The parks and game reserves that make up
Tanzania’s northern circuit are easily the most popular and accessible
attractions in the country. All the big names of mainstream Tanzanian
safaris are located in the north, from the plains of the Serengeti to
the lofty peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro. On a northern circuit safari, most
safari companies and independent travelers depart from Arusha. Lake
Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park are little more than
three hours away and are often incorporated as part of a longer
safari. The most visited part of the northern circuit is the
Ngorongoro Crater, where wildlife graze and hunt in one of the largest
volcanic craters in the world.
If you are travelling from December to
April, the annual wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park is
definitely not to be missed. For hikers, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or
the crater of Mt. Meru is an adventurous break from game viewing. A
longer trek through the Crater Highlands is also a beautiful way to
explore northern Tanzania at a leisurely pace. Day-trips from Arusha
to Mt. Meru and the Momela Lakes, located in Arusha National Park,
incorporate short forest hikes and canoeing trips as a break from
standard vehicle game drives.
is easily Tanzania’s most famous national park, and it’s also the
largest, at 14,763 square kilometres of protected area that borders
Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Park. Its far-reaching plains of endless
grass, tinged with the twisted shadows of acacia trees, have made it
the quintessential image of a wild and untarnished Africa. Its large
stone kopjes are home to rich ecosystems, and the sheer magnitude
and scale of life that the plains support is staggering. Large
prides of lions laze easily in the long grasses, plentiful families
of elephants feed on acacia bark and trump to each other across the
plains, and giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, eland, and the whole range
of African wildlife is in awe-inspiring numbers
Mount Kilimanjaro -
highest peak and most famous mountain in Africa, scaling the peak of
Mount Kilimanjaro is a heavy challenge, more from the rigours of
altitude than the actual difficulty of the hike itself. The climb,
which takes on average five days (you’re more likely to reach the
top if you pace yourself), takes hikers through thick forests and
alpine grasslands, desolate rock face and brilliant white glaciers.
Arusha - A popular day trip for
visitors about to embark from the town of Arusha on longer northern
circuit safaris, Arusha National Park is a gem of varied ecosystems
and spectacular views of Mt. Meru, the crater that gives the region
its name. The small national park includes the slopes, summit, and
ash cone of Mt. Meru, the Momela Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and the
lush highland forests that blanket its lower slopes. Game viewing
around the Momela Lakes is at a laid-back and quiet pace, and while
passing through the forest many visitors stop to search for troupes
of rare colubus monkeys playing in the canopy.
Lake Manyara -
inside Lake Manyara National Park, the lake is home to millions of
flamingos, pelicans, storks and other plentiful bird life, as well
as hippos that can be observed at close range. Hot springs trickle
into the shallow waters and during the dry season, the lakeshore
retreats to leave striking white soda deposits in its wake.
National Park has some of the highest population density of
elephants anywhere in Tanzania, and its sparse vegetation, strewn
with baobab and acacia trees, makes it a beautiful and special
location. Located just a few hours drive from the town of Arusha,
Tarangire is a popular stop for safaris travelling through the
northern circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The
park extends into two game controlled areas and the wildlife are
allowed to move freely throughout.
Ngorongoro Crater -
Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa’s Eden’ and the ‘8th
Natural Wonder of the World,’ a visit to the crater is a main
drawcard for tourists coming to Tanzania and a definite world-class
attraction. Within the crater rim, large herds of zebra and
wildebeest graze nearby while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At
dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the
crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist.
Just outside the crater’s ridge, tall Masaai herd their cattle and
goats over green pastures through the highland slopes, living
alongside the wildlife as they have for centuries.
Mt. Meru -
dramatic crater of Mt. Meru is often neglected in favour of nearby
to the east, but a visit to this spectacular mountain, located
within Arusha National Park, is an unforgettable experience. It’s
lower slopes are covered in dense highland forest, where colobus
monkeys play and buffalo graze concealed beneath the thick foliage.
The extinct volcano’s extensive base gives way to a perfectly formed
crater, and another internal crater whose walls are sharp, sheer
cliffs. An ash cone forms a subsidiary peak, and the Momela Lakes
and Ngurdoto Crater are visible from Meru’s slopes.
Things To Do
Here in Tanzania, the options for
activities are endless:
DSM INFOR CENTRE,
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Tel. (255) 22 2131555