Tanzania’s National Parks

Below is just a little of what we know about the many parks in Tanzania. We’d love to hear from you; any questions are welcome. Please contact us for more information if you are interested in visiting one or more of the following parks.

Take your time browsing. Then come and see for yourself; this is a wonderful land.migration-map

Mikumi National Park
Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Tarangire National Park
Arusha National Park
Serengeti National Park
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Lake Manyara National Park

Mikumi National Park is near Morogoro, Tanzania. It is the fourth largest park in Tanzania.

Details: Mikumi National Park is located 283 kilometers (175 miles) west of Dar es Salaam, north of Selous Game Reserve and enroute to Ruaha, Udzungwa. It is 3,230 square kilometers (1250 square miles).

Activities: Game Drives, Guide Walks, visit nearby Udzungwa Mountains National Park or travel on to Selous or Ruaha National Park.

Inside scoop from our guides: Mikumi abuts the northern border of Africa’s biggest game reserve — the Selous.

The lions survey their grassy kingdom — and the zebra, wildebeest, impala and buffalo herds that migrate across it — from the flattened tops of termite mounds, or sometimes during the rains, from perches high in the trees.

Giraffes forage in the isolated acacias that stand near the Mkata River, where the patches of shade are favored also by Mikumi elephants.

More than 400 species of birds have been recorded, with such colorfully common residents as the lilac-breasted roller, yellow-throated long claw and Bateleur eagle, joined by a host of European migrants during the rainy season.

To support the ever-changing cast of water birds and hippos, there are a pair of pools about 5 kilometers north of the main entrance gate.

Best time to visit: Anytime of year.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a national park in Tanzania. The park has tropical rainforests, mountain forests, miombo woodlands, grasslands and steppes.

Details: Udzungwa Mountains National Park is about 5 hours driving distance from Dar es Salaam. The park has an area of 1990 square kilometers (770 square miles).

Activities: Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers, including a half day ramble to Sanje waterfall, which plunges 17 meters (550 feet) through a misty spray into the forested valley below. We can also arrange camping safaris, including a two-night trek on Mwanihana Trail. This trail up the mountain will lead you to a panoramic view of sugar plantations before ascending to Mwanihana Peak, the second-highest point in the range. Combine this trip with a visit to nearby Mikumi.

Inside scoop from our guides: Udzungwa is the largest and most biodiverse of a dozen large forest- covered mountains that rise from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. (The mountains are known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains).

Udzungwa hosts numerous plants and animals, most familiarly the delicate African violet enclosed by 30 meters (100 feet) high trees (which are layered with fungi, lichens, mosses and ferns).

Four birds species are specific to Udzungwa, including a Forest-partridge only first discovered 1991 (recognized as “pair of strange feet in a cooking pot in a Tanzanian forest camp”).

Two species of monkeys that can be found in the park include the Iringa Red Colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey, of which neither can be found elsewhere in the World.

Best time to visit: The dry season is June-October, but be prepared for rain at any time. Possible throughout the year, although slippery in the rain.

Tarangire National Park is the least visited park in Tanzania, but that also leaves it open to the feeling of exploring something undiscovered.

Details: The park has an area of 2,850 square kilometers (1,096 square miles). It is located 118 kilometers (75 miles) south west of Arusha.

Activities: Guide walking safaris, a day visit to Maasai and Barbaig villages. You can learn a lot from these two tribe. It’s interesting and the way they live — as every tribes in Tanzania has their own tradition and culture.

Inside scoop from our guides: The Tarangire River is what makes the park so famous due to wild animals coming from a distance knowing that here there is always water. The river is never dry — as it is an underground stream, the area remains green throughout the year.

Among the large mammals (the “Big Five”) are lion, elephant and buffalo are common. It’s the only park where you can see hundreds of elephants at a time. Black rhinoceros and leopard may also be seen.

Three species of endemic Tanzania birds can be seen: Ashy starling, Rufous-tailed weaver and Yellow-collared love-bird. Five hundred and fifty species of birds have been recorded.

Other animals to see are migratory wildebeests, zebra, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. Of course we don’t want to forget the heaviest flying bird, the stocking-thigh ostrich, the world largest bird.

Best time to visit: June through September is the dry season and the best time of year to see large mammals.

Arusha National Park is located in northern Tanzania, northeast of Arusha.

Details: A single day is enough to explore the natural beauty of this park. Getting there is only 40 minutes from Arusha. The park is located 60 kilometers (35 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport and 40 kilometers (15 miles) from Arusha. The park has an area of 552 square kilometers (212 square miles).

Activities: Guide walking, game drive, view a crater and take an optional trek to Mt. Meru. Apart from enjoying this park you can also arrange a trekking tour to Meru (3 to 4 days). This trek is also good for acclimatizing in case you want to climb Kilimanjaro.

  • Mount Meru is the fifth highest peak in Africa (4,566 meters (14,990 feet). Along with its little peak (little Meru 3,800 meters), both are protected within the national park. From the top you can see an amazing view of the higher peak in Africa Kilimanjaro (5,895 meters).

Inside scoop from our guides: The park is blessed by the presence of savanna grasslands and rainforests. In the rainforest your eyes will not stop looking at blue monkeys and colorful Trogon and Turaco birds. The forest is also inhabited by acrobatic black and white Colobus monkey.

The park attracts big and small animals — giraffes, zebra, waterbuck. During the morning and evening, spotted hyena and leopards can be seen slinking around, and elephant may also be seen sometimes although they’re uncommon.  Wide eyed dik-dik (small antelope) and hares can also be found.

  • Ngurdoto Crater, located inside the park, is home to herds of buffalo and warthogs.
  • Visit the alkaline Momella Lakes, also inside the park, and you can see thousands of flamingos, migrants water fowl, and shaggy waterbucks, as well as green, and sun birds.

Flowers of different type include Red Hot Pokers, Spanish moss, and giant Lobelia before reaching the high open heath.

Best time to visit: Best time to climb Mt. Meru is June to February. Sometimes it might rain in November. For the best view of Kilimanjaro: December to February.

Serengeti National Park is the largest and best known of Tanzania’s National Parks. Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania’s protected areas. Serengeti National park is among the eighth wonder of the world.  Serengeti National park is inhabited by large numbers of mammals and birds.

Details: It coves over 14,500sq kilometers (5,600 square miles). The western extension is known as the ‘Corridor’ and reaches to within 8 kilometers (5 miles of Lake Victoria.

Activities: Game drives, hot air balloon rides, walking safaris, observing Maasai rock paintings, visiting Olduvai Gorge andLake Natron, seeing flamingos and climbing an active volcanic mountain (Oldonyo Lengai).

Inside scoop from our guides: Serengeti National Park is a home of predators, scavengers and vultures. The Serengeti borders Masaai Mara National Park in Kenya, and migration of animals takes place in between these two parks.

Thousands of wildebeest, zebra and other animals, including scavengers, predators and birds of prey (vultures) move along with migrants. This is where they take full advantage of obtaining their food — easily due to starvation and drowning. Animals move from the dry area to the area where rain has fallen and the grasses are growing.

This is where you can see the “big five” animals. The sanctuary has the greatest and most spectacular concentration of game animals found anywhere in the world. Serengeti is renown for its lion population, and leopards are relatively numerous and found during the day resting in trees along the Seronera  River.

Best time to visit: Best time to see migration of wildebeest is December to July and June to October to see predators.

The dual purpose of Ngorongoro Conservation Area is to conserve  the region’s natural resources and to safeguard the indigenous Maasai living there with their herds of cattle.

Details: The conservation area stretches 6,475 square kilometers (2,500 miles) and was established in 1959. It is actually a volcanic caldera, one of the biggest and unbroken caldera in the world. The caldera bottom is mainly open grassy plains with alternating fresh and blackish water lakes, swamps and two patches of acacia woodlands called the Lerai and Laindi forests.

Activities: Game drive in the crater.

Inside scoop from our guides: Large animals and birds are abundant inside the crater. here is where you can see the so called “big five,” elephant, lion, black rhinoceros, hippopotamus and buffalo. Other species are cheetah, eland, gazelle, zebra, wildebeest and many spotted hyena. Birds include many that are long-tailed, golden winged sunbirds, Lammergeyers, eagles and  Egyptian Vultures.

Best time to visit: All year round.

Lake Manyara National Park has a size of 300 square kilometers (127 square miles). This lake is located in Northern Tanzania 126 kilometers (80miles) west of Arusha, a 1 1/2 hour drive.

 

Activities: Game drives and night game drives, canoeing when the water level is sufficiently high, culture tours, picnicking in the bush, mountain bike tours and forest walks.

Inside scoop from our guides:  Small mammals include banded mongoose and Klipspringers. The park is also famous for its tree climbing lions. Other larger mammals are also attracted to the park due to its grassy plains. These include buffaloes, wildebeests, zebra and giraffes. Lake Manyara water is also alkaline — this attracts thousands of pink-hued flamingos. Together with sprinkling of the longer species maccoa ducks and white backed Duck are resident and some time a beautiful pigeon goose can be observed.

About 400 species of bird have been recorded. We are the masters of jungle and we have so much to share together. Pick your day and visit Tanzania. The beauty of this lake will leave you mouth open most of the time. When we say its amazing that’s how meang

Best time to visit: To see big numbers of mammals best time is July to October. November-June is always the wet season — best for canoeing,water falls and bird watching.

Credit: The information was culled from first-hand knowledge, and reading Tanzania National Parks magazine and brochures.