Hotels in Tanzania run the gamut from sophisticated urban boutiques (Oyster Bay) to over-the-top safari lodges (Singita Grumeti Sasakwa) to private island hideaways (Mnemba Island Lodge). Travelers going on safari are spoiled for lodging options in Tanzania's game parks, but choose carefully: Since there is wide variation in safari style (on foot vs. in a jeep; active vs. leisurely), guide quality, and the density of game, where you stay will have a big impact on your overall experience. You'll find the most luxurious camps—and the biggest crowds—along the northern safari circuit, in Serengeti National Park, neighboring Singita Grumeti Reserve, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. These include Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp, the Serengeti Migration Camp, Sasakwa, Faru Faru, and Sabora Tented Camp. More adventurous travelers should consider remote Palahala Camp in Katavi National Park or the Selous Project in southern Tanzania. Safari camp rates start around $600 per person per night and run as high as $1,600. Ask what's included in the price before you book: Most meals, drinks, two or three daily game drives, and on-site activities are usually part of the package, but that hot-air balloon ride and full-service spa are likely to cost extra. Build the cost of tips into your budget: Most lodges recommend $25 per person, per day, for your safari guide and $25 for the duration of your stay for other staff members.
After arriving at Julius Nyerere International Airport or Kilimanjaro International Airport, most visitors to Tanzania spend the night at a nearby hotel before continuing onward. The Oyster Bay hotel in Dar es Salaam is convenient to the former; Arusha Coffee Lodge, to the latter. It's also common to combine a safari with a Mount Kilimanjaro climb or beach time in the island of Zanzibar. Hotels in downtown Stone Town, such as the Zanzibar Serena Inn, make a good base for exploring this city's crumbling colonial architecture, but the beaches tend to be overrun with touts. For a more serene stay, consider Kilindi, on Zanzibar's northern coast; one of the neighboring islands, such as Pemba or Chumbe; or Lupita, a private island on Lake Tanganyika. Regardless of where you stay, trips to Tanzania are heavy on logistics, so consider using a tour operator or travel agent and book well in advance (more than a year ahead for high season).