Immerse yourself in the African wildlife

This 2-day trip has taken us to two of the most famous safari destinations in Tanzania: The Tarangire National Park and The Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Both of them are not too far from Moshi which is at the northeast of Tanzania and is located at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The first safari day was dedicated to Tarangire, the sixth largest national park in Tanzania after Ruaha, Serengeti, Mikumi, Katavi and Mkomazi.

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The Tarangire River!!

Departing at 7am from the Moshi volunteer house, we arrived Tarangire at around 11am. Right at the entrance of the park, we already spot the Vervet Monkeys jumping around the trees. They seemed not so afraid of human, which made it a great chance to get close to them and take pictures. But please do remember not to feed them as the disruption of their diets might result in illness, and close the doors and windows of your safari car or they might jump in.

Monkey

The male Vervet Monkey, with the special blue scrotum as the signature.

And then, the real game started!! Because it was the beginning of rain season at the time we went, we saw very rich vegetation in the area with lots of its signature baobab trees. At the lunch site, we also got a chance to overlook the Tarangire River which is running through the park and is always doing its job to nourish the habitat. Although dry season (from June to October) is always advised as the best time for game watching and the abundant vegetation this time makes it less suitable for spotting wildlife, still, we were able to see lots of animals, including lions, elephants, giraffes, ostrich, hyena and some other small animals.

Our safari guide Godlove was doing a great job spotting animals even from far away, and all the guides were communicating among each other to share the locations of the animals. One impressive moment in Tarangire was when we saw a bunch of elephants walking pass us. They were so gentle and so close to us, and some of them even stopped at a pond in front of us for a mud shower. Throughout the whole trip here, we have seen at least four groups of elephants, no wonder Tarangire is also called the ‘home to elephants’. The number of elephants in the park can even go up to 3,000 during peak season!

After spending a night at the hostel in Karatu, we continued our adventure next day to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). NCA is a conservation site and is named after Ngorongoro crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area. The area is with multiple land uses with wildlife coexisting with Massai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 with both its natural and cultural values.

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Overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro gives a completely different feeling compared with Tarangire while the open view of the savanna allowed us to spot animals easily and get extremely close to them: lions, elephants, zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, buffaloes, flamingos, warthogs, hyenas…you name it. We even spotted black rhinos which are very rare with no more than 30 in the area. Apart from the dense animal population, the landscape of Ngorongoro is also stunning with short grass plains, highland catchment forest, high open moorlands and savanna woodland. We also saw the Massai people grazing their livestock not far from where the animals are, even lions! It was amazing to see how the area harmonizes natural wildlife and human habitation.

This 2 day safari trip gave us a glimpse at the African wildlife, it was a shame that we could not see all the big five this time, but then we will have another reason to come back again, right?

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