U.S. / EN ROUTE
Our East African safari begins when you fly independently from the Atlanta International Airport.
ARRIVE ARUSHA, TANZANIA
Our jet lands late in the evening at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, the capital of Northern Tanzania. “Jambo" (Hello) is the cheerful welcome from your safari representative, who escorts us to our hotel. Secreted in the depths of a tree-shaded coffee plantation, wreathed in multi-coloured tresses of tumbling bougainvillea, cooled by mountain streams and strung like a necklace around the shores of an idyllic wooded lake, Mountain Village offers a haven of calm and serenity just outside the hustle and bustle of Arusha, Tanzania’s premier “Safari Town.” Set in the flowered gardens of a coffee planter’s farm house and surrounded by rolling groves of wax-green coffee bushes, Mountain Village offers wide timbered decks with panoramic views over Lake Duluti, and a selection of ethnically-styled rondavel village-cluster rooms, each one neatly thatched with Makuti stems, lavishly embellished with Makonde carvings and comfortably furnished in traditional safari style. (Meals Aloft)
TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Following breakfast, we are met by our private naturalist guides and depart for the drive to Tarangire, the third largest game park in Tanzania and the home to vast wildlife year round thanks to its constant source of water, the Tarangire River. Before checking into the Tarangire Sopa Lodge, we journey through the rolling countryside searching for Tarangire wildlife, including endangered black rhino, antelope, leopard, lion and cheetah. The park's inhabitants include an unusually large elephant population as well as eland, kudu, gazelle, fringe-eared oryx and giraffe. Birdlife is also plentiful here. Tarangire is an oasis in dry country, perpetually crowded, even when other parks have limited wildlife. Return to our lodge after game drives. Hidden among the kopjes, lies Tarangire Sopa Lodge, surrounded by ancient baobab trees. It is the home of the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa, and other game including the elusive leopard. Over 400 bird species can be spotted here as well. With water constantly available in the area, the greenery is lush providing a wonderful contrast to the burnt ground. (B,L,D)
TARANGIRE / LAKE EYASI
Enjoy a morning game drive in Tarangire with additional time to observe and photograph the flora and fauna of this region. Following lunch at the lodge, continue our journey to the southern end of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Lake Eyasi, Tanzania’s largest soda lake. This remote region is home to the Hadzape Bushmen, a traditional hunting tribe that speaks a “click” language. The Datoga tribe also live in this region. A visit to the Datoga tribe will complete our cultural experience at Lake Eyasi. The Datoga are skilled farmers and craftsman. We will visit their habitat, and experience their culture first hand. This is a unique experience unavailable to most safaris and offers us an amazing cultural experience!
Spend the two nights at Kisima Ngeda Camp. This small permanent tented camp is located on a private family’s 200-acre farm on the shores of Lake Eyasi. The camp is situated in a beautiful natural palm and acacia lake-shore forest with a colossal rock as a backdrop and a natural spring nearby. The camp itself consists of seven guest sleeping tents built on permanent platforms and a large dining tent. All these are thatched with traditional palm fronds and the en-suite bathroom section is built with natural palm stems, giving it a rustic appearance. There is hot and cold running water supplied by a spring and heated through environmentally friendly "kuni boilers" that burn dry palm fronds that have fallen from the trees. Toilets are flush type and there is a proper septic system in place. Furniture and bedding is comfortable and in keeping with traditional safari style. Lighting is supplied by inverter and generator and is of the energy saving type. From all tents there is a beautiful view of the lake. (B,L,D)
Spend the day visiting with the Hadzape tribe after their daily hunt, learning about life in this seldom-visited area. There is nothing “commercial” about our interaction here – and in some respects, the Hadzape will continue with their daily routing as if we are not even there. During this time, join the hunting group and see how they hunt with bows and arrows. They also show us how to fire the bow and arrow, and we can try it out during target practice. This is sure to produce some memorable photo opportunities! If they catch anything they bring it back and roast it on the fire, and we have an opportunity to share in the meal. Beware, however, as the “hunt of the day” may just be a few mice! Alternative meals are available). We will be shown how arrows are made using animal tendons to tie on the flight feathers. The men will be happy to answer any questions we may have (local guide available for interpretation, as the Hadzabe do not speak Kiswahili). (B,L,D)
LAKE EYASI / NGORONGORO CRATER
After breakfast, set out for the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, the world’s largest unflooded caldera (collapsed cone of a volcano). Protected from the outside world by a huge rim, Ngorongoro Crater’s abundance of food and fresh water supports more than 30,000 large mammals. This afternoon, we’ll descend 2,000 feet into the crater for thrilling game drives among Africa’s “Big Five” (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard), but also search out the rare black rhino — this is your greatest chance to observe the East African black rhino in East Africa. Spend two nights at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge located on the rim of the Crater. (B,L,D)
We enjoy the day at the legendary Ngorongoro Crater, "Africa's Garden of Eden." We’ll take a picnic lunch with us today as we drive down into the Crater where an abundance of food and fresh water provides a permanent home to more than 30,000 large mammals. Throughout the Ngorongoro conservation area, you'll see wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, hippo and all the “big five” – elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo and rhino. This is the only place in East Africa where one can easily observe a natural population of black rhino. Also visit a remote Maasai village for a chance to experience the culture of East Africa. (B,L,D)
OLDUVAI GORGE / SERENGETI PLAINS
Drive to the famous Serengeti National Park, first visiting Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakey family did important work that shed light on early human development with Mary Leakey's discovery of a 1.7 million-year-old fossil skull. We continue on to one of the grandest settings in all of Africa – the Serengeti Plains, home to the greatest concentration of large mammals on Earth. This is not just another tour; it is a journey into creation, for one million animals inhabit the Serengeti and live in total freedom in limitless plains scattered with prehistoric rocky outcrops, patches of acacia bush, and occasional small rivers. The migratory herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle roam widely, searching for green grass and water. They face challengers from predators such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs, who must hunt to survive. Spend two nights at the Pioneer Camp. (B,L,D)
Our game runs in the Serengeti may afford a glimpse of the black-maned lion for which the park is renowned, as well as leopard and other predators. In the great Serengeti, the large predators – lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena – remain locked in an age-old rivalry for supremacy, with millions of herbivores as their quarry. Visitors are privileged witnesses to the savage rituals of predator and prey acted out each day on these plains of plenty. We also have an opportunity to explore the Ndutu region of the plains to allow us additional photo and wildlife viewing possibilities! Keep your camera ready for spectacular photographs. Everyday is a day of discovery and adventure and the reason why so many people return again and again to Africa! (B,L,D)
SERENGETI / ARUSHA / EN ROUTE
Fly via light aircraft to Arusha. Dayrooms are available at Mountain Village. Transportation is provided to take us shopping for souvenirs or items of interest including wood carvings and jewelry and trip memorabilia, or we may choose to stay at the lodge to swim and relax. Prior to our flight, we will enjoy a farewell dinner and transfer to the airport to check in for departure for home. (B,L,D)
Connect with our flight back to the U.S. and home. Return to the U.S. with memories of East Africa that photographs and words alone cannot describe!