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Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Lake Eyasi and Lake Manyara
Eight days, five locations – easily enough time in which to capture the very best experiences in Tanzania’s Northern Circuit. Our trip takes you to the best, most stunning places our country can offer, and also gives you welcome exposure to Tanzania’s rich ‘human culture.’ From Arusha, our first port-of-call will be huge, diverse Tarangire National Park, to be followed by a visit to see the beautiful natural wonder of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area with its incomparable crater…. From there, we head to the endless plains of the magnificent Serengeti, where we are lucky enough to have extended time to enjoy this incredible park, before continuing to Lake Eyasi where you will meet some of our diverse, colorful tribes and marvel at their fascinating lifestyles. Last, but not least, we will finish our adventure with an exciting, unforgettable walking safari in the beautiful surroundings of Lake Manyara National Park, before returning you safely to the airport.
Whatever your arrival time at Kilimanjaro International Airport, your African Choice Safari driver-guide will be waiting for you with a warm welcoming smile. Kick back and relax in your comfortable vehicle as he takes you to your hotel in Arusha, Tanzania’s self-styled ‘safari capital.’ On your journey to the hotel, you will get a brief impression of this large, bustling, commercial city. Depending on your arrival time, you may have your pre-safari briefing today; if not, it will take place early tomorrow morning.
Meal Plan Dinner at your hotel.
Unless your arrival time yesterday allowed time for your safari briefing, then this will take place after breakfast. We will provide you with all the essential information, before we set off to our first safari destination, the diverse Tarangire National Park, where we will enjoy lunch, take an afternoon game drive and spend the night.
Journey: Arusha to Tarangire National Park
Our two-hour morning journey first takes us westwards from Arusha. Along the route, your eyes will be opened to all the colours and character of Tanzania: perhaps some Maasai herdsmen driving their flocks of goats to new pastures. You’ll get to know your driver-guide, amazed at his depth of knowledge as he effortlessly answers all your questions.
Your game drive in Tarangire, with its incredible diversity, massive baobab trees and herds of elephants.
Safari (Game Drive) in Tarangire National Park
Tarangire is huge. As you stand at the park gate and look south, it stretches as far as the eye can see. Known as the ‘Elephant Playground,’ this phenomenal park contains huge herds of these mighty mammals. But Tarangire is also home to buffalo, lion, wildebeest, zebra and gazelle and the park can rival Serengeti for sheer animal densities. What might you see today? Perhaps a solitary male lion stretched out beneath a tree, perhaps a trio of male cheetah enjoying some lazy bonding-time in the sun. Maybe some graceful Grant’s gazelle or zebra bounding away from the road or a couple of giraffe munching happily from the choicest acacia branches. For Tarangire specialities, look out for kudu and oryx.
Here as in other parks, it pays not to ignore the small animals. It’s so easy to be mesmerized by the power and majesty of an elephant or the elegance of the giraffe. Ask your guide to find you an agama lizard, especially a male one who changes colour in front of you according to the temperature! Or a hyrax, known as pimpi, an insignificant-looking creature of around 30cm in length…who astonishingly is related to elephant!
Not many trees will pass you by without something of avian interest catching your eye. A memorable flash of colour might be a lilac-breasted roller or blue-eared starling. Ostrich are plentiful and it’s hard not to chuckle at the sighting of the well-named, studious-looking secretary bird as it awkwardly pads across the grasslands.
The park is also famous for its splendid baobab trees, rolling savannah and acacia woodland. It can be dusty – wear a scarf over your mouth – but this is a minor inconvenience for sighting wildlife in such abundance.
Breakfast will be provided by your Arusha hotel. Lunch will be a nutritious and balanced meal, also provided by the hotel for you to take out on safari. Your evening meal will be a full, cooked dinner created by the chef and his team at the Tarangire Tortilis Camp.
Before leaving for Ngorongoro, we have a chance to take a last look at magnificent Tarangire, with a game-drive en route. Our lunch will be enjoyed on arrival at Ngorongoro.
Our journey today, from Tarangire to Ngorongoro, takes us to the northwest, a journey of around 4 ½ hours.
Like nothing else on Earth, the stunning crater of Ngorongoro is a unique home for many, many species of Tanzania’s wildlife. With some luck, you may even see a black rhino here.
Safari in Ngorongoro Crater
From the rim, we admire the incredible view then descend into the vast crater itself. At one side there’s the Lerai Forest, classic mountain forest landscape with almost tropical characteristics. This is good elephant country, so keep your eyes peeled. By the side of the nearby swampland is what is sometimes called the ‘elephant graveyard’ as the mighty male tuskers at the end of their lives come to chew on the soft, swampland grasses once their teeth have failed them.
The crater has a population of around 120 lions, with well-defined territories; 15,000 wildebeest, 9,000 zebra, 400 hyenas, and around 50 black rhino. Many wildebeest and other herd animals are resident, benefiting from the many sources of year-round waters and are boosted by some migrators in season. Buffalo, Thomson’s gazelle and eland are also present in numbers. Hippos can be found in pools and swampland and highland birdlife is colorful and plentiful around the waters. Flamingos can often be seen in Lake Magadi, which occupies part of the crater floor.
Breakfast will be enjoyed at the Tarangire Tortilis Camp. Lunch will be a nutritious and balanced meal, enjoyed at Ngorongoro.Your evening meal will be a full, cooked dinner created by the chef and his team at the Ngorongoro Tortilis Camp.
Journey: Ngorongoro – Serengeti
After breakfast, we set off for our next destination, Serengeti, a distance of 145km and a journey time of around 3 ½ hours. On arrival, we take lunch and have an afternoon game drive.
Here’s a National Park which will offer you a whole variety of wildlife surprises over the next few days, but perhaps today’s highlight – certainly for first-time visitors – will simply be the Serengeti terrain itself. The sheer vastness, as the plains roll away in front of you into eternity, will leave you with a sense of awe
Safari in Serengeti National Park
At last! Serengeti, the incomparable wonder of Tanzania, will be the stage for the natural animal theatrics which will be performed over the next few days. Your game drive here combines the known with the unknown, the certainty that you will be amazed with the uncertainty of exactly what you will see and when. Changing light, a changing cast of animal actors, ensuring that at every turn there is a new experience. Snap off some memorable photos, but don’t forget to simply take a deep breath and enjoy nature in its real-time, raw beauty.
Breakfast is served at the Ngorongoro Tortilis Camp. Lunch will be a cooked hot lunch prepared by the camp team. Your dinner will be a full, cooked meal created by the team at the Serengeti Tortilis Camp.
Today, we set off from our accommodation in the Central Serengeti. Wildlife is abundant: sometimes you may think it has come to find you, rather than the other way round. Today’s highlight is unknown, as the animals don’t publish their schedule (!) What we see also depends on the season, but this area is where bushland meets grassland, a favorite spot for big cats looking for prey. Cheetah, leopard and lions are all possibilities today.
Safari in Serengeti National Park
Today is a full day of discovery, a chance to enjoy the varied landscapes of the Central Serengeti. The Seronera River weaves its way through this area, providing waters for all species of wildlife. You will also see the distinctive rocky outcrops, the famous kopjes which characterize the Serengeti landscape. Lunch will be an unforgettable experience, enjoyed in the middle of the bush. Everything here varies with the seasons, but in May, November and December migrating herds join the already rich population of resident animals which live here year-round. (In the rainy season, the landscape turns black with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest – a simply incredible sight.)
Breakfast is served at your Serengeti accommodation. Lunch will be a cooked, hot lunch prepared by the camp team, for you to enjoy while out on safari. Your dinner will be a full, cooked meal prepared at your accommodation.
Journey: Serengeti National Park – Lake Eyasi
After a morning game drive and lunch, this afternoon we will head south to Lake Eyasi, a journey of around 5 hours.
Although we will have another chance this morning to marvel at Serengeti, perhaps today’s highlight will be our meeting with some of our country’s fascinating tribespeople. Today, we will meet the Datoga in their traditional village houses.
Safari in Serengeti National Park
With its informative visitor centre, the Seronera area of Central Serengeti is the national park’s most popular area. And it is very popular with the wildlife, too. The Seronera river enjoys year-round waterflow, so there is always something of interest to observe. Several game drives can be undertaken here and might reveal lions in sizeable prides, hippo or herds of elephants – whose populations in the park have risen in recent times. Depending on other attractions, we may choose to call in at the Serengeti Visitor Centre, where there is an excellent explanation of the park’s eco-system and a chance to understand the history of conservation in this area. In particular, you will find out about the work of Bernhard Grzimek and the Frankfurt Zoological Society who had the foresighted vision of preserving the Serengeti’s eco-system. Even at the center, you may well find wildlife: populations of hyrax and mongoose, as well as many small bird species.
Datoga tribe, Lake Eyasi
After lunch, we journey south to Lake Eyasi. Here, we have an opportunity to remind ourselves that Tanzania is rich in human culture, as well as rich in fantastic wildlife. The Datoga tribe is our host this afternoon, as we are introduced to their village, customs and traditions. A colorful experience, not to be forgotten!
Breakfast is enjoyed at the Serengeti Tortilis Camp. Lunch will be a nutritious and balanced meal, also provided by the camp for you to take out on safari. Your dinner will be a full, cooked meal provided by the Lake Eyasi Safari Lodge.
Journey: Lake Eyasi – Lake Manyara
After our morning visits to see the Hadzabe hunter-gatherers and the local blacksmith, we will have our breakfast before we journey the 2 ½ hours to Lake Manyara where we will have our lunch and then enjoy an afternoon game-drive.
Everyone will have their own, favorite cultural experience today. But perhaps your lasting memory will be of the Hadzabe hunter-gatherers. Their lifestyle will make you ponder how uncomplicated – though not easy – life can be.
Lake Eyasi and its Tribes people
Lake Eyasi is located in the Great Rift Valley, southwest of the Ngorongoro Crater. Its salt-water levels experience dramatic changes with the seasons: in years with little rainfall, the lake can almost disappear. Near to the shimmering lake, we will first experience a hunting trip with the Hadzabe, the last hunter-gatherers in Tanzania, before visiting a local blacksmith as he practises his craft, fashioning pots and weapons from scrap metal.
Safari (Game Drive) in Lake Manyara National Park
On arrival at Lake Manyara, and after our lunch, we get back into our vehicle to cover the highlights of this scenic park. Set against the rugged Rift Valley escarpment, and characterized by its shimmering lake, Manyara is rich in vegetation and the wildlife that thrives here. Enjoy the tranquillity as majestic pink flamingos wade elegantly, picking out a meal of algae from the shallow, alkaline waters. On land, Manyara’s terrain is compact, yet boasts differing environments such as diverse forests fed by waters seeping from the nearby escarpment. Monkeys are abundant, but look out too for the lions, giraffe, warthog and grumpy Cape buffalo who all call this park ‘home’. Hold your nose when we reach the hippo pool, because these big lumps smell!
Breakfast will be provided by your Lake Eyasi accommodation. Lunch will be a hot meal, prepared and enjoyed by your accommodation. Your evening meal will be a full, cooked dinner created by the chef and his team at the Lake Manyara Tortilis Camp.
Journey: Lake Manyara – Kilimanjaro International Airport
After our morning walking safari and our lunch, we will have a 3 ½ hour journey, covering the 175km back to Kilimanjaro International Airport.
Your walking safari in wonderful Lake Manyara National Park, with the Rift Valley escarpment and the shimmering lake itself as the wonderful, natural backdrops.
Lake Manyara Walking Safari
Our morning walking safari gets you very quickly into the safari mood. Accompanied by a park ranger, you will be so close to Mother Nature, discovering wonders too small to see from a 4x 4 vehicle. Perhaps your guide and ranger will explain the importance of the rhino-horned dung beetle, or exchange bird calls with the sulphur-breasted bull shrike. Maybe you’ll taste a desert date, a popular snack for monkeys! And all the time, you’ll feel the tension that only a walking safari can bring: the desire to find large mammals conflicting with the need to stay safe!
In silence, in single file, you’ll make your way through the bush, perhaps stumbling across a giraffe chomping on high branches or a herd of elephants grazing gently. Don’t worry; your ranger is an expert: your safety is his chief concern.
Breakfast is served at your Lake Manyara accommodation. Lunch will also be prepared by your Lake Manyara accommodation and enjoyed after your morning walking safari, before we return you to the airport for your flight home. As today is the departure day of your safari, please note that dinner tonight is not included in the tour.
Please note that this 8 Days Experience Tanzania Culture and Safari: Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Lake Eyasi, Manyara tour ends at Kilimanjaro International Airport at 17.30 hours. Your departure can only take place today if you have pre-booked a domestic flight which leaves from Kilimanjaro International Airport at 19.40 hours or after, or an international flight which leaves at 21.00 hours or after. Otherwise, you will need to book an extra night’s accommodation (not included in the tour price) and take a flight the following day.