Serengeti National Park.
Serengeti National Park does not need an introduction. It is one of the most recognized National Parks in the world. This stunning large national park is home to a diverse number of wildlife and birds.
The biggest draw to this 6,000 mile sq. areas is the wildebeest and zebra migration. The 1.5 million wildebeest and 0.5 million zebra strong herd move from every corner of Serengeti and its bordering areas to Masai Mara in Kenya. Imagine yourself witnessing this natural wonder of the world.
From birthing which happens in Southern Serengeti to crossing the Mara River in Northern Serengeti back and forth in search of fresh grass. A site to witness first hand. To keep the herd company, you have the lions, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals to the scavengers like the vultures.
If you are not following the herd, you always have the resident wildlife in all the areas. Never a dull day in Serengeti!
Ngorongoro Crater named on of the natural wonders of the world is a 12 mile radius volcanic caldera with a 2,000 ft high wall. Formed two to three millions ago with a volcanic explosion, this 'bucket' eco-system holds about 35,000 animals ranging from the old male elephant, black rhinos, lion pride to the loud hippos. There are numerous habitats within the crater ranging from the Yellow-barked acacia tree of Lerai Forest to the swamps around Ngoitokitok Springs to the pink flamingo mantle of the soda Lake Magadi. Each habitat supports a distinct ecosystem.
Another distinct phenomenon of the Ngorongoro Region is the successful co-existence of the Maasai Tribe with the wild animals. It is not uncommon to see Maasai Moran [young male warriors] walking their cattle herd to the waters of the crater, carrying a spear for defense against the animals.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK.
Tarangire National Park is a stunning large park dotted with the upside down baobab tree and woody grassland. Get ready to feast your eyes on large herds of elephants. If lucky, you may get to see 100 - 200 + elephants at one time. The wildlife population is supported by the Tarangire River and it many swamps notably the Silale Swamp which is deep in the heart of Tarangire and one of our favorite place to sit back and enjoy the elephants splashing in its refreshing water. Lions, leopards, rare wild dogs, kudu, onyx and the vast list goes on. Birder? You will be in the right park.
Best during the dry season which is July to October but we find Tarangire a must-stop park anytime of the year. The wildlife is every present for you to enjoy.
When visiting this area, you are venturing away from wildlife viewing for a bit and entering the world of the Hadzabe and Datoga tribe. The Hadzabe tribe are the hunter-gather tribe and when visiting them, you will get to spend a few hours in their world. From watching them hunt a baboon or dik dik with their bow and arrow [you can always opt out], collecting berries with the ladies or just spending time around the fire, which they built with sticks and stones, talking via a translator, your day will be determined by the activity of the Hadzabe.
Lake Manyara National Park.
Lake Manyara National Park nestled between the escarpment walls of the Great East African, the park is largely Lake Manyara which can look pink due to pink flamingoes that call it home. This park can be enjoyed in 3-4 hours and is usually an option on the way to Ngorongoro Crater from Tarangire National Park. Baboons, vervet monkeys, giraffes, elephants, lions on trees, and about 380 + bird species.
As my friend elite guide Paul Oliver calls this place, belly of the Earth. Lake Natron, nestled between the Great East African Rift Valley walls, this area is a visually stunning location to explore. From the majestic volcanic mountain Ol Doinyo Lengai to the beautiful mirror-like Lake Natron, the breeding ground for the pink flamingos. Wildlife is rewarding when spotted. Birder, you are in for a treat. From the local birds to the migratory birds, get ready to feast your eyes.
What to do at Lake Natron?
Go on a morning and evening hike to Lake Natron from Lake Natron Camp. See the 100,000 year old footprints of one of the first homo sapien. You can hike up Ol Doinyo Lengai, the mountain of God as seen by the Maasai tribe.
Arusha National Park.
Arusha National Park, the base park for Mt. Meru standing at 15,000 ft sports exquisite bird life, flora, small mammals, and monkeys. A relatively small park with Momella Lake with attracts flamingos and migratory birds to Ngurdoto Crater, this is a good place should you want to enjoy Tanzania at a slow pace. You have time to visit Arusha Town and enjoy the many activities this town offers.
Loliondo – East of Serengeti.
East of Serengeti, this bordering area is where we have some of our private concession areas. Large private areas with few tents equals hardly any vehicles to share the area.
The land 'shared' here is usually in partnership with the Maasai tribe members. What does this mean to you? You will be privy to their lifestyle in a more authentic way.
Our camps set up here have the freedom to enjoy amazing wildlife viewing while also enjoying the activities not allowed within the Serengeti boundary. You will have access to walking Safari and night game drives.
The thing to remember in Tanzania is that we have no fences. Wildlife is free to roam in the areas where people have not encroached on their territory. Southern Loliondo area comes alive from December to March when the wildebeest and zebra herds are grazing and birthing in this area. This part borders Southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation area.
A very important area for exploration. West Kilimanjaro lies adjacent to its sister park Amboseli National Park in Kenya. With little visibility, this large area makes it relatively easy for poachers to target our elephants and other venerable wildlife. Camps like Ndarakwai and Shu'Mata have large concession areas and have taken the role of protecting this eco-system. You can enjoy a more slow game drive from the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro - your focus here is the beautiful views, the wildlife and other activities that are offered. Some of the activities offered are walking, night-game drive, day hikes to Mt. Kilimanjaro and Maasai village visit which the lodges support.
Selous Game Reserve.
One of the largest game reserves at around 21,000 sq miles. Selous is vastly different from Tanzania's Northern parks. Only a few hundred feet from sea level, the massive eco-system feeds on the long running Rufiji River which meanders through the diverse eco-system. Wildlife depends on this beating heart of Selous. From its open grasslands, woodland, the many lakes, sand rivers to towering hills. Any time is birding time in Selous.
In Northern Selous where most of the photographic Safaris take place, besides game driving in your 4x4 Safari vehicle, you can enjoy boating and fly fishing on Rufiji River on the way to Stiegler's Gorge. On Lake Tagalala, you catch a glimpse of crocodiles who snap up the flying fish and birds that have wadded to land. Walking Safaris and night-game drive can be enjoyed from all our recommend lodges.
Ruaha, one of the largest National Parks, a place where only a few would go, Ruaha is opening up to those wanting an adventure in the wild. A place so vast, you need to give yourself a few days to explore and you will be well rewarded. Wildlife is extraordinary in wild Ruaha. A tenth of the world lion population - great prides twenty strong or more - hunts here, buffalo herds that go in the 100,ooo and elephant population is thriving. The distinct, multiple ecosystem sustains endangered wild dogs beside the cheetahs and leopards. Birds in the hundreds and more yet to be discovered. Just look up. With only a handful of lodges, when you Safari in Ruaha, you are in the wild.
Mahale National Park.
At the edge of Tanzania, the journey to the mountain begins with a boat ride on one of the deepest and bluest lakes in Africa, Lake Tanganyika with white sandy beach to boot. Mahale Mountain is home to the chimp that Jane Goodall is famous for protecting. A chimp interaction is raved to be one of the best experiences a person can have. The similarity in our behavor, the mannerisms and more to our human behavior comes to light when spending time with them. Our favorite lodges here is Greystoke Mahale and our clients unanimously agree that staying here is a life changing experience.
Katavi National Park.
Remote. Raw. Real. That is Katavi. Not a quick flight over, Katavi needs time. You will be well rewarded once you get here. Wildlife that is still not used to humans. The swampy grasslands provide food and water to large herds of buffalos and elephants and hippos crowd the water holes. Lions, cheetahs and leopards as well as prolific bird-life. In the dry season, watch wildlife big and small crowd the water holes and survive.
Zanzibar Island east of mainland Tanzania is visited in two parts -Stone Town + Beach. The historic Stone Town and its spice farms and the place to completely unwind and relax, the beach. Your first enterance into Zanzibar Island is in historic Stone Town. When entering the narrow streets of this old city, you will be introduced to life starting before the 16th Century when this Island was home to the Royals of Oman, the Omani Arabs. They took it from the Portuguese. Many European nations have had its hand in the brutal slave trade with the Omani Rulers until its abolishment by the Britihs in 1870. Today, Zanzibar has retained some of its historic charm with the ever encroaching modernization.
The beaches of Zanzibar Island are a place to come relax completely. Dip into the blue water of the Indian Ocean where you can enjoy the many water sport activities from scuba diving to snorkelling and sailing. Lounge on the glorious white sandy beaches where you will be pampered with your drink of choice and the salty breeze. Slice of heaven awaits when staying at some of our favorite resorts.
Masai Mara and its surrounding areas.
Masai Mara is Kenya's most recognized park and rightfully so. The reserve is around 200 sq miles is a photographers dream. Wildlife and bird lover is a given right. The cats, the Great Wildebeest and Zebra Migration, the birdlife, the elephants, and other animals call the open plains, grass carpeted hill, chocolate Mara and Talek river, woodlands and riverine forest home. This fantastic landscape is sure to make you want to come back but at the right time of the year though.
During the high season which is July to October, the Masai Mara Game Reserve can be overcrowded with vehicles. This can be rather frustrating. This is when you head away to the neighboring conservancy. Great Plains and Naibosho conservancy have done an amazing job of 'adding' acreage to the Masai Mara and giving wildlife a protected area to roam as freely as possible.
Virunga National Park.
Home to the endangered Gorillas, Virunga is currently home to around 600 of these amazing giants. Trek on the Virunga mountains with your guide and spend an hour of your time with the closest animals whose DNA is closest to the human DNA. Stand or sit in silence watching them at a safe distance. At times, our clients have experienced close proximity to them -- stay still and keep breathing. Your guide and ranger will be close by.
Your trek up the mountain is determined by the location of the gorilla groups. You could spot them an hour into your ascend or you may have to walk for hours. Our guides will also try to find a group but at times, the efforts may be futile. We encourage spending at least two days on the mountain to increase your odds.