Tanzania National Parks


Over fifty years ago     the  first President of the United     Republic of Tanzania, the     late Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere,     recognized the integral part wildlife plays     in this  country. In September 1961 at a symposium on the Conservation of Nature and     Natural Resources, he  gave a speech that laid the     foundation for conservation  in post-independent     Tanzania. The extract of  that speech has become 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 theyinhabit 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 well being.

In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife, we solemnly  declare that we will do  everything in our power to make sure  that our children’s  grandchildren will be able to enjoy this rich and precious inheritance.

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

Giraffe in the sunset

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The  Tanganyika National Parks Ordinance CAP [412] of 1959 established the  organization now known as Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and Serengeti  became the first National Park. Currently TANAPA is  governed by the National Parks Ordinance Chapter 282 of the 2002 revised  edition of the Laws of the United Republic of Tanzania. Conservation in  Tanzania is governed by the Wildlife Conservation Act of 1974, which allows the  Government to establish protected areas and outlines how these are to be  organized and managed. National Parks represent the highest level of resource  protection that can be provided. By 2014, TANAPA had  grown to 16 national parks, covering approximately 57,024 square kilometres as  follows:

S/N Name Area (km2)
1. Ruaha National Park 20,300
2. Serengeti National Park 14,763
3. Katavi National Park  4,471
4. Mkomazi National Park 3,245
5. Mikumi National Park 3,230
6. Tarangire National Park 2,600
7. Udzungwa Mountains National Park 1,900
8. Kilimanjaro National Park 1,668
9. Mahale Mountains National Park 1,618
10. Saadani National Park 1,100
11. Arusha National Park       552
12. Rubondo Island National Park      457
13. Kitulo National Park      413
14. Lake Manyara National Park      648
15. Gombe National Park       56
16. Saanane National Park        2.8
 TOTAL  57,023.8

Conservation of eco-systems and tourism development in all areas designated as  national parks is the core business of the organisation.
Nature-based or wildlife tourism is the main source of income that is ploughed back  for management, regulation and fulfilment of all organisational mandates in the  national parks.                                

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Principal activities

The primary role of Tanzania National Parks  is conservation. The 16 national parks, many of which form the core of a much  larger protected ecosystem, have been set aside to preserve the country’s rich  natural heritage and to provide secure breeding grounds where its fauna and  flora can thrive, safe from the conflicting interests of a growing human  population.

TANAPA is  particularly charged with functions of:

  • Protection of  natural resources, park facilities and tourists visiting the  parks;
  • Park management  and development;
  • Ecological and  wildlife health monitoring;
  • Tourism  development ; and
  • Community  involvement in conservation efforts.

VISION               Sustainable  Conservation and Tourism Excellence

MISSION           Sustainable Conservation for  Development

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To manage and  regulate the use of areas designated as National Parks by such means and  measures to preserve the country’s heritage, encompassing natural and cultural  resources, both tangible and intangible resource values, including the fauna  and flora, wildlife habitat, natural processes, wilderness quality and scenery  therein and to provide for human benefit and enjoyment of the same in such  manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations.


Mwalimu  J.K. Nyerere Conservation Centre,   Burka  Estate, Dodoma Road,   P.O.  Box 3134, Arusha.   Telephone:  +255 27 2503471/2501930   Fax:         +255  27 2508216   Email: dg@tanzaniaparks.com                info@tanzaniaparks.com   Website:www.tanzaniaparks.com


Ministry  of Natural Resources & Tourism,   P.O. Box 9372, Dar es Salaam. Tel:        +255  22 2864230                   +255 22 2861870 / 74 Fax:        +255 22 2864234 Email:  ps@mnrt.go.tz Websitewww.mnrt.go.tz


CONTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL   Office  of the Controller and Auditor General,   The  National Audit Office, Samora/Ohio Street,   P.O.  Box  9080, Dar es Salaam.   Telephone:  +255 22 211 5157   Facsimile:  +255 22   211 7527   Email:    ocag@nao.go.tz   Website: www.nao.go.tz


CRDB  (T) Ltd   National  Bank of Commerce Ltd   National  Microfinance Bank Ltd   Exim  Bank (T) Ltd

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Governing  Instruments

Being a parastatal organization, TANAPA is  governed by a number of instruments including the National Parks Act, Chapter  282 of the 2002 (Revised Edition) and the Wildlife Conservation Act No. 5 of  2009. Others are the National Policies for National Parks in Tanzania (reviewed  in 2013), the five year Corporate Strategic Plan (CSP), parks’ specific General  Management Plans (GMPs), the Development and Lease Agreement Procedures (DALP),  as well as other relevant national laws and policies.

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Protection  of Park Resources, Facilities and Visitors

It is the responsibility of TANAPA to  ensure security and safety of visitors, park inhabitants, wildlife and park  infrastructures. Although security is the responsibility of every park  inhabitant, the Organization has rangers who are directly responsible for this.           To ensure that rangers are equipped with  the right skills to execute their duties, different kinds of training are  conducted and equipment procured to ease their tasks. Training focuses on  wildlife protection, strategic field patrol methods, intelligence gathering  operations and use of modern intelligence and security equipment.

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Ecosystem  Health Monitoring and Management

HippoThe national parks are endowed with rich  and diverse habitats and ecosystems which support diverse wildlife populations.  Regular monitoring of these systems is done in order to have an early warning  of future scenarios. Weather parameters are monitored in all the parks  throughout the year. Wildlife censuses are carried out in the parks regularly  to establish population sizes, trends and distribution.           Regular environmental audits are conducted  for visitors’ facilities and recommendations suggested to rectify the anomalies  observedl  All development projects  undertaken in the parks are subject to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)  studies.           Wildlife health in all the national parks  is closely monitored. Inventory, mapping and eradication of invasive exotic  species is conducted in affected parks. Early burning is conducted to mitigate  the impact of dry season hot fires and to preserve forage for herbivores for  the dry season. This is achieved through the mosaic of burned and unburned  patches created by the early burning fires.     Wildlife related research in the national  parks is encouraged in collaboration with the Tanzania Wildlife Research  Institute (TAWIRI).

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Community  Support and Conservation Education

Beach hutDifferent approaches are adopted to provide  conservation education to various conservation stakeholders.           The Organization extends financial support  to 577 villages bordering national parks for implementation of community  development projects through the program of Support for Community Initiated  Projects (SCIP). These projects focus on education, health, transportation and  water supply.     The organization is conducting a  feasibility study to adopt a TANAPA Income Generating Projects (TIGPs) as a  complement to SCIP where Community Conservation Banks (COCOBA) and Village  Community Banks (VICOBA) will be introduced. The aim is to effectively contribute  to poverty alleviation for the communities living around the national parks,  while gaining their support for conservation.

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Contribution  to Conservation Collaborators

The Organization appreciates the role  played by sister institutions in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism  and others in helping it to achieve its mandate. In reciprocation of the good  spirit and efforts, TANAPA extends required support to such institutions as the  College of African of Wildlife Management, Mweka, Pasiansi Wildlife Training  College, TAWIRI and Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB).

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Tourism Development and Promotion

WaterfallThe  Organization continues to embrace tourism as its main source of revenue for its  operations. For that reason, TANAPA continues to ensure that more tourism products  and activities are developed and promoted to  diversify the tourism experience in the parks. Analysis indicates that newly  developed tourist attractions have a significant annual average growth in  popularity, park value and visitor experience and hence visitor satisfaction.

As one of the  marketing strategies the Organization in collaboration with other stakeholders  continues to aggressively promote the country’s tourist attractions both  locally and internationally.

In order to promote domestic tourism,  TANAPA continues to build affordable accommodation facilities in the parks and  encourages the private sector to invest in the provision of logistic services  targeting the local market.

Improvement of  tourist facilities in the parks and their surroundings is emphasized too.

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Tourism Performance

Tented CampAverage annual  growth of tourist numbers for the past five years i.e. from 2008/2009 to  2012/2013 was 55,712 which is 8.1 %.  Annual  revenue growth for the same period was TZS 12.11 billion, which is 10.9 %. This  has been made possible through efforts made by the Organization to market the  unique attractions the country is endowed within its national parks as well as  ever improving customer services offered by TANAPA employees and other  stakeholders in the hospitality industry.

In 2012/2013,  the number of tourists recorded in our National Parks was 901,892, of which  537,675 were foreign tourists and 364,217 were locals.

Likewise,  revenue generated was TZS 124.806 billion in the year 2012/2013 which is an  increase of 0.04% compared to the previous year’s revenue which was TZS 124.758  billion. As it has been in many past years, Kilimanjaro and Serengeti National  Parks continue to generate a surplus while Arusha, Tarangire and Lake Manyara  National Parks generated revenue sufficient to break even. Efforts are being  made to ensure that Arusha, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks generate  surplus revenue and the “dependant” national parks (the remaining eleven parks)  at least break even and thus get away from dependency syndrome.  


Victor R. Ketanss