Location and park information
Arusha is a city of northern Tanzania surrounded by some of Africa’s most famous landscapes and national parks. Beautifully situated below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the eastern branch of the Great Rift Valley. It has a pleasant climate and is close to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, Olduvai Gorge, Tarangire National Park, and Mount Kilimanjaro. In Addition, it has its own Arusha National Park on Mount Meru.
Lake Manyara National Park
A wilderness of diverse habitats rich in game. Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s smaller wilderness enclaves. It is this diversity of terrain, as well as plant and animal species that make Lake Manyara a truly remarkable and special place. Richly populated with game within a wealth of biodiverse habitats. A truly unique experience is sure to be had in this relatively small area.
Lake Manyara National Park is a thin, green band of forest, flanked on one side by sheer cliffs and on the other by white-hot shores of an ancient soda lake. Feeding on undergrowth or dozing in dry riverbeds are the country’s densest populations of buffalo and elephant. Hippo’s wallow along the lake’s borders and a dazzling variety of birds fly overhead.
Lake Manyara provides the perfect introduction to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been recorded, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. Highlights include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large waterbirds such as pelicans, cormorants, and storks.
Through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge nonchalantly along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands, and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains. Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years.
Serengeti National Park
Tanzania’s first and most famous park, the Serengeti, is renowned for its abundance of leopard and lion. With wide-open plains and huge herds of wildebeest, spectacularly seen during the annual migration, the Serengeti is considered an African Eden and the eighth wonder of the natural world. The park covers 14,763 sq km of endless rolling plains, which reach up to the Kenyan border and extends almost to Lake Victoria.
The park is teaming with stunning wildlife – it is thought that over 3 million large mammals roam the plains. In May or early June, you can witness the annual migration of millions of zebra and wildebeest in search of water and forage as the seasons’ change.
Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th worldwide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebras and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa: great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle.
The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park. Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers. Solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River, while a high density of cheetahs prowls the southeastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.
Lake Eyasi is a seasonal shallow endorheic soda lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley at the base of the Serengeti Plateau. Just south of the Serengeti National Park and immediately southwest of the Ngorongoro Crater in the Crater Highlands of Tanzania is where Lake Eyasi is located. This lake is elongated, orientated southwest to northeast, and lies in the Eyasi-Wembere branch of the Great Rift Valley. Tourist activities at Lake Eyasi are mostly cultural which include the visit to the Datoga, the Ironsmith, and the Hadzabe people. All these tribes live in the area around the shore of Lake Eyasi.
Zanzibar’s coastline offers some of the best beaches in the world, but sand and surf vary depending on what side of the island you’re on. On the east coast, waves break over coral reefs and sand bars offshore, and low tide reveals small pools of starfish, small minnows, and anemones. Up north, ocean swimming is much less susceptible to the tides, and smooth beaches and white sand make for dazzling days in the sun.
The port city of Stone Town dominates the west coast, and although the beaches of Mangapwani, where slave caves are visible at low tide and nearby Bububu are less than half an hour’s drive away, a night or two spent on the east or north cost is well worth the extra hour it takes to drive there.
That said, the Chole Island Marine Park just off Stone Town – and nearby Prison, Grave, and Snake Islands – make a refreshing day-trip and a good break from exploring the winding passageways of the old city. On the south coast of Zanzibar lies the Menai Bay Conservation Area, a sea turtle protection area for the endangered species that come to breed on the island.
Roads to the southeast coast take visitors through the Jozani Forest, home to Zanzibar’s rare Red Colobus monkeys and a number of other primate and small antelope species.