Within the borders of Tanzania lie Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro; its deepest and longest freshwater lake, Tanganyika; a geographical wonder, Ngorongoro Crater; and the finest concentration of wildlife in the world on the Serengeti Plains.
Black Rhino - Ngorongoro Crater
Wildebeest Migration - Serengeti
All Tanzania Northern Circuit safaris begin in the quiet and pleasant town of Arusha. In 1900, the town was just a small German military garrison but it has expanded and flourished. Modern Arusha is home to the headquarters of the East African Community, and is Tanzania's second busiest town, after Dar es Salaam. Many of the wide roads are lined with flame trees, jacaranda and bougainvillea, which is a fantastic sight when they are in bloom.
Kilimanjaro International Airport is conveniently located halfway between Arusha and Moshi, with regular services to national parks, regional hubs and major cities worldwide.
Often described as the “Eighth wonder of the world”, Ngorongoro was a huge active volcano some 2 ½ million years ago, whose cone collapsed after an eruption leaving a sunken caldera of 311 sq. km, rendering it one of the largest craters in the world. Today, the crater is home to a wide variety of game including lion, elephant and rhino as well as buffalo, gazelle, wildebeest and zebra. Lake Magadi, the soda lake at the floor of the crater, is home to thousands of flamingoes. The 610 metre descent into the crater reveals a sight of unequaled grandeur.
The Ngorongoro conservation area is 210 km (4 hours) by road from Arusha. If taking a circuit safari it is a 2 ½ hour drive from Tarangire or 3 ½ drive from Serengeti. The drive provides breathtaking views of the Great Rift Valley, unparalleled by any other in East Africa.
Tarangire National Park
Located slightly off the main safari route, Tarangire National Park is a lovely, quiet park in Northern Tanzania. It is most famous for its elephant migration, birding and authentic safari atmosphere. Both the river and the swamps act like a magnet for wild animals during Tanzania's dry season. The Tarangire National Park is reputed to contain some of the largest elephant herds in Africa.
Tarangire is easily accessible by road, at 160 km (2 ½ hours) from Arusha on good surfaces.
Elephant - Tarangire National Park
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti is the most famous national park in Africa. The name is derived from the Masai word 'siringet' meaning 'extended area', and at 14,763 sq. km. is the fourth largest national park in the world. The landscape varies from the long and short grass plains in the south, the central Savannah, the more hilly wooded areas in the north, and the extensive woodland in the Western Corridor.
Serengeti is most well known for the annual migration which takes place across the great savannah plains. When the dry season begins at the end of June, the migration commences as the animals move north in search of pasture, ending up in the Masai Mara in Kenya. This is a phenomenal sight: Thousands and thousands of animals, particularly wildebeest, with large numbers of gazelle and zebra, as far as the eye can see. Needless to say, lion, cheetah and the elusive leopard follow the herbivores on their great trek as easy pickings are to be found.
The village of Seronera in the heart of Serengeti is 335 km from Arusha, with a driving time of around 7 hours. The short detour from the Ngorongoro-Serengeti road provides the opportunity to see the Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of mankind.