Tanzania is strikingly beautiful and incredibly varied – open plains, massive mountains, long white beaches, dark forests, impressive rivers and multi-cultured peoples – there is something here for everyone. A country of contrasts, from the highest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, to the endless plains of the Serengeti and the lush greenery of Ngorongoro, a microcosm of Africa. The wildlife of Tanzania, both in terms of sheer quantity and species, is probably the most abundant on the continent. The beaches are beautiful, with warm waters lapping on the golden sands, and offering a range of hotels and lodges spanning from the intimate boutique style to larger resorts. There is something for everyone.
Each region in Tanzania offers a different experience. To the north, the famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area boast the Wildebeest Migration. The famous ice-capped equatorial mountain, Kilimanjaro, is the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Selous, Ruaha and Mikumi, tucked away in the South, have fascinating eco-systems: forests, large rivers, and a mix of terrain with open plains and beautiful views.
Katavi in the south west is one of the wildest parks in Africa, and home to the largest herds of buffalo on the planet. The verdant forests surrounding Gombe and Mahale, located on Lake Tanganyika (the second deepest lake in the world), offer visitors the opportunity to trek chimpanzees in the wild.
Not to be ignored are the ancient ruins along the coast, and on the islands, which tell tales of a rich trading history with Arabia and India, as well as excellent scuba diving and deep sea fishing. Add to this the unique tribal cultures of the Masaai, Datoga, Iracq and Chagga to name but a few of the peaceful, friendly people you will meet, and it’s no wonder Tanzania is becoming known as the “Safari Capital of Africa”.
The Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is arguably the best known wildlife sanctuary in the world. Serengeti means “endless plains” in the Masai language and, within its boundaries, are more than three million large mammals.
About 35 species of plains animals may be seen here, including the so-called “big seven” – buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, cheetah and African Wild Dog. The black rhino population of the Serengeti has developed well in recent years thanks to constant surveillance. Other animals frequently seen in the Serengeti include baboon, caracal, civet, bat-eared fox, genet, giraffe, hippo, honey badger, hyrax, mongoose, ostrich, serval, both Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelle, vervet monkey and some 20 types of antelope including hartebeest, impala, kudu, reedbuck, roan, topi, waterbuck and the much smaller dik dik, duiker, klipspringer and oribi.
Learn more about the Serengeti in our dedicated section on the Great Migration here.
The Ngorongoro Crater
Thanks to anti-poaching patrols, the crater is now one of the few places in East Africa where visitors can be certain of seeing black rhino. Leopard may occasionally be seen in the trees of the forest surrounding the crater, while cheetah are also present. Countless flamingo form a pink blanket over the soda lakes, while more than 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted. The crater, having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 8,300²km.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park gets its name from the river that threads its way through the length of the reserve. It is famous for its dense wildlife population which is most spectacular between June and September, the dry period. During this time, thousands of animals – elephant, buffalo, giraffe, eland, wildebeest, kudu, hartebeest and the rarely seen oryx – migrate from the dry Masai steppe to the Tarangire River looking for water. Lion, leopard and other predators follow the herds. Tarangire has the largest population of elephant of any park in the northern circuit and is also home to 550 varieties of bird.
Lake Manyara National Park
Nestled at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, the park is noted for its incredible beauty. As visitors enter the gate, they pass into the lush forest, home to troops of baboons and both Blue and Vervet monkeys. Further along, the forest opens up into woodlands, grassland, swamps and beyond the soda lake itself, covering 200 square kilometres and sanctuary to over 400 species of bird including flamingo, pelican, stork, sacred ibis, cormorant and Egyptian geese. The park is particularly noted for herds of buffalo and elephant, as well as giraffe, hippo, reedbuck, warthog, wildebeest, zebra and a great variety of smaller animals.