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Mount Meru - Arusha
Mt. Kilimanjaro is situated near the town of Moshi in northern Tanzania, The snow-covered splendor of the highest mountain in Africa is visible on a clear day from more than 250 kilometers away.
Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and stands at 5,895 meters, three degrees south of the equator. It is a dormant volcano is comprised of three extinct volcanoes: Kibo 5895 m (19340 ft.), Mawenzi 5149 m (16896 ft.), and Shira 3962 m (13000 ft.) and is surrounded by dense forests full of dazzling variety of flora and fauna.
The various trails first pass through lush rainforests before reaching heather and open moorland where giant lobelia and huge, cactus-like groundsel grow. Above this moorland is the almost lunar landscape of an alpine desert which stretches between the two peaks of Kibo, the flat-topped dome at the centre, and Mawenzi, a group of jagged points and pinnacles on the eastern side. The ascent of Kilimanjaro can be done from six routes: Mweka, Umbwe, Shira, Rongai, Machame, and the Marangu Route which is the easier and the most popular. Depending on which route one wants to use, the climb of Kilimanjaro can take between four nights to six nights on the mountain. The two most popular routes are Marangu and Machame.
OLDONYO LENGAI (MOUNTAIN OF GOD)
The Northern Circuit, Tanzania North Safari Circuit consists of some of the most famous national parks in the world, from the impressive vastness of the Serengeti plains to the breathtaking views of the Ngorongoro Crater, a natural heritage site and Lake Manyara National Park. Across these magnificent terrains exists a multitude of animals including the big five and the occurrence of one of the most magnificent events, the annual wildebeest migration. In addition to the indescribable beauty of the wilderness exists the history of the Olduvai Gorge, Oldonyo Lengai volcanic mountain, Mt. Meru to crown it all the art and culture of the Maasai people.
NGORONGORO CRATER/ CONSERVATION AREA
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is situated some 190 km. west of Arusha, between Lake Manyara and Serengeti National Parks. Covering approximately 8,288 square km, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area consists of the Ngorongoro Crater itself, the Olduvai Gorge and Ndutu, the Empakai crater and the Oldonyo Lengai Mountain. The altitude at the crater rim is about 2286 meters above sea level, and temperatures can get quite chilly in the evening. The crater is home to many species of wild game and birds. With the exception of impala the topi (due to fierce competition with the wildebeest) and the giraffe (because there is not much to eat at tree level), almost every species of African plains mammal lives in the crater including the black rhino. The birdlife, which includes the flamingo, is mainly seasonal and is also affected by the ratio of soda to fresh water in Lake Magadi on the crater floor.
The Maasai, the main residents of Ngorongoro, are pastoralists who move widely with their herds of cattle, sheep, goat and donkeys in search of pasture and water. In recent years the Maasai have been encouraged to work on the land to supplement their traditional diet of milk, blood and meat. The Ngorongoro Crater, which is the central attraction in the area, is the largest Caldera in the world that has its walls intact. The sight of the Ngorongoro Crater is simply to ‘die’ for. It is one of the wonders of the world.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The Serengeti National park is the largest national Park in Tanzania covering an area of 14,763 sq. km. The park is located some 320 km to the northwest of Arusha, lying in a high plateau between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Kenya/ Tanzania border, and extending almost to Lake Victoria to the west. Declared a protected area in 1921 and gazetted as a National park in 1951, Serengeti is the oldest National Park in Tanzania and undoubtedly one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The principal features of the Serengeti are the short and long grass plains in the south and east, the acacia Savannah in the central areas, the hilly and densely wooded areas in the north and the extensive woodland in the west.
Serengeti comes from the Maasai name, “Siringet”, meaning endless plains you immediately experience this vastness as you enter the southeastern plains of the park from Ngorongoro. Home to countless numbers of a wide variety of animals and birds, you will encounter lions, cheetah, and leopards. There is a variety of scenery, which include the plains, lakes, hills and the rocky outcrops called kopjes. Common animals that can be seen here are lions, buffaloes, impalas, hippos, waterbucks, elephants, cheetahs and the leopard. From December, when the long rains start, to May, eastern Serengeti plains provide the best opportunities for game viewing as hundreds of thousands of the migratory animals are concentrated in this part attracted by the short palatable grass.
LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
The park situated between 900m and 1800m above sea level, is bordered to the west by the western escarpment of the Rift valley. To the east is the alkaline Lake Manyara at certain times of year-hosts thousands of flamingos and a diversity of other migrant and resident birdlife.
Apart from its striking setting and peaceful surroundings, Lake Manyara's main attractions are its superb birdlife, its tree-climbing lions, hippos and elephants.
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
The park's has a permanent water supply that ensures a huge and varied animal population, especially during the dry season when it rivals that of the Serengeti. The most common animals found in the park include zebras, wildebeest, lions, leopards, waterbucks, giraffe, elephants, gazelles, impala, gerenuk, lesser kudu and the beautiful fringe-eared Oryx. You may be lucky to spot the tree-climbing python, for which the park is famous, or the kudu and the roan antelope which are rare species in Northern Tanzania. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded in the Park. The best bird watching months are October to May.
ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK
This park consists of three spectacular features namely lush swamps of the Ngurdoto crater (often nicknamed Little Ngorongoro) the shallow alkaline Mommela Lake to the east and beautiful Mt. Meru to the west. The park has a variety of vegetation areas supporting numerous animal species. The park has a rich variety of animal life. You will definitely see zebras, giraffes, waterbucks, reedbucks, hippos, African buffaloes, hyenas, mongooses, dik-diks, warthogs, baboons, velvet and colobus monkeys.
This major volcano last erupted in 2008, rising at an altitude 2886 meters (9524 feet), it is a unique and extremely fascinating volcano that towers above the East African Rift Valley in Northern Tanzania, just south of Lake Natron. It is the only volcano in the world that sometimes erupts natrocarbonatite lava, highly fluid lava that contains almost no silicon.
It is sacred to the Maasai; they still perform ceremonial ritual offerings in the mountains “kitchen” to GOD.
After the climb, you can take a tour around Lake Natron. Lake Natron is the largest lake in East Africa which accommodates numerous flamingos and other birdlife, zebras, elephants and giraffes. All these can be viewed on the walking safari from Ngare-Sero, Engaruka to Loliondo accompanied by armed rangers.
Mount Meru is an active stratovolcano located 70 kilometers west of Mount Kilimanjaro in the nation of Tanzania. At a height of 4,566 meters (14,980 ft), it is visible from Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day, It is the tenth highest mountain in Africa. Much of its bulk was lost about 8,000 years ago due to an eastward volcanic blast. Mount Meru is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. Its fertile slopes rise above the surrounding savanna and support a forest that hosts diverse wildlife, including nearly 400 species of birds, and also monkeys and leopards.
At the summit, one can find a two meter high flag of Tanzania in metal and also a milestone in concrete with "Socialist Peak 4562.13M" written.
A three to four day's hike up the top or even to Little Meru is highly rewarding and a great experience.