Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, Tanzania. We provide a group transfer to our lovely garden lodge at the foot of Mt. Meru, located about 7km outside of Arusha. Check into your room and enjoy a well-earned rest. All meals on your own.
We depart Arusha for the Meserani Snake Park, which provides an up-close introduction to some of the most interesting snakes in Africa: the Green Mamba, Egyptian Cobra, Puff Adder and more. We continue our drive to Tarangire Park, one of the less-visited parks on the northern circuit. This lovely park is famous for its legendary elephant herds and its unusual palm and baobab groves. After settling into the lodging we use for the next two evenings, we head out into the park for a late afternoon game run. Keep a sharp lookout for the famous tree-climbing lions. This evening there is time to cool off in the swimming pool or relax on the veranda to enjoy your first African gloaming. All meals included.
A full day of wildlife viewing! In the dry season Tarangire is second only to Ngorongoro Crater in concentrations of wildlife. There's no doubt we'll see elephants, wildebeests, buffalo, zebra, gazelle, impala and baboons. Keep your camera and binoculars close at hand! We enjoy a picnic lunch en-route and return to our lodge for dinner. All meals included.
Departing Tarangire, we head west to the Lake Manyara area, arriving in time for lunch at our lodging. Each comfortable tented camp is set high on the edge of the Great Rift Valley, providing panoramic views eastward over Lake Manyara, the Rift floor and Mt. Losimingori. We visit Lake Manyara Park in the late afternoon to view and photograph the wildlife during their more active period at dusk. A small, verdant park located at the base of the Great Rift, Lake Manyara is more tropical than other parks we visit, and it supports a huge birdlife population as well as giraffe, zebra and antelope. The birdlife at our lodge is amazing as well, with over 350 species spotted and recorded. Look for the Kori bustard, the heaviest flying bird. All meals included.
Start the day with a chance to stretch your legs. Depending on the group's interest, enjoy a hike or cycle through the surrounding countryside. There may be time to visit the extensive crafts market in the local village of Mto Wa Mbu. This provides a fun opportunity to barter and to interact with the local artisans while supporting their craft. Following lunch at the lodge, we drive to the outskirts of the Ngorongoro Crater. Our home for the next two nights is an intimate, eco-friendly lodge nestled away on a working farm where organic coffee and produce are grown. There are several short optional activities around the farm which kids are sure to enjoy. Try your hand at milking a cow, attend a coffee roasting demonstration, or take a guided walk to a nearby waterfall and the "elephant caves." Your guide will discuss with you which options are available given the time of day, and their associated costs. Or, relax with a cup of tea, take in the views of the lush countryside and stroll the lovely grounds of the plantation. Farm-style organically grown food is guaranteed to satisfy all tastes. All meals included.
Today is a highlight of everyone’s visit to northern Tanzania – a trip into the huge Ngorongoro Crater. The Maasai refer to the Crater as the “footprint of God.” Your first glimpse into the crater from its rim is breathtaking – a wildlife sanctuary over three hundred square miles in size spread out some two thousand feet below you. We spend today exploring the diversity and richness of this gorgeous park. Over 20,000 mammals call this crater their permanent home including prides of lions, cheetah, giraffe, elephant, hippos and the rare black rhino. At the heart of the crater's 10-mile wide grassland plain lies a soda lake that attracts vast numbers of flamingo and other water birds. The Maasai have watered their cattle in the crater seemingly forever. This is truly a magical setting teeming with wildlife and with a human history as rich as the crater is beautiful. This afternoon, after returning from the Crater, we stop at the local village of Elkopussi and visit a primary school where kids have the chance to meet their Tanzanian counterparts and learn something of each others' lives. All meals included.
Perhaps the most famous of the Tanzanian parks is the Serengeti, our destination for the next two evenings. On our way to the Serengeti we make a stop at Olduvai Gorge, commonly referred to as the cradle of mankind. This is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution.
The Maasai call the Serengeti the “Siringitu” meaning “the place where the land moves on forever.” This is most certainly a reference to the constant movement of the huge numbers of animals that live in the vast savannahs of the Serengeti. It is one of the largest and last remaining wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The extensive grasslands are dotted with “kopjes” or rocky outcroppings that, like islands in the plains, form their own wildlife communities. Have your cameras and binoculars ready, but take time to soak up the smells, sounds and sights with all senses unencumbered. Overnight at a classic, remote, intimate tented-camp complete with a pool and verandas opening to views that extend forever. All meals included.
Today we have a full day to enjoy the splendor of the Serengeti. Depending upon the season and your luck, you might have the opportunity to witness the largest migration of mammals on earth. Regardless, you most certainly will see hundreds of animals including zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, topi, hyena, eland, warthogs, giraffe and various predators such as hyena, lion, cheetah, and the elusive leopard. Return once again to our camp, cool off in the pool and sip a glass of wine or fresh mango juice. Sleep soundly one final night under the dark African skies, listening to the myriad sounds that define the ancient wildness of this spectacular place. All meals included.
Departing the Serengeti, we fly to Arusha, arriving in time for lunch at a lodge where we have the use of day rooms. The afternoon is free to enjoy on your own. We provide a group transfer to the Kilimanjaro airport for flights home. Breakfast and lunch included; dinner on your own.
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