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Mkomazi Game Reserve

Located just east of the Pare Mountains in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc range, and situated just south of the border with Kenya, Mkomazi Game Reserve is the focus of an intensive breeding program to save the endangered black rhinos. Adjacent to Tsavo National Park in Kenya, Mkomazi’s tourist facilities are exceedingly sparse and limited, and travel to the area is often neglected in favour of more accessible national parks and reserves.

The savannah and grasslands around Mkomazi Game Reserve may be perfect for black rhinos, but it is dry and dusty for most of the year. When frequented water holes dry up, game becomes elusive and hard to find. Compared to larger and more populated national parks, Mkomazi Game Reserve has its own unique appeal. wild dogs have recently been introduced to the region, and the reserve does have a wide variety of indigenous snakes.

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Kitulo National Park

Kitulo, which has recently become a fully protected National Park, is situated on the Kitulo Plateau, which forms part of Tanzania’s Southern Highlands. It is understood that the area, which is known locally as the “Garden of God,” provides a home for a wide variety of wildflowers such as balsams, bellflowers, honey-peas, irises, lilies and orchids.

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Undzungwa National Park

Located west of Dar es Salaam, the Udzungwa Mountains rise up from the western edge of the Selous Game Reserve. Vervet monkeys play high in the forest canopy, and small forest antelope can be viewed at the right time of day. Botanical diversity is exceptional, and the park is host to a large number of endangered bird species. Views from the peaks of the mountains, towards the Selous Game Reserve and the distant Indian Ocean coast, are incredible and well worth the effort.

The Udzungwa Mountains offer visitors the opportunity to view several species of primates and endangered birds in a beautiful African rain forest. Five distinct trails cover the forests and mountain peaks within the park, and offer varying levels of difficulty for everyone from novices to experienced trekkers. Better yet, there are no roads through the Undzungwa Mountains National Park, so hikers have the area all to themselves.

Tarangire

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park with Bobby Tours Tanzania

Tarangire 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 traveling 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.

Before the rains, droves of gazelle, wildebeest, zebra, and giraffes migrate to Tarangire National Park’s scrub plains where the last grazing land still remains. Tarangire offers unparalleled game viewing, and during the dry season, elephants abound. Families of the pachyderms play around the ancient trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their afternoon meal. Breathtaking views of the Masaai Steppe and the mountains to the south make a stop at Tarangire a memorable experience.

Serengeti

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park with Bobby Tours Tanzania Safaris

Serengeti 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.

The annual wildebeest migration through the Serengeti and the Masai Mara attract visitors from around the world, who flock to the open plains to witness the largest mass movement of land mammals on the planet. More than a million animals make the seasonal journey to fresh pasture to the north, then the south, after the biannual rains. The sound of their thundering hooves, raising massive clouds of thick red dust, has become one of the legends of the Serengeti plains.

The entire ecosystem thrives from the annual migration, from the lions and birds of prey that gorge themselves on the weak and the faltering to the gamut of hungry crocodiles that lie in patient wait at each river crossing for their annual feed.

But it’s not just the wildebeest who use the Serengeti as a migratory pathway. The adjacent reserves of Maswa and Ikorongo, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya all allow the animals and birds of the area a free range of movement to follow their seasonal migrations. Indeed, in the wake of the wildebeest migration, many of the less attention-grabbing features of the Serengeti are often overlooked. The park has varied zones in which each ecosystem is subtly different . Seronera in the centre of the park is the most popular and most easily visited area.

The Grumeti River in the Western Corridor is the location for the dramatic river crossing during the wildebeest migration. Maswa Game Reserve to the south offers a remote part of the park rewarding in its game-viewing and privacy, and Lobo near the Kenyan border offers a change to see plentiful game during the dry season.

Serengeti Balloon SafariAside from traditional vehicle bound safaris, hot-air ballooning over the Serengeti plains has become a safari rite-of-passage for travel enthusiasts. The flights depart at dawn over the plains and take passengers close over the awakening herds of wildebeest and zebra, gazelle and giraffe. The extra altitude allows guests to witness the striking stretches of plains punctuated only by kopjes. Up in the sky, you have Africa all to yourself.

Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park is the perfect union of beach and bush. Located just 70 km north of Bagamoyo and immediately accessible by paved road from Dar es Salaam, Saadani has recently become a fully protected national park and is a popular day-trip from beach resorts scattered along Tanzania’s northern coast. The Wami River, which passes through Saadani National Park and empties into the Indian Ocean, hosts a large population of hippos, crocodiles, flamingos, and many large bird species. Elephants are often viewed bathing and playing on Saadani’s beach, especially in the early hours of the morning.

A good choice for visitors based in Dar es Salaam who don’t have time for longer safaris to visit more remote parks around the country, Saadani is easily visited on a day trip or short weekend safari. It’s elephant population frolics in the sands and sometimes ventures into the crashing surf, which alone makes Saadani one of the more special and unique parks to visit in Tanzania.

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Ruaha National Park

Tanzania’s second-largest national park after the Serengeti, Ruaha National Park is a remote bastion of spectacular wilderness, undisturbed wildlife, and breathtaking scenery. With herds of more than 10,000 elephants, vast concentrations of buffalo, gazelle, and over 400 bird species, Ruaha’s limitless wilderness, together with the surrounding game reserves of Rungwa and Kisigo — stretches over 40,000 square kilometres. Elephants are found in some of the highest concentration in the country, travelling in matriarch-lead herds through ancient grazing lands and seasonal supplies of water.

The Great Ruaha River is the main feature of the park, and meanders through its borders. On its banks, the game viewing is spectacular, whether done by land or by water. Hippos yawn under the midday sun and crocodiles lie lazily along the banks. Fish eagles dive and swoop along the riverbanks, and at night the sound of frogs croaking happily in the reeds extends across the hills and plains. Boating safaris are starting to gain in popularity, and provide a popular alternative to viewing the area by car.

Most of the national park is located on the top of a 900 metre plateau whose ripples of hills, valleys, and plains makes the game viewing topography beautifully unique. Small mountains run along the southwest borders of the park and their tree-covered slopes are visible in the distance. During the rainy seasons, dry river beds swell with the biannual deluge and within days, a thin coat of green covers all the land in sight.

Because of its rather remote location, Ruaha National Park is largely unexplored. Because of this, a safari to the national park often has the feel of a private adventure and an unique experience. For the intrepid wilderness lover and the avid safari explorer, a trip to Ruaha is uniquely rewarding and a perfect piece of Africa.

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania with Bobby Tours

376742303_ad89f4c6e8_mThe 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.

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Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes its eponymous famous crater, Olduvai Gorge, and huge expanses of highland plains, scrub bush, and forests that cover approximately 8300 square kilometres. A protected area, only indigenous tribes such as the Masaai are allowed to live within its borders. Lake Ndutu and Masek, both alkaline soda lakes are home to rich game populations, as well as a series of peaks and volcanoes and make the Conservation Area a unique and beautiful landscape. Of course, the crater itself, actually a type of collapsed volcano called a caldera, is the main attraction. Accommodation is located on its ridges and after a beautiful descent down the crater rim, passing lush rain forest and thick vegetation, the flora opens to grassy plains throughout the crater floor. The game viewing is truly incredible, and the topography and views of the surrounding Crater Highlands out of this world.

1447072606_f23c53f830_mThis truly magical place is home to Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton of Australopithecus boisei, one of the distinct links of the human evolutionary chain. In a small canyon just north of the crater, the Leakeys and their team of international archaeologists unearthed the ruins of at least three distinct hominoid species, and also came upon a complete series of hominoid footprints estimated to be over 3.7 million years old. Evacuated fossils show that the area is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation in the world.

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The Ngorongoro Crater and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are without a doubt some of the most beautiful parts of Tanzania, steeped in history and teeming with wildlife. Besides vehicle safaris to Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, and surrounding attractions, hiking treks through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are becoming increasingly popular options. Either way you choose to visit, the Crater Highlands are an unforgettable part of the Tanzanian experience.

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Mikumi National Park

Due to the completion of the paved road connecting the park gate with Dar es Salaam, Mikumi National Park is slated to become a hotspot for tourism in Tanzania. Located between the Uluguru Mountains and the Lumango range, Mikumi is the fourth largest park in Tanzania and only a few hours drive from Tanzania’s largest city, the park has a wide variety of wildlife that are easy to spot and well acclimatised to game viewing. Its proximity to Dar es Salaam and the amount of wildlife that live within its borders makes Mikumi National Park a popular option for weekend visitors from the city, or for business visitors who don’t have long to spend on an extended safari itinerary.

Most visitors come to Mikumi National Park looking to spot the ‘Big Five’ (cheetah, lion, elephant, buffalo, and rhino), and they aren’t disappointed. Hippo pools provide close access to the mud-loving beasts, and bird-watching along the waterways is particularly rewarding. Mikumi National Park borders the Selous Game Reserve and Udzungwa National Park, and the three locations make a varied and pleasant safari circuit.

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Mahale Mountains

Mahale Mountains National Park is located in one of the most remote locations in Tanzania, on the western border with the Congo, against the dramatic shores of Lake Tanganyika. Accessible only by small aircraft, the park is the home of a large chimpanzee population that is well-acclimatized to human contact. Although the nearby Gombe Stream National Park is more famous, the primate population in the Mahale Mountains is more numerous and sightings are more regular and prolonged.

Observing the chimpanzees in their natural habitat, one cannot help but be touched by their natural grace and anthropomorphic features. Although remote, a chimpanzee safari to Mahale Mountains National Park is well worth the effort. Hikes to their habitation areas are accessible and not strenuous, although being in good physical condition will ease the strain of walking through the jungle! Up close, observing the endangered primates is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.