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Kenya vs. Tanzania Safari | Which is Better?

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Natasha Weiss

It is no secret Kenya and Tanzania are the joint kings of the safari adventure. After all – the two countries are the place where animal lovers can see the incredible Great Wildlife Migration. With open savannas, spectacular beaches, and plenty of fabulous accommodation available, it may be difficult to decide between Kenya vs. Tanzania safari.

Take a look at our comparison to choose the best Kenya or Tanzania safari option for you.


Climate and landscapes – what to expect

Since Kenya and Tanzania are situated along the Indian Ocean, they share quite a few similarities. Kenya is known to have beautiful sandy beaches, gorgeous highlands, and impressive plains. Like other tropical destinations, the African country has two seasons – wet and dry. 

April to June is the peak of the wet season, while the dry season is typically from December to March. The coast is usually hotter than inland, but regardless of when you decide to discover the beautiful country, you can expect warm weather – around 20°C and 28°C. 

Tanzania has a similar climate, but you have to keep in mind it is significantly bigger (one and a half times). Most highlands are located in the north and south, while the plains can be found in the west. Like Kenya, Tanzania also has two seasons – wet and dry. Typically, the wet season runs a bit quicker – it starts already in March. The coldest month to visit Tanzania is July, when the temperature is around 24°C.

Wildlife – Kenya vs Tanzania

If you are traveling to East Africa to experience the magic of safaris, knowing what wildlife to expect should be your priority. In fact, considering which animals you would like to see is one of the best ways to decide between a Kenya vs. Tanzania safari.

Although Kenya is smaller, don’t let its size fool you! Within its borders, you will find many different species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

In Kenya, you have the opportunity to see the Big Five (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) if you visit the biggest reserves like Mara National Reserve. If you are lucky, you might also spot giraffes, baboons, hippos, civets, cheetahs, gazelles, antelopes, zebras, vervet monkeys, and many other awe-inspiring animals. 

Kenya also has no shortage of birds. From flamingos to ostriches, the country is home to around 1,130 species. Keep your eyes open – highly endangered black rhinos can be encountered too.

Since Tanzania has more territory, you can expect to see more animals. The country is where more than 4 million wild animals live. Like in Kenya, you can spot the Big Five. Tanzania is also home to cheetahs, gazelles, crocodiles, wild dogs, zebra, giraffes, chimpanzees, vervet monkeys, hippos, kudu, and other glorious living beings. 

Within its borders, 1000 species of birds can be found. Watch out for fish eagles, flamingos, and grey-crowned cranes, which are some of the most impressive. Of course, birds and animals aren’t the only creatures inhabiting Tanzania. Did you know that there are around 60 000 types of insects? The huge number is just another showcase of how impressive and versatile safaris in Tanzania are.

What would your safari holiday be like?

While both countries share some similarities, there is a difference between Kenya vs. Tanzania safari experience.

Adventurers who decide to explore Kenya will typically begin their journey in Nairobi, the country’s capital and home of Nairobi National Park. Just imagine – vast open grass plains, the city as an impressive backdrop, and a number of incredible animals – lions, leopards, buffaloes, the endangered black rhino, and many other species. 

Later on, the adventure may continue in Amboseli National Park, which can be found near Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. The park is the perfect place to spot large herds of elephants. To get up close to Hippopotamus and lots of birdlife, head to Naivasha.

A must-visit along the road is Lake Nakuru, which is primarily known for the vast numbers of pink flamingos. Of course, an adventure in Kenya wouldn’t be imaginable without a trip to Masai Mara –  the quintessential African safari experience. Take a look at our seven-day Kenya Safari itinerary to gain more inspiration.

Prefer to see Tanzania? That means you are in for a real treat. With astounding wildlife, many geological wonders, and splendid beaches, there is no shortage of things to do and see. We have created the perfect 11-day Tanzania itinerary.

During your adventure, stop by the Tarangire River, which is the primary source of fresh water for many animals during the dry season. There you might spot zebras, wildebeest, and other fascinating four-legged friends. Then, continue to the Tarangire National Park, where a large number of elephants, baobab trees, and tree climbing lions can be found. Giraffes and olive baboons may make their appearance too! 

Have you ever tried walking safari? In Tanzania, more specifically, the Tarangire National Park, you have the chance to do it! Another bucket-list-worthy experience travelers shouldn’t miss is a night drive. In the adventure, you get an insight into the nocturnal wildlife, which stays hidden during the day. To continue your safari holiday, Lake Manyara National Park is an excellent next stop. Time will go by fast, admiring the natural beauty! 

Within the country’s borders, you will also find Serengeti National Park – the best place to be awed by the huge numbers of the Big Five animals. When you’ve done exploring Tanzania’s safaris, don’t miss out on the opportunity to see its fantastic beaches. Our favorite is Kendwa Beach – with clean white sand and turquoise water, it looks straight from a postcard.

How much does Kenya safari cost?

Compared to European and North American countries, you will find that both Kenya and Tanzania are more affordable travel destinations. However, there is a big difference in what you should expect to pay in Kenya vs. Tanzania safari adventure.

Note that Kenya is a wealthier nation, so everything is also more expensive. Regardless of whether you choose to discover Kenya or Tanzania, your flight will most likely be the most costly part of your trip. Boarding an economy flight to Nairobi from North America can cost around $1400.

Once you have arrived, you will have to find comfortable accommodation. A great option is to stay in a safari hotel – that means you would be right in the midst of all action. This option, however, can be pretty pricey. A budget safari can be found for $200 – $250 per day. However, if you wish to have a more luxurious and also safer experience, the cost will be much higher. 

Those traveling on a budget can always opt for a 3-star hotel in Nairobi, which usually cost around $70 – $80. Outside the cities, there are cheaper options available, but you aren’t always guaranteed to be safe.

While flights and accommodations can be quite pricey, food in Kenya is generally cheap. You can find delicious, authentic street food for less than $1. If you wish to dine at a restaurant, you will most likely pay around $4 to $10.

Seeing safari in Tanzania usually won’t be as expensive as in Kenya. Although Tanzania is larger, it is cheaper. It is easy to find 3-star hotels in big cities which don’t cost more than $50 per night. Eating out also won’t break your bank. A delicious restaurant meal shouldn’t cost more than $8. Street food, of course, is even more affordable. 

The only thing that is more expensive in Tanzania is flying. A flight from North America to Dar es Salaam can cost around $1500.

Since most people travel to East Africa to enjoy the spectacular safaris, that is where you will find the highest prices. Overall, Kenya has a more advanced tourism infrastructure. Therefore, there are more lodges available for adventurers wishing to see the fantastic safaris. For this reason, the cost of them will be cheaper than in Tanzania. 

The upside – Tanzania safaris are more exclusive. There aren’t as many visitors, so you won’t be disturbed by other tourists. On average, a Tanzania safari costs $200 per person per day. In Kenya, you should expect to pay around $180-$250 (unless you want to have a premium experience).

Is Kenya better than Tanzania?

The answer to this question depends on your needs and desires. Both countries prove to be excellent safari destinations. In Kenya, travelers can benefit from a better tourism infrastructure and quicker access to game parks. Tanzania, on the other hand, boasts more animals and iconic natural landmarks. It is also less touristy, so it is well suited for adventurers who wish to escape crowds.

When deciding between Kenya vs Tanzania safari, know that you will have an excellent adventure either way! Both countries are safe and full of sights to see and places to explore. As long as you follow a well-considered itinerary, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic time! To get the best tips and tricks, take a look at our guide on creating a travel itinerary.

Natasha Weiss

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