great food, unmatched hospitality by the Tanzanian people we left our last camp and headed to the airstrip to take our little plane back to Arusha.  Last year, our group spotted rare African dogs on our way out---this year there was a leopard hunting in the open who strutted right past our vehicles! Sadly, my camera was already packed, but our safari was thrilling up until the last possible moment.    


Bluewater guests in Tanzania Bluewater guests in Tanzania 



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