Northern Safari Circuit in Tanzania
The Northern Safari Circuit National Parks in Tanzania include the following attractions:
Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park, Manyara National Park,
Ngorongoro Crater and the famous Serengeti National Park.
Tarangire National Park:
Tarangire National Park has some of the highest concentrations of mammals in Africa. You will likely see Lions, Leopard, Buffalo, Giraffes, Waterbucks, Impala, Elands, Lesser-Kudu and Thomson Gazelles. There are also many species of birds. Elephants also gather here in enormous numbers during the dry season from June to December.
- Tarangire is located just over 100km (62 miles) south of Arusha. The park covers an area of 2600 square km. It occupies part of the rift valley south of Lake Manyara and has a wide variety of habitats, ranging from mixed savannah and dense vegetation of acacia and mixed woodland to low hills and extensive swampland.
- Dominating its ecosystem is permanent water, both in the southern swamps and along the Tarangire River, which is the biggest source of water for many animals particularly in dry season. It is also well-known for its vast number of ancient baobab trees.
Arusha National Park:
Arusha National Park is very popular for day trips. You will likely see African Buffalo, Zebra, Giraffe, Warthogs, Baboons, Elephants, Antelopes, and rare species of Monkeys (black and white Colobus monkeys). You may also see Flamingos at the Momela lakes.
- Arusha National Park is one of the most spectacular parks in Tanzania. The park is small but varied with spectacular landscapes in three distinct areas. In the west, the Meru Crater funnels the Jekukumia River. The peak of Mount Meru lies on its rim. Ngurdoto Crater in the southeast is made up of grassland. The shallow Momella Lakes in the northeast are known for their wading birds. This park is located about 35 km away from Arusha town and is sometimes known as little Serengeti.
Manyara National Park:
Manyara National Park is famous for tree-climbing Lions. Lions can be spotted during the day resting and spreading out along the branches of the acacia trees. The park also has large herds of Buffalo and ranges of Antelopes and almost 400 species of birds. Flamingos, Pelicans, African Spoonbills, and Hammerkops can be spotted in large numbers on the shores of the lake.
- Manyara National Park is located 126 km (80 miles) west of Arusha and is situated under the wall of the Great Rift Valley. This park can be reached by car in less than two hours. The park has a total area of 330 square km in which 230 square km is covered by Lake Manyara. Lake Manyara is a habitat for thousands of Flamingos and other aquatic birds.
- Manyara is also one of the oldest national parks in Tanzania and the first park on the northern Safari route. It is home to giant fig trees, acacia woodlands, mahogany trees and grassy flood plains.
Ngorongoro Crater & Conservation Area:
- Most of Ngorongoro's animals are grazers, such as Wildebeest, Buffalo, Zebra and Thomson and Grants Gazelles, Eland and Warthogs. Elephant can also be seen in the Crater. There are a few Hippo pools and endangered Black Rhinos.
- Ngorongo has more big cats than anywhere else in Africa. You will likely see Lions and Cheetah and other predators such as Hyena and Jackal. Leopards can also be found here but they are secretive and more difficult to spot. This Caldera has about 100 species of birds.
- In northern Tanzania, just west of Arusha you will find the beautiful Ngorongoro Crater. An estimated 2.5 million years ago, the old volcano collapsed to form this crater. Known for its breathtaking landscape and exciting wildlife viewings, the crater is often referred to as Africa's Garden of Eden and the Eighth Wonder of the World.
- Ngorongoro Crater is home to the Maasai Tribe (the best known of all the people in East Africa). They live with the wildlife in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
- The vegetation varies from lush greens, highland forests, abundant short grass to desert plants in other areas. It also has many rivers, swamps and bodies of water including Lake Magadi, which sits right near the center of the crater. This area is also home to one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, Olduvai Gorge, where the remains of the earliest human were found.
- Ngorongoro is part of a group of extinct, dormant and active volcanoes associated with the widening of the Great Rift Valley of Africa. At one time it was probably as high as Mt. Kilimanjaro. Today it is the world's biggest unbroken crater or caldera, which is approximately up to 19km (12 miles) in diameter and stands at over 2,500m (8200ft). The world-renowned Ngorongoro Crater is just one part of much larger area of inter-related ecosystems.
Serengeti National Park:
- Serengeti National Park is a well-known park because of the annual migration of over two million Wildebeest and approximately 200,000 Zebra.
- It is also famous for its predators: Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Hyenas and Jackals. You will also see Giraffes, Gazelles, Eland, Impalas, Klipspringers and Warthogs, along with fascinating bird species, such as Vultures and Secretary Birds.
- Serengeti National Park is one of the world's most famous and important wildlife destinations. It is situated approximately 320 km northwest of Arusha and covers an area of 14,763 square km (5,700 square miles).
- It gets its name from the Maasai word "Siringet" meaning endless plain. This park varies from open grass plains in the south, savannah with scattered acacia trees in the center, hilly, wooded grassland in the north to extensive woodland and black clay plains to the west.
- Small rivers, lakes and swamps are scattered throughout. In the southeast rise the great volcanic massifs and craters of the Ngorongoro Highlands.
- Serengeti National Park is part of the Serengeti ecosystem which is located in north Tanzania and extends to south-western Kenya. The Serengeti is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and one of the Ten Natural Travel Wonders of the World.