Experience eight days of breathless adventure on safari in northern Tanzania with this odyssey that explores three national parks and a conservation area. ‘Safari’ comes from the Swahili word for ‘journey’ and over the course of this unforgettable itinerary, you will undertake a journey like no other: you will discover some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world, come face to face with wildlife and encounter intriguing cultures.
Maasai: Pass Maasai villages between the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, and watch herdsmen bring their cattle to graze on the rim of the crater
Big cats: Observe lions, leopards and cheetahs relentlessly track wildebeest during the wet season Great Migration (subject to wildlife movement)
Flamingos: See lakes take a shimmering pink appearance when thousands of these birds flock to them in wet season
A wide range of optional excursions and pre and post-programme extensions are available on request. Please ask tour designer Taqi Moledina for rates and conditions
Tarangire National Park: Lush and green wetlands provide an ideal habitat for hundreds of species of birds
Lake Manyara National Park: A lush habitat where tree-climbing lions, huge hippos and zebra and wildebeest herds can be seen
Ngorongoro Crater: The planet’s largest intact volcanic caldera is a world within a world in which humans and wildlife cohabit
Serengeti National Park: Home to millions of wild animals and location of the great wildebeest migration every year
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport, where you are met by a representative and transferred to Olasiti Lodge, located just south of Arusha city centre. The lodge features spacious rooms that combine the best of modern comforts with traditional African designs. The rooms look out onto the beautifully landscaped gardens. Relax by the pool or maybe head to the atmospheric bar as you prepare for the adventure of a lifetime over the coming days.
Enjoy breakfast and a morning of leisure in the genteel surroundings of the lodge. Lunch is at own expense. In the afternoon, take your seat in the safari vehicle and depart Arusha in a westerly direction, passing through the Maasai Steppe, a landscape dotted with many pastoral villages as well as maize, coffee and banana plantations. Continue towards your accommodation, either the magnificent Maramboi Tented Camp or luxurious Lake Burunge Tented Camp. Situated on the eastern shore of Lake Manyara, Maramboi offers breathtaking views of Manyara National Park, the Great Rift Valley, the Crater Highlands and, on clear days, even Oldonyo Lengai, the sacred mountain of the Maasai. The African-style cabins and tents blend into the surroundings and are slightly hidden by trees and other vegetation, which means that wildlife often approaches them. All are en suite and have private verandas. An elevated pool surrounded by wooden decking offers a relaxing escape as well as somewhere from where to take in the endless vistas of rolling golden grasslands and the palm-lined semi-desert between Tarangire and Lake Manyara. The accommodation at Lake Burunge Tented Camp is of an equal standard, with 20 tent rooms and 10 lodge rooms featuring traditional safari themes and décor such as four-poster beds with netting, and a thatched roof. Enjoy stunning views over Lake Burunge, which is just over 10km away from Lake Manyara. Watching the sun sink into the lake while nursing a sundowner is a fitting way to end a first full day in the wilderness. The central lounge and the dining area are on a raised wooden deck and the exterior viewing platform offers an uninterrupted 360° panorama of the lake and bush.
Begin the day with a fabulous breakfast before a morning game drive of Tarangire National Park. This unusual landscape dotted with ancient baobab trees has an almost pre-historic feel, accentuated by the wealth of wildlife that roams its almost 3,000 square kilometres. The park is home of one of the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa and other game, including the elusive leopard, zebras and tree-climbing lions. More than 550 bird species can be spotted here, too. After lunch, drive across the Great Rift Valley towards Karatu on the slopes of the Crater Highlands. Just a short distance from the town are both Ngorongoro Farm House and Tloma Lodge, one of which will be your accommodation for the next two nights. Ngorongoro Farm House is a sheltered and secluded coffee plantation. The thatched roof adds a touch of nostalgia while the interiors are modern take on colonial décor with a hint of traditional African motifs. The main building features a lounge, a restaurant and a viewing deck, which offers views of the Oldeani Volcano. The large vegetable gardens are ideal for a stroll and also provide the farm with the finest fresh ingredients from which meals are prepared. Just a 15-minute drive away is Tloma Lodge, an exclusive 36-cottage complex located on a raised shoulder of a valley in the Crater Highlands. The lodge offers breathtaking views over a coffee-plantation and the eastern wall of the Ngorongoro Crater. The attractive garden is full of flowering plants and bushes while a heated outdoor pool adds to the feeling of utter luxury. Rooms are spacious and feature understated, soft-hued colours as well as four-poster beds with netting.
After breakfast, there’s a morning game drive in Lake Manyara National Park, which is renowned for its varied birdlife – notably flamingos – in wet season and large mammal viewing in dry season. Tree-climbing lions, large-tusked elephants and one-and-a-half-tonne hippos are among the denizens of this mesmerising park. Giraffes can also often be seen craning their long necks to sate their thirst in the waters of this soda lake, which in dry season evaporates to a much reduced area. Baboons, buffaloes, warthogs and wildebeests can also be observed in large numbers. Return to the lodge for lunch and enjoy a free afternoon to relax by the pool or perhaps take part in one of the many optional activities such as mountain biking, guided nature walks or a visit to a Maasai village (all payable directly to lodge).
Take to the road after breakfast for a breathtaking drive to Ngorongoro Crater. An unforgettable experience awaits you this morning as you explore what is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife zoo. Descend through the early morning mists to the basin of the crater, some 600 metres below the rim, for a picnic lunch. The crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and due to its size – it has a diameter of 19km – and diversity, the crater floor features distinct areas that range from forests, swamps, lakes and springs, to open grasslands and sandy dunes. The crater has traditionally been inhabited by the Maasai people, who share it with more than 25,000 wild animals, including black rhinos, wildebeests, zebras, eland, gazelles, lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, spotted hyenas, jackals and cheetahs to name but a few. It’s an awesome wildlife experience. Afterwards, head to the Serengeti, arriving at Serengeti Kati Kati Camp, which will be your accommodation for the next two nights. This is a ‘real’ tented camp that can move about the vast Serengeti.
The Serengeti National Park is famed for being home to millions of animals and the annual Great Migration of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles but the dramatic landscapes in which the wildlife prowls are themselves worthy of admiration during the morning and afternoon game drives. Riverine forests and woodlands, rocky outcrops called kopjes and a volcano are just some of the backdrops in which the animals can be spotted during the game drives. With some luck, here you will see the Big Five of the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. Birds and reptiles are also plentiful in the national park.
Devote the morning to one more game drive in the Serengeti and catch sight of the one or ones that have eluded you so far before returning to the camp for lunch. In the afternoon drive to Manyara Wildlife Safari Park for one last night in the wild. The luxury accommodation features a mix of thatched cabins and tents, all with private balconies or viewing platforms overlooking the Lake Manyara flood plain. An upstairs lounge with open views over the surrounding landscape offers the ideal setting for a relaxing drink to ponder the majesty of what you have seen over the past week. Cap off the day with a fine bush dinner in the renowned restaurant.
Bid farewell to Lake Manyara after breakfast and head to Arusha, arriving in the city centre at about midday.