…passing through we few travelers gather to watch the slow slide of the African sun — Crossing Zanzibar, by Louise McGowan
The incomparable Serengeti Plains teem with migrating herds of wildebeest and zebra and attendant predators; its tropical forests provide sanctuary to chimps while savanna grassland offers one of Africa’s most glorious and plentiful displays of wildlife in scenic parks and reserves.
Tree-climbing lions, Rift Valley lakes, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro Crater, Masai culture, and white sands – Tanzania has it all!
Next Adventure is an agent for some of the best camps and lodges throughout Tanzania. A few of our favorites are listed below of special note for their location, service and ambiance.
Alex Walker’s Serian – Serengeti North Camp Serengeti
Sayari Camp Serengeti
Singita Faru Faru Lodge Grumeti – Serengeti
Gibb’s Farm Ngorongoro
Manyara Ranch Conservancy Manyara
Matemwe Lodge Zanzibar
Olakira Mobile Camp Ndutu
Oliver’s Camp Tarangire
Sand River Selous Selous
The vast and beautiful country of Tanzania, locked between the shores of Lake Victoria and the shimmering Indian Ocean, is world-renowned for her quite extraordinary abundance of wildlife and fabulously unspoiled vistas. It is also home both to the exotic spice island of Zanzibar and the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, which, at 5,896 meters, is the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
Some 100,000 sq km of Tanzania’s area is devoted to her national reserves. Amongst the better known are the endless plains of the Serengeti, host to the global marvel of the annual migration, and the massive wilderness of the untamed and largely undiscovered Selous. Finally there is the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, the enthralling Ngorongoro Crater.
Tanzania also has a fascinating rainbow of cultures in its 26 million inhabitants, including over a hundred traditional tribes such as the Masai, Sukuma and Chagga. The land has been touched by countless peoples, from the first Bantu settlers migrating from south and west Africa, to Arab traders whose trace still dominates the magical island of Zanzibar, and through Portuguese, German and British colonists. Tanzania finally gained independence in 1961.
The town of Arusha is the safari gateway to the northern parks. Arusha National Park is a relatively small preserve, covering 137 sq. km. Vegetation varies greatly because of the different altitudes (Mt. Meru is a 15,000 ft. peak.). Primeval forest covers parts of the crater, and there are swamps along the edges of the floor. Fauna also varies greatly. The forest is home to duikers, bushbuck, buffalo and Black and White Colobus Monkeys. The lakes have thousands of flamingos, as well as other aquatic birds, hippo, waterbuck, reedbuck and giraffe. The areas have plentiful numbers of plains animals.
Kilimanjaro is the spectacular and majestic high point of Africa. Its snowcaps gleam in the African sunshine as the huge volcano dominates the plains at its feet. The “Roof of Africa” has long been a source of myth and amazement, and historically was considered the home of gods. Kilimanjaro’s highest peak, Uhuru, stands at over 19,000 feet and was first climbed in 1889 by Hans Meyer. Kilimanjaro and the surrounding volcanic range was formed by the same forces that created the Great Rift Valley which cuts through East Africa. There are five basic routes to the summit, the easiest but most heavily used being Marangu. The mountain has five major regions: the summit, high desert, alpine moorland, rain forest and cultivated lower slopes.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the most stunning and unique landscapes of East Africa. The view from the rim is breathtaking. The crater covers about 260 sq. km of the 8300 sq. km protected area. The crater itself is a magical scene that contains abundant and unusually docile wildlife, with large numbers of mammals, especially grazers. The floor of the crater is home to gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest, warthog and even the rare Black Rhino. The crater is a contained area for these animals and therefore contains a high percentage of predators. The area is also home to the pastoral Masai people. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains Lake Magadi and a varied landscape, including grasslands, rivers, swamps, forest and even an arid region of sand dunes.
This beautiful landmark is named for the abundance of Sansevieria bush, which is named Olduvai by the Masai. Olduvai Gorge is within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, near the entrance to the Serengeti. The landmark is 50 km long and 90 m deep at places. The area is an archeologist’s haven where many fossils, including those of prehistoric elephants, giant horned sheep, huge ostriches and an early form of man, have been found here and are now displayed in a local museum.
The Serengeti National Park is one of the most popular and beautiful parks of East Africa with a rich and plentiful wildlife population. Protected in 1929, it covers over 14,700 sq. km of mostly grassland. Zebra and wildebeest dominate the landscape and are the center of life in the area. There are also abundant predators, gazelles and birds. During February, the wildebeest and zebra begin a massive migration north, following the rains to fresh grasslands. In October the herds return south, again crossing the Serengeti. The Serengeti animals join the herds moving from Kenya’s Masai Mara and amass as many as 1.5 million animals. This is one of the most amazing scenes in all Africa.
The Lake Manyara National Park is a spectacular region of the Great Rift Valley. The 330 sq. km area contains the 230 sq. km lake, as well as wetland forest, acacia woodland and open grassland. Elephant, Cape Buffalo, giraffe, impala and zebra roam the plains of Mahali Pa Nyati and frequent the waters of the lake and the Simba River, which are teeming with hippo. The forests of the region are teeming with blue monkeys, vervets, baboons, waterbuck, bushbuck, aardvark, pangolin, leopard and black rhino. The area is also home to the famous tree-climbing lions.
The Tarangire National Park is south of Lake Manyara. It is the third largest park in Tanzania and covers 2,600 sq. km. The landscape is dotted with statuesque Baobab trees. The Tarangire River provides permanent water for the plains animals that inhabit the rolling grasslands. Tarangire supports an unusually large wildlife population. Wildebeest, oryx, kudu, zebra, elephant and eland are abundant in the area. There are also lion, cheetah and leopard. Between June and October, the migrating herds of wildebeest and zebra come to this watering source along their route.
The Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest unspoiled regions of the world, covering 55,000 sq. km. It is a remote and beautiful landscape. Large herds of elephant, buffalo, Sable and Roan antelopes roam the grasslands, while hippo and crocodile are abundant near the Rufiji River.
Mikumi National Park is an extension of the massive Selous reserve. The area is the Mkata flood plain, enclosed by mountains. Wildlife found in the region includes elephant, Eland, Lichenstein’s Hartebeest and Cape Hunting Dog. Greater Kudu and Sable Antelope are rarer sightings.
Ruaha National Park is a large area, covering 13,000 sq. km, but only a part of it is developed for visitors. It is Tanzania’s largest elephant sanctuary as the herds gather around the Ruaha River’s flood plains. The park also has many kinds of wildlife including Greater and Lesser Kudu, Sable and Roan Antelope.
DAR ES SALAAM AND ZANZIBAR
Dar es Salaam is a natural deep-water harbor that was frequented by Arabian traders. The name means “Haven of Peace” for the natural protection that the harbor offers from the open seas of the Indian Ocean. The Tanzanian coast is an ideal place for rest and relaxation after a safari. The region is stunning, full of white sand beaches, turquoise waters and sunshine. The resorts on the beach offer activities like fishing, swimming, sailing, and scuba diving along the coral reefs. The mystical spice island of Zanzibar offers another wonderful resort and beach area. A walk through Stone Town, the historic heart of Zanzibar, is a fascinating cultural experience and a Spice Tour provides insight into the ancient trade that made the island famous.
Tanzania’s Northern Circuit is by far the more popular for first-time safari goers including the Mara River crossings in the Serengeti and the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater. The Northern Circuit can also include one of our favorite parks, Tarangire National Park, as well as Lake Manyara, seasonal home to millions of flamingos.
The lesser visited Southern Circuit includes Katavi, Selous and Ruaha, parks known for being both rugged and remote, as well as the Mahale Mountains, a breathtaking chimp-tracking destination set on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
CUSTOM TANZANIA & KENYA SAFARI (13 Days): Arusha, Tarangire, Serengeti, Masai Mara, Laikipia
SAFARI ITINERARY IN BRIEF
04 July: Arrival in Arusha, Tanzania, meet & greet then transfer to Lake Duluti Lodge (1 nt)
05 July: Shared flight to Tarangire National Park, game activities at Nimali Tarangire Lodge (3 nts)
06-07 July: Enjoy game viewing in Tarangire National Park with other guests of the lodge
08 July: Shared flight to Serengeti National Park’s Kogatende airstrip, transfer to Sayari Camp (3 nts)
09-10 July: Explore the northern Serengeti with other guests on game viewing activities
11 July: Shared flight to Masai Mara via Tarime, game drive to Mara Plains Camp (3 nts)
12-13 July: Delve into the game-rich Masai Mara area with your naturalist guide and other guests
14 July: Shared flight from Ol Kiombo airstrip to Loisaba via Wilson, transfer to Ol Malo Lodge (3 nts)
15-16 July: Shared game and cultural activities from your base at Ol Malo Lodge
17 July: Shared flight Loisaba-Nairobi, transfer to town for lunch and shopping before departing Kenya
Read through the full itinerary here.
CLASSIC NORTHERN CIRCUIT SAFARI (7 Days): Arusha, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater
Day 1 – Pick up at Arusha airport and drive (130K and 2 hours driving) to Manyara for lunch. Overnight at Manyara Serena Lodge or similar. 130 kms / 2 hrs.
Day 2 – Morning game drive at Lake Manyara. Continue to Serengeti (250K and 5 hours driving) with game drive enroute. Dinner and overnight at Seronera area lodge such as Serengeti Serena Lodge.
Day 3 & 4 – Spend two full days in Serengeti with morning and afternoon game drives. Meals & overnights at Serengeti Serena Lodge or similar.
Day 5 – Drive to Ngorongoro via Olduvai Gorge with picnic lunch enroute (195K and 4 hours driving). Afternoon game drive in the Crater. Dinner and overnight at one of Ngorongoro Crater lodges.
Day 6 – Half-day Crater safari with a picnic lunch. Overnight at lodge.
Day 7 – Drive to Arusha for lunch and airport transfer. 200K and 3 hours driving.
FLYING OPTION: For added comfort, less driving and more time in the wildlife areas we recommend our flying option. This is possible by staying the same number of nights at the same lodges, but changing the order of accommodation to begin with Lake Manyara followed by Ngorongoro and finishing with the Serengeti, and then flying back from Serengeti to Arusha.
TANZANIA HIGHLIGHTS SAFARI (8 Days): Arusha, Tarangire, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater
Day 1: Arrival in Arusha
Arrive at Arusha’s Kilimanjaro International Airport and meet your customer service representative. Transfer to Arusha town situated at the foot of Mount Meru. Check in at Mount Meru Hotel for overnight.
Day 2: To Tarangire National Park
After breakfast, drive to the Tarangire National Park and arrive at the Maramboi Tented Camp which is situated on a 25,000 hectare Maasai communal ranch. During the wet season the ‘pans’ (shallow depressions) of this area fill with water, which attracts huge flocks of flamingoes and other water birds. The camp is also ideally placed for watching the migration of the wildebeest, which on the tree-less plains can be more easily and more graphically observed than elsewhere. The camp offers just 20 spacious tents, all surrounded by timber decks. Activities possible at an extra cost while at the camp include guided walks, ornithology and cultural interaction with the Datoga and Maasai people, whose communities lie adjacent to the camp. The camp also has its own swimming pool. Early lunch and afternoon take a game-drive through the Tarangire National park, which is second only to the Ngorongoro Crater as a dry-season sanctuary for vast herds of migratory creatures. Dinner at the camp.
Distance/drive time: 175 km / 3 hours
Day 3: On safari in Tarangire Spend a full day on safari in Tarangire National Park with morning and afternoon game drives. Breakfast, lunch and dinner at the camp.
Day 4: To the Serengeti
After breakfast, drive to Ol Duvai Gorge, one of the World’s most important Paleolithic sites, where a picnic lunch will be taken. Arrive in the Serengeti National Park and check in to the Serengeti Serena Lodge in time for an afternoon game drive in the park. Covering 14,763 sq km of endlessly rolling savannah plains, the Serengeti is Tanzania’s first-established, largest and most famous park wherein tens of thousands of hoofed animals roam in a constant and unremitting search for the fresh grasslands upon which their survival depends. The million-plus wildebeest are the predominant herbivore and also the main prey of a huge cast of large carnivores, principally lion and hyena. Whilst the annual migration is the Serengeti’s most famous attraction, the Park is also renowned for its lion, many of which have been fitted with radio-transmitter collars so that their movements may be tracked, and additionally for its wealth of cheetah, zebra, giraffe, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, eland, impala, klipspringer, hippo and warthog. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Distance/drive time: 310km / 5 ½ hours
Day 5 & 6: On safari in the Serengeti
Two full days on safari in one of the world’s most famous reserves. The Serengeti, whose Maasai name ‘Siringet’ translates as ‘the endless plains’, offers unparalleled ornithological opportunities and an unrivalled natural arena wherein the glory and harmony of nature can be appreciated as nowhere else on earth. All meals and overnight at the lodge.
Day 7: To the Ngorongoro Crater
Leave the Serengeti and drive to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area often referred to as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s best-known wildlife arenas. A World Heritage Site, it is also one of the largest volcanic craters in the world (almost 20 kilometres wide, 610-760 metres deep and covering a total area of 264 square kilometres). An utterly unique biosphere, the Crater harbours grasslands, swamps, forests, saltpans, a fresh water lake and a glorious variety of birdlife, all enclosed within its towering walls. Picnic lunch on the crater floor. In the late afternoon, ascend to the rim of the crater and check-in to the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge, which offers one of the finest locations of all the crater-rim lodges, lying on its southern rim directly above the yellow fever trees of the Lerai Forest. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Distance/drive time: 145 km / 3 hours
Day 8: Depart via Arusha
After breakfast, drive to Arusha to arrive in time for lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, transfer to the Kilimanjaro International Airport for your onward flights.
Distance/drive time: 190 km / 3 hours