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Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park lies on a 300-kilometre axis of Africa's most famous national parks, running from Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in the west to Kilimanjaro National Park in the east.

The park is just a few kilometers north east of Arusha, though the main gate is 25 km east of the city. It is also 58 km from Moshi and 35 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife. Despite the small size of the park, common animals include giraffe, buffalo, zebra, warthog, the black-and-white colobus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingos and more.

Tarangire National Park



 

Tarangire National Park is probably one of the least visited of the northern Tanzanian game parks, and retains a real air of undiscovered Africa, particularly in the south of the park. Just a two hours drive away from Arusha, the park is a nice stop if time does not allow for a visit to Serengeti and Ngorongoro.

It lies a little distance to the south east of Lake Manyara and covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers. It is named after the Tarangire River that flows through the park.

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is a 60,000 square kilometer savanna which lies over Tanzania.[1] The biannual migration that occurs there is considered one of the seven tourist travel wonders of the world. The region contains several national parks and game reserves. Serengeti is derived from the Maasai language, Maa; specifically "Serengit", meaning "Endless Plains".

The Serengeti has more than 2 million herbivores and thousands of predators. Blue Wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and buffalos are the animals most commonly found in the region.

The Serengeti hosts the largest and longest overland migration in the world,[4] a biannual occurrence. Around October, nearly 2 million herbivores travel from the northern hills toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara River, in pursuit of the rains. In April, they then return to the north through the west, once again crossing the Mara river. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Circular Migration. Over 250,000 wildebeest alone will die along the journey from Tanzania to Maasai Mara reserves in upper Kenya, a total of 500 miles. Death is often caused by injury, exhaustion, or predation.

The park covers 14,763km≤ of grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. The park lies in the north of the country, bordered to the north by the national Tanzania and Kenyan border, where it is contiguous with the Masai Mara National Reserve. To the south-east of the park is Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the south-west lies Maswa Game Reserve, and to the western borders are Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, finally to the north-east lies Loliondo Game Control Area.

 

 

Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara is a shallow fresh-water lake in Tanzania. Said by Ernest Hemingway to be the "loveliest [lake] ... in Africa," it is also the home of a diverse set of landscapes and wildlife.

The name "Manyara" comes from the Masai word emanyara, which is a euphorbia species of plant that is grown into a hedge around a family homestead.

Of the 127 square miles (329 km≤) of Lake Manyara National Park, the lake's alkaline waters cover approximately 89 square miles (231 km≤). While most known for baboons, the lake and its environs is also home to herbivores such as hippos, impalas, elephants, wildebeests, buffalo, warthogs and giraffes. Giant fig trees and mahogany seen in the groundwater forest immediately around the park gates draw nourishment from the underground springs replenished continuously from crater highlands directly above the Manyara basin. Leading away from the forest to the fringes of Lake Manyara are the flood plains. To the south are visible the acacia woodlands. Leopards, although in abundance, are hard to get a glimpse of, just like the other elusive carnivores - the lions - of this park.
 

Lake Manyara provides opportunities for ornithologists keen on viewing and observing over 300 migratory birds, including flamingo, long-crested eagle and grey-headed kingfisher.

With an entrance gate that doubles as an exit, the trail of Lake Manyara National Park is effectively a loop that can be traversed by jeep within a couple of hours that may be stretched to a few more at best, if driving slowly, to watch, observe and enjoy the diversity of flora and fauna. The Rift Valley escarpment forms a noteworthy landmark and provides a spectacular backdrop to Lake Manyara.

 
Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area or NCA is a conservation area situated 180 km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The conservation area is administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an arm of the Tanzanian government, and its boundaries follow the boundary of the Ngorongoro Division of Ngorongoro District. It is 8,288 km≤ - about the size of Crete.  A population of about 25,000 large animals, largely ungulates along with (reputedly) the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the crater. These include black rhinoceros, which have declined from about 108 in 1964-66 to between 11-14 in 1995, and hippopotamus which are very uncommon in the area. There are also many other ungulates: wildebeest (7,000 estimated in 1994), zebra (4,000), eland, Grantís and Thomsonís gazelles (3,000).The crater has the densest known population of lion numbering 62 in 2001. On the crater rim are leopard, elephant numbering 42 in 1987 but only 29 in 1992, mountain reedbuck and buffalo (4,000 in 1994).

           
Wildlife at Ngorongoro Crater.
However, since the 1980s the craterís wildebeest population has fallen by a quarter to about 19,000 and the numbers of eland and Thomsonís gazelle have also declined while buffalos increased greatly, probably due to the long prevention of fire which favors high fibrous grasses over shorter less fibrous types. In summer enormous numbers of Serengeti migrants pass through the plains of the reserve, including 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra and 470,000 gazelles. Waterbuck mainly occur mainly near Lerai Forest; servals occur widely in the crater and on the plains to the west. Common in the reserve are lion, hartebeest, spotted hyena and jackal. Cheetah, though common in the reserve, are scarce in the crater itself. Wild dog has recently disappeared from the crater and may have declined elsewhere in the Conservation Area as well.

The main feature of the NCA is the Ngorongoro Crater, which is the world's largest unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera. The Crater, which formed as the giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago, is 610m deep and the floor is 260km≤ (102 square miles). [5]

Although thought of as "a natural enclosure" for a very wide variety of wildlife, up to 20% or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the Crater in the wet season. Animal populations in the crater include most of the species found in East Africa, but there are no impalas, topis , giraffes , or crocodiles.

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