Why Tanzania? Renown as one of the most intriguing destinations on earth, home to mankind, evolution that reaches into our existence and touches your soul. Immersed in nature the land feels alive with the sounds of wildlife, vibrant culture and charming characteristics.
~ Lake Tanganyika, renown for being the deepest lake on the continent, is very unique for its fish species. Wildlife reserves work alongside the national parks help to assist in preserving the country's endemic species. Conservation is forefront in protecting our wildlife and balancing human conflict.
~ Kiswahili and English are the two official languages spoken, however there are over a 100 different languages making for a very diverse country linguistically. Nomadic Masai, the tribespeople are distinctive in their dress and to this day continue old age traditions. A staple diet of ugali and nyama, chips mayai, chai and chapatis are definitely a local must for the adventurous.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Savannah and bush make up half of Tanzania, while semi-arid desert, rugged mountains and remote coastlines account for the remaining parts of this incredible country.
Humid afternoon thunderstorms of the short rains. The wildebeest migration is down on the eastern side of the Serengeti, moving through the Loliondo concession area, arriving on the short grass plains south east of Seronera.
The short dry season starts and the wildebeest herds have moved down into the southern Serengeti plains. The short grass is full of nutrients as they wait in preparation for their young.
The wildebeest herds are now spread over the southern serengeti plains and Ndutu with calving season well on its way. Predators follow the herds and lay quietly in anticipation.
The Ndutu and southern plains are now dotted with large numbers of wildebeest and zebra, the wildebeest calves are now growing stronger everyday.
The rains fall over the southern Serengeti, as they ease the herd starts its migration north through Moru Kopjes. Heading towards the western side of Seronera to the Grumeti Game Reserve.
The herds are graze happily between the southern plains and central Serengeti, slowly moving in a westerly direction towards the Western Corridor.
Seronera in central Serengeti is now abundant with wildebeest and zebra as they head in a north west direction. The herd congregate’s around the Grumeti River in preparation for the first river crossings.
The migration herd tends to break away and are spread over a vast area. Part of the herd will make it's way further north through Grumeti Game Reserve, whilst the others head further north-east through the park.
The migration herd is crossing their way over the Mara river. Thundering back and forwards in large numbers as they search for the most nutrient food.
The majority of the herd has now moved into the northern area of Masai Mara where they spend time grazing on the mara’s nutrient grass. Towards the end of September start their return journey south east back towards the Serengeti.
The rains are starting to build in the southern parts of the Serengeti, the herd makes its way back across the Mara river into northern Serengeti. Spectacular river crossings and game viewing.
Following the intermittent rain the herd makes it way back down into northern-eastern side of the Serengeti national park and along the Loliondo Concession area.
A tranquil, unspoilt and untamed wilderness, Tanzania is very diverse with something new and different, day to night, month to month.
The wonders of the north.
Wildlife, evolution and fascination, are only a few words that describe the northern parts of Tanzania. From migratory wildebeest moving throughout the Serengeti plains to the snow capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Magically, as baobabs start to lose their leaves, the end rainy season is finished in mid May. The dry season approaches, the green grass habitat is replaced by a more golden grass where lions and leopards lose their distinct advantage over unsuspecting grazers. Seasonal waterholes will start to dry up, and most wildlife will make its way down to the Tarangire River.
Wildlife in Tarangire consists of herds of elephants, migratory herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala’s, hartebeest and eland over 550 species of birdlife such as kori bustards, african grey and crowned hornbill, lovebirds, black headed and rufus bellied heron, lilac breasted roller, black faced sandgrouse, curlew sandpiper and white faced scope's owl.
The lakes ecosystem is a great breeding ground for Lesser Flamingo’s, as conditions are perfect for the cyanobacteria that survive in this harsh environment. Masai herd their cattle over the dry grasslands and the hardy few zebra that remain.
Walking safaris, climbing the slopes of Ol Doinyo Lengai are certainly for the more curious and adventurous.
Today they are known to hunt dik-dik, impala and bush pig with a bow and arrrow. Sap from the desert rose shrub is used as poison for hunting purposes. The Hadzabe, have very little possessions and are obligated to share if they have more than what is needed with the rest of the tribe.
Wild honey is an essential part of the Hadzabe diet and they will generally follow a honeyguide to its wild honey nest. They have a very close relationship with the bird, calling to the hunters then they will whistle back to it. The hunter climbs with a flame to smoke the bees out, before removing the honeycomb. Women spend their day gathering roots, berries and fruit from the baobab, grewia and salvadora trees. Both men and women have autonomy in the tribe and decisions are made equally.
The Lake Eyasi ecosystem is part of the great rift valley and the seasonal soda lake is a migration stop for the lesser flamingos. Enjoy a cultural Hadzabe day, interacting with local bushmen and their traditions.
The park situated at the base of the rift valley escarpment, is home to migratory pink hued flamingo, pelicans, and over 400 species of birdlife. The contrast in vegetation consists of lush jungle forest to open grassy plains. On the waters edge, plains game are giraffe, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest and elephant. Hippos wallow at the edge of the lake in the hippo pool, and noisy ground hornbills will greet you on arrival.
Baboons spend their time hanging out on the road near the park entrance happy to watch the world pass by. Lake Manyara is also known for the famous tree climbing lions, which are often seen in the acacia woodland, just inland of the flood plains.
The park is 330 km square and the soda lake spans up to 200kms, when water levels are high. From the top of the rift valley escarpment, the view is impressive. The lake for stretches for miles and the blanket of pink of flamingo’s covers the landscape.
The area was originally designed to protect the indigenous people of Tanzania, to promote tourism through the integration of human development and natural resources. In the Ngorongoro Conservation area is Oldupai Gorge the archaeological site where early human footprints were first discovered. Man and his ancestors are to have co existed with wildlife for over 3 million years. By continuing the research of wildlife and human conflict, we can only hope to protect and maintain this fragile relationship.
The UNESCO site since 1979, this wildlife wonderland contains over 25,000
larger animals and is home to the endangered rhino. Currently there are only 26 black rhinoceros that inhabit the area. The crater floor supports the annual Serengeti migration as it passes through Ngorongoro, and known to have the densest lion population. There are six lion groups in the crater, one being the Totitok pride which has two male brothers Hook and Ahab. The group was named after the Totitok River and the Munge group after the Munge River. The crater lions are endangered by inbreeding since the endemic outbreak of biting flies in 1962, which wiped out a population of 70 lions.
Abundant wildlife, wildebeest are 7000, zebra’s 4000, eland 3000, grants and thompson's gazelles 3,000. The rim of the crater, vegetation turns more into lush rain forests home to herds of elephants, mountain reedbuck, spotted hyenas, the elusive wild dog and cheetah. There are approximately 380 spotted hyena’s that inhabit the crater floor and live in 8 clans of between 30 - 80 members.
One of the oldest ecosystems and spanning over 30,000kms square, it has inspired writers and photographers alike. The late Hugo Van Lawick filmed many documentaries to show this natural phenomenon to the world. Oldupai known for it’s 'cradle of mankind fossil remains' has intrigued archaeologists and historians. Richard Leakey, for his excavations and knowledge of how our ancestors lived over 2 million years ago.
The region extends as far north to the Masai Mara, the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation area, Maswa Conservation Reserve and the wildlife management areas of Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo. The UNESO World heritage site Serengeti, is famous for the annual migration with over 1.5 - 2 million wildebeest that move in a clockwise direction throughout the national park. Around 90,000 visitors visit the park every year.
Serengeti Shall never die is an awe-inspiring documentary, filmed by Michael Grzimek who died in a plane crash whilst filming in 1959.
An untouched beauty.
One of the last frontiers in Africa, southern Tanzania is full of unspoilt landscapes, exceptional wildlife viewing with a variety of different experiences. The red soil of Ruaha with its magnificent standing baobab trees, make for a striking contrast on the distant horizon.
The highlights of the highlands.
Dense, remote forests, home to the elusive chimpanzee and the thousands of hippo pods that fill Katavi National Park. Steep forests that meet the waters of Lake Tanganyika, and a Robinson Crusoe enclave that Greystoke Mahale calls home.
The remote Robinson Crusoe way of life and having the privilege to witness the chimps interaction is fascinating. A variety of wildlife who share the dense rainforest, are bush bucks, bush pigs and other primates like the Angola colobus, red tailed and blue tailed monkeys. An array of birdlife such as the black weaver and African reed warbler, are just a few of the many distinct features.
In contrast to Mahale, Katavi entertains a certain curiosity, it is Tanzania’s less travelled though the third largest national park after Serengeti and Ruaha. It is far cry from the main tourism circuits of the north and feels like a forging frontier into the unknown. The 4500km square area has everything big, large rivers, large lakes, large trees and big mammals. In the late stages of the dry season you will see a number of bewildering hippo’s immersed together in any pool sufficient enough to cover them with water. Lion, buffalo’s, elephant and other predators are drawn to the major rivers in dry season, the Katuma, Kavu and Kapapa.
Green season provides a very different view and is described as a mini Okavango Delta. Flood plains are turned into swampy wetlands by overflowing rivers. All things being big and large in Katavi, the Tamarind tree is of the old world is no exception. Its leaves, fruit and flowers are used as food for both human consumption and elephants. Buffalo are seen in large herds in Katavi and are known to have one of the largest concentrations in Africa.
A beautiful and historic region rich in history, natural beauty, art and culture.
The exotic spice islands off the coast of Tanzania are full of mystique. Influenced by Omani history, the tiny alleyways and paved streets of Stone Town are a fascinating way to lose yourself in local culture. A marine park flanks the island of Mafia, a colourful site for diving enthusiasts.
In the Sultanate Omani’s rule plantations were developed for it’s worldwide famous cloves and spices. The slave trade and was at it’s peak by the 18th century, making "Unjuja" one of the largest slave ports. The German and British abolition in the 19th century, see's a infusion of culture and characteristics that make up this intriguing destination. Stone Town, the historic capital of Zanzibar, showcases colourful bazaars, spices shops, historic museums and is world heritage listed. The northern beaches are a brilliant white, surrounded by coral reefs. In the south the beaches are very different with mangrove wetlands.
Pemba Island has been left relatively untouched and is the Zanzibar of 20 years ago. It’s tranquil, serene location is a haven for travellers who are wanting to get away from it all. Avid dive enthusiasts of marine life, will definitely enjoy exploring the area. Conservation is paramount to help preserve the coral reefs, that have already been decimated by over fishing.
Chole’s Mjini's approach to eco responsible tourism is impressive, and is definitely for people looking for a rustic adventure. Getting back to nature where days are spent exploring the local village, diving, snorkelling, swimming with the whale sharks or simply relaxing.