The history of Tanzania Safari dates back to the first explorers on the east Africa continent about 200 years ago; however the actual purpose of a Tanzania Safari has changed many times since then.
Safari is a word that finds its origins in many languages. Arabic, Urdu and Hindi, all contain similar words safar or safariya from which the word safari has been derived. The word safari was adopted into the KiSwahili language and means ‘to travel’
The word safari as we now know it was coined by Sir Richard Burton who was a 19th century English linguist and explorer who along with John Hanning Speke were the first Europeans to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source of the Nile. He left Zanzibar and took over 2 year to cross what is now Tanzania, read more about his exploration here.
Before the Europeans arrived Arab traders were suing the word safari to describe their trade trips. These huge processions travelled throughout east Africa dealing primarily in slaves, ivory and gold.
There were trading ports along the east coast of Africa including the famous Kilwa Kisiwani . The Arabs travelled west across Persia and modern day Saudi Arabia while local African traders travelled across the whole African continent.
The concept of a safari in the 19th century and early 20th century was primarily a series of hunting expeditions. Men with guns, primarily British and Americans and their large retinues would embark on adventures across the wild lands of the continent; many people consider this the true beginning of the safari. One of the most popular early books in America was the account of former President Theodore Roosevelt and his exploits across east Africa on his hunting safaris. Today very few people remember William John Burchell, Frederik Selous and Thomas Ayres, the great explorers and naturalists who explored much of Africa and paved the way for these early hunting expeditions. Frederik Selous was a British explorer, officer, professional hunter, and conservationist, famous for his exploits in Southeast Africa and passed away in the Selous Game Reserve – giving it its name today.
Your modern day Tanzania Safari is similar to this section of history and you will be traversing the continent following hers of wildlife and having great adventures. Gazing at wildlife, treasuring the sights, enjoying exotic food and drinks and relaxing are more or less what comprises a modern day African safari.