Tanzania’s northern safari circuit – Travel Africa Magazine
Northern Tanzania could also be laden with safari treasure, however discovering one of the simplest ways to take all of it in requires some know-how. Fear not: weâve requested Philip Briggs, writer of many Bradt guides to Africa together with, Tanzania, Northern Tanzania and East African Wildlife, to offer you some steering.
he northeast of Tanzania packs an unbelievable variety of journey icons into one comparatively compact vacationer circuit. As a measure of this, the area boasts a full 4 UNESCO World Heritage websites, specifically Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, the legendary Serengeti National Park and the comparatively underpublicised prehistoric rock artwork websites of Kondoa District.
Scenically, northern Tanzania is stupendous. Visual highlights embrace snow-capped Kilimanjaro and close by Mount Meru (Africaâs fifth highest mountain), in addition to a string of lovely lakes that run alongside the Rift Valley escarpment east of the Serengeti.
And proof of the violent tectonic exercise that formed these wild landscapes is in every single place, from the extinct calderas that stud the Ngorongoro Highlands to the eruptive Ol Doinyo Lengai, considered one of East Africaâs most energetic volcanoes.
Fittingly for an space that performed a vital position in human evolution, northern Tanzania helps a variety of recent cultures whose traditions hark again to older instances. There are the hunter-gatherer Hadza of the Eyasi Basin, the agriculturist Wa-Arusha who inhabit the slopes of Mount Meru, and â most emblematic of all â the pink-robed, spear-wielding Maasai, who nonetheless observe their ancestral cattle-herding life-style, usually proper alongside the wildlife, within the Ngorongoro Highlands and Maasai Steppes.
But northern Tanzaniaâs major attraction is undoubtedly its wildlife viewing, which is greater than a match for any African safari circuit. It begins with the peerless Serengeti, an enormous tract of undulating savannah that hosts the legendary wildebeest migration together with a profusion of lions and different predators.
Elsewhere, there may be the Serengeti-in-miniature that’s the Ngorongoro Crater, a pair of underrated small gems within the type of Arusha and Lake Manyara National Parks, and the scrubby Tarangire National Park, residence to the areaâs largest focus of elephant.
Whether travelling for one week or two, Tanzaniaâs northern safari circuit gives rewarding itinerary choices. Here are three recommendations to get you began.
Introductory safari (6 days)
Featuring: Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge and southern Serengeti
Day 1Â Leave Arusha early sufficient with the intention to take pleasure in lunch at a campsite or lodge in or round Lake Manyara National Park. Spend the afternoon on a recreation drive within the park, stopping on the hippo pool close to the gate, a great website for water birds. Then observe the floodplain south to the Maji ya Moto sizzling springs, a drive that often yields elephants, giraffes and (should you scan the rocks rigorously) timid klipspringers.
Day 2Â Ideally, revisit Manyara within the morning, when it tends to be at its quietest. Visit a Maasai manyatta (settlement) en path to one of many lodges or campsites on the Ngorongoro Crater rim, the place you may spend the remainder of the afternoon scanning the crater flooring for wildlife.
Day 3Â Get the earliest potential begin for an extended morning recreation drive on the crater flooring (donât overlook to take a packed breakfast!). Return to your lodge for lunch, then depart for a day drive by the Serengeti, stopping en route at Olduvai Gorge.
Days 4-7Â Spend the subsequent two days exploring the Serengeti, then, on Day 6, both undertake the drive again to Arusha or save your self a while and bruises by flying there instantly.
Extended safari (10 days)
Featuring: Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge, southern Serengeti, western or northern Serengeti
Days 1-2Â Leave Arusha in time for lunch at Tarangire National Park. Spend that afternoon and the subsequent morning exploring the park and observing the wildlife (the roads that flank the river are at all times rewarding). Head to Lake Manyara National Park for lunch on Day 2 and revel in a day drive there.
Days 3-4Â As per day 2 and three of the Introductory safari.
Days 5-6Â Spend these two days exploring the southern Serengeti, which is usually the most effective a part of the park for recognizing cheetah, leopard and lion.
Days 7-9Â Head to the northern or western sections of the Serengeti, areas that really feel very untrammelled in comparison with the world south of Seronera. Both are worthwhile at any time of yr, however the north is especially really useful between July and October, when massive numbers of wildebeest are within the space (river crossings are very common). The west is often at its greatest over late May to early July, when the wildebeest amass there in anticipation of crossing the Grumeti River.
Day 10Â Fly again to Arusha, or drive (ideally with an in a single day cease en route).
Adventure safari (14 days)
Featuring: Arusha and Tarangire National Parks, Kondoa and Lake Manyara National Park, Lake Eyasi and Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, southern and northern Serengeti, Lake Natron and Ol Doinyo Lengai
Days 1-3Â Start with a morning recreation drive in Arusha National Park. Drive to Tarangire National Park that afternoon, treating the final stretch as a recreation drive. Spend your entire second day in Tarangire, earlier than visiting the Kondoa Rock Art on Day 3. Return to Lake Manyara to in a single day.
Days 4-5Â After a morning recreation drive in Manyara, spend two nights at Lake Eyasi, the place you may be a part of a band of Hadza hunter-gatherers in motion.
Days 6-11Â Visit a Maasai manyatta en path to Ngorongoro Crater. After spending the remainder of the morning on a recreation drive within the crater, depart for the Serengeti. Divide your time over the subsequent 5 days between the parkâs south or west and the north.
Days 12-13Â From the northern Serengeti, drive to Lake Natron, exploring the lakeshore and optionally doing an night time hike to the highest of Ol Doinyo Lengai.
Day 14Â Return to Arusha, stopping on the mysterious however little visited Engaruka ruins en route.
Right time, proper place
Timing is important if you wish to catch the wildebeest migration, although you’ve got to remember that whereas it does observe a fairly predictable annual route, the precise time might fluctuate significantly from one yr to the subsequent as a result of various rainfall patterns.
Broadly, nonetheless, the most effective time to be within the southern Serengeti (essentially the most accessible a part of the park on a price range) is November to May, when the wildebeest disperse into the southern quick grass plains, calving there over late January and February.
They often begin to transfer west in May, often reversing course after a significant storm, to finally amass on the Grumeti River within the Western Corridor in June or July.
The wildebeest are often within the northern Serengeti, on both aspect of the Mara River, from early August till October, after they begin transferring again south once more.
Another seasonal issue to bear in mind are the lengthy rains, from March to May, which can inhibit your motion in additional distant areas (however they’re additionally the quietest months when it comes to vacationer visitors).
This article was first printed in Travel Africa difficulty 58