SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The Serengeti is a haven for wildlife and plants. The park is inhabited by over 500 species of birds including the secretary bird and ostrich. There are over 2 million wildebeests, 300,000 gazelles, 200,000 zebras, and 100,000 buffaloes. The conservation efforts of the concerned governments have protected native trees from destruction.
The Serengeti is home to the largest wildlife migration in the world. The Great Migration is among the Seven Wonders of Africa and involves the movement of about 2.5 million wildebeest zebras, antelopes, and other grazers. Whenever the herbivorous go, lions other predators follow suit.
The central part of the Serengeti is littered with kopjes. These geologic wonders are made of exposed granite and gneiss shaped by temperature, wind, and rainfall over thousands of years. They are a popular resting place for lions for their sun-warmed rocks, vegetation cover, and raised altitude. The Simba Kopje was an inspiration for the Pride Rock in the film Lion King.
The Serengeti is home to the Ol Doinyo Lengai; the only active volcanic mountain in the region. The volcano ejects minerals and ash that fertilize the plains during the rainy season and give rise to new shoots that support the large numbers of herbivores.
One of the most visited and extraordinarily impressive attractions in Tanzania is Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is listed as an International Biosphere Reserve and inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting a remarkable blend of wildlife, archaeology, geography and people. Standing proudly in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Tanzania is the Ngorongoro Crater.
This highly visited African attraction is the world’s largest inactive, unbroken and unfilled volcanic caldera.
The Ngorongoro Crater was formed when a large volcano erupted and collapsed on itself. This explosion created a caldera approximately two and a half million years ago.
Approximately 40,000 people live in the conservation area. They share the land with an incredible amount of wildlife. There are around 30,000 animals ranging from leopard, cheetah, elephant and hyena to warthog, buffalo and impala. It’s also one of the best places to see the endangered black rhino and black-maned male lions.
The area is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world. The fossils discovered there are said to be the earliest known evidence of the human species. The Ngorongoro Crater along with two others in the region (Olmoti and Empakai) was enlisted as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It’s also one of the Sevens Natural Wonders of Africa.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
The Tarangire National Park is known as a wonderful birding destination and also features large numbers of game, particularly during the dry season, when the Tarangire River is the only source of water in the area. The landscape is of particular interest too, due to the high number of scenic baobab trees.
An often-overlooked gem, Tarangire’s characteristic skyline, framed by the stubby branches of fat baobab trees, is the backdrop for superb game viewing, particularly in the winter months of the peak season. Its marshes, which dry out into verdant grassy fields during the dry season, draw great herds of elephant, buffalo, antelope and other plains game.
Lion and other predators are frequently spotted. The park boasts over 500 species of birds, including some species endemic to Tanzania. Away from the busier north, the southern end of the park is home to camps that specialize in walking safaris, allowing guests to immerse their senses in the experience of exploring the African bush on foot.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Lake Manyara National Park offers a wilderness experience in diverse habitats, from its Rift Valley soda lake to dense woodlands and steep mountainsides.
Apart from a spectacular setting, the park is famous for its unusual tree-climbing lions and the vast elephant herds it was established to protect.
The shores of the lake, encrusted with pink flamingo, attract more than 400 species of birds, many of them waterfowl or migrants. Large herds of buffalo, cheetah, Masai giraffe and impala roam the lake shores and the forested valley slopes.
A Lake Manyara safari is a fascinating experience, as the park also features a ground-water forest, acacia tortilis woodland and hot springs called Maji Moto. Troops of several hundred olive baboon appear alongside Sykes monkey and short-eared galago. Cape clawless otter, Egyptian mongoose, hippo and klipspringer are other park residents.