Wednesday, December 29, 2010

National Parks of Tanzania


Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566 m, in the Arusha Region of north eastern Tanzania.

The park is small but varied with spectacular landscapes in three distinct areas. In the west, the Meru Crater funnels the Jekukumia River; the peak of Mount Meru lies on its rim. Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east is grassland. The shallow alkaline Momella Lakes in the north-east have varying algal colours and are known for their wading birds.

Mount Meru is the second highest peak in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro, which is just 60 km away and forms a backdrop to views from the park to the east. Arusha National Park lies on a 300-kilometre axis of Africa's most famous national parks, running from Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in the west to Kilimanjaro National Park in the east.

The park is just a few kilometres north east of Arusha, though the main gate is 25 km east of the city. It is also 58 km from Moshi and 35 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

Wild Life

Arusha National Park has a rich variety of wildlife. Despite the small size of the park, common animals include giraffe, buffalo, zebra, warthog, the black-and-white colobus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingos and more.


Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe Stream National Park is located in western Tanzania, 10 miles (20 km) north of Kigoma, the regional capital of western Tanzania. Established in 1968, Gombe is the smallest national park in Tanzania, with only 20 square miles (52 km2) of forest running along the hills of the northern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The terrain is distinguished by steep valleys, and the forest vegetation ranges from grassland to alpine bamboo to tropical rainforest. Accessible only by boat, the park is most famous as the location where Jane Goodall pioneered her behavioral research conducted on the chimpanzee populations. The Kasakela chimpanzee community, featured in several books and documentaries, lives in Gombe Stream National Park.

Gombe Stream’s high levels of diversity make it an increasingly popular tourist destination. Besides chimpanzees, primates inhabiting Gombe Stream include beachcomber olive baboons, red-tailed monkeys and vervet monkeys. The park is also home to over 200 bird species and bushpigs. There are also 11 species of snakes, and occasional hippopotamus and leopards. Visitors to the park can trek into the forest to view the chimpanzees, as well as swim and snorkel in Lake Tanganyika with almost 100 kinds of colorful cichlid fish.




Katavi National Park

Katavi National Park was gazetted in 1974 and is located in Western Tanzania. It is a very remote park that is less frequently visited than other Tanzanian National Parks. The park is approximately 4,471 square kilometers (1,727 square miles) in area, which makes it the third largest National Park in Tanzania. The park encompasses the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada floodplains.

Wild Life

Wildlife features include large animal herds, particularly of Cape Buffalo and elephant, plus along the Katuma river, crocodiles and hippos which upon annual dry seasons results in mudholes that can be packed with hundreds of hippos. Some sources claim a very high biodiversity in the park, although there are also reports of wildlife decline due to illegal hunting and poaching, presumably 'bushmeat' sustenance. In general, what is probably most noteworthy feature of Katavi versus other Tanzania Parks is that it lacks human visitors and jeeps conducting game drives.



Kitulo National Park

Kitulo National Park is a protected area of alpine grassland and montane forest in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The Park covers an area of 412.9 km² (159 square miles), lying partly in Mbeya Region and partly in Iringa Region. The protected area includes the Kitulo Plateau and the adjoining Livingstone Forest. The Park is administered by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and is the first National Park in tropical Africa to be established primarily for the protection of its flora.

Locals refer to the Kitulo Plateau as 'Bustani ya Mungu' (The Garden of God), while botanists have referred to it as the Serengeti of Flowers.

Protection of the Kitulo Plateau's unique flora was first proposed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, in response to the growing international trade in orchid tubers and increased hunting and logging activities in the surrounding forests. In 2002, President Benjamin Mkapa announced the establishment of the Kitulo National Park. The Park was formally gazetted in 2005, becoming Tanzania's 14th National Park. Future proposals by TANAPA would see the Park expanded to include the neighbouring Mount Rungwe Forest.



Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park is a national park in Arusha Region, Tanzania. The majority of the land area of the park is a narrow strip running between the Gregory Rift wall to the west and Lake Manyara, an alkaline or soda-lake, to the east. It is famous for its population of flamingoes.



Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania. Named after the Mahale Mountains range that is within its borders, the park has several unusual characteristics. First, it is one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in the country. (The other is nearby Gombe Stream National Park made famous by the researcher Jane Goodall.) Another unusual feature of the park is that it is one of the very few in Africa that must be experienced by foot. There are no roads or other infrastructure within the park boundaries, and the only way in and out of the park is via boat on the lake.



Mikumi National Park

The Mikumi National Park is a national park in Mikumi, near Morogoro, Tanzania. The park was established in 1964, currently covers an area of 3230 km² and is the fourth largest in the country.

Mkomazi National Park

Mkomazi Game Reserve is located in North Eastern Tanzania on the Kenyan Border. It was established in 1951 and is found in Kilimanjaro Region and Tanga Region. Mkomazi game reserve is one of the only places in the whole Tanzania to spot the black rhinoceros.

The Reserve covers over 3,200 km² and is dominated by Acacia-Commiphora vegetation; it is contiguous with Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park. The area commonly called ‘Mkomazi’ is actually the union of two Game Reserves, the Umba Game Reserve in the east (in Lushoto District, Tanga Region) and the Mkomazi Game Reserve in the West (in Same District, Kilimanjaro Region); in government documents they are sometimes called the Mkomazi/Umba Game Reserves. Of the two, Mkomazi is larger, and has more diversity of relief and habitat, and a longer shared border with Tsavo East National Park. In the rest of this entry ‘Mkomazi’ will refer to both the Mkomazi and Umba Reserves together.



Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is the second largest national park in Tanzania. It covers an area of about 12,950 km². It is located in the middle of Tanzania about 130 km from Iringa. The park is part of a more extensive ecosystem which includes Rungwa Game Reserve, Usangu Game Reserve, and several other protected areas.

The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its south-eastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park can be reached by car via Iringa and there is an airstrip at Msembe, park headquarters.



Rubondo Island National Park

Rubondo Island National park is Tanzania’s only park on Lake Victoria. The island attracts a small number of visitors each year, mainly game fishermen and bird enthusiasts.

Saadani National Park

Saadani National Park is Tanzania's 13th National Park. Tourists can view animals basking along the Indian Ocean shores. It has an area of 1100 km2 and was established in 2005 from an a game reserve which had existed from 1969.


Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park is a large national park in Serengeti area, Tanzania. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one and a half million white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey.








Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania after Ruaha, Serengeti, Mikumi, Katavi and Mkomazi. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire river that crosses through the park, being the only source of water for wild animals during dry seasons. The park is famous for its huge number of elephants, baobab trees and tree climbing African pythons. It lies a little distance to the south east of Lake Manyara and covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometres.

Udzungwa Mountains National Park

Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a national park in Tanzania. The habitats contained within the national park include tropical rainforest, mountain forest, miombo woodland, grassland and steppe. There is a vertical height range of 250–2,576 metres (the peak of Lohomero), which incorporates the Udzunga Mountains part of the Eastern Arc Mountains. There are more than 400 bird species, 2500 plant species (25% of which are endemics) and 6 primate species. It has the second largest biodiversity of a national park in Africa.

Six primate species have been recorded, five of which are endemic. The Iringa Red Colobus and Sanje Crested Mangabey are only found in the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, the mangabey species was undetected by biologists prior to 1979.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The mountains of Tanzania





Mount Kilimanjaro



Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is an inactive stratovolcano in north-eastern Tanzania and the highest mountain in Africa at 5,895 metres or 19,341 ft above sea level (the Uhuru Peak / Kibo Peak). Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain as well as the 4th most prominent mountain in the world, rising 5,882 metres or 19,298 ft from the base.




Mount Meru

Mount Meru is an active stratovolcano located 70 kilometres (43 mi) west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the nation of Tanzania. At a height of 4,566 metres (14,980 ft), it is visible from Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day, and is the tenth highest mountain in Africa. Much of its bulk was lost about 8,000 years ago due to an eastward volcanic blast, similar to the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in the U.S. state of Washington. Mount Meru most recently had a minor eruption in 1910. The several small cones and craters seen in the vicinity probably reflect numerous episodes of volcanic activity.


As seen from Mount Kilimanjaro, 3D computer generated image
Mount Meru's ash cone that has formed in the old crater.Mount Meru is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.

At the summit, one can find a two metre high flag of Tanzania in metal and also a milestone in concrete with "Socialist Peak 4562.13M" written.


Tanzania News Papers

List of newspapers of Tanzania.

Arusha Raha (In Swahili)
Arusha Times (In English)
Business Times (In English)
The Citizen (In English)
Daily News (In English)
The Express (In English)
Guardian IPP (In English)
Kafoi Online (In English / Swahili)
Mwananchi (In Swahili)
Raia Mwema (In Swahili)
Tanserve (In English)
Tanzania Daima (In Swahili)