Tanzania Northern Circuit National Parks
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains. Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years.
Tarangire National Park
About Tarangire National Park
Size: 2850 sq km (1,096 sq miles).
Location: 118 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha.
Easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara following a surfaced road to within 7km (four miles) of the main entrance gate; can continue on to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
Charter flights from Arusha and the Serengeti.
What to do
Guided walking safaris.
Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.
When to go
Year round but dry season (June - September) for sheer numbers of animals.
Two lodges, one tented lodge, two luxury tented camps inside the park, another half-dozen exclusive lodges and tented camps immediately outside its borders.
Several camp sites in and around the park.
Arusha National Park
The Momella lakes, Mt. Meru and the Ngurdoto Crater are the three striking features of Arusha National Park. Magnificent views of Mt. Meru or Mt. Kilimanjaro are afforded from almost any part of the park.
There are different types of animals within the different vegetation zones of this area. Migrating water birds settle on the lakes, waterbuck and reedbuck are found near water, while the shy bushbuck and duikers keep to the forested areas. White and black colobus monkeys can be seen climbing the branches of ancient cedar trees. Arusha National Park is also home to buffalo, leopard, hyena, baboon, giraffe, rhino, elephant and hippo. Within this wide range of habitats almost 400 species of birds have been recorded in the Park. Some of these are migratory and present themselves between October and April, while others are permanent residents of the forests.
Serengeti National park
Size: 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles).
Location: 335km (208 miles) from Arusha, stretching north to Kenya and bordering Lake Victoria to the west.
Scheduled and charter flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara and Mwanza.
Drive from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Tarangire or Ngorongoro Crater.
What to do
Hot air balloon safaris, walking safari, picnicking, game drives, bush lunch/dinner can be arranged with hotels/tour operators. Maasai rock paintings and musical rocks.
Visit neighbouring Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano and Lake Natron's flamingos.
When to go
To follow the wildebeest migration, December-July. To see predators, June-October.
Four lodges, six luxury tented camps and camp sites scattered through the park; one new lodge will be opened next season (Bilila Lodge); one luxury camp, a lodge and two tented camps just outside
Manyara National Park
About Lake Manyara National Park
Size: 330 sq km (127 sq miles), of which up to 200 sq km (77 sq miles) is lake when water levels are high.
Location: In northern Tanzania. The entrance gate lies 1.5 hours (126km/80 miles) west of Arusha along a newly surfaced road, close to the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa Mbu.
By road, charter or scheduled flight from Arusha, en route to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
What to do
Game drives, night game drives, canoeing when the water levels is sufficiently high.
Cultural tours, picnicking, bush lunch/dinner, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park.
When to go
Dry season (July-October) for large mammals;
Wet season (November-June) for bird watching, the waterfalls and canoeing.
One luxury treehouse-style camp, public bandas and campsites inside the park.
One luxury tented camp and three lodges perched on the Rift Wall outside the park overlooking the lake.
Several guesthouses and campsites in nearby Mto wa Mbu.