Parks & Attractions

NORTHERN PARKS

ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK

Only 32 km from Arusha and less than 140 sq km, this small park offers an amazingly varied topography, from the rocky craters and ash cone of Mount Meru and the mountain forest of its slopes to the flamingo lakes of Momela. The forests are home to the park’s renowned black and white Colobus monkeys, and the lower areas to a variety of mammals, especially elephants, buffalo, and giraffe. Walking safaris are possible for the more adventurous.

LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

This saline lake lies 130 km from Arusha on the floor of the rift valley. From its shores the steep sides of the rift rise over 300 m to form a spectacular cliff. The park is 323 sq km and offers a wide variety of vegetation: lush groundwater forest, acacia woodlands, open grasslands, swamps, and the lake.
Lake Manyara is renowned for its high concentration of birds, such as flamingoes and pelicans, as well as several species of primates, hippos, and elephants, plus the elusive tree-climbing lions.

NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA

The Ngorongoro Conservation area covers 2286 sq km and encompasses the volcanic area around the Ngorongoro crater - including the still active volcano of Oldonyio Lengai, and the famous Olduvai Gorge. Its centerpiece, the Ngorongoro Crater, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world; it is breathtaking. The floor of the crater is only 100 sq miles, but is home to around 30,000 animals with a high concentration of predators. The steep walls rise 610 m and although this presents no problems for black rhino, buffalo, male elephant and gazelles; giraffe and female elephant are absent.

Olduvai Gorge, the “Cradle of Mankind”, is a treasure trove of archaeological sites: filled with fossils, settlement remains, and stone artifacts. One can see the evolution of prehistoric man in the landscape’s geological strata. It is the world famous site of the Leakey’s discovery of a hominoid skull dating back 1.8 million years. There is a small but very informative museum located at the visitor center.

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

The endless plains of the Serengeti lie 330 km of Arusha. Its 15,000 sq kms support the annual migration of over 3 million wildebeest, zebra, and other plains game as they follow the rains in their continual search for grass and water. They are closely followed in turn by Africa’s largest concentration of lion and a host of other predators. Witnessing the power of the migration is an unforgettable experience for even the most seasoned African traveler.

TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

Tarangire is only 120 km from Arusha on a good road. The dry season of July to October is the best time to visit the park as animals from the surrounding Maasai Steppe move towards the Tarangire River in search of water. The giant baobab studded plains are famous for their high concentration of elephant and rich variety of bird life.

KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK

The history of Kilimanjaro National Park dates back from the early 1900’s. The area was established as a game reserve in the early 1990’s and as a forest reserve in 1921. In 1957 the Tanganyika National Parks Authority formally proposed the establishment of a National Park surrounding and including Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Kilimanjaro National Park is 330km south of the Equator on the northern boundary of Tanzania.

The nearest town is Moshi. Mt. Kilimanjaro, an awesome and magnificent mountain, is the highest mountain in Africa. It is also one of the largest single free standing mountains in the world, composed of an extinct volcano; Shira (3962m) and two dormant volcanoes, Mawenzi(5149m) and Kibo (5895m). There are six official climbing routes that provide a range of opportunities for experiencing this mountain. Guides are required and bookings must be made in advance.

SOUTHERN PARK

MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK

Covers 3,230 sq km of open flood plains and wooded hills, some 1,800 ft above sea level. Large herds of elephant feed by the Mkata River, and lion, buffalo, hippo, giraffe and many other species can be seen, including an occasional sable antelope and greater kudu. June to November is the best time for a visit, this being the dry season; though the Park is open all year round.

SELOUS GAME RESERVE

The largest game reserve in the world, to which Mikumi National Pak is adjacent, the Selous in south-eastern Tanzania has some of the finest virgin bush left in Africa, where the last of the really big-tusked elephants and large-mane lions roam. It supports around one million head of game, is bigger than Switzerland and is a World Heritage site.

The Selous is relatively easy to get to - by 4WD it is eight hours drive from Dar es Salaam - but hard to get around, even though half a dozen airstrips have been constructed by the Game Department. From March to May floods sweep the valley, forcing the game on to the ‘islands’ of higher ground, where elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, crocodile, puku, buck, eland, sable and others concentrate.

RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park situated in the southern circuit of Tanzania. Ruaha is one of the few Tanzania’s famous wilderness area where one can have a rare experience of game viewing spiced up by the fascinating landscape. The park is rich of plants and animals such as Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) which cannot be found in any other national park. The park boasts of her almost untouched and unexplored ecosystem, making visitors’ safari experience very unique.

The Great Ruaha River as other rivers like Mwagusi, Jongomero and Mzombe save as the life line of the park. During dry season, these rivers become mostly the main source of water for wildlife. There are few natural springs saving the same purpose.

The road from Iringa to Mbeya passes near the Ruaha National Park covering over 20,000 sq km of mostly undulating plateau at 3,000ft above sea level. The best months for game viewing are May to November.