Rated Africa's Number One Safari Outfitter by National Geographic Adventure

Arusha National Park: It is often overlooked, because it is not a "Big Five" destination, but Arusha National Park is truly excellent and offers something different. The gorgeous afro-montane forests of the slopes of 15,000 foot Mt Meru harbour buffalo, elephants, gorgeous forest antelope, dynamic birdlife and superb primates, especially the stunning black and white colobus monkey.

Arusha Park on safari: Many of our safaris begin with a day here. One can walk, game drive, canoe, embark on big hikes on the mountain and maybe even get a perfect view of nearby Mt Kilimanjaro in the late afternoon. Even though it is close to Arusha, the park is hardly visited and makes for a wonderful daytrip before heading to the Serengeti or other parks.

Mahale Mountains National Park: What makes Tanzania so amazing is its diversity of environments. Mahale embodies this with its lush montane forests stretching up from the crystal clear waters of Lake Tanganyika, so different than the typical bush. At Mahale the focus is on tracking chimps through the forest, making it the premier destination in the world for viewing these apes in a large, wild environment.

Mahale on safari: Perhaps the most amazing way to cap off a bush safari is to retreat to an eccentric, luxury camp along the lake's beach for days of tracking chimps, snorkelling or sipping gin and tonics from the deck of an old dhow on an evening sailing cruise.

Katavi National Park: Katavi is different. The vegetation, the game, the feel of the place. Situated way down in southwestern Tanzania, it is secluded and has some of the most dramatic dry season wildlife congregations: dozens of crocs in caves, hundreds of hippos piled on top of each other in small waterholes and herds of up to 1000 buffalo. The scenery is gorgeous as one sits on the camp veranda under tamarind trees looking out at elephants in the floodplains.

Katavi on safari: Because of its remoteness, Katavi can be costly to get to, but all of our guests who go, say it is well worth it. Twice-weekly scheduled flights link the northern parks with Katavi and Mahale. A Serengeti, Tarangire and Katavi combo would be pretty hard to beat.

Ruaha National Park: A classic. Recently expanded and connected to three massive game reserves, Ruaha offers remoteness and beauty, as well as superb wildlife viewing. Whether exploring the huge sand rivers for lion, the endless maze of miombo woodland for sable antelope or the river valleys for just about everything else, one can have great wildlife experiences far from other people.

Ruaha on safari: Compared to other parks, Ruaha has few camps and almost all of them are clustered into one narrow area, leaving the rest of the wilderness untouched. We have rights to conduct walking safaris in the remote areas where nobody goes a real privilege. Ruaha connects very well with Tarangire and Selous. Serengeti can also be combined.

Selous Game Reserve: Selous is the biggest reserve in Africa with the largest wild dog population and probably the largest elephant population in Africa as well. The meandering Rufiji River is a focal point, with hippos, crocs, swimming elephants, diving kingfishers and glorious sunsets over the water. Walks, game drives and especially boat safaris enable one to get a full experience of the bush.

Selous on safari: Being in the south of the country, it connects well with Ruaha National Park, as well as Zanzibar and the coastal islands. However, sometimes after a safari in Tarangire and Serengeti, we fly to Selous for a final few nights in one of the several wonderful luxury camps along the river.

Ngorongoro Crater & Conservation Area: A World Heritage Site, an ecological and geological phenomenon, a black rhino conservation hotspot, it has forests, a soda lake, freshwater pools, grasslands and lush mountains: a perfect habitat. Outside the crater, one can also find Olduvai Gorge, the site where the Leakey's un-earthed the remains of 'Homo habilis' and Zinjanthropus Man.

Ngorongoro on safari: Because of its easy accessibility and unique environment, the Crater does receive tourism pressure. So when we access the crater, we normally choose to base ourselves from a camp located low on the crater rim, with the absolute best access into the crater, and depart at dawn with picnic breakfasts. This way we can enjoy the crater when it is best and wildlife most active. Because of its central location it can combine with any other park.

Tarangire National Park: One of our personal favourites, this park has a real classic charm. With ancient baobab trees, the game-rich river valley and some of African's densest elephant populations, Tarangire has given us some of our most thrilling experiences over the years. In the dry season months, it is possible to see 1500 elephants and 2000 buffalo in a morning, plus some of East Africa's very best birding.

Tarangire on safari: Almost every one of our safaris goes to Tarangire. Tarangire is a great place for game driving, traditional East African bushcamps, and especially our walking safaris. We conduct more walks in Tarangire than anywhere else, spending between 3 and 5 nights on the trail.

Serengeti National Park: A massive World Heritage Site with some of the world's finest wildlife. Enormous lion prides, excellent populations of leopard and cheetah, the wildebeest migration and some huge roadless backcountry make Serengeti simply unrivalled.

Serengeti on safari: Serengeti combines perfectly with Tarangire and Ngorongoro, and is on most all of our itineraries. It is an ideal place for luxury safaris to see the migration and big cats, as well as for our backcountry walking safaris into the interior zones. One of our favourite trips is an in-depth 9 day combo of walks and drives in the various parts of Serengeti.

Tanzania is blessed with the finest wildlife areas on earth. 25% of its land is gazetted as protected areas. Some, such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, are well known. And others are the best kept wildlife secrets in Africa. With rainforests, mountains, endless grasslands, deserts, acacia woodlands, huge rivers and a long tropical coastline, Tanzania has an enviable diversity of environments.

In this stable, peaceful country, one can find Africa's highest mountain of Kilimanjaro, the historic island of Zanzibar, the vast lakes of Victoria and Tanganyika and the largest game reserve in Africa, the Selous. Nowhere else can one see the wildebeest migration on the plains, track chimps in the forest, and then ride a Swahili dhow on the trade winds of the Indian Ocean.

TANZANIA'S LEGENDARY PARKS & RESERVES

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

A massive World Heritage Site with some of the world's finest wildlife. Enormous lion prides, excellent populations of leopard and cheetah, the wildebeest migration and some huge roadless backcountry make Serengeti simply... READ MORE

TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

One of our personal favourites, this park has a real classic charm. With ancient baobab trees, the game-rich river valley and some of African's densest elephant populations, Tarangire has given us some of our most thrilling... READ MORE

NGORONGORO CRATER & CONSERVATION AREA

A World Heritage Site, an ecological and geological phenomenon, a black rhino conservation hotspot, it has forests, a soda lake, freshwater pools, grasslands and lush mountains: a perfect habitat. Outside the crater, one can also... READ MORE

SELOUS GAME RESERVE

Selous is the biggest reserve in Africa with the largest wild dog population and probably the largest elephant population in Africa as well. The meandering Rufiji River is a focal point, with hippos, crocs, swimming elephants... READ MORE

RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

A classic. Recently expanded and connected to three massive game reserves, Ruaha offers remoteness and beauty, as well as superb wildlife viewing. Whether exploring the huge sand rivers for lion, the endless maze of miombo... READ MORE

KATAVI NATIONAL PARK

Katavi is different. The vegetation, the game, the feel of the place. Situated way down in southwestern Tanzania, it is secluded and has some of the most dramatic dry season wildlife congregations: dozens of crocs in caves... READ MORE

MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

What makes Tanzania so amazing is its diversity of environments. Mahale embodies this with its lush montane forests stretching up from the crystal clear waters of Lake Tanganyika, so different than the typical bush. At Mahale the... READ MORE

ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK

It is often overlooked, because it is not a "Big Five" destination, but Arusha National Park is truly excellent and offers something different. The gorgeous afro-montane forests of the slopes of 15,000 foot Mt Meru... READ MORE

2015 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER TOUR OF THE YEAR AWARD: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS' SERENGETI TREK
2009 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE TOUR OF A LIFETIME AWARD: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS' SERENGETI TREK
2013 THE ACTIVE TIMES THE BEST NEW TRIP: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS' RUAHA WALKING SAFARI
2009 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE NUMBER 1 OUTFITTER IN AFRICA & THE WORLD: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS
2011 THE NEW YORK TIMES FULL PAGE ARTICLE: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS IN THE MAASAI STEPPE
2008 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE: NUMBER 1 OUTFITTER IN AFRICA & THE WORLD: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS
2011 THE NEW YORK TIMES FULL PAGE ARTICLE: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS IN THE MAASAI STEPPE
2006 NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE TOP SAFARI IN AFRICA: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS
2010 OUTSIDE MAGAZINE TRIP OF THE YEAR: MARK THORNTON SAFARIS' SERENGETI TREK