“It was so exiting watching thousands of wildebeest crossing the serengeti, it was an experience of its own, never seen such a thing before, just in Tanzania, just with Ipam Safaris.”
--- Colms Coleman---
CEO Ceba Company
(Home of the Chimps)
Gombe Stream National Park.
It is Tanzania's smallest parks, covering an area of 52 sq.km, Gombe is a narrow strip of chimpanzee habitat on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall’s studies.
Due to the park being heavily forested, large game animal are not found in this area, but the park is home to a number of different species of monkey including the red colobus, red-tail and blue monkey, grey duiker, bushbuck and bushpig as well numerous species of bird including trumpter hornbills, Roos's turaco, crowed eagle, narrow tailed starling to mention a few.
The park can only be accessed by boat
Location: North-western Tanzania, 16Km North of Kigoma town. Usually requires flight with Precision Air from Dar Es Salaam (daily) or charter flight from Arusha
Activities: Chimpanzee trekking, swimming/snorkeling
Mahale Mountain National Park
Mahale National Park is home to some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees: Tracking the chimps is a fascinating experience. T likely that you will observe them grooming each other in small groups, squabbling noisily, or bounding from tree to tree swinging on vines.
Watching a mother chimp with her offspring is truly remarkable. Difficult to reach and relatively expensive, Mahale has few visitors each year. And although chimpanzees are admittedly the main attraction, the park supports a diverse forest fauna, including troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, and a colorful array of forest birds.
Location:Western Tanzania, reachable by flight from Arusha or Dar Es Salaam
Activities:Chimpanzee Trekking, Hiking, Swimming and Fishing.
Katavi National Park
Isolated, untrammeled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness, providing the few intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa as it must have been a century ago.
Tanzania's third largest national park, it lies in the remote southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa.
The bulk of Katavi supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the localized eland, sable and roan antelopes. But the main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and associated floodplains such as the seasonal Lakes Katavi and Chada.
It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into its own. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations. With an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains.
Location:Western Tanzania, reachable by flight
Activities: Game Driving, Walking Safari, Fly camping
Time: Stay at least 3 or 4 days. Best in dry season, June-October and late December-early March
Coastal Zone (Home of the virgin beaches)
The only place in East Africa where fresh water and salt water meet, hence provide perfect breed site and spot fishing destination. Maziwe Island provide romantic picnic site for lunch in the middle of Indian Ocean.
Although it is not well known as a coastal destination, this small and historic town has attractive sandy beaches, a friendly and laid-back atmosphere, and a wealth of decaying colonial buildings dating from the slave trade and the German occupation. It is also a good place for Swahili cultural visits.
For those who like a beach without the crowds, this is a good alternative to Zanzibar.
Location: Northern Tanzania coast, Southern of Tanga. Can be reached by fight or in conjunction with a trip to Amani Nature Reserve and/or Lushoto Mountain.
Activities: Diving, Snorkeling, Boat ride, Fishing, Bird watching, Cultural tours and walking
Bagamoyo is gaining ground as a popular alternate to Zanzibar. It is here that you will find similarities to Zanzibar (beautiful beaches and historic sites) without the large numbers of tourists.
Bagamoyo is now little more than a small town, but it used to be one of the most important ports in East Africa. It was a leading port for the ivory and slave trade. The area around Bagamoyo features a number of ancient buildings, some dating back more than 800 years.
Location: Only 150minites from Dar Es Salaam
Activities: Diving, Fishing, Historical tour, Dance & Drum Classes.
Dar Es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is a major African city with more than 3 million people. Due to the timing of flights, we do occasionally recommend overnights in Dar. The best bet for a half-day in Dar is to head to Mwenge where there are some good souvenir shopping, especially wood carvings. And near there is the Makumbusho Village Museum where you can find a collection of authentic homes from 18 Tanzanian tribes. You can get a short tour and a broad overview of village life in Tanzania.
There are also some decent beach hotels in/near Dar es Salaam, but for anything more than a 1 or 2 night visit, these are mostly outshined by nearby Zanzibar, which is where most people go. Near Dar, just a couple hours north, is Bagamoyo. This is a laid-back large village that has several very nice beach hotels.
Saadani National Park
Is where the beach meets the bush. The only national park in East Africa to boast an Indian Ocean beachfront, it possesses all the attributes that make Tanzania’s tropical coastline and islands so popular with European sun-worshippers. Yet it is also the one place where those idle hours of sunbathing might be interrupted by an elephant strolling past, or a lion coming to drink at the nearby waterhole!
Of the big five, lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo are present, the rare Roosevelt sable is indigenous, whilst plains game such as giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, eland and hartebeest are more frequently seen in larger herds.
The southern boundary is marked by the Wami River, which attracts fabulous bird life, large pods of hippo and massive crocodile. Bottle-nosed dolphins are common off the Southern coast of the reserve, whales pass through the Zanzibar Channel in October and November, and there is a green turtle breeding beach at Madete in the North.
Location: On the north coast, 100km (60miles) northeast of Dar Es Salaam
Activities: Game drive, nature walk, boat trip and village tour
Amani Nature Reserve
The Amani Nature Reserve is well off the beaten path of the usual safari circuit, but makes a perfect stopover on longer trips and while driving to the Coast Zone. It’s quiet, tranquil setting offers the perfect opportunity to relax from the rigorous schedule of vehicle-based safaris.
For the aspiring African botanist, Amani Nature Reserve’s incredible diversity of plant life -- between 600 to 1,000 different species -- is sure to attract. And of the 350 species of birds living in the Usambara forestry, many are rare and endanged. Three bird species found strictly in the Amani Nature Reserve are the Usambara alethe, Naduck eagle and the Usambara weaver.
Guided nature walks, prohibited in Tanzania’s national parks, are a unique feature of the nature reserve and offer an exciting opportunity to view the flora and fauna of the area up close. Most of the trails in the Amani Nature Reserves are available for hiking and a few can be used driving tour.
Location: Northeast Tanzania, near Tanga
Activities: Hiking, Biking, night walk.
(Unexplored paradise…waiting for you)
Mikumi National Park
Mikumi, transected by the surfaced road from Dar es Salaam to Iringa is the most accessible park in the Southern circuit. The centerpiece of Mikumi is the abundant wildlife of the Mkata Floodplains that draw frequent comparisons to the more famous Serengeti Plains. Wildlife is abundant with giraffe, zebra, buffalo, hartebeest, wildebeest being amongst the most commonly sighted game, but elephant, wild dog and tree climbing lions are also found here along with smaller mammals and reptiles. The park is also home to over 300 different species of birds.
Location:Southern Tanzania, between Selous and Ruaha
Activities:Game Driving and Walking.
Ruaha National park
Ruaha National Park is the first largest National Park in Tanzania and Africa. The Great Ruaha River and Iefu wetland fascinates with its variety of mammals and birds coming to drink. This is one of Tanzania's least accessible parks and as a result it is relatively untouched. Ruaha is known for its large elephant and buffalo herds and one of its principal attractions lies in being able to see greater and lesser kudu as well as the majestic sable and roan antelope within the same area. As well as an abundance of lion, leopard and cheetah it is also home to the increasingly rare wild dog.
Location: Southern Tanzania, reached by flight from Arusha or Dar Es Salaam
Activities: Game viewing and walking.
Selous Game Reserves
The Selous Game Reserve is the largest reserve in Africa and one of the largest protected wildlife areas in the world. It is home to some of the biggest quantities and variety of animals and birds in Africa. It has the world's largest number of big game, elephants, buffaloes and rhinoceros. In addition, the Selous contains Africa's greatest concentration of hippopotamus, crocodile and wild dog. The Selous is a rare combination of woodlands, marshes, savannah and open grass plains, crisscrossed by many rivers, one being the mighty Rufiji River.
Location: Southern Tanzania, between Ruaha National Park. Usually reached by flight from Arusha or Dar Es Salaam. Works nicely with a visit to Ruaha National Park.
Activities: Game Drives, Boat Safaris, Walking Safaris
Udzungwa Mountain National Park
Udzungwa is the largest and most biodiversity of a chain of a dozen large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically in Eastern Tanzania.
Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, it has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, most familiarly the delicate African violet. It is a magnet for hikers, with its excellent network of forest trails.
Ornithologists are attracted by the avian wealth of more than 400 species. Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey (discovered in 1979) both occur nowhere else in the world.
Location: South of Mikumi, between Ruaha National Park and Selous Game Reserves
Activities: Nature Hiking
Kitulo Plateau National Park
Locals refer to the Kitulo Plateau as Bustani ya Mungu - The Garden of God – while botanists have dubbed it the Serengeti of Flowers, host to ‘one of the great floral spectacles of the world’. And Kitulo is indeed a rare botanical marvel, home to a full 350 species of vascular plants, including 45 varieties of terrestrial orchid, which erupt into a riotous wildflower display of breathtaking scale.
One of the most important watersheds for the Great Ruaha River, Kitulo is well known for its floral significance – not only a multitude of orchids, but also the stunning yellow-orange red-hot poker and a variety of aloes, proteas, geraniums, giant lobelias, lilies and aster daisies, of which more than 30 species are endemic to southern Tanzania. Big game is sparsely represented, though a few hardy mountain reedbuck and eland still roam the open grassland.
Northern Zone ( Home of the Big five)
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park has incredible volcanic scenery, wonderful views of Mt Kilimanjaro (on clear days), a beautiful rainforest and plenty of wildlife. The main features are Ngurdoto Crater and the Momella Lakes. The Momella Lakes attract a wide variety of birds, particularly flamingos. Guests sometimes enjoy this park just as much as the Serengeti. Its close proximity to Arusha usually means that it gets put first on a Northern Parks itinerary.
Location: 45 minutes driving from Arusha town
Activities: Game Drives, Canoeing, Forest walk, Mt. Meru Climb.
Lake Manyara National park
Lake Manyara has a considerably different landscape from any of the other parks. Picture lush woodlands and the beaches of this Rift Valley soda lake, where giraffe, elephants and wildebeest enjoy an endless supply of water. You will often see these enormous animals in the water, sitting, sipping or just cooling off. Due to this unique habitat, there are hundreds of bird species able to live in the forests and the ultimate site-seeing prize of this area is the tree-climbing lion. Is the only place you can practice night game driving within the park boundaries.
Location: 2.5 hours form Arusha on the road to Ngorongoro or 45 minutes from Tarangire National Park
Activities: Game drive, Mountain biking, Forest hiking, Night Game drive
The Conservation area is a fine blend of landscapes, people, wildlife and Africa main archaeological site. The Ngorongoro Crater is regarded as a natural wonder of the world (the 8th) and has been declared a World Heritage Site. It is the largest intact crater in the world and is teaming with wildlife, with virtually all the big game species found here, including, zebra, wildebeest, black rhino, antelope, elephants, giraffe, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard. The area is also an ornithologists' paradise, with the thousands of flamingos wading in the shallows of Lake Magadi and hundreds of other species of birdlife.
Location: Northern Circuit, 4 hours from Arusha town on the way to Serengeti national park
Activities: Game drive, Nature Walk, Hiking, Visit a Maasai Boma, Visit Olduvai Gorge
Serengeti National Park
Tanzania's oldest park, the Serengeti is the country's most popular and famous park. "Serengeti" is a Maasai word meaning "endless plain", very apt, as the park consists of flat, treeless plains stretching as far as the eye can see, one of the highest concentration game sites in Africa.
The annual wildebeest migration is one of the most spectacular and breath-taking events in the world. From the Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara over 1.4 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra and gazelle, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators, migrate in a clockwise fashion over 1,800 miles each year in search of rain ripened grass. This mass of moving animals is so large that even when it is in Kenya's Masai Mara, parts of it are still in the Serengeti.
Note that even the time when most of the wildebeest are expected to be in the Masai Mara, the wildlife is still plentiful in the Serengeti, as the ‘resident’ animals opt to stay where they are instead of follow the migration.
Location: Northern Circuit, 7 hours from Arusha, 2.5 from the Ngorongoro Crater
Activities: Game drive, Hot Air Ballon, Bush Walk.
Tarangire National Park
This park is known for its elephants. You will see these enormous creatures travel in families and you surely will not miss the extraordinary care they take of their young. The elephants tend to travel in packs and in the same paths as they have taken year after year. When they see your vehicle coming closer they will gather around their young to protect them and lead them on their way.
Tarangire River winds through the middle of the park providing nourishment for the animals and great viewing for visitors. Daily large herds of animals and birds gather around this river so you will be sure not to miss anything.
It also boasts many Baobab trees, impressive trees that can live for thousands of years. Animals can be found in the rainy seasons, but the concentration of wildlife tends to be better during the dry seasons.
Location: Almost 1.30 hours from Arusha on the way to Ngorongoro and/or Serengeti National Park
Activities: Game drive