Tarangire is one of the sixteen national parks, and the sixth largest in Tanzania, located 118km/75miles southwest of Arusha. It is said to resemble the Serengeti due to the number of animals migrating within and the vast plains covering a large area. This national park has a large concentration of elephants and the greatest concentration of wildlife outside Serengeti. It is the perfect place for birdlife, and its tree-climbing pythons altogether make it a “small Serengeti”. Some visitors make more of it by doing a game drive in this sanctuary followed by the Manyara National park for more birdlife attractions and fascinating landscapes.
Manyara National Park
Sided by the 600 meters high escapement of great East Valley, this wildlife sanctuary is rich in both wildlife and scenic landscapes. The Soda Ash Lake, which occupies most of it, is referred to as the loveliest lake in Africa. Located 126km/miles from Arusha and close the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa mbu, this is home to tree-climbing lions and a feeding ground for pink-hued flamingos migrating from Lake Natron. The magical pink hue of the lake is in fact a visual effect of the thousands of flamingos who reside around it. For birdlife, hippos, baboons, impalas, herds of elephants and other animals this is awesome, family-friendly place to pass by, conveniently close to the Arusha Ngorongoro road.
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park is located just few kilometers from the Arusha city center, and it is one of the three mountainous national parks, (the other two being Kilimanjaro and the Udzungwa Mountains National parks).
In this National park you also can view animals, so while in Arusha or Moshi, if you only have one or two quick days, this is best choice to spend a day and come back to the city. The spectacular scenery with the volcanic Meru mountain makes this park even more special. Mount Meru can also be climbed in three of four days – highly recommended for acclimatization before Kilimanjaro or when in Arusha or Moshi.
Lake Natron, in the Wildlife Management Area (WMA), is one of the alkaline lakes located in Arusha region at the Kenyan border. This lake is famous for its ability to turn animals to stone due to its high measure of alkalinity, up to pH 10.5. The lake’s shoreline is the primary breeding ground for over two millions lesser flamingos, Phoenicopterus minor, during the dry season. The lake is fed by a hot spring and small streams that make its temperatures rise to 106F/41C.
Although vehicles can access the area, it is best visited on foot for the best exploratory experience. The area also has wildlife such as zebra, giraffe, gazelles, gerenuk and wildebeest, as well as ostriches and Kori bustards. On a hot day some cooler options are available for a break from the sun such as the Engare Sero foot prints and the Ewaso Ngiro River for a refreshing dip.
Due to the conservation category the local government offers the service for young Maasai boys/men to as guides along with your driver to visit some places, as a local sustainable incentive. These young Maasai can speak basic english. For those who are planning to climb the Oldonyo Lengai mountain we suggest going with your tour driver who often stays at the camp. This area is also the base camp to arrange climbing Oldonyo Lengai, the active volcano of the area.
The area can be accessed on foot from the Ngorongoro crossing, the Great Rift Valley or by a 4WD Vehicle through a rough road from Mto wa mbu near Manyara National park via Engaruka.
These roads are nicknamed the African Massage taking up to five hours of a bumpy drive. Another road takes you back to Arusha after all activities in Lake Natron and Oldonyo Lengai.
You can choose to either see just one or all of the parks depending on the length of your trip.
Discounts apply if 2 or more people travel together and share accommodations. If people are traveling as a group, but wish to have private accommodation, $60 will be added to your personal total after the group discount.