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Visa-Free Travel: Here’s What It’s Like To Go On A Safari In Tanzania

An African safari is truly an experience of a lifetime!
Pinoys Can Go Visa-Free In Safari Destination, Tanzania
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) INSTAGRAM/MARIA.ELENA.ADARNA, COURTESY OF ANDIE ESTELLA
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Now that the rest of the world is (slowly) opening up to international travelers, some of you have most likely already booked a flight...or at least a visa appointment. But ICYDK, Philippine passport holders can travel to 66 different countries visa-free! You read that right, 66 nations will allow Pinoys to either 1) enter their borders without a visa, or 2) issue Pinoys a visa upon arrival.

And in case you've ever dreamt of going on an African safari, you'll be pleased to know that Tanzania is on the list of countries that grants a visa upon arrival! Several celebrities have already done many a game drive in the past, touring the vast continent in search of the best outdoor experience: 

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ellen adarna tanzania outfits
Ellen Adarna, Derek Ramsay, and baby Elias on safari in Tanzania! Instagram/maria.elena.adarna

But before you start booking your dream safari, there's something you should know about Tanzania. Tourists need to take note of three specific "seasons", depending on the weather and the wildlife you'd like to see. Lonely Planet lists them out in detail, but here's a quick summary: 

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High Season

When: June to September
Best time to experience: the wildebeest migration

Enjoy mostly sunny days and cooler, dry weather this time of year. Since the sun is almost-always up, it's the perfect time for wildlife spotting, with various species gathering around watering holes. June and July are the most popular months for the annual wildebeest migration, but that also means hotels in popular areas are often fully booked at their highest rates.

Shoulder season

When: October to February
Best time to experience: the baby animals!

December through to February are the hottest months of the year, but you'll probably experience short rainfall and seasonal winds in late October. Expect High Season prices between mid-December to mid-January, because animals start giving birth to the next generation around late January in the southern Serengeti area.

Low Season

When: March to May
Best time to experience: the cheapest rates

Bird watchers, this is your time of year! Due to heavy rains, certain areas become muddy or even inaccessible but the landscapes are lush and green. Take advantage of discounted rates and smaller crowds in northern Tanzania, and enjoy a bit of wildlife-spotting without fighting other game drive vehicles for prime position.

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African safari, Tanzania, small plane
When you fly into Tanzania, you're granted a visa upon arrival. Then from the main airport you'll fly in a smaller plane to the heart of the Serengeti. Courtesy of Andie Estella

BTW, there are also several landscapes you can choose from when booking a camp. You can explore the magnificent landscape of the Ngorongoro Crater, take in the Serengeti plains that stretch as far as the horizon, or live among the scenic kopjes (rocky hills) like the big cats of Africa.

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African safari, Tanzania, Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is considered the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'. Courtesy of Andie Estella
African safari, Tanzania, Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater's extinct volcano has an 18-kilometer wide crater floor. Courtesy of Andie Estella
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African safari, Tanzania, safari plains
If you prefer to spot animals from kilometers away, take a trip on the wild side and explore the Serengeti plains. Courtesy of Andie Estella
African safari, Tanzania, Tanzania kopjes, safari kopjes
A fan of big cats? Play hide-and-seek with sleepy lions—they enjoy taking naps in these kojpes ('rocky hills'). Courtesy of Andie Estella
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Interested in what you'll see in your camera lens if you decide to book a Safari game drive in Tanzania? Take a look! Choose between two types of camps: "mobile" camps that move to follow the migration (the so called "glamping" experience in tents), or more permanently-located camps that stay put all-year round.

African safari, Tanzania, safari tent mess hall
Make friends from around the world and enjoy meals prepared for you 'in the bush'. Make time for some 'bush TV' (aka a chat around a campfire) at the end of the day, so you can share stories on the wildlife you spotted! Courtesy of Andie Estella
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African safari, Tanzania, safari tent
This is definitely an upscale version of your regular camping tent! Spot the horn hanging by the bedside table—it's only for emergencies, like if a wild animal gets way too close to your tent for comfort! It's totally normal to wake up from an afternoon nap to see a herd of grazers outside your tent btw, so the horn is meant for predators or more dangerous animals, like hippos (they can be aggressive!). Courtesy of Andie Estella
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African safari, Tanzania, safari tent bathroom
Yes, you will have access to a bathroom! If it's a mobile camp, you'll have to request for hot water at least 30 minutes before you shower, though. Courtesy of Andie Estella

Fun fact: A milestone for safari-goers is getting to see the "Big Five" animals that represent Africa's iconic wildlife — the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the Cape buffalo, and the rhino.

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African safari, Tanzania, Maasai, Masai people
While exploring the plains, you might spot a member of the Maasai—their red clothes signal 'danger' to their main enemy, the lion. It's why you're not allowed to wear colors other than 'natural shades' while on safari! Courtesy of Andie Estella
African safari, Tanzania, lion, Big Five
The king of the pride, the color of a lion's mane indicates his age (the darker, the older). Courtesy of Andie Estella
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African safari, Tanzania, warthog
If you thought Pumba from 'Lion King' was cute, think again—this is what a warthog *really* looks like! Courtesy of Andie Estella
African safari, Tanzania, elephant, baby elephant, mother elephant
An elephant's gestation lasts 22-24 months, and a calf can weigh on average 250 pounds at birth—talk about a big baby! Courtesy of Andie Estella
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African safari, Tanzania, zebra, wildebeest
Herds of zebra and wildebeest tend to mingle together especially during migration season because there's safety in numbers—the less you stick out, the smaller your chances are of getting attacked! Courtesy of Andie Estella
African safari, Tanzania, hyena
A hyena's stomach acid is so corrosive, it can actually digest bone! Courtesy of Andie Estella
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African safari, Tanzania, Baobab tree
Baobabs are huge trees that can live for thousands of years. They have more than 300 uses: For example, their fruit pulp has six times more vitamin C than oranges! Courtesy of Andie Estella

Depending on which camp you choose, you can also sign up for special experiences (at an added cost, of course). One popular adventure is a hot air balloon ride at sunrise—see the golden rays light up the plains from above, and get a birds-eye view of all the wildlife below!

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African safari, Tanzania, hot air balloon ride
Take a hot air balloon up to get a birds-eye view of the African plains. Courtesy of Andie Estella
African safari, Tanzania, African sunset
Witness the sun set and the sky turn breathtaking shades of golden yellow and orange as far as the horizon reaches! Courtesy of Andie Estella
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African safari, Tanzania, dusk, African sunset
Enjoy a picnic in the kopjes and watch the day turn into night. The colors of the night sky at dusk are absolutely gorgeous. Courtesy of Andie Estella

Would you ever go on an African safari? Let us know in the comments!

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