Tanzania has declared around 25% of its territory to be protected areas (12 national parks, 12 game reserves and more than 40 protected areas). This is an excellent contribution to the preservation of nature, life and culture on earth. The national parks include unique natural landscapes such as the Ngorongoro Crater and Kilimanjaro (the highest mountain in Africa). The forms of vegetation, e.g. B. Grass savannah and acacia tree savannah in the Serengeti, and the variety of plant species are rare. The abundance of numbers and species of the animal world is overwhelming. Prof. BERNHARD GRZIMEK and his son MICHAEL, who are buried at the Ngorongoro Crater, have made great contributions to the nature of Tanzania. UNESCO has declared the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater to be World Heritage Sites.

The protected areas of Tanzania at a glance

Tanzania is known worldwide for its protected areas. Every year people come from all over the world to admire the savannas, mountains, craters, lakes and the diversity of animals and plants. There are now 12 national parks, around 12 game reserves and around 40 monitored areas, in which big game hunting is controlled by a shooting quota system (Fig. 1).

The national parks are Arusha National Park (137 km²), Gombe National Park (52 km²), Katavi National Park (2253 km²), Kilmanjaro National Park (756 km²), Lake Manyara National Park (330 km²) Mahale Mountains National Park (1577 km²), Mikumi National Park (3230 km²), Ruaha National Park (10300 km²), Rubondo Island National Park (457 km²), Serengeti National Park (14764 km²), Tarangire National Park (2600 km²) and Udzungwa Mountains National Park (1900 km²).

One of the most famous game reserves (Game Reserve) include the Widlreservate Kizigio (6500 km²), Mkomazi (1000 km²), Rungwa (12950 km²), Uwanda (5000 km²) and Selous. The Selous Game Reserve – located in the south-east of Tanzania – is the largest reserve in Africa (larger than Lower Saxony) with an area of ​​55,000 km² and is located at an altitude of 200 to 500 m above sea level.

Wildlife is completely protected in the national parks and human settlement is not allowed. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the area around the Ngorongoro Crater, is an exception. This area received a special status, which grants the Masai, the nomadic residents of northern Tanzania (Fig. 2), limited grazing rights for their cattle, but does not allow arable farming.

For visitors to national parks and game reserves, certain rules of conduct apply. It may z. B. no plants are picked or destroyed. The areas visited must be left clean and loud noise must be avoided. Feeding the wild animals is prohibited. The vehicles may only be left at the designated places and rest areas.

All of these rules serve to preserve and protect the landscapes and the animals in their natural environment.

In total, almost a quarter of the land area of ​​Tanzania (approx. 230,000 km²) has been declared a protected area for plants and animals. This is an unprecedented achievement in the world. The Tanzanian government – despite serious social problems in the country – pursues a policy of preserving and protecting the wildlife and largely refrains from commercial use of the wildlife. Through organized hunting safaris or big game hunts with controlled shooting rates, the government tries to keep interventions in the life cycle of nature as low as possible. But Tanzania is financially unable to access all of the protected areasto entertain alone. International cooperation is necessary, and UNESCO is also participating in this task and has declared some protected areas (e.g. Serengeti National Park, Kilimsandjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Selous Game Reserve) to be world heritage sites.

The Northern Tanzanian National Parks and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Tanzanian national parks Serengeti, Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Aruscha and Kilimanjaro as well as the Ngorongoro reserve are briefly presented below. These national parks are all in the area of ​​the
East African Rift, which was created by continental drift in the Tertiary (60 to 30 million years ago) from sunken or raised and tipped floes. The raised parts form a mighty highland threshold that is visible from afar. In connection with this fracture tectonics, enormous volcanism has occurred at the threshold edges or in areas of the greatest elevation and fragmentation. This has the volcanoes of the Kilimanjaro massif, the Meru volcano and the volcanoes in Area of ​​the giant crater around the Ngorongoro (Fig. 3).

The East African rift system, which begins around the Zambezi and to which the East African Rift and the Central Asian Rift to the west of it belong, continues over the Abyssinian Rift, the Red Sea and the Jordan Rift with the Dead Sea to the Taurus Mountains in Asia Minor. The East African Trench is part of a huge trench approx. 8000 km long, which in Africa can be between 50 and 400 km wide.

The terms “Great East African Rift Valley” and ” Great Rift Valley” are also used for the East African Rift.related. These names go back to the Scotsman JOHN WALTER GREGORY. In 1893 on his expedition in the Masai area, he provided evidence that it was a collapsed ditch, a “Rift Valley”. Before that, the Scot J. THOMSON had reached or discovered the Naivasha and Baringo Lakes, the German H. BAUMANN the Manyara and the Hungarian Count TELEKI had reached or discovered the Turkana Lake. The evaluation of their reports showed that these and other lakes ran like a chain from north to south. From this, the Austrian geologist E. SUEß, who had never been to Africa himself, concluded in 1891 that the strip of land from the Jordan to Lake Malawi had been broken up by earth movements, a ditch had formed and the chain of lakes marked its fault line. GREGORY was of SWEET’s opinion that after the breakup of the southern continent of Gondwana (and the formation of the southern continents of Africa, India and South America 280 to 190 million years ago), recent expansion processes have led to the formation of a rift. He finally proved this by precisely comparing identical rock layers from different plates on Lake Baringo in what is now Kenya. GREGOREY capsized and drowned in a canoe in Peru in 1932.

Protected Areas of Tanzania