March 27, 2018 - Tanzania

How Tanzania’s Landscape and Wildlife Inspires our African Print Clothing

African elephant with tusks standing in the Tarangire National Park Tanzania

Occasionally, our founder, Sian, enjoys exploring the natural beauty of Tanzania to take time out from the hustle and bustle of Dar es Salaam, a big city where our talented tailors are based.

Sian has visited several national parks including her favourites Tarangire and the Ngorongoro crater, both located in the north, which never fail to amaze her. Each visit is a totally unique experience, as you never know what you will find!

These two parks are a few hours drive west from Arusha town where one of our tailors, Hassan, is based and is where he built his own workshop from scratch. When Sian is ever in Arusha she always makes sure that she visits him.

 

Sian and Hassan standing outside his workshop which he proudly built himself from scratch in Tanzania

Hassan and Sian standing outside his own workshop in Arusha

Hassan travels south to Dar es Salaam to work with our master tailor, Abdallah, on our latest ankara styles. Abdallah taught Hassan how to sew when they both lived in Arusha together and they are very supportive of one another.

Animals and Birds in African Wax Print

The animals and birds that live in these wonderful national parks are also inspiration for many kitenge (ankara or African wax print) and kanga fabric designs. You may have spotted some on the fabrics of our unique African print clothing.

For example, the Guinea Fowl pattern is commonly found in kanga designs and animals including giraffes, zebras, ostrich and smaller birds such as roosters can also be found in some kitenge designs.

 

original African wax print fabric with birds and letters in the design

An original kitenge print with birds featured in the design

Tanzania – The Best Safari Country!

Tanzania has 16 national parks in total including the top 3 ‘Natural Wonders of Africa’ – The Serengeti National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Crater – and was recently voted the best safari country in Africa!

view of the stunning landscape from the Ngorongoro Crater rim in Tanzania

The view of the Ngorongoro Crater from the rim on a clear day

The East African country also boasts 7 UNESCO World Heritage sites: Kilimanjaro National Park, Kilwa Kisiwani Ruins, Kondoa Rock-Art Sites, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park and Stone Town in Zanzibar.

aerial view of Mount Kilimanjaro's snow capped peak in Tanzania

The peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, an UNESCO World Heritage site

The country is home to 20% of Africa’s larger mammals including the ‘Big 5’ (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo), which are the most difficult animals to hunt by foot.

A pack of lionesses in the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania

Lions (called ‘simba’ in swahili) are one of the ‘Big 5’ game animals; this photo shows a pack of lionesses resting during the hot midday sun.

A buffalo eating vegetation on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania

Buffalos are one of the ‘Big 5’ game animals; several lions have to work as a team to kill a buffalo and often get injured as a result

Read on to learn more about Tanzania’s world-famous national parks, their impressive wildlife and recommendations for planning your own trip.

The Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro crater covers almost 8,300 sq km and features volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls, and forests. It is home to the nomadic Masai tribe after they were given special permission by the Tanzanian government to live there.

A Masai village located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania

A Masai village near to the rim of the Ngorongoro crater

The steep walls are 600m from the crater floor. There is only one entrance into and out of the crater by safari vehicles. Your first view of the crater from the rim is stunningly beautiful and breathtaking. It is difficult to take it all in!

Due to the steep sides of the crater, 30,000 wild animals live inside including the ‘Big 5’. The crater is also home to: cheetah, hartebeest, hippo, hyena, jackal, reedbuck, serval, warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and numerous bird species.

A family of hippos bathing in the swamp inside the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania

A family of hippos bathing in the swamp inside the crater

A standing warthog in a Tanzanian national park

A warthog (A.K.A’ Pumba’ in the Lion King movie)

The Ngorongoro Crater is a great place to spot the rare black rhino especially on calm days, as their ears do not like the wind! You can also spot vast numbers of flamingos standing in the lake and many giraffes live on the crater rim.

A rare Black Rhino sitting down on the Ngorongoro Crater floor in Tanzania

A rare black rhino sitting down on the crater floor

The Northern Parks

Arusha

This small park is very close to Arusha town and features the impressive Mount Meru (a 4 day climb). The park is famous for its birdlife and the black and white colobus monkey.

Tarangire

Tarangire National Park is named after its river. The park is famous for it’s wildlife including a large population of elephants and bird species particularly during the dry season (June – September).

A family of elephants crossing the Tarangire River inside the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania

A family of elephants crossing the Tarangire River

Lake Manyara

This park is most famous for its birdlife and tree climbing lions that lay on top of the branches of Acacia trees. The park is well loved for its stunning scenery. Beyond the lake is the spectacular Great Rift Valley.

Serengeti

The Serengeti is one of the best places in the world to see an abundance of wildlife with over 3 million large mammals! In Masai language ‘Serengeti’ means “endless plains”. It is here that you can see The Great Migration if you time your trip well.

A wildebeest grazing in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

Wildebeest migrate annually in the Serengeti National Park

The Great Migration

From May (or the beginning of June) huge herds of zebra, wildebeest and thomson gazelle start their 600-mile annual migration around the Serengeti followed by their predators: lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, jackal, vultures and crocodile.

Two Zebras standing next to each other in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania

Zebras migrate annually in the Serengeti National Park

Spotted hyenas resting on the Ngorongoro Crater floor in Tanzania

Spotted Hyenas taking a nap probably after eating

Two vultures standing at the top of a tree in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania

Vultures cooling their bodies during the midday heat

The animals 2000 km round journey is a search for water and fresh places to graze. The best time to see the migration is between June to August when the wildebeest cross over the crocodile infested Grumeti River.

The animals also have to cross the Mara River to reach the Masai Mara in Kenya during the migration.

The Southern Parks

Selous

The Selous game reserve is the largest, protected wildlife area in Africa and is larger than Switzerland! It also boasts the largest population of elephants in Tanzania. A great way of spotting wildlife is to take a boat down the Rufiji River during the dry season (July – November), which is the best time to visit.

 

 

Ruaha

Ruaha National Park is named after the Great Ruaha River and has spectacular scenery. It contains many different animals including various antelope species and birds. The best time to visit is also during the dry season.

A bird of prey spotted sitting in a tree at the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania

One of the many impressive bird species you can spot in the national parks

Other Parks

Gombe

Tanzania’s smallest park is only reachable by boat from Kigoma. It has a large forest, which is home to chimpanzees rarely seen in the wild.

Kitulo

Known locally as “God’s Garden” or the “Serengeti of Flowers” as it has over 350 types of plants, which many are not found anywhere else in the world! It is also home to the Kipunji (Highlands Mangabey), the rarest monkey in Africa and some of the world’s rarest butterflies.

Mahale

The Mahale Mountains National Park is located next to Lake Tanganyika. It is also home to around 1000 rarely seen chimpanzees and can only be reached by flight or boat from Kigoma.

Saadani

Saadani is Tanzania’s only coastal park situated on the shores of the Indian Ocean where green turtles breed on the beach. Elephants, buffolo, lion, leopard, hyenas, zebra and giraffe all live here.

A Tanzanian giraffe standing in Tarangire National Park

A Tanzanian Giraffe in the Tarangire National Park

Tanzania Travel Tips and Advice

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