Highlights of Tanzania
Perhaps the most famous national park in Africa, home to the great migration herds for most of the year. The Serengeti is synonymous with stamping hooves of wildebeest, vast golden savannah plains, and some of Tanzania’s most prolific wildlife.This is Africa’s most famous and fabulous game reserve. Subject of countless documentaries, the Serengeti does not disappoint in reality. Each year, up to two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle snake their way across the plains following the promise of rain, forming one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles. Even without the migration, the Serengeti’s wildlife is unparalleled. Lion are practically a certainty, often seen lounging on the rocky kopjes. Cheetah pace the plains or stand atop termite mounds, and leopard lounge in the dappled shade of the sausage trees
A natural volcanic caldera that provides a stunning location to see the Big 5 in a short timeframe. The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and one of the most evocative landmarks of the Great Rift Valley.It provides an extraordinary natural sanctuary for some of Africa’s densest populations of large mammals. This is the best place in Tanzania to see black rhino, against the dramatic backdrop of the 600 metre high crater wall. The grassy plains host thousands of zebra, buffalo, wildebeest and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. Elephant roam the Lerai Forest, and lion and leopard complete the big five. The wildlife here has to be seen to be believed, and makes the Ngorongoro Crater an unmissable part of the northern safari circuit.
Huge populations of elephants and wild dogs make this a magnificent area to explore The Selous stretches for over 45,000 square kilometres. It is Africa’s largest game reserve yet visited by few. Meandering through the plains and woodlands, the Rufiji River gives rise to a labyrinth of streams, channels and pretty lakes in a delicate water paradise. Skeletal leadwood trees stand in glassy lagoons where terrapins ripple the surface. There are pods of hippo, rainbow-coloured birds and flitting butterflies on yellow cassia flowers.It is a vast wilderness area and superb for photography. The reserve is home to abundant game, with Africa’s largest buffalo and lion populations, numerous leopard and thriving packs of wild dog. Wildebeest, zebra, impala, hartebeest, greater kudu and eland are all common. In the heat of the afternoon, herds of over fifty giraffe drink from the lakes whilst elephant herds cross the channels to the lush islands. Boat trips are a speciality in the Selous and floating quietly along on the water is magical. You will see yellow-billed storks nesting in borassus palms and white-crowned plovers cleaning the teeth of crocodiles. The riverine forest is perfect for gentle rambles in search of blue samango monkeys and black and white colobus. Driving in open 4×4’s you will see plenty of game but no other vehicles, as the Selous is a very peaceful park with only a handful of small camps.
Vast open plains where lions can be seen alongside huge buffalo herds. In the heart of southern Tanzania, the Ruaha National Park has a hot dry climate and dramatic scenery.The Ruaha River runs along the park’s southeast border, tumbling over boulders and flanked by riparian woodland. Lion can be seen stretched out in the sun on the sandbanks, elephant drink from the water.Flocks of yellow-collared lovebirds swoop from bush to bush. Game is prolific with many ungulates present, including impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, giraffe, zebra and buffalo. Both greater and lesser kudu are here, as are roan and sable antelope. There are large prides of lion, spotted and striped hyena, several packs of wild dog, and leopard. The birdlife is particularly colourful and it is not unusual to spot many species while sitting in camp, such as emerald spotted doves, brown parrots and crested barbets. Activities in Ruaha focus on game drives although walking is also possible.
Rainforest covered mountains on the shores of Lake Taganyika that forms the natural habitat of chimpanzee colonies. Shadowing the dusky blue waters of Lake Tanganyika, the Mahale Mountains are dramatic and imposing. Jagged peaks of over 2,000 metres soar into the clouds and are covered in canopy woodland and thick montane forest. Shafts of sunlight pour through the trees into tiny gullies where pink and yellow butterflies flit and you can see each and every pebble in the crystal clear streams. The Mahale Mountains are the best place in Africa in which to track and observe wild chimpanzees.There is a population of around 1,000; one troop of which, the Mimikire clan (around 70-100 individuals), have been habituated to humans and can be tracked and observed from close quarters. Climbing up the leafy tracks in the misty morning and hearing your first chimpanzee shriek is something you will never forget. Crouching low, you can watch them grooming, drinking and playing. After a morning of chimpanzee tracking you return to the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where sugar-white beaches slope into gin-clear waters. There are over 500 species of cichlid fish in the lake, and snorkelling and floating amongst them is the ultimate in relaxation
Idyllic sandy beaches, coral reefs and fascinating towns make this the perfect place to unwind at the end of your trip. The largest of all the islands in the archipelago, Zanzibar Island is 80 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide. It is covered in coconut plantations, spice farms and lush vegetation. Pretty roads run through avenues of mangoes and the forest at Jozani, where endemic Kirk’s red colobus can be seen, while the coastline has picture perfect beaches. Miles of white sand lead into shallow turquoise water lined with offshore reefs. Small fishing villages have nets hanging from crooked wooden racks and chickens and ducks waddling about. At high tide all the dhows sail in and lively bartering for the day’s catch ensues.Zanzibar has more than just beaches, however. Monsoon winds blowing from Persia, Arabia and India have led traders to these islands for over 2,000 years. In Zanzibar’s Stone Town, labyrinth alleys lead to sultans’ residences with thick stone walls and intricately carved doors. Inland, there are spice plantations where piles of curling cinnamon bark and nutmegs lie in the sun.Zanzibar is spectacular at sunset, as hundreds of dhows set sail for the night, their billowing white sails tinged pink by the sun. Relax, unwind and enjoy the view, as the warm breeze blows around you. Just a short flight from some of Tanzania’s wildest parks, Zanzibar is perhaps the ultimate finale to any safari.