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TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
There’s no place on earth like Tarangire National Park. Just a couple of hours south-west of Arusha, this 2,850 square kilometer park is known for its beautiful and diverse wildlife. Within its bounds lives Tanzania’s largest population of elephants; in fact, in all of Africa, only Botswana has more of these majestic creatures.
The Tarangire River and wetlands attract animals throughout the year, guaranteeing that when you come to Tarangire, you will likely see everything Tanzania is famous for, including wildebeest, waterbuck, giraffe, impala, gazelle, lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards, and, at times, thousands of zebra too. You can’t go far without coming across huge herds of hundreds of buffalo, for which the park is renowned.
Peak time in Tarangire is from July to October. This is the dry season, which draws thousands of animals to the river and swamps. It’s also when the number of elephants in the park can reach a spectacular 3,000.
With more animals and fewer visitors than some of the better-known wildlife spots, this often-overlooked park gives you something that’s hard to find elsewhere: solitude. Here, you’re more likely to see large game and birds in complete serenity, with no one else around.
NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
Not only is Ngorongoro Conservation Area a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is home to the planet’s largest intact volcanic caldera, spanning 260 square kilometers and surrounded by 610 meter high walls.
Within its bounds live around 25,000 large mammals, and it goes without saying that the game-viewing is world-class. Set against a backdrop of steep, thickly forested walls, the scene is a photographer’s dream, and any traveler’s bucket-list highlight.
Ngorongoro takes its name from the sonorous clang of traditional cowbells – the area is Tanzania’s only wildlife conservation zone that allows human population within its bounds, and the Maasai tribespeople have called this home for hundreds of years, living alongside the wildlife and punctuating the stunning scenery with their striking red robes and intricate jewelry.
The rolling highlands give way to the infinite plains that characterize Southern Serengeti, and between November and June, these vast grasslands are filled with the entirety of the Great Wildebeest Migration.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
For many, the word ‘safari’ is synonymous with Serengeti, and it’s not for nothing that this spectacular expanse of untamed wild holds an irresistible allure for those with a spirit of adventure.
Like the Ngorongoro Conservation Area it adjoins, it has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in recognition of its importance as a conservation stronghold for a staggering abundance of Tanzania’s wildlife. After all, it spans over 14,763 square kilometers – an area similar in size to the entire state of Connecticut.
Its immensity holds a great number of animals and the pleasure of spending hours watching the drama of their lives unfold is impossible to overstate.
The natural phenomenon that is the Great Wildebeest Migration is perhaps the Serengeti’s biggest claim to fame. With over 1.5 million wildebeest traversing approximately 800km each year, it is the planet’s largest annual migration, and a truly unforgettable sight to behold.