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‘From Russia With Love!’ Strange Safari links Moscow and Zanzibar with New Nyerere National Park

East Africa’s largest National Park gets Russian, Polish tourists from beach to bush

Russian Visitors Landing at Mtemere Airstrip ready for game drives inside Nyerere National Park (Photo: Tanzania Times Images)

The New Nyerere National Park has some extraordinary connection with Zanzibar where it has been discovered that tourists from mostly Moscow and Warsaw who visit the Islands, link their itinerary with the country’s largest National Park.

Almost daily, Nyerere National Park records between three and five flights from Zanzibar, landing mostly at the Mtemere Airstrip, with International travelers that have been enjoying beach tourism in the isles, flying into the Game Park for wildlife experience.

Seth Mihayo is the Conservator in-charge of Tourism at the Nyerere National Park. He states that this uncanny alliance in tourism between the two destinations can be attributed to the easier and faster flights between Zanzibar and Tanzania’s largest Game Park.

“Plus the fact that Nyerere, being still a new and featuring hardly trodden reserves, boasts abundance of wildlife that can be viewed within a very short time after the tourists disembark from the planes at the Mtemere Gate Airstrip,” he added.

Is Nyerere National Park the ‘New Serengeti’ in town?

Italian Job?

While it has been stated that many of the visitors who enjoy networking their travel itineraries between beach tourism in Unguja and Pemba with wildlife spotting at Nyerere National Park usually come from Russia and Poland, Italian visitors are also joining the adventure.

“It takes less than 45 minutes to fly from Zanzibar to Nyerere National Park,” explains Tomasz Dworczyk, a travel agent based at Unguja, who handles mostly itineraries of visitors from Poland.

“This makes Nyerere National Park more accessible than say Serengeti or Tarangire and therefore we fly tourists from the Isles into Nyerere for game driving or walking safaris within a day, before they return to Zanzibar,” added Mr Dworczyk.

Driver and Tour Guide, Patrick Joseph Haule explains further that under the ‘Beach to Bush’ initiative, many of the visitors from the Isles who tour Nyerere National Park prefer alternative forms of tourism that can only be experienced there and nowhere else.

“Nyerere offers boat safaris on large rivers, this type of tourism is exclusive for the National Park, as well as large herds of elephants that can be moving together in groups of between 30 and 50 or more,” explained Haule.

Panthera Leo

Nyerere is also home to more than 50 percent of the country’s Lion population.

As it happens, Tanzania has the largest number of lions compared to other African countries, according to the recent released global zoological report. The country has more than 15,000 such cats, which means over 7000 of them are hunting in the National Park. 

Six piece, Leo orchestra at Nyerere Park

Encompassing nearly 31,000 square kilometers, Nyerere National Park which was carved from the Selous Game Reserve in 2019, is essentially the largest in East and Central Africa and according to the Acting Commissioner of Conservation Dr Emilian Samuel Kihwele, the destination is home to nearly 500 bird species.

Dr Kihwele, with a poster of water wading giraffes at Nyerere behind him

“Nyerere may be only three years old but the National Park is already attracting over 100,000 foreign visitors yearly and producing revenue of more than 3 billion/- per annum,” said Dr Kihwele.

“Nyerere National Park combines it all into one package. Marine tourism in rivers and lakes found within the precinct, abundant wildlife species, birds watching, canoeing safaris, cultural attractions from the Wang’indo Migration trails and holy trees and historical traces of Maji-Maji rebellion and World Wars sceneries.”

Dr Emilian S. Kihwele

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