THE NORTHERN CIRCUIT
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
The park has three distinct zones: Ngurdoto Crater (often described as a mini Ngorongoro), the Momella Lakes, a group of shallow alkaline lakes fed by underground streams, and Mount Meru, one of the most rewarding mountains to climb in Africa Animals here include buffalo, elephant, hippo, giraffe, zebra and a variety of antelope, blue monkey and black and white colobus monkey, leopard and hyena.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Lake Manyara National Park's magnificent hunting country in "The Green Hills of Africa". Mahogany, sausage tree and croton are alive with blue monkeys and velvets. Elephants feed off fallen fruit while bushbuck, waterbuck, baboons, aardvark, civet, the shy pangolin and leopard as well as the black rhino; all make their home in the forest.
Manyara is sanctuary to elusive buffalo and hippo, giraffe, impala, zebra and the famous residents - tree-climbing lions.
Lake Manyara itself is a magnet for bird life and a kaleidoscope of different species can be found around its shores, including huge flocks of flamingoes. The park is ideal for a day trip. A four-wheel drive is recommended during the rains. The dry season is from June to September and January to February.
From the main entrance in the south, Ngorongoro Crater is reached en-route a steep climb through mist and fog. On reaching the rim of the crater, the mist and fog suddenly break and the Ngorongoro grass carpeted floor and bathed in sunshine appears like a host heaven six hundred meters below the floor of the Ngorongoro crater which is 265 square kilometers and 16 kilometers in radius is home to nearly 25,000 large resident mammals.
Visitor to Ngorongoro can enjoy walking around the area. Long walking safaris and short likes are both adventurous and rewarding. within the Ngorongoro conservation area there are "cultural bomas" where tourists can learn more about the customs and traditions of the famous Maasai, a pastoral tribe that was allowed to head their cattle within the protected area.
Ngorongoro can be accessed by Air and road there are lodges situated on the rim to the crater and tented camps nearby also available are campsites at designated areas around the rim and guest houses at Karatu township near the gate.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The Serengeti National Park, covering 14763 square kilometers is one of the world’s largest wildlife sanctuaries. One of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom; the migration of thousands of Wildebeest takes place here every year. The Serengeti, 320 kilometers from Arusha was gazette in 1951. It was accepted by the World heritage Convention as a World heritage and biosphere reserve in 1981.
The park's name, Serengeti means endless plains and derived from the Maasai word Siringet. The Maasai are a pastoral tribe living in the area.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Tarangire National Park, situated only 120km, from Arusha and South East of Lake Manyara National Park is famous for its dense wildlife population, which is most spectacular between June and December. During this time of the year thousands of animals migrate from dry Maasai steppe to Tarangire River looking for water.
Tarangire National Park, situated only 120km, from Arusha and South East of Lake Manyara National Park is famous for its dense wildlife population that is most spectacular between June and December.
During this time of the year thousands of animals migrate from dry Maasai steppe to Tarangire River looking for water. Among other species to be seen at Tarangire are rhino, buffalo, elephant, lion, warthog, eland, the fringe eared Oryx, lesser and greater kudu, gerenuk and large numbers of impala. The National Park is also famous for tree climbing pythons and abundant bird life.
MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK
Mikumi is Tanzania's third largest national park and the most accessible from Dar es Salaam.
It's an ideal place for those who do not have a lot of time, but want to see a large variety of wildlife. Within its 3230 sq km set between the Uluguru mountains to the north and the Lumango mountains to the south-east, Mikumi hosts populations of buffalo, giraffe, elephant, lion, zebra, leopard, crocodile and many others. It is likely that you'll see at least some of these within just a short time of entering the park. Although Mikumi receives comparatively few visitors, those who do come really leave disappointed. In the section of the park to the west of the main road, there is a hippo pool, which provides an excellent opportunity to watch the animals at a close range. This is also a good place for observing varied water birds.
Mikumi is a significant educational and research center. Among the vrious projects being carried out is an ongoing field study of yellow baboons, which are numerous here. It's on of just a handful of such long-term primate studies on the continent.To the west of Mikumi, around Mbuyuni, is an enormous and striking collection of baobab trees stretching along the side of the main road.
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Ruaha National Park is a vast wilderness area, which hosts one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. In addition to the elephants, which are estimated to a number at least 12,000, the park has large herds of buffalo, as greater as well as greater and lesser kudu, Grant's gazelle, wild dog, ostrich, cheetah, sable antelope, and more than 400 different bird species. The Great Ruaha River flows through the eastern side of the park and is home to hippo, crocodile and many water birds.
With an area of almost 13,000 sq km, Ruaha National Park is Tanzania's second largest, and is part of an extended ecosystem that also encompasses the adjoining Rungwa and Kisigo game reserves. Much of the park is undulating plateau averaging about 900m in height with occasional rocky outcrops, and mountains in the south and west reaching to about 1600m and 1900m, respectively.
Large areas of Ruaha are unexplored and undeveloped; one of the park management's goals is to preserve as much of the territory as possible in a pristine and undisturbed state. Due to Ruaha's vastness and character, you should set aside as much time as you can spare to visit; it's not a place to be discovered on a quick in and out trip.
SELOUS GAME RESERVE
With an area of approx. 50,000 sq km, the Selous is Africa's largest game reserve covering 5% of Tanzania's total land area. The reserve provides shelter for more than half of the country's elephant, as well as significant populations of buffalo, wild dog, crocodile and hippo, a rich variety of bird life, and some of Tanzania's last remaining black rhino.
Parts of the reserve were set aside as early as 1905, although it was not until 1922 that the area was expanded and given its present name (after Frederick Courtney Selous, The British explorer who was killed in the reserve during WWI). The area continued to be extended over the next several decades until assuming its present boundaries in 1975.
One of the main features of the Selous is the huge Rufuji River, which has one of the largest water catchments areas in East Africa. In the northern end of the reserve, where the Great Ruaha River flows into the Rufiji, is Stiegler's Gorge. The gorge, which averages 00m deep, is named after a German explorer who was killed here by an elephant in 1907. Most of the safari camps and lodges are in this area.
UDZUNGWA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a paradise for hikers and one of Tanzania's most beautiful wilderness areas. Its most striking feature, apart from its mountainous terrain, is its pristine and biologically diverse forest which hosts a variety of animal and plant species not found anywhere else in the world. Among its residents are six species of primates, including the rare Iringa red colobus and the Sanger crested maguey monkeys, as well as populations of elephant, buffalo, leopard, and a rich variety of bird life. The rare Udzungwa partridge is endemic to the area and has been sighted near the park's boundaries.
The high degree of endemism and biodiversity that characterizes Udzungwa is due mainly to the area's constant climate over millions of years, which has given species a chance to evolve. Another factor is Udzungwa (at approximately 200m) to Luhombero peak (2579m), there is essentially continuous forest. The area is one of the few places in Africa with continuous rainforest over such a great span.
There are no roads in Udzungwa; instead, there are about four major and several lesser hiking paths winding through various sections of the park. Popular hikes include a short but steep half-day hike to Sange waterfalls, and a two day climb to the to of Luhobero, Udzungwa's highest peak.
Udzungwa, which has an area of 1900 sq km, was gazette in 1992 and is Tanzania's newest national park
GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK
Gombe stream is a narrow strip of mountainous country, located on the North- Eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika the world second deepest lake. The park covers 158 square kilometers and it consists of mountain country, dense forest and lakeshore and is accessible by boat or air. The altitude park ranges from 773m above the seal level at the lakeshore to over 1500m at the top of the escarpment.
Gombe was established in 1943, seventeen years before Dr.Jane Woodall began her famous study of the chimpanzees. Her project is the longest running study of any wild animal species in the world. In addition to the chimps, game includes Red colobus, Defassa waterbuck, bushbuck and leopard. Bird life on the lakeshores is surprisingly scare but quite abundant in the forest.
KATAVI NATIONAL PARK
Katavi, about 35km southwest of Mpanda, is one of Tanzania's most unspoiled and beautiful parks. You will likely have the place to yourself, and share almost guaranteed to see animals, particularly around Lake Katavi and Lake Chanda. Because so few visitors come here, park staffs are exceptionally welcoming and helpful.
Katavi was originally gazette in 1974 with an area of 2253 sq km. In mid-1998 its area was approximately doubled and the park now encompasses about 4500 sq km. Katavi is noted for its buffalo herds that are said to be among the largest in Tanzania. Other animals you are likely to see include zebra, giraffe, antelope. Leopard, crocodile, elephant, lion and hippo. The park is also an excellent place for bird watching, particularly around its two lakes.
MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Mahale is one of Tanzania's most remote perks and one of its most attractive. It is situated directly on the Lake Tanganyika, with the misty and rugged Mahale mountain range running down its center. Like Gombe Stream to the north, Mahale is primarily a chimpanzee sanctuary, with a population of approximately 700 chimpanzees inside its boundaries. There are also a variety of other animals to be seen including elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo and even some lions. The area has been the site of an ongoing Japanese-sponsored primate research project since 1965. It was gazette as a national park in 1980 with an area of close to 1600 sq km. The park's highest peak is Mt Nkungwe (2462m), first climbed 1939.
RUBONDO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK
Rubondo Island National Park, in the southwest corner of the lake, encompasses Rubondo Island as well as several smaller islands nearby. It was gazette in 1977 with a total area of 460 sq km, about 240 sq km of which is land. Rubondo's main attraction is its rich and diverse bird life. Close to 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, as well as populations of chimpanzee, hippo, crocodile, giraffe and even elephant (the letter were introduced several decades ago). The island is also one of the few places in East Africa where you can observe situatunga, an amphibious antelope that likes to hide among marshes and reeds along the shoreline.
Rubondo is a beautiful, quiet place, ideal for those seeking relaxation. It is a complete change of pace from Tanzania's other parks and is well worth a visit.