The ‘endless plains’, named Siringet by the wandering Masai, is 14,763 sq. km. It supports millions of mammals of which most who annually migrate in concentrated herds north across the Mara River. This ‘the last great spectacular of nature’ has a cast that includes millions of Wildebeest, thousands of Thompson’s Gazelle and Zebra during the migration period in June, with the return leg in October and November. The Serengeti centers on acacia savannah, with dry grasslands to the south, a western corridor of wooded highland that fronts Lake Victoria and north, the wooded grasslands along the Grumeti and Mara Rivers. Large populations of Lion and Cheetah inhabit this enormous sanctuary to complete viewing all the Big Five animals.
Tarangire National Park covers approximately 2600 square kilometers. Tarangire lies to the south of the large, open grass plains of southern Maasailand, and derives its name from the Tarangire River, which provides permanent water for wildlife in the area. It is the vast number of baobabs that first capture the eye as you enter the Park which is spectacular in the dry season when many of the migratory wildlife species come back to the permanent waters of Tarangire River. Huge herds of wildebeest, zebras, elephants, eland and oryx gather to stay in Tarangire until the onset of the rains when they migrate again. Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches. All the Big Five can be seen here except for the Rhino. The birdlife is wonderful as hundreds of species inhabit the park.
Lake Manyara National Park covers 330 square kilometers. In the north of Tanzania, Manyara National Park lies between the vast wall of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara. The waters of the lake with its swampy fringes, the ground water forest, the woodland and the scrub combine to provide habitat for a high density of wildlife. Near the Endabash River, you will find “Maji Moto”, literally “hot water”. These hot springs bubble up to the surface heated by geothermal activity. This is also the park to visit to see elephants, zebra and buffalo, monkeys while the lake itself hosts hippo (particularly where the river feeds the lake). No rhinos among the Big Five can be spotted here. The birdlife is wonderful as hundreds of species inhabit the park.
At the heart of this diverse conservation area which is 8,288 square kilometers lies the incomparable crater, once a young volcano that eventually collapsed leaving a perfect caldera 18kms across and 1km deep – the largest in the world. You may enter this area by descending the thickly wooded rim a mixture of Strangler Fig, Red Thorn Acacias and Ruby Vines, attracting a variety of birdlife, on to the crater floor with its famous soda lake, Magadi. This conservation area includes Seneto Springs, Gorigor Swamps, Lerai Forest and the Gol Mountains. Thousands of large mammals; Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, clambering in the trees are Olive Baboons, Blue Monkeys and Bushbabies are to be spotted here. All the Big Five can be seen here. Ol Duvai is famed for its fossil finds – about 150 species of prehistoric mammals including the Leakey’s discovery of 400 fragments of a skull. Ol Duvai gains its name from the Masai word for the wild sisal that is prolific here.
Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain at 5,895m, only 3 degrees south of the Equator, yet crowned with a permanent icecap. The National Park covers an area of 1,864 sq. kms extending from 1,824m to the summit at 5,895m. Often the only visible sign of the mountain is the great, snow-mantled shoulder of Kibo and rugged crags of Mawenzi thrusting through a ring of cloud. At lower altitudes the park consists of mountain rain forest, giving way to scrub then alpine moorland and finally glaciers. On the moorland are found the extraordinary giant groundsel and lobelias that have seemingly evolved in response to freezing cold at night and hot tropical sun by day. Game includes eland, colobus and blue monkeys and the rare Harvey’s and Abbott’s duiker.
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