From the depths of Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti plains; off-the-beaten path Tarangire to exotic Zanzibar, our small group encounters the breadth of tranquil Tanzania’s riches: abundant wildlife, exquisite landscapes, and diverse cultures. It’s Africa as it was – and still is.
Day 1 & 2
Depart U.S. for Arusha, Tanzania
Upon arrival we transfer directly to our hotel. Tonight we attend a briefing about the journey ahead followed by a welcome dinner.
This afternoon we set out on a game drive in Arusha National Park, where we may spot waterbuck, zebra, giraffe – and in the distance, possibly, snowcapped Mt. Kilimanjaro. Inside the park we’ll see Mt. Meru, Africa’s fifth highest peak at almost 15,000 feet. Though relatively small at 53 square miles, topographically varied Arusha National Park hosts a diverse profusion of wildlife. Nearly 400 bird species call the park home.
Arusha / Tarangire National Park
We depart today for the two-hour drive to Tarangire, Tanzania’s 1,100-square-mile park known especially for its high concentration of elephants and for the many baobab trees dotting the savannah. We enjoy a game drive en route to our lodge, located within the park. After lunch and some time at leisure, late afternoon we enjoy another game drive in the park, where we may see zebra, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, cheetah, and of course, elephants.
In store today: morning and afternoon game drives in this gem of a park slightly off the beaten path. Along with the abundant game, we’re sure to see some of Tarangire’s 550 species of birds, as well as the many termite mounds scattered amid the grass- and swampland here.
Tarangire / Ngorongoro Conservation Area
This morning we depart for Ngorongoro, wildlife haven and homeland of the semi-nomadic Maasai people. We arrive in time for lunch at our safari lodge uniquely set on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, blending in so much with the landscape as to be invisible from the crater floor. This afternoon is at leisure; the views of the crater from our lodge, spectacular.
This morning we set out on an unforgettable game drive, descending to the floor of magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO site and at 100 square miles the world’s largest intact and perfectly formed volcanic caldera. The unique biosphere here has remained unchanged for eons; towering walls encircle the crater’s floor which represents Africa in microcosm: grassland, swamps, lakes, forests, and some 25,000 mammals, including elephant, black rhinoceros, lion, hippo, and zebra. Throughout our explorations we also may see semi-nomadic Maasai tribesmen as they engage in their age-old practice of grazing their cattle along¬side the wild animals. This afternoon is at leisure to relax at our rustic lodge on the crater’s rim.
Ngorongoro/Olduvai Gorge / Serengeti National Park
En route today to the fabled Seren¬geti, we visit 31-mile Olduvai Gorge. It was here in 1959 that anthropologist Mary Leakey discovered the 1.8-million-year-old skull of Australopithecus boisei – and revolutionized the study of human evolution. Part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (which itself is part of the Serengeti region), Olduvai is con¬sidered the “cradle of humanity” and ranks as one of the world’s most important prehistoric archaeologial sites for its rich fossils and early hominid remains. Then we visit a Maasai village before we continue on to Serengeti National Park, home to such plains dwellers as lion, cheetah, zebra, and wildebeest. The Serengeti, the Maasai’s “endless plain,” is considered Africa’s finest park, and we begin to see why on this afternoon’s game drive. Today’s safari outing concludes at our lodge, which we reach in time for dinner.
In Tanzania’s north¬east corner sits the vast Serengeti, 5,700 square miles (equal in size to Connecticut), one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges, and the Tanzanian portion of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Twice a year (Jan–Feb and Jun–Oct), some 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 ze¬bra, and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle migrate to new grazing lands, sparking one of nature’s most spectac¬ular sights and the world’s largest migration. But the Serengeti’s plains teem with animal life year-round, and this is the best place to see lion and cheetah up close, perhaps on today’s game drives.
On today’s game drives, we have the chance to see some – or all – of Africa’s “Big Five:” lion, Cape buffalo, elephant, rhino, and leopard, along with wildebeest, zebra, eland, gazelle, and other plains animals, and some 500 species of birds. Between and after our drives, we have time to enjoy meals and the amenities at our lodge, which include a raised terrace and stone-ringed infinity pool with views over the savannah.
Serengeti / Zanzibar
We fly this morning to tropical Zanzibar, Tanzania’s semiautonomous Indian Ocean archipelago with a colorful and storied history. Upon arrival mid-afternoon, we set out to discover Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital, a UNESCO site, and East Africa’s only ancient town still functioning. A heady mix of Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African influences (though predominantly Muslim today), Stone Town boasts a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with shops, homes, hidden courtyards, and extravagantly carved wooden doors, as we see on our tour. From here we travel to our beach resort on Zanzibar’s eastern coast.
A morning tour of a spice plan¬tation reveals why Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island” – its bounty of cloves, nutmeg, ginger, chilies, black pepper, vanilla, coriander, and cinnamon have found their way around the world for centuries. We return to our hotel in time for lunch on our own and an afternoon at leisure to enjoy the amenities of our beachfront hotel. We dine tonight at our hotel.
After a full day at leisure to enjoy the amenities of our resort hotel, tonight we celebrate our Tanzania adventure at a farewell dinner.
Depart for / Arrive U.S.
Early this morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to the U.S., where we connect with our return flights home.
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