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TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS & RESERVES

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

The mere mention of the word ‘Serengeti’ conjures up images of amazing African wildlife wandering endless, treeless plains. Kopjes, which appear like islands in the sea of grass, wooded hills and Acacia lined rivers complete the picture. Here you can see untamed Africa at it’s most beautiful....
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    SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
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    Serengeti National Park: Long before it was a national park the area was known to the Maasai as 'Siringet', meaning extended place. The park covers an area of 14,763 sq km and lies between the shores of Lake Victoria in the west, Lake Eyasi in the south, the Great Rift Valley in the east and the Maasai Mara to the the north.

    The pinnacle of the Serengeti immortality is the wildebeest migration. It is beyond description when the Serengeti plains witness flying hooves and dust as hundreds of thousands of gnus and zebra, race against the skyline in their annual migration that covers over 800km. It all starts suddenly in late May or early June, depending on weather, when wildebeest move away from the short grass plains between the Ngorongoro highlands and Seronera and spread to the southern plains. This spectacle can be viewed from the ground, but it is an awesome sight from the sky in a hot air balloon.

    The Serengeti is also famous for it’s lion population; of which many have been fitted with transmitter collars to record their movements for research projects. Zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, various gazelles, elands, impalas and warthogs among other animals dwell in high populations within the Serengeti – this makes the Serengeti one of the most amazing wildlife observation destinations in the world! This safari is one not to be missed on a visit to Tanzania and you will need at least a few days to view as much variation in the wildlife and topography as the Serengeti has to offer you.


TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

Tarangire National Park is best known for its massive herds of elephant. During the dry season herds of up to three hundred elephant of all ages and sizes converge on Tarangire's permanent water source and can be seen digging in the once full riverbed in search of underground springs....
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    TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
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    Tarangire National Park: Tarangire's wildlife is best viewed during the dry months from July to October when zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and the rarer Fringe-eared Oryx and eland gather at the last remaining water holes or shelter from the fierce sun under squat baobab trees. During these months the park boasts the greatest wildlife concentration outside the Serengeti. Also common in Tarangire NP are pythons, which with patience and keen observance may be spotted coiled in tree branches.

    Tarangire is a beautiful area that covers the southeast corner of Lake Manyara and is often a feature of a northern circuit safari. It is located 105km from Arusha and, like Lake Manyara NP, is possible to view in one day.


NGORONGORO CRATER & CONSERVATION AREA

Often referred to as the 'eighth natural wonder of the world' the Ngorongoro Conservation Area combines some of the best wildlife and scenery the country has to offer with the culture of its Maasai inhabitants and the history of its archaeological sites....
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    NGORONGORO CRATER & CONSERVATION AREA
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    Ngorongoro Crater & Conservation Area: The conservation area covers 8288 sq km, embracing the eastern half of the Serengeti Plains, highland plateaus, volcanic mountains, craters, gorges and is home to Ngorongoro Crater - the breathing central attraction
    Ngorongoro was a huge active volcano, probably larger than Kilimanjaro when the volcano erupted some 8 million years ago. Its cone collapsed leaving a crater or more appropriately a “caldera” 600m deep, 16km across and 265 sq km in area. Many of Tanzania’s last remaining black rhino can be seen grazing on the open grassland of the crater floor surrounded by some of the 20,000 large animals that occupy the crater, including lion, cheetah, eland, zebra and gazelle. Flamingo, among other bird species can often be seen feeding at Makat soda lake. Early morning and late afternoon are perfect times to see leopard lurking around Lerai Forest, while elephant take advantage of its ample shade in the middle of the day.


MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

If you have ever read the tales of Tarzan – this is where you insert the romantic visions that you generate when flipping through the pages. As the rugged, lush mountains dive into the deep fresh water, the hippos gracefully stride under water and a lazy handline brings in an endemic cyclid. This park is famous for containing some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa....
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    MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
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    Mahale Mountains National Park: The Mahale Mountains National Park was gazetted in 1985, covers an area of over 1600 km² and is located about 128 km south of Kigoma town on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The land in and around Mahale is the traditional homeland of the Watongwe and Waholoholo tribes. Dedicated Japanese primate researchers began exploring along the shore of Lake Tanganyika as early as 1961 and established their first camp, ‘Kansyana’ in 1965 and began habituating chimpanzees.

    Meet Primus and his family amongst the mostly rugged and hilly terrain, dominated by the Mahale Mountains chain that runs from the northwest to the southeast across the park. The highest peak (Mount Nkungwe) rises to 2462 m above sea level. This is a remote and magical setting – truly old world Africa.


ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK

The often overlooked Arusha National Park is the closest national park to Arusha in the northern safari circuit and offers the discerning traveller the opportunity to discover a rich diversity of habitats and wildlife in one day....
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    ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
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    Arusha National Park: The lush montane forest surrounding Ngurdoto Crater is home to blue monkeys and the black and white colobus monkey, while the crater itself encloses a fertile, swampy floor scattered with herds of buffalo and warthog. Birdlife in the park abounds, with more than 400 species on display. Canoeing around the Momela Lakes is the perfect way to view the abundant birdlife including, at times, thousands of greater and lesser flamingos. Zebra and Giraffe graze lazily on the grassy hills while the elusive duiker dive into the undergrowth in the woodland. Leopards can be seen lurking around the forests in the early morning and late afternoons.

    Some of the best views of Mt Kilimanjaro are seen from Arusha National Park and in particular, from the peaks of Mt Meru. Mt Meru is protected by the national park and a trek to Socialist Peak (4562m) begins with a hike alongside herds of buffalo and giraffe before entering the dense montane forest. The trek along the knife-edge rim of the horseshoe crater is rewarded with views of Mt Kilimanjaro, the Momela Lakes and the perfectly formed ash cone below.

    Its proximity to Arusha makes this park a rewarding day trip or a valuable addition to a northern circuit safari


RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

Ruaha is a massive 10,300 sq km after being gazetted in 1964 and extended in 1974. It is the second largest park after the Serengeti and is home to 456 bird species, 1600 plant species, 50 amphibian species and a myriad of other inhabitants. The actual eco-system embraced by Ruaha, with neighbouring game reserves contains four vegetation zones and almost 40,000 sq km of land....
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    RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
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    Ruaha National Park:One of the most memorable sightings in Ruaha, is the solitary greater kudu – the spiral horns and does of lateral white stripes, allowing the kudu to blend in with its bush surroundings in time of fright. Elephants are en-masse in Ruaha, as well are giraffe, with over 8000 in population.

    The elusive and endangered African Hunting Dog is also found in Ruaha, threatened to almost extinction by hunters with the incorrect view that the dogs drove wildlife out of the area and threatened domestic stock.

    The base rock of Ruaha is estimated to be 450-600 million years old and faulting made the earth’s crust buckle and created mountains, and the Great Rift Valley, through which the Great Ruaha River is an extension. The flow of the river in recent times has diminished due to damming for Tanzanian electricity consumers and the rice schemes upriver.

    For avid birdwatchers and butterfly collectors, a visit to Ruaha between January and May make the experience magic. For other visitors, May – November reveal warm temperatures and favourable wildlife migration paths.