Day 1: Arrival Arusha, Tanzania. Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International airport, you will be met by our guide after 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 mountain Meru and mountain Kilimanjaro, Ngaresero Mountain Lodge is located within a lush coffee plantation, 140 acres, with natural streams flowing through the property, from mountain Meru. The lush vegetation and the magnificent views of the snow capped mountain Kilimanjaro and the looming mountain 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.
Day 2: Arusha National Park. Today your driver will take you into Arusha National Park. Lying between the peaks of Kilimanjaro and Meru, Arusha National Park is an outstandingly beautiful area. The Park has a wide range of habitats, from the string of crater lakes where many water birds can be watched, through the highland montane forest and on up to the imposing summit of mountain Meru. Walk in the park with an armed ranger.
The forests contain a wealth of birds and other animals, like the beautiful bushbuck easily glimpsed in the glades between the ancient cedar trees, or the black and white colobus monkeys climbing along their branches. The interesting geology of the area is reflected in the impressive view of the ash cone and cliff face leading to the summit of mountain Meru. You have the option of taking a picnic lunch and half a full day game viewing in the park or you can decide to have half day game drive and return to the lodge for lunch, afternoon at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Ngaresero Mountain Lodge.
Day 3: Arusha – Tarangire National Park. After breakfast, drive to Tarangire National Park, the third largest national park in Tanzania. This delightful park, covering an area of 2600 sq km was established in 1970, and it is the numerous baobab trees that will initially catch your eye. The Tarangire National Park derives its name from the Tarangire River that rises in the highlands of central Tanzania and winds its way through the game sanctuary. The river irresistibly lures the herds of plains migrants from the parched surrounding area to its shrunken – but permanent – brackish waters during the dry season.
The animals come by thousands from as far north as the shores of Lake Natron, dramatically swelling the resident population with wildebeest, zebra, eland, elephant, hartebeest, buffalo and fringe-eared Oryx. Tarangire is said to have the highest recorded number of breeding bird species for any habitat in the world. As the rainless days continue the Tarangire pools are clotted with thirsty migrants, and elephants begin to dig for underground streams in the dry riverbed. Dinner and overnight at Tarangire Sopa lodge.
Day 4: Tarangire National Park. After breakfast, you will explore Tarangire National Park and the large herds of elephant that reside there. Spend morning and afternoon in the park. The Tarangire Sopa Lodge is built as a "low profile" structure and nestles into a wooded hill side valley overlooking Tarangire Hill. This all suite property truly reflects Sopa's policy of providing "luxury in the bush". Marble floors, fountains, waterfalls and magnificent views through double storey windows are the stunning features of the main areas. The swimming pool is intriguing with its island. It's large rooms have two queen size beds with en suite shower and toilet, a balcony and a lounge with mini bar. The lodge offers alfresco dining on its raised barbecue terrace. Meals and overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge.
Day 5: Tarangire National Park - Lake Eyasi. After breakfast drive to Gibb’s farm, where you will have lunch. Gibb’s farm is small, privately owned and very quaint farm in the midst of coffee plantations. The old colonial farmhouse, built by German settlers in the early 20th century, still has the character of a well-looked-after private house with roaring fires and friendly service. Gibb’s is lovely oasis where you are guests, not tourist, and the personal cozy atmosphere conveys that.
After lunch drive towards Ngorongoro Crater. You divert from your route, driving down a track to the remote Lake Eyasi, one of the Soda Lakes that bejewel the Rift Valley. It is also the former lands of the elusive Hadzabe tribe, who you hope to meet up with and learn more about their fascinating culture. Dinner and overnight at Kisima Ngeda/or any other tented camp of same standard.
Day 6: Lake Eyasi. Today you start off early with your bushman guide to meet a group of resident Hadzabe people. The Hadzabe are hunter-gatherers, also known as bushmen, who speak a click-based language and move their encampments with the seasonal movements of the wildlife. Your guide is a member of the group and teaches you more about how they hunt, track wildlife, make fire and even take honey from bee’s nests before introducing you to his people and explaining a little more about the customs and the way of life.
Among the unique learning experiences is the chance to interact with one of the last groups of hunter/gatherers on Earth – the Hadzabe tribe. This group is studied to understand foraging strategies that might have been employed by hominid ancestors about 2,5 million years ago, the Hadzabe's diet contains wild plants and animals caught through hunting. By spending time among this group, you will be able to see first-hand how humans originally adapted to the environment.
Return to your camp for lunch. Afternoon at leisure or have a walk on the lake shore. Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp is an intimate tented lodge set on the shores of Lake Eyasi, with sweeping views towards the rift. Across this huge, seasonal, soda lake that stretches away in front of camp, the Alipi escarpment wall rises two thousand feet up into the Endulen area of the Ngorongoro Conservation providing a stunning view. Kisima Ngeda lies amidst a beautiful natural palm and acacia forest with a colossal rock as a backdrop, in a 200 acre plantation site, with a natural spring nearby which feeds into the lake.
There are just seven tents at Kisima Ngeda, each built under a thatched structure, ingeniously made almost entirely of palm (thatch and poles) and built with scrupulous attention to the use of ecologically sound materials. The stems of the leaves provide a unique and very attractive building material and the leaves themselves are ideal for thatching. Only dead or fallen palm trees have been used to support the structures. Each tent is very comfortably furnished, and has an ensuite bathroom with hot and cold running water. The excellent service at Kisima Ngeda Camp, combined with a simple elegance, makes this camp very appealing.
Views from the tents of the lake and its bird life, including flamingos and Egyptian geese, are superb. The camp’s owners have been farming in the area for many years, and much of the food served there is produced on the farm, including fish and meat. Kisima Ngeda has a natural groundwater spring which is used for the fish farm. It also supplies a beautiful swimming oasis and there are two huts equipped with beach-beds and lounging chairs, ideal for sunbathing. There is an open dining room and bar, and a platform hidden in the reeds by the spring, ideal for a romantic dinner under the stars or for bird watching. Dinner and overnight at Kisima Ngeda Tented Lodge/or any other camp of same standard.
Day 7: Lake Eyasi - Serengeti National Park. With a picnic lunch, depart for Serengeti via stopping en route at Olduvai Gorge, the site of Dr. and Mrs. LSB Leakey’s discovery of Zinjanthropus bosei. Here, you will enjoy a short talk from one of the Deputies of Antiquities, who will explain to you what has been done and what continues to happen. The gorge was discovered accidentally by a German butterfly collector, Professor Kattwinkle, in 1911, but it was not until 1959 that Dr. Mary Leakey unearthed the Zinj skull believed to be 1.8 million years old.
After Olduvai continue driving north game viewing en route to your lodge situated Serengeti Sopa is located in the Nyarboro Hills in the south west of the Serengeti National Park, and is the only tourism development in this section of the Park. The vicinity of the lodge boasts a fair amount of game due to the year-round water and the acacia woodland. This offers a pleasant stay as you spot game at your doorstep. Dinner and overnight at Serengeti Sopa Lodge.
Day 8: Serengeti National Park – Ndutu. After breakfast enjoy the magnificent views across the Serengeti plains and explore the area in your vehicle while driving south, arrive in time for lunch at Ndutu lodge. A short rest in your rooms until 3:00 p.m. when you will be collected by your guide and do afternoon game viewing until evening.
Ndutu Safari Lodge is situated in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the southern Serengeti eco-system. 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/ Serengeti Savannah Camp.
Day 9: Ndutu Area. After breakfast full day game viewing in Ndutu Area. The Ndutu area in southern Serengeti is the best place to be for the annual wildebeest migration. For up to seven months of the year the huge herds remain in and around this area – so it is an excellent base from which to camp. A striking characteristic of this area is the stunning acacia woodland, which is immediately surrounded by the short grass plains. Within this wooded area is Lake Ndutu – one of the Rift Valley’s soda lakes. At the height of the wildebeest migration, and when heavy rains have fallen, often lines of wildebeest can be seen crossing the lake. Accompanying the wildebeest are large numbers of zebra and Thomson gazelles.
There is a lot of resident game in the Ndutu area. Elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, buck, hyena, bat eared fox, African wildcat etc., are here all year round. The woodland provides a wonderful habitat for lots of different bird species. Meals and overnight at Ndutu Lodge/Serengeri Savannah Camp.
Day 10: Ndutu - Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After breakfast, you will drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area arriving in time for lunch at your lodge located on the crater rim. After lunch visit an authentic Masai boma in Ngorongoro area. The Masai have very much maintained their traditional ways as cattle herders. They believe that all cattle in the world belong to them, even though some may have temporarily found themselves in the possession of others. Thus, the Masai are always justified in raiding their non-Masai neighbors in order to "return" the cattle to the rightful owners.
The Masai have very elaborate "coming of age" traditions. Boys are circumcised in their early teens in a ceremony attended by the entire village. The boy who flinches during this procedure brands himself as a coward and disgraces his family. Once circumcised, the young man becomes a member of the warrior class – a moran – and must live apart from the village with the other warriors. Eventually, at some point in his late teens or early twenties, a moran is chosen to become a junior elder, earns the right to marry and returns to live in the village.
For centuries the Masai have hunted the lions on both as a test of manhood and to protect their cattle. The lions have learned to recognize the red robes (and spears, no doubt) and instinctively keep their distance. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.
Day 11: Ngongoro Conservation Area. After breakfast, descend into the crater for a full day of game viewing. A picnic lunch will be taken on the crater floor. The crater supports up to 25000 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. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa/Serena/Crater Lodge.
Day 12: Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Today you walk to Empakai Crater, the views along the trail downwards to the crater soda lake of Empakaai are spectacular at every point. You are guided by an armed ranger. You might see buffaloes or bushbucks, blue monkeys and many birds. It is a joy to walk around the lake shore experiencing the serenity and quiet beauty of this wild spot. Surrounding the lake you will reach springs, where you often see lots of wildlife. In the lake there are many flamingos. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa/Serena/Crater Lodge.
Day 13: Ngorongoro – Arusha. After breakfast return to Arusha, on arrival you will have time to go on shopping before driving to KIA lodge where you will have lunch. After lunch a day room will be provided to freshen-up till late evening when you will be transferred to Kilimanjaro International airport where you will board your home bound flight.
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