the difference between a leopard, cheetah and jaguar? Look at the spots! Leopards have rosette spots on the body and solid black spots on the legs, head and sides. There are also no black facial stripes, unlike cheetahs. Compared to jaguars, leopards do not have smaller spots inside the polygonal rosettes.
Did you know? Elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals!
African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Average Gestation Period is 645 to 660 Days, 18 to 22 months.
Elephants are at their most fertile between the ages of 25 and 45. Calves are born after a gestation period of up to nearly two years. The calves are cared for by their mother and other young females in the group, known as allomothers.
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The vervet monkey is a small, black-faced monkey, common in East Africa. There are several subspecies of vervet monkeys, but, generally, the body is a greenish-olive or silvery-gray. The face, ears, hands, feet, and the tip of the tail are black, but a conspicuous white band on the forehead blends in with the short whiskers. The males are slightly larger than the females and easily recognized by a turquoise-blue scrotum and red penis. The vervet is classified as a medium- to a large-sized monkey. The tail is usually held up, with the tip curving downward, and the arms and legs are approximately equal lengths.
In East Africa, vervet monkeys can live in mountain areas up to about 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), but they do not inhabit rainforests or deserts. Their preferred habitat is acacia woodland along streams, rivers, and lakes.
The Tanzanian cheetah, also commonly known as the East African cheetah, is a subspecies of cheetah native to East Africa. There are a total of five subspecies of cheetahs in the world, and of these, the Tanzanian Cheetah is the oldest and largest subspecies.
Tanzanian cheetah and it can be found in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Somalia. However, the best places to see them are the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara, where the majority of the population lives.
Speke’s weaver is a familiar East African songbird. The eyes are pale and the bill is on the large side for a weaver. Unlike many weavers, it has the same plumage all year. The adult male is yellow with black throat, face, and bill, and variable black mottling on the back.
The Crater'sfloor is predominantly open grassland. It is home to a diverse array of animals including elephants, black rhinoceroses, leopards, buffalo, zebras, warthogs, gnu (wildebeests), Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles, and the densest population of lions in the world.
Lake Magadi, a shallow soda lake ringed by extinct volcanoes, is renowned as a habitat for great flocks of pink flamingos.
Large numbers of tourists began visiting the crater in the 1930s, when a lodge was built on its rim.
Since the region’s incorporation into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in 1959, additional lodges have been built.
The Crater is included within a UNESCO World Heritage site designated in 1979.
Tarangire offers an unparalleled game viewing, and during the dry season elephants abound. Families of the pachyderms play around the ancient trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their afternoon meal. Breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe and the mountains in the south make a stopover at Tarangire a memorable experience.
Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem - a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringe-eared oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.
About 40 kilometers away from Moshi, in the peaceful village called Chemka. Lies underground springs with warm water. The water forms a clear and clean pond which is ideal for swimming. The pond is very deep, in some places up to 10 meters, but the water is so clear that you can see the bottom well all the time. The pond is situated under lush trees. On the shore you can camp, enjoy your snacks and let yourself dry after swimming.
Travelers to Tanzania usually base in Arusha or Moshi in between hiking trips and safaris. While recovering from multi-day tours and hiking trips one of the best things to do is a day-trip to the Chemka Hot Springs, also known as the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. Just 1.5 hours from Arusha and nearby Moshi Town, this is one of the hidden gems of Tanzania that you need to visit. The water was crystal clear in this jungle oasis where you can relax all day and even enjoy rope swings, tire tubing, and some high jumps out of the trees.
The Ngorongoro Crater in Northern Tanzania, once a gigantic volcano, is the largest intact caldera in the world. Some maintain that before it erupted, it would have been higher than Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.
Today, long since having collapsed and eroded, it is an extensive highland area with the famous 600 m deep Ngorongoro Crater as its focal point. Nearly three million years old, the ancient caldera shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth.
Lake Manyara National Park well known for the tree climbing lions, the soda ash lake that attracts thousands and pink flamingos, one of Tanzania’s biggest elephant population and breathtaking scenery!
There are a number of fascinating tourist attractions that can be explored within Lake Manyara National Park. Located in the northern part of Tanzania, this National Park is 126 kilometers west of Arusha Town.
Among the lions living in Lake Manyara is a healthy population of the unique tree climbing lions whose unique tree climbing character can only be found in just two populations across the world the other being in Ishasha Area in Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda. A very large number of tourists and photographers visit the park to see these exceptional animals.
Located in the Great Rift Valley and is central to many beautiful national parks.
Enjoy the lush green gardens where privacy and tranquility are paramount. Be blown away by the spectacular views and see if you can spot flamingos in Lake Manyara. Cool off in the swimming pool after an exciting safari. Have a barbecue and enjoy your beer, wine or other refreshing drink in the lounge area, while the sun goes down. And finally, end your day delightfully under the sparkling stars with the warmth of the campfire.
The bushbuck is a widespread species of antelope in Sub-Saharan Africa.
They have a light brown coat, with up to seven white stripes and white splotches on the sides. The white patches are usually geometrically shaped and on the most mobile parts of their body such as the ears, chin, tail, legs, and neck.
The muzzle is also white and horns are found only on the males, which are between 10 and 20 inches long and grow straight back.
At 10 months, young males sprout horns that are strongly twisted and at maturity form the first loop of a spiral.
The bushbuck stands about 1 m (39 inches) at the shoulder and ranges in colour from reddish brown to almost black, depending on the subspecies.
Its markings vary but include white patches on the neck and throat and vertical stripes or rows of spots on the sides. Horns, present in males, are spirally twisted and relatively straight.
The bushbuck inhabits areas of dense vegetation including rain forests, montane forests, forest-savanna mosaics, and bush savannas, near bodies of water and feeds mainly on the leaves of shrubs and small trees.
The impala is a medium-sized antelope found in eastern and southern Africa.
The name Impala comes from the Zulu language.
The first attested English name in 1802, was palla or pallah, from the Tswana phala ‘red antelope’; the name impala, also spelled impalla or mpala, is first attested in 1875.
The impala reaches 70–92 centimeter’s (28–36 inches) at the shoulder and weighs 40–76 kg (88–168 pound).
The impala has a lovely reddish-brown coat matched against a white underbelly, which is reminiscent of the springbok, though the colours are not quite as dramatically contrasted. Another characteristic of the impala is the dark black streaks that run from its buttocks down to its upper hindlegs, with a dark stripe down its bushy white tail.
The impala is sexually dimorphic, which means that the males and females don’t look alike. Where males have horns, the females don’t, and it’s with these lyre-shaped horns that the males fight off their opponents and rivals.
The curved arch in the impala horns means that they become interlocked during a skirmish, potentially saving the male impala from skull damage or serious wounds.
The impala is found in woodlands and sometimes on the interface (ecotone) between woodlands and savannahs; it inhabits places close to water.
The dik-dik’s name is derived from the sound they make, when they feel threatened, dik-diks lie low to prevent detection. If they are discovered, they run in a swift, zigzag-like pattern, during this ‘defense’, they emit a wheezing and whistling warning sound “zik-zik” or “dik-dik”. To raise an alarm or to harass predators and publicize the presence of a mated pair.
These antelopes were called “dik-diks” by the early settlers and hunters as they ruined the hunter’s chances of shooting any larger game.
The Dik Dik belongs to a group of tiny antelopes that live throughout regions of Africa, of which there are four species, which make up the taxonomic genus Madoqua. Most of them stand just a foot tall.
The different species are the Silver, Salt’s, Gunther’s, and Kirk’s species.
Kirk’s dik-dik are the most common subspecies and are resident in Tanzania. The IUCN reports that their population could be over 1 million. Native to Eastern Africa.
Kirk’s dik-dik, the largest, stands only 35–45 cm (14–18 inches) tall and weighs 3.8–7.2 kg (8.4–15.8 pounds); females are 0.5–1 kg (1–2 pounds) heavier than males.
Kirk’s dik-diks, vary in color depending on their habitat but are typically yellowish-gray to reddish-brown on its back and grayish-white on their belly. Males have horns that are ringed and stout at the base, which are often concealed by a tuft of hair on their forehead.
These antelopes have beautiful, large, dark eyes surrounded by a white ring. And while their eyes are stunning, they provide more than just sight. Preorbital glands appear as a black spot below the inside corner of each eye. These glands produce a dark, sticky secretion used to scent-mark their territories.
Swala granti in Swahili, is a type of antelope indigenous to Eastern Africa.
Grant’s gazelle took its name from James Augustus Grant: a Scottish explorer of Equatorial Africa in the 19th century.
The Grants gazelle resemble Thomson’s gazelles but are noticeably larger and easily distinguished by the broad white patch on the rump that extends upward onto the back.
The white patch on the Thomson’s gazelle stops at the tail. Some varieties of Grant’s have a black stripe on each side of the body like the Thomson’s, but all have a black stripe that runs down the thigh. In others, the stripe is very light or absent.
These gazelles are often found in mixed groups alongside other herbivores e.g., Wildebeest, Zebras and Thomson’s Gazelle. They may occur in large numbers (up to 500 individuals) in suitable areas.
Like most gazelles, they are a migratory species but are especially fond of open grass plains, and although they frequent bushy savannas, they avoid areas of high grass.
The largest population of Grant’s Gazelles occupies the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania with an estimated 35,000-55,000.
However, they are widespread throughout their range in East Africa — from southern Sudan and Ethiopia to Central Tanzania and from the Kenya/Somali coast to Lake Victoria.
One of the best-known gazelles. Named after the Scottish explorer, Joseph Thomson. Sometimes referred to as a “tommie”.
Thomson’s gazelles are endemic to Eastern Africa. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is the most populous area of Thomson’s gazelle.
Nevertheless, they are among the most common gazelles of the region, commonly found on acacia savannas and short grasslands, most often living in almost entirely grazed, trampled or burnt grasslands.
Although small in structure, they can reach an impressive speed of 70 kilometers per hour, with some sources suggesting a faster 90 kilometers per hour. This allows the Thomson’s to escape predators.
When the Thomson’s gazelle kicks into survival mode, they can accelerate from 0 to 90 kilometers an hour in 18 seconds.
This astounding pace, which is half that of a cheetah’s peak pace, makes the Thomson’s gazelle one of fastest land animals in the world. Unlike the cheetah, the gazelle can hold its speed for a lot longer.
They can survive periods of harsh drought, living on dry pastures, while most animals of the area disperse to find more suitable habitats.
However, during the dry season, Thomson’s gazelles do not migrate as far north as other ungulate species of their range. Additionally, during the wet season, they remain within their range longer, as compared to other ungulates.
Grant’s gazelles are sometimes confused with Thomson’s. However, Thomson’s is distinguished from Grant’s by its smaller size and the white patch on its rump. On Grant’s gazelles, the patch always extends above the tail.
Thomson, have light-brown coats with dark stripes running down their sides, a white patch on their rumps extending underneath the tail, and ridged horns that curve backward. Females may have shorter, smoother, and slimmer horns than males or none at all.
One of Africa’s most common and most widespread antelopes.
Very commonly in the Serengeti. It ranges from the long grass Serengeti plains to the Serengeti woodlands but is very rarely seen on the short grass plains in the Eastern Serengeti.
Their large size makes it difficult for most predators to hunt them successfully (with the exception of lion and spotted hyena).
They are medium-sized antelopes with a striking reddish-brown to purplish-red coat. With distinct black patches appear on their face, their upper forelegs, and on their hips and thighs. To complete their singular appearance, the topi’s yellowish-tan legs look like they are encased in stockings.
This antelope is unusual in several ways. Most notably, if a female detects danger when in labor, she can simply delay the birthing process and run off.
Topis have a bounding gait and are considered to be the fastest of all ungulates.
Topi looks like a smaller and darker hartebeest, with higher forequarters sloping to lower hindquarters, but it has a less-elongated head and ordinary-looking horns, which are similar in both sexes.
It is a member of the tribe Alcelaphini (family Bovidae), which also includes the blesbok, hartebeest, and wildebeest. Damaliscus lunatus is known as the topi in East Africa and as the sassaby or tsessebe in southern Africa.
The eland is the largest species of antelope found in the Serengeti. And the largest antelope in Africa. Often found in sizable herds.
Despite their relative abundance, the shyness of elands can make them tricky to approach for good photos, and they are often seen at some distance.
The Serengeti is home to one of the biggest eland populations in Africa and sightings here are frequent. The green season, just after the heaviest of the rains, can be a particularly good time to see them in the southern Serengeti, as they gather in large herds on the short grass plains.
Elands are also commonly seen in Tanzania’s southern parks, either as individuals or in small herds. Use binoculars to spot them on Ruaha’s open plains or look for their movements behind trees and bushes.
The eland is widespread throughout Tanzania – it is estimated there are around 36,000 individuals. They are highly adaptable and can be found across a range of environments and altitudes, even visiting mineral licks on the upper slopes of Kilimanjaro. Their favoured habitat, however, is open grassy plains.
The main subspecies in Tanzania is the East African eland, Taurotragus oryx pattersonianus, characterised by white facial markings and a tan-coloured coat patterned by up to 12 white stripes. Some eland populations in southern Tanzania are the Livingstone’s subspecies (T. o. livingstonii) which has bigger horns and lacks the facial chevrons.
Lesser kudus are mainly in the north of Tanzania. These large antelopes can be seen in the Serengeti and Tarangire area, but these kudus are very shy and hardly wait around for viewers to get a few photos.
Kudus can be seen throughout the day, however in the late afternoon they come out into more open areas to graze. So there is a better chance to see them in the afternoon.
They are very gentle and stealthy antelopes; they possess a certain mysterious charm. They are always aware of what is happening around them and their movements seem carefully planned.
Kudus are medium or large-sized antelope with enormous ears, and a brown to grey coat with distinctive white perpendicular stripes down the sides of the back.
Did you know?
Males have wonderful spiral horns. The females do not have horns.
Both sexes have a dorsal crest (like a short mane along the back), and the buck has a distinctive beard.
The male lesser kudu also has wonderful twisted horns, is generally dark in color, about 1m tall and weighs from 90-110kg. Like its much larger cousin, the female is a russet brown, but weighs less than half – about 55-70kg.
Lesser kudus have a large distinct white throat patch, and a white patch on the chest. They have 11-15 white stripes along the back, and only the male has a dorsal crest.
Leopards are impressive predators, and are capable of hunting prey much larger than themselves. They are carnivores, and eat only meat. Most of their hunting targets animals between 20 and 80 lbs., but they can kill prey up 1,200 lbs. or more!
These cats feed on a huge number of different species. Some common prey includes impala, Thomson’s gazelle, warthog, wildebeest, bushbuck, aardvark, kudu, chital, sambar, gaur, and more. Some leoprards even hunt and kill gorillas, but this is less common.