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!

Best Time to Visit Tanzania - Tanzania Horizon Safaris.jpg

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

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.

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!