The Famed Northern Circuit
One of the world's last great wildlife refuges, the Serengeti and its grassy plains, savannah acacias and wooded hills, are the backdrop for an extraordinary concentration of animals, which reaches its peak during the Great Wildebeest Migration. Almost 1.5 million wildebeest undertake a circuit of 1000 kilometers, searching for new pastures and watering holes.
The name originates from the Maasai word - Siringet - meaning Endless Plains.
The Seronera Valley in the Serengeti is famous for its abundance of Big Cats, especially Lions.
Best time: December to May in the southern area of the park. June to October in both the western corridor and to the north.
Regarded as the Eighth wonder of the world, this land of the indigenous Maasai tribe is a protected area located by the Great Rift Valley. Volcanoes, mountains, plains, lakes, forests & archaeological sites form this magnificent landscape. At 1600 amsl, the bottom of the Ngorongoro Crater spans over 265 squared kilometres, dotted with watering holes & shelters almost 30,000 animals in an area that is naturally enclosed by the slopes of a massive remnant volcano - it is the World's largest unbroken Caldera.
The Crater's elephants are strangely, mainly bulls & hosts a rare population of black rhino. Affected by the ratio of soda fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor, is the abundant Bird life, which is seasonal due to this.
Located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is Olduvai Gorge. It was here that Dr. Louis Leakey discovered the remains of Homo hablis, or "Handy man", regarded as mankind's first step on the ladder of human evolution. But many more fossils have been discovered here, including those of prehistoric elephants & enormous ostriches. Private Guides operate lecture tours of these prehistoric sites.
Best time: All year round - April hosts the rainy season.
Animal populations here rivals that of the famed Serengeti. On the east bank of Lake Manyara, the Tarangire river crosses the park from north to south where animals seek refuge under mighty Baobab trees.
Several circuits are possible in Tarangire; Burungi to the west (80kms), Lamarkau to the south (150kms) & Matete along the river (60km).
Best time: Although great year round, its a real spectacle from June to November.
Nestling at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment the park is noted for it's incredible beauty & it's tree-climbing lions spread along the branches of Acacia trees. Its lush forest and soda lake covering 390 sq km, are a sanctuary to over 350 species of birds - Pelicans, Storks, Sacred Ibis, Flamingos and many more. It also hosts Buffaloes, Elephants, Hippo, Giraffe and a great variety of smaller animals.
Best time: All year - rainy season in April.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
Arguably the most magnificent natural journeys in the world, The Great Migration is an infinite cycle that is integral to the diverse ecosystem of the Serengeti savannah; especially as 85% of the migration occurs in Tanzania’s Serengeti. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events, involving over 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelles, 200,000 zebras 97,000 Topi and 18,000 elands.
The famed Grumeti river crossing, the newborn calves beginnings, the big cat escapes, and not to forget, the lazy grazing – for the 2 million migrators it really is, the survival of the fittest. For you however, it is an opportunity to witness the circle of life in action.
It may not have a particularly romantic name, but Stone Town is the old city and cultural heart of Zanzibar, little changed in the last 200 years. One can spend many idle hours and days just exploring the fascinating labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways.
Amongst the winding alleys, lie bustling bazaars, mosques and grand Arab houses, whose original owners vied with each other over the extravagance of their dwellings. This one-upmanship is particularly reflected in the brass-studded, carved, wooden doors - there are more than 500 different examples of this handiwork throughout the city.
At 5895 amsl (19,336 ft), Mt. Kilimanjaro sits gracefully overlooking the entire African continent. Being the tallest mountain in Africa and the highest free standing mountain in the world, its views are unobstructed and its panoramic presence is unmistakable. Almost every kind of ecological system is found on the mountain; from cultivated land, rain forest and heath, to moorland, alpine desert and an arctic summit, where the ultimate Uhuru Peak - The Roof of Africa - awaits to be conquered.
Sadly, the mountain’s snow caps are diminishing, having lost more than 80% of their mass since the beginning of the last century and Kilimanjaro may be completely ice free by 2030.
Best time: Whole year round, although April tends to come with rainy conditions.
Although there are many options to conquer Kilimanjaro, Machame Route, otherwise known as "The Whiskey Route", is arguably the most break-taking and scenic – no surprise it’s one of the more popular and most successful routes.
The minimum duration for this camping route is 6 days, but we recommend 7 days to allow for better acclimatization. It joins with Lemosho route on Day 2 at Shira 2 camp, and then follows a common path up to Uhuru Peak, allowing trekkers to experience Lava Tower and Barranco “Breakfast” Wall along the way. The descent is via Mweka route which is the designated descent route for all of Kilimanjaro’s camping routes.
The Lemosho route is an unspoiled and spectacular way up to the Shira Plateau and is considered to Kilimanjaro’s Classic route. Its remoteness is perhaps due to its longer climb duration of 8 or 9 days, which in return, gives climbers more acclimatization time. The western approach of this camping route also gives trekkers the opportunity to spot Kilimanjaro’s wildlife before the accent.
It joins Machame route on Day 3 at Shira 2 and then follows a common path up to Uhuru Peak, allowing trekkers to experience Lava Tower and Barranco “Breakfast” Wall along the way. The descent is via Mweka route which is the designated descent route for all of Kilimanjaro’s camping routes.
Explore more of Tanzania
The Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater may be some of the most recognizable landscapes in the country, but Tanzania has a total of 17 national parks and 28 protected areas, all of which add up to over 25% of the land area of the country. Some other notable places to visit in Tanzania include:
The closest national park to Arusha town – northern Tanzania’s safari capital – Arusha National Park is a sanctuary often overlooked by safari goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a fascinating range of habitats within a few hours – even by canoe.
Its spectacular features; The Momela Lakes, Mount Meru and the Ngurdoto Crater, host abundant bird life, both migrant and resident, and the Black-and-White Columbus monkeys, which the park is famous for. On clear days, magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from almost any part of the park.
Best time: All year round - rainy season in April.
Covering over 47,000 square kilometers, the Selous Game Reserve is the largest game reserve in all of Africa - to put things in perspective, it is larger than Switzerland. Its remoteness will appeal most to travellers seeking a sense of isolation and discovery.
The reserve is famed for its fabulous safari sundowners and excellent boat safaris on the Rufiji River – one of Africa’s great water channels. Along with Rufiju, the main game viewing circuit follows a series of 5 interconnected lakes, where more than half of Tanzania's elephants roam, alongside large populations of predators, and notably, rare wild dogs.
Best time: During the dry season of June to October. Many lodges close from March through May.
Despite being Tanzania’s second largest national park, Ruaha has remained a very exclusive destination due to its remote location tucked deep in Tanzania's interior. The great Ruaha River serves as a life line to the greatest resident elephant population in East Africa and to a number of rare species, such as the greater kudu, sable antelope and the endangered wild dog.
Best time: During the driest season from June to October, when the river is the only permanent source of water in the area.
Gombe Stream is renowned for its Chimpanzees and the research of world famous primatologist, Jane Goodall, which she started back in the 60’s. It is one of the best places in Africa to come face to face with primates who are extraordinarily habituated – a truly unforgettable experience.
Gombe’s lush forested slopes are separated by 13 streams which rush down the escarpment to the sandy shores of Lake Tanganyika - the longest fresh water lake in the world. Here one can witness the power struggles between Red Colobus monkeys, Olive baboons and other species.
Best time: During the dry season from July to October, when the chimps hang around Gombe’s lower slopes.