Tanzania Flora and Fauna
In past centuries the main visitors to Tanzania were the Arab traders who plied their Dhows along the eastern coast of Africa. These days its tourists and adventurers who come to Tanzania in large numbers currently around one million annually — and little wonder as it has an amazing variety of Tanzania Flora and fauna.
For many people Tanzania means wildlife and in this field alone it is one of the best places in Africa. Millions of wildebeest on their annual migration, and equally large numbers of pink flamingos massing on the shores of the rift valley soda lakes are breathtaking sights. For sheer majesty, it’s hard to beat the adventure trekking to Africa’s most famous mountain, the evocative snowcapped Kilimanjaro. Tanzania is also the heart of safari country and a trip through a few of Tanzanian spectacular reserves is a memorable experience.
With its range of physiographic regions, Tanzania has a corresponding diversity in its flora. The vast plains of the northern are characterised by distinctive flat-topped acacia trees, and interspersed with these are equally distinctive bottle-shaped baobab trees and thorn bushes.
On the slopes of Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro the flora changes with altitude. Above about 1000 metres it is thick evergreen temperate forest which continues to around 2000 metres and then gives way to a belt of bamboo forest up to about 3000 metres. Above this height is mountain moorland which is characterised by the amazing groundsel tree (Dendrosencio) with its huge cabbage-like flowers, and giant lobelias with long spikes. In the semi-desert plains of the north and north-east, the vegetation cover is unremarkable, yet very characteristic thorn bushes seem to go on forever. In the northern coastal areas, mangroves are prolific and the trees are cut for export, mainly to the Middle East for use as scaffolding; mangrove wood is termite resistant and is in high demand.
Tanzania has such a dazzling array of wildlife that game-viewing in the national parks is one of the main attractions of a visit to this country. All of the ‘big five‘ (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino) can be seen in at least two of the major parks, and there’s a huge variety of other less famous but no less impressive animals.
Wherever you go in Tanzania, however, the one certain thing is that you’ll see an astonishing amount of game, often in the one place at the one time. Of the big cats, lions are found in large pride everywhere and it’s not at all uncommon to see them hunting. Cheetahs and leopards are harder to spot but are still fairly common. Elephants, buffaloes, zebras and hippos also exist in large numbers within the reserve. Of the antelopes, the black-striped Thomson’s gazelle and the larger Grant’s gazelle are found in huge numbers, while the Impala, topi and Coke’s hartebeest and of course the wildebeest are also profuse. Rhinos do exist also in Tanzania especially black Rhinos but are rarely seen in Ngorongoro Crater. Other common animals include Masai giraffes, baboons (especially around the lodges), warthogs, spotted hyenas and grey (or side-striped) jackals.
The highlight of Tanzania is no doubt the annual wildebeest migration when literally millions of these ungainly beasts move north from the Serengeti to Masai Mara in August and November in search of the lush grass, before turning south again around late November. It is truly a staggering experience to be in the reserve at that time and one which is likely to have a profound effect on your own feeling of insignificance.
To aid identification of animals while you’re game-spotting on safari, our Safari Guide will provide you with a book that will help identify most of the animals in the park while on a game drive. For a full treatment of Tanzania’s animals Contact us for excellently arranged safaris that will provide you with best experiences, Our guides have good descriptive notes of the animals’ habits and appearance who will always teach and explain to you whenever you come across one
The birdlife is equally varied and includes ostriches, vultures, eagles, a wide variety of water birds such as flamingos, storks, pelicans, herons, ibis and cormorants, and others such as the yellow weaver birds which you’ll see everywhere.