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Tanzania

Tanzania is the largest of the East African countries, and is considered one of Africa’s show pieces of stability, displaying a unique climate of peace and tranquility. It is well situated geographically bordering Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is an economic hub of East Africa providing natural access and commercial links to eight countries.

Tanzania is often rated as one of the most enchanting wildlife destinations in the world. The game reserves are pure, providing a rewarding nature experience to the visitor. Tanzania also boasts of some of the finest beaches on its 850-kilometre coastline, and around the beautiful islands of Zanzibar and Mafia.

Tanzania is divided into four broad regions based on the physical features of the land. The forested mountains in the northeast (Mt Kilimanjaro – 5895m and Meru – 4575m, Ngorongoro Highlands, Usambara & Pare ranges which form part of the Eastern Arc Mountain Forests extending south to Uluguru and Udzungwa mountains).

The forested southern highlands around Iringa and Mbeya (Poroto mountains, Kipengere Range, Livingstone Mountains). The great central plateau of rich savanna grass and bush at an elevation of about 1200m. The tropical coastline, including the islands of Zanzibar (Unguja & Pemba) and Mafia.

The National language is Kiswahili, but English is widely spoken and is the language of the tourist trade and other international businesses.

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Serengeti has the highest concentration of large mammals and its famous known for its 2,500 Lions the largest concentration found anywhere. The park also has over 518 identified bird species where some of them are Eurasian migrants who are present in the European winter months from October to April. The Serengeti’s main attraction is the Great Migration, consisting of up to 2 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 thompson, impala and grant’s gazelles. This forms one of the seven wonders of the world. During the wet season, from November to May, the herds graze in the southeastern plains within the park. In late May or June one major group moves west into the park’s woodland savanna and then north into the grasslands just beyond the Kenya-Tanzania border -Masai Mara National Reserve. Another group migrates directly northward. The herds return to the park’s southeastern plains in November, at the end of the dry season.

Lake Manyara National park

Lake Manyara National Park is a scenic gem, stretching for 50km along the base of the rusty-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley escarpment. It is 330 sq km (127 sq miles), of which up to 200 sq km (77 sq miles) is lake when water levels are high. The lake is renowned among ornithologists for its birds of prey and the famous tree-climbing lions that inhabit the woodland that nestles between the lake and the Rift Valley. 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 lake shore. The park plays host to diverse species such as monkeys, antelopes, zebras, hippos and crocodiles, buffalo, giraffe and a high density of elephants. It is particularly known for its tree-climbing lions, who may be seen sleeping off the heat of the day on a branch instead of a shady spot on the ground like most other lions.

Ngorongoro National Park

Ngorongoro National Park hosts Ngorongoro Crater, the largest perfect caldera in the world. This outstanding wonder is only one of the attractions within a vast and diverse conservation area. The caldera measures between 10 and 12 miles (16 and 19 km) across and has an area of 102 square miles (264 square km). Its heavily forested rim rises 2,000 feet (610 metres) above the caldera’s floor to an elevation of 7,500 feet (2,286 metres). Approximately 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, live in the crater. Large animals in the crater include the black rhinoceros , the African buffalo or Cape buffalo , the blue wildebeest , Grant’s zebra ,the common eland , Grant’s , Thomson’s gazelles and Waterbucks. It is also an exceptional place to interact with people from the Maasai tribe

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park derives its name from the Tarangire River which rises in Tanzania’s central highland and snakes its way through the length of this sanctuary. The park covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles.) The landscape is composed of granitic ridges, river valley, and swamps. Migratory animals such as giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, and various species of antelope are common fauna in the park. The park has two distinct seasons-during the dry season, wildlife viewing is most common, while during the wet season the park comes alive for birding enthusiasts. The swamps in the park are home to more than 500 species including the Red & Yellow Barbet, Northern Pied Babbler, Tawny Eagle and many more. The babobab trees (Adansonia digitata) are iconic in the park and are the largest species of all the eight species of baobab trees found across the world.

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve is a vast, 50,000-sq-km wilderness area lying at the heart of southern Tanzania. It is Africa’s largest wildlife reserve, and home to large herds of elephants, brindled gnu, Nyasaland gnu, sable antelope, eland, greater kudu, waterbuck, hartebeest, zebras, giraffe, reedbuck, warthog, spotted hyena, lion, leopard, hunting dog, in addition to the largest populations of buffalo in Africa and some of Tanzania’s last remaining black rhinos. Hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes and channels from the nearby rivers such as the Great Rhuha and Rufiji rivers make Selous Game Reserve to have such a diverse landscape. The most popular in the reserve are the boat trips along the Rufiji River as well as walking safaris in the reserve. The Selous is host to over 350 species of birds and reptiles.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is a pristine national park in Tanzania covering an area of about 13,000 square kilometres. The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its South-Eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. During the dry season the river attracts great quantities of game including lions, leopard, hunting or wild dog, impala, waterbuck, warthog, giraffe, and elands. The park is one of the Tanzania birds’ paradise with more than 571species and some of them are known to be migrants from within and outside Africa. Eurasian migrant birds flock here twice a year and join the resident water birds- everything from kingfishers to egrets Ruaha offers high concentration of elephants than any National Park in East Africa.

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is one the beautiful national parks in Tanzania covering an area of 137 sq. km, and situated only 37 km from Arusha town. The park has four distinct features namely The Ngurdoto Crater, Momela Lakes, the highland montane forest, and the rugged Mount Meru (4575 m above sea level). The most common animals found in this park are the Vervet monkeys, the red forest duikers, hippos, elephants, Abyssinian black and white colobus monkeys, buffaloes, baboon, warthog, olive baboon. Arusha National Park is also home to the world’s largest population of giraffes, making it a great place to visit for fans of these long-necked, beautiful animals. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park including Eurasian migrants, which can be seen between October and April.

Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park is the home to the largest free standing volcanic mass in the world and the highest mountain in Africa, rising 4877m above surrounding plains to 5895m at its peak The mountain owes its existence to the formation of the Great Rift Valley and is actually three volcanic cones that, due to their proximity, became one – Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo- together they make the highest free standing mountain in the world. It is possible to climb this ‘wedding cake’ mountain all year round although the best times are the dry months of January, February and July through to September. A climb on Mt. Kilimanjaro gives a surprise by the ever-changing flora and fauna, known as the vegetation zoning. Animals in the different zones have adapted to different heights. Above the timberline, the Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, the grey duiker, and rodents are frequently encountered. The bushbuck and red duiker appear above the timberline in places. Cape buffaloes are found in the montane forest and occasionally in the moorland and grassland. Elephants can be found between the Namwai and Tarakia rivers and sometimes occur at higher elevations. In the montane forests, blue monkeys, western black and white colobuses, bush babies, and leopards can be found.

Mikumi National Park

Mikumi is Tanzania’s fourth-largest national park. The open horizons and abundant wildlife of the Mkata Floodplain, the popular centrepiece of Mikumi, draw frequent comparisons to the more famous Serengeti Plains. More than 400 bird species have been recorded, with such colourful common residents as the lilac-breasted roller, yellow-throated long claw and bateleur eagle joined by a host of European migrants during the rainy season. Hippos are the star attraction of the pair of pools situated 5km north of the main entrance gate, supported by an ever-changing cast of water birds.

Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe is one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania, with only 13.5 square miles (35 km2) of protected land along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Gombe’s high levels of diversity make it an increasingly popular tourist destination. Besides chimpanzees, primates inhabiting Gombe include beachcomber olive baboons, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys. Red-tailed monkeys and blue monkeys have also been known to hybridize in the area. The park is also home to over 200 bird species and bushpigs. There are also many species of snakes, and occasional hippopotami and leopards. Visitors to the park can trek into the forest to view the chimpanzees, as well as swim and snorkel in Lake Tanganyika with almost 100 kinds of colorful cichlid fish.

Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park is approximately 4,471 square kilometers (1,726 sq mi) in area, which makes it the third largest national park in Tanzania. The park encompasses the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada floodplains. Katavi is home to the largest herds of buffalo on the planet. Other animals include zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, and elephants. Carnivorous animals that roam this park are cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, leopards, and lions. Katavi hosts large flocks of open-billed and saddlebilled storks, spoonbills, crested cranes and pink-backed pelicans. Raptors are plentiful whilst the woodlands of the national park are home to species as diverse as African golden orioles, paradise fly-catchers and pennant-winged nightjars.

Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park is Tanzania’s 13th National Park. Tourists can view animals basking along the Indian Ocean shores. It is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the sea. Saadani’s wildlife population is increasing during recent years after it has been gazetted as a National Park and was a hunting block beforehand. Wildlife in Saadani includes four of the Big Five, namely lions, African bush elephants, Cape buffaloes and leopards. Masai giraffes, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, waterbucks, blue wildebeests, bohor reedbucks, common and red duikers, Dik-Diks, yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, blue monkeys, Colobus monkeys, mongooses, genets, porcupines, sable antelopes, warthogs, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, nile monitors are also found in the park.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of Tanzania’s most outstanding and exciting wilderness areas, with unique wildlife species inhabiting this range of forests. It has a total area of 770 square miles (1990 sq. km) ². It contains the greatest altitudinal range of forests in East Africa – the eastern escarpment is the only place in East Africa with unbroken forest cover from lowland forest communities at below 250m above sea level, through intermediate types, to mountain communities at over 2,800m. Udzungwa is a primate park and there are 12 species of primate. Udzungwa is home to approximately 400 species of bird, the richest forest bird habitat in Tanzania. Several endemics has just been discovered recently (including a new species of francolin and the Rufus-winged sun bird). Udzungwa National Park supports a diverse, large mammal community including elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, african wild dog, eland, waterbuck and sable. Six species of primate are found here and two are endemic, the Iringa (Uhehe) Red Colobus monkey, and the Sanje Crested Mangabey.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania. Mahale Mountains National Park is one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in the country. The chimpanzee population in Mahale Mountains National Park is the largest known and due to its size and remoteness, the chimpanzees flourish. It also the only place where chimpanzees and lions co-exist. Another unusual feature of the park is that it is one of the very few in Africa that must be experienced by foot. There are no roads or other infrastructure within the park boundaries, and the only way in and out of the park is via boat on the lake.