One of the greatest charms of any African experience is a wildlife safari and Tanzania is the best destination for a trip into the wild. The country features 16 national parks and wildlife reserves for unforgettable safari experiences. Each national park has its own unique beauty, and features a wide range of wildlife species including the Big Five. Thus, deciding which of the national parks to visit can be a daunting task.
Whether you are looking to see the Big Five, hike the highest mountain in Africa or soak up the impressive East African scenery, here are the best national parks in Tanzania that you absolutely cannot miss.
Located in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania and Home to the Great Migration, Serengeti National Park ranks high on the tour lists for many. Showcasing sightings of more than two million animals during the world’s largest land animal annual migration, the park is described as the place where the land moves on forever. This stunning park receives no less than 90,000 visitors yearly comprising of people from all walks of life. Grab an authentic game viewing opportunity when you visit the Serengeti national park in June to July and January to February.
Often called the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Ngorongoro crater is the largest intact volcanic caldera on the planet. This naturally formed park is one of the few places where you can see all the large predators that Africa is famous for in a single day and it also hosts the endangered black rhino. From June to September, tourists enjoy wildlife viewing. Tourists can also explore the Maasai culture by visiting a traditional village. Little wonder it receives 400,000 visitors annually.
Though a lake, Manyara offers tourists a miniature Serengeti. Hosting as many as 11 ecosystems and a varied wildlife, a majority of the area is covered by the lake itself. The lake is popular for tree-climbing lions; a close encounter with hundreds of elephants; splendid bird-watching opportunities and breathtaking natural beauty. Lake Manyara is best visited from July to October. Night safaris, hiking, and trekking are available within the lake. The lake itself is described as a soda ash lake, with relatively high alkalinity. This makes it a wonder for the flamingos and their breeding flocks.
Seeing about 160,000 visitors annually, Tarangire National Park is a beautiful park, typified by century-old baobabs that stand sentinel above the open grass plains and riverbeds, and home to a vast array of animal and bird species, drawn to the Tarangire River banks during the dry season. Tarangire is one of the best places to see the matriarchal family groups of elephants, breathtaking baobab trees and stunning natural beauty of Tanzania. The 2,850 sq. km park is best visited from July to October.
Being the largest uninhabited area in the continent, showcasing nature at its beautiful best and the best bush vibe in Tanzania makes Selous Game Reserve worth visiting. Selous offers the next best thing to wildebeest migration – elephant migration. The reserve is one of the few destinations in Africa to see wild dogs. June to November is the best time to visit for excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Complete your safari travel with a visit to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
Being the largest national park in Africa and Tanzania, Ruaha presents the wildest encounters for those who know what to look for. Ancient baobab trees, picturesque river, and dramatic scenes, as well as exciting game viewing experiences, are some of the highlights of Ruaha. The park receives visitors twice the size of its area space of 10,300 sq. km and is one of the best destinations to see wild dogs and unusual antelope species.
Home to Jane Goodall’s research, Gombe Stream National Park presents a trail system which lets tourists penetrate deep into the forest and enjoy some of the best views of the African bush. Chimpanzee sightings are common and you can also expect to see several species of primates here. Best time to visit is from July to October.
Exclusive and uncrowded, Katavi Park presents untouched wilderness and it is common to run across more predators. Visiting from June to October offers spectacular hippo viewing opportunities. See the unusual species of antelopes.
Mahale Mountains National Park located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika offers the best chimp tracking experience in Tanzania and visitors also fall in love with its stunning beauty. The Mahale Mountains is home to some of the glittery sand beaches that Africa is so famous for. Enjoy fishing, kayaking, and the spectacular beaches. Over 1,000 visitors see this 1,613 sq. km park the best fit for a notable safari camping.
Popular for the Mkata Floodplain, the Mikumi National Park is the perfect weekend getaway for an amazing diversity and concentrated wildlife. Enjoy good animal sightings during the dry season and stunning photo shots. Mikumi is best visited from June to October.
Kilimanjaro National Park is a unique mountain park. If you’re intent on conquering the summit, you should head here. Even if you’re not interested in ascending Africa’s highest mountain, revel in the sight of the snow-capped dome.