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Tanzania’s northern safari circuit combines quintessential African landscapes with the lesser-known corners of the country. Those who embark on this 10-day adventure through the national parks are exposed to the full variety of big game, vibrant birdlife, impossibly beautiful landscapes, curious cultures and thrilling wildlife encounters, all from the comfort of luxurious African safari lodges. Fresh cuisine inspired by local flavors, along with interesting décor created by the surrounding communities, ensures that all senses are touched on this Tanzanian adventure.
Travel Months: we would recommend planning this trip between the months of November and June, when the herds are plentiful in the southern plains. Within this period, May and June offer the absolute best wildebeest viewing from Lobo Lodge. If the Great Wildebeest Migration is not a focal point of your trip, it would be worth visiting between the months of July and October, when wildlife in Tarangire is most plentiful. Tarangire is a migratory park that is filled with migratory mammals and birds during this period.
After breakfast at the hotel you will be picked up by your guide. Moving out of the shadows of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, you will drive towards your first destination: Tarangire National Park. As baobab trees become more prevalent along the roadside, you will know you are near this remarkable Park.
Herds of ungulates dot the roadside as you gradually drive up a slight rise leading you towards the Tarangire Sopa Lodge. Tucked between kopjes with expansive views of the surrounding plains. Having spent much of the day in the car, you might enjoy spending the remainder of the afternoon unwinding on the various levels of the lodge. Walk through the elaborate marble-floored main lodge, looking at the local art and artifacts that decorate the lodge. Join the lodge guests on the expansive outdoor patio for a dinner under the starry night sky, before gathering round the fire for a few celebratory arrival drinks.
Wake up this morning to a freshly brewed cup of local Tanzanian coffee, before setting out on a full day of safaris through Tarangire. You will get the opportunity to observe an elephant with no other vehicles around is a rarity in African national parks – but one that can still occur in Tarangire. This park is proudly home to some of Tanzania’s largest herds of elephant, which wander gracefully among populations of lions, leopards and cheetah. This park is also distinguished from its northern sisters by its unique ecosystem, which supports unique wildlife including the oryx and the gerenuk – two ancient looking antelope who favor dry grassland. The Kori Bustard is another unique and impressive sighting in this landscape, given that it is the world’s heaviest flying bird.
You will get packed lunch boxes which will enable you to spend every moment of the day exploring the untouched corners and bends in the river. Others may prefer to return to the lodge as the sun climbs high in the sky, seeking refuge poolside during the hottest part of the day before returning to the bush in the late afternoon.
After a well prepared breakfast of fresh fruit, homemade pastries and coffee later start your journey towards the stunning and lush Ngorongoro Crater. En route, however, you will detour through the Mto-Wa-Mbu village, for a taste of Tanzanian culture. This town of 18,000 is home to a rich variety of Tanzanian tribes, with a high prevalence of Masai warriors. This is a wonderful spot to pick up local crafts and souvenirs, in addition to some wonderful people watching. Enjoy a midday beer at a roadside restaurant before returning to the vehicle.Carrying on westwards, the landscape will grow increasingly lush as you approach the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. For the next two nights, you will stay at the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge, which is perfectly located on the edge of the crater. Arriving in the late afternoon, familiarize yourself with your room and the property before heading towards the crater edge for one of the best locations for a sunset cocktail. As you sip your sundowner, peek over the edge for your first look at the crater floor over half a kilometer below. Return to the main lodge for a buffet dinner before retiring early to bed. Tomorrow will be an exciting and adventurous day!
After an early breakfast you will begin a full day’s exploration of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Created two to three million years ago when an ancient volcano exploded in on itself, today this crater is the world’s largest inactive caldera. The rain-forested walls act as a natural enclosure for resident wildlife, which you will encounter countless times over the course of the day. Ungulates, including gazelle and zebra, stipple the crater floor as they feast on the fresh grasses and plentiful water sources. Impressive prides of lions lurk along the perimeter, either scouting out potential prey or feasting on a recent kill. The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places to view lions in Africa, since the natural enclosure of the crater has created incredibly high lion density. Dinner and overnight.
Wake up today to enjoy a final breakfast on the lip of the crater, before venturing onwards to the crux of this tour: safaris in the Serengeti. As you drive westwards, you will again make a detour – this time to the Olduvai Gorge. This site was made famous by anthropologists Mary and Louis Leaky, who discovered the oldest known hominid remains in the 1960s, after 30 years of excavation work. The Olduvai Gorge is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites worldwide, and is commonly referred to as the ‘Cradle of Mankind.’ Since the initial discovery, over 60 hominids have been discovered in the area, which provides the most comprehensive and continuous documentation of human evolution.
Departing the gorge in the early afternoon, the adventure continues west into the famed plains of the Serengeti. You will arrive at the Seronera Wildlife Lodge in the late afternoon, which is artfully built around an impressive kopje – a rocky outcropping
Serengeti translates from the Masai language to mean ‘the place where the land moves on forever.’ Today, you will begin to understand exactly what that idea means. On this day you will have a full day game drive in search for the savanna’s prolific wildlife, your guide will tailor your explorations to your particular interests – whether that’s birdlife, mammals, or, the Great Wildebeest Migration.
Moments with lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo are coveted by all lucky enough to see them, and in this environment spotting will not be difficult. Spend the day venturing in and out of the shade as you search for a herd of elephants splashing in the river, or a lion lazing with his cubs in the shade of an acacia tree. Return to the lodge. Enjoy another locally inspired evening meal at the lodge restaurant, followed by an aperitif on the lodge patio. Dinner and overnight
Wake up this morning before dawn. It is during these early hours that the bush is at its most active, and today you will set out on a pre-breakfast safari to spot many animals. Watch thousands of gazelle, zebra and wildebeest as they feast on the grass before venturing into the shade. Scan the horizon for signs of a predator’s evening hunt before returning to the Seronera Lodge for a breakfast of fresh fruit and pastries.
Mid-morning, you will travel north through the Serengeti towards the Kenyan border. Driving slowly through the park, this transfer will be fringed with wildlife viewing opportunities as you approach the Lobo Wildlife Lodge. Built on a rocky outcropping in the northernmost section of the Serengeti, Lobo is the largest lodge in this critical section of the wildebeest migration route. Be back at the hotel in the afternoon, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure enjoy what the property has to offer.
Today will be an epic finale to your time in the Serengeti, as you spend a full day immersed deep within the heart of the Great Wildebeest Migration. Lobo is perfectly situated to pitch guests into the heart of this two million strong migration within moments of leaving the lodge property. Heralded as one of the planet’s greatest natural spectacles, today will be both humbling and awe-inspiring. Your tour will begin amidst herds of grazing wildebeest, zebra and impala that are feasting on the final remains of the Serengeti grasses. Driving northwards, you will approach the mighty Mara River, made famous by images of wildebeest trundling through its crocodile-infested waters. Drive alongside this natural division between Kenya’s Masai Mara and the Serengeti, observing prominent hippo and crocodile populations that guard these treacherous waters. With luck, you too will have the chance to watch as wildebeest plunge through these waters in an effort to reach the greener pastures further north.
As the sun climbs higher in the sky, pause in a shaded picnic area as vervet monkeys look onwards. In the late afternoon, you may wish to detour away from the central portion exploring the outskirts of the herd, where carnivores often lurk in the shadows. evening meal, before falling asleep to the sounds of the migration moving around you. Dinner and overnight
After a fresh breakfast, you will embark on your journey to Lake Manyara National Park. Detouring through a resident Masai village will provide you with a final opportunity to observe and interact with local Masai warriors. This would be the perfect time to watch a traditional dance performance, which often incorporates the infamous Masai jump. Male Masai warriors are capable of soaring to remarkable heights as part of their coming of age ceremony, and observing this feat is to observe one of the most celebrated components of their culture. This village visit will also be a great time to purchase a few final mementos from Africa.
In the late afternoon, you will arrive at the gates of Lake Manyara National Park. This is another gem in the northern circuit, less frequently visited yet impressively beautiful. As you ascend the western escarpment, you will happen upon the Lake Manyara Wildlife Lodge, located on a cliff with sweeping views of the lake below. Dinner later enjoy the rest of the evening at the fire place.
Rise early this morning in order to take full advantage of this final day in the African bush. After the excitement of the Serengeti, game drives throughout the tranquil Lake Manyara National Park will be the perfect way to unwind and reflect upon this sensational adventure. The park itself is structured around the central alkaline lake, characteristic of the Great Rift Valley. During the dry season, this lake sustains much of the region’s wildlife with impressive migratory bird populations flocking to the flamingo-filled shores. The mixed forests that encircle the lake are of particular interest, given that resident lions are often found high within their branches. Tree-climbing lions are a phenomenon unique to this park in Tanzania. Spotting the tail of a male lion dangling from a tree is one of the most perfect conclusions to this tour.
In the afternoon drive to Arusha for your flight back home. END OF SERVICE!
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