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Africa Guide - Tanzania
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Tanzania - Flora & Fauna
Tanzania flora and fauna have been organized into 4 circuits for ease of structure and management, which takes into account the size of the country, the distances and the travel times.

The Northern Circuit: The Northern Circuit is the most frequented by guest for two reasons; most of the destinations are fairly close to each other and, secondly, names such as Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti and Kilimanjaro are all in this Northern Circuit. Due to the fact that all the parks, towns and attractions are within easy reach of one another, one can tour this entire circuit by vehicle with only a couple of hours in-between the destinations. The most commonly seen animals in the Northern circuit are lions, wildebeests, zebras, eland, bushbuck, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hyenas, cheetah, jackals, buffalos, grants gazelles, Thompsons gazelle and the black rhino.

The Southern Circuit: The National Parks and Game Reserves of the southern circuit are, arguably, the hidden treasures of Tanzania's authentic Africa. These parks are enormous, with some of the highest concentration of animals anywhere in Africa and are home to an interesting diversity of wildlife including Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Cape Hunting Dogs, and a multitude of colorful birdlife.

The Western Circuit: Lying in the Great Rift Valley are the inland lakes, Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika. All three national parks in this circuit offer the only safe opportunities to see chimpanzees in the wild today. The habitats of these areas are a merger between Western Africa and East Africa; therefore the cultures, rainfall and flora are unique to this small area of Africa. The Western circuit is seldom experienced on its own but rather as an addition to either the southern or northern circuits or both. The western circuit is so remote that transport by both aircraft and then boat is the only means of getting there.

Coastal: One of the great attractions of Tanzania is its fantastic 800 kilometers coastline with palm fringed beaches of white sand and the ancient towns of Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia Island, Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo, Kilwa, Lindi, Mikindani and Mtwara. Swahili language and culture trace their roots to the Indian Ocean coastline. Explorers, Sultans and slave traders all encountered Africa for the first time along this history-steeped coastline creating the events that were to define modern Tanzania, while the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago were to become principal stepping stones for the culture that was to mould the Tanzania's people and their language.

Specific flora and fauna experienced on Tanzania's tourism circuits include:

The Great Lakes in the Northern and Western Circuits
: Tanzania is the land of the Great Lakes. Crowning the territory to the north is the enormous Inland sea of Lake Victoria, source of the River Nile as sought by explorers for centuries. To the west lies Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world at 772.4 meters. Its clear water and surrounding green hills combine to make it one of the most beautiful places in Tanzania. Lake Tanganyika also supports a huge population of freshwater fish, forming one of the most biologically rich aquatic habitats on earth. Lake Natron, on Tanzania's remote northern border, is famous for its extraordinarily large population of flamingos (Natron is the only known breeding ground for the lesser flamingo), as well as antelope species such as gerenuk, lesser kudu and oryx.

The Great Rift Valley Covering The North, West And Southern Circuits: The Rift Valley is an enormous fault in the earth's crust created about 30 million years ago. A huge fissure dotted with lakes and volcanoes, it is the site of many important fossil. Lake Natron, Lake Manyara and Lake Nyasa all lie within the eastern Rift Valley, along with the towns of Dodoma, Mbeya, Iringa and Tunduma. The western Rift Valley engulfs Lakes Tanganyika and Rukwa. Over the ages, the floor of this immensely long corridor has subsided, leaving thick sediment, which represents millions of years of geographical history. These layers of rock, containing countless fossils, have provided archaeologists with valuable information about the origins and habits of early man.

Mount Kilimanjaro In The Northern Circuit:  Lying only three degrees south of the Equator and over five thousand meters above sea level, the snow-capped Kilimanjaro is Africa's tallest peak and the world's highest free-standing mountain. Kilimanjaro is notable for its dramatic geographical features as well as beautiful mountain vegetation, abundant bird life, and plentiful game. The mountain can be climbed at almost any time of the year although it is often wet in the rain forest zone during the rainy season from mid March to May. The summit of Kilimanjaro can be conquered in a matter of 3 days climbing and 2 days descent by any reasonably fit person with the assistance of a guide and porters, although climbers must be aware of the dangers of altitude sickness. So far, the youngest person to have reached the summit was 11 years old and the oldest was 74.

Lake Eyasi In The Northern Circuit: Just beyond the Rift Valley escarpment lies the soda lake of Eyasi, under the shadow of the extinct Oldeani volcano. The area is the last home of the Hadzabe bushmen, who have inhabited the area for over 10,000 years and still survive by hunting and gathering.

Lake Natron And Ol Donyo Lengai In The Northern Circuit: A soda lake famous for its large population of flamingos. Lake Natron is a hauntingly beautiful base for one-day treks to the active volcano of Ol Donyo Lengai. Called 'the mountain of the gods' by the local Maasai, Ol Donyo Lengai makes a thrilling overnight trek - its summit remains gently active and molten ash is visible from its peak.

Mount Meru In The Northern Circuit: The second-highest mountain in Tanzania, Mount Meru lies within Arusha National Park and makes an impressive three-day hike. Elusive buffalo and elephant shelter in the fig tree forests, crater lakes attract a multitude of bird life, and lesser game is plentiful at lower altitudes.

Ngorongoro Crater In The Northern Circuit: Often called "African Eden" and 'the eighth natural wonder of the world,' Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most famous landmarks in Africa. Large populations of lion, gazelle, zebra, and wildebeest inhabit the crater floor and the endangered black rhino is often viewed in the early hours of morning. Part of the larger Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the region is home to large numbers of Maasai tribes, who live in small groups in the northern highlands.

Olduvai Gorge In The Northern Circuit: The stone-age site of Olduvai Gorge is known as the "cradle of mankind", and is the place where the famous skull of "Nutcracker Man" was unearthed by Dr Louis Leakey in 1959. At nearby Laetoli, the footprints of hominids thought to be 3.5 million years old were discovered by Mary Leakey 20 years later. Around Olduvai Gorge and the living volcano of Ol Donyo Lengai teem millions of wild animals, part of the enormous Serengeti ecosystem. Olduvai Gorge and the Rift Valley provide evidence to support the theory that mankind's origins lay in Africa.

Udzungwa Mountains In the Southern Circuit: Part of Tanzania's newest national park, the Udzungwa Mountains provide spectacular hiking opportunities and support a wide variety of primate species and spectacular biodiversity.

Usambara Mountains In the Southern Circuit: With some areas over 600 million years old, the Usambara Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc, one of Africa's oldest geological formations.