Tanzania featured in BBC’s David Attenborough series, ‘A Perfect Planet’.
The first episode of David Attenborough’s new BBC series, ‘A Perfect Planet’, featured several spots in Tanzania. If you are interested in planning a safari in this supberb destination here’s a brief guide to the highlights. We’ve concentrated on some ideas in Northern Tanzania which has more than its fair share of safari wonders with the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the wildlife haven of the Serengeti National Park, and lesser known gems like Tarangire National Park. As shown in the programme it’s a country full of contrasting landscapes – from volcanoes to expansive plains – an enormous variety of wildlife, and some of the loveliest accommodation the continent has to offer.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the richest wildlife habitats on earth, with more than 20,000 large mammals living in a bowl just 12 miles across. The Serengeti must be one of the planet’s best known wildlife reserves, starring in countless documentaries over the years. It’s enormous, more than 130 miles north to south, and parts of it are so remote that the best way to access them is on foot. Tarangire is compact and beautiful and its year round water puts it firmly on the wildlife’s social calendar.
Slightly further off the beaten track is Lake Natron where the stunning flamingo footage was shot. Hidden away
in a remote part of the Great Rift Valley the lake is famous for intense alkalinity, it’s also close to the foot of Ol Donyo Lengai, Tanzania’s sole active volcano, partly responsible for the chemical make up in the lake.
As well as being an adventure to get to, Lake Natron occupies a stunningly beautiful setting, with the bulk of Shompole Mountain, just over the border in Kenya, rising from its northern end, and the imposing Rift Valley escarpment, the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands and Ol Donyo Lengai on its western side. Sharing this landscape with a handful of hardy Masai herders is a variety of wildlife including fringe eared oryx, gerenuk, Masai giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and the occasional predator, but this is a hot and very arid, the lowest point in the Rift Valley in East Africa, and the wildlife is sparse. The lake is however a magnet for lesser flamingos, which flock here in their thousands to nest and rear their young.
Ake Lindstrom, well known to us here at Aardvark Safairs, and owner of Lake Natron Camp, knows this area and its people very well, and is the ideal guide for a few days of adventure and birding here.
A combination of the camps below would provide a wonderful safari combining Tanzania’s main northern the three main areas. If you are up for a bit of an adventure then add Lake Natron Camp too.
Kuro Tarangire is tucked away into a grove of secluded riverside bush, so beautifully in keeping with its surroundings that the animals barely cast a second glance as they wander past. The spacious and airy rooms let the outside in so you are very much at one with your surroundings. Wildlife drives will show off the best of the park, with the nearby Silale swamp – a haven for elephant and buffalo along with plentiful plains game and their ever present list of predators – one of the very best spots. Night drives and walking safaris add to the options here.
Next stop Entamanu Ngorongoro, which is very much the Ngorongoro Crater off the beaten track. Away from all the other lodges, it’s high on the crater rim with panoramic views over both the crater itself and the Serengeti plains. An early start, coupled with the camp’s location close to the park gate means will get you ahead of other visitors and thus able enjoy this extraordinary paradise in relative peace. To reveal a whole new side to this wilderness we’d highly recommend an afternoon walking with a local Masai. Stroll along the crater rim with one of these charismatic guides and you’ll get a glimpse of a fascinating ancient culture.
One highpoint to another sees you arrive at Serengeti Safari Camp which is semi-mobile and moves throughout the park tracking the wildebeest migration. The guides here are really exceptional (they’ve 200 years of experience between them) and take great pride in getting you into the thick of the action – whether the drama of a river crossing or a pride of lion snoozing in a shady glade. With only six tents you can be sure that you won’t be sharing this exquisite wilderness with the crowds.
If you like what you’ve read here about our safaris in Tanzania and want to find out more, do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.