Imagine finding yourself under the vast African sky in the middle of one of the last expanses of true wilderness left on our planet, surrounded by animals - at night listening to the haunting and mysterious sounds of night predators and their prey as the drama of their interactions unfold. This safari will allow you ample time to visit the famous wildlife areas of Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarangire. These parks are world famous icons, and offer probably the best game viewing in Africa. Our safari is run at a leisurely pace, ensuring plenty of time to explore the different regions – and particularly the Serengeti, where three nights are spent at our intimate tented camp.
Arrive Kilimanjaro International airport. On arrival you will be met and transferred to Arusha for the night. Overnight on a bed and breakfast basis.
This morning we head off quite early, with a picnic lunch, in order to spend quality time in Tarangire National park, exploring this beautiful park – with baobabs lined up like sentries guarding
the hills. The park boasts good herds of elephant (particularly in the drier months), as well as various plains game, lions, leopard and excellent birding. It hosts the greatest concentration of
wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem - a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately fringeeared oryx and peculiar long-necked
gerenuk are regularly observed. During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors scatter over a 20,000 sq km (12,500 sq miles) range until they exhaust the green plains and the river calls once
more. But Tarangire's mobs of elephant are easily encountered, wet or dry. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird varieties, the most breeding species in one habitat
anywhere in the world.
From Tarangire, we head up the escarpment – pausing to admire the views of Lake Manyara below – glimmering pink with the tinge of flamingos. Lake Manyara is a shallow, alkaline lake at the base
of a sheer stretch of the western Rift Valley escarpment. We continue through to Karatu to overnight.
Today we head into Ngorongoro Conservation area, and after driving steadily down the steep 610 metre sides of the crater, we enjoy spectacular game viewing in the crater – which is almost
guaranteed to turn up four of the Big Five, as well as a rich variety of birds, all viewed against the backdrop of the thickly forested crater walls. Picnic lunch in the
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the natural wonders of the world. A large volcanic caldera, with an area of 259 square kilometres, it contains a huge variety of game and birds and is often referred
to as a microcosm of Africa with its dramatic weather changes and varied terrains consisting of forest, grasslands and both freshwater and soda lakes.
Depart the Ngorongoro region, en route to the Serengeti, with picnic lunch, there is the opportunity to stop off at Olduvai Gorge for a short visit and an insight into history of the region.
There is an additional cost for this (see below) payable direct.
It is at Olduvai Gorge where, in 1959, Mary Leakey made her ground-breaking discovery of a hominid (human-like) skull dating back 1.8 million years. Since then other hominid species, possibly our
early ancestors, have been found in the area dating as far back as 3.7 million years. The whole area is often referred to as the ‘cradle of mankind.’ There is also time to visit a Masai village
(also optional) before continuing to the Serengeti Wilderness Camp, or Ndutu/North Wilderness Camp, to settle in for the evening. All meals included. When you confirm your preferred dates of
travel, we will advise which camp you will be staying at).
Two more full days in the Serengeti, with plenty of time to do some game drives as well as visit the education centre which provides some interesting information on this vast park.
The Serengeti is unequalled for its beauty and contains more than three million large mammals spread over the vast endless plains. It is here, at certain times of the year, that we may encounter the breathtaking spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration, where one and a quarter million wildebeest trek in columns of up to forty kilometres long in search of grazing, drawing with them their predators and numerous other species of game. From January to March the herds can largely be found in the southern area, proceeding north through the centre and Western Corridor during June and July before entering Kenya’s Masai Mara. They return south in November to repeat this amazing instinctive procession all over again.
Africa’s most famous national park covers an area of almost 15000 sq km and is world-renowned for its dense predator population and the annual wildebeest migration. The park is part of the much large Serengeti eco-system, which includes Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve, and encompasses more than double this area.
The greater part of the park is open grassland, patches of acacia woodland and isolated areas of granite rock outcrops called koppies. Animal migration is linked to the annual rainfall patterns and its effect on their feeding habitats. Formerly the home of the Maasai tribe who displaced the Datoga pastoralists in the 17th century, the name Serengeti is derived from the Maasai word serengit, meaning ‘endless plain’. The national park was created by the Tanzania Government in 1951 and became famous through the work of Professor Bernard Grzimek (in particular his book ‘Serengeti Shall Not Die’).
Huge herds of wildebeest and zebra can be found here along with smaller concentrations of Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, impala, kongoni, Kirk’s dik dik, klipspringer and small numbers of roan, oryx, oribi, eland and waterbuck. There are also significant numbers of buffalo, giraffe and warthog. Elephants are relatively scarce on the open plains, and more common in the northern areas and the western corridor. The few remaining black rhinos are restricted to an inaccessible part of the park – so one doesn’t often see them. But the most popular animals to be found here in greater abundance than elsewhere on the northern circuit are the cats. Lions, cheetahs and leopard may all be seen here along with other predators, such as the spotted hyena, golden and black-backed jackals, wild cats and servals. All meals included. Overnight Serengeti Wilderness Camp.
NB: Balloon safari If you would like to go on an early morning balloon safari over the Serengeti, this will be possible if you are at our central camp in the Serengeti. Please note that balloon
safaris can only be organised by PRE-ARRANGEMENT and there is an additional cost for this.
Transfer to the Seronera airstrip for your (optional) flight to Arusha – mid morning. Or return by road to Arusha. It is an exceptionally scenic flight (weather dependent) over the highlands of
Ngorongoro, across the vast expanse of the Rift Valley escarpments, and the green coffee plantations surrounding Arusha airport. We recommend flying rather than driving. (Enquire for airfare.)
Overnight Arusha on a bed and breakfast basis.
Transfer to Kilimanjaro Intl airport for your flight out.