As With All Grand Explorations, It May Be Necessary To Slightly Modify This Itinerary On The Fly… But For Now, This Is What We Have Planned For Your Safari!
Day 1 – Arrivals
Your safari begins the moment you exit the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and are greeted by your guide(s). They will help you with your luggage, and will take you to your first night’s accommodation at a beautifully appointed safari lodge in Arusha.
Day 2 – Bush flight from Arusha to Kogatende
An exhilarating bush flight will take you from the Arusha Airport to the Kogatende Airstrip in the northern region of the Serengeti National Park, where you’ll meet your safari guide(s) for the first time! They will be there to welcome you to the Serengeti, will help you to get situated in the safari vehicle(s)… and you’ll be off on your first game drive of the safari, straight away!
Days 2-4 – N. Serengeti – Crossing(s) & Hot Air Balloons
Your guide(s) will be monitoring the great migration herd’s location and activities long before you touchdown in the region. They will know if/where the crossings have been taking place and will do their best to predict when the next crossings may occur. What they learn through their monitoring will dictate the destination of your game drives in this part of the Serengeti.
Your daily game-drive schedule will be a bit fluid while in this region, but you will spend a portion of each day near the river, patiently waiting as more and more animals arrive at the river’s edge. You can almost feel the pressure building on those animals who are closest to the water. All it takes is for one brave wildebeest to jump in, and IT’S ON!
You’ll also explore the regions that are away from the river as well, as there is an abundance of predators and other incredible wildlife in this area of the park this time of year.
Days 5-6 – Central Serengeti National Park
The central region of the Serengeti National Park is the thing dreams are made of! Granite kopjes (pr. co-pees) pop up, seemingly out of nowhere, and dot the landscape like islands in a sea of wind-blown grasses.
The park has a well-earned reputation for reliable and unforgettable wildlife encounters which, at times, seem to be around every bend in the road!
Be on the lookout for elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, hippos, and so much more! Your guide(s) will help you spot the big cats, as those are usually much harder to locate.
And the birds in the parks of Tanzania are nothing short of mind blowing in terms of volume, variety, and beauty!
Day 7 – Bush flight to Manyara/Karatu & African Galleria
Another bush flight awaits on this morning… this time the flight will take you to the Ngorongoro highlands, near the Manyara and Karatu regions of Tanzania.
You will be met by our local guides who will escort you throughout this day, first to the beautiful African Galleria, and then on to your next accommodation at one of several exquisite lodges in the region. This area is known for having some of the finest lodges in all of East Africa, and you’ll be staying at one of them for three nights!
AFRICAN GALLERIA – OVERVIEW
The African Galleria is far more than a souvenir shop… it is an education, an art gallery, a museum, and more!
The Galleria offers two immersive and interactive exhibits. Guests can visit both exhibits to learn about ebony wood, and Tanzanite, the extremely rare and precious gemstone that comes from only one mine in the world (very near the JRO airport, interestingly enough!) Both of these are fascinating and fun to explore!
Another entire section of the Galleria is dedicated to shopping. You can shop for high quality, beautiful souvenirs at the Galleria’s gift shop, and check EVERYTHING off your holiday gift list… including some of the aforementioned Tanzanite, if you’re so inclined!
NOTE: You may use credit cards here without any concerns at all… and shipping is available (for a pretty steep fee).
There is also a fantastic open-air restaurant at the Galleria, which makes a great place for everyone to reassemble after their other explorations. Be sure to get out there eventually. as we will have arranged for small plates of East African Food to be available for our guests. It is DELICIOUS!
Day 8 — Ngorongoro Crater
Millions of years ago this enormous volcano (taller than Kilimanjaro) collapsed during its eruption, forming this massive caldera which is nearly always mistakenly referred to as the “Ngorongoro Crater.”
Present day, this caldera is now an incredible, self-sustaining ecosystem that boasts the highest density of African wildlife on Earth, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site to boot!
It is worth the extra-early start to be one of the first groups to reach the crater floor on “Crater Day!” The primary goal of this day is to be on the lookout for the endangered Black Rhino (shown below). This will be your best shot at finding this element of the Big Five!
Although Tanzania has many wilderness and wildlife show pieces, this one is particularly difficult to put into words. With remarkable views from the ridge above, to the real action on the crater floor, the crater embodies a constant stir of wildlife and unspoiled scenes to keep you engrossed.
One of our past guests described Ngorongoro as “Where Heaven Meets Earth!” Another said it was like “A mixture of Narnia and Seuss, with just a dash of Jurassic Park!” However YOU describe it, it is a must-see on any Tanzanian safari!
Day 9 – Tribal Interactions – Great Rift Valley
Your guide(s) will take you over the river and through the woods and on into the Great Rift Valley in order to facilitate your interactions with three different tribal families tribes that live in this rural and agricultural region of Tanzania.
You will get the chance to meet the incredible “blacksmith family” of the Datoga tribe. These folks adeptly turn scrap metal into useful weapons and really beautiful and fun jewelry!
The Datoga tribe’s greeting is, “Say you” (hello, essentially).
The blacksmith family is delightful, and they will astonish you with what they can make from a what looks like a pile of junk! You can participate in a good bit of the process, or just sit back and watch the magic!
While in this area, you’ll also pay a visit to the “farming family” of the Datoga tribe. This is a family comprised of a 93+ year old patriarch (pictured below), his 10 wives, 50+ kids, and 100+ grandkids. This man is absolutely brilliant to interact with… very funny, genuine, and still sharp as a tack!
The women of the farming family do almost everything in the tribe… farming, ranching, harvesting, grinding, cooking, bearing and raising the kids, beadwork, and dealing with the very few tourists who are lucky enough to get to meet them in person.
As a matter of course, it is always polite to ask if you can take photos of them and their children. They will say YES! They love to have their pictures taken, and will then swarm around you to see the pictures on your phone screen or the back of your camera!
Feel free to ask them questions about the plural marriage situation, what a day in their life is like, what happens when one of them has a new baby, etc. The interpreter will help you communicate with one another… and they may even start asking you about your lives too!
The THIRD group you will meet is perhaps the most special of all. This is beyond your typical Bucket List-level stuff! They are known as the Hadzabe Tribe (or Hadza for short). They are the last hunter/gatherer tribe in all of Africa.
Experts say there are only about 1000 of them left at this point, and that they will likely die out completely in the next couple of decades, as the women are being persuaded to leave the tribe and marry into the Massai tribe for a better lifestyle.
“Say you” will NOT work with these folks. They speak the language that has a lot of clicks and pops in it… so ask your interpreter to help you learn to say “”Hello” and “Thank you” in Hadza!
The Hadza hunt nearly every day, just to keep their families fed. They will hunt almost anything from mice and birds to huge antelope… and everything in between… and they waste NOTHING! Honey is about 15% of their diet, so be sure to ask your interpreter to explain how they find and collect honey, as it is a fascinating story.
Members of the tribe (via your interpreter) will tell you all about their weapons, hunting techniques and traditional ways. They may let you shoot their bows and arrows, or perhaps you’ll be invited to help them make fire! You never know what you’ll get to see or do when you visit these fascinating people!
Days 10 & 11 – Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is a must-see destination for any safari-goer. The park covers an area of roughly 2,850 square kilometers, making it roughly a quarter of the size of the Serengeti. Despite its smaller size, Tarangire is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including large herds of elephants that are a highlight of any visit. The park is also known for its unique and distinctive baobab trees, which dot the landscape and provide a beautiful backdrop for your safari experience.
In addition to its wildlife and vegetation, Tarangire is also known for its diverse ecological regions. The park features river valleys, forests, marshes, and grasslands, each offering a different experience for visitors. Your guide will do their best to explore as much of the park as possible, ensuring that you get the most out of your visit. Tarangire is also home to more than 550 bird species, making it a paradise for bird-watchers.
And, as always, keep one eye out for the hundreds of bird species that make their home in this park. You should have no problem spotting all of these and so much more while in this truly magnificent park.
Day 12 – Back to Arusha / Lunch & Day Use / Evening Departures
After breakfast, you will load into the safari vehicles for one more ride (all tarmac this time) back to Arusha to complete the loop!
Depending on the time available, this day may include some/all of these activities:
– A nice lunch somewhere along the drive back to Arusha.
– A visit to the SHANGA SHOPS (see insert, below) to see the beautiful crafts created by handicapped artisans.
– Day-use rooms at a local lodge, allowing you to rest, refresh, repack, and prepare for your long flights home again.
Ultimately, the goal of this day is to ensure that we get you to the airport in plenty of time navigate the check-in and security process so that you can ease onto your homebound flights.
But before you enter the airport, it will be time to say goodbye to your guide(s) for the final time. These guys, perfect strangers just 12 short days ago, are very likely to now be your treasured friends. They will wish you safe travels and know they are sending you home with your hearts and minds full of the wonderful memories from your time in Tanzania!
Once home, we truly hope that you’ll tell your friends about the epic adventures and all the fun you had with Wanderful Tanzania, and encourage them to join us on a future safari!
Referrals are the biggest compliment we could hope for!
If you think that being on a safari means you’ll be roughing it… THINK AGAIN!!
Our small size really works to our advantage (and YOURS)! Because we are not beholden to one brand or chain of camps and lodges, we take great care in selecting the accommodations that are just right for each of our safaris. Your safety and comfort are always our top priority!
Day 1 – Arusha – River Trees Country Inn
The River Trees Country Inn is a spectacular property, tucked away off the main road that runs through Usa River. It is truly a lovely place to spend your first night in Tanzania, and is just the respite you’ll be ready for following your long flights.
The casita-style accommodations are spread out amongst beautifully manicured lawns and gardens. Guests may wish to order a snack or a wood-fired pizza at the open-air restaurant before heading off to their beautiful rooms for the night.
Days 2-4 – Northern Serengeti – Tented Camp
The camps in the Northern Serengeti are typically “migration camps,” meaning they are more temporary than the camps and lodges in other areas of the park. These migration camps are set up seasonally to accommodate visitors who wish to witness the Great Migration’s crossings.
Days 5-6 – Central Serengeti – Tented Lodge
While in the Serengeti, you’ll be staying at one of the spectacular upscale tented lodges, such as the one shown below. These permanent camps are exquisitely appointed… delivering creature comforts galore, while allowing you to stay deep in the heart of the wild!
Days 7-9 – Ngorongoro Highlands – Gibbs Farm
Midway between Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater lies the little town of Karatu. In this region, the hillsides are dotted with several sprawling coffee plantations from the colonial era in Tanzania. A few of these picturesque estates have been converted to upscale lodges, complete with English-style gardens and quaint farms.
Our WILD INDULGENCE safari guests are always delighted to learn they will be staying for 3 nights at one of these incredible, deluxe properties. Each offering guests the comfort of inviting cottages, private verandas, and stone fireplaces, set amongst lush and impeccably maintained grounds.
The coffee grown on each of these properties is still harvested, processed, and roasted on site. Additionally, the vast fruit and vegetable gardens provide almost all of the fresh produce that the executive chef’s use in the wholesome and delicious meals they prepare for our guests each day.
Please feel free to explore the grounds on your own… or join a tribal member from one of the nearby villages who lead free walking tours of the groves and gardens each afternoon. Or, of course, you can simply grab a drink or a book and find a quiet place to sit a spell and just soak in the sweeping views out over the tranquil gardens.
Days 10-11 – Maramboi Tented Lodge
During your time in the Tarangire area, you’ll be staying at the Maramboi Tented Lodge. Each night you can enjoy a poolside happy hour as you watch a variety of animals grazing on the grasslands all around you. It is not at all unusual to see giraffes, warthogs, antelope or even elephants on the grounds of this lodge, or maybe even just a few feet off your veranda first thing in the morning.
From the pool deck, you’ll gaze out over Lake Manyara and watch the sun set behind the Great Rift Valley range in the distance. Check with the front desk to see if one of the Masaai guides will be leading the evening walk to edge of the lake.