Perhaps nowhere in the world are national parks as awe-inspiring as they are in Tanzania. In many parks, wildlife abounds, but in Tanzania, big wildlife, including lions, rhino, and cape buffalo are all available for photo shoots. Additionally, these animals are not in a zoo. Instead, they roam free. In Tanzania, national parks do not present animals in a human-made environment. They bring you to the natural environments of the animals.
Because of the nature of Tanzania national parks, it is important to visit in season. Wet seasons, for instance, can involve a deluge of rain. This rain might be good for animals and the environment, but it is not good for your gear, clothes, or camera equipment. Additionally, travel within the rugged landscapes becomes impossible.
When visiting, you should over-budget. Prices range from inexpensive to expensive, so it is best to not get caught without enough cash for that must-have impulse item.
Unlike zoos where people visit animals kept in cages and glass enclosures, visiting a Tanzania national park involves seeing animals in their native environment, one that can be dangerous for humans if you disregard safety rules. If you go on a tour, make sure to obey your tour guides. Keep your fingers and hands inside the car. Do not venture out into the open grassland. Even though it might seem safe, predators may be lurking.
1. Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater is, perhaps, the most remote, exclusive destination for nature lovers. It is the remnant of an ancient, extinct volcano. Eons ago, as life took a foothold in the caldera, the natural barriers created by the crater’s walls kept the outside world out. As a result, a lush, diverse ecosystem evolved, one unlike any in the world.
A Tanzania safari to the Ngorongoro Crater will allow you to experience what few ever have: a thriving ecosystem, representing the most diverse populations of African wildlife and fauna:
Regarding the rhino, The Ngorongoro Crater is the only place to see the black rhino. Additionally, it hosts the largest point of pride of lions on the continent. Finally, because the crater is self-contained, safari-goers are able to see most of these animals in a single trip.
2. Lake Manyara
For people who want to see the fastest feline on the planet, a trip to Lake Manyara is the place to be. Cheetah roams and run–faster than you can keep up with your camera. That said, if speed does not excite you, perhaps sheer power will. The jaguar is also a common sight among safari-goers. Pound-for-pound, for its size, the jaguar is the strongest of the big cats. Additionally, regardless of its smaller size, it has the most powerful bite of them all.
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The park spans 330 square kilometers, and during the rainy season, the lake takes shape, covering 220 square kilometers. This brings out all the animals: zebra, giraffes, wildebeest–along with the big cats and elephants. Moreover, it brings out the pink flamingos. A favorite site for visitors’ is to see 10,000 pink flamingos set against the shallow lake water, itself cast blue from the endless sky. The color contrast is amazing. The experience is unforgettable.
Facts about the park:
- jeep travel available
- shallow lake allows a spectacular view of animals
- home to baboons, hippos, and water buffaloes
- home to a variety of giant fig trees
The park hosts a variety of lodges around the lake, and most visitors can see the entire park in three days.
3. Mahale Mountains National Park
The awe-inspiring view of the saw-tooth mountain tops cutting into the vast, blue sky is only outdone by the serenity of the park’s jungles. Within the jungles, you will find the perfect, bird-watching paradise. The distant cacophony of the rain forest and the wind rustling the trees immediately sets you at ease. Moreover, unlike other Tanzania national parks, the Mahale Mountains offer more privacy for small-group tours than any other park. In fact, it will feel as if you are traveling with a small group of friends and family.
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In addition to thousands of species of birds, the Mahale Mountains host the largest bands of chimpanzees, which migrate throughout the jungle. Your trek through the jungle is designed specifically to bring you in close contact with them. You can enjoy them in their natural habitat and learn about their ways of life and their importance to the African ecosystem.
Of course, because the mountains are so remote, there are a variety of ways to get there:
- Air — Flights are regularly scheduled in and out of the mountains. However, they are only available from June to October.
- Road — Your guides will help you get there. However, the roads might be inaccessible during rains. Expect a three-day tour just to get there.
- Boat — Travel by speedboat can get you there in four hours. However, the preferred means of travel is by timber boat, which will allow you to relax for about 15 hours before your jungle vacation begins.