African Lion Safari – Tanzania Highlights

Tanzania is one of the “hotspots” for African Safari wildlife viewing and is home to the popular Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park and the fabulous Ngorongoro Crater.

Serengeti National Park spans 14 736 square kilometres/5689 square miles of protected area that borders Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Park. The Serengeti’s endlessly rolling grass filled plains, sprinkled with acacia trees and numerous wildlife, show off its wild and untarnished beauty. The annual wildebeest and zebra migration is an awesome spectacle. It is the largest mass movement of land animals on the planet, with more than a million animals making the seasonal journey to fresh grazing towards the north, then after the rains journey back to the south. Every year this drama is played out with crocodiles lying in wait at river crossings, lion and other predators hunting the young or weak, and opportunistic scavengers lurking around kills waiting for their chance to steal a meal. The migration spans a number of parks in Tanzania as well as the Masai Mara in Kenya.

Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact caldera (a type of collapsed volcano) in the world, approximately 20 kilometres/12 miles across. Before the Nogorongoro volcano exploded, it was one of the world’s tallest mountains. When the volcano exploded it left behind a flat plain ringed with steep walls.  The crater floor is 600m/2000 feet below the crater rim. Within the crater rim, large herds of wildebeest and zebra graze while lion bask sleepily in the sun. A wide variety of animals including the Big 5 are found here along with Thomsons’s gazelles, rhinos, water buffaloes and more. Tall Masaai herd their cattle and goats over pastures outside the crater’s rim, living alongside the wildlife as they have done for centuries.  The Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes forests, scrub bush and huge expanses of highland plains approximately 8300 square kilometres/3204 square miles. A descent down into the crater takes you through lush rain forest and thick vegetation, and onto to grassy plains on the crater floor. The wildlife viewing here is superb as the abundant year round food and water supply eliminate the need for a mass migration.

Selous Game Reserve – Located in a remote and little-visited part of the country, this is Africa’s largest protected wildlife reserve. This untouched gem is only accessible by small aircraft, and its plains, rivers and hills are home to packs of wild dogs, black rhino and elephant populations.

 

Lake Manyara National Park offers varied ecosystems, amazing birdlife and spectacular views. This tiny park (325 square kilometres/125 square miles) combines bush plains, baobab lined cliffs, hot springs and forests. Lake Manyara is an alkaline soda lake, and its brackish water is home to an incredible variety of birdlife. Pink flamingos in their thousands, herons, yellow-billed storks and more. This park was also made famous for its tree climbing lions. During the rainy season they make their home in the acacias and mahogany trees. 

Ruaha National Park offers a pristine and untouched environment. With herds of elephant numbering in the thousands, vast numbers of buffalo, gazelle and over 400 bird species, together with the Kisigo and Rungwa Reserves, they form a 40 000 square km/ 15 444 square miles wildlife conservancy. The Great Ruaha River offers spectacular game viewing on its banks. With its remote location, this national park offers an adventurous and unique experience.

Tarangire National Park – The Tarangire River supplies this park with a year round water supply. When the dry season arrives at the Serengeti (late June to early November), many animals move into Tarangire and can be viewed on the river banks. Tarangire is scenically very beautiful, is great for bird watchers and has fewer visitors than the more well knows parks.

Tanzanian Coastline – Hundreds of tiny romantic bays, peninsulas and islands have for thousands of years attracted traders, fishermen and explorers from the Far East, Persia and the Arabian Peninsula. These influences have resulted in an exotic mix of cultures, style, architecture, and cuisine.

Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest peak and most famous mountain in Africa. The trek to the top takes hikers through alpine grasslands, forests, barren rock face and striking white glaciers. The top of Mt Kilimanjaro offers stunning views of the surrounding areas such as Kenya and the Masaai Steppe.

Mahale Mountains National Park borders the shore of Lake Tanganyika and the western border of the Congo. The park is home to a large number of primates with regular sightings. A chimpanzee safari including hikes into the jungle to observe these primates in their natural habitat is a very rewarding experience. The park is only accessible by small aircraft.

Arusha National Park offers spectacular views of Mt Meru, the crater the region is named after. This small park includes the Ngurdoto Crater, a volcano that has been extinct for a quarter of a million years, Mt Meru and the Momela Lakes. There are day hikes along the lower slopes of Mt Meru with paths to crystal clear rivers and cascading waterfalls, and for the more adventurous it’s a 3 day trek to reach the crater’s summit.

Pemba is dotted with desert islands, coconut palms and some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean, with diverse species of marine life and coral. Her unspoilt shores and pristine waters, along with clove plantations and spice fields make this a unique destination.

Warm climate with maximum temperatures of 32°C/90°F. Early mornings and evenings can be cold with minimum temperatures of 12°C/90°F. Winter is from May to September, and summer from October to April. Rainfall is seasonal with the so-called ‘short rains’ in November and December and the ‘long rains’ from March to May. The Great Migration can be seen in the Serengeti National Park from November through to June.

A Tanzania Safari has much variety to offer and is the experience of a lifetime.

By: Marcelle Trethewey

About the Author:

Visit African Lion safaris for a stunning wildlife photo gallery, wild news and safaris. Marcelle Trethewey was born and raised in South Africa. She lives on a game farm and has a deep love of the african bushveld and its wildlife. Marcelle has successfully raised and release orphaned white faced owls, gemsbok and impala.

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