Selous Game Reserve
The size of Switzerland, the Selous Game Reserve is the largest in Africa and is home to one of the most significant concentrations of elephants and lions on the continent – amongst many other species.
It has an exceptionally high variety of habitats including woodland, grassland and swamps. The Northern sector of this UNESCO world heritage site comprises 12% of the reserve and is set aside for photographic tourism.
Here five lakes are the greatest draw, attracting large numbers of animals in the dry season. After the short “Vuli” rains, the areas away from the lakes fill with new grass and offer prolific game viewing from December to March.
It remains one of the best places in Africa to see African Hunting Dogs (wild dogs) which were almost extinct in the early eighties.
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is famous for good reason. It is the scene of the incredible annual migration of 1.5 million wildebeest, somehow sensing how to follow the greenest plains for survival. The Maasai, who have grazed their cattle here for centuries, call it ‘the place where the land moves on forever’.
Many people believe Africa’s protected areas to be dominated by open savannah, filled with grazers. This misconception is due entirely to the Serengeti, which so often is the choice for wildlife documentaries it has come to symbolise wild Africa. In reality 70% of the continent’s parks are made up of woodland and forest and the Serengeti is unique in its make up.
Whilst the inevitable popularity overcrowds some areas of the park, there are still plenty of ways to witness the wildebeest in peace. They share this astounding home with most of Africa’s great mammal species, including incredible densities of top predators and even a few rare black rhino.
This huge lake (some 68,800km2) is famed as the source of the River Nile. Named in 1858, by British Explorer John Speke, after his queen, Lake Victoria has since been recognised as the largest tropical lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater lake in the world.
Its vast expanse borders Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and is 400,000 years old. It is home to over 500 endemic fish species and the lake, with its wetlands, supports many mammal species from hippos to otters, as well as reptiles such as crocodiles and turtles.
The papyrus grasses hemming parts of the lake provide a home to an abundance of bird species, which greet you each morning with their resounding melodies.
The shores of Speke Bay, offer some of Africa’s very best birding. An astonishing variety of water birds cross habitat ranges with dazzling numbers of species from the Serengeti, and most seem happy to pose in the narrow strip between park and lake where farms provide a nutritious diet.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ok, so not a wildlife area of Tanzania, but we love these glorious islands – wrapped in fine white sandy beaches. This archipelago embellishes the Indian Ocean 25-50km from the Tanzanian coast.
The ‘spice island’ was an independent country within living memory. When Tanganyika & Zanzibar merged in 1964, Tanzania was born from both names. Zanzibar remains semi-autonomous & certainly has it’s own very special feel.
Soak up the colourful culture in the capital city of Stone Town, where it is tradition to begin a building by first crafting a grandiose doorway before the rest of the building. Then, after a paddle in the warmth of Indian Ocean, enjoy a cocktail by the beach-side pool.