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 corner of the country. The bulk of Katavi supports a hypnotically featureless cover of tangled brachystegia woodland, home to substantial but elusive populations of the local eland, sable, and roan antelopes. The main focus for game viewing within the park is the Katuma River and the associated floodplains. During the rainy season, these lush, marshy lakes are a haven for myriad water birds and also support Tanzania’s densest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles.
It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into its own. The Katuma, reduced to a shallow, muddy trickle, forms the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffes, zebras, impalas, and reedbucks provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains.
Katavi’s most singular wildlife spectacle is its hippos. Towards the end of the dry season, up to 200 individuals might flop together in any riverine pool of sufficient depth. And as more hippos gather in one place, male rivalry heats up – bloody territorial fights are an everyday occurrence, with the vanquished male forced to lurk hapless on the open plains until it gathers sufficient confidence to mount another challenge.
Gombe is the smallest of Tanzania's national parks: a fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat straddling the steep slopes and river valleys that hem in the sandy northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Its chimpanzees – habituated to human visitors – were made famous by the pioneering work of Jane Goodall, who in 1960 founded a behavioral research program that now stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world. The matriarch Fifi, the last surviving member of the original community, only three-years old when Goodall first set foot in Gombe, is still regularly seen by visitors.
The most visible of Gombe’s other mammals are also primates. A troop of beachcomber olive baboons, under study since the 1960s, is exceptionally habituated, while red-tailed and red colobus monkeys - the latter regularly hunted by chimps – stick to the forest canopy.
The park’s 200-odd bird species range from the iconic fish eagle to the jewel-like Peter’s twinspots that hop tamely around the visitors’ centre.
After dusk, a dazzling night sky is complemented by the lanterns of hundreds of small wooden boats, bobbing on the lake like a sprawling city.
Jozani Chakwa Bay National Park is Zanzibar's only national park. It is home to several notable species of rare wildlife. Currently under consideration to become Zanzibar’s second World Heritage Site, the Jozani-Chakwa Bay area is a hotspot of biodiversity. The Jozani Forest, located in the centre of the park is a prime location to encounter many indigenous varieties of flora and fauna. The forest is home to a number of endemic species, including the Zanzibar red colobus monkey as well as the Ader’s duiker, Sykes monkey, bush babies, African civet, giant elephant shrews, and chameleons, as well as over 83 species of birds.
Udzungwa is the largest and most biodiverse of a chain of a dozen large forest-swathed mountains that rise majestically from the flat coastal scrub of eastern Tanzania. Known collectively as the Eastern Arc Mountains, this archipelago of isolated massifs has also been dubbed the African Galapagos for its treasure-trove of endemic plants and animals, most familiarly the delicate African violet.
Udzungwa alone among the ancient ranges of the Eastern Arc has been accorded national park status. It is also unique within Tanzania in that its closed-canopy forest spans altitudes of 250 metres (820 feet) to above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft) without interruption.
Not a conventional game viewing destination, Udzungwa is a magnet for hikers. An excellent network of forest trails includes the popular half-day ramble to Sanje Waterfall, which plunges 170 metres (550 feet) through a misty spray into the forested valley below.
Ornithologists are attracted to Udzungwa for an avian wealth embracing more than 400 species, from the lovely and readily-located green-headed oriole to more than a dozen secretive Eastern Arc endemics.
Of six primate species recorded, the Iringa red colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey both occur nowhere else in the world – the latter, remarkably, remained undetected by biologists prior to 1979.Iringa, Tanzania
Pemba Island, known as "The Green Island" in Arabic, is an island forming part of the Zanzibar Archipelago.
In ancient times, Pemba was known by Arab sailors as 'El Huthera', meaning the Green, on account of her dense and lush vegetation. There are more natural forests and plantations than on Zanzibar Island, and Pemba grows more cloves than her bigger sister.
Pemba was seized by the Sultan of Muscat (now Oman) in the 17th century. He was so enchanted by the Spice Islands that he installed himself in Zanzibar and ruled Muscat from there. When the Western Colonial powers came to East Africa the British forced the Sultanates of Muscat and Zanzibar to separate and then administered the Spice Islands in the name of the Sultan.
Pemba offers today's visitor a number of attractions including lovely beaches, world-class scuba diving and a number of historical sites. Ngezi Forest Reserve is a beautiful place to visit, as is Misali Island, which Captain Kidd is reputed to have used as a hide-out in the 17th century.
With a population of only 300,000, travelling in Pemba is like traveling in unknown territory. In the countryside, villagers are eager to talk to passers-by. In town, market stallholders call you over and sit you down to try their different fruits, laughing hysterically at your reaction.
For those seeking an adventure, Pemba is a fascinating and beautiful island to visit.
Mafia Island is the largest of a small archipelago of islands and atolls and is truly a paradise in the Indian Ocean. It is the southern most of three islands (Pemba & Zanzibar) located off the coast of Tanzania. The resident population of 46,000 is mainly fishermen or smallholder farmers that grow coconut, paw-paw, rice and cassava. The islanders are friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere relaxed and laid-back.
Today Mafia is known as a beautiful Indian Ocean tropical resort that is famous for deep sea fishing and scuba diving. Aquatic life is abundant and the coral gardens are pristine due to the protection of the Mafia Island Marine Park. The park is located between the Rufiji River delta to the west and the open Indian Ocean to the east. The dual influences of the river and the sea have combined to create a rich and exceptional biodiversity with unique landscapes under the sea and on dry land. It is a unique and perfect destination as part of a safari package or simply a place to unwind and get away from the daily, modern and busy world.Mafia, Tanzania
The closest national park to Arusha town – northern Tanzania’s safari capital – Arusha National Park is a multi-faceted jewel, often overlooked by safari-goers, despite offering the opportunity to explore a beguiling diversity of habitats within a few hours.
Situated at the foot of Mount Meru, this breathtaking park includes the alkaline Momella Lakes, the Ngurdoto Craters and spectacular waterfalls. It is one of the few parks in Tanzania where you can enjoy a walking safari. Although one of the smallest parks, it is also one of the most beautiful, with spectacular views of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, abundant wildlife, and the shallow, alkaline Momela Lakes which attract a wide variety of wader birds, particularly flamingos.
The most common animals found in this park are the Abyssinian black and white colobus monkeys, the Vervet monkeys, the red forest duikers, hippos, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, bushbucks and sometimes leopards. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the park, including Eurasian migrants, which can be seen between October and April.
Only 200 km West of Dar es Salaam lies the mighty Selous Game Reserve, one of Africa’s least known yet wildest conservation areas. At an enormous 55,000 sq km, Selous is almost twice the size of Belgium and four times larger than the famous Serengeti in the North, covering 5% of Tanzania’s land area. The Selous’ ecosystem covers over 90,000 sq km of pristine wilderness devoid of human influence.
This reserve is home to over 1,000,000 large animals and is home to over half of Tanzania’s elephant population. Selous is unique among reserves in Tanzania as it encompasses an area exclusively devoted to tourism in its Northern part, making up for about 10% of the reserve’s total size.
This sector North of the Rufiji River is mostly open wooded grassland and is dominated by Terminalia spinosa trees - ‘flat topped’ trees, in classic African fashion. However this section of the reserve is unusually diverse, comprising dense hardwood forests in the East, open plains in the centre, and rocky arid hills and volcanic springs in the West.
The reserve is also crisscrossed by a multitude of dry riverbeds surrounded by dense riverine vegetation where many of Selous larger animals spend their days.
However, one of the major attractions has to be the mighty river itself, home to one of the largest crocodile and hippo populations in Africa, swarming with fish which in turn bring about some of the world’s best water birding. The River has also formed several large lakes on its Northern bank, navigable by boat. Siwandu (formerly Selous Safari Camp) is situated on one of these lakes, sheltered in a grove of one of Selous’ many beautiful palm forests.
This wonderfully diverse, vast and well watered habitat has the right ingredients to enable the land to hold an unusually high number of animals of all shapes and sizes as well as support an extraordinary array of different vegetation types.
Selous has over 2,100 species of plants, 350 species of birds, 60,000 elephant, 108,000 buffalos and an estimated 1,300 of the worlds’ approximately 4,000 remaining rare wild dogs giving guests an opportunity to glimpse all of these exotic animals in true unspoilt wilderness.
The town of Bagamoyo, Tanzania, was founded at the end of the 18th century. It was the original capital of German East Africa and was one of the most important trading ports along the East African coast. Today the town has about 30,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the District of Bagamoyo.
Bagamoyo was recently designated as Tanzania’s seventh world heritage site and is the oldest town in Tanzania. Bagamoyo's history has been influenced by Arab and Indian traders, the German colonial government and Christian missionaries. Although Bagamoyo is no longer the busy port city that it once was, Tanzania’s Department of Antiquities is working to revitalize the town and maintain the dozens of ruins in and around Bagamoyo.
Bagamoyo was the major slave trading post in East Africa. Bagamoyo, which means ‘lay down your heart’ in Swahili, was probably given this name because Bagamoyo was the last place the slaves would stay in Tanzania before being shipped off to foreign lands. Although the slave trade officially ended in 1873, slaves continued to be sold and traded in Bagamoyo through the end of the nineteenth century.
During the slave trade, it was not uncommon to see hundreds of slaves walking through the streets of Bagamoyo chained together by the neck. Slaves were collected from the interior by capture, purchase or trade and then shipped to Zanzibar or Arab countries.
Located in the centre of the historic triangle of Bagamoyo, Pangani and Zanzibar, Saadani National Park covers 1100km square. It is the only wildlife sanctuary in Tanzania bordering the sea. The climate is coastal, hot and humid. It offers a unique combination of both marine and mainland flora and fauna in a culturally fascinating setting. About 30 species of larger mammals are present as well as numerous reptiles and birds. In addition to over forty species of fish, green turtles, humpback whales, and dolphins also reside in the ocean nearby.
The Zaraninge Forest, now a part of the national park, contains an extremely high botanical diversity and is one of the last coastal rain forests remaining in Tanzania.Tanga, Tanzania