SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti National Park, 14.763 km², is the largest wildlife reserve in Tanzania’s popular northern safari-circuit. In her kopjes and acacia dotted ‘endless plains’ are found multitudes of African plains game including large herds of buffalo and elephants, prides of lions, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, rhinos, many species of antelopes including the majestic eland, crocodiles and hippos in the Seronera and Grumeti rivers, reptiles and milliard species of birds.
Every year from December, millions of migratory wildebeest and accompanying hundreds of thousands of zebra congregate in her southern Ndutu plains, where the grasses are mineral rich, in a mating and birthing ritual that produces over 8,000 calves a day and lasts until March and is the haunt of opportunistic predators feasting on weakened mothers and the numerous newborns; they then ‘hit the road’ in the annual Great wildebeest Migration first heading north-west to the Grumeti area before turning north-east and over the Mara plains around June before entering Kenya’s Maasai Mara in July; they will congregate again around December and the cycle of life begins again.
But Serengeti is an all year destination and resident wildlife is plentiful all year round. The central areas of seronera fronted by the Seronera river are popular game viewing areas as are the areas fronted by the Grumeti river and the northern Mara region; at any time, a game drive in Serengeti is an unforgettable experience to be partakes at-least once in a lifetime. NB: game driving in wet conditions during the rainy season – April to May – may be difficult.
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Tanzania. A natural caldera formed millions of years ago, from the collapse of what is reputed to have been a taller volcanic mountain than Kilimanjaro, and now wildlife infested, it is the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world (20km wide, 600m deep, 300km²) and often considered the 8th wonder of the natural world.
Together with the outlying areas that are home to the majestic Maasai people, and with which they form the 8,288 km² Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, this area is one of the most popular tourism destinations in Tanzania and about the easiest place to see Rhinos as well as the most healthy and beautiful male lions.
Game viewing drives on the crater floor, allowed only using 4WD vehicle, is almost assured to provide sightings of lions, herds of buffalo, cheetahs, hyenas, many species of antelopes from Thompson’s gazelles, Grant’s gazelles, topis to eland, water bucks, flamingos on the scattered lakes and many other animals, even rhinos, or the elusive leopard if lucky. On the crater rim where most of the accommodations are built, opportunities for hiking some outlying volcanoes like Empakai, visiting a Maasai manyatta (homestead) or a nature/bush walk with Maasai moran guides are possible.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK and MT. MERU
Arusha National Park, 552 km², is the smallest but certainly the most accessible national park in at barely 60 kms from Arusha town, the tourism capital of Tanzania. The park encompasses Mt. Meru (4,566m) and the outlying wildlife areas designated a national park in
It is a popular hiking destination with different day hiking options e.g. to the Mt. Meru Crater, Ngurdotto Crater that are also rewarded with Black and White Colobus Monkeys, Blue Monkeys, Bushbucks and even forest elephants. We also offer longer overnighting hikes for two and three days. NB: unlike Mt. Kilimanjaro, the very peak of Mt. Meru is rather rugged, much like Mt. Kenya, but hikers are able to go as high as the terrain can allow.
On a regular game viewing drive in a jeep, one can expect to see huge herds of buffalo, giraffes, zebra, bushbucks and waterbucks, many species of birds, monkeys, hyenas and even forst elephants if lucky. On a clear morning or evening, one can also enjoy amazing views of Mt. Kilimanjaro from Arusha National Park.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Situated approx 120 km southwest of Arusha, Tarangire National Park (2850 km²) is one of Tanzania’s most beautiful wildlife parks, her most dominant feature being the lush greenery, towering baobabs and the gigantic elephants. Other wildlife found include huge herds of rather wild buffaloes, many species of antelopes including gazelles, topis and
eland; zebra and giraffes, wild dogs, the elusive leopard, over 500 species of birds including ostrich and kori bustard, reptiles, and amazing flora.
In the dry season months of August to October, Tarangire is Tanzania’s best kept secret when most of the animals and hundreds of elephants congregate around the Tarangire river to drink from her cool banks in a scene reminiscent of the only known elephant migration. But you will never forget the baobabs and the elephants.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Lake Manyara National Park is the original home of the tree climbing lions. Lying at the base of the Rift Valley and surrounding the shallow Lake Manyara, it is popular for the thousands of pink flamingoes, and pelicans, which feed off lakes’ algae. At 000 kms from Arusha, it is also one of the closest and most accessible national parks from Arusha as well as probably the smallest of the popular northern circuit parks. Although traditionally added as day or one night stop over en-route to Ngororongoro and Serengeti, Lake Manyara is by no means less attractive and a visit there if often rewarded with numerous wildlife as well as birds species. Visitors also enjoy the opportunity to step out of the vehicle on the shores of the lake and at the hot water geysers. On the edge of the park marked by the rift valley walls are fantastic walking and hiking trails and can be accompanied by a naturalist guide or Maasai Moran; there is a lot to see and do in Lake Manyara, people just do not allow sufficient time to soak it all in. We recommend at least one night with two game drives and one nature /bush walk.
Zanzibar Island is most popular for her extensive white sandy beaches making it a dream beach holidays destination. Founded in the 16th century by Arab slave merchants, it has retained an Arabic/Swahili culture evidenced in her food, dress, architecture, music and dance as well as religion. Her capital city, Stone Town, is popular too for cultural and historical excursions but although it has several nice hotels, the town sits on the edge of a cliff and has no beach. The best beaches are found in the south east coast and north east coast of the island but all within a 45 min drive from Zanzibar International Airport, located in stone town. Predominantly Muslim, moderate dress that respects the local culture is recommend in public places but only regular consideration is expected in the private hotels and resorts.
SOUTHERN & WESTERN TANZANIA
The southern and western Tanzania parks of Ruaha National Park, Selous National Park, Mikumi National Park, Katavi, Mahale Mountains National Park and Gombe Stream National Park are remote, removed and really off the beaten track and reminiscent of an authentic Africa of a bygone era. Ruaha, Selous and Mikumi are wildlife infested savannah parks while Mahale and the adjacent Gombe Stream National Park are montane forests on the edge of the incredibly beautiful Lake Tanganyika and home to many Primates species including families of habituated chimpanzees open for chimpanzee tracking. There are also boat rides, fishing and many other water sports on offer. Boat riding on the Ruaha and Rufiji River but watch out for hippos and crocodiles – your guide is there to ensure you stay safe and away and enjoy the cruise and views.
DAR ES SALAAM
Dar es Salaam is the financial and business capital of Tanzania and for long was also the official capital before that was shifted to the more inland Dodoma. Sitting on the edge of the Indian Ocean in Tanzania’s coast with a better developed infrastructure by virtue of her previous status as the official capital, it is a frequent choice for major meetings, conferences and events. On her northern neighborhoods are also found more beach hotels and resorts worth visiting.
OTHER NATIONAL PARKS and ATTRACTIONS
Mukomazi in the north,
West Kilimanjaro at the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro bordering on Kenya’s Amboseli National Park,
Saadani National Park bordering Indian Ocean (where bush meets beach and elephants walk on the beach),Pemba Island to the north of and Mafia to the south of Zanzibar and many more.