Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is the motherland of all safari destinations. It is the place that everyone has dreamed of when they think of Africa. It is a place of true freedom and spectacular wildlife. It is a world heritage site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is home to the Great Migration, a phenomenon that happens year after year where over one million wildebeest and over 200,000 zebras flow from the Northern hills, to the southern plains of the Serengeti. Located in northern Tanzania, this national park has an incredibly vast landscape – at roughly 31,667km², this land seems to run on forever, giving a true feeling of freedom in the way of wildlife. The Serengeti plains are the most iconic place of the African Savanna perfectly comprised of grasslands, rocky outcrops, volcanic soils, and leafy woodlands of acacia trees- a picture perfect Serengeti sight. When it comes to wild animals, the Serengeti is home to the majority of animals species in Africa. Of course home to the well known “Big Five” – the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo, it is also home to the cheetah, giraffe, hyena, hippo, gazelle, impala and many more. This magnificent place is filled with absolute wonder and aw-inspiring moments. There is a reason that the Serengeti National Park is a dream worthy African Safari Destination for everyone.
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world’s natural wonders and it is seemingly breathtaking. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 610 metres (2,000 feet) deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometres (100 square miles). Estimates of the height of the original volcano range from 4,500 to 5,800 metres (14,800 to 19,000 feet) high. The crater floor is 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) above sea level.
The crater floor is where the safari game drives take place and it is teeming with wildlife. It has the highest concentration of animals in all of Africa and it is among the few places to see the wonderful endangered black rhino. As you drive through the surrounding conservation area, you will get the chance to see the people of the Masaai Tribe and observe how harmoniously they live among the wildlife. The landscapes seen in Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area are some of the most astonishing sights in all of Africa.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is a hidden little gem in the northern safari circuit of Tanzania. If you have a love for elephants and ginormous wise trees then this national park should not be missed. Named after the Tarangire River, in which acts as the life-line for the wildlife here during the dry season, this national park attracts over 250,000 animals as a mini wildlife-migration takes place. This park holds the highest population of elephants in Africa and is home to the iconic African tree, the Baobab tree. These giant trees are know as the “tree of life” and for good reason. These trees can store between 300 and 900 litres of water, and live to about 600 years old. This tree of life offers hydration and minerals to the wildlife through its bark and its leaves, it grows energizing fruit- a favourite for the monkeys, and it holds as a habitat and home to many different animals with its hollow trunk. Tarangire National Park expresses itself as a beautiful example in how all aspects of life simply and naturally work together.
Lake Manyara National Park is known for its diverse range of natural landscapes including stunning mountainsides, beautifully filled yellow acacia tree woodlands, open grasslands and of course the majestic alkaline soda lake, Lake Manyara itself. In the wet seasons of Tanzania, you will be thrilled to see hundreds of pink flamingos all gathered together feeding on the algae that is produced from this alkaline soda lake. This sight is truly remarkable. Among the many wildlife species seen here, the most unique part about this national park is the legendary tree-climbing lions. So be sure to look up in the trees as you explore the everlasting beauty of Lake Manyara National Park.
Gombe National Park
Gombe National Park, also known as Gombe Stream National Park, is the smallest of Tanzania’s National Parks in size, but is the most famous when it comes to wildlife discoveries. This lush and untamed place is where the world renowned primatologist, Jane Goodall, lived for years studying and observing the behaviours of the endangered chimpanzees. Located on the western border of Tanzania, in the region of Kigoma, Gombe National Park sits on the shore of Lake Tanganyika and is only accessible by boat. This is one of Tanzania’s most unique and remarkable locations because visitors have the opportunity to be guided deep into the forest to observe and sit with human’s closest primate relative, the extraordinary chimpanzee. Besides chimps, this dense rainforest is home to many other primates including the olive baboon, red-tailed and red colobus monkey and a variety of tropical birdlife. The time experienced at Gombe National Park is a highlight of any visitor’s trip to Africa, and entails moments that are unlikely to forget.
Rubondo island National Park
The park boasts for its rich and diverse variety of butterflies and bird life, easily viewable from the lake shore. The rare Sitatunga, an extremely endangered amphibious antelope, can sometimes be viewed escaping from the charging predators by hiding and camouflaging itself in the lake shore marshes.
A visit to Rubondo Island National Park offers visitors a break from game viewing in the tranquil peace of a lake shore setting. Exploring the islands within the park creates an excitement for day trips. Fishing expeditions into Lake Victoria are easily arranged through the major lodges. Rubondo Island National Park is a relaxation from the rigorous safari circuit and a relaxing place from which to explore Lake Victoria.
Kitulo National Park
Kitulo is indeed a rare botanical marvel, home to a full 350 species of vascular plants, including 45 varieties of terrestrial orchids, which erupt into a riotous wildflower display of breathtaking scale and diversity during the main rainy season of late November to April.
Perched at around 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) between the rugged peaks of the Kipengere, Poroto and Livingstone Mountains, the well-watered volcanic soils of Kitulo support the largest and the most important montane grassland community in Tanzania.
Having its unique flower species remained wild, with birds singing and migrating to the highland forests, Kitulo Plateau National Park is latest and a new comer to Tanzania’s tourist attractive sites.
Bustani ya Mungu (God’s Garden) is the visitors name given to this new park, the only of its kind in Africa where wild flowers, birds and harmonious grass eating mammals are dominating.
Kitulo Plateau is perched between the rugged peaks of the Kipengere, Livingstone and Poroto Mountains in Southern Highlands of Tanzania. It is the site of one of the world’s great floral spectacles.
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.
The Northern section of Selous is home to a network of channels and lagoons that run off the Rufiji River. This lush landscape provides a water supply for the region’s game and towards the end of the dry season the concentration of animals around these water sources is phenomenal. It is here, around the river and lakes, that the majority of the camps are based; successfully relying on the animal’s need for water to provide game viewing areas. Selous is in its peak season from July through to the middle of November – this when the dry season is raging and all the game homes in on the few permanent water sources.
The Zanzibar Archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, is a breathtaking spot to escape from the world. You’ll enjoy clear, turquoise-blue water; shallow sandbars perfect for wading; and many small, nearly deserted islands virtually unvisited by tourists. Explore the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter. Or just go beach to beach between tiny fishing villages—each one’s better than the next.
Zanzibar is home to some of the finest white sand beaches in all of Africa, and is on the top of the charts for beauty when it comes to beaches of the world.
Zanzibar and Pemba are believed to have once formed part of the African continent, the separation of Pemba having occurred during the Miocene Epoch (about 23 to 5.3 million years ago) while Zanzibar dates from the Pliocene Epoch (about 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago) or even later. Various types of limestone form the base of both islands. Raised sands and sandstones also occur, together with varied residual deposits similar to alluvial strata on the adjacent mainland. Extensive weathering of the limestones combined with erosion and earth movements have resulted in a variety of soils including red earths, loams, clays, and sands. Flat areas of coral limestone occur to the east, south, and north of Zanzibar and on the western islands. In places the coral is overlain by shallow red earth or alluvium.
When to visit
The best time to visit Tanzania is from June to March. The beginning of March is when the heavy rains begin and last approximately until the end of May. The best time for wildlife viewing is June to October. This is because the country is at its driest making the vegetation less dense for optimal wildlife viewing. This is also the time of one of Africa’s naturals wonders: The Wildebeest Migration. The most beautiful time to see Tanzania is November to March where the scenery is lush, green and less crowded with tourists. November to December is when the short rains begin, but will most likely not interfere with your wildlife safari or beach vacation. January to February hosts a small dry period and is the time to see calving in the southern Serengeti and an excellent time to see predators capturing their prey.
Tanzania holds a pleasant tropical climate throughout the year but has large climatic variations throughout the regions. The costal areas, Dar es salaam and Zanzibar, are the hottest and most humid with temperatures typically ranging from afternoons around 32°C (90°F) to evenings around 23°C (73°F). Tanzania’s Northern Circuit National Parks, on average are more mild with afternoon temperatures ranging from 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F) depending on the time of year. At night time it can cool off significantly, so be sure to pack light jackets and warm clothes for the evenings and early morning safari game drives.