Tanzania Northern circuit

The Tanzania northern circuit is by far the most popular safari circuit in Tanzania, including most of the must-see safari Destinations in the country. In case you’re a first-time visitor to Tanzania, this is the place you need to be. The circuit begins in Arusha and includes, from east to west: Arusha National Park at the foot of Mount Meru, Tarangire National Park 110 km southwest of Arusha town, Manyara Ranch between Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park, Lake Manyara National Park at the base of the Great Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (which incorporates the Ngorongoro caldera, the Empakaai Crater and the southern Serengeti plains of Lake Ndutu), and the Serengeti National Park that extends north to the Tanzania/Kenya border.

Tanzania Northern circuit- Destinations

Serengeti National park

The most popular destination in Tanzania Northern circuit, also a World Heritage Site and recently broadcasted a World Wide Wonder. The Serengeti National park is popular for its annual migration, when nearly 6,000,000 hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeest’s trip for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers apparently the most sparkling game-review in Africa: great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala, and Grant’s gazelle.

The display of predator versus prey rules Tanzania’s greatest park. Brilliant maned lion prides devour on the abundance of plain grazers. Solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees lining the Seronera River, while a high density of cheetahs prowls the southeastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.

Mt Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro. The name itself is a mystery wreathed in clouds. It might mean Mountain of Light, Mountain of Greatness or Mountain of Caravans. Or it might not. The local people, the wachagga, don’t even have a name for the whole massif, only Kipoo (now known as Kibo) for the familiar snowy peak that stands imperious, overseer of the continent, the summit of Africa. Kilimanjaro, by any name, is a metaphor for the compelling beauty of East Africa. When you see it, you understand why.

Dominating the landscape like no other mountain, iconic and instantly recognisable, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the highest peak in Africa and the world’s tallest freestanding mountain at 5895 metres. To climb Kilimanjaro is a great challenge and entirely feasible for the active traveller or keen walker looking for something new. In a matter of days you’ll climb Kilimanjaro from the hot plains of Africa through grasslands, tropical rainforest, alpine meadows, moorlands and desert uplands onto snow and ice.

Tarangire National park

Explore Tarangire National Park in the Northern circuit, experience Day after day of cloudless skies. The savage sun sucks the moisture from the scene, preparing the earth a dusty red, the shriveled grass as brittle as straw. The Tarangire River has wilted to a shadow of its wet season self. But it is choked with wildlife. Thirsty nomads have wandered hundreds of parched kilometers knowing that here, always, there is water.

Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem – a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed. Read more

Lake Manyara National park

Extending for 50km along the base of the corroded-gold 600-metre high Rift Valley ledge, Lake Manyara is a scenic gem, with a setting lauded by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”

The compact game-viewing in the Northern circuit through Manyara National park offers a virtual microcosm of the Tanzanian safari experience. From the entrance gate, the road winds through an expanse of lush jungle-like groundwater forest where hundred-strong baboon troops lounge unemotionally along the roadside, blue monkeys scamper nimbly between the ancient mahogany trees, dainty bushbuck tread warily through the shadows, and outsized forest hornbills honk cacophonously in the high canopy.

Arusha National park

Located just a short drive from Arusha and Moshi, the Arusha National Park is Tanzania’s most accessible national park and the perfect place for a day trip or as the first or last stop on a longer itinerary. At just 552 square kilometres, it’s a small park with a lot to see.

With diverse wildlife that includes herbivores such as elephants, hippos, buffalo, zebra, and even the occasional wildebeest, Arusha National Park is also a perfect place to get out and stretch your legs – with both walking safaris and canoe safaris available within the park.

Arusha National Park is also home to the world’s largest population of giraffes, making it a great place to visit in Tanzania Northern circuit safaris.

Arusha National Park boasts a broad variety of landscapes, ranging from open savannah through acacia shrubland to rainforest and, eventually, to alpine conditions on the higher reaches of Mt. Meru.

Ngorongoro crater

The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania Northern circuit, once a gigantic volcano, is the largest intact caldera in the world. Some maintain that before it erupted, it would have been higher than Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

Today, long since having collapsed and eroded, it is an extensive highland area with the famous 600 m deep Ngorongoro Crater as its focal point. Nearly three million years old, the ancient caldera shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth.

The Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtakingly beautiful setting and the best place in East Africa to see the Big Five. It is a great way to start your African safari adventure in Tanzania Nothern circuit. However, as one of the world’s most astonishing and renowned natural wonders, the Ngorongoro Crater does get busy, and at times very busy. Due to the crowds we recommend a two-night stay only here, then moving on to the Serengeti for a quieter, more private safari experience.

Tanzania Northern circuit Safaris