Tanzania Northern Circuit

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is only 32 kilometers away from the Arusha city. It consists of three spectacular features, the Momela Lakes, Mount Meru and the Ngurdoto Crater. The park’s altitude varies from 1,500 meters to more than 4,500 meters covering an area of 137 square kilometers. Also it is famous for walking Safaris Park escorted by armed rangers for the safety.

On clear days magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from almost any part of the park. The vegetation and wildlife varies with the topography which ranges from forest to swamp. The park is famous for its 400 species of birdlife, both migrant and resident, including the pelicans and flamingo reside at the Momela Lakes and Ngurdoto crater.

The birdlife varies from these places provided that they are separated by a narrow peace of land. Animals frequently seen in the park are black and white colobus monkey, baboon, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, leopard, hyena, zebra and a wide range of antelope species.

The reptiles include tortoises, geckos, lizards, monitor lizards, and different kinds of snakes. A more day stay at Arusha National Park allows hiking the little mountain that looks like a pyramid near Momela gate known as Ol’doinyo Landaree and camel safaris can be arranged at the village of Mkuru.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is located south of the plains of Maasai land and east of Lake Manyara, a three-hour drive from Arusha city, rank the fourth-largest national park in Tanzania.

The park originates its name from the River Tarangire that cross the park been derived from “Maa” (Maasai) language who inhabits the area. Covering an area of 2,600 square kilometers it’s famous for its tree-climbing Pythons. The topography of Tarangire is open acacia woodland, open bush, swamps, rivers, plains with scattered baobab trees. The trees grow in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid tropical climates.

The park also is famous for the large population of elephants around the baobab trees. Other animals that resides the park include spotted hyena, cheetah, lion, leopard, Maasai giraffe, impala, Grant’s gazelle, lesser kudu, African buffalo, eland, bushbuck among others. River Tarangire and surrounding accommodates different species of birdlife more than 300 are recorded they include Maasai ostrich, white pelican, pink-backed pelican, white stork, Marabou, sacred ibis, Egyptian goose and crowned crane few to mention.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is located between Ngorongoro crater and Tarangire National Park. Covers an area of 330 squares kilometers the famous spectacles are Lake Manyara itself and easily sighting tree climbing lions. The Mto-wa-Mbu village (Mosquito village) and the East Africa Rift Valley escarpment add the boundaries of the park.

The topography of Manyara is wetland forest with Mahogany and fig trees, the open land, savannah, marshes and acacia woodland. The environment resides the large number of wild animals common zebras, herds of buffaloes and elephants, giraffes, impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, wildebeest, klipspringer, spotted hyena and leopards among the list. Lake Manyara is noted for its wealth of birdlife from the birds of prey to the water birds.

The birds of prey include vulture and ayre’s and crowned hawk eagles. Others are flock of flamingoes, pelicans, ostrich, marabou stork, white-backed ducks and goliath heron among others. Also the lake accommodates a large number of hippos mammals into its pool and make one of East Africa park sighting at a closer range. Manyara has also minor and major hotsprings within the park famous known as “Maji Moto” a Swahili word means (Hot water) to the north and some River like Chem chem, Ndala, Bosayo Rivers.

Ngorongoro Conservation Authority Area

Ngorongoro is a huge caldera formed after the collapse of volcano, 250 square kilometers and 23 kilometers wide. The crater has an average depth of 600 meters. Its spectacular setting and abundance of wildlife combine to make it a wonder of the natural world. The crater alone has over 20,000 large animals including some of Tanzania’s last remaining black rhino. Animals are free to leave or enter the crater but most of them stay because of the plentiful water and food available on the crater floor throughout the year.

Other mammals include wildebeest, zebra, spotted hyena, hunting dogs, gazelles, jackals and primates like mice and grasshoppers. The open grassland covers most of the crater floor and feeds the herbivores. The crater has abundant yellow barked acacia trees to its Lerai forest making a home to Elephants, baboon, bushbucks, waterbucks and velvet monkey.

The floor has a number of wetland including the Munge River, Lake Makati and Lake Magadi. The Lakes are the attractive point to the numerous flamingos, pelicans, blacksmith Plover, African Cuckoo, Red-eyed Dove and other water birds more than 300 species are recorded. Also the wetland accommodates the large number of hippos and smaller creatures such as frogs and snakes. Within the crater walls there is a high possibility of tourists to sight the “Big Five” that’s Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Hippopotamus and Black Rhinoceros.

Oldupai Gorge: The Gorge is found in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where human has been part of the Ngorongoro landscape for millions of years. The findings of Dr. Louis Leakey have scientifically proved that, the earliest man has lived here. The hominid footprints preserved in the volcanic rock dated way back to 3,600,000 years old. Useful information and education can be obtained from the Gorge Museum and on site interpretations.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti is the world famous wildlife sanctuary there still exists the greatest and most spectacular concentration of game animals found anywhere in the world. The park has derived its name from “Maa” (Maasai) language means un-endless plain, Serengeti has vast plain grassland with dotted trees and rocks outcrop.

Covering more than 14,500 square kilometers the park is the largest in Tanzania. Here is where the Great Migration of wildebeests and zebras can be experienced. During the dry season of June through July, these wild animals migrate to the contiguous Masai Mara National Park in Kenya and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area for greens and water using the western and northern corridor.

There are also acacia and savannah woodland, wetland like rivers and lakes and occasional swamp. The vegetation of the park accommodate mammals like Topi, Thomson’s and Grants gazelle, coke’s hartebeest, Impala, Klipspringer, common waterbuck, African Elephant, Bush Baby. Others are African wild cat, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, Spotted hyena, striped hyena, Jackal among the list.

Serengeti to its western corridor is the Grumeti River with numerous crocodiles and other reptiles. During the Great Migration these reptiles obtain abundant food as the wildebeest and zebras cross the river to the Masai Mara. The park is noted to its wealth of birdlife to its wetland. Colorful kingfishers, sunbirds, waterfowl and bee-eaters are among them. More than 300 species are recorded.

Month by month: the Serengeti wildebeest migration

The great Serengeti wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of the Serengeti’s wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, eland and impala. These move in an annual pattern which is fairly predictable. They migrating throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing and, it’s now thought, better quality water. The precise timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year – here we explain how the broad pattern works.

The short rains begin around early November. A little after this, in late November and December, the herds of the wildebeest migration arrive on the short-grass plains of the Serengeti. These are south and east of Seronera, around Ndutu and include the north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Dispersed across these plains, wildebeest and zebra are everywhere – feeding on the fresh, nutritious grasses. They stay here through January, February and March, with most wildebeest calves born in a short window around February. Gradually they spread west across these plains, then around April they start their great migration north.

By May the Serengeti’s wildebeest all seem to be moving north, migrating to seek fresh grazing and water. The area around Moru Kopjes and west of Seronera is then hectic with a series of moving columns, often containing hundreds of thousands of animals – joined by many zebra, and a scattering of Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles.

Some of the migration then head due north of Seronera, but most are usually further west. Around June the wildebeest migration is often halted on the south side of the Grumeti River, which has some channels which block or slow their migration north. The wildebeest then congregate there, in the Western Corridor, often building up to a high density before crossing the river. The river here is normally a series of pools and channels, but it’s not continuous – and so whilst they always represent an annual feast for the Grumeti River’s large crocodiles, these aren’t usually quite as spectacular as the crossings of the Mara River, further north.

The wildebeest migration continues moving northwards during July and August, often spreading out across a broad front: some heading through Grumeti Reserve and Ikorongo, others north through the heart of the Serengeti National Park.

September sees the herds spread out across the northern Serengeti, where the Mara River provides the migration with its most serious obstacle. This river gushes through the northern Serengeti from Kenya’s adjacent Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Watching the frantic herds of the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion. It’s common to see herds cross the Mara River north on one day, and then back south a few days later.

By October the wildebeest herds are migrating again with more accord: all are heading south, through western Loliondo and the Serengeti National Park’s Lobo area, returning to the green shoots which follow the rains on the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti in November.

Then the whole Serengeti Wildebeest migration starts again …