Scholastica Ponera, owner of Pongo Safaris & Tours, has spent countless hours exploring the national parks of her native Tanzania. Those adventures, which helped her become an avid conservationist and an expert on the country’s animals and natural habitats, also led her to start her own tour company.
Courier asked Ponera to share details on some of Tanzania’s top parks, since they form the backbone of many of her company’s safaris, and here is what we learned:
- Serengeti National Park is renowned as the main viewing spot for the annual migration of more than a million zebra, wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelle. Those animals are followed closely by predators, such as cheetahs and lions.
- Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the biggest intact volcanic caldera in the world, is home to an impressive array of species, including each of the Big Five—elephant, leopard, lion, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros.
- Gombe and Mahale national parks in the western part of the country offer great chances to see thousands of chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
- Ruaha National Park boasts the highest concentration of elephants of any East African park and, with over 571 bird species, is also a birders’ paradise.
- Selous Game Reserve is home to the largest amount of amphibious animals—crocodiles, hippopotamus and water birds—and is the focus of many tours covering the southern part of the country.
- Udzungwa Mountains National Park earns the moniker of the African Galapagos for its blend of unique animals and plants.
Top photo: Scholastica Ponera, owner of Pongo Safaris & Tours at Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Photo by Pat Henderson