Tanzania has earned a reputation as one of the premier safari destinations in the world. Each park offers breathtaking scenery and wildlife, but each one is also entirely different. You can witness the largest animal migration in the world on the plains of the Serengeti, watch the endangered black rhinos graze in the Ngorongoro volcanic crater, or follow roaming chimpanzee troops with conservationists in the ancient forests of Gombe Stream. No matter which safari you choose, you will be blown away by the the diverse landscape and impressive flora and fauna of Tanzania.
Serengeti National Park
Meaning “endless plain” in Maasai, the Serengeti is an impressively vast ecosystem. Roughly the size of Ireland, it is home to some of the most diverse animal life in the world. The plains provide habitat for endangered species such as black rhinos, elephants, wild dogs, and cheetahs. In the park, you can see the largest undisturbed animal migration in the world. Two million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of gazelles and zebras cross the savannah to return to their perennial watering holes, followed by predators such as lions, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. The migration stretches as far as the eye can see and is one of the natural wonders of the world.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands region of the Great Rift Valley. The Ngorongoro Crater is the geographic centerpiece of the conservation area, spanning 260 square kilometers (100 square miles) and 610 meters (2000 feet) deep. Formed 2 to 3 million years ago, it is the largest inactive and intact volcanic caldera in the world. The crater’s basin sits at 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) above sea level, creating a uniquely cool climate for safari. Ngorongoro is home to diverse animal life. Highland plains, savannah grasslands, woodlands, and dense forest meet to create unique ecosystems and habitats for all sorts of African animals including elephants, black rhinos, buffalo, hyenas, and lions. Ngorongoro is a great place to see variety of African wildlife against the backdrop of a beautiful and distinct landscape.
Olduvai Gorge is a deep ravine located inside of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In the 1950s, Mary and Louis Leakey began excavating the gorge as an archeological dig site and found the earliest known remains of the human genus. Olduvai Gorge is considered the seat of humanity and is one of the most important archeological sites in the world. On safari, you can go to the gorge and visit a local museum offering tours, educational exhibits, and opportunities to look at fossils and artifacts of early humans and extinct animals.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire is famous for its large elephant population, tree-climbing lions, and enormous baobab trees. It is the only place in Tanzania where the fringe-eared oryx and long-necked gerenuk are spotted regularly. You can also expect to see zebras, wildebeests, waterbucks, and olive baboons. During the dry season, thousands of animals cross the parched savannah of the park to get to the Tarangire River, a reliable year-round source of water and sustenance. Dry or wet, you can always expect to see Tarangire’s famous elephants.
Lake Manyara Nat’l Park
Lake Manyara National Park is rich in natural beauty. The park is made up of dense forest, arid land, and the alkaline Lake Manyara, providing habitat for diverse animal life. With more than 400 bird species, visitors can expect to see more than 100 species in just one day. Tanzania’s famed tree-climbing lions were first observed in Manyara and the park is still a great place to witness this phenomenon. During the rainy season, thousands of flamingos flock shores of the lake, creating an astonishing display. Leopards, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-diks, gazelles, hippos, giraffes, and impalas, can also be seen throughout the year.
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is a verdant park teeming with life. Visitors commonly see giraffes, buffalos, zebras, black and white colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, and flamingos. Lions cannot be found in the park, while elephants and leopards live in the park, but are rarely spotted. The park’s terrain is diverse, containing several impressive geographic features – Mount Meru, the Jekukumia River, the alkaline Momella Lakes, and the Ngurdoto Crater. Arusha National Park makes for an easy day trip from Moshi or Arusha and it’s is a great option for those seeking an affordable and accessible safari experience.