During this 12-day journey of a lifetime, observe one of Earth’s greatest natural spectacles, the annual Great Migration, by land and air. Visit four of Tanzania’s finest game parks: Tarangire, Lake Manyara, the Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater with deluxe accommodations in Serena Safari Lodges. Enjoy unique perspectives aboard two privately chartered aircraft flights and daily game drives revealing vast herds of elephant, wildebeest, zebra, gazelle and Cape buffalo, as well as magnificent lion, cheetah, and leopard.
Depart for Tanzania
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha, a city nestled at the foot of Mount Meru, gateway to Tanzania’s renowned national game parks. Transfer to the deluxe LAKE DULUTI SERENA HOTEL, built in the distinct, traditional style of a colonial coffee plantation amid verdant, landscaped coffee fields with picturesque views of nearby Lake Duluti.
Arusha/Tarangire National Park
Enjoy a scenic, privately chartered flight over the sweeping African plains en route to Tarangire National Park and the distinctive TARANGIRE SOPA LODGE. This afternoon, enjoy a game drive and sightings of the vast array of wildlife along the banks of the Tarangire River.
Join your fellow participants this evening for a Welcome Reception at the lodge.
During this 12-day journey of a lifetime, observe one of Earth’s greatest natural spectacles, the annual Great Migration, by land and air.
Rise with the early African sunlight for a game drive to experience the park at dawn. Upon returning to the lodge, you can watch as herds of elephant gather near the drying riverbed in search of underground streams while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle and eland crowd the banks. During your afternoon game drive, keep an eye out for lion and cheetah—Tanzania’s most powerful predators—in their natural habitat.
Tarangire/Lake Manyara National Park
On your last early morning game drive in Tarangire, try to spot the kori bustard, the largest flying bird native to Africa, and the stocking-thighed ostrich. After breakfast, check out of the lodge and enjoy a scenic drive to Lake Manyara National Park. On arrival, check into the deluxe LAKE MANYARA SERENA SAFARI LODGE before embarking on an afternoon game drive. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
Lake Manyara/Ngorongoro Crater
After daybreak, drive through Lake Manyara National Park in search of hippopotamus and brilliantly hued flamingo found in pools along the lake’s shoreline. Watch for troops of baboons and blue monkeys scampering along tree branches, and scan the grassy floodplain in search of Cape buffalo, wildebeest, tusked elephant and giraffe.
Look for Lake Manyara’s most famous inhabitant, the lion, who likes to climb up and lie languidly over the branches of the acacia tree.
Following breakfast, check out of the lodge and enjoy a scenic drive to the edge of the Great Rift Valley, arguably the most significant physical detail of the Earth that is visible from outer space. Observe Tanzania’s educational system firsthand during a stop at Kibaoni Primary School, the first public primary school in Tanzania with a library—visitors to the country donated most of its book collection. Meet the headmistress and see the school’s classrooms.
Continue to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and check into the deluxe NGORONGORO SERENA SAFARI LODGE, perched on the rim of the magnificent crater, where each guest room offers stunning views of the natural surroundings and wildlife.
After lunch in the lodge, experience a cultural exchange in a typical Maasai village with exuberant Tanzanians dressed in colorful traditional vestments. These tribal people have held fast to their ancestral ways, centered around their cattle, which provide them with sustenance and clothing and shape their cultural values.
After breakfast, board a four-wheel-drive land cruiser and descend 2000 feet to the floor of Ngorongoro Crater, a remarkable sanctuary for hundreds of mammal and bird species, for a morning of game tracking.
Born from the collapse of a massive volcano over two million years ago, the 12-mile-wide crater shelters an immense year-round concentration of incredible wildlife, lively with personality and unique behavior. The profusion of game reflects the diversity of habitats found on the crater floor: savannas, forests, marshlands, salt pans and a freshwater lake. With abundant grass and a permanent water supply, the crater supports herds of grazing animals that, in turn, attract lion, leopard and cheetah.
Observe parades of zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, Cape buffalo and bull elephant; watch for the critically endangered black rhinoceros; and look for hippopotamus seeking refuge from the midday sun in the Ngoitokitok Springs. Also, watch for the numerous species of birds that find a home in the crater, including ostrich, crowned crane, flamingo and other waders. Together, the distinct flora and fauna of the crater make this a truly unique ecosystem.
Later, survey the crater and its abundant wildlife from your lodge’s viewing terrace, right on the crater’s rim.
Ngorongoro/Oldupai Gorge/Serengeti National Park
Following breakfast, check out of the lodge and visit Oldupai Gorge, the most famous archaeological location in East Africa and the wellspring of our DNA. Formerly known as Olduvai, this was a mispronunciation of the Maasai word “Oldupai” for the type of wild sisal that grows around the gorge. Here, in 1960, Dr. Louis Leakey and his family made the important discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old Homo habilis. In 1959, his wife, Mary Leakey, unearthed the skull of Zinjanthropus, an early hominin that proved invaluable to the study of human ancestry. Enjoy a discussion on Oldupai Gorge, known as the “cradle of mankind,” given by a local expert.
Continue on a game drive to the legendary UNESCO World Heritage-designated Serengeti National Park. See the diverse and abundant fauna of this vast ecosystem,such as Thomson’s gazelle, giraffe, cheetah and leopard. Check into the deluxe SERENGETI SERENA SAFARI LODGE, located within the park and selected for its proximity to the park’s largest year-round concentration of wildlife.
Day 9 & 10
One of the most spectacular moments you can experience in nature is to be surrounded by great herds of wildebeest, gazelle, topi, zebra and Cape buffalo, only a fraction of more than two million animals inhabiting a mere 5400 square miles of savannas and woodlands. Explore the trackless grasslands that support this abundance of grazing animals during morning and afternoon game safaris.
Look for granite kopjes (outcrops) dotting the plains, which are favored by large cats, especially lion and leopard. Experience prolific, world-class bird-watching possibilities with more than 500 species in the expansive marshland, which attracts thousands of waterbirds.
Enjoy a phenomenal aerial perspective of the Serengeti’s plains during an early morning hot air balloon flight option, weather conditions permitting.
After breakfast, enjoy a scenic flight across the vast African plains in your privately chartered aircraft to Arusha. Have lunch at the Arusha Coffee Plantation Lodge upon arrival. Continue to the deluxe LAKE DULUTI SERENA HOTEL, where day rooms have been reserved. Enjoy time at leisure, and after dinner on your own, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S.
Your return flight arrives today.