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National Parks and Reserves

Geir Kiste

National Parks and Reserves Travel Guide

Tanzania boasts some of the world's most famous natural attractions, most of which are enshrined in the country's famous national parks. Tanzania is undoubtedly one of the best wildlife safari destinations in the world and the Serengeti alone would be enough to skyrocket the country's reputation for game viewing. The majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world, is also a huge draw card for ambitious hikers.

Almost a quarter of Tanzania is protected within a park or reserve, and of these most tourists visit the 'big three' in the north: the plains of the Serengeti, famous for the annual migration of about two million wildebeest; the adjacent Ngorongoro Conservation Area, home to the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater; and Mt Kilimanjaro National Park, which encompasses Africa's highest mountain. Other attractions, including the massive Selous Game Reserve in the south, can be difficult or expensive to get to, and are less visited as a result, but they are still very worthwhile.

The word 'safari' has its origins in Tanzania - it is a local word meaning 'journey' - and there are unlimited safari options available from the many tour operators plying their trade in the region. It is possible to arrange both luxury and budget itineraries and generally Tanzanian wildlife safaris are extremely highly rated. A journey by vehicle, foot, horseback or hot air balloon into prime game-viewing country is an experience not to be missed. The attractive town of Arusha is the main gateway to the parks and reserves in the north and is the best place from which to arrange a safari.

The best time of year to go on safari in Tanzania is generally between June and October, during the dry season, but there is some variation depending on region, national park, and desired activities.

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