If you’re an avid traveller with insatiable wanderlust, then an African safari is likely high on your bucket list. The continent is full of options for spotting the Big Five (water buffalo, rhinoceros, elephant, lion, and leopard), encountering a herd of elephants ushering their calves through the bush, or admiring the regal giraffe as it serenely glides over the plains.
What makes Tanzania so magnificent and unique from other African countries is the grand and sweeping stage on which the drama between predator and prey unfolds. Unlike many other parts of Africa, the landscape here takes the breath away as much as the animals do. For variety and the most spectacular landscapes, no country could outperform Tanzania. We here at Discovery Tours think this magnificent country makes for one of the most captivating travel experiences on the planet.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire boasts the most diverse landscape and vegetation anywhere in Tanzania’s safari parks. Thick Baobab trees, towering termite mounds and gentle hills dot the landscape of this immense park. Its 1,100 square miles are sliced in two by the Tarangire River, the only source of water in the Maasai land during the dry season. Even animals from Lake Manyara come here to drink when the water in their neighbourhood dries up.
With such diverse ecosystems and a constant water supply, there’s a great concentration of big game here. This includes up to 6,000 elephants, giraffe, buffalo, zebra, lion, leopard and cheetah. Several antelope species not seen in larger parks can be found here, too, including the eland, oryx, and the elusive Grant’s Gazelle. Birds can also be seen in abundance with over 500 species calling Tarangire home. As for the Baobabs, these fascinating trees hold water in their trunks in reserve for the dry season, with the largest able to store 26,000 gallons. Keep your camera handy when visiting here so you can capture photos of the Baobab trees silhouetted against the sky, a sight unique to Africa.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara hosts one of Africa’s most unique parks. Most of its area comprises a narrow strip of land bordered by a mountainous wall on one side and its namesake lake on the other. The lake is the true centrepiece of the park and the hot spot of animal activity.
The lake, with rich alkaline properties that draw an abundance of pink flamingos, virtually disappears in the dry season. Some of these birds remain when the lake dries up. More than 400 species of bird live here year-round and by some accounts, you can easily expect to see 100 of them in one day. Aside from its birds, all manner of wildlife lives within the park’s 130 square miles, including zebras, giraffes, elephants, and the famous blue monkeys. The hippo pond allows for thrilling, and safe, views of these rotund creatures. The park is also known for its tree-climbing lions, a rare sight.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti is perhaps Africa’s most famous national park, and Tanzania’s oldest. When the Maasai people migrated to these lands in the late 1600s, they gave it a name that means, “the place where the land runs on forever.” That translation has been simplified over the centuries to “endless plains.” When you arrive at Serengeti, you will understand how it earned the name.
Here, you will see unforgettable images of Africa including vast expanses of tall grass dotted with umbrella-shaped acacia trees, fiery sunsets that cast the landscape in light, and wildebeest and zebra marching across the plains. These magical sights are very much unique to the park and Africa. You will view sights including the Simba Kopje, used as inspiration for settings in The Lion King, the Seronera Valley, famous for lion and leopard populations, and Moru Kopjes, a unique landscape characterized by rocky cliffs with boulders and caves. You can even choose to join the optional Sunrise Balloon Safari that will take you high above this tranquil setting as the sun rises. Drift above the landscape and watch wild game roam on the plains below.
The Serengeti also has the largest populations of the Big Five animals. Lions thrive here because of the abundance of prey. Leopards, though reclusive, number about 1,000. While elephants are recovering after years of poaching, rhinos are dwindling because of it, and the water buffalo population has suffered from disease. Still, all five are here and our sharp-eyed driver-guides will help you seek them out.
The Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles, a wildlife sanctuary that has remained virtually unchanged for millennia. This vast caldera, covering around 100 square miles, was formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago. It has remained largely unchanged ever since. Today, it is home to a varied landscape of grassland, bushland, pristine streams, salt lakes lined with birdlife, and forests teeming with monkeys.
Here you will descend about 2,000 feet to the floor of the crater, one of the largest calderas in the world, and discover a diverse ecosystem and a concentration of birds and animals. Perhaps view herds of elephants with their calves wandering along the dirt paths or even see the endangered rhino, if you are lucky! You will enjoy a picnic lunch here before ascending back to the rim of the crater and returning to the lodge. This magical setting of abundant and unspoiled wilderness never fails to enthrall visitors.
You enjoyed an ancient river teeming with vegetation and wildlife, a bird haven on a lakeside sanctuary, the endless plains of the Serengeti National Park and a large caldera home to an Eden-like paradise. For its breathtaking variety and stunning beauty, no other safari experience can equal that of Tanzania. A Discovery Tours small group lets you experience it all in the most intimate fashion. We invite you to read more, then join us in Tanzania!