3 Parks – Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater. Trip Code: (SP-MSN5S). Group Size Minimum 1. Start and finish in Arusha, Tanzania. Arduous level is 2/5.
DAY 1 - KILIMANJARO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO ARUSHA
Plan your travel to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport where you will be warmly met by one of our friendly and experienced driver guides holding a name board who will escort you to your Arusha hotel for your first night. You will be happy to find that despite being only 3 degrees south of the equator Arusha is comparatively cool and with lower humidity due to its elevation of 4,600ft (1400m) above sea level. Arusha is on the eastern leg of the Great Rift Valley and is the safari capital of East Africa and also an agricultural and administrative centre. The city surrounded by lush, green vegetation has rising above it Mount Meru at 14,967ft or 4,562m. It is Mount Kilimanjaro’s (19,308ft / 5,885m) beautiful sister mountain. All the most popular northern Tanzania safaris begin in Arusha. These are the best safaris in Africa for the sheer spectacle and abundance of wildlife. NgoroNgoro Crater and the Serengeti are within reach and Arusha even has it’s own National Park with plenty of wildlife and activities such as trekking, canoeing, mountain climbing and even horse riding in the wild near buffalo and giraffe, all available on a custom-made safari plan or as addition to the end of this safari. Arusha is the perfect centre from which you can enjoy your adventure of a lifetime, or take time to relax afterwards. Welcome to Arusha and welcome to Tanzania!
DAY 2 - ARUSHA TO LAKE MANYARA
After breakfast at your hotel you will set off early towards Lake Manyara National Park, named by the Maasai tribe and relating to the type of thorn bush found there and used to protect their bomas from any dangerous animal intrusions at night. After an hour and a half (74 miles) you have the opportunity to experience authentic Tanzanian culture with a visit to the fascinating Mto wa Mbu village which is just outside Lake Manyara National Park. It is a green oasis at the foot of the Great Rift Valley and a cultural melting pot of around 120 different tribes that live there. You will see how they live their traditional way of life. Some of the local tours help pay for their community projects such as farming-irrigation systems and their production of energy-efficient cooking stoves. You will get a chance to taste their foods and experience cultural interaction where discussion often includes politics, history, culture, wildlife and Tanzanian legends. Your driver-guide has expert knowledge of these ancient tribal cultures and will take excellent care of you whilst you experience this rich diversity. You can visit the farms, huts and see local art for sale in its artisan shops.
After enjoying lunch there, we set off into the 402 square mile - small but extremely scenic Lake Manyara National Park itself. It is an exhilarating introduction for what’s to come on your Adventure Tour. Blue monkeys inhabit the groundwater forest near the entrance gate, but Manyara is typified by its tree-climbing lions which have developed this habit to avoid getting constantly damp feet during the rainier seasons in this low lying land. There is stunning plains wildlife to view; elephant, hippo, wildebeest, zebra, buffalo and giraffe, plus over 400 bird species. There are acacia woodlands and the shallow alkaline Lake Manyara itself, which is inhabited by huge flocks of pink flamingo as well as pelicans, storks and cormorants. Following your afternoon game drive it’s off to your lodge for your delicious evening meal and relaxation.
DAY 3 - LAKE MANYARA TO SERENGETI
After breakfast, we leave Lake Manyara National Park with a packed lunch provided and head north-west for the Serengeti, so named by the Maasai and meaning ‘endless plains’ although it’s topography is quite diverse with woodlands, hills and open plains with horizons wider than the sea. Along the way you will be struck by the sheer scale and beauty of this landscape whilst your driver-guide’s keen eyes keep you posted on the animals and birds and their habits. But this is a mere prelude because within this, the UNESCO number one World Heritage Site, reside what must be the world's greatest gatherings of wildlife. After stopping for a scenic picnic lunch, you'll begin your afternoon game-drive and some amazing wildlife-spotting opportunities. From the southern grasslands and savannah to woodlands, the kopjes and even mountain scenery, you’ll see zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, hippo and crocodile now that the adventure has truly begun. At the end of the afternoon, exhausted but exhilarated, you’ll head off for your new lodge to enjoy an evening meal and plenty of excited discussion about the many fantastic experiences you’ve shared.
DAY 4 - SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK TO NGORONGORO
Waking at dawn in the Serengeti is something really special with the sounds, smells and sights of Africa all around you. After breakfast we start early for your last morning game-drive in the Serengeti at 8am. It must be impossible to spend too much time in the Serengeti as there's always something new and captivating to experience. Despite the amazing wildlife that inhabit it there are 1.5 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras on migration passing 3,000 lions and many other predators such as leopards, cheetah, hungry hyena clans and monster crocs. Meeting with the migration is dependant upon season and luck as the rains drive the migration on a huge rotation which covers 1,200 miles dictating it’s movement and varying location from year to year. They congregate in the central plains in March. In April the rains are at their height making a safari difficult, as the ground becomes a quagmire. If you want to be sure to seek out this great wonder of the world in this huge location please see our tailor-made Great Migration Safaris, which will take you there with special planning. Apart from the migration itself you’ll find ample and abundant wildlife that doesn’t migrate, including the big 5: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and the elusive leopard. You’ll also see cheetah, hyena and a wealth of other wildlife. Your morning game-drive will teach you many things about the habitats and character of the animals there with the attentive guidance of your driver-guide.
After a pleasant picnic lunch, it's time to leave the Serengeti and begin the drive eastwards to your next unique experience and another Great Wonder of the World, the truly spectacular NgoroNgoro Crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world. After your journey, it’s time to relax and enjoy a hot tasty dinner at your lodge in Karatu in anticipation of the delights tomorrow will hold in the crater.
DAY 5 - NGORONGORO CRATER TOUR THEN TO AIRPORT
On this your ‘departure day’, it seems we have possibly left the best until last. The trip up the outside of the crater is through rich and lush jungle and you’ll feel that at any moment you are about to discover a hidden new world and paradise on the other side of that great sloped caldera. Then you’ll descend the steeply sloped track in your vehicle down into the crater through what appears to be ‘primordial mists’ which slowly reveal the greatest concentration of varied and big-game wildlife in the world. Feeling like the first person to ever be there you’ll see the indigenous lions who spend their lives there never needing to leave the crater since the volcanic springs make this place an oasis of life all year round for the abundant herbivores such as zebra, wildebeest and antelope upon which they feed. You’ll see only the largest of bull elephant here as they are the only ones brave and strong enough attempt the steep slopes down into the crater where they love the lush grasses. There are as many as 25,000 large animals here including leopard, hyena, jackal, waterbuck and even the rare black rhino. Unfortunately, no-one is allowed to live in the crater although the Maasai are allowed to graze their cattle there, an amazing coexistence. You’ll stop at the hippo pools to enjoy your picnic lunch whilst delighting in these massive frolicking beasts that can still delicately supervise and protect their youngsters splashing around beside them. Your way along and out of the crater still offers much to see and then you begin the journey back to your Kilimajaro International Airport via Arusha for your return flight home.
End of Tontu service.
Further detailed notes will be given to you upon booking which will ensure your well-organised safari runs as smoothly as possible.
For any additional services in Arusha following your tour please contact us.