Tours & Safaris
Arusha, Tanzania
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Ngorongoro Crater: What game will you see

The Ngorongoro is the best place in Tanzania to see the big five. A healthy population of black rhino and some of the largest tusker elephants left in Africa today are the prize spots, but the Crater is home to strong population of lion, leopard and hyena along with good herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other game in the Ngorongoro includes several cat, cheetah,jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, flamingo and bat eared foxes along with approximately 400 species of bird.

Ngorongoro Crater: what activities are on offer

Activities in the Ngorongoro Crater itself area limited to game driving only. There are also picnic spots in the park. When you include the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area, afull range of activities are on offer including walking, trekking, visiting the Masai ant other tribes and Olduvai Gorge.

Ngorongoro Crater: when to go

Since the game stays in the crater all year, there really is no good or bad time to be in the park. However, given that the crater floor can be busy with vehicles the low season months can be beneficial. There is also something to said for the fact that more water in Lake Magadi (in the center of the Crater) results in higher flamingo concentrations, but travelling to Ngorongoro at any time of year will guarantee great game.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park quite simply offers the finest game viewing anywhere in Africa. Unrivalled concentration of wildlife, stunningly beautiful landscapes and vast pristine areas make Serengeti National Park our pick for the best national park in the whole Africa. With so much hype and praise surrounding the Serengeti, you might expect to be disappointed upon finally visiting this infamous park.However, it really is good and you will undoubtedly fall in love with this last great wilderness(we certainly did). Even in the dry season (July – October) when the great herds retreated intothe woodlands from the plains, game viewing in Serengeti National Park still rivals that of any park in Africa.

The Serengeti National Park is a massive park encompassing 5700 square miles, and as one ofour customers best said it, ‘even during the high season there are only a few hundred vehicles roaming around an area the size of Connecticut’. The greater Serengeti ecosystem encompasses 10392 square miles (the size of Massachusetts) and includes many other game reserves and conservation areas including the Ngorongoro, Maasai Mara, Loliondo, Masawa, Grumeti and Ikorongo reserves.

This is more relevant figure as there are fences and many of the animals freely migrate in and out of the official park borders. Additionally, many of our safari itineraries include some time in these adjacent game reserve and conservation areas as game viewing can be just as rewarding during certain times of the year. The Serengeti National Park is about 90 miles wide (west to east) and about 120 miles long (north to south). The surrounding Serengeti National Park ecosystem is roughly double this size.

The Serengeti National Park ecosystem supports not only the largest herds of migrating ungulates but also the highest concentrations of large predators in the world. At a quick glance, the numbers are astonishing. Estimates put the wildebeest at about 1.7 million, zebra at 250000 and Thomson’s gazelles at about 44000. Hyenas are the most numerous of the largecarnivores at about 9000, lions at 2800 and leopards at about 1000. In general, cheetah live at much lower densities than other large predators.

However, the Serengeti boasts the highest density of cheetah in Africa (at certain times of year) with up to 40 animals per 60 square miles found on short grass plains during the wet season.

The Serengeti National Park is the most famous national park in Africa and is the best place for wildlife viewing for a variety of reasons. First of all, the variety and abundance of animalsyou will likely encounter exploring the Serengeti is far greater than any other park in Africa.

With a couple well-planned days (adjusted for seasonal wildlife movements), you will likely encounter representatives of just about every large and medium sized animal in East Africa. Every day, every game drive and every horizon bring new, exciting and unexpected wildlife encounters.

Second, the Serengeti National Park offers exceptional year-round game viewing. Though much of the wildlife in the Serengeti is migratory, abundant wildlife concentrations can be found throughout the year by basing yourself in the appropriate areas depending on your specific month of travel. Additionally, resident animals are plentiful. Regardless of when you travel, both resident and migratory animals can be found due to the size and nature of the Serengeti.

Third, the Serengeti encompasses a massive and pristine wilderness area. Thousands of square miles filled with plentiful wildlife beckon your exploration. Because of its large size, the Serengeti has retained a raw and wild feel that many of the other parks in Africa have lost.There are a few areas of the Serengeti including the Seronera Valley that may feel congested during peak travel months. Once outside these tourist areas and off the main arteries, you will likely encounter very few other visitors. The unpredictability of such a large area filled with so many large carnivores and herbivores makes for an adventure of the grandest proportion.

Fourth, the Serengeti ecosystem encompasses a variety of habitats providing for a diverse andwell-rounded safari. There are short grass plains, long grass savannahs, riverine areas, open woodlands, thick bush, wetlands, mountains and lakes. The south and east are home to the famous Serengeti plains where over two million animals congregate in the wet season. The central areas are home to the Serengeti’s famous lion prides and resident leopards. The remotewestern and northern corridors are home to the woodlands and offer wild and off the beaten path game viewing.

Lastly, the Serengeti rests on huge plateau situated at an altitude ranging from 6000 feet in theeast to 4000 feet in the west. This means that the strong equatorial sun is tempered and corridors are ideal for comfortable game viewing. The weather is generally pleasant and temperatures rarely exceeds 85 degrees. This is in stark contrast to the many hot and humid areas found in low-lying areas throughout Africa.

Zanzibar for beach holidays

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago off the cost of Tanzania consisting of Zanzibar Island (locally, Unguja), Pemba Island and many smaller islands. Zanzibar Island itself is approximately 90km long and 30km wide.

In 1896, Zanzibar was the location of the world’s shortest war, surrendering to Britain after 38 minutes of naval bombardment.

Cities

  • Stone Town – the vibrant and somewhat enchanting capital
  • Nungwi – a popular small resort town on the northern tip of the island
  • Kendwa – a small fishing village a couple of miles from Nungwi, a great place for reading on the beach or scuba diving.
  • Matemwe – a small traditional village in the North East.
  • Paje – a small village on the East coast known for excellent kite boarding conditions.
  • Jambani – a small fishing village on the southern coast.
  • Uroa Village – a small fishing village on the east coast with resorts on the northern and southern side.

Get in:

There are several good buses for low budget purpose that can take you from Arusha to Dar es Salaam to catch a boat.

By Boat:

There are many ferries and catamarans that can take you between Dar es Salaam and the Island. Most ferries schedules allow you to do the return trip the same day. For instance, leave Dar es Salaam ay 07:30 and return from Zanzibar on the 16:30 ferry. That leaves plenty of time to explore the Stone Town, the museum and have a nice lunch. The trip is beautiful and lasts about two hours approximately. However, if the weather is bad it can take much longer and the trip can be very unpleasant. If you suffer from seasickness you are advised to take some anti-seasickness pills prior to boarding. Then on-board personnel hands out free sickness bags at the start of the journey.

You may be able to hire a private boat for cheaper, but the trip will take considerably longer and unless you know something about boats, you could be on a vessel that is not equipped for bad weather conditions or an emergency.Remember: you get what you pay for.

Passport

Although Zanzibar is part of the union it maintains its own immigration service and you need to have a valid passport to enter, even if you come from mainland Tanzania. This farcically means you must fill out a Tanzania arrival card for your arrival in Stone Town, and a Tanzania departure card when you leave.

By plane

There are several flights from Arusha to Zanzibar. Air Excel, Regional Air, Precision Air, Zan Air, Coastal Aviation, and Fly540 etc.

 

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