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Tanzania, Overview (Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Manyara, Tarangire, Zanzibar)

Tanzania is regarded by most explorers and travelers as the most beautiful safari country in Africa. From the wildlife parks of which the expansive Serengeti is greatly esteemed, to the glamourous and scenic caldera of the Ngorongoro Crater which is home to one of Tanzania's most opulent lodge, the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and non-migratory animals, the riverine elephants of Tarangire and its centuries-old baobab trees, Lake Manyara's famous tree-climbing lions, and further to include the romantic islands of the Zanzibar archipelago.

The safari experience of a Tanzania holiday or vacation is indeed as varied as its destinations. A Tanzania walking safari is like no other, a family beach holiday can be in a class of its own, a Serengeti and Ngorongoro wildlife safari is equally unpararelled. Though Kenya is a preferred holiday destination and the home of the African Safari, most Kenya's modest parks overflow with visitors, unlike the expansive Tanzania and its diversity.

African wilderness  The intrepid traveller will always like safaris that combine bush and beach in Tanzania either from the rich northern circuit ( Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, Manyara, Ngorongoro and Tarangire) with an idyllic tropical beach climax in Zanzibar or the lesser frequented Southern Circuit (Selous, Mikumi, Ruaha) and Western Tanzania's Mahale National Park with a similar exotic and rewarding ending in Zanzibar.

Birding in Tanzania is equally desirable for the keen bird lover. Skirting the Usambara Mountain regions and some coastal ornithological paradises will harvest a record of hundreds of birds in diverse habitats out of over 1000 species found in Tanzania.

In addition, the people of Tanzania are naturally warm and friendly. The key language here is Swahili and it may do to learn a few words and expressions, which as you speak, might leave the residents squeaking with joy. We at Mustard Travel shall ensure that we send you a list of common traveler's Swahili beginners pack. You cannot be lost in responding to a Swahili welcome on arrival.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti in Maa's language means "endless plains." Approximately 70 larger mammal and some 500 avifauna species are found there. This high diversity in terms of species is a function of diverse habitats ranging from riverine forests, swamps, kopjes, grasslands, woodlands and interspersed hills. Water bodies include Lake Victoria on its western tip, Lake Eyasi, Lake Masak, rivers and famous springs like the Bologonja Springs.

The Great Annual Wildebeest Migration with over two million herbivores and their predators is featured majorly in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and the adjoining flanks of Lobo - Loliondo Forest Reserve, plains surrounding Ngorongoro Crater, Maswa Game Reserve to the south and Grumeti - Ikorongo Controlled Area on the western side of the Serengeti. Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve borders Serengeti (though part of the same eco-system) to the North and shares the wildbeest migration river crossing spectacles. Truly speaking, Serengeti is the home of the Great Annual Wildebeest Migration lasting over 8 months in the park which is two-thirds of the time of the migration cycle (Nov to June of every year).

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Serengeti has attracted many a film producer, photographer, journalist and scientists. The Serengeti plain is punctuated by granite outcroppings known as kopjes. These rock outcroppings are the result of volcanic activity. Kopjes provide a microhabitat for non-plains wildlife. One kopje likely to be seen by visitors to the Serengeti is the Simba Kopje (Lion Kopje). The Serengeti was used as inspiration for the animated Disney film The Lion King and subsequent theatrical production. Another classic production is Serengeti Shall Not Die, the work of a 1950s scientist-explorer named Dr. Bernhard Grizmek and his late son Michael. The Serengeti eco-system boasts of two world heritage sites and two recognized bio-diversity areas of supreme importance.

Best Time or Season to Visit Serengeti

Serengeti is ideal to visit throughout the year because migration herds which are a major attraction of Serengeti are concentrated largely here in from November to July. Serengeti is also prolific in non-migratory animals and their ever-present predators. It has been proven by discerning travelers that even the rainy season of Apri-May are very convinient because the best areas are rather deserted. We wouldnt think that having the entire Serengeti to yourself is daunting, but on the contrary, enriching tranquility in an expansive wilderness that autheticates the true African Safari.

As stated earlier, the challenge of seasons lies in choosing which area of Serenget to be and when. Read more here

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

One Serengeti's wider ecosystem, a world heritage site and rightly named the 'Eighth Wonder of the World', Ngorongoro Crater is beautiful and scenic caldera. The crater and its surroundings are a conservation area that adjoins the Serengeti and share in its Great Wildebeest Migration animals.

The 160 square kilometres at the floor of the extinct volcano are world famous because its a "natural enclosure" for a large part of the African fauna is represented here within a relatively small area. Most of the animals are quite used to visitors and vehicles, and therefore don't flee far, making it easier to observe and photograph them here than elsewhere.

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Ngorongoro Crater has a high population of resident animals (over 25,000) and do not migrate because the area is generally replenished by water bodies and food is abundant for its large numbers of mammals (both herbivores and their predators - lions, jackals, leopards and hyenas). Ngorongoro Crater is reputed to have the largest number of big-size, well-fed lions in Tanzania. Ngorongoro Creater is reputably an all season destination. 

The crater floor is home to rare African black rhino, an endangered species. Another important reason to visit Ngorongoro is because on your way down from the crater to the Serengeti plains you will pass Olduvai Gorge Museum, the "Cradle of Mankind" where the Leakey's made their famous discovery fossils of the men of yore milleniums.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire has its own special charm. Mustard Travel usually place the destination at the beginning or end of safari.
The area is well worth visiting. A stay during the dry months from July to October is particularly rewarding. At this time, many animals stay close to the Tarangire River on the east side of the park, and which is the true key of Tarangire National Park.

Tarangire RiverTarangire is a part of Lake Manyara's ecosystem and has three major divisions: 1. The northern triangle (Lemiyon Route) of the park, home to the park HQ and public campsites. There is more wildlife in this area spiced by the views of the fascinating and majestic baobab trees of the 1st millenium. 2. The east side of the park (Matete) is famed for the riverine habitats of Tarangire River, tall elephant grass and reeds on its banks and prolific bird life. Tarangire affords wildlife viewing especially large herds of elephants at close range on a guided walking bush safari that makes the place famous.  3. On the west are variagated combretum and acacia woodlands with views of Lake Brungi and Majara. Also interesting feature is the milima mitatu hills (swahili for '3 hills').  A number of lodges, mid-range and luxurious tented camps are built close to the rivers to provide greater attention to your safari needs in Tarangire.

At certain times of the year, Tarangire is home to very large herds that move across from the adjoining "Masai Mara Steppe". Tarangire is also a paradise for birds (over 550 species). Common beautiful types include the kori bustard, red and yellow barbet, hornbills, yellow-collared lovebird, rufous-tailed weaver, starlings, the bee-eater or a lilac-breasted roller among others. Rare animal species like the fringe-eared oryx and long-necked gerenuk can be spotted here. Notably, Tree-climbing_lion

 

Tarangire is famous for its tree-climbing pythons enjoying well-earned siestas on sausage trees. Leopards and lions too are qualified parchers!. Who knows whether a live baobab tree slices the middle of your room in the lodge like the tree-tops lodge? Very interesting variety indeed!

 

Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara is a scenic haven from whatever direction you approach it. Diverse landscapes, wildlife and birds make Lake Manyara National Park a gem of Tanzania. The shallow alkaline lake stretches to about 127 square miles (329 km2) is famous for its large populations of baboons, the sausage trees with its tree-climbing lions, the giant fig and mahogany trees and the scenic escarpment boundaries on the western side. The basin is replenished by underground springs and is home to over 300+ migratory birds.

baboonsLake Manyara is not just a pass-me-by park on way to Serengeti or Ngorongoro, but a really uniquely enchanting diversity and blend of its flora and fauna. Though little in the eyes of others, Lake Manyara is a rich game viewing area especially ungulates on a lovely canoe ride.  The road entering the park winds along ground-water forest and welcomed by the troops of baboons seen below.

 

Other interesting activities including biking, forest walks, bush lunches / dinners, cultural tours, and night game drives.