NORTHERN CIRCUIT – TANZANIA
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife, but visitors shouldn’t expect the same game-viewing experience they find in other national parks of Tanzania’s northern circuit.
It is a great place for walking; one can enjoy natural forest in comfort because of the cool climate. The walking activity has to be arranged in advance and must be accompanied by armed ranger. Canoeing on a small Momela lake is also available by prior arrangements withbushbuck, Buffalo, Giraffe and hippos often seen during this excursion.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Tarangire National Park,The open grasslands, acacia trees and the Tarangire River paint the wild landscape.The main activities are game drives, walking safari with armed guides (rangers) and night game drives. During game drives, you will spend yourdays on searching of eland, oryx, wildebeests, zebras and a large elephant population. Keep your eyes trained for hartebeests, gazelles and exotic birds like the bateleur and martial eagle.
Tarangire matches well with northern circuit safari programs. It takes approximately two hours’ drive from Arusha town to Tarangire gate and you can easily drive from Tarangire to Serengeti national park via Mto wa mbu village, Karatu and the Ngorongoro conservation area.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Lake ManyaraNational Park lies up against the steep western wall of rift valley. It is directly en route to Ngorongoro from Arusha and Tarangire therefore this makes it very popular for either day trip or overnight. Most of the characteristic east African mammals are found in Manyara including cheetahs, leopard, buffalo, hippos, elephants, giraffe and the largest baboon troops in Africa.
It is in Manyara where some lions opted to rest up in the trees during the heat of midday, giving rise to the mistaken belief that the Manyara lions are somehow different .Lions in many part of Africa spend time in the lower broad limbed branches of trees probably to escape flies. Lake Manyara National Park is also known for flocks of thousands flamingos that feed along the edge of the lake in the wet season. Activities in Manyara National park includes Game drives, this is the main activity. Guests can enjoy driving along the network roads within the park.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The area is named after Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area.The Ngorongorocrater formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed two to three million years ago. The volcanic eruptions like that of Ngorongoro, which resulted in the formation of Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, were very common.Similar collapses occurred in the case of Olmoti and Empakaai, but they were much smaller in magnitude and impact.
Main activity is game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater floor, a vast expanse where animal activity is common place Approximately 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, live in the crater. Wildlife in the crater include the black rhino, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, the common eland, Grant’s, Thomson’s gazelles, Waterbucks, lions, hippos, crocodiles.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. It is now both a world biosphere reserve and a world heritage site. The Park if famous for its annual wildebeest migration .The migratory – and some resident – wildebeest, which number over 1.5 million individuals, constitute the largest population of big mammals that still roam the planet.
They are joined in their journey through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem by 200,000 plains zebras, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle sand Grant’s gazelle, and tens of thousands of topi and Coke’s hartebeest. Masai giraffe, waterbuck, impala, common warthogs and hippopotamus are also abundant.
SOUTHERN CIRCUIT – TANZANIA
SELOUS GAME RESERVE
Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest game reserve and one of favourite game viewing areas in Africa. Covering 50,000 square kilometres, is amongst the largest protected areas in Africa and is relatively undisturbed by human impact.
Africa’s largest and oldest game reserve is one of its most scenic wildlife destinations; the Selous is utterly beautiful. The beauty of the park is matched by the quality of a safari here; boating, walking and fly camping compliment standard game driving in thriving wildlife areas. This is an outrageously good safari park and an essential component of any southern circuit itinerary.
The Selous is a superb safari destination for both family safaris and African honeymoons, all the better for the ease of getting there and the lack of crowds. The park has the widest diversity of safari activities in the country, offering the boating safaris as well as standard game drives, walking safaris and legendary fly camping trips.
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
In 2008 the Usangu Game reserve merged its borders with Ruaha transforming it into Tanzania’s largest national park; it now covers more than 20,000km². Despite the size of the park there are still only a handful of camps found here, which has built Ruaha’s reputation as Tanzania’s best kept game viewing secret.
Ruaha’s wild and untrammeled feel is what sets it apart from other reserves, making it a popular choice for regular east African safari. Ruaha is well known for its varied dramatic scenery, which includes rolling hills; large open plains; groves of skeletal baobabs and along its southern border, the Great Ruaha River, from which the park gets its name. This is by far the most dominant geographical feature of the national park and, for the wildlife it is the most important.
Ruaha has a hot, dry climate which means the animals don’t tend to stray too far from dependable water sources. This makes predicting game movements far easier, particularly in the dry season.
WESTERN CIRCUIT – TANZANIA
MAHALE NATIONAL PARK
Located in the remote western part of Tanzania, Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the most picturesque places in Tanzania. The park borders Lake Tanganyika, one of the oldest and deepest lakes in the world.
Getting to the park is an adventure as it is accessible only by air and boat. There are no roads in the park, only forest paths through the lush vegetation.
This park is a hiker’s paradise, but most importantly it is a chimpanzee paradise. Mahale is a haven for primates, with chimpanzee trekking one of the prime reasons for visits.The park is teeming with life, rivers and waterfalls are everywhere and around the shoreline of the lake, are the most unspoilt white sandy beaches anyone could imagine.
KATAVI NATIONAL PARK
Katavi is like travelling back in time, maybe to the Pleistocene era. Animals seem bigger and more bestial. As a human, for once, you don’t feel like you own the planet. It’s a thrilling experience. Survival here depends on fragile seasonal rivers, the Katuma, the Kavu and the Kapapa. Between the rivers, huge herds of buffalo and other herbivores concentrate for the rich grass of four great floodplains, including (our own backyard) Chada. As months wear on, the grass dries gold and withers.
By the end of the dry season, it’s all going a bit mad. As water becomes limited, so animals are drawn to the riverbanks. Hippopotamus in their thousands cram dwindling pools, crocodiles dig riverbank caves. Buffalo and elephant compete for waterholes. Lion, hyenas and other predators know this and wildlife watching here becomes even more outstanding.
GOMBE NATIONAL PARK
The smallest of Tanzania’s national parks, Gombe Stream National Park is a narrow strip of chimpanzee habitat on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, located on the far western border of Tanzania and the Congo. The park is world-famous for Jane Goodall, the resident primatologist who spent many years in its forests studying the behaviour of the endangered chimpanzees, contributing to the drive to combine the preservation of primate wildlife habitats with the development of eco-tourism and the beneficial involvement of indigenous human communities in Tanzania. The park is rich in both human and natural history.
The village of Ujiji is where historians think British researcher H.M. Stanley said the famous words “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” in 1871 when he encountered fellow adventurer David Livingstone, who had been thought to have died. Though he was seriously ill, Livingstone convinced Stanley to join him on a search to find the source of the Nile — a quest which took them through the Gombe Valley.