For many, the word “Africa” conjures images of rolling golden savanna, roamed by enormous herds of wild game. Although much of Africa’s natural heritage has been lost to human encroachment, we’re fortunate that a number of vast game reserves have preserved the continent’s unique environmental heritage. Tanzania’s Serengeti plains include national parks that are among the most accessible and breathtaking of these reserves.

Tarangire National Park

The Tarangire National Park is an excellent place to begin an exploration of the Serengeti, particularly during the rainy season. During this time, the swelling Tarangire River, which cuts through the park, attracts thousands of animals from the surrounding wilderness. Dense bush and high grasses make it challenging to spot some of the smaller game. However, the sheer density of game in the park means that visitors are likely to enjoy frequent sightings of big game, including wildebeest, zebra, lions and elephants.

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park is the jewel in the crown of Africa’s nature reserves. It’s best known as one of the few places on earth where it’s still possible to witness mass migrations of wild animals, with over a million wildebeest and a quarter of a million zebra migrating across the park each year. The Serengeti National Park is home to a massive variety of wild game, including the ”big five” – among them, two rhino species. The reserve’s inhabitants are spread across three distinct habitats, including grassland, swamps and the densely wooded hills of the Northern Serengeti.

Ngorongoro Crater

he ancient Ngorongoro Crater is a stunning feature of the highlands of Tanzania. Formed from a massive volcanic caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater is a natural catchment area. Today the area is a national park that’s home to the world’s densest population of wild lions, as well as to healthy populations of rhinoceros and hippo. A lake at the center of the crater is often fringed by an enormous population of flamingos, which make the shoreline appear pink when viewed from a distance.

Olduvai Gorge

Olduvai Gorge is a worthwhile departure from the numerous game-viewing opportunities. This ravine in the Great Rift Valley is known as the Cradle of Mankind due to the presence of some of the oldest known hominid remains, dating back 1.9 million years. Visitors to the Olduvai Gorge can view a selection of the remains, tools and relics unearthed at the site.