safari- south africa vs tanzania

Safari in South Africa vs Tanzania: Where Should You Go?

If you’ve finally decided to go on safari in the great continent of Africa, your first decision may be the most important: where are you going to go? South Africa and Tanzania are two popular options, but which is best for you? Both countries, although they may seem similar at first glance, offer visitors diverse and exciting experiences.

It’s important to know the differences between them, so your experience meets your expectations. If you can’t quite decide, here are some of the key differences between them to help with the process.

South AfricaTanzania
Capital cityCape Town, Pretoria, BloemfonteinDodoma City
South African rand
 Tanzanian shilling
Popular national parksKruger National ParkSerengeti National Park
Popular beach destinationCoffee BayKendwa Beach
safari sunset - south africa vs tanzania
Sunset in Tanzania

South Africa

What is the weather like in South Africa?

The main seasons of South Africa are summer and winter; autumn and spring weather generally lasts only two months. As South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons you may be used to could be reversed!

South Africa is home to many different climate zones, ranging between desert and sub-tropical. Visiting these locations will vary the temperature and humidity you are exposed to, so be sure to understand your itinerary thoroughly along with the places you will be visiting before arriving in South Africa.

    • December, January, and February (29°C to 16°C)
    • March, April and May (25°C to 10°C)
    • June, July and August (21°C to 2°C)
    • September, October, and November (28°C to 12°C)
Zebra in Africa - South Africa vs Tanzania

The peak season for travel to South Africa is often dictated by the attractions on offer throughout the year. The drier months (May to October) are ideal for a Safari trip to destinations such as Kruger and Madikwe.

For a beach holiday, a trip to Cape Town is best during the hotter time of the year (November to March). If you’re looking for whales,  June to November is the time to visit, with September being the peak season.

What should I pack for a safari in South Africa?

For a safari in South Africa, it’s best to pack light.

  1. Light clothing, if you are visiting during the hotter times of the year
  2. Long sleeve shirts and jeans – evenings can get cold
  3. Waterproof Jacket
  4. Sunglasses
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Hiking Shoes
  7. Hat
  8. Insect repellent
  9. First Aid Kit
  10. Toiletries – toilet paper, soap, etc.
  11. Camera
  12. Travel documents

What animals will I see in South Africa?

Common animals to see during a South African safari include elephants, wildebeests, giraffes, white rhinos, hippos, and zebras. Not as commonly seen are creatures such as leopards, hyenas, and cheetahs, and it is very rare to see black rhinos.

It is also important to note, due to the climate in South Africa, the weather is unlikely to cause any of the wild animals to fall into hibernation.

giraffe- south africa vs tanzania

What is a tour like in South Africa?

If you are visiting South Africa for the first time, and you are unsure of what to expect, it may be a good idea to consider visiting on a tour. This option can maximise safety, whilst surrounding you with other like-minded individuals. A tour can also make the journey run extra smoothly, while guiding you through to all the treasures that South Africa offers.

What is the food like in South Africa?

Sampling some of the traditional foods at a new destination can often be an experience within itself, and with all the unique foods available in South Africa, visitors are provided with plenty of opportunities to expand their palates. Some can’t-miss dishes in South Africa include Bunny Chow, Chakalaka, Boerewors, and Pap.

Travel to: South Africa


What is the weather like in Tanzania?

Seasons of Tanzania are also reversed when compared to the Northern Hemisphere seasons, with the country being located slightly south of the equator. Also due to this location, the country only experiences minor fluctuations in temperature throughout the year.

Tanzania also experiences two rainy seasons, the first being from March to June, and the second being October to November. It is also important to note that summer is typically slightly cooler than winter in Tanzania.

    • December, January and February (31°C to 18°C)
    • March, April and May (29°C to 17°C)
    • June, July and August (27°C to 14°C)
    • September, October and November (31°C to 16°C)
Two young elephants- South Africa vs Tanzania
Two young elephants

The best seasons for viewing the diverse wildlife of Tanzania are between the months of June and October, the country’s dry season. The best weather is offered during this timeframe, and the lack of rainfall means you’ll have a better chance of seeing all the animals you’re looking for. The low season is between April and May, with many lodges closing down due to the rainy season hitting its peak.

Tanzania on a safari tour
Ngorongoro Crater

What should I pack for a safari in Tanzania?

Much like in South Africa, it’s best to pack light for a safari in Tanzania

  1. Loose, breathable clothing that will protect you from the sun and heat.
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Hat
  4. Quality walking and hiking shoes
  5. Insect repellent
  6. Camera
  7. First aid kit
  8. Toiletries
  9. Travel documents
Tanzania on a safari tour
Safari in the Serengeti

What animals will I see in Tanzania?

When on safari in Tanzania, travellers can look forward to seeing a diverse range of animals. Elephants, hippos, buffalo, giraffes, lions, and zebras are all very common. Leopards and cheetahs are occasionally seen, whilst black rhinos and wild dogs are very rare. There are also no white rhinos in Tanzania.

Different months of the year can offer diverse animal-related experiences. For example, in June and July, visitors are able to see the renowned wildebeest migration. It’s important to research the different experiences on offer year around, so you can judge which time of year you’d like to visit.

Leopard- South Africa vs Tanzania
Leopard in Africa

What is a tour like in Tanzania?

Similarly to South Africa, if you are visiting Tanzania for the first time, it may be a good idea to travel on tour. Not only can it surround you with like-minded individuals, provide a cost-effective experience, and guide you through the beautiful sites of Tanzania, a tour can also maximise your safety.

What is the food like in Tanzania?

Tanzania is home to an abundance of traditional foods, perfect for curious travellers to expand their palates. Some foods to try when visiting the country include Ugali, Pilaf, Chapati, and Biryani.

Travel to: Tanzania

No matter where you decide to go on safari, it will be a unique, life-changing experience. We hope this has made one of your most difficult questions a little easier to answer.

Where would your dream safari take place? Tell us in the comments below! 

Nicholas Hastie is a writer located in Brisbane, Australia. He enjoys documenting his journeys through travel and photography, hoping to inspire others to create unforgettable memories. He has travelled to 9 countries himself, Japan being his favourite. Follow his adventures on Instagram via @NicholasHastie and @WonderfulRoaming

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