Northern Zone ( Home of the Big five)
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park has incredible volcanic scenery, wonderful views of Mt Kilimanjaro (on clear days), a beautiful rainforest and plenty of wildlife. The main features are Ngurdoto Crater and the Momella Lakes. The Momella Lakes attract a wide variety of birds, particularly flamingos. Guests sometimes enjoy this park just as much as the Serengeti. Its close proximity to Arusha usually means that it gets put first on a Northern Parks itinerary.
Location: 45 minutes driving from Arusha town
Activities: Game Drives, Canoeing, Forest walk, Mt. Meru Climb.
Lake Manyara National park
Lake Manyara has a considerably different landscape from any of the other parks. Picture lush woodlands and the beaches of this Rift Valley soda lake, where giraffe, elephants and wildebeest enjoy an endless supply of water. You will often see these enormous animals in the water, sitting, sipping or just cooling off. Due to this unique habitat, there are hundreds of bird species able to live in the forests and the ultimate site-seeing prize of this area is the tree-climbing lion. Is the only place you can practice night game driving within the park boundaries.
Location: 2.5 hours form Arusha on the road to Ngorongoro or 45 minutes from Tarangire National Park
Activities: Game drive, Mountain biking, Forest hiking, Night Game drive
The Conservation area is a fine blend of landscapes, people, wildlife and Africa main archaeological site. The Ngorongoro Crater is regarded as a natural wonder of the world (the 8th) and has been declared a World Heritage Site. It is the largest intact crater in the world and is teaming with wildlife, with virtually all the big game species found here, including, zebra, wildebeest, black rhino, antelope, elephants, giraffe, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard. The area is also an ornithologists’ paradise, with the thousands of flamingos wading in the shallows of Lake Magadi and hundreds of other species of birdlife.
Location: Northern Circuit, 4 hours from Arusha town on the way to Serengeti national park
Activities: Game drive, Nature Walk, Hiking, Visit a Maasai Boma, Visit Olduvai Gorge
Serengeti National Park
Tanzania’s oldest park, the Serengeti is the country’s most popular and famous park. “Serengeti” is a Maasai word meaning “endless plain”, very apt, as the park consists of flat, treeless plains stretching as far as the eye can see, one of the highest concentration game sites in Africa.
The annual wildebeest migration is one of the most spectacular and breath-taking events in the world. From the Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara over 1.4 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra and gazelle, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators, migrate in a clockwise fashion over 1,800 miles each year in search of rain ripened grass. This mass of moving animals is so large that even when it is in Kenya’s Masai Mara, parts of it are still in the Serengeti.
Note that even the time when most of the wildebeest are expected to be in the Masai Mara, the wildlife is still plentiful in the Serengeti, as the ‘resident’ animals opt to stay where they are instead of follow the migration.
Location: Northern Circuit, 7 hours from Arusha, 2.5 from the Ngorongoro Crater
Activities: Game drive, Hot Air Ballon, Bush Walk.
Tarangire National Park
This park is known for its elephants. You will see these enormous creatures travel in families and you surely will not miss the extraordinary care they take of their young. The elephants tend to travel in packs and in the same paths as they have taken year after year. When they see your vehicle coming closer they will gather around their young to protect them and lead them on their way.
Tarangire River winds through the middle of the park providing nourishment for the animals and great viewing for visitors. Daily large herds of animals and birds gather around this river so you will be sure not to miss anything.
It also boasts many Baobab trees, impressive trees that can live for thousands of years. Animals can be found in the rainy seasons, but the concentration of wildlife tends to be better during the dry seasons.
Location: Almost 1.30 hours from Arusha on the way to Ngorongoro and/or Serengeti National Park
Activities: Game drive