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Enjoy a safari adventure across the vast national parks and conservation areas of Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley. We find birdlife around Lake Manyara, search for the ‘Big Five’ in the Serengeti and walk among primeval baobab trees in Tarangire. We also take a game drive through Ngorongoro, the world’s largest volcanic caldera.
Serengeti - The most iconic and prolific national park in Africa
Great Rift Valley and Olduvai Gorge - Spectacular geological features and the "Cradle of Mankind"
Ngorongoro Crater - The world's largest complete caldera home to rhino, leopard and giraffe
Tarangire - Herds of elephants and tree climbing lions in baobab dotted plains
Join the group in Arusha, a small town at the foot of Mount Meru. There is time to explore the town independantly or to relax by the pool after the long journey before you meet your group.
Overnight Standard Hotel
Drive to Manyara NP; game drive
Today we head south-west via Makuyuni to Lake Manyara N. Park for our first game drive. Although there will be some long drives on the tour, the landscape through which we travel and the wildlife we see more than make up for it. Lake Manyara is nestled at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley and for a national park only 330 sq km, of which up to 200 sq km is the lake from which the park receives its name, it is the perfect introduction to a variety of habitats, ecosystems and animals found in Tanzanian parks. The various habitats of the lush forests, the acacia woodlands, the grassy floodplain, the alkaline lake surface and the volcanic peaks are home to prey and predators large and small as well as over 400 species of birds! After our game drive, we head up the Great Rift Valley to absorb the stunning vista that lies before us from our tented camp.
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Game drives in the Serengeti
Today we have a long but rewarding journey into the world famous Serengeti National Park. The scenery and views are spectacular as we traverse the Ngorongoro Crater and transit through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We pass several Masai homesteads and then arrive at the Olduvai Gorge, where in 1959, anthropologists Dr and Mrs Leakey discovered the remains of an almost intact human skull named ‘Nutcracker Man’. It was here at this important prehistoric site, together with other startling discoveries, that have contributed to the furthering understanding of early human development. Olduvai Gorge and the fossils that it contains give a unique insight into the way that this part of the world has changed and humans with it. Accompanied by a local guide we visit Olduvai Gorge visitor centre and museum to learn more of this fascinating place and its secrets. Later today we will enter the Serengeti at Naabi Hill Gate. Serengeti is the Masai name that means the “endless grass plains” and it is through these plains interspersed with granite outcrops that we travel to our lodge. Once in the Serengeti we’ll move slowly through the park, keeping a close eye out for game as we head to the central Seronera area.
The Serengeti covers almost 15,000 square km in area and is Tanzania’s oldest, and arguably, greatest park. Although the Serengeti is famed for the awe-inspiring spectacle of the annual migration, it still offers some of the best game viewing in Africa. While we are here we shall move through as many different habitats that are part of the Serengeti as possible and seek out the daily drama of the struggle between prey and predator, large and small, from the lions, leopards and cheetahs to the elephants, giraffe and buffalo. Every turn of the game drives reveal something of this stunning world where more than 500 species of birds recorded here! The vastness of the space under the vault of the sky gives one a liberating sense of space difficult to find anywhere else. Depending on the weather, there may be the possibility to take an unforgettable optional early morning balloon safari today, allowing you to see the Serengeti from a completely unique and different perspective. This can be pre-booked direct with the supplier before departure to guarantee a place. (Please see details below)
We’ll make one last early morning game drive as we retrace our route back to Naabi Hill and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We will pass various Maasai settlements en route. We then head to the Karatu area where we will stay in a lodge built in the traditional style of an old colonial style farmhouse and nestled in the grounds of a coffee plantation.
Overnight Standard LodgeIncluded meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
In Ngorongoro Crater; drive to Karatu
Today we head back to the crater where we descend from the upper rim, driving down a steep track that drops about a staggering 600m to the grassy plain, lake and marshes of the basin floor below. This winding track is restricted to small 4WD vehicles. Among the animals to watch out for are elephant, lion, cheetah, buffalo and rhino. The perennial marshes teem with birdlife. The crater itself, technically classed as a caldera, owes its existence to the violent fracturing of the Rift Valley over a period of some 15 million years. At one time a volcano occupied this spot that then became extinct and collapsed into the empty magma chamber beneath it leaving only the gigantic natural basin which is now considered a veritable “Garden of Eden”. After our half day game drive in the crater today, we return to our lodge in Karatu.
Overnight Standard LodgeIncluded meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drive to Tarangire NP; game drive
This morning we will drive to Tarangire National Park. It derives its name from the Tarangire River that flows through the length of the park. One of the most striking features of the park are the majestic old baobab trees with massive silvery trunks and gourd-like fruit that dominate the skyline. Tarangire has the greatest concentration of wildlife outside of the Serengeti ecosystem and is part of a larger ecosystem that extends further south into the Masai steppes. The permanent water sources of the park attract large herds of elephants and other herbivores to them. The park is home to the shy fringed eared oryx and the gerenuk antelope not seen in other parks. Today we will enjoy an afternoon game drive and then relax and enjoy the wonderful location and views over the escarpment.
Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Tour Notes before booking or travelling on your tour.
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