This is a quick outline of our itinerary.
- Day 1 – Arrivals
- Day 2 – Bush Flight to Northern Serengeti
- Days 2-4 – Northern Serengeti – Crossing Opportunities
- Days 5-8 – Central Serengeti National Park
- Days 9-11 – Olduvai / Highlands / Crater / Farm House
- Days 12-13 – Tribal Interactions & Tarangire National Park
- Day 14 – Back to Arusha / Lunch / Day Use / Departures
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 to Northern Serengeti
The morning of Day 2, our local guides will collect us from the safari lodge in the morning and take us to the Arusha Airport.
The group will take a bush plane to the Northern Serengeti Airstrip. Upon landing and deplaning, we will meet our safari guides for the first time, and then we’ll immediately set out on our first game drive of the safari!
Days 2-4 – Northern Serengeti – Crossing Opportunities
As we are flying to the Serengeti, our guides will be monitoring the great migration herd, and speaking with other guides that are already in position along the river. They will know if crossings have been taking place that day, or if any are about to cross. What they learn will dictate the destination of our first game drive.
The guides from multiple companies will work together to give all visitors the best chance of seeing a crossing while near the Mara River area. It is a spectacle to behold! Keep your fingers crossed!
Before dusk, we will check into the well-appointed tented camp that we will call “home” for teh next 3 nights. It will be one of the MIGRATION CAMPS (temporary/seasonal tented camps) that are erected for just a couple of months each year, to allows us incredible access to these crossing areas.
Our daily game-drive schedule will be a bit fluid while in this region, but we will spend a portion of each day near the river, patiently waiting as the pressure continues to build and build on those animals closest to the water… all it takes is one brave wildebeest to jump in, and it is ON!
We will also explore the other regions of the north as well, as there is an abundance of predators and other incredible wildlife in this area of the park at this time of year.
Days 5-8 – Central Serengeti National Park
We will leave the Northern region and head south towards the incredible Central Serengeti. On our daily game drives, we will be on the lookout for all of the wildlife Africa is known for, including elephants, giraffes, zebras, topis and other herding animals, as well as all of the big cats, and hundreds of species of birds!
One of the options the guides may decide to explore while in the Central region is an area known as Gong Mountain, a sacred ceremonial spaces from the bygone era when the Masaai tribe still lived in this area of the Serengeti.
Optional Activity – Hot air ballooning
On one of the days in this region, we will also do the OPTIONAL ADD-ON – Hot Air Balloon Experience. A fun and fascinating way to spend 4-5 hours of your life! The balloon ride is only about an hour long, but the drive to the launch site, and the celebration upon landing are both pretty special events on their own accord!
If you’re interested, make sure to sign up early! $650 per person / paid in advance.
Days 9-11 – Olduvai / Highlands / Crater / Farm House
As we leave the Serengeti, we will stop at the OLDUVAI GORGE – Cradle of Mankind for a “lunch-and-learn” session and a visit to their museum. This gorge is known around the world as “The Cradle of Mankind,” as the oldest human footprints were famously discovered there by Mary Leakey in 1959.
The site remains an active archeological excavation site, with universities, museums, and other research institutions sending teams of scientists there each year to continue the exploration. It is a fascinating place to spend a few hours and realize that every single person on the planet can trace their lineage to this very spot on Earth.
NGORONGORO HIGHLANDS & FARM HOUSE
Next, we will transition to lush region of the Ngorongoro highlands… and will make our way to our next accommodation — the beautiful Ngorongoro Farm House, near the town or Karatu. This stunning and storied plantation will be home base for our adventures in and around the Ngorongoro Crater. The Farm House is still an active coffee plantation, and guests are free to roam the manicured and gorgeous gardens and groves.
DAY OF REST / GALLERIA
This is a much treasured day on any long safari… it provides a break from trucks, animals, and rough roads… and an afternoon to spend as you please!
Around mid-morning, your guide(s) will take you to the incredible African Galleria for spectacular souvenir shopping and an incredible lunch featuring authentic East African cuisine!
You’ll return to the lodge in the early afternoon you’ll have the balance of the day to explore the gorgeous hotel and enjoy a spa treatment or explore the lush gardens and coffee groves.
You can learn all about the rare and precious gemstone called “Tanzanite” that comes out of only one mine in the world (very near the JRO airport, interestingly enough!) Another whole immersive and interactive exhibit at the Galleria focuses on Ebony. Both of these are fascinating and fun to explore!
You can shop for high quality, beautiful souvenirs at the Galleria’s gift shop, and check EVERYTHING off your holiday gift list… including some Tanzanite, if you’re so inclined! Then, head out to the open-air restaurant and experience some incredible African cuisine and a ice-cold local beer for lunch!
It is worth the early wake up 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!
Millions of years ago this enormous volcano collapse and formed this massive CALDERA that we mistakenly refer to 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 a UNESCO World Heritage site to boot!
Days 12-13 – Tribal Interactions & Tarangire National Park
Before we leave the Karatu/Manyara region to head for the Tarangire National Park, the group will get the chance to meet and interact with some of the local tribes in the region. Learn about their history and culture, watch them work at their crafts, play with the kids! We never know what they have in store for us, but you can bet it will be fun, interactive, entertaining and will steal your heart!
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Next stop is the Tarangire area of Tanzania. The Tarangire National Park will become our playground for the next couple of days. This park often takes a back seat to the Serengeti and the Crater… but I don’t know why! I love TNP!!
Roughly 1/4 the size of the Serengeti, Tarangire is home to large elephant herds and distinctive trees that dot the landscape. It also has several very different ecological regions, each of which brings its own cast of characters! River valleys, forests, marshes, and grasslands, we will do our best to explore them all!
Keep your eye on the sky, waterways, and treetops too! This park delivers the BIRDS!
Day 14 – Back to Arusha / Lunch / Day Use / Departures
We will depart the tented camp after breakfast and begin to make our way back towards Arusha once more.
If desired, we can stop along the way for a cup of coffee and some really fun interactions at the beautiful Arusha Coffee Lodge & Shanga Shops. This is one of my favorite sections of every safari, as I encourage my guests to follow my lead in meeting and interacting with these incredible craftsmen!
All of the artisans who work here are handicapped in some way (deaf, mute, missing limbs, etc.). They love to have visitors and will light up when you come to meet them and see them (or help them) at their craft! For me, this is a must-do activity during my safaris!
Finally, the guides will take us to the Planet Lodge where we will have our last lunch together, and then check into our day-use rooms for several hours. Use this time to shower, repack, rest up, and get ready to travel this evening. The guides will ensure we arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check in and relax onto our long flights home.
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 – Planet Lodge
The Planet Lodge in Arusha is where you’ll spend your first night in Tanzania. This sweet little lodge is quietly tucked away from the bustling main streets of Arusha. The casita-style accommodations are spread out amongst the beautifully manicured lawns and gardens, and guests can enjoy a meal or drink at their onsite restaurant and bar in the man building.
After your long flights, you can rest assured that a nice hot shower and comfortable bed await.
Days 2-4 – Northern SNP – Migration Tented Camps
Wanderful Tanzania selects only well-located and well-run tented camps that can truly deliver an amazing experience to our guests. Nothing beats a hot shower and a spacious, comfy place to relax after a long day of game driving, bumpy roads, and close-up wildlife encounters. After you’ve rested a bit, wander over to the campfire for an evening drink and to compare notes with others about that day’s adventures…or just sit quietly and reflect on your own amazing day.
Days 5-8 – Serengeti Tented Camp
Another beautiful tented camp will be home base for your final two nights on safari. This time, you’ll be smack dab in the heart of the mighty Serengeti! The sunsets in Tanzania are incredible, as is the beauty of this wild and precious place. Enjoy your tent or come to the fire pit… before you know it dinner is once again served!
Days 9-11 – Ngorongoro Farm House
This spectacular property is located in the Karatu area of Tanzania. It provides ideal access to the Ngorongoro Crater, and is a splendid lodge at which to spend a couple of nights during the safari.
Although it is still a working coffee plantation, it is as refined and relaxing as any place in Africa! It has all of the amenities you could ask for… and then some! Guests will enjoy the chance to freely explore this vast property’s beautiful shade-grown coffee groves, exquisite gardens, manicured grounds, and sparkling swimming pool.
Guests are welcome to join a guided tour of the grounds each evening, or you are most welcome to just explore on your own. There are more than 600 acres of manicured gardens and groves to wander through. Perhaps you’d rather have a dip in the pool, or enjoy a massage or pedicure? Just check with the hotel staff to verify schedule of activities and spa openings!
Also, each evening the lodge offers a complimentary happy hour, poolside.
Days 12-13 – Maramboi Tented Lodge
This incredible tented lodge is located just about 30 minutes outside of Tarangire’s park gates, making it an ideal place to spend a couple of nights while we explore that incredible park!
Enjoy the free evening happy hour, poolside, as you watch the sun slide behind the mountains across the beautiful lake… and then dinner should be served!