Highlights and Parks

Tanzania is the ultimate safari destination. The famous Serengeti N.P. with its annual migration of thousands of wildebeests and predators rooming in the grass to make a kill. The Ngorogoro crater with its unique landscape and animals. Lake Manyara, Arusha N.P. and Tarangire N.P. which make the perfect addition to a safari in Northern Tanzania. Matoke tours also specializes in Kilimanjaro tracking and the off-the-beaten track options to South Tanzania. You can end your tour with a relaxing tropical extension to Zanzibar, Pemba or Mafia Island!

 

Highlights and ParksPractical information
Highlights and Parks
Serengeti

Serengeti National Park

A Tanzania tour is not complete without safari in the most famous safari park in the world: Serengeti National Park. This park hosts the most extensive population of wild animals on earth and has a complex and untouched ecosystem. Serengeti means "endless plains" in the language of the Maasai, a description that the Serengeti completely lives up to. Even the (long) drive towards your accommodation is one continuous safari! The park is usually described as divided into three regions: Serengeti plains, Western corridor and Northern Serengeti. The latter is where we can witness wildebeest and zebra migrating in their millions during the Great Migration, following the ancient rhythm of Africa's seasons. This is one of the most impressive natural events in the world. No matter which part of the park and in which season you visit, very few people forget their first encounter with the Serengeti.

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Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a unique biosphere which has remained virtually unchanged since the dawn of time. There are very few places in the world where you can find such a large population of wildlife throughout the year. Deep within the crater, enclosed by towering walls, you have a good chance of spotting ‘The Big 5’: lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard. Other wildlife includes serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, flamingo and bat-eared foxes, as well as approximately 400 species of colourful birds

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Zanzibar

Zanzibar

The tropical island of Zanzibar is one of a kind and a favourite holiday destination after a safari on the mainland of Tanzania. Zanzibar Island is a jewel in the ocean, surrounded by beaches that rate among the finest in the world. Here you can swim, snorkel or just lounge the hours away, while shoals of luminous fish graze over nearby coral gardens and pods of dolphins frolic offshore. The picturesque capital city Stone town with its impressive buildings and lively markets, the tropical rainforest of Jozani in the centre of the island and of course the many wonderful beaches. 

 

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Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s smaller and most underrated parks. While it may lack the size and variety of other northern-circuit destinations, its vegetation is diverse and very beautiful. There are 11 ecosystems in all, ranging from savannah to marshland to the only evergreen rainforest in Tanzania. In the forest you can find baboons and other interesting animals where by the lake you can find flamingos (outside the rain season), pelicans and other water birds. Birders absolutely love Lake Manyara National Park because the big lake provides opportunities for observing over 300 migratory birds in fact. Among these are the long-crested eagle, the grey-headed kingfisher and other birds which are not found elsewhere in Tanzania. The park supports one of the highest biomass densities of large mammals in the world. The high chance to see elephant families moving through the forest as well as Lake Manyara's famous population of tree-climbing lions are reason enough to include a visit to this park in the itinerary.

 

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Tarangire NP

Tarangire National Park

This park hosts the biggest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti. It is also the only place in Tanzania where the oryx and gerenuk are regularly spotted. This park is characterized by gigantic Baobab trees, hundreds of elephants (home to approximately 2,500 individuals), the Tarangire river and many colorful bird species as more than 550 different bird-species are present). The safaris will take place both around the lifeline, the Tarangire River, and the drier hilly area. During the dry season (July-October) thousands of animals concentrate in Tarangire National Park from the surrounding wet-season dispersal and calving areas. Elephants gathering at the Tarangire River to drink make for a perfect panoramic picture! You can also spot many different animals like leopard, zebra, impala, warthog, eland, buffalo, waterbuck and lion.

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Arusha NP

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is a small park of 137 km² but has remarkable sights including the fourth highest mountain in Africa; Mount Meru (4566m). The transition between the urban chaos and pristine mountain hiking trails is very obvious and abrupt when entering Arusha National Park.  Visitors are thrilled by the breathtaking landscapes ranging from the Meru Crater in the west, the Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east, to the grasslands and the Momella lakes in the north-east. It also shelters Ngurdoto Crater, often called Little Ngorongoro, with its swamp-filled floor. Animals which can be found in the park, amongst others, are the black & white Colobus monkeys, small predators, giraffes, elephants and buffaloes. The park is excellent as a starting point of your trip to acclimatize after a long international flight. On a clear day and a with a bit of luck you can see the majestic Kilimanjaro in the distance.

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Selous

Selous Game Reserve

The largest concentrations of wildlife in southern Tanzania can be found in Selous National Park and indeed this is the largest game reserve in all of Africa. This area has a size 45,000 km², three times bigger than the Serengeti and as large as Switzerland.

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Ruaha NP

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha is seen as the best kept secret of Tanzania. Long hilly tracks wind along the Ruaha River with outcrops of baobab, acacia and fig trees creating a breathtaking panorama. 

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Mikumi

Mikumi National Park

Mikumi National Park, the fourth-largest (3,230 km²) in Tanzania, is the most accessible from Dar es Salaam. It hosts many elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, buffalo, impala, warthogs and zebras. There are also sable antelope and kudus that can be found in the hills in the south of the park.

The roads in the park are easily traverse year round.

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Mto wa Mbu

Mto wa Mbu

Mto wa Mbu is the busy gateway to Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park in the Great Rift Valley. The village is surrounded by magnificent scenery and situated on the main road which leads to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. The town is fed by the ‘River of Mosquitoes’, a direct translation for the name of the town. However, do not be alarmed as there really are not that many mosquitos as the name might imply. Over the years, this diverse place now hosts representative of all of Tanzania's 120 tribal groups making it a real melting pot of cultures. Mto Wa Mbu has evolved into something of a travellers centre with plenty of lodges, campsites, hole-in-the-wall eateries, petrol stations, money changers, souvenir stalls and just about anything else that could tempt a passing safari vehicle to stop and indulge. The bustling farming community of Mto Wa Mbu is home to around 18,000 people. You'll find authentic cultural interaction, great tours and Lake Manyara National Park on your doorstep.

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Lake Natron

Lake Natron

The drives from Mto wa Mbu or the northern Serengeti are remote, with a desolate, other-worldly beauty and an incomparable feeling of space and antiquity. On the Kenyan border northeast of Ngorongoro Conservation Area lies Lake Natron. This 58km-long but only 50cm-deep alkaline lake should be on every adventurer’s itinerary. The roads pass through completely authentic and isolated Maasai land, with small bomas (fortified traditional compounds) and with big mountains in view in a wild landscape. From June to November about three million flamingos gather at the lake. This is another one of East Africa's most stirring wildlife spectacles. Close to the southern end of the lake, the views of Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano are splendid as well. A real Tanzanian gem highlight!

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Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam

Containing over three million people and the second-largest port in East Africa, Dar es Salaam (aka 'Dar') can sometimes overwhelm a traveller with its crowds and disorganisation. However, there is a laid back vibe beneath the vaneer of urban chaos, with a picturesque seaport, a mixture of African, Indian, and Arabic influences and close ties to its Swahili past. There are a handful of sights as well as craft markets, shops and restaurants to visit.

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Udzungwa

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

These mountains rise up 300 meters above the Ruaha valley offering beautiful vantage points and fast flowing rivers. The rain falls mainly from March to May and in November and December  The dry season is from June to October with a maximum temperature of 27 degrees Celsius.

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Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcanic mountain made up of three peaks. At 5,895 metres, it is the highest mountain in Africa, and one of the highest free-standing mountains in the world. It attracts over 20,000 visitors per year to attempt to climb its peaks. Hikes around the base are also possible.

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Lake Eyasi

Lake Eyasi

Uniquely beautiful Lake Eyasi is a seasonal shallow endorheic salt lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley at the base of the Serengeti Plateau and immediately southwest of the Ngorongoro Crater in the Crater Highlands of Tanzania. Like Lake Natron far to the northeast, Eyasi makes a rewarding detour on a Ngorongoro trip for anyone looking for something remote and different. The lake itself varies considerably in size depending on the rain, and supports a mix of water birds including huge breeding-season (June to November) populations of flamingos and pelicans. In the dry season it's little more than a parched lake bed, adding to the almost other-worldly ambience of this area.

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