Tanzania Popular National Parks
Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa with over 945 203km². Almost of third of the country is protected for wildlife viewing and it hosts some of the largest game parks on the continent. Safari is a way of life here in Tanzania. The country is home to approximately 120 different tribal groups. The dominant religions are Christianity and Islam, the latter especially along the coast. The official languages of the country are Swahili and English, however many indigenous languages are still spoken. Arabic is widely spoken in the coastal areas and Zanzibar. Each part of the country is vastly different and unique. Offering everything from an endless savannah and the majestic crater to lush green jungles and sparkling turquoise water. Tanzania is sure to please just about every adventurer out there.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
A name meaning “endless plains” in Masai, the Serengeti is a dream destination for anyone wanting to see Africa. Visitors flock here to witness the epic annual Great Migration through the open grasslands- a massive spectacle with wildebeest herds so large they can be seen from space. The 14,763 sq km Serengeti National Park is also renowned for its predators, especially its lions. Hunting alongside the lions are cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, jackals and more.
NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
The 8,292km² Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) in the Southern Serengeti has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for many reasons. Its rich variation in climate, landforms and altitudes allow for several distinct and overlapping ecosystems, allowing for a truly unique game drive. The NCA also contains crucial paleontological evidence of human evolution. The Ngorongoro Crater itself, was formed from the eruption of a mountain that once dwarfed Kilimanjaro, and contains a rich ecosystem teaming with Wildlife inside it’s walls and home to highest concentration of predators in the world. The crater is not only a UNESCO world heritage site but is also home to 16 endangered black rhinos.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
This is one of Africa’s most underrated parks. Elephants dot the landscape like cattle; it has the second highest concentration of wildlife after the Serengeti and reportedly the highest concentration of elephants in the world. With over 450 species of bird, it is also arguably the best bird watching destination in Tanzania.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
One Tanzania’s smallest (552 sq km) but most beautiful and topographically varied parks. The stunning Mount Meru and the Ngurdoto Crater, often dubbed little Ngorongoro, provide the perfect backdrop for a walking safari, horse ride or canoe Wildlife is present but for the most part visitors come to this park for trekking or scenery.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
The dramatic western escarpment of the Rift Valley forms the park’s western border. To the east is the alkaline Lake Manyara, which hosts millions of flamingos during the rains. Lake Manyara is also host to the famous tree climbing lions
Hike the forest paths looking for birds and butterflies, as well as the other shy mammals that quietly live there. Swim in ice-cold pools up in the mountain waterfalls, take a kayak out for a dawn paddle towards the middle of the lake; drink your morning coffee there and enjoy the sunrise coming up over the mountains. In the evening sip cocktails on the old wooden dhow, lazily following the shoreline and stopping to fish along the way, or just relax on the warm sands of the beach with a drink in hand.
KATAVI NATIONAL PARK
Unsettled and remote, Katavi is a true wilderness. Two enormous plains of knee-high golden grass – Chada and Katasunga – dominate the park, surrounded by varied woodlands and a usually abundant amount of game. Katavi National Park is at its best in the dry season, when the plains fill with thousands of zebra, topi and impala. Hartebeest, giraffe, and Defassa waterbuck are also very common, there’s a large population of resident elephants, and some impressive herds of buffalo.
SELOUS GAME RESERVE
Covering 45,000km² of wilderness, with grassy plains, open woodland, mountains and forests, the Selous Game Reserve (pronounced Selooo and named after the great explorer and hunter, Frederick Courtney Selous) is Africa’s largest game reserve, about twice the size of the Serengeti.
RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
Tanzania’s largest park at over 20,000 km2, there are relatively few lodges and campsites, making this Tanzania’s best kept secret. Ruaha is well known for its varied dramatic scenery, open plains, rolling hills, hosts of baobabs and the Great Ruaha River. This is an excellent choice for regular safari goers looking for something off the beaten path.
At 4566m, Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain on the African continent and the second highest in Tanzania. About 250 000 years ago, a massive volcanic blast blew away the entire eastern flank of the mountain and left it with the characteristic and distinctive appearance it has today. Last eruption: 1910
At 4566m, Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain on the African continent and the second highest in Tanzania. About 250 000 years ago, a massive volcanic blast blew away the entire eastern flank of the mountain and left it with the characteristic and distinctive appearance it has today. The Mt Meru ascent passes through many different vegetation zones. The dry forest of the lower region gives way to a dense mountain rainforest, which then turns into a scrubland. Towards the top of the mountain, the vegetation consists of heath and moorland and is then finally replaced by the stunning baron alpine deserts. As the flora changes the wildlife does so too, which is diverse and equally impressive. During the ascent, you will regularly come across large game such as elephants and buffalos but you may also come across leopards. Due to this, it is obligatory to be accompanied by an armed park ranger on your tour.