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Situated at the foot of the beautiful Mount Meru, Arusha is known as the safari capital of Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit. It's a bustling city filled with an interesting mix of markets, chaotic traffic, old colonial buildings and modern conveniences, like coffee shops with WiFi, and an array of great restaurants.
Don't be fooled by the fact that Arusha National Park is small (552 km2). Within its borders, it has a diverse topography and wonderful wildlife. From the rugged peaks of Mount Meru to the marshy depths of the Ngurdoto Crater where warthog wallow, to monkey-filled montane forest and rolling grassy hills on which giraffe and zebra graze, there's plenty to see here.
Known for its diverse landscapes and abundance of game, Katavi National Park's drawcard is its remoteness. This has ensured that the area has remained completely unspoilt. With so few visitors around, a Katavi safari is guaranteed to make you feel like the only people on earth! With large populations of elephants, lions, hippos and more, game viewing is beyond spectacular, especially during the dry season when water sources dwindle.
The spectacular alkaline Lake Manyara forms the centre point of this small and very beautiful park with surprisingly diverse fauna and flora. A circuit drive through the park passes through forest, wetlands, grassy plains and acacia forests, offering views of different animals and multitudes of birds. Elephant, hippo, giraffe, tree-climbing lion and baboon are just a few of the game that call Manyara home.
The Mahale Mountains National Park is situated on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in remote western Tanzania. It's spectacularly beautiful, with the backdrop of the Mahale Mountains and lush, tropical flora. The main attraction is walking safaris to observe the chimpanzees who live here. They share their forest paradise with a range of other primates, mammals and beautiful birds.
Consisting mainly of sweeping grasslands, the Ndutu area in the northern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area joins the Serengeti. As such, it forms part of the annual migratory route of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra, antelope and their predators who come to graze and calve between November and March, depending on the rains. The forests around Lake Ndutu and small koppies are also home to prolific resident wildlife.
Ngorongoro is a Tanzanian must-see. The Ngorongoro Crater, a caldera or collapsed volcano, while only covering 260 km², includes a diverse range of habitats including montane forest, grasslands, acacia forests, a salt-lake and swamps. The diversity of the habitat provides refuge to an incredibly wide range of birds and animals, including the Big Five, in a concentrated area. Accommodation around the rim of the crater provides spectacular views and easy access to the crater.
One of Tanzania's top safari spots, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area offers safari-goers and wildlife enthusiasts outstanding wildlife sightings and breathtaking scenery. A game drive on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater with its incredibly diverse range of birds and animals including the Big Five is a bucket-list experience on any Tanzanian safari itinerary.
Accommodation and park fees within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area can be high. Just 20 km out of the park lies the bustling town of Karatu, surrounded by beautiful coffee plantations. It is here that comfortable, affordable accommodation in spectacular settings can be found. The area enjoys easy access to Ngorongoro, with its breathtaking scenery and teeming wildlife, especially at Ngorongoro Crater.
In the heart of Tanzania where the Zambezi miombo woodlands meet the Tanzanian/Kenyan savannahs, lies Ruaha National Park. This vast park, with its few camps, offers visitors an uncrowded glimpse of untouched Africa, with its huge diversity of game, birds and landscapes. It's an area known for its incredible animal sightings, including large herds of elephant and plenty of predators.
Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania covers over 45,000km² and is one of the country's three World Heritage Sites. The reserve is world-renowned for its unspoilt bush and vast numbers of game, including elephant, lion, hippo and over 440 species of bird. Incredible scenery and the option to enjoy the African bush not only on game drives but game walks and boating safaris, too, make Selous an incredible safari destination.
The Greater Serengeti Migration Area refers to a huge area that incorporates a number of national parks, including Serengeti and the Ndutu region of Ngorongoro. Vast plains, rolling hills, volcanic mountains and forested areas make for breath-taking scenery. Add to that abundant wildlife and the annual circular migration through the region of millions of wildebeest, zebra, antelope and their predators, and you have the perfect safari setting.