Northern Circuit

Northern safari circuit encompasses some of Africa’s most iconic parks and reserves including Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Kilimanjaro National Park, Arusha National Park, and the Great Rift Valley Lakes Natron and Eyasi. Due to the popularity of these parks, the northern Safari circuit harbors more tourists than any other circuit in Tanzania. Sometimes, especially during peak seasons, it is not uncommon to see plenty of vehicles in one area.

Tarangire National Park is regarded as the most southerly, tourist attraction in this diverse and breathtaking safari region. Within a relatively compact geographical area, safari goers will have access to a multitude of the iconic parks and major tourist attractions, including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro crater, Oldupai Gorge, Lake Natron, Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano, Mount Meru.

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The great thing about the northern Safari circuit is, parks are accessible by roads and so it’s easy to drive from one park to another. Since visitors usually spend a lot of time on the road during their game drives game and some roads can be dusty or muddy, closed vehicles with pop-up roofs are typically used in this area. The op-up roofs and large windows allows excellent game viewing while maintaining safety and comfort throughout the trip.

The world famous Big Five is also a common sighting all year-round, and a lot of accommodation options ranging from budget camps to luxury lodges and exclusive tented camps are widely offered. Also adventurous travelers who aim to take their once in a life time trip to greater heights can easily trek the world-famous Mount Kilimanjaro or the crater of Mount Meru.

Northern Circuit Tour Destinations

Serengeti National Park is a world-famous wildlife conservation area located in Tanzania, East Africa. It covers an area of approximately 14,750 square kilometers and is known for its vast grassy plains, open savannas, and diverse wildlife.

The park is home to the annual migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles, as well as a large number of predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. In addition to the large mammals, the park also has over 500 species of birds and various reptiles and amphibians.

Serengeti National Park is also an important site for research and conservation efforts, with numerous ongoing projects focused on protecting and managing the park’s wildlife and ecosystems. The park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, and it is one of the most popular safari destinations in Africa, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

  • In 2021, Serengeti National Park won the World Travel Awards for Africa’s Leading National Park, Africa’s Leading National Park Conservation Company, and Africa’s Leading Tourist Attraction.
  • In 2020, Serengeti National Park won the Safari Awards for Best National Park in Africa and Best Safari Park in Tanzania.
  • In 2019, Serengeti National Park won the Tanzania Tourism Awards for Best Tourist Attraction and Best Conservation Company of the Year.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. It is named after the Ngorongoro crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area that is home to a diverse range of wildlife.

The conservation area spans an area of over 8,000 square kilometers and includes the Ngorongoro crater, the Empakai crater, the Oldupai Gorge, and the Serengeti Plains. It is home to over 25,000 large animals, including elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, and black rhinos, as well as over 500 bird species.

The Maasai people also inhabit the conservation area and practice their traditional pastoralist way of life alongside conservation efforts. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is known for its unique blend of wildlife and cultural preservation, making it a popular tourist destination in Tanzania.

  • The Ngorongoro Conservation Area was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 for its cultural significance and natural beauty.
  • In 2007, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) won the prestigious Ecotourism Award from the Tanzania Tourist Board.
  • In 2015, the NCAA was recognized for its work in promoting sustainable tourism at the African Responsible Tourism Awards.
  • In 2019, the NCA won the “Best Wildlife Conservation Institution” award at the Tanzania Leadership Awards.
  • In the same year, the NCAA was also awarded the “Best National Park” award at the East African Business Summit & Awards.

Tarangire National Park is a national park in Tanzania, located in the Manyara Region. The park covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles) and is named after the Tarangire River, which runs through the park.

Tarangire National Park is known for its large herds of elephants, as well as its diverse wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and various species of antelope. The park is also home to over 550 species of birds, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers.

The best time to visit Tarangire National Park is during the dry season, from June to October, when animals congregate around the Tarangire River and waterholes. However, the park is open year-round, and visitors can also enjoy guided walking safaris, night drives, and cultural tours of nearby Maasai villages.

In 2019, the park was named one of the top ten African safari parks by SafariBookings, a travel website that specializes in African safari tours.

The park is also a member of the Tanzania National Parks Authority, which oversees the management and conservation of Tanzania’s national parks. The authority has received several awards for its efforts in conservation and sustainable tourism, including the Skål International Sustainable Tourism Award in 2019.

In addition to these awards, Tarangire National Park has also been recognized for its wildlife conservation efforts. For example, the park is home to several elephant populations, and it has implemented a number of initiatives to protect these animals from poaching and habitat destruction. These efforts have been recognized by organizations such as the African Elephant Coalition, which has commended the park for its efforts to protect elephants and their habitats.

Overall, Tarangire National Park has received several awards and accolades for its conservation efforts and its role as a popular tourist destination.

Lake Manyara National Park is a protected area located in northern Tanzania. It is known for its diverse landscapes, including dense forests, open grasslands, and the shallow alkaline lake from which it takes its name. The park covers an area of 330 square kilometers and is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions, and baboons.

One of the unique features of Lake Manyara National Park is the large population of tree-climbing lions that can be found within its boundaries. These lions are famous for their unusual behavior of climbing trees to escape the heat and avoid insect bites, as well as to get a better view of potential prey.

The park is also home to large flocks of pink flamingos, which gather in the shallow waters of the lake to feed on algae and other small organisms. These birds create a stunning sight with their vibrant pink plumage and graceful movements.

Additionally, Lake Manyara National Park is renowned for its rich biodiversity, which includes over 400 species of birds, making it a haven for bird watchers. Some of the most commonly sighted birds include pelicans, storks, hornbills, and kingfishers.

Overall, Lake Manyara National Park is a unique and beautiful destination that offers visitors a chance to witness a diverse array of wildlife and landscapes in a single location.

Arusha National Park is a popular safari destination located in northern Tanzania. It is unique among Tanzania’s national parks in that it is relatively small in size, covering only 137 square kilometers, but it contains a wide variety of landscapes and wildlife.

One of the unique features of Arusha National Park is the Ngurdoto Crater, which is a massive volcanic caldera that was formed millions of years ago. The crater is surrounded by lush forests, and it provides a habitat for many different species of wildlife, including buffalo, baboons, and colobus monkeys.

Another unique feature of Arusha National Park is Mount Meru, which is the second-highest mountain in Tanzania after Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Meru is a popular destination for hikers and climbers, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

In addition to the Ngurdoto Crater and Mount Meru, Arusha National Park also contains several other distinct ecosystems, including grasslands, swamps, and montane forests. These different landscapes provide habitats for a diverse range of wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, warthogs, and many species of birds.

Overall, Arusha National Park is a unique and diverse destination that offers visitors a chance to experience Tanzania’s natural beauty and wildlife in a compact and accessible setting.

Kilimanjaro National Park is a protected area located in Tanzania, East Africa. The park encompasses the entire Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, and covers an area of approximately 755 square kilometers. Kilimanjaro National Park is known for its unique features, which make it a popular destination for tourists and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. Here are some of the reasons why Kilimanjaro National Park is unique:

  • Mount Kilimanjaro: The most obvious feature of Kilimanjaro National Park is Mount Kilimanjaro itself. It is the highest freestanding mountain in the world, with an elevation of 5,895 meters (19,341 feet). Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular activity for visitors to the park.

  • Five distinct ecological zones: Kilimanjaro National Park has five distinct ecological zones, each with its own unique flora and fauna. These zones are the cultivated zone, the rainforest zone, the heath and moorland zone, the alpine desert zone, and the summit zone.

  • Endangered species: Kilimanjaro National Park is home to several endangered species, including the African elephant, the African buffalo, and the black and white colobus monkey. The park also supports a rich variety of birdlife, with over 180 species recorded.

  • Glaciers: Despite being located near the equator, Mount Kilimanjaro has several glaciers. These glaciers are shrinking due to climate change, and it is estimated that they may disappear completely within the next few decades.

  • Cultural significance: Kilimanjaro is a sacred mountain for several African tribes, including the Chagga people who live in the area around the mountain. The Chagga have a long history of living on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and have developed a unique culture that is closely tied to the mountain.

Overall, Kilimanjaro National Park is a unique and special place, with a rich cultural and ecological history. Visitors to the park can experience the majesty of Mount Kilimanjaro, explore the different ecological zones, and learn about the unique culture of the Chagga people who call the area home.

Mkomazi National Park is a wildlife reserve located in northeastern Tanzania, near the border with Kenya. The park covers an area of about 3,245 square kilometers and is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species.

One of the unique features of Mkomazi National Park is its landscape. The park is characterized by rolling hills, rocky outcrops, and vast plains. The Usambara and Pare mountain ranges provide a dramatic backdrop to the park, adding to its beauty and uniqueness.

The park is also home to several endangered and rare species. It is the only place in Tanzania where the black rhinoceros and African wild dog can be found in their natural habitat. Other species that can be seen in the park include elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, and various antelopes.

Mkomazi National Park is also an important birding destination, with over 450 species of birds recorded in the park. This includes the Somali ostrich, the martial eagle, the vulturine guinea fowl, and the yellow-necked spurfowl, among others.

Another unique aspect of Mkomazi National Park is its conservation efforts. The park is managed by the Tanzania National Parks Authority and is involved in several conservation programs, including the protection of endangered species and the restoration of degraded habitats. The park also works closely with local communities to promote sustainable livelihoods and improve conservation awareness.

Overall, Mkomazi National Park is a unique and important wildlife reserve in Tanzania, with a rich diversity of plant and animal species, a stunning landscape, and a commitment to conservation and community development.

Lake Natron and Mt. Oldonyo Lengai are located in the northern part of Tanzania, near the border with Kenya. The area is known for its unique geological features, biodiversity, and cultural significance.

Lake Natron is a shallow soda lake that is fed by hot springs and small rivers. The lake’s high alkalinity and temperature, which can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, create a hostile environment for most aquatic life. However, the lake is a breeding ground for flamingos, which feed on the algae that thrive in its waters. The lake’s vivid pink color, caused by pigments produced by the algae and bacteria, makes for a stunning sight.

Mt. Oldonyo Lengai, also known as the “Mountain of God” by the Maasai people who live in the area, is an active volcano that last erupted in 2008. It is the only active volcano in the world that emits natrocarbonatite lava, a type of lava that is rich in sodium and calcium carbonate. The lava has a unique black color and cools quickly, resulting in jagged, rocky formations. The climb to the top of the mountain is challenging but rewarding, offering spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

The area around Lake Natron and Mt. Oldonyo Lengai is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, baboons, and hyenas. The Maasai people have lived in the area for centuries and continue to maintain their traditional way of life, which includes raising cattle and goats and practicing their unique customs and rituals.

In summary, Lake Natron and Mt. Oldonyo Lengai area are unique because of their geological features, including the soda lake and the natrocarbonatite lava emitted by the active volcano. The area is also significant for its biodiversity and cultural importance to the Maasai people who live there.

Lake Eyasi is a salt lake located in the Great Rift Valley in northern Tanzania. It is a unique area because of its cultural and ecological diversity. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Cultural diversity: Lake Eyasi is home to several indigenous tribes, including the Hadzabe and Datoga people. These tribes have lived in the area for thousands of years and have a rich cultural heritage. The Hadzabe people are one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa, and they continue to live a traditional way of life, hunting and gathering for their food.

  • Ecological diversity: The Lake Eyasi area is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. The lake itself is a vital ecosystem for a range of bird species, including flamingos, pelicans, and storks. The surrounding areas are home to a range of mammals, including elephants, giraffes, and lions.

  • Paleontological significance: The Lake Eyasi area has also been significant in the field of paleontology. Fossil remains of early human ancestors have been found in the area, including the remains of Australopithecus boisei, one of the earliest hominids to have lived in East Africa.

  • Conservation efforts: Despite the challenges faced by the area, including climate change and human encroachment, there have been efforts to conserve the unique ecosystem of Lake Eyasi. Conservation organizations are working to protect the area and its wildlife, while also promoting sustainable development for the local communities.

Overall, the Lake Eyasi area is a unique and special place, with a rich cultural heritage, diverse ecosystem, and significant paleontological significance.