National Parks and Conservation Areas
Arusha National Park has a total area of 137 sq. km. and is only 37 km from Arusha. There are over 50 km of game viewing roads in the Ngurdoto and Momella Sections of the park.
The park includes Momella Lakes, Ngurdoto Crater, and Mount Meru. Animals to be found include the rare black an white colubus monkey, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, bush buck, red and forest dikes, waterbuck, hippo, warthog, red back, and dik dik. There are no lions in the Park.
Lake Manyara National Park is a 325 sq. km park shelters under the massive escarpment of the Rift Valley and consists of five distinct vegetation zones with a wide range of flora and is about 130 km from Arusha.
The park is famous for its tree climbing lions which often spend the afternoon in the branches of acacia trees. It has over 350 species of birds, the most common being the flamingo which at times can make the lake look as if it is pink. The part is also home to large herds of buffalo, elephant, giraffe, hippo, impala, monkey, baboons and great variety of smaller animals which can be observed in the course of a single day.
Tarangire National Park covers an area of 2,600 sq. kms and is the sixth largest National park in Tanzania after Selous, Serengeti, Ruaha, Ngorongoro and Mikumi. It is is about 120 kms from Arusha.
Visitors to Tarangire frequently encounter large herds of elephants. In the park you also find other game such as rhino, buffalo, eland, lion, warthog, the fingered Oryx, lesser and greater kudu, gerenuk and large number of impala. Huge magnificent baobab trees add to the scenic splendor of this unique national park.
Ngorongoro Crater is considered "the eight wonder of the natural world". There is nothing else like it. Standing at 2,286 meters above sea level is the largest unbroken Caldera in the world. Surrounded by very steep walls rising over 600 meters and has an area of 259 sq. kms. It is about 190 kms from Arusha.
On the floor, which can be reached by a 4WD vehicle roam hundreds of thousands of plains animals. Elephant, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, black rhino, velvet monkey and the every hungry predators, including cheetah, hyenas and the black manned lion can be observed at close quarters in their natural habitats. More than a hundred species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted here. Ostriches, kori bustards, secretary birds, created cranes egrets, red killed ox-packers and the countless flamingos can be observed.
Serengeti National Park the largest National Park in Africa is undoubtedly the best known wildlife sanctuary in the world unequaled for its natural beauty and wildlife. Within its boundaries are more than 3 million large mammals living in total freedom on the "endless plains" as the word Serengeti means in the Maasai language. The landscape has numerous rock outcrops and is dotted with patches of acacia bush forest and occasional small rivers.
About 35 species of plains animals can be observed including the "Big Five" elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo. There also are large herds of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra which in late May or early June depending on the weather, begin their spectacular migration from the central plains to the Maasai Mara in Kenya to the north. Herds of wildebeest up to 30 kms long have been observed. At the tail end of the procession come the crippled and those too old to keep up with predators including lions, cheetah, hyena, crocodiles at the water crossings, and the vultures waiting for an easy meal.
Other common species found in the Serengeti include hippo, giraffe, eland, impala, water buck, klipspringer, baboon, monkey (velvet and pate) warthog, knongi, topi and a rich selection of bird life. Nearly 6500 species of birds have been recorded in the park.
Olduvai Gorge the "Cradle of Mankind" lies between the great wildlife sanctuaries of Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. This area is where the skull of the “Nutcracker Man” or Zinjanthropus boisei was unearthed by Professor Louis Leakey in 1959. Nearby is Laetoli where the footprints of humanoids (said to be 3.5 million years old) were discovered by Mrs. Mary Leaky in 1970. To the north is Oldonyo Lengai, a living volcano.
Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is 755 sq km is size and located in Northern Tanzania near the town of Moshi. It is about 128 km from Arusha.
Kilimanjaro is known as the "roof of Africa" and is the highest free standing mountain in the world. It is one on the "seven Summits"
It is best known for the six usual routes that lead to its summit on Kibo at Uhuru Point at an altitude of 5895 meters (19,340 ft). It is known as one of the world's most accessible high summits.
But there is so much more to Kilimanjaro than her summit. A journey up her slopes takes you on a climatic world tour from tropics to the arctic. The grassy and cultivated lower slopes turn into lush rain forest, inhabited by elusive elephant, leopard, buffalo and antelope, higher still, heath and moorland, covered with giant heathers, becomes surreal alpine and, finally, ice, snow and the magnification beauty of the top of the continent.