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Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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Sightseeing in Tanzania

National Parks and Wildlife Reserves : Tanzania's national parks extend over some 33,660 sq km and encompass everything from the unique biosphere of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the Arusha and Serengeti National Parks and the Kilimanjaro National Park at an altitude of nearly 6000m.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area stretches up from the surrounding plains of the Serengeti and includes the breeding grounds of the flamingos in Lake Natron, Lake Magadi, Lakes Enaysi and Manyara, the active volcano Ol-Ndoinyo and the park’s heart, deep within the extinct crater of the Ngorongoro volcano.

The 610m deep, 20km wide crater covering 311sq km of area is refuge to every known species of African mammals including the rare and endangered black rhino. It also has the largest number of big cats in Africa. The indigenous, pastoral tribes of the Masai people also live in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area that includes ten game reserves where big game hunting is allowed under license.

The Serengeti National Park spreads over 14,763 sq km and has plenty of native African wildlife that people travel to Africa to see. Almost barren in its vastness, the plains of the Serengeti have very few trees but its grasslands stretching all the way to the Kenyan border house endless herds of wildebeest, impalas, giraffes, zebras, gazelles and antelopes. The animals arrive at the Serengeti following annual migration patterns, and number over two million at its peak between December and May.

The Arusha National Park attracts the most number of visitors by its varied natural beauty and spectacular scenery. The smallest of the national parks, Arusha is famous for its Ngurdoto Crater, the Momelo lakes and the rugged Mt. Meru.

As the altitude changes, so does the vegetation and the animal species that live in the area. Visitors to the park can see wild buffalos, rhinos, African elephants, giraffes and warthogs or trek up the 4566m high Mount Meru.

The Gombe Stream National Park was made famous by the landmark work done there by the primate specialist Dr Jane Goodall on the chimpanzees of Lake Tanganyika. Gombe houses the chimpanzee sanctuary and the research station on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.

Lake Manyara National Park is the place to visit if you want to see the highly endangered African elephants or the unusual sight of a pride of lions climbing trees or lying stretched out on branches in languid torpor, sated after a good feed.

The wall of the Great Rift Valley forms a backdrop to the park, before opening out to forests, grasslands, swamps and the soda lake that attracts a variety of birdlife, particularly the famous pink clouds f flamingoes to its rich feeding grounds. Other wildlife common to the park includes lions, herds of buffalo, baboons, elephant, rhino, impala, giraffe, leopard, zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck, waterbuck and blue and vervet monkeys.

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest mountain peak and poses a major challenge to avid mountaineers. A near perfect volcano, Kilimanjaro has not erupted for a while even though it is not quite extinct.

The views from the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro are truly magnificent as the vista unfolds before the viewer acres of farmland, dark green rainforests and the African veldt. On the mountain itself, the terrain and vegetation changes from the tropical to temperate to alpine. Kilimanjaro itself is a complete antithesis to Africa – snowcapped, mysteriously shrouded in clouds, a cold and high place in the midst of a hot and dry land. It takes an experienced climber anywhere between three to five days to climb Kilimanjaro. A guide must accompany all expeditions and climbers must allow time to acclimatize to the change in altitude and climate.

The Olduvai Gorge is the site of some of the most startling and important anthropological finds in the world, made by the first family of paleontologists, the Leakeys. Amongst the early hominid fossils found here are the remains of the ‘Nutcracker Man’ or Australophithecus Boisei who lived 1.8 million years ago. The site has a museum housing a treasure trove of archaeological delights from Stone Age artifacts to fossils.

Dar es Salaam means the 'Haven of Peace' in Swahili and it must have provided safe harbour for merchant ships sailing the waters of the Indian Ocean from faraway lands. The port city was set up as an important trade centre and acts as the natural first step into the intriguing spice island of Zanzibar, the beautiful beaches on the east coast of Tanzania and the safari circuit further inland.

Dar es Salaam’s cityscape reflects the cultural heritage of the powers that ruled over it, whether Asian or European, Arab or African. But it remains an African or more specifically, a Swahili city, an impression reinforced by its friendly, cheerful people.

Zanzibar instantly evokes images of pirates, slave traders, seafarers and adventurers and the sweet smells of cinnamon and cloves. Every bit of Zanzibar is deeply entwined in its colourful past. Long famed as the jewel of the Indian Ocean, the islands consisting of Pemba and Zanzibar attracted travellers from as far as Sumeria, Phoenicia, Arabia, India, China and Malaysia. Indian and Arab traders, their cultures apparent in the narrow streets, tall buildings, bustling markets and places of worship, built most of this historical city in the 19th century. Modern Zanzibar is being developed as a tourist centre and it really does have plenty to attract visitors to its historical monuments, spice plantations, beautiful coastline and lush green tropical vegetation of islands like Pemba.

Beaches : Tanzania has an 804-kilometre long coastline boasting of the finest unpolluted beaches in Africa. Many of them have well developed facilities for watersports and big game fishing. The coast of Zanzibar has some beautiful unspoilt beaches, fishing villages, a marine park and coral islands just off the east coast.

Along the mainland’s east coast from the capital Dar es Salaam lie picturesque beaches of Kunduchi, Mjimwena and Mbwa Maji including the historical 17th village of Msasani. Towards the south are the ruins of the trade posts of Portuguese and Arab merchants.


Brrr... it’s cold and damp and you need to escape the winter chill. Dreaming of a beach to feel the ...
Vidastu, our driver had a long scar on his cheek signifying that he belonged to a particular tribe. In his ...
 

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