Day 1: Arrival, East Africa. Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International airport, you will be met by our driver and assisted through customs and immigration formalities. Thereafter, drive to Arusha the nerve center of East Africa, and getaway to several national parks in the north of the country. Nestled between Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge is located within a lush coffee plantation, 140 acres, with natural streams flowing through the property, from Mt Meru. The lush vegetation and the magnificent views of the snow capped Mt Kilimanjaro and the looming Mount Meru, right in front of the lodge, is an absolutely awesome sight. This lodge is ideally located between Arusha town and Kilimanjaro International Airport, 27 km either way. Dinner and overnight at Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge
Day 2: Fly Arusha - Serengeti National Park. This morning after breakfast, you will be transferred to Arusha Airport where you will board your scheduled flight to Serengeti National Park. Upon arrival at Seronera airstrip you will be met by your guide. Game viewing in the park, in the evening drive to Serengeti Serena Lodge. Established in 1951, and covering an area of almost 15,000 sq km, Serengeti is one of the most spectacular game parks in East Africa. From its short and long grass plains in the south, which give way to Acacia Savannah in the central area, to the hilly more densely wooded areas of the north, and the extensive woodland in the western corridor, Serengeti offers great variations both geographically as well as with the millions of animals, birds and plants that go to make up this complex ecosystem.
The name comes from the Masai siringet, “endless plains”. 1.5 million wildebeest (gnu), 300,000 Thomson's gazelle, 250,000 zebras leave the Serengeti in Tanzania in May, lured to the northern Maasai Mara in Kenya by rainfall and the promise of sprouting, nutrient-rich grasses. Predators such as lion, hyena and cheetah follow hot on their heels. From January onwards, massive herds of wildebeest gather on the plains of the Serengeti. This 22 000 square kilometer ecosystem of grass- and wood-land is home to a staggering two million herbivores. Here the wildebeest drop their calves (numbers estimated at 400 000). Predators like spotted hyena, lion, cheetah, leopard and jackals flourish, feeding on the excessive glut of wildebeest veal. Once the long rains cease in May, the plains dry up quickly and become dry, harsh, and inhospitable.
The calves are now strong enough to begin their first journey, and it is then that the long march north begins. From the Simba and Moru Koppies (hills) in the north-west, the wooded grassland plains of the Serengeti separate into two corridors: to the west lie the Mbalageti and Grumeti Rivers and Lake Victoria, while the other corridor extends north through woodland and over hills towards the Masai Mara. The rutting season in June is a noisy, dusty affair - with male wildebeest vociferously showing off their genetic superiority. Soon, most of the 'ladies' are pregnant. The herds then move on to Lake Victoria - the second-largest lake in the world, which has its own micro-climate and produces sufficient rainfall and pasture along its shores.
Many wildebeest move north-west and cross into the Masai Mara, having to negotiate the Mara River from July onwards. The Mara River crossing is extraordinary - optimistic vultures and Marabou storks line the banks in anticipation as the wildebeest plunge into the river, negotiating both the strong current and crocodiles in their inexhaustible drive for fodder. The wildebeest remain in the Masai Mara for two to three months, sustained by the short rains and pasture. They head south between October and December, and move along the eastern section of the Serengeti in time to give birth during the life-giving long rains of the South. Dinner & overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
Day 3: Serengeti National Park. At 5:00 am, Serengeti Balloon Safaris will collect you from your central Serengeti Lodge, and transfer you by Land rover to their launch site near Masai Kopjes. Here you will meet your pilot, receive a briefing and watch the inflation of your balloon. At dawn we take off, rising as the sun rises and float in whichever direction the winds of the morning take us. Your pilot can precisely control the altitude of your balloon: sometimes flying at treetop height, sometimes lower, offering a unique perspective and great photographic opportunities of the wildlife below. At other times he will ascend to 1000 ft. (300 m) or more to see the enormity and wonderful panorama of the Serengeti.
From time to time the pilot increases more heat into the balloon with the powerful whisper burners. In between these burns, there is silence apart from the natural sounds below. The flight is for about one hour depending on conditions, on landing you celebrate in the traditional manner with champagne (well, an excellent sparkling wine), before sitting down to a full English breakfast prepared and served in the bush in 'Out of Africa' style with bone china, linen table cloths, King's silver etc. After breakfast you receive your Serengeti Balloon certificate, drive south of the park with picnic lunch, game viewing en route to Ndutu area, in the evening drive to Ndutu Lodge.
Ndutu Safari Lodge is situated in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the Southern Serengeti ecosystem. The Lodge nestles unobtrusively under a canopy of giant acacias overlooking a soda lake, Lake Ndutu. The lodge offers a superb base in which to explore the range of habitats that lie within easy reach, this include swamps, woodlands, soda lakes and the world famous Serengeti short grass plains. Ndutu Safari Lodge has been a favorite with professional wildlife photographers and film-makers for the past four decades, because it’s simply one of the places to watch wildlife. Dinner & overnight at Ndutu Lodge
Day 4: Ndutu – Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After breakfast game drive in Ndutu area before driving to Ngorongoro conservation area arriving in the evening at your located at the crater rim. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.
Day 5: Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After breakfast descend into the crater floor with a picnic lunch for a full day game viewing. The crater supports up to 25,000 large mammals. Grazers dominate: zebra, wildebeest – accounting for almost half the animals – gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest and wart hog. Giraffe, for example, stay away because there is insufficient food at tree level; topi because they compete directly with wildebeest. An odd feature of the crater elephants is that they are almost exclusively bulls. Breeding herds – comprising large numbers of females and young with a few attendant older males – are probably unable to find sufficient quality food in the crater.
Ngorongoro has carnivores in quantity, drawn by the large herds of prey animals. It has the most dense population of large predators, mainly lion – about 100 – and more than 400 spotted hyena, living in eight clans of up to eighty individuals. Both lions and hyenas will scavenge from each other, depending on weight of numbers and of course, hunger. In the early evening drive back to your lodge. Nestled onto the rim of the Crater, all in stone and wood construction and overgrown with natural vegetation, the 75 rooms of the lodge become almost unseen among the natural surroundings. They are breathtaking views of the crater from all the rooms. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Day 6: Arusha - Depart. After breakfast drive to Manyara National Park with a picnic lunch. The park is situated at the edge of the Great Rift Valley; Lake Manyara is some 38miles long. This stretch of water is a favorite place for pink flamingo and wading birds in general, further south where the forest gives way to the Savannah, keep looking up, for here the lions have habit of perching on the trees. Later drive to Arusha, go on shopping before you drive to Kilimanjaro International Airport, where you will board your KLM flight.(For international flights check in time is 2 hrs before departure)
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