Tanzania has 2 main ports of entry for airline passengers
1) Southern Circuit -Dar Es Salaam – Tanzania’s largest city has Julius Nyerere International Airport also known as Dar airport (IATA code DAR). This airport is the gateway to the Southern Circuit for Tanzania Safaris and includes Ruaha National Park, Nyerere National Park and many of the Swahili Coast getaways including Kilwa, Mafia and Fanjove Island.
2) Northern Circuit – Kilimanjaro – Tanzania’s safari capital Arusha is accessed from Kilimanjaro International Airport also known as KIA airport (IATA code JRO). This airport is the gateway to the Northern Circuit for Tanzania Safaris and includes Serengeti National Park, Mt Kilimanjaro and Ngorongoro Crater.
For Budget Safari Travellers wondering which airport for a Tanzania Safari we recommend 2 options:
1) Nairobi – Fly into Kenya, specifically Nairobi for much cheaper fares than flying into Tanzania. From Jomo Kenyatta International Airport there are shuttle buses throughout the day that can take you the 4 hour drive to Arusha – the safari capital of Tanzania.
2) If you are planning a North Safari / Kilimanjaro ascent followed by a beach holiday, we recommend you to book a jaw flight. A jaw flight involves flying into 1 airport and out from another – fly into Kilimanjaro and out from Dar or Zanzibar. Of course, this approach can be reversed.
There are over 100 small airstrips and airports throughout Tanzania, many of these have scheduled flights from some of the smaller Tanzanian airlines and the remainder can be reached by charter flights. The National Parks of Tanzania all have airstrips which mean for those with time constraints you will have no problem in flying in to the parks. Charter airlines are a good option: Prices are manageable if you can get a group together large enough to fill the plane (usually three- or five-seaters). Please note the luggage limit on these aircrafts is 15 kg (33 lb), packed in soft bags.
FLY IN SAFARI
As there are usually a multitude of airstrips in National Parks then flying safaris are very common in Tanzania. These are great for saving time – distances between National Parks can be 4-6 hours drive and flying allows the ability to see a large number of parks in a short time.
We also recommend flying safaris for those wanting to connect different safari circuits. The other huge benefit with flying is that Tanzania is a beautiful green country and when you are in the air on a small plane you can really appreciate that. The only issue we have with flying between parks is that you are not able to have that glimpse of traditional Tanzania culture and life you see while driving.