Pick up from Arusha or Kilimanjaro airport and transfer to Arusha town. After lunch in town drive to Lake Manyara. Dinner and overnight at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge.
Enjoy a morning game drive in Lake Manyara National Park whose inhabitants include hippos, monkeys, tree climbing lions, flamingos and other varieties of birdlife. Lunch at the lodge. Then, drive to Serengeti National Park. Dinner and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
Lake Manyara National Park
Listed as a “World Heritage Site”, Lake Manyara National Park never fails to delight visitors. The 330 sq km (120 sq miles) park of which the soda lake takes up 230 sq km (86 sq miles) is flanked on the west by the sheer wall of the Great Rift Valley. The wall is a catchment area for the rivers which flow into the park creating the fascinating ground water tropical forest at the foot of the wall.
The terrain is so diverse that its mammal and bird lists are most impressive. From the famous tree climbing lions, hippos, elephants, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, monkeys, the elusive leopard, monitor lizards, pythons, to the flamingos and other birds all attracted to the area. Large areas of ground water forest with giant fig and mahogany trees alternate with acacia woodland and open spaces make this a photographers paradise. As many as 380 bird species have been recorded in the park.
It is thought that the lions climb the trees during the heat of the day for shade and to escape the flies and avoid the dense undergrowth.
Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the endless plains of the Serengeti for a chance to see the great herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles or a pride of lions lounging in the shade. Meals and overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge.
The Serengeti National Park is the largest and best known of all the Tanzania National Parks covering an area of 14,500 sq km (5,600 sq miles). Its northern boundary abuts the Maasai Mara National Reserve which is included in the Serengeti eco-system. Located to the north and west of Ngorongoro, the vast Serengeti plains sustain the greatest and most spectacular concentration of wildlife found anywhere in the world.
Most of the Serengeti is vast open plains with lofty rocky outcrops giving character to the landscape. There are also acacia and savannah woodland and scrub, forested and well-treed rivers, and the occasional swamp and small lake. The granite outcrops formed many millions of years ago and through the passage of time have become exposed and broken to form the rocky outcrops.
The Serengeti is known for its large prides of lions and the magnificent black maned lions are often seen surveying their territories from the top of the rocky outcrops. Leopards are relatively numerous and are to be found during the daytime resting in trees along the Seronera river.
Little creatures also play an important role in the plains life cycle. Banded mongoose, brightly coloured agama lizards, rock hyrax, dikdik, vervet monkeys to name just a few of the smaller animals all of which add to the wildlife spectacle of the Serengeti.
Large numbers of Kori Bustard, Africa’s heaviest flying birds, as well as the snake eating Secretary Bird, Crowned Plover, Yellow throated sandgrouse to name just a few of the many birds to be found on the plains.
Depart for a morning game drive in the Serengeti National Park. Lunch at the lodge. After lunch drive to Olduvai Gorge, site of Louis and Mary Leakey’s renowned archaeological discoveries. Their findings include some of man’s earliest known ancestral remains. Continue driving to Ngorongoro Conservation Area for dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Crater
“It is impossible to give a fair description of the size and beauty of the Crater, for there is nothing with which one can compare it. It is one of the Wonders of the World” quote by the late Professor Bernhard Grzimek – famous and respected naturalist.
Spanning roughly 8,300 sq kms (3,192 sq miles), the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a perfect microcosm of East Africa: it combines spectacular scenery and valuable archeological sites with mountains, forests, grassland plains, extinct volcanoes and a staggering profusion of wildlife. Central to the Area is the Ngorongoro Crater the floor of which covers an area of 260 sq kms (100 sq miles). Accommodation in the area is in lodges on the rim of the crater or just outside the Conservation Area. The road meanders along the rim of the crater affording breathtaking views and descends 2,000 feet to the crater floor.
Ngorongoro Crater is really a caldera, the sunken or collapsed cone of a volcano. It is the largest inactive, unbroken and unflooded caldera in the world.
Living on the floor of the crater are bull elephants, lions, hyena, zebra, wildebeest among others living on the grasslands and acacia forests. The crater also has a soda lake – Lake Magadi, the word magad translates to salt water in Maasai. The lake attracts greater and lesser flamingo and other water birds.
The crater is best known as a highly successful sanctuary for the endangered black rhino.
The settings in which you watch the animals are beautiful, the crater is an outstanding place for photography as well as direct observation.
Today you will descend 2000 feet (over 600 metres) to the floor of the crater for a day crater tour with picnic lunches. Explore the forest areas that are inhabited by monkeys and elephants, the lake area, where you may see the flamingos and the open savannah where the lions hunt for food. Dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.
After breakfast, drive back to Arusha. Lunch in town. Drop off at Arusha or Kilimanjaro airport.
Optional: continue your adventure by adding a beach-extension to the Spice Island of Zanzibar. We can arrange flights and a choice of hotels (see here for details).