Udzungwa National Park

Udzungwa National Park

Udzungwa is the most significant and most biodiversity and a chain of a dozen large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania—known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains.

This archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed as the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals.

Most familiarly being the delicate African violet.

Brooding and primeval, the forests of Udzungwa seem positively enchanted: a verdant refuge of sunshine-dappled glades enclosed by 30-metre (100 foot) high trees, their buttresses layered with fungi, lichens, mosses, and ferns.

Udzungwa alone among the ancient ranges of the Eastern Arc has been accorded the national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 meters (820 feet) to above 2,000 meters (6,560 ft) without interruption.

Although not a conventional game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers. An excellent network of forest trails includes the popular half-day ramble to Sanje Waterfall, which plunges 170 meters (550 feet) through a misty spray into the forested valley below.

The more challenging two-night Mwanihana Trail leads to the high plateau, with its panoramic views over the surrounding sugar plantations, before ascending to Mwanihana peak, the second-highest point in the range.

Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa for an avian wealth embracing more than 400 species, from the lovely and readily-located green-headed oriole to more than a dozen secretive Eastern Arc endemics.

Four bird species are peculiar to Udzungwa, including the forest partridge, first discovered in 1991 and more closely related to an Asian genus than to any other African fowl.

Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur nowhere else in the world – the latter, remarkably, remained undetected by biologists before 1979.

Undoubtedly, this great forest has yet to reveal all its treasures: ongoing scientific exploration will surely add to its diverse catalog of endemics.

Location: Five hours (350 km/215 miles) from Dar es Salaam; 65 kms (40 miles) southwest of Mikumi.

Getting there

Drive from Dar es Salaam or Mikumi National Park.

What to do

From a two-hour hike to the waterfall as well as camping safaris.

Combine with nearby Mikumi or en route to Ruaha.

Accommodation

Camping inside the park.

Bring all food and supplies.

Two modest but comfortable lodges with en-suite rooms within 1km of the park entrance.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary globally; unequaled for its natural beauty and scientific value, it has the most fantastic plains game in Africa.

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was established in 1952. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – the great migration of wildebeest and zebra. The resident population of lions, cheetah, elephants, giraffe, and birds is also impressive. There’s a wide variety of accommodation available, from luxury lodges to mobile camps. The Park covers 5,700 sq miles (14,763 sq km); it’s larger than Connecticut, with at most a couple of hundred vehicles driving around.

The Park can be divided into three sections. The popular southern/central part (Seronera Valley) is what the Maasai called the “Serengeti,” the land of endless plains. It’s classic savannah, dotted with acacias and filled with wildlife. The western corridor is marked by the Grumeti River and has more forests and dense bush. The north Lobo area, which meets up with Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve, is the least visited section.

Two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves have been established within the 30,000 km² regions. Its unique ecosystem has inspired writers from Ernest Hemingway to Peter Mattheissen, filmmakers like Hugo von Lawick and Alan Root, and numerous photographers and scientists, many of whom have put their works at our disposal to create this website.

The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation, and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation, and migration are as old as the hills themselves.
It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. Strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge, or crocodile-infested river can hold them back.

Wildebeest travel through various parks, reserves, protected areas, and a variety of habitats. Join us to explore the different forms of vegetation and landscapes of the Serengeti ecosystem and meet some of their most fascinating inhabitants.

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Mkomazi National Park

Mkomazi National Park

Set below the verdant slopes of the spectacular Usambara and Pare Eastern Arc Mountain Ranges and overseen by the iconic snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro.

Mkomazi is a breathtaking virgin beauty exhibiting unique natural treasures and an immense sense of space – which adds to the fulfillment of high visitor’s enjoyment expectations – a much-needed bridge between northern circuit and coastal attractions.

Every day, thousands of people pass within a few kilometers of Mkomazi on one of Tanzania’s busiest highways. These and the northern circuit safari–goers are now most welcomed to discover the treasures of this wedge of hilly semi-arid savannah – home of large herds of giraffe, eland, hartebeest, zebra, buffalo, and elephant.

Mkomazi is a vital refuge for two highly endangered species, the charismatic black rhino and the sociable African wild dog, which were successfully introduced in the 1990s. Nomadic by nature, you might see wild dogs almost anywhere in the Park; however, the black rhino is restricted to a fenced sanctuary, ensuring their safekeeping for the enjoyment and prosperity of future generations.

Mkomazi supports several dry–country specialist species rare elsewhere in Tanzania; these include the spectacular fringe-eared oryx, with its long back–sweeping horns, and the handsome spiral-horned lesser kudu. Oddest of all is the gerenuk, a gazelle distinguished by its slender neck, bizarre alien-like head, and having the habit of standing tall on its hind legs as it stretches for acacia leaves that other browsers cannot reach.

A game reserve since 1951, this new National Park takes its name from a word from Pare tribe denoting “scoop of water,” referring to little water. It is a fantastic destination for birdwatchers, with more than 450 avian species recorded; among them are the dry–country endemics such as the cobalt–chested vulturine guinea-fowl.

Large ground birds such as ostrich, kori bustard, secretary bird, ground hornbill, migratory species, including the Eurasian roller.

Location: Northern Tanzania split between Kilimanjaro and Tanga administrative regions. The park borders on the west, the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. The Zange entrance gate lies 112 km (69 miles) from Moshi, 550 km (341 miles) from Mwalimu J. K. Nyerere International Airport – Dar es Salaam, 142 km (88.7 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport, 120 km (75 miles) from Kilimanjaro National Park and 6 km (3.7 miles) from the town of Same.

How to get there

By road, Mkomazi is easily accessible via Same, which lies on the surfaced highway connecting Arusha to Dar es Salaam. The Park is also easily accessible on special arrangements through Njiro, Kivingo, and Umba gates. You can easily access the Park from the nearby tourist attractions in the Eastern Arc Mountains, The Coast, and Kilimanjaro Mountain. Charter flights are available to Kisima airstrip.

What to do

Game drives, camping, site seeing, bird watching, walking safari, and hiking (uphill). Learn more about conservation and rhinoceros at Mkomazi rhino sanctuary.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The extraordinary feature in Ngorongoro is a deep, volcanic crater and the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world. About 20kms across, 600 meters deep, and 300 sq. kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder. The Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s most famous sites and has the highest density of wildlife in Africa. It is described as one of the ‘eighth wonders of the world.’
It guarantees excellent wildlife viewing in a genuinely mind-blowing environment. The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera; there is nowhere else in Africa quite like Ngorongoro!
The crater floor consists of several different habitats: grassland, swamps, forests, and Lake Makat (Maasai for ‘salt’) – a central soda lake filled by the Munge River. It is the most likely area in Tanzania to see the endangered Black Rhino, as a small population is thriving in this idyllic and protected environment. It is currently one of the few areas where they continue to breed in the wild. Your chances of encountering leopards here are also good and fabulous black-maned lions. Many flamingos are also attracted to the soda waters of Lake Magadi.
Ngorongoro Crater also offers cultural experiences in Maasai village trips. Part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been to preserve the environment for the Maasai people who diverted from the Serengeti Plains. Essentially, nomadic people build temporary villages in circular homesteads called bomas. There are possibilities to visit for a couple of these now, as the indigenous people have opened up for tourists to explore. Here you can see how the huts are built in a strict pattern order according to the chronological order of the wives and experience what it must be like to rely on warmth and energy from a fire burning at the heart of a cattle dung dwelling with no chimney. These people have a great history as warriors. Even though they are no longer allowed to build villages inside the park, they continue to herd their cattle into the crater to graze and drink, regardless of the predators nearby.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park has some of the highest population density of elephants compared to anywhere in Tanzania. Its sparse vegetation, strewn with baobab and acacia trees, makes it a beautiful and distinctive location visit. Located just a few hours’ drives from the town of Arusha, Tarangire is a popular stop for people traveling through the northern safari circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti.
Before the rains, droves of gazelles, wildebeests, zebras, and giraffes migrate to Tarangire National Park’s scrub plains, where the last grazing land remains. Breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe and the mountains in the south make a stopover at Tarangire a memorable experience.

Lake Manyara National Park

lake manyara national park

Lake Manyara National Park

Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park offers varied ecosystems, incredible birdlife. Stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty gold 600-meter high Rift Valley escarpment, Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is worth a stop in its own right. Its groundwater forests, bush plains, baobab-strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area rich in wildlife and significant numbers of birds.
The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of birdlife that thrives on its brackish waters. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants, and storks. Pink flamingo stoops and graze by the thousands of colorful specks against the grey minerals of the lakeshore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising from the bluff, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky.
Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay a visit to this park. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season and are a well-known but relatively rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere globally, which accounts for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park (ANAPA) is a gem of varied ecosystems and spectacular views of Mt. Meru, the crater that gives the region its name

It is a popular destination for day trip visitors who are about to embark from the town of Arusha on longer northern circuit safaris. The small national park includes the slopes, summit, and ash cone of Mt. Meru, the Momela Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and the lush highland forests that blanket its lower slopes. Game viewing around the Momela Lakes is at a laid-back and quiet pace, and while passing through the forest many visitors stop to search for troupes of rare colubus monkeys playing in the canopy.

Climbing Mt. Meru or enjoying the smaller trails that criss-cross its lower slopes is a popular activity for visitors to Arusha National Park. The three-day trek to reach the crater’s summit is a quieter, and some say more challenging alternative than the famous peak of nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. Along the lower slopes, the paths to rivers and waterfalls create a relaxing day hike for visitors who don’t want to attempt the rather arduous climb. Ancient fig tree forests, crystal clear waters cascading from mountain streams, and a chance to spot colobus monkeys are the attractions and pleasures of Arusha National Park.

Kitulo National Park

Kitulo National Park

Locals refer to the Kitulo Plateau as Bustani ya Mungu – The Garden of God – whereas botanists have dubbed it the Serengeti of Flowers, host to ‘one of the great floral spectacles of the world.’

Kitulo is a rare botanical marvel, home to a total of 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 primary rainy season of late November to April.

Perched at around 2,600 meters (8,500 ft) between the rugged peaks of the Kipengere, Poroto, and the 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 the latest and newcomer to Tanzania’s tourist attraction sites.

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest game reserve and one of Africa’s favorite game viewing areas. Covering 50,000 square kilometers 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 park’s beauty is matched by the quality of a safari here; boating, walking, and fly camping complement standard game driving in thriving wildlife areas. 

This is a magnificent 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, offering boating safaris and standard game drives, walking safaris, and legendary fly camping trips.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha national park is one of the few Tanzania’s famous wilderness areas where one can have a rare experience of game viewing spiced up by the fascinating landscape. The park is rich in plants and animals such as Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), which can not be found in any other national park. The park boasts of her almost untouched and unexplored ecosystem, making visitors’ safari experience very unique.

Like other rivers like Mwagusi, Jongomero, and Mzombe save as the lifeline of the park, the Great Ruaha River. During the dry season, these rivers become mostly the primary source of water for wildlife. Few natural springs are saving the same purpose.

In the dry season, elephants obtain water from dry sand rivers using their front feet and trunks. The remaining water falls along the Great Ruaha River are also critical habitat for hippopotamus, fish, and crocodiles.

CLIMATE

Ruaha National Park has a bimodal pattern of rain forest; the short rainfall season begins November to February, while the long season is between March and April. The annual mean rainfall ranges between 500mm-800mm with an average yearly temperature of about 280c. The park experiences its dry season between June and October when the weather at Msembe headquarter reaches 350c.

PARK HISTORY

The park’s history dates back to 1910 when it was gazetted Saba Game Reserve by Germany; then the name was changed by the British to Rungwa Game reserve in 1946. In 1964 the southern portion of the Game was gazetted as Ruaha national park, and in 1974, The park incorporated a small section of the South-Eastern part of the Great Ruaha River. The name “Ruaha” originates from the Hehe word “Ruvaha,” which means “river.” Ruaha National Park is part of the Rungwa-Kizigo –Muhesi ecosystem which covers more than 45000km2. In 2008 Usangu game Reserve and other important wetlands in the Usangu basin had been annexed into the park, making it the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa with about 20226km2.