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Parks in Tanzania

Lake Manyara National Park is located in the Arusha and Manyara regions of Tanzania. Lake Manyara National Park is located in the Great Rift Valley. The area was used for sport hunting before a game reserve was established in 1957. In 1960 it was designated as a national park and covers 325 kilometers. Most of the park is occupied by Lake Manyara.

Lake Manyara National Park has a wide variety of attractions, including occasional tree-climbing lions, large herds of elephant, giraffe, leopard, impala, bushbuck, hippo, warthog, spotted hyena, zebra and wildebeest. Primates include; vervet monkeys, blue monkeys.

Lake Manyara is known for thousands of flamingos but also Lake Manyara National Park has a variety of bird species and these include; Great white pelican, yellow-billed cattle, marabou stork, Ayers hawk-eagle, egrets, sacred ibis, saddle-billed stork, stilt herons, spoonbills.

The steep slopes of the Great Rift Valley provide great views for tourists visiting the park.

Serengeti National Park is located in the Mara and Simiyu regions of Tanzania. It covers an area of 14,763 square kilometers. Serengeti is known worldwide for the park where the annual mass migration of wildebeest takes place.

In 1930 it was established as a game reserve where sport hunting was allowed until 1937. The National Park itself was later established in 1951.

Tourists come to Serengeti National Park to witness millions of migrating wildebeests, gazelles and zebras as this is seen nowhere else. These animals migrate in search of fresh water and pasture. The best time to visit and glimpse the migration is May to June and December to March.

Serengeti National Park has the largest lion population in Africa and is therefore considered a Lion Conservation Unit. A pride of lions can be spotted at the Moru Kopjes rocks stretching out on a game drive and this is a sight not to be missed. Leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs can also be spotted.

Ngorongoro Crater was originally part of the Serengeti National Park. Found in Arusha, northern Tanzania and near the Kenyan border with an area of 8,292 square kilometers. In 1959 it was separated from the national park and became a protected area. The main feature to look out for is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive crater which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Most tourists combine a safari to Serengeti National Park with a tour to the Ngorongoro Protected Area.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the best place to spot the most famous mammals, such as the big five, as well as other animals. Several bird species can also be spotted in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Other attractions and points of interest to visit include; the Empakaai crater, Lerai Fever Tree Forest, Lake Magadi, a tour of Olduvai Gorge, olmoti crater.

Tarangire is only a few hours drive from the city of Arusha and is a popular stop for those traveling through the northern safari circuit en route to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The park extends into two wildlife controlled areas and the wildlife is free to move about throughout.

Before the rain, herds of gazelles, wildebeest, zebras and giraffes migrate to the scrub plains of Tarangire National Park, where the last grassland remains. Tarangire offers an unparalleled safari experience and elephants are abundant during the dry season. Pachyderm families play around the old trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their midday meal. Breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe and the mountains to the south make a stopover in Tarangire an unforgettable experience.

Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry riverbed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It is the largest concentration of animals outside the Serengeti ecosystem – a smorgasbord for predators – and the only place in Tanzania where dryland antelopes such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and the peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly sighted.

During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors spread over an area of 20,000 square kilometers until they exhaust the green plains and the river begins to flow again. But Tarangire’s elephant gangs are easy to spot, wet or dry. Hued green all year round, the marshes are the hub of 550 bird species, the most breeding species in a single habitat anywhere in the world.

On drier ground you will find the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stockinged ostrich, the world’s largest bird; and small groups of hornbills roaring like turkeys.

More ardent bird watchers can keep an eye out for screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colorful yellow-collared turtledove, and the somewhat bland red-tailed weaver and starling – all endemic to the dry savannah of north-central Tanzania.

Disused termite mounds are often visited by colonies of the endearing dwarf mongoose and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet, who draw attention to themselves with their loud, clockwork-like duets.

Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree hides the tug of a tail.

Location: 118 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha.