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Wildlife is a valuable resource in Tanzania as it contributes much in Country’s GDP, and is a major attraction and a good source of foreign exchange earnings. Tourism is a very important industry in Tanzania, particularly in the Northern circuit of Africa of which Arusha is the centre point. The role of tourism industry in the economy includes job creation, foreign currency generation which is an important source of revenue for the government, However, the wildlife system in Tanzania has been divided into following categories as follows:-
These are protected areas where there are no human settlements and any human being activities allowed to be practiced. Activities allowed/permitted in National parks include viewing and photographic safaris, Wildlife Research with special permission, and training activities. Arusha region has 5 National parks including Ngorongoro conservation area with its major attraction of Ngorongoro Crater, found in Ngorongoro District, Manyara, in Monduli District, Momela in Meru District, Shared Serengeti National Park found in Serengeti Mugumu District in Mara Region, Tarangire National Park found in Monduli District and shared with Simanjiro District in Manyara Region, and Lake Eyasi found between the controlled game reserve in Ngorongoro and Karatu District . The importance of these National Parks is mainly on its attractive features that one can enjoy when visiting the area, because each National Park has unique and attractive environment including wild animals which are a bit different from the other National parks, to mention few for example
Arusha National Park (Momella) found in Meru District which covers 552 sq.km (212 miles)is famous for wild animals like elephant, giraffe, zebras, leopards, black and white colobus monkeys, gazelle, DikDik, Bushbuck, White and Pink Flamingos, Wildebeest, Lion, Buffalo , Hartebeest, Hyena, Waterbucks and Warthogs. The Park is also famous for its natural Forest (Ngurudoto), Lake Logil, Momella lakes, Tululusi Hill and Mao falls, Variety of birds like eagles, falcons, buzzards water fowls like geese, ducks, wanders,etc. Game birds include Guinea fowls and francolins and also there are songbirds like Bee-eaters, sunbirds barbets, and silver-cheeked hornbills. The national park is also spectacular and famous for easy viewing Mount Kilimanjaro peak.
-Ngorongoro National Park is a conserved area with 8292sq.km varying in altitude from 1020m to 3587m. The terrain embraces several quite district habitants from open grasslands to mountains forest and from scrub bush land to highland heath. The centerpiece of Ngorongoro is in fact the largest unfolded and unbroken one in the world and not a Crater as it is usually known. The Caldera has a diameter many times the size of the vent through which a Volcano once spewed forth its debris of ash over the surrounding countryside. The Caldera is formed by the inward collapse of the Volcano. The Ngorongoro Crater itself is 19.2 km in diameter, 610m deep and 304 sq.km in area. The floor of the Caldera is 281 sq.km and this area contains a small soda lake and abounds with wildlife ranging from the largest carnivores (meat eaters) to the smallest herbivores (plant eaters) . Other attraction that one can view is the Gregory Rift valley found at the East of Ngorongoro and is famous as a source of salt lakes of Manyara and Natron, famous for their Pink Flamingo and Africa’s largest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro. To the West of Ngorongoro are the endless open grassland plains of the Serengeti bounded in the South and North respectively by the Eyasi Rift Scrarp and the Oldonyoinyoongoi Hills where the Rift Valley is still visible. The semi-arid wastes of the Rift valley lie to the Southwest and to the North. The flat dusty plain of Salei crosses into neighboring Country Kenya while increasingly; modern agriculture is seen on the Southeastern slopes of the volcanic range.
Due to its natural vegetation caused by the Volcano, the mini-ecosystem Ngorongoro Caldera is the home of many various living things moved to this area each localized its niche. Animals found in the Caldera are Elephants, Buffalo, Rhinoceros, Wildebeest, Eland, Zebra, White Bearded wildebeest, while in the Ngorongoro forest Cheeter, Leopard and Giraffe, are found. Lion, Hartebeest, many more others can be found in the plains and in swamps and thick bushes in the Caldera. One of the most impressive natural areas in the world with a number of magical variety of birds ranging from montane forest starlings to numerous larks and pipits on the short grass plains, and alkaline lakes plovers to montane grassland sunbirds where a species of 600 birds can be found and we are expecting to increase in the near future. To mention few species like Augur Buzzard, Crowned Eagles, African Goshawk, Black Sparrow hawk, Schawlow’s Turaco, Brown-backed Woodpecker, Eastern Honey bird, Purple-throated Cuckoo shrike, Black Cuckoo shrike, Black-fronted Bush Shrike, Red-winged starling, Waller’s starling Kenrick’s starling, Brown Parisoma and Brown heads, Singing Cisticola, Tacazze sunbird, Golden-winged, Olive Thrush, Rufuos-naped Lark, Red-billed Teal,Rippell Vultures, Capped wheat eater, Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, and White-naped Raven.
The Lake Manyara National Park found in Monduli District and covers an area of 600sq.km.The Park is famous for viewing animals like tree climbing Lions, Hippopotamus, Buffalos, Elephants, Zebras, Giraffes, DikDik, Hyena, Kori Bustard, Hot spring water where you can even have a bath and have a cup of coffee as the water is very hot at a boiling point, a variety of birds with variety species. The park also have a game reserved area known as Randlem wildlife management area.
The Serengeti National Park – the largest in Tanzania lies in the high plateau country between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Kenya – Tanzania border. The corridor extends to within five miles of Speke Gulf on the shores of Lake Victoria, while to the Eastward the boundary crosses within 70 miles of the settlement of Loliondo, Altitudes range from 3,000 to 6,000 ft. above the sea level. Seronera is the Park Headquarters and is at 5,000 ft. The Serengeti National Park covers a very large area of 5,700 sq. miles of country stretching from the edge of Ngorongoro conservation unit in the south to Kenya border in the north, and from the shores of Lake Victoria in the west to the Loliondo game controlled area in the east.
The Park is shaped somewhat like the blade of a tomahawk with its edge pointing eastwards. The park headquarters is 198 miles from Arusha and 260 miles from Nairobi via Keekorok in Kenya. However, access from the east is virtually non-existent, but there is a dry weather earth road which joins Soronera to Musoma and Mwanza to the west. The North south road linking the Park to Nairobi and Keekorok in Kenya and Ngorongoro crater, Lake Manyara and Arusha in Tanzania is the main tourist route.
The main features of the Park are the short and long grass, open plains in the south; the acacia savannah in the central areas, the hilly more densely wooded northern section, and the extensive woodland and black clay plains, dominated by central ranges of mountains in the western corridor. Throughout the National park there is a variety of plains, rivers, lakes, hills, rock outcrops each of which has its own particular ‘atmosphere’ and range of wildlife. Wild animals and birds are often thought of as being free to wander where they will, but this is almost invariably not the case, because each creature, through long evolutionary processes, has developed in such a way that it is tied to its own special habitant more closely than a stockbroker to his desk. ‘AMAZING’
Serengeti is also famous for animal migration where animals’ moves freely across the park boundaries at certain seasons of the year in search of food and water, and knows no other restrictions than those imposed by its own inherited behavior patterns. You may be surprised, of certain times of the year to find large areas of the park virtually devoid of animals. The most interesting time is when huge herds of wildebeest and other animals start their trek to the north and west of the park especially at the end of May move away from the short grass plains between Ngorongoro highlands and Seronera. The movement of animals takes about five months until triggered by the coming of the short rains in November where they gradually form up into a number of columns and head to short grass plans again, thus completing the circle. Calving takes places soon after arrival on the short grass plains
Probably the best time to see the Serengeti wildebeest is from December through May when they are concentrated on the short grass plains in the south of the Park. At this time they share the grazing with 180,000 Zebra and over half a million Gazelle together with attendant Lion, Cheetah, Hunting dog, and Hyena, not to mention the Vultures soaring overhead.Besides of its ecological features Serengeti National Park is a home of millions of animals which some of them can not be found in big number in other Nation Parks like as in Serengeti.
Such animals are Zebras, Wildebeest, Hartebeest, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena, African Hunting Dogs, Wild Dogs, Gazelle, Buffalo, Eland, Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Rhino, Topi, Yellow-throated sandgrouse, Thomson’s, Grant gazelle, Warthog, Bat-eared foxes,( mbweha) Jackal, Rock goats(mbuzi mawe), Baboons, Serengeti is also famous for species of birds from big to smallest ones which can be seen crossing roads or in the bush, such as Ostriches, Kori bustard, Zorillas which are rarely seen in daylight, Tall Secretary Bird(Sagittarius) often seen in the grassland hunting snakes, Vultures Marabou and white-necked ravens, Swahili Sparrows, Cordon-blues, Petronias, Flycathers, Masked weavers , waterbuck, Helmeted Guinea Fowl (kanga), Grey-breasted spurfowl (kwale), and Bateleur eagle (mwewe).