Welcome to our travel stories!
10 Record breaking facts about Tanzania
By Flo Montgomery and David Liebst of Adventure Camps of Tanzania
Tanzania has all the good stuff….
Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, contains the highest mountain (Kilimanjaro) and the deepest lake (Lake Tanganyika) in Africa. It has one of the largest elephant populations in Africa, and current efforts - down to the Tanzanian’s themselves - to stop the poaching of elephants are very successful. In the past, losses have been catastrophic, worsened by the sale of stockpiled confiscated ivory.
Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact caldera in the world.
With more than 4 million wild animals, and representatives of 430 species and subspecies, Tanzania has the largest concentration of animals per square kilometer, in the world. Tanzania contains some 20 percent of the species of Africa’s large mammal population, found across its reserves, conservation areas, marine parks, and 17 national parks, spread over an area of more than 42,000 square kilometres (16,000 sq mi) and forming a stunning total of approximately 38 percent of the country's territory. Wildlife resources of Tanzania are described as "without parallel in Africa" and "the prime game viewing country".
Of Africa’s almost 2,500 bird species, Tanzania holds over 1100, similar to Kenya with 1106, and to the Congo with 1130.
The Ruaha National Park holds 10% of the world’s lion population. Ruaha National Park is the largest in Tanzania. The addition of the Usangu Game Reserve and other important wetlands to the park in 2008 increased its size to about 20,226 square kilometres (7,809 sq mi), making it the largest park in East Africa and larger than the Kruger National Park in South Africa. It has over 570 bird species recorded.
The Selous Game Reserve, 54,000 sq km in size is the largest protected wilderness reserve in Africa, with over 440 bird species. It has the largest population of African wild dogs in Africa. These animals are one of the most endangered species in the world. Like other dogs, African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) are highly social. They usually live in packs of six to twenty individuals with a dominant breeding pair. They communicate through a variety of vocalizations, movements and touch. The scientific name for the African Wild dog means “painted wolf”. No two wild dogs have the same markings, which makes them easily identifiable as individuals. African wild dogs have huge home ranges and are constant wanderers. In the Serengeti the estimated size of each pack’s territory is 1,500 km2. An area the size of Greater London, which is home to 7.5 million people, could therefore only support one or two African wild dog packs. Unlike many other species, once they reach maturity it is the males that stay within their natal pack while females migrate and join new packs. Pups that are old enough to eat solid food are given priority at a kill, even over the dominant pair. The dogs have a peculiar rather playful ceremony that bonds them for a common purpose and initiates each hunt. They start circulating among the other pack members, vocalising and touching until they get excited and are ready to hunt.
In 1960 Jane Goodall began the study of the behaviour of free-living chimpanzees in the Gombe National Park of Tanzania that still stands as the longest-running study of its kind in the world.
The Udzungwa Mountains National Park is a park without roads and is Tanzania’s first National Park created primarily to protect flora rather than fauna. That said, The Udzungwa Mountains are one of the most important areas in Africa for primate diversity and conservation, with two endemic monkeys (Udzungwa red colobus Procolobus gordonorum and Sanje mangabey Cercocebus [galeritus] sanjei), and the near-endemic kipunji monkey (Rungwecebus kipunji), a new genus and species discovered in 2004 and found in Udzungwa and the Southern Highlands. With six species of galagos, or bushbabies, the area is also of exceptional importance for nocturnal primates.
Zanzibar never fails to evoke the exotic, the magic of ancient times, from early explorers and missionaries, to slave traders and colonial rulers. All this is mirrored in Stone Town and its historical architecture and the rich ethnic mixture of its culture. In the towns’ narrow streets, every sight, every glance conjures up the romantic past. Beyond Stone Town are silver sandy beaches with superb resorts. Zanzibar is a tropical paradise that dreams are made from. It is in fact an archipelago, and other known islands are Pemba, Mafia and Fanjove in the SongoSongo Archipelago.
There are 162 different tribes living in Tanzania, each one unique.
Fundi’s cubs - the leopards of Ruaha
Some years ago we wrote about an unusual leopard that frequents the area around Mdonya Old River camp in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.
We assumed that this male leopard and his sister may have been orphaned while very young – the mother was not seen. The male was often seen around the camp, which is set in the northwest of the park, in a wilderness forest of trees and bushes far from any other settlements.
He particularly liked to visit the garage area of the camp, and nose around the vehicles. So the camp staff nicknamed him “Fundi” – which means mechanic in Kiswahili.
“Fundi” by Micol Farina in September 2011
The first image I can find of Fundi is from 2011 – taken by Micol Farina, the camps manager for Mdonya and its sister camp, Lake Manze in Selous. We think he was about 1 year to 18 months old at that time.
Fundi inspects car by Bobby Jewell
In that year Bobby Jewell visited Mdonya Old River camp and took this film of Fundi inspecting the car in which they sat – a rather scary experience!
Fundi in July 2017 – photo by Andrea Pompele
Since then, Fundi has been seen regularly every year in the Mdonya area, and has slowly grown into a magnificent male leopard.
Now we have some wonderful news about some possible offspring of Fundi, a new generation!
Photos of Fundi’s son by Andrea Pompele in July 2017
This week, Rebecca Phillips, one of the managers at Mdonya camp wrote:
“We have recently seen two leopard cubs together in the thick bushes just off the main road in to camp. We think this is where the mother hides them while she is away searching for prey. The leopard we think is the mother has been seen on a few occasions, once she was seen together with a big male and the guides could hear the cubs in the bushes but couldn't see them.
Fundi’s daughter – photo by Andrea Pompele in July 2017
One is a male, the other a little girl. She is more shy and tends to hang back in the bushes and I didn't see her the other day but I suspect she was hiding nearby when I filmed the male.
Due to the young male’s behaviour being so similar to that of Fundi when he was young – he is very curious and approaches the vehicles in the same way – and the fact that Fundi is one of several big male leopards in the Mdonya woodland, we feel that it is possible that he is the father.
The drivers and guides are very excited about having another leopard around that is so relaxed around the vehicles and hopefully we will continue to get many good sightings of him and his sister.”