TOP PARKS TO VISIT IN TANZANIA
Top Parks to Visit in Tanzania : Tanzania has everything that may interest any visitor from any corner of this corner. Tanzania is home to over 120 tribes, something which makes her an interesting destination for cultural tourists. Tanzania hosts the world’s second tallest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s largest intact caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater, Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria, just to mention a few out of many wonders. The beaches of the resort islands of Zanzibar are excellent places for relaxing on the shores of the Indian Ocean. There are attractive historical sites and museums in Tanzania which makes it be a historical research center for historians like Dr. Leakey. Olduvai Gorge, Kondoa Irangi Paintings, Bujora Museum, and National Museum are good examples of such historical places. About 75% of Tanzanian land is protected as national parks, game reserves, and protected areas. There are about seventeen national parks and many game reserves in this beautiful country in East Africa. These parks offer unique sightings of different animals like the Big Five, birds, and chimpanzees. Here down is a list of national parks found in Tanzania; Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tarangire, Kitulo, Udzungwa Mountain, Mikumi, Saanane Island, Rubondo Island, Burigi-Chato, Katavi, Saadani, Gombe Stream, Mahale Mountains, Ruaha, Mkomazi, protected areas like Ngorongoro Conservation Area and game reserves like Maswa Game Reserve. Let’s have a closer look at which parks are a must-go for every safari-goer in Tanzania.
Serengeti National Park. This is the number choice for many visitors interested in stunning wildlife adventures in the northern Tanzania (Northern Circuit). This park is home to the greatest mammal migration on earth, the Great Migration. Yes, the annual movement of over 1.5 million wildebeests, 240, 000 zebras, and 200,000 gazelles from the south of Serengeti to the northern Maasai Mara. It is in this park where you will be able to view all the Big Five animals including the rarely seen black rhino. If you are a fan of the Great Migration, various tour operators organize your trip. With a total area of about 5700 square miles, Serengeti National Park is endowed with many stunning attractions. They include the Big Five animals, the Great Migration, over 500 bird species, primates like colobus monkeys and beautiful landscape and vegetation. In this park, you can enjoy various activities such as hot-air balloon safari, camping safari, game drive, cultural tourism to the Maasai, guided walks, and being part of the Great Migration. Serengeti’s landscape is mainly made up of savannah plains stretching from the south to other sides. These plains made it be named “Siringitu” a Maasai word for “endless plains”.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This is one of the World’s Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in 1979 with a UNESCO Site ID 39. It is located in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. It is not a national park but rather a protected site that offers unforgettable views for wildlife tourists. It has a total area of about 8200 square kilometers. The most attractive site in this area is the Ngorongoro Crater thus Top Parks to Visit in Tanzania. It is the largest intact caldera on earth. Geology says it was formed after the collapse of the Ngorongoro Mountains about millions of years ago. These mountains are said to be the tallest mountains on earth before they erupted and fell. Ngorongoro Crater is a self-sustaining ecosystem where all kinds of wild animals (herbivores and carnivores) can survive. This crater has a never-drying water source throughout the season. This makes many animals non-migratory. In this crater, you will enjoy the views of the Big Five animals (even the most endangered black rhino is found on the floor of this crater), beautiful birds, and the wonderful landscape of this famous crater on earth.
Lake Manyara National Park. This is another wildlife sanctuary in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. It is located in Manyara Region. It covers a total area of 320 square kilometers where an area of about 220 square kilometers is occupied by the lake. This park is famous for hosting tree-climbing lions, one of the wonderful species of lions. Lake Manyara is an alkaline lake that hosts thousands of pink flamingoes on the coast making it look pink in color on a faraway look. The world’s largest land animals, the African elephants are usually spotted in large groups. So this park is coined as the park with the largest concentration of elephants. A visitor to this park can enjoy various activities including the following; Birding. Lake Manyara National Park is home to over 350 bird species most of which are only found in Tanzania. One of such birds is Ashy starling which can’t be found anywhere in the world except in Tanzania. Pink flamingoes decorate the shores of this lake. These birds are interested in soda ash lake where they get all the requirements. Game viewing. In this park game viewing is not the same as in other parks. It is added with another flavor of spotting a lion resting on a branch of the acacia tree. On your game drive, you will encounter large groups of elephants grazing together. What a perfect picture. Lake Manyara is a nice place for canoeing and snorkeling. Divers and fishers can learn a lot in this park. In short, Lake Manyara National Park is a must-go place for any safari-goer thus Top Parks to Visit in Tanzania.
Tarangire National Park. Situated in the Arusha region, Tarangire National Park is a famous national park in Tanzania for hosting the largest population of birds (over 550 species to be exact) and the largest population of African elephants. It has an area of about 2600 square kilometers. Its large population of elephants should not be confused with that of Lake Manyara National Park. Tarangire has the largest overall elephant population in Tanzania while Lake Manyara has the largest concentration of elephants. This means that elephants are spotted in large groups in Lake Manyara (hence the largest concentration). Birders should not miss this park because it is endowed with various migratory and non-migratory birds. Various activities which can be done in this park include birdwatching, biking tours, cultural safari, game drives, and camping safaris.
Kilimanjaro National Park. This is located in the Kilimanjaro region near Moshi town in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. This park is not dedicated to wildlife adventures although it has a few species like elephants, antelopes and primates like colobus monkeys. Kilimanjaro National Park stretches from the base of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro to other places like Marangu, Machame, and Umbwe. Most visitors of this park come there with the aim of climbing this tallest mountain in Tanzania with a height of 5895 meters above the sea. Mount Kilimanjaro has three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira. Every mount climber dreams to reach these three peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro. The highest peak is the Uhuru peak on Kibo and is considered to be the summit. Six routes will take you from the base to the summit. These include the Machame route, Marangu route, Lemosho route, Rongai route, Shira route, and Umbwe route. Before you plan your hiking safari you have to make sure that you are physically fit. Most hikers do acclimatization hikes in other peaks like Mount Meru before taking this tough hike.
Arusha National Park. Mount Kilimanjaro has its little brother, Mount Meru which is found in Arusha National Park. This park occupies an area of about 552 square kilometers. Arusha National Park is home to many wild animals such as giraffes, zebras, spotted hyenas, leopards. These animals are usually found in the swampy crater, Ngurdoto Crater. Surrounding this crater is the Ngurdoto forest which is home to many black and white colobus monkeys. Therefore, you will enjoy game viewing as well as hiking Africa’s fifth tallest mountain. Mount Meru can be hiked in two to three days. At the peak, you will enjoy the scenes of Mount Kilimanjaro, Momella lakes, and green baobab trees. Other activities to be done in this park include camping safari, Arusha town tour, cultural visits, nature walks, picnicking, birding and canoeing in the Momella lake thus Top Parks to Visit in Tanzania.
Gombe Stream National Park. This is the smallest national park situated in the Western Circuit of Tanzania. It is located in the west of the Kigoma region on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It occupies a total area of 52 square kilometers. It is famous for having the largest concentration of chimpanzees. This park will make you exposed to the most endangered primates, the chimps. The primatologist, Dr. Jane Goodall spent almost a decade studying the behavior of chimps in this park. Other wild animals found in National Park include over 200 stunning bird species, bush pigs, eleven species of snakes, leopards, and small antelopes. Its neighbor, Mahale Mountains National Park which is also found on the coast of Lake Tanganyika is another excellent destination for chimp trekking. So on your trip to Gombe, you should not forget to include the Mahale Mountains as well as its respective National Park.
Kitulo National Park. This is an incredible tourist destination located in the Southern Circuit in Tanzania. It is incredible for viewing and studying various flowers. Most tourists have named it “Serengeti of Flowers” as it is home to over 350 plant species and over 40 species of orchids. If you have learned a lot about wildlife, this park can be a paradise for entertaining your eyes with colored flowers and other plant species. Other attractions found in this park include Livingstone Mountains, Lake Ngozi, waterfalls like Mwakipembo and Nhumbe, Matema beach, wild animals especially Kipunji monkeys, and over 250 bird species.
Honestly, I can’t describe to you all the parks found in Tanzania in a short article like this. The realities in these parks are very interesting such that I will end up writing a very long article. To cut the story short, I have described a few top parks for you to start with. If you are interested in exploring these parks, consider planning a visit to Tanzania. You won’t regret it.