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The Nice Migration and Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater

Large adventures abound in Tanzania. The biggest nation in East Africa, its borders embody Mt. Kilimanjaro, the best mountain in Africa; Lake Victoria, the continent’s greatest lake (and a main supply of the Nile River); and the biggest animal migration on the planet. Oh—and it’s house to probably the most lions on the earth!

Tanzania’s Nice Migration & Ngorongoro Crater safari is an journey with a objective. Each the unkempt, tangled wilderness of the Serengeti and the depth and variety of the Ngorongoro Crater have captivated intrepid explorers for hundreds of years. Visiting the nation as we speak is a vibrant journey that focuses on the urgency of conservation whereas exploring the thrilling landscapes that reconnect us with the pure world.

zebra's in Tanzania walking on the savannah

The Nice Migration: The Biggest Present on Earth

The wildlife numbers in Tanzania are staggering, particularly in the course of the Nice Migration. Annually, some 1.5 million wildebeests migrate between Kenya and Tanzania, with round 300,00 zebras in tow. They journey in a loop, dictated by the rains, and act collectively in a give-and-take relationship that’s wonderful in its effectiveness. Zebras feed on the tall grass, leaving shorter pastures for the wildebeests.

Many take into account the instances when the herds cross the Mara River—both on their approach south over the border or on their approach again north after the rains subside—the most effective durations to go to. The Mara River originates in Kenya and flows into the Mara Basin in Tanzania, which in flip feeds Lake Victoria.

Between December and March, the herds transfer additional to the south in the direction of the Ngorongoro Crater to calve. On the peak of the season between February and March, there are upwards of 8,000 wildebeest calves born every day!

Animals crossing the Mara River during the Great Migration between Tanzania and Kenya

The place the Wild Issues Rome: Ngorongoro Crater

Though it solely spans about 100 sq. miles, the Ngorongoro Crater performs host to virtually all of Africa’s massive mammals. Upward of 25,000 giant mammals—together with all of Africa’s Large 5—will be discovered within the forests, grasslands and swamps round Lake Magadi on the ground of the biggest intact caldera on the earth. Noticeably lacking is the giraffe, which prefers to stay to the plains about 2,000 toes above alongside the caldera’s rim.

Fed by the Munge River, the lake brings hippos and crocodiles to its waters. Flamingos and ostriches are among the many a whole lot of forms of birds discovered right here, totaling greater than 500 finally rely. Wildebeests, zebras and gazelles maintain the crater’s eight prides of lions busy.

The crater’s one-of-a-kind ecosystem and geography are nonetheless sources of discoveries to this present day. Its small measurement and the astounding variety of species protected by its sheer partitions provide those that go to a brand new perspective of the world’s wildlands and the significance of defending such distinctive ecosystems.

Wildebeests in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, dramatic sky in the background

Defending Tanzania’s Wildlife

Regardless of the place you journey inside Tanzania, parades of elephants, towers of giraffes, crashes of rhinos and leaps of leopards all have components to play in the nation’s wildlife pageant. Though there are lots of threats to the nation’s wildlife, there are additionally quite a few initiatives to assist defend these animals and the folks with which they share the land.

Conservation on this wilderness mecca usually revolves round water. The annual rains swell rivers and produce the wildebeests and zebras to graze within the plains and basins of the East African Rift Valley. The nation’s farmers depend on the Mara River and basin to develop crops, and the semi-nomadic Maasai folks rely upon the fertile plains to feed their cattle. Merely put, with out wholesome rivers, wildlife thins dramatically, and the bush lifestyle begins to fade together with it.

Sadly, the Mara River is shrinking. At its supply in Kenya, deforestation is a serious explanation for the shortage of water. Because it beneficial properties power downstream in Tanzania, the elevated human inhabitants disrupts the stream of the river and hinders its well being and that of the animals that depend on its waters.

Poaching poses one other menace to the nation’s wildlife—one which Tanzania’s authorities has cracked down on lately. In 2016, the nation launched a serious initiative to combat wildlife poaching, which resulted in a powerful 70% drop in unlawful looking. Tanzania’s elephant inhabitants rebounded by greater than a 3rd, and the rhino inhabitants elevated by greater than 1 / 4 in simply 4 years.

Not all looking is unlawful, however that doesn’t imply it isn’t detrimental. Tanzania additionally loses lions, elephants and different massive recreation animals to trophy hunters. Different animals are felled after they conflict with people, usually in retaliation for assaults on livestock and other people.

After all, the folks of Tanzania additionally play an important function in defending the nation’s wild animals. The Maasai folks migrated south to Tanzania between the seventeenth and 18th centuries, and their ties to the land and its creatures are interwoven all through their tradition. For conservation to work, their assist have to be on the forefront of efficiently managing the well-being of each folks and wildlife.

Immediately, the Maasai act as nature’s stewards in Tanzania, usually paid to patrol protected areas and conventional grazing grounds, looking out for poachers. Their villages and lifestyle are additionally in danger, with little entry to water within the bush and dwindling expanses to proceed their livelihood, giving them ample trigger to pivot in the direction of sustainable tourism.

Listed here are some specifics on Tanzania’s marquee animals and the threats they face, together with some conservation success tales:


The African savanna elephant is listed as endangered by the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature, due largely to poaching that provides the unlawful ivory commerce. Nevertheless, as talked about above, latest measures to fight unlawful looking have resulted in a pointy rise in Tanzania’s elephant inhabitants. The newest counts estimated that there have been round 60,000 elephants within the nation in 2019 (up from 43,000 in 2014). And in 2020, the Ministry of Pure Assets and Tourism said that the variety of elephants within the Serengeti Ecosystem had risen to 7,061 (up from 6,087 in 2014).

An elephant near a Nat Hab truck in Tanzania.

© Emily Kautz


In one other inspiring conservation win, the Maasai giraffe’s numbers in Tanzania are additionally on the rise, bouncing again 44% from seven years in the past. We regularly spot the tall creatures on recreation drives and within the extra secluded areas that Nat Hab visits on our East African safaris.

Giraffs in Tanzania.

© Stanley Physician

Black Rhinos

Ngorongoro’s crash of greater than 20 black rhinos is rising, the results of a rhino conservation undertaking between the Frankfurt Zoological Society-Serengeti Conservation Program and the Ngorongoro Conservation Space Authority. The undertaking began in 1993, when the crater’s rhino inhabitants stalled at simply 12. It includes rigorous statement and monitoring, in addition to anti-poaching initiatives.

The undertaking prolonged its attain to the Serengeti Nationwide Park in 1995. Since that point, Serengeti has loved a 13% enhance within the variety of black rhinos, whereas the variety of black rhinos in Ngorongoro has elevated by 6%.

Walking rhinos on the Savannah of the national reserve in Tanzania

Large Cats

Lions and leopards additionally frequent the areas round our camps, together with Lemala Nanyukie Tented Lodge within the Serengeti. The camp’s secluded location on the grassy savanna, surrounded by clusters of acacia timber and rocky outcroppings, or kopjes, will increase the possibilities of recognizing massive cats.


Positioned southeast of Lemala Nanyukie, the close by Soit Le Motonyi area was closed to the general public for 20 years (it reopened in 2014) to permit the cheetah inhabitants to rebound. Immediately, between 50 and 80 cheetahs stay within the space.

The Serengeti Cheetah Challenge, a long-term examine by the Zoological Society of London, follows particular person cheetahs within the space by generations. Now, armed with greater than 30 years of information, the examine’s analysis helps form coverage for shielding the elusive cats.

You’ll be able to assist cheetahs whereas on safari with the press of a button! Recognizing a cheetah within the Serengeti is a spotlight for a lot of who go to, and capturing a photograph of 1 is on most safari-goers’ bucket lists. Submitting your footage to the Serengeti Cheetah Challenge helps their analysis by giving them necessary information in regards to the location and habits of particular person cats.

Cheetah in Tanzania by Eric Rock

© Eric Rock


Greater than 2,000 lions stay within the two protected areas we go to throughout our Tanzania safari. They’re usually seen on the plains of the Serengeti throughout and after the Nice Migration when the grass is brief.

The lion inhabitants right here is extra than simply a part of the present. The Serengeti Lion Challenge has been finding out the resident predators because the Seventies. By way of firsthand accounts from day by day rounds, digital camera traps and citizen science tasks that purpose to map the lion’s interactions with the opposite members of the herd, the undertaking’s groundbreaking work has helped pave the best way for efficient conservation methods.

Lion in Tanzania.

© Paul Joynson-Hicks

Conservation By way of Exploration

With the World Wildlife Fund as our conservation journey companion, Nat Hab’s Tanzania safaris take you to the entrance traces of the present conservation initiatives underway within the nation. Our skilled guides provide a best-in-class journey into the center of the area, not solely introducing you to the nation’s iconic wildlife, but in addition to its folks and what they’re doing to guard their land and the animals that stay on it.

The camps the place we keep convey again the traditional safari fashion whereas including their very own sustainable twist, and our non-public cell safari camp provide permits us to maneuver with the herds as they migrate, making fast work of discovering the appropriate spots that give our visitors quick access to wildlife whereas staying nicely away from the fray.

Be taught extra in regards to the work the WWF is doing in Coastal East Africa, together with updates on the progress concerning the stream of the Mara River in Kenya and Tanzania.



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