Why Visit Tanzania?
Tanzania is a land of contrasts. From the snow-capped peak of Mt Kilimanjaro to the endless plains of the Serengeti, from the sun-kissed islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago to the gentle shores of Lake Victoria, the country contains immense cultural and natural wealth. With over 25% of the country´s total landmass dedicated to wildlife parks and conservation areas, Tanzania remains wholeheartedly committed to the preservation of Africa’s great wilderness and incredible range of animal species. Tropical beaches, coral reefs and the Swahili culture along the Indian Ocean coast are also a main attraction for visitors who want to end their experience of the African bush with some well-earned relaxation, Zanzibar-style.
What is the Great Migration
The Great Migration is the name for the movement of over 1.5 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle during the dry season on the East African savanna. However, whilst named the Great Migration, this movement of animals is not a simple trip from point A to B. No migration ever is. Instead of a simple back and forth movement between Tanzania and Kenya, the Great Migration is a clockwise cycle of movement that wildebeest undergo every year in order to find food and water and rear their young during seasonal change.
They migrate throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing and, it’s now thought, better quality water. Lion and hyena thin out large portions of the herd while other animals simply die of exhaustion. This is the game of life and death played out on one of the planet’s most fantastic stages.
The herds move around 2,000 kilometres from the southern expanse of the Serengeti plains and Ngorongoro Crater over the borders of Kenya to Maasai Mara National Reserve and back down to the southern Serengeti.
The precise timing of this great migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year.
The Great Migration
Kenya and Tanzania don’t have the traditional Western four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Instead, the seasons are mostly divided into a wet and dry season, with mini-wet and dry seasons happening in between. June to September is the dry season. Temperatures are warm and rain is infrequent. The low rains begin in late October followed by the mini-dry season, while the true wet season is April through May.
The best time to see the Great Migration is during the dry season, between July and early October. It’s warm, weather is stable, and animals are abundant. The sparse vegetation and dried-up waterways force the animals to head up north to find food and drink.
If you visit in November or December, you’ll still see wildebeest and zebra, but the movements will not be as pronounced as during July and August. Just be sure to avoid April and May if you’re hoping to catch the Migration. The animals haven’t left the southwest yet and the torrential rains flood the Serengeti and make travel difficult.
The best time to visit Tanzania is during the Dry season, from late June to October, when wildlife viewing is generally at its best. The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is usually during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round.
8 nights The Best of Tanzania
Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Karatu and Eastern Serengeti
11 nights Premier Tanzania Bush & Beach
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Grumeti Reserves, Zanzibar and Arusha
12 nights Superior Tanzania Bush & Beach
Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Northern Serengeti and Zanzibar
10 nights Tanzania Highlight
Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Southern Serengeti
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What to See in Tanzania
Serengeti National Park
The vast plains of Serengeti National Park host the infamous annual wildlife migration. True African adventure safaris, the savannahs permanent watering holes draw the greatest concentrations of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles on earth, followed by their predators. Encompassing an area of 1.5 million hectares, Serengeti National Park is without a doubt the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unparalleled for its natural beauty and scenic value. The Serengeti gives you the sense of seeing the ends of the earth with the sun burnt savannah shimmering on the horizon. The rains give way to an endless green blanket of new growth and wildflowers. Rivers are lined with majestic Figs, Ebony & Acacia trees and endless termite mounds dot the landscape.
THE GRUMETI RIVER is situated at the remote western corridor of Serengeti National Park and considered by many to be one of the prime viewing areas during the migration (typically between June & July). However, the area has an astounding year round concentration of animals like pride of lion, spotted hyena, cheetah, crocodile, hippo, Colobus monkeys, buffalo, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle.
A real African safari experience, the volcanic Ngorongoro Crater, located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world! Stunning views of scenic grandeur, the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places in Tanzania to view the rare black rhino, as well as prides of lion, zebra, wildebeest, leopard, cheetah, hyena, elephants, warthog, impala, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and a variety of water birds around the lake on the crater floor.
A short distance from Arusha, Lake Manyara National Park is usually the first stop on a multi-destination Tanzania safari. This beautiful park is at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment. Comprised of forest, woodland, grasslands, and swamps, Lake Manyara is the perfect habitat for gazelles, impala, buffalo, wildebeest, the famous tree climbing lion, hyena, baboon, giraffe, hippos and a great number of smaller mammals. Lake Manyara is also a spectacular place for special interest safaris, like bird watching, with over 350 species of bird, storks and hundreds of flamingoes.
Tarangire National Park
Always an African adventure safari experience, Tarangire National Park has a particularly dense wildlife population between June – October. During the migration from the Maasai Mara, many of the migratory wildlife species come back to the permanent waters of Tarangire River. Large herds of eland, lesser kudu, Kongoni, impala, Zebra, gazelles, buffalo, wildebeest, leopard, elephant and rhino congregate until the onset of the rains when they migrate again to good grazing areas.
Home to thousands of elephant, Tarangire National Park is symbolized by the vast number of Baobab tree, growing in open acacia woodland. Tarangire is an ornithologist’s paradise rich in birds of prey and an incredible diversity of avifauna.
Arusha National Park
The starting place for many a Tanzania African safari vacation, Arusha National Park, lies near the main town of Arusha. Aside from the abundance of wildlife, fauna and flora there are three spectacular features: momella lakes, Meru Crater, and the Ngurdoto Crater. Both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru can be seen from the park when the sky is clear.
Selous Game Reserve
The largest game reserve in Africa, four times the size of the Serengeti, Selous Game Reserve is a diverse landscape from hot volcanic springs, sporadic lakes and channels from the Great Rhaha & Rufiji rivers. Most famous for its elephant, hippo & rhino, the park has a broad range of wildlife with the largest population in Africa of Nyasaland gnu, brindled gnu, hartebeest, Greater Kudu, sable antelope, eland, reedbuck, bushbuck, waterbuck, warthog, zebras, giraffe and wildebeest. Also in abundance are lion, leopard, the spotted hyena and hunting dog, although cheetah sightings are rare.
This is not your typical African safari you can also take a cable car across Stieglers Gorge, participate in special interest Africa safaris like: Photography, walking safaris and bird watching ~ A birdwatchers paradise, there are over 350 species of bird! Nearby you can go fishing for Tiger Fish and Vandu (in the rivers of the Kilombero Game Controlled Area to the west of the reserve).
Mount Kilimanjaro, at the north/eastern tip of Tanzania is only for the physically fit and adventurous traveller. If that’s you, a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro is a must! With a very broad range of climates the trek will take you through the mists of equatorial jungle to reach the snow capped peaks and breathtaking views from the summit. The upward track winds through forests that vary constantly with the altitude and finally opens out into sweeping moorland below rocky, snow covered Kibo plateau. It has 3 volcanic centers; Shira, Kibo, and Mawenzi adding to the splendor and diversity of this true African adventure safari!
Mt. Kilimanjaro can be climbed at any time during the year. However, many feel the best months for climbing are January, February, September and October, being the warmest months and fairly clear of clouds. April/May and November/December are considered the rainy seasons. The Christmas Holiday season is usually fully booked a year in advance. We can arrange multi-day climbs from Moshi or Arusha.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha is one of Tanzania’s least accessible parks, with the Great Ruaha River meandering through its borders. A remote bastion of spectacular wilderness, undisturbed wildlife, and breathtaking scenery that appears totally untouched. It remains one of the most exciting game reserves with an authentic African safari feel.
Ruaha is interesting as it represents a transition zone where eastern and southern African species of fauna and flora overlap – Elephant, buffalo, hippos, striped hyena, crocodiles, lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog and lots of antelope. Greater & lesser Kudu, roan and sable are not found together in any other park in Tanzania. Ruaha is another birdwatcher’s paradise with more than 400 species of bird recorded some not found in northern Tanzania. The park is open from May through November, with the best time being July to November.
Just a short hop across the water from mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar is an island steeped in culture and history – a destination which brought adventurers, seafarers and traders from far and wide. The Zanzibar archipelago is set in the Indian Ocean and made up of the larger islands of Pemba and Unguja (also called Zanzibar Island).
Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, boasts a labyrinth of winding alleys, bustling marketplaces, beautifully carved wooden doors, breath-taking mosques and grand Arab residences. Off the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar is Mnemba Island – an idyllic private island featuring luxurious accommodation, breath-taking scenery and rich marine diversity.
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