SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Like an unbroken thread, the annual migration of the wildebeest and zebra bind’s the Serengeti’s eco-system much as it has done for the past two million years. Upon this migration, triggered by the rains, almost all things depend. This annual pilgrimage involves some 1.5 million animals that must search for the grass and water they need to survive. During this spectacle the migration will cover some 3200 Km (2,000 miles) and devour 4,000 tonnes of grass a day. A quarter of a million animals will be born.
Lions and other predators follow the migration picking off the weaker members and the calves. At the Grumeti River, where the migration crosses the western corridor of the Serengeti, crocodiles lurk awaiting their annual feast. Other predators that lurk in the wings prefer smaller game to wildebeest and zebra. Leopards often found in trees along the Seronera River, may haul as many as four or five grant’s or thompson gazelles into their leafy larders. Their they are safe from the unwelcome attention of lions and hyenas.
Flora / Fauna
Grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, woodland.
Wildebeest, zebra, lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, cheetah, gazelle, giraffe, spotted hyena, jackal, aardwolf, serval, agama lizard, rock hyrax, secretary bird, ostrich, black eagle, more than 500 bird species. Most visited park in Tanzania, famous for massive migration of ungulates.
From the viewing point hundreds of meters above Ngorongoro Crater, the panorama spreads out in a vast arena. The hills rise smoothly from the Crater floor through evergreen forest, and rain clouds cascade over the eastern rim.
Zebra and wildebeest mix on the Crater floor along with some 50 lions, 400 spotted hyenas, grant and thompson gazelles, various types of jackal, greater and lesser flamingo and many other species. In all, Ngorongoro has some 25,000 animals, making this the most intensive game-viewing area on earth.
Flora / Fauna
Grassland, lakes, swamp, woodland, heath, dense montane forest.
Wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, black rhinoceros, lion, hartebeest, spotted hyena, hippopotamus, buffalo, elephant, mountain reed buck, leopard, serval, ostrich, kori bustard, papilio sjoestedti. Many archeological and paleontological sites: Olduvai Gorge, Laetoli, Lake Ndutu
OLDUVAI GORGE & LAETOLI FOOTPRINTS
Olduvai Gorge is on the Serengeti’s eastern plains and physically in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The site is strangely eerie as befits its ancient status. Here in 1959, Mary Leakey uncovered the skull of Zinjathropus or the “Nutcracker Man”.
The first European to have seen the Olduvai Gorge was a German butterfly collector, Professor Wilhelm Kattwinkle. In his notes in 1911, he described Olduvai as containing “the book of life” and he took back to Berlin a considerable number of fossils including the teeth of an extinct three-toed horse known as Hipparion.
Twenty-five miles to the southwest of Olduvai are the 3.6 million-year-old Laetoli footprints, the earliest our forebears are known to have left.
Today the Maasai people live and herd their livestock in the area they call Oldupai after the endemic sisal that grows wild in the area. “Ol” means place and “dupai” means sisal
Tarangire Natonal Parks
For many people who have spent years in the African bush, Tarangire is their favourite national park on Tanzania’s richly endowed northern circuit.
Looking down from the high ridge, it is not difficult to see why; the Tarangire river winds away into the distance, through open, undulating country. The Tarangire River, from which the park takes its name, supplies the park with its livelihood and becomes the dry season magnet for the vast herds of wildlife that must come down to drink.
Tarangire is central to Tanzania’s northern circuit making it the perfect place to begin or end an African safari.
Flora / Fauna
Oryx, gerenuk, elephant, baobab, lesser kudu, wild dog, lion, kori bustard, ground hornbill, ostrich, yellow-collared lovebird, rufus-tailed weaver, ashy starling, dwarf mongoose, red-and-yellow barbet,
550 bird varieties. Largest concentration of wildlife after Serengeti.
Lake Manyara National Park
Looking down from the western Rift wall along the road to Ngorongoro and Serengeti, it is easy to see why Lake Manyara National Park was once described as “The Emerald of Africa”.
The lake shimmers below in the heat haze, home to flamingoes, pelicans and innumerable water birds. Between the lake and the Rift, the park, with one main road and several loops, stands out in luscious greens that contrast with the arid, brown and windswept countryside.
Lake Manyara National Park is renowned for its tree-climbing lions. Why they do so is unknown, the most likely explanation is that they climb into the branches to getaway from the unwelcome attention of flies and large mammals that may threaten them.
The park is reputed to have the highest of elephants of any park in the world.
Flora / Fauna
Lake (2/3), forest, grassland.
Elephant, buffalo, tree-climbing lion, hippopotamus, impala, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, leopard, baboon, lesser flamingo, greater flamingo, white pelican, yellow-billed stork, white-breasted cormorant, palm-nut vulture, Ayres’ hawk-eagle, Nile monitor, cobra, great