Tanzania National Parks. Their Importance and Characteristics

Sixty years ago, the first President of the United Republic of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere officially recognized the special status of wildlife in the country.

In September 1961, at the Symposium on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources in Modern African States, he gave a speech, which laid a foundation for natural resources conservation in post-independent Tanzania. The speech is widely known as the Arusha Manifesto.

«The survival of our wildlife is a matter of grave concern to all of us in Africa. These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration but are an integral part of our natural resources and our future livelihood and wellbeing.

The conservation of wildlife and wild places calls for specialist knowledge, trained manpower, and money and we look to other nations to cooperate with us in this important task — the success or failure of which not only affects the continent of Africa but the rest of the world as well.»

The organization now knows as Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) was established and Serengeti became the first National Park.

Nowadays conservation in Tanzania is governed by the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1974, which allows the Government to establish protected areas and outlines how they are organized and managed. National Parks represent the highest level of resource protection that can be provided.

To Tanzanians’ credit, their consistent efforts were rewarded, and by September 2019, TANAPA has grown to 22 National Parks, covering an area of over 99,000 sq km in total as per table below:

National ParkAreaEstablishedCharacteristics
1Serengeti14763 km21951The site of what most consider the most dramatic mammal migration on earth
2Lake Manyara6487 km21960 – 2009The place of tree climbing lions
3Arusha552 km21960 – 2005Amazing walking safaris
4Ruaha20300 km21964 – 2008One of the few Tanzania’s famous wilderness areas
5Mikumi3230 km21964The exciting world of wildlife
6Gombe71 km21968 – 2013A fragile strip of chimpanzee habitat
7Tarangire2600 km21970Elephants’ paradise
8Kilimanjaro1668 km21974 – 2005The Roof of Adrica
9Katavi4471 km21974An untouched wilderness paradise
10Rubondo Island457 km2 1977A gem of blue waters
11Mahale Mountains1577 km21985A spectacularly beautiful chimpanzee sanctuary
12Udzungwa Mountains1990 km21992A unique ecosystem with breathtaking scenery
13Saadani1100 km22005A place where the ocean meets the bushes
14Kitulo413 km22005The Garden of God
15Mkomazi3245 km22008Home to endangered species
16Saanane Island2.8 km22013Magical island
17Burigi Chato4707 km22019The land of wondrous waters
18Ibanda-Kyerwa298.6 km22019A place where the boarders of three countries meet
19Rumanyika — Karagwe247 km22019Breathtaking views
20Nyerere30893 km22019“The Land of the Mighty Rufiji”
21Kigosi7460 km22019The largest wetlands complex in East Africa
22Ugalla river3865 km22019One of Tanzania’s newest parks