Tanzania is one of the unique destinations on the African continent that has yet to be discovered by many. It is a land of many wonders harbouring an unparalleled diversity of fauna and flora. Kilimanjaro, the highest permanently snow-capped free-standing mountain in Africa, the exotic Islands of Zanzibar, the finest game sanctuaries of Serengeti, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Ruaha, Selous and the Marine Park of Mafia Island are only but a few of the living examples.
The scenery, topography and very friendly people make Tanzania one of the best places to visit and promise the best wildlife photographic safaris on the continent. Tanzania indeed has it all Tanzania has 14 National Parks, 1 conservation area, 17 game reserves, several marine parks, a breathtaking coast and Lake Zone and gently undulating highlands that are a hiker’s paradise.
Tanzania has dedicated more than 42,000 square kilometres more than one-third of its territory- a uniquely high proportion of land to the formal protection of its wildlife as National Parks and Game Reserves despite its growing population pressures.
The existing park system protects a number of internationally recognized bastions of biodiversity and world heritage sites thereby redressing the balance of deforestation, agriculture and urbanization that is threatening Tanzania’s remaining wilderness. In this, Tanzania has successfully resisted the temptation to cash in on the short term gains of mass tourism.
Tanzanian National parks exist for the primary role of conservation of the great wealth for present and future generations. These National Parks include the:
1. Arusha National Park
2. Gombe Stream National Park
3. Katavi National Park
4. Kilimanjaro National Park
5. Kitulo National Park
6. Mahale Mountains National Park
7. Lake Manyara National Park
8. Mikumi National Park
9. Mkomazi National Park
10. Ruaha National Park
11. Rubondo Island National Park
12. Saadani National Park
13. Serengeti National Park
14. Tarangire National Park
15. Udzungwa National Park
All of these form the core of a much larger protected ecosystem that has been set aside to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage, and to provide secure breeding grounds where the diverse fauna and flora available can thrive safe from the ever-increasing threat of human encroachment.
Human activity is closely monitored and all development is strictly regulated. Building in the parks is kept unobtrusive and waste disposal is carefully controlled. Park visitors and facilities are widely distributed to prevent harassment of animals and to minimize the human imprint on the environment.
Guardianship of this rich resource is solely reliant on the goodwill of the park’s neighbours- the indigenous tribes of the different parts of Tanzania where the parks are located.
The Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) is working hard to ensure that local communities have a sense of ownership and a vested interest in the future of the parks by sharing the rewards of conservation and delivering tangible benefits. A percentage of park revenues is allotted to assist community development initiatives such as the construction of schools, health dispensaries, water schemes and roads. Villagers are encouraged to develop cultural tourism projects to cultivate their own cultures and supplement their incomes.
Tanzania has set a benchmark of its responsibility- to its citizens, their offspring and the world at large- in the conservation and management of a global resource. In this, Tanzania remains committed to low impact, sustainable visitation to protect the environment from irreversible damage while creating a first-class ecotourism destination.
By choosing to visit Tanzania either by merely browsing the net or by actually making a trip to our beautiful land, you are supporting a developing country’s extraordinary investment in the future.
Tanzania’s diverse attractions are of course bound by its people, who take justifiable pride in their deeply ingrained national mood of tolerance and peacefulness. Indeed, Tanzania, for all its ethnic diversity, is practically unique in Africa in having navigated a succession of modern political hurdles – the transformation from colonial dependency to independent nation, from socialist state to free-market economy, from mono-partyism to fully-fledged democracy – without ever experiencing sustained civil or ethnic unrest.
Tanzania has also, over the past 20 years, emerged from comparative obscurity to stand as one of Africa’s most dynamic and popular travel destinations: a land whose staggering natural variety is complemented by the innate hospitality of the people who live there.
How to define the Tanzanian experience? Surprisingly easy, really. It can be encapsulated in a single word, one that visitors will hear a dozen times daily, no matter where they travel in Tanzania, or how they go about it: the smiling, heartfelt Swahili greeting of “Karibu..!” – Welcome..!