Tanzania is a land of vastness, contrasts, and rich spectacles. Two million animals wander the Serengeti and Ngorongoro plains on volcanic soils that cover a rich history of the development of human and animal biology and culture. Snows cap Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a recent addition to the landscape in comparison to the Eastern Arc Mountains that harbor forests older than 30 million years old. The mountains are known as the “Galapagos of Africa” and are in the top 20 ecosystems of the world with more unique diversity per square kilometer than any other. Through it’s center lie a number of unbroken savanna landscapes such as Ruaha National Park (over 22,000km2) that are strongholds for Africa’s diminishing wildlife species such as elephant, lion, and giraffe.

Tanzania is also home to over one hundred different tribes including the oldest hunter-gatherers, famous pastoralists, agricultural people as well as the coastal trader from which came Swahili, the unifying language adopted at independence.

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Home of the great migration

Tarangire and Ruaha National Parks epitomize the classic African savanna complete with red soil, gigantic baobabs, and wildlife concentrations around water. The best times to visit for wildlife are the dry season (July-Oct) when seasonal water supplies dry and animals are forced to the few rivers and springs with permanent water. Tarangire brings specialties like lesser kudu, fringe-eared oryx, and gerenuk while Ruaha offers opportunities for sable, roan and abundant greater kudu. Both national parks also offer exceptional birding, with Ruaha offering special miombo species. Consider walking in these national parks with Inspired Journeys selection of walking guides.

While the wet season in many parks means wildlife dispersal, the Serengeti ecosystem comes into its own with the rains. The Serengeti hosts the largest concentration of wildlife in the world, and is home to one of the great wonders of the natural world, the Great Migration. Over a million wildebeest and some 600,000 zebra move through the eco-system, with lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, wild dog and crocodiles making sure only the strongest survive. The sheer volume of numbers combined with the daily dramas of life and death make this an unforgettable experience.

The Serengeti is the size of a small country (actually almost exactly the size of Belgium), and as a result offers a multitude of landscapes and experiences. You can visit the short grass plains in the east, which has a near desert climate, where the big cats are easily seen due to the lack of foliage. Or why not head north to the flat top hills, and watch the spectacle of thousands of wildebeest crossing the Mara River. Or head south and see the wildebeest numbers increase in the early months of the year when the wildebeest give birth.

The above are just a few of the spectacular parks on offer in Tanzania, there is much more to see and do. We know where to be and when, so let us know what inspires you, and let us try and make it happen!


Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro, mt Meru. anything else you wish?

The legendary Kilimanjaro is a reason in itself to visit Tanzania. With its peak 5895 meters above sea level, it is the highest mountain in Africa and the largest strato volcano in the world. and although the last eruptions of the Kilimanjaro were over a million years ago, it is not considered extinct. The hike to one of the summits/peaks of the Kilimanjaro takes approximately 7 days (depending on your route). it takes you through Kilimanjaro National Park as an added bonus. Although not a technical climb the altitude makes it tough and doing some altitude acclimatization and training before climbing will increase your chances of success.

Summiting Mt Meru, Africa’s 5th highest mountain (4568m) is a great way to actively begin a safari in Tanzania. The 3 or 4 day climb takes you through the rich forest, through the heath and moorland vegetation zone, and finally onto the alpine desert giving opportunities to enjoy a variety of beautiful birds including tacazze sunbirds, bar-tailed trogons, and silvery-cheeked hornbills. Summit at dawn to catch the sun rising over Mt. Kilimanjaro. Because of its lesser fame compared to its big brother Kilimanjaro, the route to the summit of Mt Meru is a lot less busy.

Less well known, but not less spectacular, is the Oldonyo Lengai. The stark Maasai “Mountain of God” rises off the windswept and barren plains, flanked by brittle volcanic mudflows. It’s last eruption in 2007 sent plumes of ash 30,000ft into the air. The climb is a tough 5 hour, 6000ft ascent, but well worth the scramble. and can be combined with longer treks through Ngorongoro and Lake Natron.

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Stay away from the crowds and visit some of the Tanzanian hidden gems

Lake Natron is the largest of the Great Rift Valley’s soda lakes and is also the most caustic lake in the world. It is shallow, no more than 3 meters deep and lying at 610m above sea level it also gets extremely warm. Water temperatures regularly reach 40C (60C recorded), combined with a pH of 9-10, it’s surprising that life can actually flourish. Yet, mineral rich springs along the edges of the lake grow algae that feed and provide shelter for abundant specialized fish and lesser flamingos. Invisible moisture supports Acacia tortilis woodlands that feed giraffe, and sheltered spots provide enough grazing for zebra, wildebeest, and Grant’s gazelle and Fringe-eared oryx. The lake is fringed by spectacular landscapes and in the  right season can be a firework of colors.

Rubondo Island National Park stands out among Tanzania’s parks being covered in forest and surrounded by water. Not only is it Africa’s largest island national park, but it also claims the highest density of African fish eagles in Africa. While many of the mammal species were introduced, there are some specialities and it is a great place for “mammal twitchers” to tick off Sitatunga, Suni, Bushpigs and Spot-necked otters  which are all common. Combining it with traditional safari in Serengeti or Tarangire rounds a safari off by adding a new dimension of being on the water, incredible birdlife, pristine forest, and activities such as fishing – with chimpanzee viewing expected to become available in the near future!