TANZANIA UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES;
Kilimanjaro National Park is located in Tanzania along the northern border shared with Kenya. It covers an area of 652 square miles (1,688 sq km) which includes the montane forest that surrounds Mount Kilimanjaro. Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Kilimanjaro National Park is home to Mount Kilimanjaro which is the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. It reaches a maximum height of 19,341 feet (5,895 m) at Uhuru Peak. Uhuru peak is part of the Kibo cone, which is one of three volcanic cones found on the mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro and the surrounding national park area is unique compared to most national parks because almost all ecosystems are accounted for from the area between the base and summit. The summit provides for an arctic ecosystem with a trek up the mountain delivering visitors through cultivated land, rainforest, heath, moorland, and alpine desert.
Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is the easiest climb of the Seven Summits; the “seven summits” include the tallest mountain from each of the seven continental regions. Accordingly, Mount Kilimanjaro is the most frequently climbed mountain as well.
There are seven different official Kilimajaro Climbing Routes up the mountain. Machame Route, Lemosho Route, Rongai Route, Northern Circuit route, Shira route, Umbwe Route, both accommodation style are camping while Marangu route, the oldest route which includes shared sleeping huts, is considered the easiest and the most common. Failure to acclimate to the altitude is the most common reason that people do not reach the summit. The youngest person to climb the mountain was 7 years old and the oldest was 89 years old. Climb Kilimanjaro with Us
Wildlife is not abundant in this area; however, elephants, leopards, and buffalo may be seen in the montane forest. These sightings are not something to anticipate with a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. One of the fun wildlife sightings is the western black and white colobus monkeys as they jump from tree to tree.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK (SENAPA)
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The name Serengeti comes from the Maasai word “Siringeti” referring to an “endless plain”. As you stand on the southern grassy plains, you experience this vastness, and can witness one of the greatest concentrations of plain animals left on earth. The plains were formed 3 – 4 million years ago when ash blown from Volcanoes in the Ngorongoro highlands covered the rolling landscape. This thick layer of ash preserved traces of early man, and established the rich soil which supports the southern grassy plains. From this early beginning, man and wildlife have shared this magical place. In recognition of the need to preserve this special area, the central Serengeti was declared a Game Reserve in 1929. In 1951, the Reserve became Tanganyika’s first national park, and in those days included the Ngorongoro Crater (currently, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA). Further alteration in 1959 resulted in the park boundaries you see today. Part of the Serengeti plains and the highlands were removed and added to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), while extensions to the North and South were included to provide more protection to wildebeest migration (That means Serengeti National Park of Today). Covering 14,763 square kilometers, the park is roughly the size of Northern Ireland or Connecticut, making it Tanzania’s third largest national park. The park is the center of the Serengeti ecosystem. Roughly, defined by the annual wildebeest migration, the Serengeti ecosystem is expansive and area of 25,000 – 30,000 square kilometers. It is the combination of Serengeti National Park with its buffer zones – Ngorongoro Conservation Areas, four (4) Game Reserves, one Game Controlled Area and Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve – that protects the largest single movement of wildlife on earth. The Serengeti was first inhabited by the ancient hunter gatherers and more recently pastoralists. The plains were controlled by the Maasai. There are early Maasai rock paintings still visible at Moru and a special rock used for making different sound (Gong! Gong!). The colonists who arrived by the early 1900’s found a land virtually untouched, and exploited it for exceptional hunting opportunities, particularly Lion, Leopard and Buffalo. The Serengeti offers more than just an annual migration. Its colorful topography of Mountains, Rolling Hills, Rivers and Plains provide year – round habitat for many of the Serengeti’s species.
WESTERN CORRIDOR (GRUMETI)
Stretching almost to the shores of Lake Victoria (Nyanza), the reach of the Western Corridor is important in preserving ancient migratory routes. In a typical year, the migration arrives between June and July, having left the dry plains in the south. Here the migrants mix with many resident herbivores, including Topi, Giraffe and Buffalo. There is also a resident population of wildebeest. Supporting lush riverine forest, the Grumeti River provides a sharp contrast to the surrounding plains and hosts some of the Serengeti’s more unusual species, such as the Black and White Colobus Monkey. It is the river’s population of giant Nile Crocodiles at Kirawira that has made this area famous. Growing up to 6 meters in length and with unusually thick set jaws, their lives are in extricable linked with the great migration. Moving with surprising stealth and speed, they prey upon the thirsty herds as they drink from the river. This time of plenty for the Crocodiles will sustain them until the herds return next year.
KOPJES (ROCKY OUTCROPS)
The Serengeti would not be the same without the beautiful rocky outcrops known as Kopjes (pronounces “copy” from the Dutch meaning “Little Head”. Technically known as inselbergs, the intriguing rounded shapes of these ancient granite rocks are the result of cracking and erosion from the exposure to sun, wind and rain. They provide shelter and capture water for a wealth of wildlife and plants. In fact, without such environs, Lions and other large animals would be unable to survive the dry season on the plains. The main groups of kopjes are; Barafu, Gol, Wogakurya, Maasai, Loliondo, Simba and Moru Kopjes are outstanding for their size and profusion of resident wildlife including Lion, Leopard, Serval, Caracal and even rhinoceros and elephant. Gol and Barafu kopjes provide important habitat for cheetah, and are used by wildebeest in the wet season. Maasai and Loliondo kopjes provide outlooks for resident Lion and large cobras can often be seen sunning themselves on the rocks. Simba kopjes support a great variety of animals and birds including Giraffe, Baboon and Lion (Simba) for which they are named.
Wildebeest move through the northern woodlands in most years from August – September to feed on the longer grasses that persist in this area. Their range during this time extends north into Maasai Mara. Rocky hills, rivers and woodlands typify this scenic area.
MARA AND KIRAWIRA RIVERS CROSSING
Around October, nearly two million herbivores including wildebeest travel from the northern hills toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara and Kirawira Rivers, in pursuit of the rains in April, they return to the north through west, once again crossing the Mara and Kirawira rivers. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Circular Migration.
The southern grassy plains are some of the most productive and nutritious natural grassland in the world. When the short rains start in November, the wildebeest move south from the Northern woodlands. They move to exploit the short grassy plains, where the grasses are rich in the minerals they need to rear their young. In February / March one of the wildlife’s most amazing spectacles occurs. For 3 – 4 weeks, 90% of the female wildebeest give birth, flooding the plains with thousands of newborn calves each day. The wildebeest may remain on the plains for several months, where they share these productive grasslands with Migratory Zebra, Thomson’s Gazelle and Eland, as well as the many residents including the Grant’s Gazelle, Topi and Hartebeest. The plains are also used by the migratory birds including the White Stork, Black Stork, Pallid Harrier, and Peregrine Falcon. When the rains stop, the plains dry out rapidly forcing the herds to migrate West and North once again. Their departure in May / June marks another great spectacle. The wildebeest march in long, meandering lines that stretch for miles, or bunch into herds of thousands. These are the scenes that typify “The Migration”. The southern plains are best visited from December to May when migrants are there.
The Seronera Valley is an important transition zone between the Southern plains and the Northern woodlands. It provides a rich mosaic of habitats cross – crossed by the rivers, the most prominent of which is the Seronera River from which the area takes its name. with year round water, this is perhaps the most reliable area in the park to view wildlife. It is possible to see many of the Serengeti’s resident wildlife including Giraffe, Buffalo, Topi, Hartebeest, waterbuck, Impala, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Dikdik, Hippopotamus, Crocodile, Warthog and diverse birdlife. Large prides of Lion reside here, as well as clans of Spotted Hyena. The more Elusive Leopard is also common here but less easy to spot! The river tracks offer the best chance to see a Leopard, which will usually rest in the branches of acacia or sausage trees. Cheetah can also be seen here as well as serval and caracal.
The remains of two great East African parts admired by early European explorers are situated on two small islands near the coast. From the 13th to the 16th century, the merchants of Kilwa dealt in gold, silver, pearls, perfumes, Arabian crockery, Persian earthenware and Chinese porcelain; much of the trade in the Indian Ocean thus passed through their hands. Serious archaeological investigation began in the 1950s. in 1981 it was declared a World Heritage Site, and noted visitor sites are the Great Mosque, the Mkutini Palace and some remarkable ruins. However, the ruins are also on the list of World Heritage in Danger. The list constitutes a call to improve their safeguarding and is designed to rally national and international efforts for their preservation.
FAST FACTS (KILWA – THE MEDIEVAL TRADE CITY OF 9TH CENTURY)
Major attractions include, the Great Mosque dated 11th to 15th centuries, Makutani Palace and the Doomed Mosque, and Husuni Kubwa Palace and Husuni Ndogo.
Stone Town – ZANZIBAR or Mji Mkongwe in Swahili meaning “ancient town” is the old part of Zanzibar City. The old town is built on a triangular peninsula of land on the western coast of the island and was awarded World Heritage Site status in 2000. Justification for the inscription, includes its rich cultural fusion and harmonization; its great symbolic importance in the suppression of slavery; and the intense seaborne trading activity between Asia and Africa, which is illustrated today in the exceptional architecture and urban structure of Stone Town.
FAST FACTS (ZANZIBAR)
The most obvious historical site in Zanzibar is Stone Town, a World Heritage Site and the oldest continuously inhabited city in East Africa, but Zanzibar has much more to offer visitors. From the ruins of numerous palaces stemming from the Omani Sultancy, ancient mosques (notably the mosque at Kizimkazi which contains the oldest known Swahili text), Persian bathhouses, and Colonia buildings (in the Indian colonial style), Zanzibar is an absolute treasure trove for the historically inclined.
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SELOUS GAME RESERVE (currently, a big chunk of its 30,000 square kilometers has been upgraded to J.K. Nyerere National Park, Tanzania’s largest National Park and Africa’s National Park).
From 1896 to 1905, and this game reserve is recognized as the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.
SIZE / AREA
50,000 to 55,000 Sq.km The oldest and largest reserve in Africa and the second world’s largest.
Coast (Pwani), Morogoro, Lindi, Mtwara and Ruvuma Regions.
Dry miombo woodland, coastal forest, riverine forest, flood plain grassland.
Dry season (June to October), Wet season / Rainy season (November to May), Little seasonal variation in wildlife.
Game drive, guided bushwalks, river boat trips.
Many large ungulates, African wild dog, etc.
SELOUS GAME RESERVE AT A GLANCE
The Selous Game Reserve (currently, a big chunk of its 30,000 sq.km has been upgraded to J.K. Nyerere National Park, Tanzania’s largest National Park and Africa’s largest National Park) is one of the largest faunal reserves of the world, located in the south of Tanzania. It was named after Englishman Sir Frederick Selous, a famous big game hunter and early conservationist, who died at Beho Beho, now a famous camp in 1917 while fighting against the Germans during World War I. Scottish explorer and cartographer Keith Johnston also died at Beho Beho in 1879 while leading an expedition to the Great Lakes of Africa with Joseph Thomson. The Selous was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 due to the diversity of its wildlife and un disturbed nature. The reserve covers a total area of approximately 50,000 to 55,000 sq.km) nearly a quarter of Britain and has additional buffer zones. Within the reserve no permanent human habitation or permanent structures are permitted. All (human) entry and exit is carefully controlled by the Wildlife Division of the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resource and Tourism. Some of the typical animals of the savannah (for example, elephants, hippopotamus, African wild Dogs, Cape Buffalo and Crocodiles can be found in this park in large numbers than in any other African game reserve or national Park.
The area was first designated a protected area in 1896 by the German Governor Herman von Weismann and became a hunting reserve in 1905. Most of the reserve remains set aside for game hunting through a number of privately leased hunting concessions, but a section of the northern park along the Rufiji River has been designated a photographic zone and it is popular tourist destination. There are several high end lodges and camps mainly situated along the river and lake systems in this area. Rather difficult road access means most visitors arrive by small air craft from Dar es Salaam but can also be accessed by using the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) trains to Matambwe halt, just before Kisaki station. Interesting places in the park include the Rufiji River which flows into the Indian Ocean opposite Mafia Island and the Stigler Gorge – a canyon of 100 meters’ depth and 100 meters’ width. Habitat include grassland, typical Acacia savanna, wetlands and extensive Miombo Woodlands. Although total wildlife populations are high, the reserve is large and densities of animals are lower than in the more regularly visited northern tourist circuit of Tanzania. Walking safaris are permitted in the Selous, and boat trips on the Rufiji River are a popular activity.
The Kondoa Rock Art Paintings Sites is a series of caves carved into the side of a hill looking out over the steppe. The cave site is nine kilometers off the main highway from Kondoa to Arusha, about 20 kms north of Kondoa. The site has a spectacular collection of images from over 150 shelters depicting elongated people, animals, and hunting scenes. Today many of the shelters are still considered to have ritual associations with the people who live nearby, reflecting their beliefs, rituals and cosmological traditions.
Rock Art Paintings of Kondoa
The rock art of Kondoa belongs to the rock art traditions of central and Southern Africa which are very different from those of west Africa and the Sahara in terms of styles. The Kondoa rock art paintings sites are located on the Eastern slope of the Maasai Escarpment that borders the western side of the Eastern African Great Rift Valley (EARV) in the central Tanzania, Fragmenting rift faults and some fallen boulders have created numerous granites shelters. The sites covers the area of 2336 km² in the villages of PAHI, KOLO, MNENIA, KANDAGA, MASANGE, BUKULU, KINYASI, KISESE, THAWI, ITOLOLO and ITUNDWI. Part of this conservation area falls under the current gazzetted Irangi Escarpment Forest Reserve with the likes of Kolo, Pahi, Kinyasi and Busi sites which have the benefit of the double protection as both the Forestry Acts and Antiquities Act stands as legal muscles against any detrimental human behavior. Kondoa district has some of the most spectacular geological formation in East Africa in the form of Boulders, shelters and overhangs, it is in some of these features that the inhabitants of this area took advantage and produce the art that has made Kondoa Rock Art paintings site famous throughout the world today. The Kondoa Rock art paintings is mainly associated with the ancestor of hunter – gatherer (The modern Sandawe) and Agro - pastoralist societies and their traditions that lived in this area over several millennia. As of today the paintings are direct or indirect associated with the living traditions of the local population living near the sites which illustrate the cultural continuity through contemporary rituals ceremony performed in these sites overtime.
The Mongomi wa Kolo shelter is a clear example of Kondoa Rock art sites which is an extensive overhang. Its drop line extends for at least 14 meters from the back wall. Several panels can be identified in this shelter. On one area are the so called Late white paintings depicting animal figures resembling elephants or giraffes. Above them are panels containing the hunter gather motifs. Here the animals resemble pigs. Next to them are depicted a group of red elephants family superimposed on a trio human figure. There are also the red concentric circles very common in the Kondoa area including red human figures, red animals, white animals, and red and white geometric motifs superimposed on each other. One of the interesting figures depicted are antelope mating. Here the shelter has both the hunter – gatherer and agropastoral. To the southwest of the shelter, below the drop line, is a cavern underneath a massive boulder used by diviners to conjure their visions and potency from ancestral spirits. The remains of sacrificed goats are also placed in this hollow. Mongomi wa Kolo is the site visited by diviners and other people participating in healing and rain making rituals. Material evidence of ritual activities at the site includes leaves of the castor oil plant on the floor underneath Rock art panels and spatters of millet beer.
Several of the main Pahi shelters are scattered along the lower part of promontory and discovered some very fine paintings with white, red and black in colours, the sites are located near the bottom of the escarpment, not far from PAHI VILLAGE. The PAHI site showcase different artistic styles, associated with the three groups of people (hunter – gatherers) agriculturists, and pastoralists) that have inhabited the region over time. The images found at PAHI include giraffe, eland, Kudu, zebra, human figures. The hunter gatherers red paintings are the oldest of all in this area where it ranges from 2,000 – 10,000 years while the so called late white Agro – pastoral paintings are of 1,500 years of age which is more recently. The red paintings are associated with Sandawe Ancestors while the late whites are of the Agro – pastoral Bantu speaking societies (Warangi, Burunge).
THE PEOPLE OF KONDOA
Irangi community form larger percent of the Kondoa people. Others include Gogo, Wasi, Burunge, Mbugwe and Sandawe people. Several groups among these have claimed their directly ancestral lineage to the ancient painters of central Tanzania rock art; although most researchers have attributed the paintings to the Sandawe who traditionally are hunter – gatherers. In terms of style, the hunter gatherers paintings are mainly depicting animals, human figures often extremely stylized in one color and sometimes artists attempted to portray animals in various postures. Scenes are common, often involving human and animal figures without background details.
FAST FACTS (THE PEOPLE OF KONDOA)
Kondoa district in Dodoma Region, is home of three (3) major African ethnic language and their societies lived in the area over a long period of time, Cushitic Hunter gatherers ( Sandawe and Hadza), Nilots (Nilotics) – Iraqw / Mbulu, Maasai, Wasi) and Bantu speaking (Warangi, Burungwe). Among the three (3) ethnic groups the Warangi are the largest and they are widely known throughout the country by their Swahili name Warangi and their Kirangi language. The warangi for centuries have been practicing rituals in these rock art sites where traditional healing, rainmaking, iniation and the passing of magical power from one person to another was conducted and still are practiced today in the sites of Mongomi wa Kolo (God of Kolo).
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF KONDOA ROCK ART PAINTINGS
Educational, historical, scientific, Social spiritual, and religious purposes, plus the economic use of tourism and job creation among the society living surrounding the sites. Kondoa Rock site was inscribed in the list of the World Heritage Status since July 2006 under criteria (iii) and (iv) of UNESCO Operational Guide Lines.
FACILITIES AND ACCOMMODATION
There is a private owned campsite (Amarula campsite) in Mnenia village, just near Kolo, and a community owned campsite named after Mary Leakey. The campsite is located just along the seasonal river on the way to Mongomi wa Kolo sites. Also, some comfortable lodges are available in Kondoa Town which is 28 km from Kolo with the likes of Kondoa Climax Lodge, New Simple Lodge, Golden Apple, New Planet, River Side Resort, and many more others.
GETTING THERE / HOW TO GET TO KOLO
Kolo is located just along the famous Great North Road which runs from Cape Town to Cairo; it is four hours normal drive (241 kms) from Arusha via Babati to Kondoa and three hours normal drive (172 kms) from Dodoma towards Arusha major Roads by a private vehicle. You can get to Kolo by using both private and public transport as there are buses from both end( Departs Arusha 7 am and from Dodoma departs around 6 am daily).
SITE MUSEUM AND INFORMATION CENTRE
Tanzania Forestry Services Agency (TFS) has an office in Kolo village which stands as an information centre with a small site museum that showcase and gives a range of details for rock Arts, the history and traditions of people of Kondoa.
Did you know? (The main factors that led to the Establishment of Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority).
It should be known that in the past, the human beings particularly the maasai people used to live with animals at Greater Serengeti National park which was established in 1940. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) was once part of the Serengeti National park and it was parceled out from the Greater Serengeti National park in 1959. This means that when Serengeti National park was established in 1951, Ngorongoro conservation was part of the Greater Serengeti National park, and the Maasai people were living within these two protected areas of Serengeti and Ngorongoro respectively. Since the Maasai were by then living within the park without proper regulations and guidelines, the local communities were at risk of the wild animals, diseases and other calamities. The colonial government of the British rule thus thought it would be wise to establish two exclusive settlements, one for animals alone (Now Serengeti National park) and the other to serve as multiple land use project, where both man and animals co-exist(Now Ngorogoro conservation Area Authority). This was a strategy aimed at reducing pressure on limited natural resources on one hand, and sustainability, on the other.
Besides preserving diversity ,the government wanted to ensure that the rights of the indigenous maasai are safeguarded. Subsequently, all the maasai inhabitants of Serengeti National park were resettled in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) and leaving Serengeti to wild animals. Also it is in this Area where the famous Ngorongoro crater is located.
Ngorongoro crater is the largest extinct volcanic crater in the world, measuring 12 miles across and is home of the largest permanent population of game in all of Africa.