Tanzania is highly biodiverse and contains a wide variety of animal habitats.
It is home to about 130 amphibian and over 275 reptile species & has the largest lion population in the world which are protected by 21 national parks, plus a variety of game and forest reserves, including the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The National parks, reserves, 1 conservation area, and 3 marine parks spread over a zone of in excess of 42,000 square kilometres (16,000 sq. mi) and shaping around 38% of the nation’s area.
Since the colonial era, wildlife conservation in Tanzania has been the prerogative of the government. Under this structure, the use of wildlife resources by local communities had always been restrictive, causing increased rural poverty and poaching. In recent years, the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) has initiated corrective actions to involve the local community in conservation efforts, which is aimed at contribution to local economies by way of equitable benefits sharing.
Tanzania has a varied geography, including deep and large freshwater and salt lakes and Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m or 19,341 ft)
Northeast Tanzania is mountainous and includes Mount Meru, an active volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano, and the Usambara and Pare mountain ranges.
West of those mountains is the Gregory Rift, which is the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley. On the floor of the rift are a number of large salt lakes, including Natron in the north, Manyara in the south, and Eyasi in the southwest.
The rift also encompasses the Crater Highlands, which includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Ngorongoro Crater. Just to the south of Lake Natron is Ol Doinyo Lengai (3,188 m or 10,459 ft), the world’s only active volcano to produce natrocarbonatite lava.
To the west of the Crater Highlands lies Serengeti National Park.
Just to the southeast of the park is Olduvai Gorge, where many of the oldest hominid fossils and artifacts have been found.
Tanzania has a tropical climate but has regional variations due to topography. In the highlands, temperatures range between 10 and 20 °C (50 and 68 °F) during cold and hot seasons respectively.
The rest of the country has temperatures rarely falling lower than 20 °C (68 °F). The hottest period extends between November and February (25–31 °C or 77.0–87.8 °F) while the coldest period occurs between May and August (15–20 °C or 59–68 °F).
Seasonal rainfall is driven mainly by the migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. It migrates southwards through Tanzania in October to December, reaching the south of the country in January and February, and returning northwards in March, April, and May.
This causes the north and east of Tanzania to experience two distinct wet periods – the short rains (or “Vuli”) in October to December and the long rains (or “Masika”) from March to May – while the southern, western, and central parts of the country experience one wet season that continues October through to April or May.