The Republic of Tanzania is located at the east of Africa and it is known for its extensive wild areas. It comes as no surprise that this country possesses three of the seven natural wonders of the continent: it has the most prominent summit, the most chilling lake, and it hosts the most amazing spectacle, the migration of wildebeest. With landscapes that seem to have been taken from the movie “The Lion King”, we will get to see scenarios that cannot be found anywhere else.
As if that was not enough, Tanzania boasts of being the country where you can discover the larger number of animals (among which, of course, we can include the “Big Five”: lions, buffaloes, leopards, rhinos and elephants).This particularly occurs in places like Ngorongoro, where animals live together in a space no larger than 20 kilometres in diameter, and Serengeti, the plain in which you can witness dream sunsets. Following we will give you a panoramic view of what you need to experience, at least, once in your lifetime, and if possible, on a horseback ride.
Northeast of the country, near the border with Kenya, we find Mount Kilimanjaro: “Africa’s roof”. Located at the heart of the Kilimanjaro National Park, this mount is formed by three inactive volcanoes, being its highest peak at 5898 mts. – considered the highest independent mount in in the planet. On its foothills, we will find dense tropical jungles, acacia forests and vast savannahs that house the most ancient big tusker elephants. In fact, one of the most coveted adventures is the horseback search of elephants around Kilimanjaro. Additionally, over its peak, snow falls endlessly, which provides a hard contrast with the surroundings and their climate. The feeling of this being a natural monument is replaced by the feeling of us being haunted by its eminent presence. Proof that there is life all around us.
A little further on, the untouched Serengeti National Park appears before us: one of the largest nature reserves in the country. We are talking about a large savannah dotted with trees and bushes in which countless wild animals live and freely circulate. In Maasai, Serengeti means “endless plain”, a precise description of this place. A safari in this 14,763-square-kilometer reserve represents an insatiable and extraordinary expedition that we can do on horseback (learn more about the Serengeti experience). There, we will find specimens and herds of the most precious fauna wandering and interacting in extensions of a land so wild and primitive that it seems to be taken from a movie.
Southeast of Serengeti, we will find the eighth wonder of the world: the Ngorongoro crater. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this caldera is the largest on the planet. The surrounding area includes an astonishing variety of habitats and landscapes, among which we will find grassland plains, forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, and swamps. This natural amphitheatre contains large populations of wild animals in its 20 kilometres in diameter, which gives us the opportunity to closely watch and experience the interaction between different species.
Finally, towards the border with Kenya, we will find Lake Natron. Located in the Great Rift Valley, Tanzania rewards us with this blanket of salt water, considered a natural wonder due its rare aspect and composition. Thanks to the proliferation of microorganisms in it, its water turns orange in the areas where most of the evaporation occurs, and in its deepest areas, water is of a profound red. The area surrounding the lake, being desertic and distressing, is the favourite place of hyenas and jackals, who go around the beds of the lake looking for food at sunset. This image surpasses any work of art you have ever seen, and you will be able to witness it in our horseback experience Lake Natron.
The flora of Tanzania is composed mainly of what it is known as “miombo” vegetation -this name is given due to the genus of Brachystegia trees that predominate in the territory. However, its biome par excellence, and its greatest attraction, is the savannah. This extraordinary extensive open field, sporadically dotted with short bushes and low grasses, allows us to gaze at the great and heterogeneous fauna that gloats among its green lands, ideal for long horseback rides. All along its fields and swamp jungles, we can find date palms, fragrant orchids, lichens, baobabs, tamarinds, acacias, wildflowers, and ferns.
In terms of its fauna, Tanzania is one of the African countries that houses the largest number of animals. Along its large meadows, we will be able to see elephants removing the barks of the trees, hippos bathing in the mud, herds of zebras posing as monochromatic paintings, beaming and macabre hyenas, rhinos, giraffes, topis, baboons, wild boars, crocodiles, lizards, buffalo, elk, leopards, to name a few. Of course, there is also the opportunity of finding the most coveted of specie within the Big Five, the everlasting king of the jungle: the lion, whose roars are common when you go around the lands of Tanzania. Witnessing the life of lions, even for a brief moment, is an unforgettable spectacle. On the other hand, if you have the chance to travel there between July and August, you will be able to see the fascinating migration of wildebeests, a unique spectacle of nature that we can appreciate from above our horses in our Serengeti experience.
Behind the most striking mammals, we will find numerous species of rodents, seven different species of mongooses, two species of otters, and seven species of primates. Furthermore, among small predators, we will find the eared fox and the ratel.
However, the spectacle does not only happen over the ground. Birds have their own show across the sky: they come in all sizes, colours and textures. About 350 species have been registered throughout the whole territory, among which we will see flamingos, crowned cranes, sacred ibis, pelicans, ostriches, secretaries, storks, marabous, geese, spoonbills, African jacanas, purple-chested rattlesnakes, and countless birds of prey .
Tanzania is home to more than 120 different tribes, providing priceless cultural wealth. Among them, we can highlight the Masai tribe. Characterized by their colourful clothes, the Masai are identified as a fishing village that attribute great importance to animals, given that they represent their strongest source of financial support. On the other hand, the Bushmen are also one of the best-known tribes, and, especially, one of the most ancient ones: they even predate the African black population. Among several features, they stand out for their language, which is based on the use of clicks. Yet still, what makes these people and their various cultures more fascinating is that they have managed to survive the impact of the Western man, thus, keeping the ancient magic of Africa intact.
The Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges, once wrote: “there is a moment in the afternoon in which the plain is about to say something; it never ends up saying it -maybe, it says it constantly but we cannot understand it-, or maybe, we understand it but, just as music, it cannot be translated”. The plains of Tanzania teach us that the world lives and roars beyond us, that the true owners and inhabitants of this planet are the animals, and that our contact with them is what really makes us feel part of this world. There are scenarios that cannot be condensed in a camera roll but that must be imprinted on our memories by direct contact with them. Tanzania is an example of this.