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Tanzania Game Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, Tanzania Wildlife Reserves
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Serengeti National Park
The largest and best-known of Tanzania’ National Parks, covering over 14,500 sq kms. The world-famous wildlife sanctuary has the greatest and most spectacular concentration of game found anywhere in the world. Most of the Serengeti is vast open plains with rocks giving character to the landscape. In addition to its vast herds of Wildebeest and other plains game, Serengeti is renowned for its Lion population. It is not unusual to see 40 or more lions in a day, and Leopards can be found during the day resting in trees. During June and July, the spectacular annual migration of the Wildebeest takes place, with the animals moving from their usual haunts on the central plains on a westward trek into the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Serengeti has a wealth of bird life with colorful Rollers, Bee-eaters and Sunbirds in plenty, whilst birds of prey, game birds and waterfowl are well represented.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha greatest charm is probably the fact that it is an unspoiled African wilderness, an unexplored game and bird sanctuary covering 12,950 sq km. The park lies between two large rivers, the Njombe and Ruaha, with the latter flowing 16 km through rugged gorges and rocky broken country, then through lush plains where it is flanked by palm thickets and tall acacia woodland. During the dry season, there is concentration of game along the river including herds of Elephants, Giraffe, Buffalo and Impala and numerous Greater Kudu. Crocodiles can be seen basking on the many sandbanks. Stretches of woodland house Roan and Sable Antelope and Liechenstein’s Hartebeest, with the Lesser Kudu found in the open bush country. Elephants can be encountered at the Mbage-Mwagusi track.
Ngorongoro iso one of the most spectacular game haunts in Africa, and one of the biggest craters in the world. The approach road skirts the rim of the crater floor with other game like the Cheetah, Eland, Grant’s and Thomson’s Gazelle, Spotted Hyenas, Hunting Dog and the occasional Leopard. Also to be found here are numerous species of birds including Verraux’s Eagle and Egyptian Vulture.
Selous Game Reserve
This is predominantly an Elephant reserve and an extension of the Mikumi National Park, covering some 54,490sq kms. The area is mainly woodland with grassy flood-plains and some dense forest patches much of which is inaccessible. In addition to Elephant there are Hippos, Buffalo, Wildbeest, Hartebeest, Sable Antelope, greater Kudu, Eland, Lion and Leopard. Bird life is similar to that found in the Mikumi national Park.
Mikumi National Park
The fourth-largest park in Tanzania, 3,230 sq km, and is situated 283 km west of Dar es Salaam, north of Selous, and en route to Ruaha, Udzungwa and (for the intrepid) Katavi. Picturesque wooded hills form a border to the Mkata Plains, a section of the park and home to many Elephants and Buffaloes. Game animals are abundant and include Lion, Hippo, Warthog, Giraffe, Zebra and Wildebeest. Also to be found are Greater Kudu, Black Rhino, Leopard, Cheetah, Waterbuck, Hartebeest, Sable Antelpe and Reedbuck. Bird life is extremely varied, with many colourful and interesting species found in the park. Mikumi can be reached from Dar es Salaam – a roughly 4 hour drive.
Lake Manyara National Park
The is 107 km southwest of Arusha, and is noted for its wealth of wildlife. At times the lake is visited by thousands of Lesser Flamingoes with a sprinkling of larger species. Over 30 different birds of prey have been recorded at the Park, including the pal-nut Vulture and Ayre’s and Crowned Hawk Eagles. Although the park is relatively small, its terrain is so diverse that its mammal and birds list are most impressive. There are a number of Elephants to be found in the park. The parks main attraction are probably the tree-climbing Lions of Lake Manyara, which can be found resting in trees due to a combination of the need to avoid dense undergrowth and a search for cool shade.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
This park is remarkable for its range of habitats – miniature volcanic craters, highland rainforest, acacia, woodland and a string of crater lakes (The Momella lakes). In addition, on clear day there are spectacular views of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. Arusha National Park offers many beautiful panoramic views. An opportunity to visit this park is not to be missed. Known as Ngurdoto National Park until 1967. It covers an area of 137 sq kms. The Park is Located near Mt Meru which looms over nearby Arusha town. The Park and the Town derive their names from the Waarusha people who live in this area. The Ngurdoto Crater, Momella Lakes, the highland Montane forest and the rugged Mt Meru ( 4565 Meters above sea level) are the distinct ire features of the park. Also this Park is well known for the Rare species of Black and white colobus monkeys. Other wildlife species include Bushbucks Buffalos, forest Duikers, Hippos, Elephant and giraffes. The numbers of avifauna to be found in this beautiful park is in a league of its own in terms of variety and proliferation.
Rubondo Island National Park
Rubondo Island, in the southwest of Lake Victoria, is Tanzania’s tenth National Park and the only one in Lake Victoria. The 240 square km island provides a unforgettable experience for visitors, including the main island and 11 smaller islets, combining the breathtaking natural beauty of a forest refuge with the relaxing tranquility of sandy lake-shore beaches. The Island is some 28 km in length along the north-south axis and between 3 and 10 km wide. Lake Victoria covers 68,000 square kilometers and is the largest lake in Africa and the second largest in the world - comparatively it is twice the size of The Netherlands. Rubondo Island boasts a unique diversity of flora and fauna. Only here can the visitor be sure of seeing Sitatunga and have the chance of observing small gangs of chimpanzees. Other mammals frequently seen include hippos, otters, bushbucks and vervet monkeys. Rarer sightings are genet, colobus, marsh mongoose and suni antelope (dikdik).
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