|There is not enough room here to put a fully comprehensive list of information about each and every National Park in Tanzania; these descriptions serve to give a cross section of what is on offer. Fact sheets are available on request.
The name Serengeti comes from the Maasai work "Siring" referring to an "endless plains". As you stand on the southern grass plains you experience the vastness of this park and witness one of the greatest concentrations of plains animals left on earth.
The Western Serengeti is known as Grumeti Western Corridor stretches almost to the shores of Lake Victoria, the Western Corridor is an important part of the migratory routes. Usually, the migration arrives between June and July. Supporting lush riverine forest, the Grumeti River is in sharp contrast to the surrounding plains. The river has a thriving population of giant Nile crocodiles. The Western Corridor offers year-round habitat for many of the Serengeti's species. This area is best visited from June through October, as access in the rainy season is difficult.
Lobo Northern Serengeti Woodland has the wildebeest migration move through the northern woodlands in most years from June-December; to feed on the longer grasses that abound in this area.
The southern Serengeti grass plains are some of the most productive and nutritious natural grasslands in the world. When the short rains start in November, the wildebeest move from the northern woodlands. In February/March one of wildlife's most amazing spectacles occurs. For three to four weeks, most of the female wildebeest give birth, flooding the plains with thousands of newborn calves each day. Their departure in May/June marks another great spectacle.
Seronera in the central Serengeti has year-round water, this area of the Serengeti is perhaps the most reliable area in the park to view wildlife. It is possible to see many of the Serengeti's resident wildlife including giraffe, buffalo, topi, hartebeest, waterbuck, impala, reedbuck, bushbuck, dikdik, hippopotamus, crocodile, warthog and diverse bird life. Large prides of lion reside here, as well as clans of spotted hyena; the more elusive leopard is also common. The river tracks offer the best chance to see a leopard, which will usually rest in the branches of acacia or sausage trees.
Ngorongoro Crater is a true marvel and unique in Africa ; it is located between the lake Manyara National Park and the Serengeti. It was formed from an ancient volcano that erupted and then collapsed into the crater we see today.
The crater floor is spread across one hundred square mile and is home to many thousands of animals. Ngorongoro Crater enjoys a year round water supply and so nearly all animals remain here as permanent residents. It has the densest population of game in the whole of Africa; and it is possible to see the big five in one day. It is often referred to as a mini Serengeti as it shares many of the habitats of this huge neighbor.
Often Tarangire National Park is left out of an itinerary, and if it is visited, it is only for a short visit before heading of to the bigger attractions of Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. This park is only a ninety-minute drive from Arusha Town, which is the usual starting point for any safari in Northern Tanzania; and therefore this park is used as a handy jumping off point.
However, Tarangire deserves a closer look and a longer stay. There is an amazing bird life in this park and anyone keen on bird watching will be well rewarded. In the dry season, many animals come to the Tarangire River as this river never dries and continually has water on offer to the thirsty.
Situated inside Lake Manyara National Park, the lake is home to millions of flamingos, pelicans and storks, as well as hippos that can be observed at close range. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands, colorful specks against the gray minerals of the lake shore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay this park a visit. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons in Tanzania.
This lovely park is set between the peaks of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro . Its area is only 53 square miles and therefore tiny when compared to the vast Serengeti or the huge Selous. The Park is as outstandingly beautiful as it is small and can be visited easily for a few hours from the nearby town of Arusha .
The highlands are forested with the peak of Mount Meru rising above the forests to dominate the park. The forests are populated by a thriving and varied bird life as well as the attractive bush buck and climbing in the ancient cedar trees is the dramatically marked black and white colubus monkey; bellow these forests are a string of lakes that boast many water birds.
The Selous, at 55,000km², is the second biggest conservation area in Africa and is nearly four times the size of the Serengeti. The great Rufiji River splits the ecosystem into two distinct parts. There are only seven lodges in the reserve. Perhaps the most sublime way of exploring the reserve is by boat, meandering through channels and swamps, and exploring hidden lagoons where elephant often come to bathe. Angling in the river for tiger fish and the giant catfish, which can reach up to 50kg, can be an exciting way to pass an evening. In the Beho Beho section of the reserve, are the hot springs at Maji Moto.Ruaha National Park
The park is where eastern and southern African has met together and many species of fauna and flora overlap. In the dry season, the river is an excellent place for observing large numbers of game including lions, leopards, hunting dogs, giraffe, waterbuck, eland and warthogs. The best time to visit is in the dry season, which is from July to November.
This park is remote, unspoiled, untamed and rarely visited. With few lodges and tourists in the park, each group on safari has the impression of having the whole of Africa to themselves. The Ruaha National Park gives a truly genuine out of Africa experience.
The park is on Lake Tanganyika, near the Burundi border. Gombe was created to protect chimpanzees and is set in the stunning Mahale mountains. It is renowned for fantastic sunsets over Lake Tanganyika and Eastern Zaire. The habitat combines rain forest, grasslands, alpine bamboo and woodland.
With over twenty years of research, the chimpanzees have become habituated to humans. However, this does not make it easy to find them. Trekking through the forest, which can be quite dense, with steep and often slippery sloping terrain, can be strenuous, dirty work. It is well worth it though to get to see the chimpanzee in their natural habitat. You must expect to walk for three or four hours per day in search of the these primates.
The draw to this wonderful park is the great diversity of flora and fauna and the remote almost inaccessible rainforests. There are no roads in the park and you have to be prepared to do lots of hard hiking; indeed this is a hiker’s paradise. Udzungwa has the richest forest bird habitat in Tanzania. Many regard the Udzungwa forests to be among highest-ranking destinations for bird watching in Africa.
The Udzungwa hosts animals that are found in most Tanzanian parks including elephants, buffaloes, lion and leopard and the African wild dog - which is only found in Southern Tanzania. However, most of these are not present in large numbers and visitors will have a hard time spotting game animals in this Park. A park ranger and/or guide must accompany all hikers. There are ten species of primates found in this park, these include the sanje mangabey, the red colobus monkeys and the nocturnal Matundu Galago, discovered in 1996.