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Home>parks>Northern Circuit

Tanzania Safaris

- overview -
Camping Safaris
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Culture & Walking Safari

Trekking Routes

Mountain Climbing Tanzania
Kilimanjaro Marangu Route
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TANZANIA'S NORTHERN CIRCUIT

 

Includes

 

Arusha National Park

Kilimanjaro National Park

Lake Manyara National Park

Serengeti National Park

Tarangire National Park

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Saadani National Park

Mkomazi National Park

 

 

Arusha National Park
Area: 137 km˛ 

 

 

 

 

This little gem of a national park near Arusha, northern Tanzania's safari capital is a perfect way to begin or end an African safari. It contains species that the visitor will not see elsewhere in northern Tanzania, its environment is unique and it is on your doorstep.

Flora / Fauna

Dense forest, swamp, grassland, lakes, alpine highland, rocks.

Habitat

Giraffe, buffalo, elephant, zebra, dik-dik, hippopotamus, waterbuck, warthog, leopard, eland, spotted hyena, klipspringer, baboon, blue monkey, black-and-white colobus, greater flamingo, lesser flamingo, sacred ibis, maccoa duck, Egyptian goose, turaco, narina trogon, broadbill, red-hot poker, Spanish moss, giant lobelia, 400 bird species.

Climate

The lighter, short rains should fall in November and December. This is followed by a lull before the long rains from March until mid-May.

During the cooler months from June-September, heavy morning cloud helps keep the grass green.

The hottest months are January and February when the temperature can rise to 27 degrees C. In the cold season, from late June until August, the temperature drops to 15 degrees C. Warm clothing is needed during this period.

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Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park
Area: 753 km˛

 

 

Snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania just south of the Equator is the highest point of Africa and one of the highest free-standing mountains in the world, rising to 5,895 metres above sea level.

Brief Profile:

Mount Kilimanjaro comprises three extinct dormant volcanoes.

These are:

  • Kibo - the highest at 5,895 metres (19,340 feet)
  • Mawenzi - 5,140 metres (16,922 feet)
  • Shira - 3,962 metres (13,075 feet)

Flora / Fauna

Montane forest, moorland, alpine desert.

Habitat

Abbott's duiker, grey duiker, red duiker, bushbuck, eland, elephant, leopard, buffalo, small antelope, blue monkey, black-and-white colobus, galago crassicaudatus, Kilimanjaro tree hyrax, abbot's starling, raven, papilio sjoestedti, giant lobelia, moss, lichen

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Lake Manyara National Park
Area 325 km˛ 

 

 

 

Looking down from the western Rift wall along the road to Ngorongoro and Serengeti, it is easy to see why Lake Manyara National Park was once described as "The Emerald of Africa".

The lake shimmers below in the heat haze, home to flamingoes, pelicans and innumerable water birds. Between the lake and the Rift, the park, with one main road and several loops, stands out in luscious greens that contrast with the arid, brown and windswept countryside.

Lake Manyara National Park is renowned for its tree-climbing lions. Why they do so is unknown, the most likely explanation is that they climb into the branches to getaway from the unwelcome attention of flies and large mammals that may threaten them.

The park is reputed to have the highest of elephants of any park in the world.

Flora / Fauna

Lake (2/3), forest, grassland.

Habitat

Elephant, buffalo, tree-climbing lion, hippopotamus, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, leopard, baboon, lesser flamingo, greater flamingo, white pelican, yellow-billed stork, white-breasted cormorant, palm-nut vulture, Ayres' hawk-eagle, Nile monitor, cobra, greatest biomass density in the world.

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Serengeti National Park.
Area: 14,763 km˛

 

 

 

 

Like an unbroken thread, the annual migration of the wildebeest and zebra bind's the Serengeti's eco-system much as it has done for the past two million years. Upon this migration, triggered by the rains, almost all things depend. This annual pilgrimage involves some 1.5 million animals that must search for the grass and water they need to survive. During this spectacle the migration will cover some 3200 Km (2,000 miles) and devour 4,000 tonnes of grass a day. A quarter of a million animals will be born.

Lions and other predators follow the migration picking off the weaker members and the calves. At the Grumeti River, where the migration crosses the western corridor of the Serengeti, crocodiles lurk awaiting their annual feast. Other predators that lurk in the wings prefer smaller game to wildebeest and zebra. Leopards often found in trees along the Seronera River, may haul as many as four or five grant's or thompson gazelles into their leafy larders. Their they are safe from the unwelcome attention of lions and hyenas.

Flora / Fauna

Grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, woodland.

Habitat

Wildebeest, zebra, lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, cheetah, gazelle, giraffe, spotted hyena, jackal, aardwolf, serval, agama lizard, rock hyrax, secretary bird, ostrich, black eagle, more than 500 bird species. Most visited park in Tanzania, famous for massive migration of ungulates.

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Tarangire National Park
Area: 2,850 km˛

 

 

 

For many people who have spent years in the African bush, Tarangire is their favourite national park on Tanzania's richly endowed northern circuit.

Looking down from the high ridge, it is not difficult to see why; the Tarangire river winds away into the distance, through open, undulating country. The Tarangire River, from which the park takes its name, supplies the park with its livelihood and becomes the dry season magnet for the vast herds of wildlife that must come down to drink.

Tarangire is central to Tanzania's northern circuit making it the perfect place to begin or end an African safari.

Flora / Fauna

Grassland, savanna.

Habitat

Oryx, gerenuk, elephant, baobab, lesser kudu, wild dog, lion, kori bustard, ground hornbill, ostrich, yellow-collared lovebird, rufus-tailed weaver, ashy starling, dwarf mongoose, red-and-yellow barbet,
550 bird varieties. Largest concentration of wildlife after Serengeti.

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Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Area: 8,288 km˛

 

 

 

 

From the viewing point hundreds of meters above Ngorongoro Crater, the panorama spreads out in a vast arena. The hills rise smoothly from the Crater floor through evergreen forest, and rain clouds cascade over the eastern rim.

Zebra and wildebeest mix on the Crater floor along with some 50 lions, 400 spotted hyenas, grant and thompson gazelles, various types of jackal, greater and lesser flamingo and many other species. In all, Ngorongoro has some 25,000 animals, making this the most intensive game-viewing area on earth.

Flora / Fauna

Grassland, lakes, swamp, woodland, heath, dense montane forest.

Habitat

Wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, black rhinoceros, lion, hartebeest, spotted hyena, hippopotamus, buffalo, elephant, mountain reed buck, leopard, serval, ostrich, kori bustard, papilio sjoestedti. Many archeological and paleontological sites: Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli, Lake Ndutu

OLDUVAI GORGE & LAETOLI FOOTPRINTS

Olduvai Gorge is on the Serengeti's eastern plains and physically in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The site is strangely eerie as befits its ancient status. Here in 1959, Mary Leakey uncovered the skull of Zinjathropus or the "Nutcracker Man".

The first European to have seen the Olduvai Gorge was a German butterfly collector, Professor Wilhelm Kattwinkle. In his notes in 1911, he described Olduvai as containing "the book of life" and he took back to Berlin a considerable number of fossils including the teeth of an extinct three-toed horse known as Hipparion.

Twenty-five miles to the southwest of Olduvai are the 3.6 million-year-old Laetoli footprints, the earliest our forebears are known to have left.

Today the Maasai people live and herd their livestock in the area they call Oldupai after the endemic sisal that grows wild in the area. "Ol" means place and "dupai" means sisal.

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Saadani National Park
Size: 1,100 sq km (430 sq miles)

 

 

Palm trees sway in a cooling oceanic breeze. White sand and blue water sparkle alluringly beneath the tropical sun. Traditional dhows sail slowly past, propelled by billowing white sails, while Swahili fishermen cast their nets below a brilliant red sunrise.

Saadani is where the beach meets the bush. The only wildlife sanctuary in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beachfront, it possesses all the attributes that make Tanzania’s tropical coastline and islands so popular with European sun-worshippers. Yet it is also the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or a lion coming to drink at the nearby waterhole!

Protected as a game reserve since the 1960s, in 2002 it was expanded to cover twice its former area. The reserve suffered greatly from poaching prior to the late 1990s, but recent years have seen a marked turnaround, due to a concerted clampdown on poachers, based on integrating adjacent villages into the conservation drive.

Today, a surprisingly wide range of grazers and primates is seen on game drives and walks, among them giraffe, buffalo, warthog, common waterbuck, reedbuck, hartebeest, wildebeest, red duiker, greater kudu, eland, sable antelope, yellow baboon and vervet monkey.

Herds of up to 30 elephants are encountered with increasing frequency, and several lion prides are resident, together with leopard, spotted hyena and black-backed jackal. Boat trips on the mangrove-lined Wami River come with a high chance of sighting hippos, crocodiles and a selection of marine and riverine birds, including the mangrove kingfisher and lesser flamingo, while the beaches form one of the last major green turtle breeding sites on mainland Tanzania.

About the Saadani National Park
Size: 1,100 sq km (430 sq miles)
Location: On the north coast, roughly 100km (60 miles) northwest of Dar es Salaam as the crow flies, and a similar distance southwest of the port of Tanga.

How to get there
Charter flight from Zanzibar or Dar es Salaamwith possibility of scheduled flights in the future.
Thrice-weekly road shuttle from Dar es Salaam, taking four hours in either direction.
No road access from Dar es Salaam along the coast – follow the surfaced Moshi road for 160km (100 miles), then 60km (36 miles) on dirt.
Road access from Tanga and Pangani except after heavy rain. 4x4 required.

What to do
Game drives and guided walks.
Boat trips. Swimming.
Visit Saadani fishing village, which lies within the reserve, where a collection of ruins pays testament to its 19th century heyday as a major trading port.

When to go
Generally accessible all-year round, but the access roads are sometimes impassable during April and May.
The best game-viewing is in January and February and from June to August.

Accommodation
One luxury tented camp.
Campsites planned.  One tented camp close to the park boundary. Several campsites inside the park.

More info on accomodation


Links

www.saadanipark.org

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Mkomazi National Park
Size: 3,234 sq km (2005 sq miles) 

 

 

 

It is where black rhino and wild dog have returned to roam. 

East of the Pare Mountains, Mkomazi falls along the edge of a semi-arid savanna arc that stretches into bordering Kenya's Tsavo East National Park. Every day, thousands of people pass near its gates at Same Town on one of Tanzania's busiest highways. Few, however, know of its rugged acacia-covered beauty beside the Usambara and Pare mountains, with Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance.

Endangered black rhino and wild dog have found refuge in the national park along with the adjacent Umba reserve in order to better protect those and other species. Within the park, the Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary has attained international renown for rehabilitating rhino, and it offers limitless viewing and educational opportunities for travellers. 

Herds of the tall slender-necked Gerenuks, with their bizarre alien-like heads, survive in Mkomazi's arid lands where other antelope cannot; the Gerenuk even stand on their hind legs to stretch for the tiny leaves of thorny bushes and trees.
The park takes its name from the Pare tribe's word for “water source”, referring to the Umba River on Mkomazi's south eastern border. The river and other water holes keep the park teeming with small and large mammals, including silver backed jackal, lion, cheetah, leopard, lesser kudu, giraffe, buffalo, elephant and zebra. Bird watchers also delight in trying to spot any number of Mkomazi's 450 avian species, from wood hoopoe to tawny eagle, parrot to kingfisher. 

As a national park, Mkomazi have the potential to be a glorious sanctuary where travellers will explore more of Tanzania's hidden natural treasures.

Note: Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary is a fledgling operation protecting a small sentitive breeding population of rhinos. Visits are restricted and must be organised through commercial operators with camps in the national park.  Sightings are normally possible during the dry season only, when the rhinos regularly visit specific watersources.

About the Mkomazi National Park
Size: 3,234 sq km (2005 sq miles)
Location: North Eastern Tanzania, bordering Kenya's Tsavo East National Park to its north. Occupying Kilimanjaro and Tanga Regions, Mkomazi is 112 km (69 miles) from Moshi Town and 550 km (341 miles) from Dar-es-Salaam.

How to get there
By road, Mkomazi is easily accessible via Same Town on the Arusha--Dar-es-Salaam highway.
Charter flights are available to the Zange, Same, Kisima and Ibaya airstrips. .

What to do
Game drives, walking safaris, mountain hikes, camping and bird watching.
Learn more about conservation and rhinoceros at Mkomazi Rhino Sanctuary.

When to go
Late June-early September is best for large mammal and bird watching. Scenic beauty is at its peak March-June.

Accommodation
One semi-permanent tented camp, Babu's Camp, near the park headquarters. Other designated basic camp sites throughout the park.

Small hotels and guest houses in Same Town.

 

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