SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
This is one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges. The name came from the Maasai 'Siringet', meaning “endless plains”. The Seronera Valley in the Serengeti is famous for the abundance of lion and leopard. The Serengeti consists of various types of vegetation; grassy plains, savannah with acacias, wooded hills and mountains, which are the backdrop for an extraordinary concentration of animals that reaches its peak during the wildebeest migration. Almost 1.5 million wildebeest undertake a circuit of 1000 kilometres, searching for new pastures and watering holes. The migration is a year-round event so the time of year will influence the best place to view this phenomenon.
Best times to view the migration: from December to May in the south of the park and from June to October to the west (western
corridor) and to the north (near Maasai Mara/Serengeti border).
Considered to be the eighth wonder of the world, Land of Maasai, this protected area is located in the Great Rift Valley - a gigantic fracture of the earth's crust. At 1600 metres altitude, the bottom of the crater (265 square kilometres) is dotted with watering holes and is home to approximately 30 000 animals in an area naturally enclosed by the slopes of the volcano. The crater elephants are strangely, mainly bulls. There are a small number of black rhinoceros. The bird life is largely seasonal and is also affected by the ratio of soda-fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor. The crater can be visited year round, however, rains are almost guaranteed in April.
This gorge is located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. 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. Many more fossils have been discovered here including those of prehistoric elephant, giant horned sheep and enormous ostrich.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
Nestling at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, this park is noted for its incredible beauty. It is famous for its tree-climbing lions that spread along the branches of Acacia trees. It consists of a lush forest, woodland, grassland, swamps and a soda lake and covers 390 square kilometres. It is a sanctuary to over 350 species of birds, including pelican, stork, sacred ibis, flamingo and many more. It also has numerous buffalo, elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe and a great variety of smaller animals. Lake Manyara National Park is accessible all year round, however, there is often rain in March and April.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Animal population here rivals that of the Serengeti. On the east bank of Lake Manyara, the Tarangire River crosses the park from north to south. Several circuits are possible, and acacia trees and baobab forests shelter animals seeking refuge near the river. Wildebeest, zebra, eland, herds of elephant, hartebeest, buffalo, gerenuk, fringe-eared oryx, and flocks of birds of many different species can all be seen. Tanangire National Park is at its finest during June to November.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
The town of Arusha consists of three spectacular features - The Momela Lakes, Mount Meru and the Ngurdoto Crater and is just 32 kilometres from the National Park. On clear days magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen from almost any part of the park. The vegetation and the wildlife vary with the topography, which ranges from forest to swamp. The park is famous for its 400 species of bird life, both migrant and resident, as well as the black and white Colobus monkey.
The highest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro consists of three summits: to the west, the Shira Plateau, to the east Mawenzi Peak and between the two lies the snow-capped summit of Kibo which is 5895 metres. It truly is the roof of Africa. There are several ways to reach the summit; Marangu route (to the west) is the most popular, Machame (to the west) and Shira (to the far west) are very demanding. You'll be trekking and not mountain climbing. Mount Kilimanjaro can be visited year round, however, it is best to trek outside of the rainy season from March – May.