Tanzania's most well known wildlife attractions are located in the northern part of the country and include the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park. The Serengeti National park encompasses the world famous great migrations of animals.
Arusha is a city in the northern Tanzania and the capital of Arusha region, with a population of 416,442 plus 323,198 in the surrounding Arusha District. Located below Mount Meru on the Eastern edge of the Eastern branch of the great Rift Valley, Arusha has a temperate climate.
The city is close to the Serengeti National park, the Ngorongoro Conservation area, Lake Manyara National Park, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National park, Mount Kilimanjaro and Arusha National park on Mount Meru
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is 137 square Kilometres and was established in 1960 and has three distinct zones that contribute to the park’s variety and beauty; Ngurdoto Crater, the Momela Lakes, and Mount Meru. The vegetation and wildlife found in the park are determined by the altitude and geography of the different areas. One of the unique attractions of the park is the opportunity to combine game drives and a nature walk in the many places where visitors can leave their safari vehicles and walk in the fresh air
The most common animals found in this park are the white colobus monkeys, the velvet monkeys, buffaloes, giraffes, bushbucks and leopards and spotted hyenas.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park lies about 120 kilometres southwest of Arusha. Lake Manyara National Park is an ideal size for a day trip. Entering the park the tall trees surrounds the ground forest. In many ways it resembles a tropical rainforest – with its verdant foliage and variety of bird life – the difference being these trees are supported by a water supply from underneath rather than by abundant rainfall.
Following the formation of the Rift Valley, streams cascaded down the rocky walls and, because there was no outlet, a lake was formed. It was at its largest about a quarter of a million years ago. The average area of the lake is around 390 square kilometres varying from year to year.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park derives its name from the Tarangire River that rises in the highlands of central Tanzania and winds its way through the game sanctuary. The river irresistibly lures the herds of plains migrants from the parched surrounding area to its shrunken – but permanent – brackish waters during the dry season.
The animals come by thousands from as far north as the shores of Lake Natron, dramatically swelling the resident population with wildebeest, zebra, eland, elephant, hartebeest, buffalo and fringe-eared Oryx. As the rainless days continue the Tarangire’s pools are clotted with thirsty migrants, and elephants begin to dig for underground streams in the dry riverbed.
With the arrival of the short rains in October the first animals to leave are the herds of wildebeest and zebra, which flood out of Tarangire to the north.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers 2286 sq km and encompasses the volcanic area around the Ngorongoro Crater – including the still active volcano of Oldonyo Lengai and the famous Olduvai Gorge. Its centrepiece, the Ngorongoro Crater, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world and the first sight of it is breathtaking. The floor of the crater is only 100 sq miles but is home to around 30,000 animals with a high concentration of predators.
The crater supports up to 25,000 large mammals. Grazers dominate: zebra, wildebeest – accounting for almost half the animals – gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest and warthog. Giraffe, for example, stay away because there is insufficient food at tree level; topi because they compete directly with wildebeest. An odd feature of the crater elephants is that they are almost exclusively bulls. Breeding herds – comprising large numbers of females and young with a few attendant older males – are probably unable to find sufficient quality food in the crater.
Ngorongoro has carnivores in quantity which are drawn by the large herds of prey animals. It has the densest population of large predators, mainly lion – about 100 – and more than 400 spotted hyena, living in eight clans of up to eighty individuals. Both lions and hyenas will scavenge from each other, depending on weight of numbers and of course, hunger.
Most of the bird wildlife in Ngorongoro is seasonal. Also influencing the variety of bird species on display is the ratio of soda to fresh water in the largest expanse of water on the crater floor, Lake Magadi. The lake is alkaline due to deposits of volcanic ash thrown out by surrounding volcanoes.
the Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park lies between the Ngorongoro Highlands, Lake Victoria and Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya stretches one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges – the Serengeti. The name comes from the Maasai siringet, “endless plains”. The Serengeti’s 14,763 square kms contains about three million large animals, most taking part in seasonal migrations, unparalleled in nature. (click here for a map of the annual migration)
Twice a year, triggered by the rains, 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle gather to undertake the long trek to new grazing lands. The migration of the herbivores roughly defines the boundaries of Serengeti National Park, which is the central zone of the Serengeti ecosystem, an area that also takes in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Maswa Game Reserve in the west. Within these 25,900 square kms of varied landscape live thirty-five species of plains game and 500 bird species.
The endless plains of the Serengeti lie 330 km North West of Arusha.
Mkomazi National Park
Mkomazi National park is a magnificent 3500 sq km national park in the northern Tanzania.
The Mkomazi national park is a spectacular wilderness. Within sight to the northwest is Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest summit. To the South, the Pare and Usambara Mountains, to the North Kenya’s vast Tsavo national park shares a border with Mkomazi
Making common ground for migratory herds of elephant, oryx and zebra during the wet season
Fantastic destination for bird watchers over 450 species such as ostrich, kori bustard, secretary bird etc..
Mkomazi is vital refuge for two highly endangered species the charismatic black rhino and sociable African wild dog which were reintroduced in 1990.
The history of Kilimanjaro National Park dates back from the early 1900’s. The area had been established as a game reserve in the early 1990’s and as a forest reserve in 1921. In 1957 the Tanganyika National Parks Authority formally proposed the establishment of a National Park surrounding and including Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The Kilimanjaro National Park stands 330km south of the Equator on the northern boundary of Tanzania. The nearest town is Moshi.
Mt. Kilimanjaro, an awesome and magnificent mountain, is the highest mountain in Africa. It is also one of the largest single free standing mountains in the world, composed of an extinct volcano; Shira(3962m) and two dormant volcanoes, Mawenzi(5149m) and Kibo (5895m).
There are six official climbing routes that provide a range of opportunities for experiencing this mountain. Guides are required and bookings must be made in advance.
Saanane Island National Park
Saanane Island is a fully fledged national park since July 2013, covering an area of 2.18 sq km comprises of three islets and aquatic environment. The Islets lie on the southern part of the main island.
The park made a record of being the first ever national park to be located within the city and the smallest national park in both Tanzania and East Africa. The park is the home of mammals like impala, rock hyrax, velvet monkeys, and wild cats. The presence of “De-brazas monkey” underscores it’s potential as the only country in the park inhabiting the species.
Reptiles are also dominant; they include crocodiles, Monitor lizards, Agama lizards, Pancake and Leopard Tortoises, Snakes particularly Python. The aquatic part of the park inhabit the variety of fisheries life, mainly Tilapia and Nile Perch.