Day 1 Depart Arusha for Tarangire National Park. Enjoy game drives in the area with a picnic lunch en route. Continue to the highlands of Karatu where you’ll stop to enjoy the views of Manyara and the escarpment below. Overnight in lodge. (L,D)
Day 2 Enjoy the day in the famous Ngorongoro Crater where it’s not uncommon to see four of the big 5 with ease. Return to lodge for overnight. (FB)
Day 3 From the highlands of Ngorongoro, you’ll be driven down to the plains of Serengeti via Olduvai Gorge. Time permitting; you may also visit a Maasai village. You’ll enjoy a picnic lunch along the way, game viewing as you go. Overnight will be at one of the wilderness camps, depending on the time of the year (e.g. north, south or Ndutu) (FB)
Day 4 A full day to explore the Serengeti in all its glory. An optional hot air balloon safari is available – must be booked ahead. Night in wilderness camp (FB)
Day 5 Another full day exploring the Serengeti, in pursuit of as much wildlife as we can see. Overnight in a wilderness camp. (FB)
Day 6 Depending on which wilderness camp you’ve been staying at, either drive back to Arusha. If in the northern camp, you’ll be required to fly back to Arusha/Kilimanjaro as the distance is too great. (B,L)
After an early-morning briefing, you will head off away from the traditional safari route of the Northern Circuit, to Tarangire National Park, a largely undiscovered safari gem.
Very underrated, this park has a superb wildlife population and wonderful scenery. You’ll soon understand its special beauty. It’s also far less crowded than the better-known safari areas.
In the dry season (June to September), thousands of animals migrate here in search of water to the Tarangire River: elephant, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, kudu and the rare oryx. Tarangire is home to the largest population of elephant than any other park in the northern circuit. There are over 550 species of bird.
From Tarangire, you’ll head up through the scenic highlands to Karatu, a rich farming area on the outer slopes of Ngorongoro Crater where we’ll overnight at a lodge.
One of the natural wonders of the world, the volcanic caldera of Ngorongoro offers truly spectacular game viewing in the crater. You’re almost guaranteed to see four of the Big Five, a plethora of birds and many other animals against the unique backdrop of the green, forest-like crater walls.
Lunch will be a picnic in the crater, in this almost surreal microcosm of forest, grasslands, freshwater and soda lakes.
Overnight at a lodge.
En route to the Serengeti, you’ll go via fascinating Olduvai Gorge and the ‘cradle of humankind’. It’s here where, in 1959, the ground-breaking discovery of a hominid (human-like) skull dating back as far as 3.7 million years.
Time permitting, you’ll visit a Maasai village where you’ll gain insight into their culture and way of life.
You’ll then continue on to Serengeti Wilderness Camp, or Ndutu/North Wilderness Camp, to settle in for the evening, depending on the time of year and location of the herds.
Enjoy two full days exploring the Serengeti – a place of remarkable beauty and home to more than three million large mammals in its vast endless plains.
At certain times of the year, you may witness the incredible spectacle of the 1,25 million wildebeest that trek in columns of up to 40 km long in search of good grazing.
Of course, the herd attracts opportunistic predators of every kind as well as other species that like to accompany them, such as zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, impala and other antelope.
From January to March the herds can often be found in the southern area, moving northwards through the central and Western Corridor during June and July before splitting off to the west and north as they make their way toward the Mara River.
They return to the south in November to repeat this fascinating, instinctive migration all over again.
Overnight Serengeti Wilderness Camp
Treat yourself to a once-in-a-lifetime adventure – soaring effortlessly and silently (mostly) above these vast plains in a hot air balloon. It gives you a different perspective and appreciation for the sheer expanse of wilderness and wildlife that reside here.
Transfer to the Seronera/Ndutu or Kogatende airstrip for a mid-morning flight to Arusha. Exceptionally beautiful (weather dependent), you’ll fly over the highlands of Ngorongoro, across the vast expanse of the Rift Valley escarpments. Or you may return to Arusha by road.
If you are not flying out this evening, but overnighting in Arusha, head out to Mosque Street to enjoy arguably the best chicken in Africa and meet the locals, or try one of the other lively restaurants, music venues and bars in and around the town.
All images courtesy and © Wim van den Heever.