Tanzanian Game Parks are a must see for nature lovers and safari enthusiasts. Tanzania has two distinct game viewing areas.
Firstly, the most popular area – the Northern Circuit including the Serengeti National Park, which is the most famous game reserve in this area. The Serengeti is home to one of nature’s most spectacular displays, the Wildebeest Migration. Hundreds of Thousands of Wildebeest cross over this mighty game park during June to August creating a spectacular scene, also called the Great Migration. The Ngorongoro Crater National Park also forms part of the Northern Circuit. The Ngorongoro is a game reserve with a large concentration of game located inside the rim of an extinct volcano. The sheer numbers of game found in the crater is just mind-blowing.
The second game viewing area in Tanzania is the Southern Circuit of which the Selous Game Reserve is the most well known. The Southern Circuit is a good alternative for those who wish to get off the beaten track and see Tanzania at a slower pace.
TANZANIA TRAVEL HIGHLIGHTS:
Serengeti National Park
Visiting the vast plains of the Serengeti it is easy to see why the Maasai called this spectacular area Siringitu, meaning “the place where the land moves on forever”.
Tanzania’s premier National Park, the Serengeti covers 14 763 sq km’s of plains, kopjes, rivers, forests and woodlands in northern Tanzania. The Serengeti Na‐ tional Park is best known for the Great Migration, when around 1.5 million wildebeest, over 200 000 zebra and 300 000 Thomson’s gazelle stampede across this beautiful wilderness area in search of grazing.
The Serengeti offers superb game viewing and excellent photographic opportunities, with healthy populations of Africa’s Big Five species as well as cheetah, giraffe and African Wild Dog among others.
The Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest volcanic caldera at around 260 sq km, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as “Africa’s Garden of Eden”. The Ngorongoro Crater is said to be home to the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa hosting about 25 000 large animals.
Descending 2000 feet to the floor of the crater an abundance of African wildlife species can be seen, including lion, elephant, wildebeest, zebra, rhino, eland,
Thomson’s gazelle and buffalo. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers 8292 sq km’s of forests, savannah plains, wetlands and lake habitats on the eastern side of the Serengeti in northern Tanzania.
Olduvai Gorge, commonly known as “The Cradle of Mankind” is a famous archaeological site where the Laetoli hominid footprints, Oldupai Museum and numerous hominid, animal and plant fossils are located.
The 48 km long steep-sided gorge lies in the Great Rift Valley and is most famous for ancient archeological findings made by Louis and Mary Leakey, including some of the earliest hominid fossil remains.
Freshwater Lake Manyara lies within the diverse and lush Lake Manyara National Park, offering superb bird watching, stunning scenery and excellent game viewing.
This compact game park is best known for its tree-climbing lions, healthy elephant population and thou‐ sands of flamingoes. The 325 sq km Manyara is also home to a variety of wildlife species, such as hippo, baboon, buffalo, cheetah, Maasai giraffe and impala.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire Park boasts the highest density of elephants in Tanzania, in a wild and remote wilderness area of spectacular beauty. Tarangire Park lies southeast of Lake Manyara, a less crowded gem on Tanzania’s popular northern game viewing circuit. This seasonal park dotted with baobab and acacia trees is flanked by volcanic mountains in the distance and covers around 2800 sq km’s of grassland, woodlands and floodplains.
Tarangire is home to the some of the highest concentrations of game in Tanzania and is famous for its close encounters with large elephant herds, numbering 300 strong. The park is best visited in the dry season when animals congregate at the permanent waters of the Tarangire River. Tarangire wildlifeincludes migrating wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, eland, impala, hartebeest and a variety of predators, as well as African Pythons.
A wide variety of bird species inhabit this scenic park, which is also the only wilderness area in Tanzania where certain antelope species of oryx and gerenuk can frequently be sighted.
Selous Game Reserve
Tanzania’s best-kept secret, the Selous Game Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site owing to its unspoiled wilderness and the diversity of its wildlife. Selous is Africa’s biggest game park, at around 54 600 sq km’s, it covers an area of southern Tanzania larger than Switzerland. This pristine protected area teeming with wildlife is home to Tanzania’s largest elephant population, vast numbers of giraffes and the highest concentration of African Wild Dogs on the continent. This untamed wildlife haven is home to huge numbers of hippo, crocodile, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra and impala as well as numerous lions and 350 bird species. The wild and vast Selous Reserve incorporates a wide-range of habitats, from forests, dense bush and open woodlands to lakes and lagoons.
Southern Tanzanian Game Parks
Tanzania’s southern game viewing circuit includes the vast and untamed Ruaha National Park boasting diverse habitats and the easily accessible, game-rich Mikumi National Park.
Tanzania enjoys great weather, experiencing warm and mild conditions during the peak travel season in Tanzania (June – October). This is a good time to visit Tanzania when the weather is best for game viewing and for beach activities.
From December to March, the days are hot and sunny. There are two rainy seasons in Tanzania. The first heavy rains fall between mid-March to the end of May and the second lighter rains fall throughout November and parts of December.