Tanzania - a country of contrasts with endless savannahs, dense rainforest, islands with palm trees, a gorgeous animal kingdom and hospitable people. A country where Africa's highest mountain and its deepest sea are situated. A country where you can experience the wild and romantic Africa of your dreams.
The Tanzanian mainland consists of the 16 - 64 wide coastal plain with copious tropical vegetation, the Masai savannah located 213 - 1.067 m high in the north and the high plateau in the south. Only near the coast you will find younger sea accumulations like sandstone or coral lime. The islands Zanzibar and Pemba consist in these accumulations. Wet and dry savannahs with umbrella acacias and baobab trees dictate the biggest part of the country, semi-deserts and coastal areas form the remaining landscape. Red loamy ground which is only little fertile and often decalcified are widely spread and have mostly formed from gneiss and granite. However, the land is very fertile where young volcanic land has developed, e.g. at the hillsides of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The Serengeti area comprises Serengeti National Park with its 14.763 km² which belongs to the biggest and also to the most popular national parks of the world. It has been UNESCO World Natural Heritage since 1981 as well as biosphere reserve. In 1929, a part of Serengeti was declared a wild reserve in order to protect lions. In 1951 the Tanzanian government founded Serengeti National Park, which also includes the Ngorongoro Crater. It is one of Africa's most complex and less destroyed ecosystems, the savannah with widespread acacias as its centre. Short grass forms the main vegetation over the wavy and open plains.
Especially the migration of about one million blue wildebeests and zebras has made the park famous, according to the season the spectacle can be watched in its entirety. But also beyond the migration more than 1,6 million herbivores and thousands of predators like lions, hyenas and jackals live here. There are huge herds of antelopes with numerous species but also leopards, cheetahs, elephants, black rhinos and hippos. Additionally, the park is located within a worldwide important bird-dispersal area with over 500 bird species, amongst them 34 different raptors, 6 vulture species and crowds of up to 20.000 water birds. There are also reptiles like the Nile crocodile, the Nile monitor, the Northern rock python, the African rinkhals and the puff adder.
Lake Manyara National Park is located at the western shore of the Manyara Lake beneath the fault scarp of Rift Valley in the north of Tanzania. The park comprises an area of about 320 km², 220 km² of these are covered by Lake Manyara. In the west the park is bordered by high outliers, the lake takes up the eastern part.
Lake Manyara National Park became famous by its tree lions which - with a little bit of luck - can still be seen in the acacias. The many different water birds and coveys of flamingos are unique as well. Additionally there are mostly giraffes, impalas, elephants, hippos, leopards and baboons. The groundwater forests at the entrance of the park are especially impressive, here you can also watch long-tailed monkeys.
Tarangire National Park is located southwest of Arusha at a height of about 900 m and comprises 2.600 km². The Tarangire River flows through the park and permanently carries water, even during the yearly dry season from July to October. Therefore the park accommodates many animals especially during the dry season as then the animals migrate from drier regions.
On both sides of the river there is grassland and open tree savannah, the population of baobabs is really remarkable. Besides the numerous elephants whose population has remained constant during the last years the visitor may watch many other animals like African wild dogs, cheetahs, zebras, buffalos, antelopes, giraffes, lions, leopards, baboons and over 300 bird species.
Kilimanjaro National Park was founded in 1973 and opened in 1977 and comprises the Kilimanjaro massif with its rain forests and the mountains Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira. The aim of the about 756 km² big national park is to protect the natural scenery and the flora and fauna at Mt. Kilimanjaro and preserve it for the future. The park is located 1.800 to 5.895 m above sea level, many routes are offered to climb the mountain.
During climbing, the hiker will pass diverse vegetation zones, first the lowland forest, then marsh heather, followed by rock desert and the icy mountain top. The timber line begins according to each region below a height of 3.500 m. Due to the wet and hot climate, a unique flora with countless plant species has developed in the lower regions of the mountain. The rain forest is located at a height of about 1.400 to 3.000 m, there are elephants, rhinos, buffalos, zebras, bushbucks, monkeys, long-tailed monkeys, lions, leopards, hyenas and numerous bird species.
The Ngorongoro Crater is located in the north of Tanzania at the edge of the Serengeti. It has a diameter of over 20 km and is the biggest closed crater world-wide. The crater ground is located about 1.700 m above sea level and due to the fact that the side walls are between 400 and 600 m high, the crater's edge is at a height of about 2.300 m. the whole nature reserve comprises a total area of 8.000 km² and is unique in its animal kingdom, its wide landscapes, the culture of the local Masai and archaeological treasures. In 1979, the crater was included to the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage.
Due to the present meadow areas, different vegetation and enough water on the crater ground there are up to 25.000 mammals, mostly herbivores like antelopes, zebras, gazelles, buffalos, hippos, warthogs, elephants, baboons and waterbucks. The huge migration from Serengeti also leads trhough the Ngorongoro Crater. Big cats like lions, cheetahs and leopards find enough prey which is also great for the hyenas. The crater is a dynamic and always changing ecosystem and the diverse vegetation of forest, grass plains, canyons, lakes and marshes also accommodates a multitude of bird species. The climate strongly varies, depending on the different altitude.