There are plenty of reasons for visiting Tanzania, to climb the iconic Kilimanjaro, to drink in the sun on the beautiful palm fringed, sandy beaches, but the overwhelming reason for all travellers is to visit the safari parks. Tanzania is the game viewing country in Africa. It has the largest parks, including the vast Serengeti , 30,000km² of bio-diversity, home to an astounding 20% of the whole continent’s large animal population , but then there are the other parks on the Northern circuit- Lake Manyara, with its enormous diversity of habitats, from the mature groundwater forest, to the vast alkaline lake , noted for its four hundred different bird species, the hippos that bask in the shallows and the white-backed pelicans that fish in its waters,51 species of diurnal raptors, not to mention the only lions in the world that climb trees. Then just a short drive away we are in the densely wooded Tarangire national park, where the permanent waters of the Tarangire River support large herds of game all the year round, a park noted for its prolific elephant herds,(you might see as many as 500 elephants in one day), and again has a reputation for being home to several hundred bird species.
The jewel in the crown of the Northern Circuit though, has to be the N’Gorongoro Crater, one of the official Seven Natural Wonders of Africa (three of which, incidentally, are in Tanzania, the other two being the Great Migration & Kilimanjaro. Superlatives abound for the N’Gorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken volcanic caldera in the world, the home to 30, 000 animals including the rare Black Rhino, and arguably the world’s heaviest flying bird, the Kori Bustard, whose strange courtship dance is a regular sight. The Crater is UNESCO World Heritage Site, not to be missed by anyone who travels to Tanzania.
We must not forget though that Tanzania has a Southern Circuit too, the Selous, Africa’s single largest game reserve, stretching over 45,000km², more than twice the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, 50% bigger than Belgium, the core of the Selous-Niassa ecosystem, which extends over 150,000km² of practically uninhabited land between southern Tanzania and northern Mozambique-the largest area of bush land wilderness left in Africa. Again superlatives abound 65, 000 elephants (the largest of any African ecosystem), the largest buffalo population on the continent, 40, 000 hippo, 35,000 zebra, 100, 000 Wildebeest, huge herds of kudu, hartebeest and eland, and one of the most important habitats left for the African Black Rhino. The Selous has to rank as one of Africa’s most satisfying safari destinations.
The Southern Circuit also has some of the less visited parks; the Mikumi, a favourite destination for photographers and bird-watchers; the Saadani, Tanzania’s newest Park , bordering on the Mangrove swamps of the Indian Ocean; the Katavi National Park, Tanzania’s third largest, which lies at the southwest end of the Rift Valley and contains Lake Rukwa, a birders’ paradise and the Katuma River and its adjacent floodplains, which are home to the country’s densest populations of hippos & crocodile. The river dries to a trickle in the dry season and then huge herds of elephants, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck congregate, and in their trail the predators, prides of lions & spotted hyenas.
The Ruaha National Park too, attracts these same game concentrations around the Ruaha River, and is one of the only parks where the Greater Kudu, with it’s magnificent spiralling horns of nearly 2 metres in length, can be easily seen. Situated on one of the watersheds of the Great Ruaha River is the Kitulo National Park, called by local people “The Garden of God”, at 2, 600 m this vast area of montane grassland is a botanist’s and hiker’s paradise, as well as orchids, giant lobelias, lilies and asters, this small park of 412km² is home to at least 30 other flowering plant species, and nesting colonies of the endangered Blue Swallow and breeding pairs of. Denham’s Buzzard.
There are 15 National Parks in Tanzania, each one unique in its bio-diversity, each touched by its own unique magic. If you come once, you will want to come again and again. Why not let Kili-Worldborn Safaris share these wild and beautiful places with you?