Last month me and a few friends set off on a week long journey that would turn out to be one of the greatest vacations I have ever been on. Our itinerary consisted of 4 destinations in the North of Tanzania; Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the famous Serengeti.
I found that visiting a whole host of different parks to be a great experience, as each destination had its own unique “personality”, whether it be the scenery, smells, landscapes or wildlife varieties, each place felt so different to the last.
In this blog post, I will be narrowing down a single highlight from each location we visited and describing it to give you a good mental picture of what we experienced.
My Tanzania Safari Highlights
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire was the first park that we toured, and we were in for a huge treat on our first day on safari! We had been told about the animals we could see in the park, lion, giraffe, wildebeest, elephants, zebra and even leopards, however not to get our hopes up to spot the latter, as leopards are very hard to spot, especially in the daytime.
It was late evening and our safari was coming to an end, after a snack at a scenic viewpoint, we turned round to head towards our lodge, when we saw a couple of safari vehicles pulled up alongside an Acacia tree. We took a closer look at what they were staring at, and then we saw it, the sleek shape of a leopard, asleep in the tree. We stared at it patiently, waiting for something to happen, but it was fast asleep and showed no sign of motion. Just as we were about to drive on, it stood up on all of its legs, stared straight at us, and then went back to sleep facing the opposite direction. The whole crowd in our vehicle got such a buzz out of seeing the leopard, we talked about it for the entire drive back to our lodge and then celebrated the sighting with a night cap.
Lake Manyara National Park
I found Manyara to be a beautiful park, and was most impressed with the huge population of great white pelican which took over the majority of the Lake (apart from a few hippos dotted between them). However, it was the pelicans in the sky which caught my attention. There were between 100 and 150 of them, swarming in a corkscrew like circle, gradually getting higher, until they were higher than I’d ever seen any other bird! This was incredible to observe, and I wondered if they were racing to be the first pelican to reach the moon?!
Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
All I can say about the Ngorongoro Crater is WOW! This place had it all, from the greatest scenic views I had ever seen, to a great selection of conserved wildlife. After a morning of driving through the crater floor, we stopped at a lake to take a closer look at the huge population of flamingo which were gathered there. Then, out of nowhere, the flamingos in one particular area scarpered en masse into the air, as if something had startled them, and then we saw it, a hyena! It had caught one of the birds in its powerful jaw, and there were what looked like baby hyenas surrounding it trying to join in the feast. However, the large hyena would not allow them near its kill, which we all thought was a bit odd. However, our guide pointed out that those “baby hyenas” were in fact jackals. Grabbing our binoculars, we watched in amazement as one of the jackals eventually scarpered off with a scrap of the flamingo meat, just as the rest of the hyena family were reaching the scene. Within a couple of minutes they were all gone, and the whole escapade had ended.
Serengeti National Park
After we had seen so much in the previous parks, the Serengeti had a lot to live up to, and it did just that! It was around 2pm and we had been driving around since around 7am, so we were all pretty tired. But what was to catch my eyes next made us all wake up. It was a pride of lionesses, spread about in the long grass and everyone of them staring straight at a pair of zebra not too far from them. As the zebra moved, the lions would also crawl a bit closer to them. This intense stalking went on for around 20 minutes. We were all wondering if and when the lions were going to make a move, but all of a sudden the zebras got spooked and bolted off in the opposite direction, without a chase from any of the lions. You win some, you lose some – the zebras had won this one, and the lions had lost – it’s the circle of life.
I hope you enjoyed reading my safari highlights as much as I enjoyed reminiscently writing about them. If you are interested in creating a similar Tanzania safari itinerary, or would like more information on alternative destinations that you can visit in East Africa, then get in touch with tour expert Ziara Safaris, who have over 10 years experience in the industry.