PARKS & DESTINATIONS
The parks and destinations listed here are some of the best Tanzania has to offer. Ujuzi African Travel is committed to customizing a travel package that meets your travel interests and fulfills your vacation dreams. If a particular place you'd like to visit isn't listed here, let us know and we'll incorporate it into your itinerary.
Arusha National Park
The closest national park to Arusha, northern Tanzania's safari capital, Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel, offering the opportunity to explore a diversity of habitats within a few hours.
The entrance gate leads into shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colorful turaco and trogons. It is the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black and white colobus monkeys are easily seen. In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular Ngurdoto Crater, whose steep, rocky cliffs enclose a wide, marshy floor dotted with herds of buffalo and warthog.
Further north, rolling grassy hills enclose the tranquil beauty of the Momela Lakes, each one a different hue of green or blue. Their shallows sometimes tinged pink with thousands of flamingos, the lakes support a rich selection of resident and migrant waterfowl, and shaggy waterbucks display their large lyre-shaped horns on the watery fringes. Giraffes glide across the grassy hills, between grazing zebra herds, while pairs of wide-eyed dik-dik dart into scrubby bush like overgrown hares on spindly legs.
Although elephants are uncommon in Arusha National Park and lions absent altogether, leopards and spotted hyenas may be seen slinking around in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also at dusk and dawn that the veil of cloud on the eastern horizon is most likely to clear, revealing the majestic snow-capped peaks of Kilimanjaro, only 30 miles away. But it is Kilimanjaro's unassuming cousin, Mt. Meru, the fifth highest in Africa at 14,990 feet, that dominates the park's horizon. Its peaks and eastern slopes are protected within the national park. Meru offers unparalleled views of its famous neighbor, while also forming a rewarding hiking destination in its own right.
Activities Include: Canoeing, Game Drives, Walking/Hiking
The town of Bagamoyo (also spelled Bagamojo), Tanzania, was founded at the end of the 18th century, and today provides a fascinating trip through East African history. It was the original capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast. Today the town has about 30,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the District of Bagamoyo, recently being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bagamoyo was the most important trading port of the east central coast of Africa in the late 19th century. Indian and Arab traders have influenced Bagamoyo's history, and by the German colonial government and by Christian missionaries.
About 3 miles south of Bagamoyo, the Kaole Ruins with remnants of two mosques and a couple of tombs can be dated back to the 13th century, showing the importance of Islam in those early Bagamoyo times.
Bagamoyo was not only a trade center for ivory and copra; it was also a starting point for renowned European explorers. From Bagamoyo they moved out to find the source of the River Nile and explored the African inner lakes. Some of these were Richard Francis Burton, John Hanning Speke, Henry Morton Stanley, and James Augustus Grant. Although often believed so, David Livingstone had never been to Bagamoyo in his lifetime. Only after his death he was laid out in the Old Church's tower (nowadays named Livingston Tower) to wait for the high tide to come in and ship his body to Zanzibar.
Today, Bagamoyo is a center for dhow sailboat building. The Department of Antiquities in Tanzania is working to maintain the ruins of the colonial era in and around Bagamoyo and to revitalize the town. The Bagamoyo College of Arts ("Chuo cha Sanaa") is an internationally famous arts college in Tanzania, teaching traditional Tanzanian painting, sculpture, drama, dancing and drumming.
Activities Include: Cultural Activities
Gombe Stream National Park
Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania's national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees -- habituated to human visitors -- were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. Visitors still regularly see the matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, who was only three years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe.
Chimpanzees share about 98% of their genes with humans, and no scientific expertise is required to distinguish between the individual repertoires of pants, hoots, and screams that define the celebrities, the powerbrokers, and the supporting characters. Perhaps you will see a flicker of understanding when you look into a chimp's eyes, assessing you in return - a look of apparent recognition across the narrowest of species barriers.
The most visible of Gombe's other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed monkeys and red colobus monkeys - the latter regularly hunted by chimps -- stick to the forest canopy.
The park's 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter's twinspots that hop tamely around the visitors' center.
After dusk, a dazzling night sky is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city.
Activities Include: Primate Tracking, Walking/Hiking
Katavi National Park
Tanzania's third largest national park, it lies in the remote southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa.
The bulk of Katavi supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localized eland, sable, and roan antelopes. But the main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad waterbirds, and they also support Tanzania's densest concentrations of hippo and crocodile.
It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly puts its wildlife populations on display. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala, and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains.
Katavi's hippos provide the most singular wildlife spectacle. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, so does male rivalry heat up -- bloody territorial fights are an everyday occurrence, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.
Note: Safaris to Katavi and Mahale Mountains must be carefully scheduled as the shared charter flights to reach these parks only fly on Mondays and Thursdays.
Activities Include: Game Drives
Kilimanjaro National Park
The park takes in the area above 8,850 feet on the mountain. It includes the moorland and highland zones, Shira Plateau, Kibo and Mawenzi peaks. In addition, the park has six corridors or rights of way through the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve. The Forest Reserve, which is also a Game Reserve, was established in 1921; the Park was established in 1973 and officially opened in 1977.
Kilimanjaro stands 205 miles south of the equator, on the northern boundary of Tanzania. Its location on an open plain close to the Indian Ocean, and its great size and height strongly influence the climate, vegetation, animal life and the climbing conditions. It is made up of three extinct volcanoes: Kibo 19,340 feet, Mawenzi 16,896 feet and Shira 13,000 feet.
Even though you can climb throughout the year, January, February and September are the best months.
Equatorial to arctic conditions are present on Kilimanjaro. The range begins with the warm, dry plains with average temperatures of 85°F, ascends through a wide belt of wet tropical forest, through zones with generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall, to the summit where there is permanent ice and below freezing temperatures.
The rainiest period is March to June. The fact that most months of the year have so few rainy days makes it possible to climb in relatively good conditions year round. During the rainy period of March to May, clouds tend to pile up over the summit, dropping snow on top and rain at the base. Cloud cover can limit visibility even when no rain falls. The temperature at this time of year is relatively warm. The dry season, beginning in late June and through July, can be cold at night, but usually is clear of clouds. August and September are also cool and can have completely clear days, but usually a dripping cloud belt girdles the mountain above the forest and moorland. The summit can be totally clear and the successful climber looks down on a vast sea of clouds with distant mountain peaks poking through like islands.
The rainy period of October to December often has thunderstorms. Typically, the clouds disappear in the evening, leaving nights and mornings clear with excellent visibility. January and February are usually dry, warm and clear with brief rain showers, which make for good climbing conditions.
Kilimanjaro towers above the Great Rift Valley, possibly the birthplace of humankind, and the site of the Leakey research in the Olduvai Gorge. This gives Kilimanjaro an awesome mystique. One can imagine the mountain towering above our ancestors, making an early, continual impression on the species. When you walk the mountain, you'll probably encounter some odd, purposeful arrangements of stone. Your guides will claim to not know what they mean. Perhaps they don't.
On Kilimanjaro, some mysteries may never be answered.
Activities Include: Walking/Hiking
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park Biosphere Reserve (80,300 acres) sanctuary extends from the northern and western parts of Lake Manyara to the top of the western rift valley wall, and is 75 miles southwest of Arusha. Verreauz's eagles, vultures, storks, swifts, and swallows roost atop the spectacular cliffs overlooking the lake.
Springs in the park's northern end support a dense groundwater forest of giant figs and mahogany, which shelters blue monkeys, baboon, bush buck, common waterbuck, elephant, and silvery-cheeked horn bill. South of the forest, buffalos, wildebeest, impalas, giraffes, zebras, lions, and gray backed fiscal-shrikes frequent the acacia woodland and open grassland. Streams attract pythons, Nile monitor lizards, and mountain wagtails. Lake Manyara at 3,150 feet varies in salinity levels with wetter and drier climate cycles. At times it is replete with flamingo, pelican, stork and cormorant. The hippo pool, where visitors may get out of their vehicles, is located on a freshwater stream that enters the lake at its northern tip.
Activities Include: Cultural Activities, Cultural Walk, Game Drives, Hot Air Balloon Safari
This is a site famous for its hominin footprints, preserved in volcanic ash. The site of the Laetoli footprints is located 6 miles south of Olduvai Gorge. A line of hominid fossil footprints, discovered in 1976 by Mary Leakey, is preserved in powdery volcanic ash from an eruption of the distant Sadiman Volcano.
Soft rain cemented the ash-layer to tuff without destroying the prints. In time, other ash deposits covered them. Three individuals produced the hominid prints, one walking in the footprints of the other, making the original tracks difficult to discover. As the tracks lead in the same direction, a group might have produced them - but there is nothing else to support the common reconstruction of a nuclear family visiting the waterhole together.
Activities Include: Cultural Activities
The lake is a mildly alkaline lake stretching for about 30 miles to the southwest. To the northeast the horizon is dominated by the Crater Highlands and to the north, beyond an escarpment, the plains of the Serengeti. Over 100 years ago when the stronger Maasai tribes moved into the Ngorongoro and Serengeti, the Datoga and other indigenous Bushmen living there were pushed south.
Many made Lake Eyasi and its surrounding bush and forest their home. Among the acacia and doom palm forests at the northeast end of the lake, is the Kisima Ngeda farm. It owes its survival to fresh water spring in the area that allows grass and vegetables to grow. The springs also sustain a small reservoir used as a tilapia fish farm. The farm is owned by a German family whose main source of income is fresh milk produced from the cows they keep and sell in local villages. The meadows along the shores of the lake and the forests are home to wildlife including leopard, hippo, a variety of monkeys, various birds, greater and lesser flamingos, storks, and pelicans.
Small groups of Hadzabe Bushmen live around Lake Eyasi. Their language resembles the click languages of other Bushmen further south in the Kalahari. Their small population was seriously threatened, in particular during the 1960s, when Julius Nyerere tried to introduce his ujamaa policy. The tribe resisted the forcible settlement policies of Julius Nyerere and now most of their children have never seen a doctor or school. The bush provides for all their needs and is a classroom for their offspring.
They are often willing for visitors to come and see their simple bush homes where the tree canopy alone or a cave provides them with shelter. They live entirely off the bush and from bow hunting, generally small antelopes and baboons; although in rainy seasons gazelles and antelopes come down from the Ngorongoro or Serengeti to their lush bush lands offering them richer pickings.
The string on their lethal bows is made from giraffe tendons and the arrows are coated with a strong poison made from another tree. The commiphora tree provides excellent firewood which they kindle by rubbing wood; a green commiphora provides a mosquito-repelling sap; juice squeezed out of the sansaveria provides a cure for snake bites, while aloe is used to heal cuts. Roots provide a wide range of medicines and the mighty baobab fruit is a source of drink. A few hours spent with the bushmen makes the apparently inhospitable bush country come to life and to watch them hunt is a unique experience as they stealthily spot and then creep up on their prey, skillfully killing it.
Activities Include: Tribal Visits
Mafia Island is a popular destination for visitors to relax after their safari and the island's relaxed and secluded beaches offer privacy and comfort for discerning travelers. Mafia's incredible, pristine dive sites have remained a well-kept secret of diving aficionados and beach recluses for years, but now the island is fast becoming a preferred destination.
For centuries, the island was a trading stop for Shirazi merchants traveling up towards Persia. Under the rule of the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar, vast coconut and cashew plantations flourished. Today, all that remain of the island's prestigious past are the coral ruins on Chole Mjini, the small island just off Hore from Mafia where the Arab landowners lived a sumptuous life removed from their plantations and slaves.
These days, Mafia's remote location means it receives only the most selective visitors, but things are changing. Recently Mafia Island Marine Park was designated as the largest protected area in the Indian Ocean to include surrounding villages in its conservation efforts; this means that the millions of fish and coral species that thrive in the warm waters of Mafia's beaches will survive for decades to come.
Activities Include: Beach Safari, Fishing
Mahale Mountains National Park
Set deep in the heart of the African interior, inaccessible by road and only 60 miles south of where Stanley uttered that immortal greeting "Doctor Livingstone, I presume," is a scene reminiscent of an Indian Ocean island beach idyll.
Silky white coves hem in the azure waters of Lake Tanganyika, overshadowed by a chain of wild, jungle-draped peaks towering more than a mile above the shore: the remote and mysterious Mahale Mountains.
Mahale Mountains are home to some of Africa's last remaining wild chimpanzees: a population of roughly 800 (only 60 individuals forming what is known as "M group"), habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s.
Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience. The guide's eyes pick out last night's nests - shadowy clumps high in a gallery of trees crowding the sky. Scraps of half-eaten fruit and fresh dung become valuable clues, leading deeper into the forest. Butterflies flit in the dappled sunlight. Then suddenly you are in their midst: preening each other's glossy coats in concentrated huddles, squabbling noisily, or bounding into the trees to swing effortlessly between the vines.
The area is also known as Nkungwe, after the park's largest mountain, held sacred by the local Tongwe people, and at 8,069 ft, it is the highest of the six prominent points that make up the Mahale Range.
And while chimpanzees are the star attraction, the slopes support a diverse forest fauna, including readily observed troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, and a kaleidoscopic array of colorful forest birds.
The best months to go are between July and November when the animals are concentrated around shrinking water holes.
Activities Include: Hiking/Walking, Kayaking, Primate Walk, Snorkeling, Swimming
Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Crater
Ngorongoro Conservation Area/World Heritage Site (2,045,200 acres) protects wildlife habitat as well as the rights of local Maasai who graze their livestock on about 75 percent of the area. Ngorongoro Crater, 12 miles wide, is the world's largest intact caldera.
Before the cataclysmic collapse of its cone 2 million years ago, this volcanic mountain may have been taller than Kilimanjaro. Its rim, which averages 7,600 feet elevation, is cloaked in moist montane forest and grassland, hosting elephants, golden-winged and eastern double-collared sunbirds, stonechats and Jackson's widowbird. From lodges and campsites on the rim, visitors are driven down to the crater floor for a 6-hour survey. At 5,600 feet elevation, the crater floor is primarily grassland, with patches of spring-fed marshes, freshwater ponds, a salt lake, and small forests. Harboring 20,000 large animals, it is a virtual Noah's Ark (without giraffes). Great effort has gone into saving the black rhino here, and several dozen are resident and counted from the air every night. Buffalos, wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and hartebeests graze the grassland, while elephants roam the wooded areas, and hippos gather in marshes and ponds. Lions, spotted hyenas, and golden and black-backed jackals are easy to find, but servals and cheetahs are sighted rarely. Resident ostriches, crowned cranes, and kori bustards are joined seasonally by migrant flocks of white and Abdim's storks. The conservation area also includes two other voluminous craters, six peaks that top 10,000 feet and the southeastern corner of the vast Serengeti Plains. Ol'duvai Gorge, just north of the road to the Serengeti, has yielded hominid fossils key to the study of human evolution. Here sits a museum and shaded picnic sites.
Activities Include: Cultural Activities, Game Drives, Walking/Hiking, Tribal Visits
From the crater rim there is a fantastic view of the crater's green paradise. The caldera is about 4 miles wide and a lake covers nearly half of its floor. The water in the lake is alkaline and the depth is unusually deep for soda lakes in East Africa.
The steep walls of the caldera, clothed in forest, rise above the floor. The views along the trail down are spectacular at every point. All along you can enjoy the changing views of Empakaii itself. In addition, from the northern and eastern side you can see to the dramatic cone of the still active volcano. If the day is clear, you see beyond to the Great Rift Valley and Lake Natron. Sometimes you can even see the distant snows caps of Kilimanjaro far on the eastern side of the valley. On your way down to the lake you might see buffaloes or bushbucks, blue monkeys, many birds and Turaco. At the shore of the lake are often waterbucks and elands. It is a joy to walk around the lakeshore, experiencing the serenity and quiet beauty of this wild spot. The nights at the Craters can be quite cold, especially in June, July and August.
Activities Include: Walking/Hiking
Olmoti Crater floor is shallow and covered with tussocks of grass. Besides the Maasai and their livestock you can sometimes see eland, buffalo, and reedbuck. The Munge River originates from the Crater walls, crosses the caldera and plummets down over cliffs, falling some hundreds of feet into the steep-sided ravine below.
Returning from Olmoti you can see the depression that is formed where the slopes of Olmoti, Empakaai, Lolmalasin and Losirua volcanoes join with the outer rim of Ngorongoro. This shallow, grassy bassin is called the Embulbul depression. Like the similar Malanja depression to the west, it probably collects and provides a sink for a good deal of water that appears lower down at the foot of the mountains.
Activities Include: Walking/Hiking
In 1931, Louis Leakey, a Kenyan pre-historian, led his first, and poorly funded, expedition to Olduvai. The party found an Acheulean hand-axe (an early two-faced tool with a rounded cutting edge).
The find encouraged further excavation. But the finds in the next 28 years were largely limited to basic tools and the fossil remains of animals, many extinct while others were previously unknown. It was in this period that the remains of Dinetherium were found.
Then on July 17, 1959, Mary Leakey spotted an exposed skull at the site where the first Acheulean hand-axe had been found in 1931. The skull was named Zinjanthropus and was popularly known as the Nutcracker Man because of his large back teeth. Among scientists it was known as Zinj, the name the earliest Arab traders gave to the East African coastline.
Zinjanthropus was a member of the pre-hominid line and the find did more to create controversy in the scientific community than it did to resolve the question as to the origins of humans.
Today, there is a small museum located at the site and lecture tours are given to visitors. Digs for further finding are an ongoing process in conjunction with scientists from around the world and the University of Dar es Salaam.
Activities Include: Cultural Activities
Ruaha National Park
The game viewing starts the moment the plane touches down. A giraffe races beside the airstrip, all legs and neck, yet oddly elegant in its awkwardness. A line of zebras parade across the runway in the giraffe's wake.
In the distance, beneath a bulbous baobab tree, a few representatives of Ruaha's 10,000 elephants, the largest population of any East African national park, form a protective huddle around their young.
Second only to Katavi in its aura of untrammeled wilderness, but far more accessible, Ruaha protects a vast tract of the rugged, semi-arid bush country that characterizes central Tanzania. Its lifeblood is the Great Ruaha River, which courses along the eastern boundary in a flooded torrent during the height of the rains, but dwindling thereafter to a scattering of precious pools surrounded by sand and rock.
A fine network of game-viewing roads follows the Great Ruaha and its seasonal tributaries, where, during the dry season, impala, waterbuck, and other antelopes risk their lives for a sip of life-sustaining water. And the risk is considerable: not only from the prides of 20-plus lions that lord over the savannah, but also from the cheetahs that stalk the open grassland and the leopards that lurk in tangled riverine thickets. Both striped and spotted hyena, and several packs of the highly endangered African wild dog boost this impressive array of large predators.
Ruaha's high diversity of antelope is a function of its location, which is transitional to the acacia savannah of East Africa and woodland belt of Southern Africa. Grant's gazelle and lesser kudu occur here alongside the sable and roan antelope, and one of East Africa's largest populations of greater kudu, the park emblem, is distinguished by the male's magnificent corkscrew horns.
A similar duality is noted in the checklist of 450 birds. The crested barbet, an attractive yellow-and-black bird whose persistent trilling is a characteristic sound of the southern bush, occurs in Ruaha alongside central Tanzanian endemics such as the yellow-collared lovebird and ashy starling.
Activities Include: Game Drives
Rubondo Island National Park
Rubondo Island is tucked in the southwest corner of Lake Victoria, the world's second-largest lake, an inland sea sprawling between Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. With nine smaller islands under its wing, Rubondo protects precious fish breeding grounds.
Tasty tilapia form the staple diet of the yellow-spotted otters that frolic in the island's rocky coves, while rapacious Nile perch, some weighing more than 100kg, tempt recreational game fishermen seeking world record catches.
Rubondo is more than a water wonderland. Deserted sandy beaches nestle against a cloak of virgin forest, where dappled bushbuck move fleet yet silent through a maze of tamarinds, wild palms, and sycamore figs strung with a cage of trailing taproots.
The shaggy-coated aquatic sitatunga, elsewhere the most elusive of antelopes, is remarkably easily observed, not only in the papyrus swamps it normally inhabits, but also in the forest interior.
Birds are everywhere. Flocks of African grey parrots -- released onto the island after they were confiscated from illegal exporters -- screech in comic discord as they flap furiously between the trees. The azure brilliance of a malachite kingfisher perched low on the reeds competes with the glamorous, flowing tail of a paradise flycatcher as it flits through the lakeshore forest. Herons, storks, and spoonbills proliferate in the swampy lake fringes, supplemented by thousands of Eurasian migrants during the northern winter.
Wild jasmine, 40 different orchids, and a smorgasbord of sweet, indefinable smells emanate from the forest.
Ninety percent of the park is humid forest; the remainder ranges from open grassland to lakeside papyrus beds.
Activities Include: Birding, Walking
Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected wildlife area in Africa. A United Nations World Heritage Site, this pristine, uninhabited area is larger than Switzerland. Only in the Serengeti will visitors see a greater concentration of wildlife. Yet Selous boasts Tanzania's largest population of elephant as well as large numbers of buffalo, hippo, and wild dog. Other species commonly seen are lion, bushbuck, impala, giraffe, eland, baboon, zebra, and greater kudu.
The topography of the park varies from rolling savannah woodland, grassland plains, and rocky outcrops cut by the Rufigi River and its tributaries, which together cover the greatest catchment area in East Africa. The Rufigi provides the lifeblood of the Selous and sailing or rafting down the river is a superb method of seeing game, especially during the dry season between June and October. Crocodiles, hippo, and an array of grazing antelope can be seen.
Linked to the Rufigi is Lake Tagalala, where waterbuck, reedbuck, and bushbuck gather at the water's edge. In the long grassland, safari enthusiasts may get a chance to see rare sable antelope, greater kudu, or lion.
The waters of the Kilombero Game Controlled Area are home to the ferocious tiger fish and catfish, the latter equipped with a primitive set of lungs which allows it to migrate from one landlocked pool to another.
The park gets its name from the hunter-explorer Frederick Selous, whose books about his exploits were best sellers in Victorian England.
Activities Include: Boat Launches/Cruises, Game Drives, Hiking/Walking
Serengeti National Park
The world famous Serengeti National Park (the largest in Tanzania) occupies about 9150 sq miles. The name Serengeti means "endless plains" and is derived from the Maasai word "siringiti." The park lies in a high plateau between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Kenya/Tanzanian border, extending almost to Lake Victoria. It encompasses the main part of the Serengeti ecosystem.
The most famous features of the Serengeti are the spectacular concentration of animals found nowhere else in the world, as well as the annual wildebeest migration. This spectacle sees more than 1 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 300,000 Thomson's gazelles trek to new grazing grounds. The brief population explosion of wildebeest produces over 8,000 calves a day before the migration begins.
As in all ecosystems, the vegetation and types of animals are closely correlated. The principal features of the park are the short and long grass open plains in the southeast, the acacia savannah in the central area, the hilly, more densely wooded northern section, and the extensive woodland and black clay plains, dominated by the central ranges of mountains in the western corridor.
Activities Include: Game Drives, Hot Air Balloon Safari
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is the most southern of the accessible parks of Northern Tanzania. Named after River Tarangire, the park covers an area of 1600 sq miles. Much of the park is open grassy savannah, dotted with splendid Baobab trees, but there are also areas of swamp in the south.
The park is spectacular in the dry season when many of the migratory wildlife species return to the permanent waters of the river. With the onset of the rains they migrate again for better pastures. This annual phenomenon takes place from June to September. Tarangire possesses the second-highest concentration of wildlife during the dry season. It is one of the few protected areas in Tanzania that ensures a year-round water source for the park's most exceptional resource - the Tarangire River. The park is known for its river valley, wetlands, gently rolling hills, rocky out crops, acacia woodlands, and baobab trees. It is the only national park in Tanzania's northern section where one can view a large concentration of elephants all year round.
Activities Include: Game Drives, Hot Air Balloon Safari, Tribal Visits
Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of Tanzania's most outstanding, pristine, and unique mountains forested with the greatest altitudinal range of forest. It is one of thirty-four "World Biodiversity Hotspots" and one of 200 World Wildlife Federation's ecoregions of critical global importance.
The park is home to 6 different kinds of primates and known from the treasure of high biodiversity of plants and animals. The park has high density of endemism species with some plants and animals that are only found in these mountains nowhere else in the world can be found hence center for endemism in the eastern arc mountains.
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is part of the Eastern Arc Mountains, a series of mountains ranging from Taita Hills in Southern Kenya to the Makambako Gap in Southern central of Tanzania. The Eastern Arc Mountains are small and fragmented mountains, each block having a patch of remaining dance tropical rain forests. They were formed more than 200 million years ago and have species concentrations of unique flora and fauna.
Activities Include: Hiking/Walking
Zanzibar is an unusual mix of Africa, conservative Muslim and coastal glamour. The most interesting part of Zanzibar Town, on the western side of the island, is Stone Town. Its name may be unimaginative, but Stone Town is an enticing place to wander away a languid afternoon. Meander through the narrow alleyways and let your jaw drop at the town's unique architecture that fuses Arabic, Indian, European, and African influences.
For amazing wildlife snooping, Jozani Forest is home to rare red colobus monkeys, Sykes monkeys, bushbabies, Ader's duikers, hyraxes and more species of butterflies and birds than you can point your camera at. The forest is about 22 miles southeast of Zanzibar Town, and can easily be reached by bus or chartered taxi.
There are a number of offshore islands to hop between, many of which were historically used to detain recalcitrant slaves. Changuu is known for its giant tortoise and other islands have interesting ruins to explore. Just offshore from Zanzibar Town are several tiny islets, many ringed by fetching coral reefs.
Few venture to the Zanzibar Archipelago without whetting their appetite for seeing pristine coral reefs up close. Diving and snorkeling around Zanzibar, Chumbwe and the smaller islands are among the best in the world.
For those still feeling dust-clogged after their safari, languishing on one of the many beaches for a few days is a fine antidote. When your olfactory senses tire of all things fishy, take a spice tour to bamboozle the senses. The island still produces cloves, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, breadfruit, jackfruit, vanilla, and lemongrass.
Activities Include: Beach Safari, Cultural Activities, Fishing, Primate Tracking, Walking/Hiking
Traditionally part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, Pemba is fast becoming a unique destination in its own right. For centuries, Pemba's clove plantations and spice fields provided the Omani sultanate in Zanzibar with money for trade and military dominance over the surrounding areas.
To this day, the island is still a major spice producer in the archipelago. Visitors flock to Pemba's shores, dotted with desert islands and throngs of coconut palms, for some of the best diving in the Indian Ocean. The Pemba Channel drops off steeply just off the west coast and the diverse species of marine life and coral are truly exceptional. Because tourism is still in its early stages, a trip to Pemba's unspoiled shores and pristine waters is the underwater adventure of a lifetime.
Activities Include: Beach Safari, Cultural Activities, Fishing