WHY TANZANIA

INTRODUCTION TANZANIA TOP ATTRACTIONSY

Tanzania Map Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, comprising both the mainland and the Zanzibar Archipelago. The capital, Dodoma, is in the centre of the country, while Dar Es Salaam, the economic capital, is on the coast. Tanzania has more land devoted to National Parks and game reserves then any other country in the world (over 100 000 km2).Satellite photos of the country reveal the vast central plateau sloping down towards the Indian Ocean, three of the great lakes (Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa) as well as the Great Rift Valley, with its stunning volcanoes. Off the coast are a series of volcanic and coral islands making up the Zanzibar Archipelago. A land of geographical extremes, Tanzania has the highest peak – Mount Kilimanjaro, the lowest point – the lakebed of Lake Tanganyika, and the largest lake – Lake Victoria, on the continent. Everything from the pristine coral reefs to the Crater Highlands, remote game reserves and the famous national parks are protected by law and placed in trust for future generations.

Tanzania is home to some of the most incredible tribal diversity in Africa. The country includes all of the major ethnic and linguistic groups on the continent – an amazingly varied population to inhabit a single country. Home to approximately 120 tribal groups, most of these comprise small communities that are gradually being assimilated into the larger population due to changes in land use and the economic draw of city life. Tribal diversity is prized and far from being a source of division, Tanzanians place a high value on their country’s multicultural heritage. Over the past few years, cultural tourism has become an increasing attraction for visitors from around the world and visits to tribal villages are often a highlight of safari itineraries. The Masaai are perhaps the most well known of Tanzania’s tribes and inhabit the northern regions of the country. Pastoralists who fiercely guard their culture and traditions, Masaai tribal life revolves around protecting and caring for their herds of cattle and finding ample grazing land in their region.

We arrange trips throughout Tanzania offering 5 different price ranges: Camping option (basic), Wildlife lodge option, Sopa lodge option, Serena Lodge option and the upmarket ConsCorp lodge option.

TOP ATTRACTIONS
In the north:

The parks and game reserves that make up Tanzania’s northern circuit are easily the most popular and accessible attractions in the country. If you are travelling from December to April, the annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park is definitely not to be missed.

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 bird life, and breathtaking views. The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands, colourful specks against the grey minerals of the lakeshore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay this park a visit. 2 ½ hours drive from Arusha. Best time: Throughout the year.

Ngorongoro Crater
Within the crater rim, large herds of zebra and wildebeest graze nearby while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist. Just outside the crater’s ridge, tall Masaai herd their cattle and goats over green pastures through the highland slopes. Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes its eponymous famous crater, Olduvai Gorge, and huge expanses of highland plains, scrub bush, and forests that cover approximately 8300 square kilometres. A protected area, only indigenous tribes such as the Masaai are allowed to live within its borders. Of course, the crater itself, actually a type of collapsed volcano called a caldera, is the main attraction. 4 hours drive from Arusha and 2 hours from Lake Manyara. Avoid the rainy season, April, May and November.

Serengeti National Park
Serengeti is easily Tanzania’s most famous national park, and it’s also the largest, at 14,763 km2 of protected area. Large prides of lions laze easily in the long grasses, plentiful families of elephants feed on acacia bark and trump to each other across the plains, and giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, eland, and the whole range of African wildlife is in awe-inspiring numbers. The annual wildebeest migration through the Serengeti and the Masai Mara attract visitors from around the world, who flock to the open plains to witness the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet. More than a million animals make the seasonal journey to fresh pasture to the north, then the south, after the biannual rains. The sound of their thundering hooves, raising massive clouds of thick red dust, has become one of the legends of the Serengeti plains. Aside from traditional vehicle bound safaris, hot-air ballooning over the Serengeti plains has become a safari rite-of-passage for travel enthusiasts. 6 hours drive from Arusha. Best time: June to November.

Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park has some of the highest population density of elephants anywhere in Tanzania, and its sparse vegetation, strewn with baobab and acacia trees, makes it a beautiful and special location. Located just a few hours drive from the town of Arusha, Tarangire is a popular stop for safaris travelling through the northern circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The park extends into two game controlled areas and the wildlife is allowed to move freely throughout. Before the rains, droves of gazelle, wildebeest, zebra, and giraffes migrate to Tarangire National Park’s scrub plains where the last grazing land still remains. Tarangire offers unparalleled game viewing, and during the dry season elephants abound. Families of the pachyderms play around the ancient trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their afternoon meal. Breathtaking views of the Masaai Steppe and the mountains to the south make a stop at Tarangire a memorable experience. 1 ½ hour drive from Arusha. Best time: June to November

The renowned Olduvai Gorge lies between the great wildlife sanctuaries of the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park. This is where the Leakeys discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton of Australopithecus boisei, one of the distinct links of the human evolutionary chain.

Mount Kilimanjaro
At an altitude of 5895 m above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. Only three degrees south of the equator, it is snow-capped all year around. Its most outstanding features are the three major volcanic centres, Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo, all now dormant. There are 5 routes to the summit. The most popular being the Manragu route. Any healthy person can climb the mountain. 40 minutes drive from Moshi town. Avoid the rainy season April, May and November.

In the South:
The sheer vastness of southern Tanzania makes for some spectacular game viewing and superb African vistas. An additional benefit of a visit to the southern circuit is the remoteness of the location, which means that most visitors rarely see another car during their long game drives. Whereas wildlife and big game are the focus of the northern circuit, a trip to the parks of southern Tanzania allows visitors to learn in-depth knowledge about complex ecosystems and diverse living creatures that are usually skimmed over in more crowded areas.

Selous Game Reserve
Located in southeast Tanzania in a remote and little-visited part of the country, the Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest protected wildlife reserve. Due to its remote location, and because it is most easily accessible only by small aircraft, the Selous Game Reserve has remained one of the untouched gems of Tanzania’s national parks. The Rufigi River Delta is a striking feature of the game reserve. It connects the Great Ruaha River withthe Rufigi River and not far from the park boundaries empties out into the Indian Ocean along the Tanzanian

Coast. Along its shores, opulent hippos sleep languidly in the mud and sun themselves, mouths wide open, as the river passes by. 7 hours from Dar Es Salaam or 45 minutes by air. Best time: June to February. Closed March to May.

Ruaha National Park
With herds of more than 10,000 elephants, vast concentrations of buffalo, gazelle, and over 400 bird species, Ruaha’s limitless wilderness, together with the surrounding game reserves of Rungwa and Kisigo -- stretches over 40,000 square kilometres. Elephants are found in some of the highest concentration in the country,travelling in matriarch-lead herds through ancient grazing lands and seasonal supplies of water. The Great Ruaha River is the main feature of the park, and meanders through its borders. On its banks, the game viewing is spectacular, whether done by land or by water. Hippos yawn under the midday sun and crocodiles lie lazily along the banks. Fish eagles dive and swoop along the riverbanks, and at night the sound of frogs croaking happily in the reeds extends across the hills and plains. Boating safaris are starting to gain in popularity, and provide a popular alternative to viewing the area by car. Best time: Throughout the year.

Mikumi National Park
Located North of Selous Game Reserve, less than 300 km from Dar es Salaam. Because of its accessibility, it’s one of the popular parks in Tanzania and is an important center for education where students go to study ecology and conservation. A wide range of wildlife inhabits its 3230 sq km area. The Mikumi floodplain with its open grassland dominates the park together with the mountain ranges that borders the park in two sides. Elephant may be encountered and other animals frequently observed are Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo, Wildbeest, Eland and Liechtenstein hartebeest, Croccodiles, Monitor lizard and Python are other residents. At the southern end of the flood plain in the Kikoboga area, families of yellow balloon live. Hippos wallow in the waters of hippo pools and are frequently joined by flocks of open billed storks, hunting for mulleuses over 300 species of birds have been observed in the park some of which are Eurasian migrants, who stay between October and April. Apart from the saddle bill stock, Hammershop and Malachite, Kingfisher you will also find Monitor Lizard and deadly python inabality the pools. Best time: Whole year but between March and May you must use 4wheel drive.

Saadani National Park
Saadani Game Reserve was gazetted in 1964, covering an area of some 350 sq km from the Wamiriver in the south to the Mligaji river in the north, with the Arusha-Dar es Salaam railway line asthe western boundary. Saadani is the perfect union of beach and bush. Located just 70km north of Bagamoyo and immediately accessible by road from Dar es Salaam, Saadani is easily visited on a day trip or short weekend safari. The Wami River, which passes through the park and empties into the Indian Ocean, hosts a large population of hippos, crocodiles, flamingoes, and many large bird species. Giraffe and wildebeest can be spotted and elephants have been seen playing on the beach.