Tanzania

“The Land of Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar”

National parks

There are 14 national parks in Tanzania, which offer lovers of wild nature the true wild animals haven that could be found for instance in Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Mikumi, and Selous National Parks. Watching migration of animals in Serengeti plains is unrepeatable experience.

Serengeti National Park – Simply the Greatest

The Serengeti National Park, covering 14,763 sq km. is by common consent the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuary. One of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom is the annual migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles followed by the attendant predators.

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Hippo in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Serengeti

The park’s terrain is varied: the vast, treeless central Serengeti plains, savannah dotted with acacia trees, magnificent rock outcrops kopjes, reverie bush, thick scrub to streams, rivers, small swamps, and lakes. These features give the park a fascinating variety of habitats. The park contains an estimated three million large animals, most of which take part in the seasonal migration that is one of nature’s wonders. Serengeti National Park has about 35 species of plains animal from the hare to the elephant, and a wonderful selection of bird life.

Serengeti

Sunrise in Serengeti

Serengeti

Sunrise in Serengeti

Serengeti

Sunrise in Serengeti

Serengeti

Migration of wildebeests in Serengeti

Serengeti

Cheetah with her catch in Serengeti

Serengeti

Crane in Serengeti

Serengeti

Lion in Serengeti

Serengeti

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti

Serengeti National Park

Lake Manyara National Park – Arboreal Lions

Located under the wall of the Great Rift Valley, the peaceful and beautiful Lake Manyara National Park is often underrated and many tourists are amazed by how magnificent the park actually is. The park is 330 sq km in size, of which 230 is covered by the alkaline Lake Manyara. The park’s vegetation is diverse, ranging from savanna to marshes and acacia woodland, which allows it to support a variety of wildlife habitats.

Manyara

Giraffe in Manyara

Manyara

Giraffe in Manyara

The most famous spectacle in the park is the tree-climbing lions, which are occasionally seen relaxing on the branches of acacia trees. Other animals found in this area include elephants, leopards, impalas, hippos, and million of birds, especially pelicans and flamingos, as well as a diversity of other bird life. The park has the highest population of elephants per square kilometer in Tanzania.

Manyara

Zebra in Manyara

Tarangire National Park – River Blessed

Tarangire is a beautiful area that covers an area of 2,600 sq km. The park takes its name fro Tarangire River that crosses it lengthwise, giving support to a large wildlife population during the dry season. During this season, between June and October, it has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife of any of the country’s parks and thousands of animals including wildebeests, zebras, elands, elephants, buffaloes, hartebeests, and more migrate from dry Maasai steppe to the Tarangire River. Not surprising, lions and other predators find the place attractive. The park is also very good for bird-watching, as there are over three hundred different species.

Elephant in Tarangire

Elephant in Tarangire

Elephants in Tarangire

Elephants in Tarangire

Birds in Tarangire

Birds in Tarangire

Baobao tree in Tarangire

Baobao tree in Tarangire

Ngorongoro Conservation Area – The Natural Zoo

The Crater at 2,286 m. above the sea level, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Surrounded by very steep walls rising 610 meters from the crater floor, this natural amphitheatre covers an area of about 260 sq km, and is home to up to 25,000 larger mammals, almost half of them zebras and wildebeests. There are also gazelles, buffaloes, elands, hartebeests, warthogs, and others. Such concentration numbers attract predators, mainly lions and hyenas, but also cheetahs and leopards. More than 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted here. Countless flamingos form a pink blanket over the soda lakes. The animals also share the Crater with the local Maasai tribe that has grazing rights and you may come across them tending their cattle.

Ngorongoro

Lion in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Zebras in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Lion in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Lion in Ngorongoro

The Crater has been declared a World Heritage site. Ngorongoro Crater lies within Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 8,000 sq km. it is bounded by a salt Lake Eyasi (a salt lake lying at about 100m between the Eyasi escarpment in the north and the Kidero mountains in the south) in the southwest, and Gol Mountains in the north. In the east is the archeologically important Engaruki. Roughly in the center is the Olbalal Swamp and the arid Olduvai Gorge where many famous fossils have been unearthed. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is dotted with extinct craters and high plains and to the north is Oldonyo Lengai, a grey, forbidding perfect cone that is a still-active volcano. To the north-east on the Kenyan border is the beautiful Lake Natron.

Ngorongoro

Flamingos in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Flamingos in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro

Flamingos in Ngorongoro

Olduvai Gorge – Cradle of Mankind

The Olduvai Gorge is a canyon about 50km long and up to 90m deep which lies between the great wildlife sanctuary of Ngorongoro and Serengeti. The Gorge has yielded abundant of fossil material dating back at least two million years and possibly much longer. The remains of prehistoric elephants, giant horned sheep, and enormous ostriches have been unearthed here. Nearby is Laetoli where the footprints of hominids (said to be over 3 million years old) were discovered in 1979. Around these sites of man’s origin teem millions of wild animals.

A detailed record of Stone Age life exists on the walls of many caves and sheltered overhangs in Tanzania. From these paintings it can be seen that Stone Age people in Africa wore clothing, had a variety of hair styles, hunted, danced, sang and played music instruments among other activities. The paintings that still survive are extremely beautiful and delicate. The coloring materials consist of various pigments mixed with animal fat to form crayons. The most famous and extensive paintings sites are to be found at Kondoa Irangi. The Coastal area is also rich in archeological sites, most of them ruins from the Middle Ages.

Engaruka

Engaruka near the foot of Empakaai, is a small village that is known for its extensive ruins of a complex irrigation system with terraced stone housing sites estimated to be at least 500 years old.

Lake Natron

Lake Natron, 25km north of Oldonyo Lengai on the Kenyan boarder, is a 60km long alkaline lake known for the hug flocks of flamingos that gather at certain parts of the lake at the end of the rainy season. Lake Natron has no outlet so its size varies dramatically between seasons.

Arusha National Park – Pocket Park

Arusha National Park covers an area of about 137 sq km. it is located on the slope of Mt. Meru, which looms and has a spectacular view of its neighbor Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Ngurdoto Crater, Momela Lakes that are fed by underground streams, the highland mountain forest, and the rugged Mt. Meru (4,575m) are the distinctive features of the park. The park’s altitude, which varies from 1500m to over 4500m, has a variety of vegetation zones supporting numerous animals species such as colobus monkeys, velvet monkeys, bushbucks, buffaloes, red forest duikers, hippos, elephants, and giraffes. Birdlife, especially waterfowl, is abundant and interesting.

Gombe Stream National Park – Chimpanzees’ Haven

With an area of only 52 sq km, Gombe Stream is the smallest national park in Tanzania. The park is within the Rift Valley. It is formed by a strip of land 16 km long, lying between the eastern shore of the lake Tanganyika and the peaks of the mountain range that form the Rift Escarpment.

Gombe Stream National Park is one of the few areas in Africa that offers haven to chimpanzee. Apart from the Mahale Mountains south of Kigoma, there is nowhere else in the country where chimpanzees can be observed in the wild. Other primates found in the park are baboons, red colobus monkeys and blue monkeys. Bushbucks, buffaloes, and leopards are also other mammals present in the park, and a variety of a birdlife. Also there is a famous waterfall called Kakombe.

Mahale Mountains National Park – Peninsular Park

Mahale is one of the most remote parks in Tanzania and one of its most attractive. The park is dominant by the Mahale mountain chain running from the northwest across the middle of the park. The highest peak is 2462 meters above sea level.

Vegetation is mainly miombo woodland with narrow strips of reverie forest. The park supports variety of animal species including elephants, warthogs, giraffes, zebras, roan antelopes, buffaloes, hyenas, wild dogs. Also found in Mahale are chimpanzees and blue monkeys.

Katavi National Park – Crocodile Country

Katavi is famous for its undisturbed natural face. The main vegetation is miombo woodland with scatted acacia trees near Lake Chada. The lake is rich in birdlife and has the largest number of crocodiles in Tanzania.

The major attractions include Lake Katavi with its vast short-grass plains in the north, palm-fringed Lake Chada in the southeast, and the Katuma River. Animals found in the park include zebras, sable and roan antelopes, elands, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, lions, and waterfowl.

Mikumi National Park – Most Accessible

Mikumi National Park, which has an area of 3,230 sq km, is the closest park to Dar es Salaam, and is quite accessible by road and by charter plane.

The park gets its name from the borassus palm trees that are common in the area. It is dominated by river flood plains with ridges, swamps, and open grassland. The miombo woodlands found in the park and the mountain ranges that border it on two sides are also significant features of the park.

Mikumi has a wide variety of wildlife. Large herds of buffaloes and elephants feed and wander on the river plains. Many wildebeests, warthogs, jackals, etc. make the plains their home. Black-and-white colobus monkeys inhabit the trees in the south of the park, and crocodiles and hippos make use of its water. The park, too, has many of species of birds, some of which are Eurasian migrants commonly seen between October and April.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park – Forest Wonderland

Udzungwa Mountains National Park has an area of 1900 sq km and is a paradise for hikers and one of Tanzania’s wilderness areas. The major attraction is its biologically diverse and unique forest that harbors plant species found nowhere else in the world, from tiny African violets to giant trees 30 meters and more tall.

Apart from about six species of primates, its plateau contains the rare Iringa red colobus and the Sange crested mangabey monkeys, as well as populations of elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, hunting dogs, and several hundred forest bird species.

Ruaha National Park – lullaby in bird land

Ruaha National Park covering 10, 000sq km is a vast wilderness area which is sanctuary of the largest elephant populations in Africa. It is a relatively new and undisturbed park in Tanzania. It name derives from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its entire eastern border creating spectacular gorges and scenery. The park has large herds of buffalo, concentration of greater and lesser kudu, hippos, crocodiles, turtles and fish inhabit the river. There are also wild dog, ostrich, cheetah, roan and sable antelope, and rich in different bird species. The best months for game viewing are July to November.

Selous Game Reserve – it is number one

The Selous Game Reserve is the largest in Africa, an uninhabited area of approximately 50 000 sq km, covering 5 % of Tanzania’s total land area. If visitors are looking for elephants, this is the place to find them; there is a large population of these giant mammals. Other species commonly found here are lions, wild dogs, buffaloes, bushbucks, impalas, elands, baboons, zebras, great kudus, and some of Tanzanian’s last remaining black rhino.

The Rufiji River system, the greatest in East Africa, flows through the reserve and is home to countless of hippos and crocodiles. Linked to the Rufiji is Lake Tagalala, where waterbucks, reedbucks, bushbucks, and the rare sable antelope can be seen.

Walking safaris, game drives and boat trips are organized. Fishing is allowed in the rivers of the Kilombero Game reserve, where tiger fish and catfish are plenty. Much of this reserve is available for hunting. The best time to visit is from June to October.

Rubondo Island National Park – Unique Environment

The peaceful and beautiful Rubondo Island National Park in the south west corner of the Lake Victoria is an excellent place for bird watching and relaxing and it has an area of 240sq km, and is surrounded by about dozen smaller islets that belong to the park. Unlike other parks, cars are prohibited on the island: hence, there are guided tours led by park rangers, who are usually armed. There is also an airstrip capable of handling light aircraft.

The major attraction is the presence of many sitatungas, a reclusive antelope indigenous to the island that likes to hide among the marshes and reeds along the shoreline. Other animals include hippos, crocodiles, velvet monkeys, marsh mongooses, genets, and pythons. Several other animals have been transplanted on the island, including giraffes, elephants, rhinos, black and white colobus monkeys and chimpanzees. Around 400 species have been identified including fish eagle, heron, stork, ibises and cormorant. In addition to all the birds, there are many different types of butterflies.