What impresses me most about Tanzania is not only the exceptional Wildlife and vast wildlife areas but also the local people. Tanzania does have, like most African countries, a huge number of people living in poverty, yet they are the most grateful, friendly and interesting people that you will ever have the privilege of meeting. It was also fantastic to see and meet so many people from all over the world that were in Tanzania to help out and make a positive contribution to this amazing country.
A Tanzania Safari is a unique safari experience and incomparable with any other safari destination in the world. A lot is said about all the vehicles that one sees in the Serengeti however, one can get away from all the tourists and enjoy the ultimate safari experience by selecting your accommodation carefully.
My Safari started in Tarangire National Park where I inspected the lovely Swala Camp, Oliver’s Camp and Tarangire Treetops amongst others. Tarangire is a beautiful wildlife area and renowned for big elephant herds that migrate to the area at the beginning of July. I then drove to Lake Manyara and on to the Ngorongoro Crater accompanied by my Masai guide Paul Kishapoy (a fantastic safari guide and now good friend, Paul could spot Leopard and Lion in a second and then a minute later, I would find the animal with binoculars – and I have always thought that I had a great eye for spotting game) Ngorongoro Crater Lodge “Chandeliers in a mudhut” has to be one of the finest lodges in Africa with amazing views of the Ngorongoro Crater.
The Crater itself is simply mesmeric and has to be seen to do it justice. I managed to film a Buffalo Bull taking on 4 male lions and a female whilst in the crater, yes there were other vehicles around but when the game viewing is that good, it is well worth putting up with it for a day. From the Ngorongoro Crater we drove through the Ngorongoro conservation area which borders the Southern Serengeti. It is here that the massive herds come to have their young from December to March. As this was June, the grasslands had been decimated and the vast open savannas sprinkled with just a few antelope was an amazing spectacle.
After a night in the Ngorongoro Conservation area it was North we headed, in to the Serengeti on the trail of the huge herds. After driving for most of the day witnessing vast open plains with sporadic sightings of Warthog, Zebra and Gazelle we arrived at one of the world’s finest natural events, the Great Wildebeest Migration. The landscape quickly changed from barren open savanna to grass filled plains teeming with more wildlife than one could hope to witness. The sheer volume of Wildebeest and Zebra was simply mesmeric and were spread out as far as they eye could see. My night at Serengeti Safari Camp watching the sunset with a glass of wine in hand, right in the middle of all the activity was just unreal.
As we proceeded still further North to the central Serengeti the herds were huge yet splintered into several herds, some moving North others confused and heading South, as in the tall grass ahead lay imminent danger from stalking predators. The herds had obviously been in this area a while judging from the inflated stomachs of several lion prides. Heading off to the Western Corridor we left behind the main herds that will still very South for this time of year and this was a direct result of all the rain in the region that had been continuous since November. Crossing the Grumeti River that was in full flow was a nerve racking experience especially when looking down stream at 5 massive crocs that looked pretty upset that the migration was late. A night at Grumeti River Camp was excellent and loud due to the resident hippo and then it was off to the Northern Serengeti and Migration Camp. Migration Camp is situated in a wooded area and with good resident Lion populations, we managed to arrive just after a Lion Kill and the following day we witnessed a Cheetah mom hunting with her 4 semi adult cubs. Two Nights in the Loliondo area, due East of the Serengeti was also an excellent experience and a great area for doing a walking safari
The next part of my Safari took place in the South of Tanzania in the wild wilderness area of the Selous Game Reserve. The Selous is very different from the Northern Tanzanian Game reserves and offers quite an exclusive safari experience with less animals and less tourists as well. The game lodges in the Selous are of a very high standard and Sand Rivers Selous has to be one of the best safari lodges in Tanzania, with excellent views of the Rufiji river and huge Hippo and crocodile populations. Walking Safaris in the Selous are a real highlight and so is boating on the rufiji river and the numerous lakes in the Selous.
Anyone that is keen on Safaris no matter how many you have done, you are not a Safari connoisseur until you have experienced Tanzania’s phenomenal wildlife regions.
By Stuart Parker
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