Serengeti National Park
This Declared by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites, the Serengeti National Park at 14,700 sq km is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and breathtaking display of wildlife everywhere. Known by the Maasai people as “siringit-endless plains”, it is a land of vast grassland plains, acacia-studded savannas, wooded hills and mountains. Contiguous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve on the Kenyan side of the border, the Serengeti National Park is one of the world’s greatest wildlife refuges. At any point in time, the park’s vast grassland plains and savannas are speckled with herds of grazing zebras, giraffes, gazelles, wildebeest and topi. The acacia forests abound with birds and monkeys; elephants and buffaloes in the swamps; and rivers brimming with hippos and crocodiles. The Serengeti is an African paradise that contains one of the oldest eco-systems on Earth. Interesting features such as the fauna, climate and vegetation have barely changed in the past million years. The plains are most famous as a stage for the great wildebeest migration, estimated to include over a million wildebeest and around 200,000 zebra, however, when witnessing this magical event there do seem to be far greater numbers.
This vast protected area stretches from Lake Natron (the breeding ground for East Africa’s flamingos) in the northeast, to Lake Enyasi in the south, and Lake Manyara to the east. The area includes the still active Ol-Ndoinyo Lengai (meaning “Mountain of God” in Maa, the language of the Masaai) volcano which last erupted in 2007. Olduvai Gorge and the Ngorongoro Crater are the largest unbroken caldera in the world. It has been described as one of the great natural wonders of the world. Eight million years ago, the Ngorongoro Crater was an active volcano but its cone collapsed, forming the crater that is 610 meters deep, 20 kilometres in diameter, and covers an area of 311 sq. km. Spectacular as it is, the crater accounts for just a tenth of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The crater is home to many species of wild game and birds. With the exception of impala and topi (due to fierce competition with the wildebeest) and the giraffe (because there is not much to eat at tree level), almost every species of African plains mammal lives in the crater, including the endangered black rhino, and the densest population of predators in Africa. A strange thing is that the crater elephants are mainly bulls. The birdlife, which includes the flamingo, is mainly seasonal, and is also affected by the ratio of soda to fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor. Views from the rim of the crater are sensational. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and mountains. You can descend to the floor of the crater in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Only 4WD vehicles are allowed into the crater and game rangers are compulsory for all. The Masai are permitted to water their cattle at the permanent lake and can be seen leading their animals in and out of the crater.ssing this magical event there do seem to be far greater numbers.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you understand why. Not only is this the highest peak on the African continent; it is also the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, rising in breathtaking isolation from the surrounding coastal scrubland – elevation around 900 metres – to an imperious 5,895 metres (19,336 feet). Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. Most climbers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and determination. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates. And their memories. But there is so much more to Kili than her summit. The ascent of the slopes is a virtual climatic world tour, from the tropics to the Arctic. Even before you cross the national park boundary (at the 2,700m contour), the cultivated footslopes give way to lush montane forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo, the endangered Abbot’s duiker, and other small antelope and primates. Higher still lies the moorland zone, where a cover of giant heather is studded with otherworldly giant lobelias. Above 4,000m, a surreal alpine desert supports little life other than a few hardy mosses and lichen. Then, finally, the last vestigial vegetation gives way to a winter wonderland of ice and snow – and the magnificent beauty of the roof of the continent..
Arusha National Park
This national park lies about 45km east of Arusha in the Kilimanjaro region. The park is home to Mount Meru, Tanzania’s “other mountain” (second to Mount Kilimanjaro) standing at 4565m, Ngurdoto Crater and the Momella Lakes. Despite its relatively small size, this park has a lot to offer including colobus monkeys, flamingos, elephants, giraffes, buffalos, plus a variety of bird and plant species..
Manyara National Park
Manyara National park is famous in Tanzania for many reasons – most notably, because the lions climb the trees there. The park attracts a lot of visitors due to it being the natural habitat of many different species of beautiful bird, who spend their days searching the lake for food. In total there are over 400 species of bird living in the park. There are also many animals that inhabit the park including elephants, lions, buffalo’s, leopards, baboons, zebra’s, and many other herbivores. Adding to the beauty of the park is a hot spring. Water comes up from the ground bubbling, and they flow all year round in all seasons.
Tarangire National Park
During the dry season from June to October, this park has a particularly high concentration of wildlife, which mainly congregates along the mighty Tarangire River for water and hunting. The park is also an ornithologist’s paradise offering shelter to more than 300 species of birds, including the largest bird in the world, rare spotted species, the ostrich and the heaviest bird that can fly, the Kori Bustard.
Animals that inhabit the Park range from; lions, buffalos, cheetahs, wild dogs, wildebeests, leopards to zebra, gazelles and many more. The best game viewing months are between July and December, but for bird viewing it is best to come between October and May.
Lake Victoria (also known as Victoria Nyanza, Ukerewe and Nalubaale) is the world’s second largest fresh water lake by area. It is located in eastern central Africa, straddling the equator, and is shared between the nations of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. It is generally considered to be the source of the Nile River, the world’s longest river.