SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK:

Tanzania’s oldest and most popular National Park, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200 000 zebra and 300 000 Thompson’s gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa: Great herds of elephant and giraffe and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongani, impala and Grant’s gazelle. Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plains’ grazers. Solitary leopards haunt fever trees and a high density of cheetah prowl the open plains. Jackal, Hyena, Aardwolf, and Serval, the Serengeti has it all.

LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK:

The word Manyara is derived from the Masai word, ‘Emanyara’, meaning ‘kraal’. An appropriate description for this unique park, situated between Lake Manyara and the Eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley, which stretches from Mozambique all the way to Turkey. Lake Manyara National Park stretches for 50 Km’s along the base of the rusty-gold 600m high Rift Valley escarpment, the game-viewing circuit through Manyara offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience.

TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK:

A comfortable distance from both Arusha and the Ngorongoro Crater, covering 2600 sq km’s of grassland, floodplains, and woodlands, Tarangire National Park provides the only permanent water source during the dry winter months. During these months huge concentrations of migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland congregate around the shrinking pools of water. Huge herds of elephants frequent the park during all seasons and an abundance of rare bird life makes this park an essential all-year-round destination.

NGORONGORO CRATER:

Often called the 8’th Wonder of the World, the Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact caldera, with sides of up to 600m tall and a bowl of 265 sq km’s. The Crater is home to some 20 000 to 30 000 wild animals at any one time, including the endangered Black Rhino. Grasslands, swamps, forests, and the magnificent Lake Makat are all located on the Crater floor and provide various habitats for wildlife to wallow, graze, hide or climb all year round.

Katavi

Katavi belongs to the animals! In this untouched wilderness there are no humans for hundreds of miles and apart from one lodge and its staff, you will encounter no other people. This park is the perfect place to witness an abundance of animals in the wildest possible setting.The park’s main features are watery grasslands around Lake Katavi in the north and palm-fringed Lake Chada and Katuma River with scattered woodland in the south. All of which attract considerable wildlife and birds.

There is a legend here of a great hunter named Katabi and his spirit is said to reside in a tamarind tree. To seek his blessing for a successful hunt, you should place an offering at the base of the tree.

ANIMALS AND BIRDS

Great clouds of dust rise from the feet of over 3,000 buffaloes moving across the short grass plains and woodlands of Katavi. These comprise the largest herds of buffaloes on earth. You can be sure that where there are buffalo there are predators, and lions prefer buffalo meat above all else. Leopards prefer smaller prey like impala while hyenas are content with zebras.

Of the more aquatic creatures, Lake Chada in the south of the park is said to contain the largest population of hippos and crocodiles in Tanzania with hippo pods containing up to fifty individuals.

Considerable numbers of waterfowl can also be seen here including many pelicans. About 400 different species of birds have been noted in this region.

SEASONS

The dry season is the best time to visit.
Dry Season: May to October and mid-December to February are the dry months.
Rainy Season: the long rains are from March to May and which time it is inadvisable to visit.

KATAVI SPECIALTIES

• Undisturbed African wilderness
• Large numbers of crocodiles and hippos in Lake Chada
• Largest herds of buffalo on earth
• Lots of predators

FACTS
The park covers an area of approximately 2,780 miles² (2,253 km²) in the west of Tanzania.
It is Tanzania’s third largest park.
It was gazetted in 1974.
It is a tough day’s drive from Mbeya 340miles (50km) away or a charter flight from Arusha or Dar es Salaam.

Mahale is a very special, remote, and beautiful national park which contains at least a thousand chimpanzees, some of whom are so habituated that you can sit among them and watch the daily life of a chimp unfold. Unfortunately, when they decide to feed on fruits high in the trees or move off through the branches at high speed, all man’s intelligence and inventions cannot help him follow.

This park is a destination for the traveler with a sense of adventure as there are no roads and the only way to arrive is by air or boat (on Lake Tanganyika) and you must then explore the national park on foot.

The Mahale Mountains run from north to west across the middle of the park with the highest peak towering 8,000 feet (approx. 2,462 meters) above sea level.

Mountainous tropical forests hang with vines and tall trees grow on the banks of rivers which tumble into numerous waterfalls. A thousand butterflies rise from the warm wet earth and make Mahale a truly magical place.

Together with this there is 39 miles (62km) of pristine lakeshore on a peninsular cutting into Lake Tanganyika – the world’s longest lake and second deepest full of unique chichlid fish.
Roan Antelope – Pic: David Anderson

ANIMALS AND BIRDS

Seeing chimpanzees in the wild is a great thrill and worth the effort of getting here. Other primates include colobus monkeys, blue monkeys and baboons. Larger mammals found here are buffaloes, elephants, roan and sable antelopes, leopards, lions and warthogs.

Birdlife is prolific both in the park and along the lakeshore.

Lake Tanganyika contains over 200 types of small shining chichlid fish, many of which are endemic and some of which are allowed to be collected by divers for export to tropical aquariums.

SEASONS

Dry Season: May to October is dry and the best time for forest walks, although the light rains of October and November are also fine. Mid-December to February are also dry.
Rainy Season: the long rains are from March to May.

MAHALE MOUNTAIN SPECIALTIES

• Spending time with wild chimpanzees
• Colobus and blue monkeys
• fishing and boating in a traditional Arab dhow on Lake Tanganyika
• Exotic castaway-style Greystoke lodge on the shores of Lake Tanganyika

FACTS
Mahale Mountains National Park is situated in the west of Tanzania on the shores of Lake Tanganyika – Tanzania’s western border with Zambia.
The park is about 1,000 miles² (1,613 km²).
It was gazetted in 1980.
A charter flight from Arusha, Dar es Salaam or Kigoma is the best way to reach the park.

Gombe

This is the smallest of Tanzania’s National Parks and was formed in 1968 to give protection to its resident chimpanzees, made famous by Dr Jane Goodall.

It is a narrow strip of land along the shores of Lake Tanzania, which rises into mountainous folds and valleys full of towering oil nut palms and tall indigenous trees dangling with intertwining vines. There are no roads, no phones and no electricity. This is real jungle and in it the creatures of Africa rule. It is a real life Tarzan movie set.

ANIMALS AND BIRDS

Chimps are the king of the treetops, but the canopy also harbours red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, and olive baboons. Many of the chimpanzees are habituated to humans as a result of ongoing research since the 1960s. Respect and understanding are key to rewarding chimp encounters. On the lakeshore pied wagtails and sandpipers dash in and out of the lapping waves and butterflies rise in confetti-like clouds. Palm-nut vultures glide over the lakeshore. Young baboons play in the water, sometimes even submerging themselves, which is rarely seen outside this park. Elephants, buffaloes, and leopards also inhabit this park.

SEASONS

Dry Season: May to October is dry and the best time for forest walks, although the light rains of October and November are also fine. Mid-December to February is dry and hot.
Rainy Season: the long rains are from March to May when insects come to life and the forest becomes very slippery.

GOMBE STREAM SPECIALTIES

• Close encounters with chimpanzees
• Foot safaris into the real African jungle
• Lake Tanganyika – an inland sea

FACTS
Gombe is Tanzania’s smallest National Park having gained its status in 1968.
It is situated at the country’s western border with Zambia, which cuts through the middle of Lake Tanganyika.
This is a malarial area.

Zanzibar

Zanzibar has a rich aquatic life, some rare primates, and a fascinating history. Zanzibar is a common post-safari destination that adds a relaxing, exotic element to a hectic holiday.

These islands lie at the top of Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coastline, which over the centuries have been influenced by numerous cultures that have blended together to create the Zanzibar of today. The confusing mix originates from an African Asian combination created by a touch of Persian, Arabian, Indian and Chinese influences with some Dutch, Portuguese, and English threw in for good measure. Slaves and spices made these islands famous.

Shirazi Persians and Omani Arabs settled and ruled the Zanzibar Sultanate, which explains the Arab influences and Muslim religion that endures today. Heavily carved and studded Zanzibar doors relieve the plain exteriors of many houses, many of which are peeling and disheveled. The Indian influence produced colored glass work and ornamental fretwork balconies and today Gujerati traders sell just about anything from cloves to curios. An English legacy is a number of solid imperial buildings occupying the more select parts of The Stone Town.

The islands conjure up everything one could want from a tropical escape. Spectacular beaches, simple fishing villages, relaxing resorts, silence and solitude if you wish or the hustle and bustle in the narrow streets of an ancient town.

ANIMALS AND BIRDS

Palm-fringed white beaches epitomise a perfect tropical scene. Add to this warm water and an unspoiled marine environment with coral gardens inhabited by brightly colored fish, and the picture is complete. The islands offer world-class scuba diving or snorkeling and deep-sea fishing in the Pemba and Mnemba channels.

A visit to a spice farm will bring your sense of smell to life with pungent cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, and black pepper, along with such exotic fruits as tamarind, guava, mango, rose apple and bananas. The rare red colobus monkey might also be seen at some farms and particularly at Jozani Forest in the south of Zanzibar and in Pemba’s natural forest.

Changuu Island used to house wayward slaves, but hundred-year-old tortoises occupy the prison now.

SEASONS
Lying within the tropics, Zanzibar experiences warm weather almost all year.
Dry Season: The hottest month of the dry season is February with a maximum average daily temperature of 84°F (29°C). The southern hemisphere winter season is only slightly cooler here with a very pleasant average temperature of 70°F (21°C) in August.
Rainy Season: There are two periods of rain, heaviest in March to May and lesser rains in October and November.

ZANZIBAR SPECIALTIES

• Diving and snorkeling on tropical reefs
• Historic Stone Town with its narrow streets
• Elaborate carved wooden doors
• Spices – 75% of the world’s cloves are grown here
• Seafood
• Traditional dhows

FACTS
Zanzibar is part of the Republic of Tanzania but has its own separate government and multi-party democracy.
The two islands comprising Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba) are about 22 miles (35km) off Tanzania’s coastline and lie 6 degrees south of the equator.
Access is by air or sea from Dar es Salaam.