Tanzania safari destinations
Ngorongoro Conservation Area overview
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a huge area with a total of 8,288 sq km. The area includes some other small craters known as Empakai, Olmoti, together with mountains, the archeological sites of Olduvai Gorge, rolling plains, forests, lakes, dunes, and of course Ngorongoro Crater. The highest peak of the area stands at 3,600M above the sea level known as mount Lolmalasin. Active volcanoes of mt. Oldonyo Lengai is located on the North East side of the Area, Ngorongoro Crater, the first view of it is absolute splendor.
Ngorongoro crater has graduated from a bowl known as “Caldera”, which is formed when the molten core of the volcano subsides into the earth and the steep crater sides fall inward The crater has a spectacular concentration of wildlife. Within the crater, there is a shallow soda lake (Magadi) and flamingos who dwell around the lake which remains dry sometimes. The best place to see rhinos throughout the year, the birdlife is also rich and the hunting ground for lions, cheetahs, and hyenas.
Nearly three million years ago Ngorongoro towered alongside Mt. Kilimanjaro as one of the highest peaks in Africa. Today, Ngorongoro’s caldera shelters the most beautiful wildlife haven on earth.
The rich pasture and permanent water of the Crater floor supports a resident population of some 20,000 to 25,000 large mammals. They are not confined by the Crater walls, and can leave freely; they stay because conditions are favorable. The birdlife depends on the season because there are resident birds and migrant birds.
Serengeti National Park overview
A million wildebeest… each one driven by the same ancient rhythm, fulfilling its instinctive role in the inescapable cycle of life: a frenzied three-week bout of territorial conquests and mating; survival of the fittest as 40km (25 miles) long columns plunge through crocodile-infested waters on the annual exodus north; replenishing the species in a brief population explosion that produces more than 8,000 calves daily before the 1,000 km (600 miles) pilgrimage begins again..
The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park. Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers. Solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River, while a high density of cheetahs prowls the southeastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.
Covering an area of 14,763 sq. km, Serengeti National Park is the second-largest National Park in Tanzania after Ruaha. The park is located some 320 km to the northwest of Arusha, lying in a high plateau between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Kenya/ Tanzania border, and extending almost to Lake Victoria to the west. Aptly named “endless plains” by the Maasai people, you immediately experience this vastness as you enter the southeastern plains of the park from Ngorongoro.
Tarangire National Park overview
Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem – a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.
The swamps, tinged green year-round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world. On drier ground, you find the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world’s largest bird; and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys. More ardent bird-lovers might keep an eye open for screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colorful Yellow-collared lovebird, and the somewhat drabber Rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling – all endemic to the dry savannah of north-central Tanzania.
Tarangire National Park lies 120 km south of Arusha, along The Great North Road highway, and is very popular for day trips from the town. Tarangire offers a wide variety of wildlife in its area of 2,600 sq. km. As in all ecosystems, the vegetation and the types of animals you find are closely correlated. The principal features of the park are the flood plains and the grassland, mainly comprising of various types of acacia trees, and a few scattered baobabs, tamarind, and the sausage trees.
Lake Manyara National Park overview
From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting extolled by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”. The compact game-viewing circuit through Manyara offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience.
Contrasting with the intimacy of the forest is the grassy floodplain and its expansive views eastward, across the alkaline lake, to the jagged blue volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes. Large buffalo, wildebeest and zebra herds congregate on these grassy plains, as do giraffes – some so dark in coloration that they appear to be black from a distance.