Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino), Arusha National park, Saadani national park, Lake Manyara national park, Ngorongoro conservation Area, Mikumi national park, Selous Game reserve, Udzungwa national park, Rauha national park, Katavi national park, Mahale mountains national park, Gombe stream national park, Rubondo national park and Kilimanjaro National Park, home to Africa’s highest mountain. Offshore lie the tropical islands of Zanzibar, with Arabic influences, and Mafia, with a marine park home to whale sharks and coral reefs.
- Capital: Dodoma
- Currency: Tanzanian shilling
- Population: 49.25 million
- President: John Magufuli
- Official languages: Swahili, English
Wild Trails Safaris Uganda offers safaris to Tanzania
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti National Park is perhaps the most famous game reserve in the world because of its huge population of predators and the annual wildebeest migration. Many of BBC’s nature documentaries like Planet Earth and Great Migrations were filmed here.
The feeling of wide open space combined with the number of animals that live in these vast Serengeti plains is overwhelming. Hence, a visit to Serengeti National Park is a must when visiting the north of Tanzania!
This safari section is seen as the ‘classic’ Serengeti with a large expanse of open grasslands where different animal species ranging from the majestic lion to the panicky ostrich live. The Serengeti plain is punctuated by granite and gneiss outcroppings known as kopjes. These outcroppings are the result of volcanic activity and provide a micro-habitat for non-plains wildlife. The Simba and Moru kopjes are home to different troops of lions and have inspired the Disney movie “The Lion King “.
The quiet northern part of the Serengeti is characterized by refreshing green hills undulating all the way to the Kenyan border. Due to the relatively dense vegetation, this area is more difficult for seeing wildlife, but gives you a chance to spot leopards.
Though it is best visited in September and October when large numbers of wildebeests and other ungulates migrate in search of food and water, there is plenty to see throughout the year as most of the elephant population of the Serengeti comes here. At the foot of the Lobo hills lions, leopards, cheetahs, and other felines plus hyenas can be encountered. If you have enough time during your safari, try to visit this area.
The relatively narrow arm of the Serengeti which stretches from the western part of the Seronera Valley almost to the shore of Lake Victoria is much flatter than the other parts. The vegetation of the Western Passage is characterized by woodland, interspersed with areas of open grassland and dense gray ‘whistling thorn’ acacia trees.
In this part of the park the tourist traffic is low despite the good opportunities to see wildlife. Between May and July the famous migrating animals pass through here, but it also draws others from the east especially in seasons of heavy rain.
Besides a few small isolated mountain ranges, this area is mainly dominated by two rivers: the Grumeti and the Mbalageti.
Crossing the Grumeti River is one of the most dramatic parts of the annual wildebeest migration and provides a feast for the dense population of giant crocodiles that inhabit its waters!
The Area is named after its main geologic feature, the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact caldera (collapsed volcanic cone) which serves as a refuge for several large African mammals. The Olduvai Gorge, a famous anthropological site, is also found inside this protected area.
The Ngorongoro crater (260km2) is the most densely populated game area in the world. There are an estimated 25,000 animals on the crater floor including the ‘Big Five’: elephant, buffalo, lion, rhino and leopard. The rim of the crater is about 600 meters above the crater floor in the middle of which is a salt lake.
At night herds of zebras and elephants climb to the edge of the crater and in the daytime the Masai herd their cows and goats down into the crater allowing them graze on the green crater floor. When you visit the north of Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater should not be missed!
Running 45 kilometers along the Great Rift Valley between Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti, this gorge is named after the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant. Often referred to as ‘the cradle of humankind’, East Africa is one of the most important anthropological areas in the world. Louis and Mary Leakey began searching for evidence of early humans in the 1950s, and in 1974 the well-preserved skeleton of ‘Lucy’ was discovered and has since retained the fame as the oldest human ever found.
Running 45 kilometers along the Great Rift Valley between Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti, this gorge is named after the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant.
Often referred to as ‘the cradle of humankind’, East Africa is one of the most important anthropological areas in the world. Louis and Mary Leakey began searching for evidence of early humans in the 1950s, and in 1974 the well-preserved skeleton of ‘Lucy’ was discovered and has since retained the fame as the oldest human ever found.
Since the Ngorongoro crater is smaller than the Serengeti National Park and Tarangire National Park a half-day game drive in the crater is enough to witness this natural wonder and meet its various fauna.
The crater rim hike is an impressive experience and provides a nice change after several game drives in the Serengeti.
During the two-hour walk you come across a variety of vegetation and get a bird’s eye view of the animals on the crater floor. The high-altitude climate, with temperatures of about 20 degrees, is very enjoyable.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara is a shallow salt lake at the base of the western rift valley slope. Most of the park is formed by the lake and the park is on the route from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park.
When you enter the park for your safari you will be amazed by the green vegetation, caused by the underground rivers that crisscross the park. The sounds of 400 different bird species combined with the hooting of baboons brings out the jungle feel. The diversity of landscapes make a variety of interesting game drive routes possible.
Although the full-day game safaris are feasible, Wild trails safaris usually organizes these game drives in the afternoon because there is a bigger chance to see the rare tree-climbing lions.
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is one of the smallest national parks of Tanzania, but no less impressive than its larger cousins.
The park is very diverse and in terms of spectacular scenery it can be divided into three different areas.
The west of the park is rugged and mountainous, with the Meri mountain and crater while the areas of the southeast near Ngurdoto crater consist mainly of grassland.
Arusha National Park is one of the few parks in Tanzania where you can take a walking safari.
Accompanied by an armed ranger, you will take a leisurely stroll to find animals such as buffalo, giraffe, elephant, antelope, baboon and various bird species. After a half-hour walk, you reach the waterfall which makes for a refreshing shower! Canoeing is an active way to come close to the African wildlife. Accompanied by an experienced guide you will paddle along the shores of the lakes where water buck and buffalo come to drink.
In clear weather you can see both Mount Meru and the snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro from your canoe.
The above activities are almost always combined with a game drive.
Travel along the various Momella lakes surrounded by woodland before finally reaching the Ngurdoto crater.
Like the famous Ngorongoro crater, this is a caldera (collapsed volcanic cone) and although smaller, it also offers beautiful views!