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Lake Eyasi

Lake Eyasi

Lake Eyasi is a seasonal shallow endorheic salt lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley at the base of the Serengeti Plateau, just south of the Serengeti National Park and immediately southwest of the Ngorongoro Crater in the Crater Highlands of Tanzania. The lake is elongated, orientated southwest to northeast, and lies in the Eyasi-Wembere branch of the Great Rift Valley.

Lake Eyasi

The Hadzabe bushmen live in this region, as do the Datoga and Mbulu tribes. A visit with the bushmen is worthwhile and they will graciously show you where and how they live and hunt. They subsist entirely off the bush and by bow hunting. Everything they use is made from local materials, including their bows which are strung with giraffe tendon and their arrows which are coated in lethal poison. Their language resembles that of Kalahari bushmen tribe (who were featured in the 1980 film ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’) with clicking noises used.

The Datoga and Mbulu people are pastoralists, like the Masai people.

The scenery of Lake Eyasi differs dramatically to that of the surrounding areas. Compared to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Highlands this area seems downright tropical. Palm trees border the lake and make homes for birds such as Fischer’s lovebird. Other trees in this area include the umbrella thorn acacia and sand paper bush. The weather is nearly always very hot and intense, as the lake is located in floor of the Rift Valley, the oldest rift in the world. The rift is thought to have opened over 65 million years ago, shortly after dinosaurs became extinct. To view Lake Eyasi on our Tanzania map please click here.

Lake Eyasi’s water levels vary greatly between the rainy and dry seasons. During the dry season the lake is virtually nonexistent and animals are forced to share what water is left, which makes for easier wildlife viewing. The lake can get quite deep during the rainy season and it attracts hippos who like to cool off in its brackish waters.

Bird lovers will be in paradise here, as the lake attracts vast numbers of birds of all sizes and colors. Some main birds to be found here include: Africa spoonbill, flamingos, gray headed gulls, great white pelicans, pied avocet and yellow-billed storks. The main fish found in the lake are catfish and lungfish.

Lake eysai palm trees sunset this region is particularly suited for exploring on foot, and day or half day hikes are highly recommended. It is also possible to go on a hunting trip with the Hadzabe or to visit the other tribes. Almost any time of year is a good time to visit Lake Eyasi with only April and May being questionable as they are when the long rains occur.

Kilwa Kisiwani Island

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Kilwa Kisiwani Island

Kilwa Kisiwani island, an authentic historical town in Real South, Located about 300km south of Dar es Salaam, Kilwa Kisiwani is the leading historical site in southern Tanzania.

Kilwa Kisiwani

A quick visit to Kilwa Kisiwani Island

The island gives a thrilling memory when discussing the rich history of the Swahili coast that extends along the Eastern coast of the Indian Ocean in Tanzania. Despite the beauty of this Island which is located in Kilwa District, Lindi Region, memories of the past civilization and early settlements could be a memoir of a lifetime for any tourist venturing this part of Tanzania.

With its twin island of Songo Mnara, Kilwa Kisiwani is the United Nations Scientific and Educational Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site, known by its rich history and Swahili cultural heritage blended with African and Arabic cultures.

Kilwa Kisiwani Island is a tourist site, standing among the leading, earliest trading towns on the East African coast. Historical buildings in the island were constructed with coral stone mixed with limestone materials which had made the architecture beautiful and stable to survive weather conditions characterized by humid and hot temperatures for hundreds of years.

The Island had its prosperity achieved from the control of the Indian Ocean trade with Arabia, India and China between the 13th and 16th centuries, when gold and ivory from the mainland Tanzania and Congo were traded for silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain.

Most attractive, are mosques built in 13th century and a Portuguese Fort, which are presently give the island its historical fame. These mosques are dating between 13th and 18th centuries.

Between each mosque, there are cemeteries and worship places decorated with early Chinese porcelain and Persian artifacts including ceramics materials from the Middle East. Kilwa Kisiwani was occupied from the 9th to the 19th centuries by Oman Sultans and Persian merchants. Between 13th and 14th centuries, the island thrived as a leading business center on the Indian Ocean coast.

According to great Muslim traveler Ibn-Battuta who visited and stayed in Kilwa Kisiwani between 1331 and 1332, the island was ranked among the most beautiful cities of the world during that time.

The Great Mosque of Kilwa was the largest mosque of its kind in East Africa. The mosque accommodates two mosques, all constructed in 11th century.

Ibn-Battuta had explained this mosque to have been built by the ruler of Kilwa Kisiwani, Sultan al-Hasan ibn Sulaiman.

Makutani palace is the other building of the past where the sultan of Kilwa Kisiwani resided. The building was constructed in 1516 and fitted with minarets to encounter invaders.

There are spacious rooms for women and bathrooms; all decorated with earthen-wares and ceramics. Orchids and green trees were planted to provide shade and beautifying the palace.

Another attraction at Kilwa Kisiwani is the Portuguese Fort. This beautiful building was later used as a garrison by the Arabs and Germans to punish Africans who opposed their occupation over the east coast.

Kilwa Kisiwani remains the old trading town of the Indian Ocean and that had attracted trade with Arabia, India and China, particularly between the 13th and 16th centuries, when gold and ivory trade from the mainland Tanzania thrived.

Silver, carnelians, perfumes, Persian faience and Chinese porcelain were the leading trading goods between Kilwa Kisiwani, Oman, China and Persia (Iran).

Most interesting,  Kilwa Kisiwani minted its own currency in the 11th to 14th centuries.

The World Heritage Committee had approved the Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Pare Mountains

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Pare Mountains

Part of the Eastern Arc range in north-eastern Tanzania, the remote Pare Mountains are extremely rewarding to the avid trekker searching for hiking trails off the beaten path.

Home to the Pare tribe, agriculturalists and pastoralists who have largely retained their traditional way of life, a hike through takes visitors through local villages and beautiful forests as well as it offers the chance to explore a less visited part of the country.

Pare Mountains

The southern Pare Mountains are situated in Kilimanjaro Region, about 150 kilometre south of Moshi. From the surrounding plains, the mountains look like a barren and deserted area, but when you start climbing the slopes, one of Africa’s most special landscapes is revealed for your eyes. Between huge desolate rocks lie small green river valleys where farmers have built impressive stone terraces.

On top of the mountains is the Chome forest reserve, a dense tropical forest with many rare trees and plants. The forest offers an oasis of rest, beauty and fresh air. Visitors can easily walk a day through the forest without meeting anyone. The surrounding villages are among the most isolated places in Northern Tanzania and the local people have kept their traditional Pare culture throughout history. Narrow footpaths wind through the mountains from one village to another.

Southern Pare Mountains Tours Includes:
– A walk through the Chome forest reserve, a tropical forest of over 100 square kilometre.
– A climb to Shengena Peak, the highest point in the Pare and Usambara mountains
– A view into the Pare culture (old stories, traditional dances)
– A visit to several development projects in our villages (irrigation, soil conservation, afforestation)

A stay in the Southern Pare Mountains can perfectly be combined with a visit to the neighbouring Mkomazi Game Reserve, where game drives and walking safaris are possible.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park has some of the highest population density of elephants as compared to anywhere in Tanzania, and its sparse vegetation, strewn with baobab and acacia trees, makes it a beautiful and distinctive location to visit.

Tarangire National Park

Located just a few hours drive from the town of Arusha, Tarangire is a popular stop for people travelling through the northern safari circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The park extends into two game controlled areas and the wildlife is allowed to move freely throughout.

Before the rains, droves of gazelles, wildebeests, zebras, and giraffes migrate to Tarangire National Park’s scrub plains where the last grazing land still remains. Tarangire offers an unparalleled game viewing, and during the dry season elephants abound. Families of the pachyderms play around the ancient trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their afternoon meal. Breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe and the mountains in the south make a stopover at Tarangire a memorable experience.

Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem – a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.

During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors scatter over a 20,000 sq km (12,500 sq miles) range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once more. But Tarangire’s mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world.

On drier ground you find the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird; the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world’s largest bird; and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys.

More ardent bird-lovers might keep an eye open for screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colourful yellow-collared lovebird, and the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver and ashy starling – all endemic to the dry savannah of north-central Tanzania.

Disused termite mounds are often frequented by colonies of the endearing dwarf mongoose, and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, clockwork-like duetting.

Tarangire’s pythons climb trees, as do its lions and leopards, lounging in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a tail.

Location: 118 km (75 miles) southwest of Arusha.

Getting there
Easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara following a surfaced road to within 7km (four miles) of the main entrance gate; can continue on to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
Charter flights from Arusha and the Serengeti.

What to do
– Guided Walking safaris.
– Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.

Accommodation
Two lodges, one tented lodge, two luxury tented camps inside the park, another half-dozen exclusive lodges and tented camps immediately outside its borders.
Several camp sites in and around the park.

Ngorongoro Crater National Park

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Ngorongoro Crater National Park

The jewel in Ngorongoro’s crown is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest un flooded and unbroken caldera in the world. About 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder.

Ngorongoro crater national park

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s most famous sites and is said to have the highest density of wildlife in Africa.  Sometimes described as an ‘eighth wonder of the world’, the Crater has achieved world renown, attracting an ever-increasing number of visitors each year.  You are unlikely to escape other vehicles here, but you are guaranteed great wildlife viewing in a genuinely mind-blowing environment.  There is nowhere else in Africa quite like Ngorongoro!

The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera.  Forming a spectacular bowl of about 265 square kilometres, with sides up to 600 metres deep; it is home to approximately 30,000 animals at any one time.  The Crater rim is over 2,200 metres high and experiences its own climate.  From this high vantage point it is possible to make out the tiny shapes of animals making their way around the crater floor far below.  Swathes of cloud hang around the rocky rim most days of the year and it’s one of the few places in Tanzania where it can get chilly at night.

The crater floor

Consists of a number of different habitats that include grassland, swamps, forests and Lake Makat (Maasai for ‘salt’) – a central soda lake filled by the Munge River.  All these various environments attract wildlife to drink, wallow, graze, hide or climb.  Although animals are free to move in and out of this contained environment, the rich volcanic soil, lush forests and spring source lakes on the crater floor (combined with fairly steep crater sides) tend to incline both grazers and predators to remain throughout the year.

Ngorongoro Crater: Wildlife Highlights

Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most likely areas in Tanzania to see the endangered Black Rhino, as a small population is thriving in this idyllic and protected environment. It is currently one of the few areas where they continue to breed in the wild. Your chances of encountering leopard here are also good, and fabulous black-maned lions.  Many flamingos are also attracted to the soda waters of Lake Magadi.

Ngorongoro Crater: Maasai village trips

Part of the reason behind the Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been to preserve the environment for the Maasai people who were diverted from the Serengeti Plains.  Essentially nomadic people, they build temporary villages in circular homesteads called bomas. There are possibilities to visit a couple of these now, which have been opened up for tourists to explore.  Here you can see how the huts are built in a strict pattern of order according to the chronological order of the wives, and experience what it must be like to rely on warmth and energy from a fire burning at the heart of a cattle dung dwelling with no chimney. These proud cattle herding people have a great history as warriors, and even though they are no longer allowed to build villages inside, they continue to herd their cattle into the crater to graze and drink, regardless of the predators nearby.

Serengeti National Park

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Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value, it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa

serengeti national park

Herd of Western white-bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus mearnsi) on riverbank, Mara Triangle, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Narok, Kenya, Africa

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was established in 1952. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – the great migration of wildebeest and zebra. The resident population of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds is also impressive. There’s a wide variety of accommodation available, from luxury lodges to mobile camps. The park covers 5,700 sq miles, (14,763 sq km), it’s larger than Connecticut, with at most a couple hundred vehicles driving around.

The Serengeti Park

Serengeti can be divided into 3 sections. The popular southern/central part (Seronera Valley), is what the Maasai called the “serengit”, the land of endless plains. It’s classic savannah, dotted with acacias and filled with wildlife. The western corridor is marked by the Grumeti River, and has more forests and dense bush. The north, Lobo area, meets up with Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve, is the least visited section.

The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves.

It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.

The Wildebeest travel through a variety of parks, reserves and protected areas and through a variety of habitat. Join us to explore the different forms of vegetation and landscapes of the Serengeti ecosystem and meet some of their most fascinating inhabitants.