Top National Parks to Visit in Tanzania

Travel To Tanzania
National Parks to Visit in Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa and there are many reasons for that. Tanzania has over 30 national parks which protect vast areas of wilderness, savanna grasslands, semi-deserts, and forests. 

The country also protects several World Heritage Sites including Serengeti National Park/Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Selous Game Reserve (one site), the Eastern Arc Mountains (seven sites), and Kilimanjaro National Park (two separate sites). The following guide introduces you to some of the best places to see wildlife in Tanzania:

1). Serengeti National Park:

National Parks to Visit in Tanzania

The Serengeti is one of the oldest and most iconic national parks in Africa. 

The park covers 14,763 square kilometers(5,700 square miles)and is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife. 

The Serengeti is best known for its large herds of migrating animals, including Wildebeest, Zebra, and Gazelle but the park also protects many other species such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, and buffalo.

2). Ngorongoro Crater:

National Parks to Visit in Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers 265 square kilometers(102 square miles). 

The crater was formed by a volcanic eruption over 2 million years ago and today it supports one of the highest densities of wildlife in Africa. 

Visitors to the crater can expect to see lions, rhinos, buffalos, hippos, and elephants amongst others.

3). Selous Game Reserve:

National Parks to Visit in Tanzania

The Selous Game Reserve is the largest protected area in Africa, covering 55,000 square kilometers(21,200 square miles). 

The reserve is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife including lions, buffalos, elephants, and leopards. 

At the same time, the reserve also protects a number of rare and endangered species such as the African Wild Dog and Black Rhinoceros. 

Visitors to the Selous can enjoy game drives or safari walks with experienced guides.

4). Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is Tanzania’s third largest national park and it is a great place to spot wildlife. 

The Tarangire River runs through the park and provides a source of water for the animals, which makes it a popular destination for safaris. 

Some of the animals you can expect to see in Tarangire National Park include elephants, zebras, lions, and warthogs. 

Not to mention, there are also numerous bird species present in the park, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.

5). Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is one of the top national parks to visit while in Tanzania. 

The park is known for its incredible wildlife viewing opportunities, including its large population of elephants. 

Visitors can also see lions, leopards, and a variety of other animals while in the park. 

Additionally, the park is home to a wide variety of bird species, making it a popular destination for birders.

6). Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is situated on the northern Tanzania safari circuit and covers an area of 137 square miles (353 sq km). 

The park offers stunning views over Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain. 

At the same time, Arusha park has several crater lakes which attract a variety of waterbirds including flamingos. 

In fact, Arusha National Park is home to a large number of animals including buffalos, elephants, giraffes, and zebras as well as many primates such as blue monkeys and red-tailed monkeys. 

Predators in the park include leopards, lions, and spotted hyenas.

7). Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is Tanzania’s second largest national park and covers a massive area of 10,300 square kilometers. 

The park is home to an impressive array of wildlife including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and buffalos. 

Ruaha also boasts one of the highest densities of wild dogs in Africa. The park can be accessed from the town of Iringa.

8). Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park is one of the least-visited national parks in Tanzania but it is still a great place to see wildlife. 

The park protects a large area of swamp and floodplain habitat which is home to hippos, crocodiles, and many different bird species. 

Visitors can also go on safari drives or walks through the wilderness areas surrounding the park.

9). Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northern Tanzania. 

The park protects the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro and its surrounding ecosystem. 

Visitors can go on safari drives or walks through the wilderness areas around the mountain, or they can attempt to climb the summit of Kilimanjaro (the highest point in Africa).

10). Zanzibar Archipelago

Zanzibar Archipelago

Zanzibar Archipelago is a group of small islands off the coast of Tanzania. 

The main island, Unguja (also known as Zanzibar Island) is where most visitors stay and it is home to some great beaches, resorts, and restaurants. 

There are also many historical attractions including Stone Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the House of Wonders museum, and Forodhani Gardens. 

From here you can take boat trips to other nearby islands including Prison Island, Changuu Private Island, or Mbudya Island which all offer different activities such as snorkeling, diving or simply relaxing on the beach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which beautiful National Park is situated in Tanzania?

Serengeti National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Tanzania and is also a World Heritage Site. The park protects vast areas of wilderness, savanna grasslands, semi-deserts, and forests.

Which is better Serengeti or Ngorongoro?

Both Serengeti and Ngorongoro offer unique wildlife experiences, so it really depends on what you are looking for. If you want to see the great migration of wildebeest and zebra, then Serengeti is the place to go. However, if you want to see a higher concentration of animals in one area, then Ngorongoro is probably a better option since it has the world’s largest intact volcanic crater which acts as a natural enclosure for wildlife.

Which is the largest park in Tanzania?

The largest park in Tanzania is Selous Game Reserve which covers a massive area of 54,600 square kilometers.

Which safari is better Kenya or Tanzania?

Both Kenya and Tanzania offer great safari experiences, but again it depends on what you are looking for. If you want to see the great migration of wildebeest and zebra, then Serengeti in Tanzania is the place to go. However, if you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or see a higher concentration of animals in one area, then Kenya might be a better option.

What is the best time of year to visit Tanzania?

The best time to visit Tanzania depends on what you want to see. If you want to see the great migration of wildebeest and zebra, then the best time to visit is between July and October when they are in the Serengeti. However, if you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the best time to go is between December and March when there is less rain and better weather conditions for climbing.

How many days do you need in Tanzania?

Most visitors to Tanzania spend at least a week in the country, although it is possible to visit for shorter periods of time. The majority of tourists visits are concentrated around a few key areas such as the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mount Kilimanjaro. Many people also include Zanzibar as part of their trip. 

What should I pack for Tanzania? 

There are a few essential items that everyone traveling to Tanzania should pack: sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, appropriate clothing (loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibers), comfortable shoes, and a first aid kit. You might also want to consider packing binoculars if you’re interested in wildlife watching. 

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