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Overview of the National Parks

Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania's smaller parks. Its vegetation is diverse, ranging from savannah to marshes to evergreen forest. Created to protect its magnificent elephant herds, Manyara National Park is equally famous for the unusual behaviour of its tree-climbing lions as for the flocks of pink flamingos that inhabit the lake's shores.

The reserve is considered to have the highest density of the olive baboon with troops of up to 200 members. The acacia dominated woodlands around Lake Manyara provide the perfect habitat for the Maasai giraffe.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), measuring 8,300 square kilometres, is also the only place on earth where mankind and wild animals co-exist in harmony. Had it not become the world's sixth-largest unbroken caldera, then what is now known as the Ngorongoro crater could have been a towering volcanic mountain, as high as Kilimanjaro.

There are 7,000 wildebeests, 4,000 zebras, 3,000 eland and 3,000 Grant's and Thomson's gazelles. The crater also has the densest known population of lions, numbering 62. Higher up, in the rainforests of the crater rim, are leopards, about 30 large elephants, mountain reedbuck and more than 4,000 buffalos, spotted hyenas, jackals, rare wild dogs, cheetahs, and other felines

Serengeti National Park is at the heart the larger Serengeti ecosystem, which is defined by the area covered by the annual migration. The vast plains of the Serengeti comprise 1.5 million ha of savannah. The annual migration to permanent water holes of vast herds of herbivores (wildebeest, gazelles and zebras), followed by their predators, is one of the most impressive natural events in the world. It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous.

Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.

The closest national park to Arusha town is Arusha National Park - a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safari goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours.

The entrance gate leads into shadowy montane forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys and colourful turacos and trogons - the only place on the northern safari circuit where the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily seen. It is also home to Mount Meru - at 4,566 metres

At 5,895 m, Kilimanjaro is the highest point in Africa. This volcanic massif stands in splendid isolation above the surrounding plains, with its snowy peak looming over the savannah. The mountain is encircled by mountain forest. Numerous mammals, many of them endangered species, live in the park.

Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, it is located in Manyara Region. It is most famous for its elephant migration, birding and authentic safari atmosphere. With it being roughly ten times the size Lake Manyara NP, Tarangire is a little gem on the Northern safari circuit not to be missed.

Lake Baringo is the most northerly of the Rift Valley Lakes. The lake is fed by several rivers, El Molo, Perkerra and Ol Arabel, and has no obvious outlet; the waters are assumed to seep through lake sediments into the faulted volcanic bedrock. It is one of the two freshwater lakes in the Rift Valley in Kenya, the other being Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is almost 13kms across, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of five metres. Lake Naivasha supports a diverse water-bird community. It provides a diverse habitat for a variety of mammals and fish such as tilapia, black bass, and Crayfish. Among the birds that can be spotted here are Cormorants, Warblers, Black Herons, Grey-backed Fiscal, and the Fish Eagle.

Lake Nakuru has become world famous for one particular reason. Thousands of flamingo, joined into a massive flock, fringe the shores of this soda lake to feed on algae that forms on the lake bed. Nakuru does, however have more to offer. It is also a sanctuary for Black and White Rhino and is also home to huge herds of waterbuck, zebra, buffalo, the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and more.

This park is famous for its massive cliffs and hot springs and is home to a variety of bird and wildlife. Unlike Kenya's other National Parks, walking and biking is permitted here which is why our biking tours go into this park.

The Aberdare National Park, with an area of 767 Km2 covers the higher areas of the Aberdare Mountain Ranges of Central Kenya, from altitude of 1829m to 4000m above sea level. Animals easily observed in the park include; the Black Rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white Colobus monkey and sykes monkey. Rarer sightings include those of lions, the golden cat and the bongo

For most, Amboseli is all about its big game - elephants, lions and cheetahs. The plains are vast and the landscape is dominated by the glistening majestic snow capped Kilimanjaro immediately to the south. Main game viewing lies in the eastern half of the park. Game includes elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, maasai giraffe and buffalo. Also common game such as zebra, eland, hartebeest, white-bearded Gnu, waterbuck, Thomsons and Grant gazelle and Impala

Other Safari Options

Like Kenya, Tanzania is a magnificent place for a safari. The national parks are massive compared to many in Kenya yet offer a diverse array of animals and bird life. The best place from which to view the mass migration of zebra and wildebeest is from the Serengeti Reserve in Tanzania.
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Like Tanzania, Kenya is a magnificent place for a safari. The difference is that the scenery from one national park to the other is so diverse that you would easy believe you were in a different county. The best place from which to view the mass migration of zebra and wildebeest is from the Masai Mara Reserve in Tanzania.
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It is not only Kenya and Tanzania that have spectacular game parks, Uganda too. It offers up an amazingly diverse array of park to suit everyone from bird watchers to big cat lovers. It also gives you a chance to visit a rhino sanctuary and track the rhino in their natural habitat. But best of all, it is home to resident chimpanzee and mountain gorilla species, must do visits on anyones' bucket list.
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Visiting the mountain gorilla in Uganda in the heart of the Virunga mountains is a unique opportunity to see these magnificent creatures close up. These tours are done over 5 days, with only one day of hiking to see these magnificent creatures.
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In Rwanda, you may only track gorilla within Volcanoes National Park, a section of the bigger Virunga mountains. Approximately 480 mountain gorillas live in the Virunga complex and reside on the altitude range of 2,300 to 4,500 meters in the southern area of Virunga National Park. Tours are just three days in total with one day of trekking to see the Mountain Gorilla
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The annual migration of the animals, (wildebeest and zebra) takes place each year between June and October. The flow of animals moves from a southerly to a northerly and westerly direction as the herds head north towards the Mara River in search of food. Between July and August each year, literally millions of wildebeest, often aptly termed the clowns of the African wildlife, head in their droves from the Serengeti in search of fresh grasslands further north towards the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Around November of each year, they turn and head back in a south easterly direction towards Tanzania. The flow of animals is entirely dependant on the weather and so the patterns change from year to year. Below is a rough idea of how the animals move over the course of each year, by following the movement of the arrows.

Migration Safari Patterns

Wildebeest Migration, Serengeti Migration Serengeti Migration
April May
Migration Safari Migration Safari
June to July August
Migration Safari Migration Safari
September October
Migration Safari Migration Safari
November December
Migration Safari
February to March