All National Parks of Tanzania

All National Parks Map / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Tanzania is an East African country known for its vast wilderness areas. They include the plains of Serengeti National Park, a safari mecca populated by the “big five” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino). Tanzania safari is where you’ll see the phenomenal Great Migration, when 1.5m wildebeest take to the road, following the rains in search of green pastures. This is once-in-a-lifetime stuff and one of the greatest natural events on the planet - a spectacle as such will make for a truly unforgettable safari, unlike any other.

FIND ALL INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARKS

Serengeti National Park
Tarangire Nationalpark
Lake Manyara
Kilimanjaro National Park
Ruaha Nationalpark
Selous Game Reserve
Arusha Nationalpark
Gombe Nationalpark
Mahale Nationalpark
Mikumi Nationalpark
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Katavi National Park
Udzungwa Mountain
Jozani Forest Zanzibar

Northen Circuit Tanzania

Tanzania Northern Circuit / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Northern Circuit Safaris start in Arusha by Jeep, though it is popular to fly either to the Serengeti National Park, or the way back. The International airport, serving the Northern Circuit (and Kilimanjaro) is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). It is located about half way between Arusha Town and Moshi Town and it takes around 40 to 60 minutes to either Moshi or Arusha.

 

Southern Circuit Tanzania

Tanzania Southern Circuit / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Southern Circuit Safaris includes some of the most remarkable and less visited sights in Tanzania. There are fewer tourists because it is less well known than the Northern Circuit. Yours will frequently be the only vehicle on the landscape, and it is easy to imagine that the rest of the world no longer exists as you marvel at the incredible sights of this remarkable area. Usually start from Dar es Salaam, reaching Dar is easiest by plane.

Western Circuit Tanzania

Tanzania Western Circuit / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Western Circuit Safaris presents a unique opportunity to escape the tourist crowds and enter the hear of the bush. You can see chimpanzees in their natural habitat at Gombe Stream or Mahale Mountains and trek through breathtaking forests. Katavi is exceptional for hippo and lion.
You can also visit the great lakes: Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, Lake Nyasa (Malawi) and Lake Rukwa.

 

Islands of Tanzania

Tanzania’s Island / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Known as the Spice Island, the beautiful island of Zanzibar on Africa’s east coast is bursting with culture and history, seemingly at odds with its idyllic geography of white-sand beaches with palms swaying lazily in the sea breeze. Other beautiful islands that are worth a visit are Pemba and Mafia Island. Together this makes Tanzania a fabulous place to explore as well as a dream to relax and unwind. The island areas can be reached by ferry from Dar es Salaam or by plane.

 

What is the best time for Safari in Tanzania?

The climate is tropical and coastal areas are hot and humid, while the northwestern highlands are cool and temperate. There are two rainy seasons; the short rains are generally from October to December, while the long rains last from March to June. The central plateau tends to be dry and arid throughout the year.

Average Temperatue Arusha

Average Rainfall Arusha

The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the Dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the Dry season as well.

If you’re planning to travel to Tanzania, arriving at the right time of year is important. The best time of year to visit the country depends on what you want to see and do, as well as the length of your trip. You may also want to consider variables such as tourism numbers, budget, and weather. Please contact us for any further information!

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June – October, Dry Season

Rainfall around the country is minimal with temperatures also dropping, meaning you might experience chilly overnight conditions from time to time. These months are peak season for tourism. However with such a large area, you’ll find there’s plenty of room for everybody. If you visit the Serengeti or the Ngorongoro Crater, you might find that it is busier as they are such amazing attractions.

One of the best things about these months is you can visit all of the national parks, as conditions will be suitable for spotting game. Dry season is the best season for game in Tanzania, as the number of water sources is low therefore animals congregate in higher numbers. The southern and western parks have fewer tourists.

November – May, Wet Season

These months are considered to be the wet season, with long rainy days between March and May, and afternoon showers from November to February. In the latter part of rainy season, the rains shouldn’t affect your travels too much. The national parks are bursting with greenery, which is beautiful to look at but it can make wildlife viewing trickier. However, the northern national parks are great year round.

January and February is the peak calving season in the Serengeti, bringing in predators; nature at its finest.

If you like birdwatching, the wet season is the best time to visit Tanzania, as migratory birds are passing through.

Viewing Wildlife in the Serengeti

The wildebeest migration along with zebras, gazelles, elands and impalas can be seen throughout the year in Tanzania, as long as you’re in the right place. Fortunately, they are predictable so if this is a bucket-list item, you’ll be able to tick this one off. The Serengeti is the most famous place to see migration; the best sightings are January and February for calving season and between June and September.

NOTE:

The departure dates for all our Safaris are totally flexible according to your own personal needs.
Please contact us for further and more detailed information!

 

NORTHERN CIRCUIT SAFARIS

 

SOUTHERN CIRCUIT SAFARIS

WESTERN CIRCUIT SAFARIS

Say NO to poaching!

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Poaching has continued to be the major challenge facing national parks. In particular, the recent poaching wave involving killing elephants in almost all national parks. We as a tour operator encourage all our clients to say a clear NO to poaching in any form.

A slaughtered elephant killed by illegal ivory hunters

A slaughtered elephant killed by illegal ivory hunters

We see it as our duty and responsibility to raise awareness that the harm of illegal poaching is still present. Even though the overall situation has become better, poaching and illegal hunitng is still a big problem and a threat to all wildlife in Tanzania’s National Park. The beauty of our nature must be preserved, for us and for following generations. Therefore Tanzania Horizon Safaris is constantly raising awareness and reminds all our clients and visitors that poaching and buying products made from illegal poaching activities can not be accepted under any circumstances.

All Park Rangers and guides are doing their best to protect the animals within the parks, but still illegal hunters are trying to kill elephants and other animals for Ivory and other products made overseas. Please be aware that buying those products is contributing to illegal hunting, poaching and killing of harmless animals. Help us to stop this killing!

We can all contribute to preserve the treasure of our wildlife by saying NO to poaching!

What are the Big Five of Tanzania?

In Africa, the Big Five game animals are the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. The term was coined by big-game hunters, and refers to the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot, but is now also widely used by safari tour operators and visitors.

African elephant

The African elephant (Loxodonta africana) is a very large herbivore having thick, almost hairless skin, a long, flexible, prehensile trunk, upper incisors forming long curved tusks of ivory, and large, fan-shaped ears. The two distinct species of African elephant are: African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) and the African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana). Elephants are difficult to hunt because, despite their large size, they are able to hide in tall grass and are more likely to charge than the other species.

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Black rhinoceros

The black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is a large herbivore having two upright horns on the nasal bridge. Its thick (1.5–5 cm) protective skin, formed from layers of collagen positioned in a lattice structure, is very hard to puncture. It is now critically endangered, and hunting is extremely limited due to this. In the context of big-game hunting in Africa, the term "rhinoceros" may also refer to the white rhinoceros, but among big five game hunters, the black rhinoceros is preferred.

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African Buffalo

The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large horned bovid. They are the only animals within the Big Five that are not endangered or threatened. The Cape buffalo is considered by many to be the most dangerous of the big five to hunters, with wounded animals reported to ambush and attack pursuers.

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African lion

The lion (Panthera leo) is a large feline of Africa and northwest India, having a short, tawny coat, a tufted tail, and in the male, a heavy mane around the neck and shoulders. Lions are desirable to hunters because of the very real danger involved in hunting them.

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African leopard

The African leopard (Panthera pardus pardus) is a large, carnivorous feline having either tawny fur with dark rosette-like markings or black fur. The leopard is considered the most difficult of the big five to hunt because of their nocturnal and secretive nature. They are wary of humans and will take flight in the face of danger. The leopard is solitary by nature, and is most active between sunset and sunrise, although it may hunt during the day in some areas. Leopards can be found in the savanna grasslands, brush land and forested areas in Africa.

When is the best time to see the Big Migration?

The best time to witness the so called BIG MIGRATION at the border between Tanzania and Kenya is every year:

between November and April

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Every year, the vast herds of wildebeest embark on a long-distance migration that coincide with the annual rain fall patterns and grass growth. Following the short rainy season in November, the herds of wildebeest arrive to the short-grass plains of the Serengeti around November. The short-grass plains are located in the area east and south of the Seronera, around Ndutu and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation area. Herds of wildebeest and zebra can be seen across these plains as they feed on the nutrient rich grasses. The majority of the wildebeest calve around February. They normally stay in the area till April and then start moving west towards to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti National Park.

Our 6-day Migration Safaris have been designed specifically to focus on and to increase your chance to see the great Serengeti wildebeest migration. We have designed the itinerary to include the Lake Ndutu area, southern Serengeti and central Serengeti National Park where the majority of the wildebeest migration can normally be found from December to April.

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In order to offer you the widest possible tour budget options. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our travel consultants directly, should you require any further assistance or more detailed information, regarding any of our Tanzania Safaris. 

Serengeti National Park

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK & MASAI MARA / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK & MASAI MARA / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

The Serengeti National Park is the most famous National Park in Tanzania and part of the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. It is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and for its numerous Nile crocodile and honey badger.

History

The Maasai people had been grazing their livestock in the open plains of eastern Mara Region, which they named "endless plains," for around 200 years when the first European explorer, Austrian Oscar Baumann, visited the area in 1892. The name "Serengeti" is an approximation of the word used by the Maasai to describe the area, siringet, which means "the place where the land runs on forever".

The park is Tanzania's oldest national park and remains the flagship of the country's tourism industry, providing a major draw to the Northern Safari Circuit encompassing Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It has over 2,500 lions and more than 1 million wildebeest.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers Serengeti Safaris in a large variety of days and in combination with Safaris to Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and as part of the Big Migration Safari.

Please contact us for further information!

Geography

The park covers 14,750 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem.

The park is usually described as divided into three regions:

  • Serengeti plains: the almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other hoofed animals - zebra, gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, waterbuck - also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. "Kopjes" are granite florations that are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons.

  • Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the savannah of this region. The Grumeti River and its gallery forests is home to Nile crocodiles, patas monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.

  • Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands (predominantly Commiphora) and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), this is the best place to find elephant, giraffe, and dik dik.

Human habitation is forbidden in the park with the exception of staff for the Tanzania National Parks Authority, researchers and staff of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, and staff of the various lodges, campsites and hotels. The main settlement is Seronera, which houses the majority of research staff and the park's main headquarters, including its primary airstrip.

Wildlife

The park is worldwide known for its abundance of wildlife and high biodiversity. The migratory -and some resident- wildebeest, which number over 2 million individuals, constitute the largest population of big mammals that still roam the planet. They are joined in their journey through the Serengeti - Mara ecosystem by 250,000 plains zebra, half a millionThomson's and Grant's gazelle, and tens of thousands of topi and Coke's hartebeest. Masai giraffe, waterbuck, impala, warthog and hippo are also aboundant. Some rarely seen species of antelope are also present in Serengeti National Park, such as common eland, klipspringer, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, fringe-eared oryx and dik dik.

Perhaps the most popular animals among tourists are the Big Five, which include:

  • Lion: the Serengeti is believed to hold the largest population of lions in Africa due in part to the abundance of prey species. More than 3,000 lions live in this ecosystem.

  • African leopard: these reclusive predators are commonly seen in the Seronera region but are present throughout the national park with the population at around 1,000.

  • African bush elephant: the herds have recovered successfully from population lows in the 1980s caused by poaching, numbering over 5,000 individuals, and are particularly numerous in the northern region of the park.

  • Eastern black rhinoceros: mainly found around the kopjes in the centre of the park, very few individuals remain due to rampant poaching. Individuals from the Masai Mara Reserve cross the park border and enter Serengeti from the northern section at times. There's currently a small but stable population of 31 individuals left in the park.

  • African buffalo: the most numerous of the Big Five, with around 53,000 individuals inside the park.

Carnivores - aside from the Big Five - include the cheetah - which is widely seen due to the abundance of gazelle -, about 4,000 spotted hyena, two species of jackals, African golden wolf, honey badger, striped hyena, serval, seven species of mongooses, two species of otters and the recently reintroduced East African wild dog. Apart from the safari staples, primates such as yellow and olive baboons and vervet monkey, patas monkey, black-and-white colobus are also seen in the gallery forests of the Grumeti River. Other mammals include aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, three species of hyraxes and cape hare.

Serengeti National Park has also great ornithological interest, boasting about 500 bird species, including Masai ostrich, secretarybird, kori bustards, helmeted guineafowls, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, marabou storks, yellow-billed stork, lesser flamingo, martial eagles, lovebirds, oxpeckers, and many species of vultures.

Reptiles in Serengeti National Park include Nile crocodile, leopard tortoise, serrated hinged terrapin, rainbow agama, Nile monitor, chameleons, African python, black mamba, black-necked spitting cobra, puff adder.

Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit together with Maasai Mara National Reserve and a lion stronghold in East Africa.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The area is named after Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area. 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 the Arusha Region.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Ngorongoro Conservation Area / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

The 2009 Ngorogoro Wildlife Conservation Act placed new restrictions on human settlement and subsistence farming in the Crater, displacing Maasai pastoralists, most of whom had been relocated to Ngorongoro from their ancestral lands to the north when the British colonial government established Serengeti National Park in 1959.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers a vast variety of Safaris to visit Ngorongoro Crater.

The 2009 Ngorogoro Wildlife Conservation Act placed new restrictions on human settlement and subsistence farming in the Crater, displacing Maasai pastoralists, most of whom had been relocated to Ngorongoro from their ancestral lands to the north when the British colonial government established Serengeti National Park in 1959.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers a vast variety of Safaris to visit Ngorongoro Crater.

History and geography

The name of the crater has its origin in the Maasai language; it was named after the sound produced by the cowbell (ngoro ngoro). Based on fossil evidence found at the Olduvai Gorge, various hominid species have occupied the area for 3 million years.

Hunter-gatherers were replaced by pastoralists a few thousand years ago. The Mbulu came to the area about 2,000 years ago and were joined by the Datooga around the year 1700. Both groups were driven from the area by the Maasai in the 1800s.

Massive fig trees in the northwest of the Lerai Forest are sacred to the Maasai and the Datooga. Some of them may have been planted on the grave of a Datago leader who died in battle with the Maasai around 1840.

No Europeans are known to have set foot in the Ngorongoro Crater until 1892, when it was visited by Oscar Baumann. Two German brothers farmed in the crater until the outbreak of World War I, after leasing the land from the administration of German East Africa. The brothers regularly organized shooting parties to entertain their German friends. They also attempted to drive the wildebeest herds out of the crater.

In 1921, the first game preservation ordinance was passed, which restricted hunting to permit holders throughout Tanzania. In 1928, hunting was prohibited on all land within the crater rim, except the former Siedentopf farms. The National Park Ordinance of 1948 (implemented in 1951) created the Serengeti National Park. This caused problems with the Maasai and other tribes, resulting in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Ordinance (1959) that separated the conservation area from the national park. Maasai pastoralists living in Serengeti National Park were systematically relocated to Ngorongoro, increasing the population of Maasai and livestock living in the Crater. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority was established by the Game Park Laws Act, 1976 and owns the majority of Ngorongoro Conservation Area land, including the Crater. The area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. The Wildlife Conservation Act of 2009 further restricted human use of Ngorongoro Crater and created a legal framework to politically disenfranchise and forcibly displace traditional pastoralists. The restriction on land use generates tension between the local Maasai communities and conservation authorities. Currently, The International Union for Conservation of Nature is seeking solutions to ease conflict and improve collaborative efforts towards conservation with the locals.

Land in the conservation area is multi-use and unique because it is the only conservation area in Tanzania that protects wildlife while allowing human habitation. Land use is controlled to prevent negative effects on the wildlife population. For example, cultivation is prohibited at all but subsistence levels. The area is part of the Serengeti ecosystem and, to the northwest, adjoins the Serengeti National Park and is contiguous with the southern Serengeti plains.

Ngorongoro Crater

VIEW OF THE NGORONGORO CRATER / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 610 metres (2,000 feet) deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometres (100 square miles). Estimates of the height of the original volcano range from 4,500 to 5,800 metres (14,800 to 19,000 feet) high.  The crater was voted by Seven Natural Wonders as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania in February 2013. The Ngorongoro volcano was active from about 2.45 to 2 million years ago.

Out of the two recent volcanoes to the northeast of the Empakaai caldera, Kerimasi and Ol Doinyo Lengai, Doinyo Lengai is still active and had major eruptions in 2007 and 2008. Smaller ash eruptions and lava flows continue to slowly fill the current crater. Its name is Maasai language for ‘Mountain of God’.

Lake Magadi

The Munge Stream drains Olmoti Crater to the north, and is the main water source draining into the seasonal salt lake in the center of the crater. This lake is known by two names: Makat as the Maasai called it, meaning salt; and Magadi. The Lerai Stream drains the humid forests to the south of the Crater, and it feeds the Lerai Forest on the crater floor - when there is enough rain, the Lerai drains into Lake Magadi as well. Extraction of water by lodges and Ngorongoro Conservation Area headquarters reduces the amount of water entering Lerai by around 25%.

The other major water source in the crater is the Ngoitokitok Spring, near the eastern crater wall. There is a picnic site here open to tourists and a huge swamp fed by the spring, and the area is inhabited by hippopotamus, elephants, lions and many others. Many other small springs can be found around the crater's floor, and these are important water supplies for the animals and local Maasai, especially during times of drought.

Olduvai Gorge

VIEW OF OLDUVAI GORGE / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area also protects Olduvai Gorge, situated in the plains area. It is considered to be the seat of humanity after the discovery of the earliest known specimens of the human genus, Homo habilis as well as early hominidae.

The Olduvai Gorge is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley, which stretches along eastern Africa. Olduvai is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) long. It lies in the rain shadow of the Ngorongoro highlands and is the driest part of the region. The gorge is named after 'Oldupaai', the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant, Sansevieria ehrenbergii.

It is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and research there has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution. Excavation work there was pioneered by Mary and Louis Leakey in the 1950s and is continued today by their family. Some believe that millions of years ago, the site was that of a large lake, the shores of which were covered with successive deposits of volcanic ash. Around 500,000 years ago seismic activity diverted a nearby stream which began to cut down into the sediments, revealing seven main layers in the walls of the gorge.

Wildlife

Approximately 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, live in the crater. Large mammals in the crater include the black rhinos, the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, and hippos. There also are many other ungulates: the blue wildebeest, Grant's zebra, the common eland (oryx), and Grant's and Thomson's gazelles. Waterbucks occur mainly near Lerai Forest.

Although thought of as "a natural enclosure" for a very wide variety of wildlife, 20 percent or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the crater in the wet season, while Cape buffalo stay; their highest numbers are during the rainy season.

Since 1986, the crater's wildebeest population has fallen from 14,677 to 7,250 (2003-2005). The numbers of eland and Thomson's gazelle also have declined while the buffalo population has increased greatly, probably due to the long prevention of fire which favors high-fibrous grasses over shorter, less fibrous types. The crater has one of the densest known population of lions, numbering 62 in 2001.

Outside Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area has a healthy resident population of most species of wildlife. The Ndutu Lake area to in the west of the conservation area has particularly strong cheetah and lion populations. Common in the area are hartebeest, spotted hyena, and jackals. The population of African wild dog may have declined recently. Servals occur widely on the plains to the west of the Ngorongoro Crater.

The annual ungulate migration passes through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with 1.7 million wildebeests, 260,000 zebras, and 470,000 gazelles moving south into the area in December and moving north in June. This movement changes seasonally with the rains, but the migration traverses almost the entire plains in search of food.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park Map Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania. With its total size of about 20,226 square kilometres (7,809 sq mi), it is the largest park in Tanzania and East Africa.

The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car on a dirt road from Iringa and there are two airstrips.

History and wildlife

Germany gazetted the Saba Game Reserve in 1910. British colonial authorities changed the name to the Rungwa Game Reserve in 1946. In 1964, the southern portion of the reserve was excised and elevated to full park status. More than 570 bird species have been identified in the park. Among the resident species are hornbills. Many migratory birds visit the park throughout the year. Other noted animals found in this park are East African cheetah and lions, African leopard and wild dog, spotted hyena, giraffes, hippopotamus, African buffalo, and sable antelope. Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit.

Accommodation

There is a wide selection of accommodation in or near the park. The only lodge inside the park is the Ruaha River Lodge. There are also permanent or seasonal tented camps inside the park and a variety of cottages. Just outside the park boundaries are several accommodation facilities.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountain National Park

Mahale Mountain National Park

Mahale Mountain National Park is located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma Region, Tanzania. Named after the Mahale Mountains range that is within its borders, the park has several unusual characteristics. First, it is one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in the country. (The other is nearby Gombe Stream National Park made famous by the researcher Jane Goodall.) The chimpanzee population in Mahale Mountains National Park is the largest known and due to its size and remoteness, the chimpanzees flourish. It is also the only place where chimpanzees and lions co-exist. Another unusual feature of the park is that it is one of the very few in Africa that must be experienced by foot. There are no roads or other infrastructure within the park boundaries, and the only way in and out of the park is via boat on the lake.

The Mahale mountains were traditionally inhabited by the Batongwe and Holoholo people. When the Mahale Mountains Wildlife Research Center was established in 1979 these people were expelled from the mountains to make way for the park, which opened in 1985. The people had been highly attuned to the natural environment, living with virtually no impact on the ecology.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris is offering private Mahale Mountain Trekking Safaris throughout the year. Please contact us for further information!

Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Katavi National Park / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Katavi National Park is a Tanzanian national park created in 1974 and is located in Katavi Region, Tanzania. It is a very remote park that is less frequently visited than other Tanzanian national parks. The park is approximately 4,471 square kilometers (1,726 sq mi) in area, which makes it the third largest national park in Tanzania. The park encompasses the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada floodplains.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers private visits of Katavi National Park as a 2 days Safari. Please contact us for further information!

Wildlife

Wildlife features include large animal herds, particularly of Cape Buffaloes, zebras, wildebeest, giraffes, and elephants, plus along the Katuma river, crocodiles and hippopotami which upon annual dry seasons results in mudholes that can be packed with hundreds of hippos. Carnivorous animals that roam this park are cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, leopards, and lions. Some sources claim a very high biodiversity in the park, although there are also reports of wildlife decline due to illegal hunting and poaching, presumably 'bushmeat' sustenance. Katavi has fewer human visitors and jeeps conducting game drives than other Tanzania parks.

Visitors

The number of visitors to the park on an annual basis is extremely low, in comparison to better known parks. As there are hardly any campsites and lodges, offering only a dozen available rooms, Katavi National Park still remains a hidden jewel among Tanzania’s Safari Parks.

Access to the park

Tanzania Horizon Safaris will assist you to arrive to Katavi National Park by plane. All flights will require landing on a dirt airstrip; the Ikuu airstrip (near the Ikuu Rangerpost) has minimal services. It is very approximately a three-hour flight from Katavi to Dar es Salaam and two-hours flight to Mwanza via a small, bush-compatible light aircraft. A flight to Arusha is similarly ~3 hours distant.

Access to Katavi via ground transportation: estimates vary widely; it is generally discussed not in hours but in days. The town of Mbeya is (550 km/340 miles) distant and is described as a "...tough but spectacular..." drive; The most direct route to Katavi from Dar es Salaam requires about 16+ hours. Arusha is similarly distant: 1000+km /13.5 hours.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park.jpg

Lake Manyara National Park is a protected area in Tanzania's Arusha and Manyara Regions, situated between Lake Manyara and the Great Rift Valley. It is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority, and covers an area of 325 km2 (125 sq mi) including about 230 km2 (89 sq mi) lake surface. More than 350 bird species have been observed on the lake.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris is offering a variety of Safaris to Lake Manyara National Park. We reccomend to stay at least 2 Days to fully enjoy the beauty of Lake Manyara and nature around its shores. Please contact us for further information!

History

Since the 1920s, Lake Manyara area was used for sports hunting. In 1957, a game reserve was established. In 1960, it was given National Park status and in 1974 about 550 ha (1,400 acres) were added to the southern end. The majority of the land area of the park is a narrow strip running between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara, an alkaline lake, to the east. The national park only includes the northwest quadrant of the lake, about 200 km2 (77 sq mi). It is part of the much larger Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve, established in 1981 by UNESCO as part of its Man and the Biosphere Programme.

Climate

There are two rainy seasons - "short rains" from November to December and the "long rains" from March to May. The wettest month (with the highest rainfall) is April and it also has the highest number of rainy days (19 days). The driest months (with the lowest rainfall) are July, August and September (1 mm (0.039 in). September also has the lowest average number of rainy days (2 days). The warmest months (with the highest average high temperature) are January, February and March 30 °C (86 °F). Months with the lowest average high temperature are June and July 25 °C (77 °F).

Location

Lake Manyara National Park is located 126 km (78 mi) south west of Arusha and can be reached by jeep in about 2 hours. Lake Manyara Airport is nearby and serves the National Park. To the south of the park is the 35,399 ha Marang Forest Reserve, situated on the escarpment above the park. To the east is the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Migration corridor, which allows wildlife to migrate between the nearby Tarangire National Park to the southeast, Lake Manyara to the west, and the Engaruka Basin to the north. Within the Kwakuchinja corridor are several villages that include Ol Tukai Village and Esilalei along the lakeshore. Further from the lake and outside of village land is the 44,000-acre Manyara Ranch, of which 35000 acres comprise the Manyara Ranch Conservancy.

Topography

Lake Manyara is a shallow alkaline lake at an altitude of 960 m (3,150 ft), formed in a depression in the Rift Valley System. When full, the lake is a maximum of 10 ft (3.0 m) deep and covers two-thirds of the park. The lake has no outflow, but is fed by underground springs and by several permanent streams that drain surrounding Ngorongoro Highlands. Although it never completely dries up, the surface area covered by water shrinks in the dry season as the water evaporates. In extreme dry periods it may be less than 2 feet deep, and the salt levels become concentrated.

Beside the lake are extensive marshlands, saline flats (that expand in the dry season as the surface area of the lake shrinks) and a grassy floodplain. At the area near the park gate there is a tall forest, sustained by groundwater, dominated by evergreen fig and mahogany trees. On the west side of the park, the rocky escarpment of the rift valley wall rises steeply. Large African baobab trees are scattered on the slopes. A narrow zone of dense acacia woodland grows at the base of the rift wall. Other features include a hippopotamus pool at the northern end of the lake and two hot springs, one near the centre of the park and the other near the southern edge.

Vegetation

The flora of Lake Manyara National Park is diverse, with over 670 flowering plant and fern species documented. Most are widespread species; there are few rare or endemic species. The park has a variety of diverse habitats. Rivers flowing off the escarpment and perennial springs below the rift wall support tall, evergreen groundwater forests dominated by Trichilia with Broad-Leaved Croton, sycamore fig, quinine tree and forest toad-tree. Trees are densest in gorges, along the edge of streams and in areas where springs emerge. Growing at the edge of the groundwater forest are dense stands of yellow fever trees and the Phoenix palms.

Extensive swamps have formed where the Simba River and its tributaries flow into the north end of Lake Manyara and smaller swamps have formed elsewhere, associated with the minor rivers flowing off the walls of the rift valley. A number of aquatic species have been documented, including two species of water lily and extensive mats of water lettuce. Cattails forms pure stands in the northern swamps and various Cyperus species are found around the edges of the swamps.

Birds

Lake Manyara National Park is known for flocks of thousands flamingos that feed along the edge of the lake in the wet season. In 1991 there were an estimated 1,900,000 non-breeding Lesser Flamingo individuals and 40,000 Greater Flamingo. Great white pelican can also be present in large numbers and in all there has been an estimated 1,000,000-2,499,999 individual water birds. The groundwater forest to the north of the lake, and largely within the National Park, is a well-known breeding site for thousands of pink-backed pelican and yellow-billed stork along with smaller numbers of Marabou stork and grey heron. In all, more than 390 species of birds have been documented in the national park, although in the dry season, flamingos and other water birds are usually found only in small numbers.

Mammals

Populations of large migratory mammals that are concentrated primarily in Tarangire National Park, but also move through Lake Manyara National Park include wildebeest, zebra, Thomson's gazelle and Grant's gazelle. Large herds of wildebeest and other plains enter the park from the north for short periods. Wildebeest exclusively graze the alkaline grasslands around the lake, and numbers are highest during the dry season, dropping to small resident populations in the wet season. Herbivores of Lake Manyara National Park include plains zebra, bushbuck, waterbuck, Grant's gazelle, impala, Thomson's gazelle, Cape buffalo, giraffe, hippopotamus, baboon, warthog, and African bush elephant.

Studies in the 1980s found this to be one of the areas with the highest wildlife biomass in Africa, but elephant numbers had fallen by 75% between 1985 and 1991 as a result of illegal hunting, with numbers rebounding to around 200 in 1996. Lake Manyara was also once known for its high population of black rhinoceros, but none were present by 1996. Similarly, reedbuck were present in 1984, but no individuals were found in a 1996 census. Predators of Lake Manyara National Park include lion, leopard, African wild cat, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, serval, honey badger, African civet and several mongoose species, Cheetah and African golden cat are sighted occasionally.


Kilimanjaro National park

Kilimanjaro National Park Map / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Kilimanjaro National Park is a Tanzanian national park, located 300 kilometres (190 mi) south of the equator and in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. The park is located near the city of Moshi. The park includes the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro above the tree line and the surrounding montane forest belt and the impressive snow covered Uhuru Peak, the highest point of Africa (5.895 meters above sea level). Tanzania Horizon offers a wide range of private Kilimanjaro Climbs as well as regular Kilimanjaro Group Climbs. Please contact us for further information or visit or Kilimanjaro Information Page!

History

In the early twentieth century, Mount Kilimanjaro and the adjacent forests were declared a game reserve by the German colonial government. In 1921, it was designated a forest reserve. In 1973, the mountain above the tree line (about 2,700 metres (8,900 ft)) was reclassified as a National Park. The park was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1987. In 2005, the park was expanded to include the entire montane forest, which had been part of the Kilimanjaro Forest Reserve.


Arusha National Park

Arusha National park Map / Tanzania Horizon Safaris

Arusha National Park covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566 m, in the Arusha Region of north eastern Tanzania. The park is small but varied with spectacular landscapes in three distinct areas. In the west, the Meru Crater funnels the Jekukumia River; the peak of Mount Meru lies on its rim. Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east is grassland. The shallow alkaline Momella Lakes in the north-east have varying algal colours and are known for their wading birds.

Mount Meru is the second highest peak in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, which is just 60 km away and forms a backdrop to views from the park to the east. 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 kilometres 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).

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers Daytrips to Arusha National Park as well as Mount Meru Climbs in a variety of 3 Days Mount Meru climb and 4 Days Mount Meru Climb. Please contact us for further information!

Wildlife

Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife, but visitors shouldn't expect the same game-viewing experience they find in other national parks of Tanzania's northern circuit. Despite the small size of the park, common animals include giraffe, Cape buffalo, zebra, warthog, the black-and-white colobus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingo, elephant, lion and many other African animals. Leopard populations are present, but rarely seen. Birdlife in the forest is prolific, with many forest species more easily seen here than elsewhere on the tourist route - Narina trogon and bar-tailed trogon are both possible highlights for visiting birders, whilst the range of starling species provide somewhat less gaudy interest.

Selous Game Reserve

Selous GAME RESERVE MAP / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

The Selous Game Reserve is a protected area in southern Tanzania. It covers a total area of 50,000 km2 (19,000 sq mi) and has additional buffer zones. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to its wildlife diversity and undisturbed nature. Some of the typical wildlife, such as African bush elephant, black rhino, hippopotamus, lion, East African wild dog, Cape buffaloes, Masai giraffe, Plains zebra, and Nile crocodile. Permanent human habitation is not permitted within the reserve. All human entry and exit is controlled by the Wildlife Division of the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. The reserve was named after Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers a variety of Safaris to Selous Game Reserve arriving from Dar es Salaam by jeep or by private plane.

History

The area was first designated a protected area in 1896 by the German Governor of Tanganyika Hermann von Wissmann, and became a hunting reserve in 1905. Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit.

Description

Most of the reserve remains set aside for game hunting through a number of privately leased hunting concessions, but a section of the northern park along the Rufiji River has been designated a photographic zone and is a popular tourist destination. There are several high end lodges and camps mainly situated along the river and lake systems in this area. Rather difficult road access means most visitors arrive by small aircraft from Dar es Salaam or by jeep.

Interesting places in the park include the Rufiji River, which flows into the Indian Ocean opposite Mafia Island and the Stiegler Gorge, a canyon of 100 metres depth and 100 metres width. Habitats include grassland, typical Acaciasavanna, wetlands and extensive Miombo woodlands. Although total wildlife populations are high, the reserve is large and densities of animals are lower than in the more regularly visited northern tourist circuit of Tanzania.

Walking safaris are permitted in the Selous, and boat trips on the Rufiji are a popular activity. A boundary change to allow the use of uranium deposits has been approved. The approval for the boundary change was given by the UNESCO and seriously criticized by environmentalists and organizations e.g., Uranium-Network and Rainforest Rescue.

In 1976, the Selous Game Reserve contained about 109,000 elephants, then the largest in the world. By 2013, the numbers had dropped to about 13,000 - including a 66% drop from 2009 to 2013. Sources blame corrupt politicians, officials and businessmen who help poachers.

Mikumi National Park

Mikumi National Park.jpg

The Mikumi National Park near Morogoro, Tanzania, was established in 1964. It covers an area of 3,230 km² is the fourth largest in the country.

Territory

The Mikumi is bordered to the south with the Selous Game Reserve, the two areas forming a unique ecosystem. Two other natural areas bordering the national park are the Udzungwa Mountains and Uluguru Mountains.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris offers Safaris to Mikumi National in a variety of 3 Days Mikumi & 4 Days Mikumi, as well as a combination of 5 Days Mikumi and Selous Game Reserve. Please contact us for further information!

Flora and fauna

The landscape of Mikumi is often compared to that of the Serengeti. The road that crosses the park divides it into two areas with partially distinct environments. The area north-west is characterized by the alluvial plain of the river basin Mkata. The vegetation of this area consists of savannahdotted with acacia, baobab, tamarinds, and some rare palm. In this area, at the furthest from the road, there are spectacular rock formations of the mountains Rubeho and Uluguru. The southeast part of the park is less rich in wildlife, and not very accessible.

The fauna includes many species characteristic of the African savannah. According to local guides at Mikumi, chances of seeing a lion who climbs a tree trunk is larger than in Manyara. Other animals in the park are elephants, zebras, impala, eland, kudu, black antelope, baboons, wildebeests and buffaloes. At about 5 km from the north of the park, there are two artificial pools inhabited by hippos. More than 400 different species of birds also inhabit the park.

Visitors

The Mikumi belongs to the circuit of the wildlife parks of Tanzania, less visited by international tourists and better protected from the environmental point of view. Most of the routes that cross the Mikumi proceed in the direction of the Ruaha National Park and the Selous Game Reserve. The recommended season for visiting the park is the dry season between May and November, warm weather and beautiful sites that are a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Gombe Stream National Park

GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

Gombe National Park  is located in the west of Tanzania at Lake Tanganyika, 10 miles (20 km) north of Kigoma Town. Kigoma can be reached by plane and by train from Dar es Salaam. Established in 1968, Gombe National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Tanzania, with only 13.5 square miles (35 km2) of protected land along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The terrain is distinguished by steep valleys, and the forest vegetation ranges from grassland to woodland to tropical rainforest. Accessible only by boat, the park is most famous as the location where Jane Goodall pioneered her behavioral research conducted on the chimpanzee populations. The Kasekela chimpanzee community, featured in several books and documentaries, lives in Gombe National Park.

Gombe’s high levels of diversity make it an increasingly popular tourist destination. Besides chimpanzees, primates inhabiting Gombe include beachcomber olive baboons, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys. Red-tailed monkeys and blue monkeys have also been known to hybridize in the area. The park is also home to over 200 bird species and bushpigs. There are also many species of snakes, and occasional hippopotami and leopards. Visitors to the park can trek into the forest to view the chimpanzees, as well as swim and snorkel in Lake Tanganyika with almost 100 kinds of colorful cichlid fish.

Tanzania Horizon Safaris is offering Daytrips & 3 Day Safaris to Gombe National Park departing from Kigoma town with private boat transfers.

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall first traveled to Tanzania in 1960 at the age of 26 with no formal college training. At the time, it was accepted that humans were undoubtedly similar to chimpanzees - we share over 98% of the same genetic code. However, little was known about chimpanzee behavior or community structure. At the time she began her research, she says “it was not permissible, at least not in ethological circles, to talk about an animal's mind. Only humans had minds. Nor was it quite proper to talk about animal personality. Of course everyone knew that they did have their own unique characters - everyone who had ever owned a dog or other pet was aware of that. But ethologists, striving to make theirs a "hard" science, shied away from the task of trying to explain such things objectively.” However, her research eventually proved just that the intellectual and emotional sophistication of non-humans, chimpanzees in particular. With the support of renowned anthropologist Louis Leakey, Goodall set up a small research station in Gombe in hopes of learning more about the behavior of our closest relatives. There she spent months tracking the elusive chimpanzee troops, particularly the Kasekela chimpanzee community, and observing their daily habits until she was slowly accepted by one troop and was allowed rare and intimate glimpses into chimpanzee society.

Gombe Stream Research Center

Dr. Jane Goodall lived at Gombe almost full-time for fifteen years and the long-term data she accumulated is still of value to scientists today. In 1967, the Gombe Stream Research Center was established to coordinate ongoing chimpanzee research in the park. Run mostly by a team of trained Tanzanians, the GSRC is the longest running field study of an animals species in their natural surroundings, now over 40 years. This long-term data has provided scientists with insight into chimpanzee demographic patterns, male politics, hunting, culture and mother-infant relationships over multiple generations - rare and valuable data. The ongoing research is also providing information on the current threats to chimpanzees, such as disease, poaching and habitat disturbance, which affect other species at Gombe as well. The research of Goodall has also drastically changed ethological thinking and how behavioral studies are conducted. Where once talk of animal emotion was dismissed as anthropomorphism, her observations of animals in their natural habitat show that societies, behavior and relationships between animals are quite complex. Her research of chimpanzee habitat (food and special) requirements also aid in improved design for new protected areas. The GSRC also conducts research on the baboon population, led by the Jane Goodall Center for Primate Studies.

How to arrive to Gombe Stream National Park

Visitors can only arrive by boat to Gombe National Park starting from Kigoma town. Flights to Kigoma are provided from Daresslaam. There are small private boats and a bigger boat from the National Park Authorities to arrive the entrance gate. Depending on the speed of the boat the travel takes about 2 hours. Local boats will take up to 4 hours to arrive and are not safe. Tanzania Horizon Safaris is arranging private boat trips to Gombe National Park starting from Kigoma town and including pick up from your hotel.

We are offering daytrips from Kigoma to Gombe National Park and also 3 Days Gombe Nationalpark visits.

Please contact us for further information!

Tarangire National Park

TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK / TANZANIA HORIZON SAFARIS

Tarangire National Park is a national park in Tanzania's Manyara Region. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The Tarangire River is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season. The Tarangire Ecosystem is defined by the long-distance migration of wildebeest and zebras. During the dry season thousands of animals concentrate in Tarangire National Park from the surrounding wet-season dispersal and calving areas.

It covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles.) The landscape is composed of granitic ridges, river valley, and swamps. Vegetation is a mix Acacia woodland, Combretum woodland, seasonally flooded grassland, and baobab trees.

Flora and fauna

The park is famous for its high density of elephants and baobab trees. Visitors to the park in the June to November dry season can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo. Other common resident animals include waterbuck, giraffe, dik dik, impala, eland, Grant's gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baboon. Predators in Tarangire include lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, and African wild dog.

The oldest known elephant to give birth to twins is found in Tarangire. A recent birth of elephant twins in the Tarangire National Park of Tanzania is a great example of how the birth of these two healthy and thriving twins can beat the odds. Home to more than 550 bird species, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts. The park is also famous for the termite mounds that dot the landscape. Those that have been abandoned are often home to dwarf mongoose. In 2015, a giraffe that is white due to leucism was spotted in the park. Wildlife research is focused on African bush elephant and Masai giraffe. Since 2005, the protected area is considered a Lion Conservation Unit.

Location and access

Tarangire National Park can be reached via paved road south from Arusha by jeep in about two hours. Lake Manyara National Park is a 70 kilometer (43 mile) drive from Tarangire. A Safari to Tarangire National Park is often combined with a visit to Lake Manyara and/or Serengeti.

Please contact us for further information!

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

UDZUNGWA MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK MAP

Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a relatively small national park in Tanzania with a size of 1,990 km2 (770 miles2) nearby Mikumi and Selous National Park. The habitats contained within the national park include tropical rainforest, mountain forest, grassland and steppe. There is a vertical height range of 250 – 2,576 metres (the peak of Lohomero). There are more than 400 bird species, 2500 plant species (25% of which are endemics) and 6 primate species. It has the second largest biodiversity of a national park in Africa. Six primate species have been recorded, five of which are endemic. The Iringa red colobus and Sanje crested mangabey are only found in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, the mangabey species was undetected by biologists prior to 1979.

WHITE NAPED MANGABEY

WHITE NAPED MANGABEY

Tourism in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park revolves around hiking and trekking, as the park has no roads and is accessible only on foot. The hiking trails range in difficulty from the short one-hour Sonjo trek to the extremely challenging 6-day camping trek the Lumemo Trail. The most common walk is the Sanje Waterfalls trail which takes approximately four hours to complete and allows the visitor access to the stunning 170 m waterfall and includes swimming in the waterfall plunge pools as part of the activity. Accommodation for visitors within the park is only possible on a camping basis as there are no lodges within the park borders. Within the nearby village of Mang'ula there are also a couple of local guesthouses providing a budget option.

SANJE WATERFALLS INSIDE THE UDZUNGWA MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

SANJE WATERFALLS INSIDE THE UDZUNGWA MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK