We’ve put these three areas together as they so often seem to overlap. The Tarangire and Manyara ecosystems border on to each other, and which you visit just depends on the time of year.
If you take a safari in Lake Manyara National Park you will find a glorious riot of thick, densely wooded forest, where lions lurk in the boughs of the trees and open flood plain, where buffalo wallow, ellies bathe themselves in the dust and fish eagles cruise overhead. On the lake itself is a stunning array of birdlife, from big white pelicans to bright pink flamingos, and hippos grunting in pods in the shallows. Stay either outside of the park in Karatu or one of the nearby safari camps, or go all out and stay in the park in a ravishing treehouse lodge.
Safari in Tarangire is the choice of the safari cognoscenti. A park that’s often overlooked on Northern Tanzania’s safari circuit, it nonetheless provides a spectacular safari experience. Visit during the green months and you’ll see a stunning array of birdlife in the wetlands and during the long dry season herds of elephants upto a hundred strong gather near the river. To this, add lions amongst the grasses, and mighty baobab trees towering over the bush. Game drives are the focus of activities in Tarangire, though in some areas outside the park walking safaris and night drives are possible. Most accommodation is tented.
Forget Arusha, Karatu’s really the hub of safari in Northern Tanzania. It’d be incredibly rare to take a safari in this area of the country and not pass through Karatu at least once. This dusty highland town is where Maasai come to trade their cattle, safari cooks stock up for the long adventure ahead, and mud covered vehicles come for emergency repairs. The surrounding countryside plays home to a number of coffee plantations and farms, several of which take in guests wishing to spend a few days in the cool highland climate or do a game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater or Lake Manyara National Park.