Things to see while on a Tanzania safari

Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is Africa’s top mountain and is located along the Tanzanian and Kenyan border. The mountain is bordered by the Kilimanjaro National Park where much of Africa’s wildlife roams free. There are lots of outdoor things to do in Kilimanjaro and it is a fantasy destination for nature lovers. It has several paths for beginner, intermediate, and experienced climbers. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is not as scary as it sounds, since you will have a travel guide and you can climb as high as you would like. There are several diverse trek paths up the mountain, and no matter how high you climb, you will certainly see unbelievable views of the surrounding scenery. The mountain itself is alienated into several climatic zones which have various flora and fauna that transform the higher you go, making your whole journey a very attractive hike. Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, an inspiration for visitors from around the world. Most hikers reach the crater rim with little more than a walking stick, proper clothing and purpose. And those who reach Uhuru Point, the actual summit, or Gillman’s Point on the lip of the crater, will have earned their climbing certificates and their memories as well. Everyone knows Kilimanjaro, the largest self-supporting highland and one of the biggest volcanoes in the world, but its national park close the area is a must-visit area. If you’re not up to hiking the mountain, then there’s quite to see at the base. Before you cross the national park boundary, you can trail nature trails on the lower reaches and discover the park’s lush rainforest. Look out for elephants, leopards, buffalo and other small primates. You’ll also notice the impressive flora including giant lobelias.

Ngorongoro crater

Located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife viewing areas. This huge volcanic crater has a permanent supply of water which draws all kinds of animals who stay in this area rather than migrating. Visitors come here primarily for viewing large game and bird watching, but also of interest in the conservation area is the Olduvai Gorge. This important archeological site has revealed ancient skull and bone fragments that have delivered critical information about early mankind.

The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact ancient caldera in the world, nearly three million years old. The Ngorongoro volcano was one of the world’s tallest mountains before it exploded and collapsed. Thousands of wild game can be seen on the crater floor, including lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles, and buffaloes, but wildebeests and zebras account for over half of the animals that call the Ngorongoro Crater home. Bird watching is superb, especially around Lake Migadi, which attracts flocks of flamingoes to the shallows. Hippos are content to submerge themselves during the day and then graze in the nearby grass in the evening.

Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site situated on a series of fault lines, where centuries of erosion have revealed fossils and remnants of early mankind. As early as 1911, a German professor found some fossil bones while looking for butterflies in Olduvai Gorge. In a later expedition, the Leakeys collected skull fragments, a skull, and bones determined to be approximately 2 million years old. Tools and hunting weapons from 1 to 1.5 million years ago were also discovered in Olduvai Gorge. Another exciting find were the famous footprints of a man, woman and child at Laetoli, near Olduvai. These and other discoveries provide more evidence to the theory that at least three hominid species were in this region over 2 million years ago.

Wildlife

The Serengeti is home to a large selection of animals including the entire Big Five, however the rhino populations are very small due to the large amounts of rhino poaching in all of Africa. Strong actions are taken in the park to ensure the safety of this endangered animal. Some of the other animals found in the park are large herds of impala (one of the most successful mammals on earth), Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, klipspringer, giraffe, warthog, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, Oryx, hartebeest, eland and many others. Other carnivores within the area include the very rare African golden wolf, striped hyena, spotted hyena, African wild dogs, honey badger, serval, cheetah and many others. The area is a birder’s paradise, featuring more than 500 different species of birds, ranging from the very large ostrich to the very small finches.

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is rich in both lesser and vast game. The park itself is a moorland zone, which means you’ll find lush flora with plenty of rainfall. Even at ground level, you’ll still be higher than sea level, so you might have some trouble breathing and adjusting to the altitude. Relaxed treks are offered on the upland, and you might require to hire an armed park ranger to reach some areas because of the potential danger from leopards, buffalos and other large animals. A trek will also allow you to see baboons, bush pigs, mongooses, elephants and a number of other animals.

Tree-Climbing Lions

The lions of Lake Manyara National Park are a scarcity among their own kind, being some of the only lions in the world to regularly climb trees and use them as places as rest. The fortunate photographers will get the chance to spot and snap these beautiful creatures hanging on the branches of acacia trees. Though researchers are not pretty sure just why the lions here have developed this remarkable habit, nevertheless visitors to the park are the ones who take advantage seeing such unique behavior from such beautiful creatures. Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are additional aim to pay a visit to this park. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the earliest mahogany and sophisticated acacias their home during the rainy season, and are a well-known but rather rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also habitat to the largest attention of baboons anywhere in the world — a fact that accounts for exciting game viewing of large families of the primates.

Moru kopjes

Kopjes are remarkable weathered massive rock formations that rise out of the central Serengeti plains like slight mountains. Trees, vines, and bushes leaf out of many of the formations and you can see them scattered around the Serengeti Visitors Center. These pillar formations provide shade, small water pools, and a countless vantage point for many animals, including lions, leopards, and cheetahs. The Moru Kopjes are the most normally visited kopjes and some kopjes comprise African rock paintings done by Maasai cattle herders and at least one of the rocks, nicknamed the “Gong Rock”, is thought to be an earliest musical instrument. The kopjes are a good dwelling to spot big cats and smaller mammals such as hyraxes so point your binoculars here when on game drives. The Moru Kopjes is the best home to spot a black rhino in the Serengeti National Park.

Birdlife

Tanzania has more than 1000 species of birds; some of them are endemic species. Bird species count in the country in the third-highest all across Africa and it represents more than 10% of global avifauna. Savannahs and game reserves give the most rewarding experience for birdwatchers. Most popular birds include ostriches, ground hornbills, francolins, flamingos, pelicans, ibises, waterfowls, African skimmers, and more.

Manyara offers the picture-perfect overview to Tanzania’s birdlife. More than 400 species have been noted, and even a first-time visitor to Africa might reasonably expect to observe 100 of these in one day. The attractions include thousands of pink-hued flamingos on their perpetual migration, as well as other large water birds such as pelicans, cormorants and storks, silvery –cheeked hornbill, saddle-billed stork, pied kingfisher, pied avocet all merging together to provide a spectacular show to the on looker.

The silvery –cheeked hornbill is one of the large species of hornbill found in Africa and they normally reside in the tall evergreen forests of East Africa. It usually measures 75 to 80cm and 30 to 31 in length and has a large cream-colored casque on the beak. The Silvery-cheeked Hornbill patronizes montane and coastal forests, but also corridor forest, tall deciduous forest and woodland. The Silvery-cheeked Hornbill is mostly a fruit-eater, and consumes fruits from various plant species, and especially figs. It also clips small vertebrates, young birds, lizards, centipedes, insects and spiders.

When the silvery –cheeked hornbill flies, it catches some preys, but it feeds primarily among the vegetation. It may come to the ground for feeding. It rarely drinks. Its frugivorous diet provides it the necessary water. The Silvery-cheeked Hornbill has straight and swelling flight, with periods of gliding every 4-5 wing-beats. During the flight, the wings yield a loud soughing noise.

The Silvery-cheeked Hornbill is locally shared but patchily distributed. This species is vulnerable to deforestation, but can use several types of habitats. The Silvery-cheeked Hornbill feeds mainly on fruits from more than 26 plant genera. It also takes small vertebrates, young birds and nest contents, lizards, centipedes, insects and spiders. It feeds mainly among the vegetation and sometimes on the ground as this will offer guests a memorable experience.

Pink flamingos Colonies of pink flamingos migrate from one lake to another throughout the year coming to Lake Manyara National Park in the period from June to September. As their dwelling, they choose the mud flats where crayfishes, which are their main diet, live. Without it their feathers have grey-white color. While newly hatched flamingos are always grey, they become pink as they get older – in a year, thanks to the color carotene which is contained in their food.

Maji Moto Springs

When visitors wind their way down a bumpy, dusty road through the desert land surrounding Lake Manyara National Park, it might seem questionable that something as attractive and soothing as Maji Moto could exist out here. Yet when the escape comes into view, it’s all worth the long drive. Maji Moto (Swahili word for hot water) is a natural spring bounded by palm and fig trees, an isolated haven of crystal clear waters, sun-dappled shady picnic spots, and matchless beauty. Not so much a hot spring as it is a warm spring, Maji Moto is an unspoiled place for a swim and a picnic lunch.

Flora and fauna

The mountain is rich in flora and fauna. You get to see the various climatic conditions starting from the bushland on the bottom of the mountain to the freezing ice region on top of the mountain. You have the tropical rain forests, the evergreen forests, the moorlands and the alpine desert regions in between. It is something like walking from the equator to the freezing pole in a matter of days. You get to see some exceptional plants and flowers on the mountain which is specific to Mt Kilimanjaro. Though there is not much of wildlife on the mountain, you can see some wild buffaloes, elephants and leopards while crossing through the Lemosho Route. You are accompanied by armed rangers in the initial day of the trek while going via the Lemosho routeWildlife in Mount Kilimanjaro National Park.Out of the approximately 140 mammal kinds that animate in the park, 87 of them are woodland species. Animals that roam here include elephants, leopards, buffaloes, varies antelopes including the rare and endangered abbot duiker as well as primates such as the colobus and the mitis monkey. In addition, hereto, 24 species of bats and 179 upland bird species have also been spotted in the Kilimanjaro National Park.

Mount Meru

This depressing mountain, known by the Maasai as Ol Doinyo Orok, meaning the “black mountain”, dominates Arusha town, the national park and surrounding countryside by towering over them. Its tempers can change overnight and during the winter months the mountain is visible above the clouds. Mount Meru is Africa’s fifth highest at 4 566 m above sea level. Its summits and eastern base hills are sheltered within the national park. Meru offers supreme views of its famous neighbor, Kilimanjaro, but is also a rewarding hiking destination in its own right. Its last minor eruption occurred around 1877. Since then activity has been minor, with small tremors happening occasionally. Climbers mountaineering Mount Meru depart from the Momella Gate. This provides a real African experience, but also makes visitors realize how vulnerable mankind is in this environment. Because of the theoretical absence of lions, Arusha National Park also initiated the increasingly popular one-day walking safaris. The big – and dangerous – game such as elephant and buffalo still roam the park. Even passing lions have been seen twice in the past decade or more, while private leopards are ever-present. Arusha National Park is the only place on the northern safari circuit where the energetic black-and-white colobus monkey is easily spotted. Colobus monkeys are extremely handsome animals, notable by long flowing hair that forms a white mantle around the body, and by their bushy white tails. Actually they look like little hairy men in dress shirts and tailcoats. The young are initially all white, changing color after three months. They live in family herds with one adult male and several females. Young males leave the group, forming new troops or becoming solitary. The ancient forest home of black-and-white colobus monkey living outside the park is susceptible by logging operations and banana Shambas. This in turn intimidates the animals’ feeding grounds. Whereas the Big Five symbolize the spirit of the African savannah, primates bring the forest into concentration. They are the smiling, arguing, flying lords of this field. Without them the excessive equatorial forest would be unresponsive. Without the forest, they would become confined, sad monkeys or pot roast.

Some visitors are pleased when visiting Arusha National Park on their African safari when they are tired of viewing the large species. They are amazed by its varied prettiness which includes scrubland, forest, lakes, craters, ash cone and Mount Meru. It is important to note that mountain climbing permits duration time is 12 hours.