Do It Yourself: A Safari Destination Guide
Gombe Stream National Park
If you want to see chimpanzees in the wild, Gombe Stream, one of Tanzania's lesser-known parks, is probably your best bet. But be aware that these elusive creatures are a good deal harder to locate than the gorillas of Rwanda or Zaire. Another chimpanzee habitat you may wish to explore is the Tanzania's Mahale Mountains National Park.
Lake Manyara National Park
Situated in Tanzania's Rift Valley, Lake Manyara is known for its big cats and abundant birdlife. The park's numerous lions often rest in the acacia trees, althought this habit seems to have been discouraged somewhat by increased numbers of tourists. This relatively small park also boasts the highest concentration of elephants in East Africabut don't expect to seem them roaming anywhere near the permanent lodges. Lake Manyara alkaline waters attract many types of birds; more than 340 varieties have been observed in the park. Monkeys and baboons also abound in this region. For some great photos, head to a hippo pool, where you'll see these creatures cavorting in the mud, while buffalo, zebra and giraffe congregate nearby.
A one-of-a-kind wildlife preserve, Ngorongoro was once the site of the world's largest volcanoa giant peak over three times the height of Mt. Everest. In a catastrophic explosion, the volcano erupted, leaving a huge, 100-square-mile crater with a rim reaching to 7,000 feet. The crater now harbors the greatest concentration of nonmigratory wildlife in Africa. Across the plains of the crater roam huge herds of wildebeest, antelope, and zebras, which, in turn, also attract the large predators (lions, leopards and cheetahs) in considerable numbers. The lakes and rivers within the crater abound with hippos and waterfowl. Protected by the crater's high, mountainous rim, elephants and rhinos have managed to elude the poachers here, surviving in great numbers. For optimal proximity to the animals, opt for a tent-camping safari in the heart of the crater. You can also stay at luxury lodges on the crater rim.
Serengeti National Park
Perhaps the most famed of all the African game parks, the Serengeti adjoins the Maasai Mara Reserve to the north. Embracing over 5,000 square miles of plain and savannah, the Serengeti is unrivaled for sheer number of migratory animals and big gamemore than 35 speciesas well as 350 types of birds. You'll find antelope of all varieties, and huge herds of gazelle, zebra, and wildebeest. The Serengeti Plain boasts more lions than any other park in Africa, and leopard and cheetah also abound. A must for any Tanzanian safari.
Tarangire National Park
Tanzania's newestand wildestgame reserve, Tarangire is refreshingly free of development. The park offers fine game-viewing, especially along the Tarangire River where elephants, lions, buffalo, and kudus all mingle in cooling, muddy pools. Whether you're an ornithologists or just a bird lover, you're in for a treat; more than 260 species of birds, including the bateleur eagle, secretary bird, and the Maasai ostrich, populate the park.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication