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Serengeti National Park and its Highway, Tanzania

The government proposed a 480 km tarmac road to connect Arusha to Musoma, passing through Serengeti National Park. The ANAW opposed it, the East African Court of Justice ruled against it in 2014.


The Serengeti National Park (SENAPA), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Important Bird Area, is a home to over 450 bird species including three Tanzanian endemics and two globally threatened species, the Grey-Crested Helmet Shrike and Karamoja Apalis. It also holds approximately a third of the remaining populations of Ruppells vulture.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Serengeti National Park and its Highway, Tanzania
State or province:Arusha Region
Location of conflict:Ngorongoro District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Tourism services

Biological resources
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The government of Tanzania proposed to develop a highway consisting of a 480 km tarmac road to connect Arusha to Musoma, with a 53km stretch of the road passing through Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. This road will connect the two major ports on Lake Victoria (Mwanza and Musoma) to Dar es Salaam on Indian Ocean.

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Level of Investment:480000000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2010
Relevant government actors:Tanzanian National Roads Agency, Government of Tanzania, , Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism
International and Finance InstitutionsFederal Government of Germany from Germany
East African Court of Justice (EACJ)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nature Kenya, Wildlife Direct, Royal Society for Protection of Birds, African Network for Animal Welfare (ANAW).
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Other Environmental impacts-Increased road kills of wildlife.
-Disruption of the wildebeest migratory route.
-Increased human interference within the national park and easy access for poachers.
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impacts-Loss of revenue from tourism
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Application of existing regulations
Project cancelled
Development of alternatives:A Land Use Plan supported by Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) could be carried out for Northern Tanzania, to examine options for meeting transport needs while integrating these with environmental objectives and needs of the local people.
An alternative southern route to the section of the highway passing through Serengeti National Park. This route could be more beneficial to the Tanzanian residents and avoid disturbing the Serengeti ecosystem.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Construction of the first section of the high way was already ongoing without any clear statements from the government on the 53km Serengeti stretch of the road or alternative route.
2. The case presented by ANAW to the East African Court of Justice against the highway was decided on 20June 2014 against the construction of the highway (1).
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

The Animal Welfare Act 2008;

The Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority Act 2001;

The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania; -The Wildlife Conservation Act 2009;

The Environment Management Act 2004;

The Tourism Act 2008.

(1) East African Court of Justice. Ruling against contruction of the highway, 20 June 2014
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Wild Life Direct
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Serengeti Watch
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Africa Geographic. The Serengeti highway battle won, the war with the courts continues. Posted on July 30, 2014 by Friends of Serengeti. The East African Court of Justice ruled against a paved commercial highway through Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Although a great victory, the ruling contains ‘potholes.
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Other documents

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Meta information
Contributor:Serah Munguti
Last update03/05/2014
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