Ruaha National Park is the largest national park in Tanzania, however, it is often overshadowed by others. Even though you can see lions, leopards, wild dogs, and cheetahs in the park, this magnificent wildlife destination often gives way to the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro.
There are good reasons that the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro take the lead as two of Tanzania’s most popular destinations. Dr. Phillip Imler, President of the Global Alliance of National Parks said, “How can Africa’s tallest mountain and the endless plains of abundant wildlife not be atop every traveler’s natural wonders bucket list.”
The Serengeti National Park is often just referred to as “The Serengeti.” The park sprawls across 5,700 square miles (14,750 sq km) of grasslands while being part of the larger Serengeti ecosystem that expands 12,000 square miles (30,000 sq km) of what is described as the endless plains.
The highlight of the park and surrounding area is the largest mammalian migration on the continent. The 250,000 zebra and 500,000 gazelles are dwarfed in size compared to the over 1.3 million wildebeests. This massive herd which also includes topi, hartebeest, and impala is constantly on a circular migration throughout the year.
One of the most exciting times to explore the Serengeti is in the late summer or early fall when the herd crosses the Mara River into the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. Lions, leopards, and cheetahs are constant threats to the herd, but when the herd crosses the Mara River, the mighty crocodile is there waiting to leverage this annual crossing.
It is fair to argue which destination comes first, the Serengeti or Mount Kilimanjaro. Because the multiday trek up to the summit often wears travelers out, it is often done first when travelers are at their freshest.
Once you decide to make the trek up, head to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park to find your various gateways to the summit. Of the three peaks atop the mountain, Uhuru Peak is the tallest spot reaching a summit of 19,341 feet (5,895 m).
Dr. Imler advises that you drink lots of water and plan for stops that allow for altitude adjustments. Altitude sickness keeps approximately half of all travelers from reaching the summit. “I reached over 16,00 feet before altitude sickness knocked me out of the game,” Imler added.
The Marangu Route, also known as the Coca-Cola Route, is one of the more common trails up. Many declare that the slopes are easier and almost all who choose the route do so because of the sleeping huts that allow for better rest.
A Quick and Easy Nature Highlight
Ngorongoro Crater is a Conservation Area that neighbors the Serengeti. Most would declare that it is part of the larger Serengeti ecosystem and some of the migration herd travels into the crater.
Ngorongoro’s claim to fame is that it is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The salt flats, ponds, forests, and plains create a varied ecosystem within the crater walls. As you enter the crater, the vista allows you to see across the entire crater floor. It feels much smaller than it actually is when you get the chance to explore down below.
Travelers have an excellent chance to see lions, elephants, and even rhinoceroses. As you explore the crater floor in your custom safari 4×4 vehicle you should keep your eyes open for eland, ostrich, wildebeest, and so many other wildlife species. Ngorongoro has been affectionately called a fishbowl of wildlife.
Add Tanzania to your Bucket List
Tanzania will not disappoint those traveling to Africa for a safari adventure. You will see an abundance and variety of wildlife. You can explore and learn more about the national parks in Tanzania to create your perfect safari adventure. Once you are done with the wildlife adventures, you can head to the beaches of Zanzibar to relax and unwind.