Tanzania is difficult to beat in Africa for its savannah game and there is a tremendous opportunity to view the Big Five as well as well as other animals such as cheetah and crocodile. Broadly speaking the main areas can be divided into two circuits of north and south and there is a vast range of destinations, each of which has its own unique wildlife and ecosystems. Southern circuits, whilst generally more expensive, offer more remote and unspoiled safari terrain and are less frequented, whilst the northern circuits enjoy ease of access and are ideal for those on a lower budget.
In the north, the likelihood of spotting Big Five game, crocodiles, hippo, zebra and giraffe is strong in the renowned National Parks of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire. The Serengeti is perfect for the quintessential landscapes of Africa; golden plains that teem with life of the numerous resident animals that one associates with Africa. On the savannah it is not uncommon to see cheetahs prowling, gazelle grazing, herds of elephant wandering, lions resting atop kopjes and leopard lazing or climbing trees. Here you can also find the Great Migration for a majority of the year, where millions of wildebeest traverse the plains with predators such as lions, leopards, hyenas and crocodiles in hot pursuit.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a volcanic caldera that contains its own unique ecosystem and this animal sanctuary literally throngs with a staggering variety of wildlife, including buffalo, wildebeest, 16 endangered black rhino, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, elephant and approximately 70 lions. In total there are an estimated 25,000 mammals inside the crater. Tarangire (best game viewing takes place between June and November) also offers an excellent opportunity for those on a lower budget; located close to Arusha it is famous for its huge herds of elephants and other abundant wildlife.
The Southern Circuit includes the Selous Game Reserve and Katavi National Park, the former being the largest reserve in Tanzania and one of the few in Africa that you can explore on foot, offering the chance to view wild dogs, wildebeest, hippos, over 70,000 elephants, zebra and predators in their natural habitat. Brilliantly remote and wild, Katavi is one of the least visited parks yet boasts some of the largest populations of crocodiles and hippos, while lion and leopard feed from the huge herds of herbivores.
In the stunningly beautiful areas of Mahale and Gombe, the rainforest-clad slopes are home to some of the oldest habituated chimpanzee troops in Africa. Trekking through the forests to track these familiar-looking distant relatives is one of the highlights of Tanzania and can range between 1 to 4 hours, awaiting the upshot of a monkey hunt or the pant hoots of their frenetic communication is worth the tiring trek.
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