Parks and Reserves
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
Only 32 km from the town of Arusha and less than 140 sq km, this small park offers an amazingly varied topography, from the rocky craters and ash cone of Mount Meru and the mountain forest of its slopes to the amingo lakes of Momela. The forests are home to the park’s renowned black and white Colobus monkeys, and the lower areas to a variety of mammals, especially elephants, buffalo and giraffe. Walking safaris are possible.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
This saline lake lies 130 km from Arusha on the oor of the rift Valley. From its shores the steep sides of the rift rise over 300m to form a spectacular cliff. The park is 323sq km in area and offers a wide variety of vegetation: lush groundwater forest, acacia woodlands, open grasslands, swamps and the lake itself. Lake Manyara is renowned for its high concentration of birds, such as amingoes and pelicans, as well as larger mammals - several species of primates, hippos, and elephants, not to mention the elusive tree-climbing lions.
NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
The Ngorongoro Conservation area covers 2286 sq km and encompasses the volcanic area around the Ngorongoro crater - including the still active volcano of Oldonyio Lengai, and the famous Olduvai Gorge. Its centrepiece, the Ngorongoro Crater, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, and the rst sight of it is breathtaking. The oor of the crater is only 100sq miles but is home to around 30,000 animals with a high concentration of predators. The steep walls rise 610 m and although this presents no problems for black rhino, buffalo, male elephant and gazelles; giraffe and female elephant are absent.
This “Cradle of Mankind” is a treasure trove of archaeological sites, lled with fossil, settlement remains and stone artefacts. One can see the evolution of prehistoric man in the landscape’s geological strata. It is the world famous site of the Leakey’s discovery of a hominoid skull dating back 1.8 million years. There is a small but very informative museum located at the visitor centre.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The endless plains of the Serengeti lie 330km of Arusha. Its 15,000 sq kms support the annual migration of over 3 million wildebeest, zebra and other plains game as they follow the rains in their continual search for grass and water. They are closely followed in turn by Africa’s largest concentration of lion and a host of other predators. Witnessing the power of the migration is an unforgettable experience for even the most seasoned African traveler.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Tarangire is only 120 km from Arusha on a good road. The dry season of July to October is the best time to visit the park as animals from the surrounding Maasai Steppe move towards the Tarangire River in search of water. The giant baobab studded plains are famous for their high concentration of elephant and rich variety of bird life.
KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK
The history of Kilimanjaro National Park dates back from the early 1900’s. The area had been established as a game reserve in the early 1990’s and as a forest reserve in 1921. In 1957 the Tanganyika National Parks Authority formally proposed the establishment of a National Park surrounding and including Mt. Kilimanjaro. The Kilimanjaro National Park stands 330km south of the Equator on the northern boundary of Tanzania. The nearest town is Moshi. Mt. Kilimanjaro, an awesome and magnicent mountain, is the highest mountain in Africa. It is also one of the largest single free standing mountains in the world, composed of an extinct volcano; Shira (3962m) and two dormant volcanoes, Mawenzi(5149m) and Kibo (5895m). There are six ofcial climbing routes that provide a range of opportunities for experiencing this mountain. Guides are required and
bookings must be made in advance.
MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK
Covers 3,230 sq km of open ood plains and wooded hills, some 1,800 ft above sea level. Large herds of elephant feed by the Mkata river, and lion, buffalo, hippo, giraffe and many other species can be seen, including an occasional sable antelope and greater kudu. June to November is the best time for a visit, this being the dry season, though the Park is open all year round.
THE SELOUS GAME RESERVE
The largest game reserve in the world, to which Mikumi National Pak is adjacent, the Selous in south-eastern Tanzania has some of the nest virgin bush left in Africa, where the last of the really big-tusked elephants and large-maned lions roam. It supports around one million head of game, is bigger than Switzerland and is a World Heritage site. The Selous is relatively easy to get to - by 4WD it is eight hours drive from Dar - but hard to get around, even though half a dozen airstrips have been constructed by the Game Department. From March to May oods sweep the valley, forcing the game on to the ‘islands’ of higher ground, where elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, crocodile, puku, buck, eland, sable and others concentrate.
THE RUAHA NATIONAL PARK
The road from Iringa to Mbeya passes near the Ruaha National Park, 13,000 sq km of mostly undulating plateau 3,000ft above sea level. The best months for game viewing are May to November.