ARUSHA AND THE SURROUNDINGS
Arusha is one of the four cities of Tanzania and is the administrative
capital of the Arusha Region. It is known as the safari capital
of Tanzania as it is the hub for those arriving on their way
to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation
Areas. But these are just a few of the parks that are available
to the safari enthusiast. The city is a pleasant town that is
at the base of a volcanic mountain called Mt. Meru and further
away is the tallest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Apart
from the mountains, there is Arusha National Park where one
can experience walks in the park and activities like canoeing.
As the starting point for many safaris, there is accommodation
for all types of clients, from the backpackers to the posh and
luxurious establishments. Apart from taking the famed “jeep”
to the parks, one can also fly to the far distant corners of
Tanzania that have the many unspoiled parks and reserves offering
rare animals, birds and plants.
If you want more information on the available accommodation
in Arusha, please click here.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Just two hours from Arusha town is one of the many National
Parks in Tanzania that offers one an amazing introduction to
the flora and fauna of this great country. Along the way to
Tarangire, there is also and experience of the culture as one
goes through Maasai country. One will see the herds of cows,
sheep and goats as they graze and walk towards the watering
holes. Those who are lucky and drive on this road during the
market days, thousands of Maasai men and women will be seen
as they sell and buy products in the market dressed in the distinctive
red and blue “shukas”.
Tarangire National Park is well known for the large herds of
elephants that call it home. But it is not only elephants that
are found here, but also other animal species like, zebras,
impalas, wildebeests, and the baboons. For the bird lovers,
Tarangire National Park will not disappoint as there has been
known to be about 500 different species of birds. For those
looking for the cats, the lions and leopards will be seen as
they move around or on trees relaxing under the shades during
the hot days.
There are all types of accommodation facilities available both
inside and outside the park. One can choose between the lodges
and the tented camps inside or outside the park. Some of the
lodges and camps also offer an opportunity for night game drives
and guided walks for an experience of a life time.
Please click here for accommodation in and around Tarangire
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
While the selling point for Tarangire National Park are the
herds of elephants,Lake Manyara National Park has something
extra and that is the flamingoes. The flamingoes migrate between
the lakes in Kenya and Tanzania. One of the destination lakes
in Tanzania is Lake Manyara. They come here yearly and form
part of the ecosystem that makes this place unique. While other
parks have a lot of accommodation options inside the park, Lake
Manyara National Park due to its size does not have as many
camps or lodges inside the park. Most visitors here tend to
opt for the camps and lodges outside the park. Lake Manyara
National Park is an ideal visit for a day or half a day. It
is not recommended for a long visit unless one is a returning
guest and would like to sit by the hippo pool and observe the
hippos as they splash the water around them.
For information on accommodation around Lake Manyara National
Park, please click here.
NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA AUTHORITY
A visit to the northern safari circuit would be incomplete without
a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. Just after the Rift Valley
escarpment, a crater was formed thousands of years ago by the
same process that formed the Rift Valley. It is one of the wonders
of the world and it is a spectacle to watch as the rim rises
to over 2000 metres. While there are thousands of wild animals
that call this special place home, a large population of Maasai
men, women and children including their cows, sheep, goats and
donkeys move around freely without disturbing the wild animals.
A game drive at the crater floor reveals large herds of elephants
with large tusks, zebras, buffaloes and other smaller herbivorous,
plus the big cats that follow them. Unlike other places, the
black rhino can be found here and it is one of the endangered
species therefore it requires round the clock protection against
the poachers that sell the rhino horns in the far east as aphrodisiac
concoctions. There is a permanent shallow lake that changes
in size depending on the season.
The floor consists mainly of open grassland that is common in
the African Savannah. The acacias and the hippo pool are another
common feature of the crater floor. The diversity offered by
the floor is unique to this place and it requires a whole day
or two to experience all that is on offer. Due to the fact that
the animals around here have been used to visitors, it is relatively
easy to get very close to them although one should always remember
that they are wild animals and therefore dangerous.
There is no accommodation on the crater floor and all the lodges
and camps are around the crater rim and outside the conservation
area. One should note that the rim is on a very high altitude
and can be chilly at night. It is therefore recommended for
one to carry a jacket or heavy clothing for the cold nights.
Around the rim and outside the conservation area in the little
town of Karatu, there are accommodation amenities that cater
for all budgets.
For information on accommodation while visiting the Ngorongoro
Conservation Area Authority click here.
THE SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
After the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority to the west,
one comes in contact with another ecosystem this time for animals
alone and no one is grazing any domesticated animals or cultivating
any crops. This is The Serengeti. The plains that are larger
than some sovereign countries of the world. It stretches from
Tanzania to Kenya forming a corridor for the wildebeest’s
migration that takes place annually without fail.
Depending on the time of the year, and the location of the migration,
the Serengeti is divided into four cardinal points. There is
the North, South, East and West with each offering a different
experience from the other. The Southern point of The Serengeti
borders the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and due to
the nutrients offered by the volcanic ashes the wildebeests
come here to give birth to their young and following them are
the lions, leopards, cheetas and hyenas. The best time to visit
experience the calving season is during the months between late
December and early March.
Most lodges and camps are closed during the months of April
and May due to the long rains. When the lodges and camps open
in June, the migration is in the western side of the Serengeti
and the young calves that were born in the south face the dangerous
journey of crossing Grumeti River. Having escaped the lions,
cheetahs and hyenas in the South, the young calves have to close
the river that is full of crocodiles. Once they close the river,
they continue the journey north to the border with Kenya and
into the Maasai Mara.
By mid August, the great migration is closer to the Mara River
in the North and another spectacle awaits as the thousands of
wildebeests, zebras and impalas close the river as the drive
to get to the Mara urges them on. Once they close to Kenya and
into the Maasai Mara they will have reached their destination
and turn back towards the southern part of the Serengeti. However,
on their way south, they pass through the eastern side of the
Serengeti and by December they will have done the full circle.
For accommodation in the Serengeti, please click here. We will
recommend what is the best time to visit the different locations
in the Serengeti.