In this 12 night epic adventure, you stay under canvas in the heart of the wild African bush, and if Lady Luck is on your side and you travel between July and October, you get to witness one of the greatest wildlife phenomenons of all time - a Mara River crossing.
Having landed into Kilimanjaro Airport after an international flight, you most likely will need to rest for a few hours before embarking on a week long safari - so your first night will be a comfortable cottage on a coffee plantation overlooking the scenic Lake Duluti, where you can relax and recharge ready for your epic adventure to begin in the morning.
After breakfast, your experienced driver-guide will collect you and drive you to Tarangire National Park - home to huge herds of elephants, giraffe, zebra and waterbuck. Your tented camp overlooks a small waterhole, and lucky guests can watch wildlife right from their rooms or the elevated viewing platform near the pool.
You depart the following morning for a game drive in Lake Manyara - a scenic Park renowned for its excellent bird-watching opportunities as well as general game including elephant, zebra, hippo and giraffe. After spending a few hours here, it's time to leave for the short 30 minute drive to Karatu, where you will find Karatu Simba Lodge waiting to welcome you. Each tented room has its own deck with safari chairs for relaxing and viewing the pastoral setting; from which you may see a troop of baboons foraging in the recently harvested barley fields or local ‘cowboys’ tending their herds. Fall asleep to the call of the bush baby and Montane nightjar.
The next day means an early start if you are to beat the crowds, as today you head into the Ngorongoro Crater. From the main gate it is about a 45-60 minute drive until you reach the crater floor itself. Over 30,000 animals live within this enormous natural bowl, the most densely packed concentration of wildlife in Africa. Watch out for wildebeest, elephant, lion, zebra and hyena to name a few of the species that can be found here. The crater is also home to black rhino - a rare sighting in Tanzania! Around the lake you may find flocks of pelican, ibis and flamingos. Explore every inch of the caldera floor, with a break to enjoy a picnic lunch, before heading back to the camp mid to late afternoon for another night.
You then depart for the Serengeti National Park. You will stay in the game-rich Central Plains for 2 nights, in a tent furnished with a comfortable sitting area complete with a hand-carved solid wood coffee table, cosy upholstered side chairs and a quaint writing desk for journaling about the day's events. At night you can enjoy glorious sunsets from your own private verandah, while you rest on comfortably-sized teak folding chairs.
A long drive then has to be undertaken, but it will all be worth it, as you head to the far Northern Serengeti Plains and the Mara River. Your final safari camp is within easy distance to one of the wildebeest river crossing points, meaning that you can be one of the first to arrive should the wildebeest decide to take the plunge (literally) and cross the river, bravely dodging the sharp teeth of the waiting crocodiles.
After 7 nights of adventure, it is surely time for some true R&R - and you will find it at Sunshine Marine, on the island of Zanzibar. Located on the north-east coast, this is an excellent destination for those looking for stylish accommodation, and a beautiful place to relax.
Arrive into Kilimanjaro Airport. Go through Immigration, collect your luggage and clear Customs, then make your way to the Arrivals Hall, where you will be met by your transfer driver who will be holding a sign board with your name on it. You will then be transferred to Arusha, where you can relax before beginning your safari adventure in the morning.
Nestled at the foot of the wooded slopes of Mount Meru, the Arusha Serena Hotel stands amid coffee plantations overlooking the tranquil Lake Duluti. Designed to echo the traditional style of the colonial coffee farm, which originally stood on this site, the hotel offers a range of tastefully presented cottage-styled rooms set amid extensive landscaped grounds.
You will be met after breakfast by your safari driver-guide, and driven to the Tarangire National Park in your private 4x4 safari vehicle, with pop up roof for easy game viewing and photography opportunities. The drive is about 3 hours on a tarred road. You will arrive in time for lunch at your first safari camp.
Tarangire Simba Lodge borders the Tarangire National Park and wildlife is constantly on the move, passing through the grounds, with elephants often visiting the swimming pool! Giraffe, zebra, warthog and more delight guests from the viewing platform and tent verandahs.
After lunch, depart on a game drive in the Tarangire National Park. Tarangire National Park is a gem on the northern safari circuit. Teeming with wildlife, especially in the dry season, this area is a safari-goers dream.
Depart after an early breakfast for the drive to Lake Manyara - the drive will be about 2.5 hours on a tarred road. The Lake Manyara National Park is renowned for its excellent bird-watching opportunities in general, as more than 400 different bird species have been recorded. Other wildlife includes elephant, buffalo, cheetah, hippo, Masai giraffe, wildebeest, impala, zebra, warthogs, large troops of baboons, and the legendary but rarely seen tree-climbing lions.
You will stop at the picnic area for a packed lunch midway through the day, before continuing with your game drive to see what else you may spot amongst the trees.
You will then depart mid-afternoon for the 20-30 minute drive to Karatu, which is situated a few kilometres from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Main Gate.
Situated deep in the farming area of the Karatu district and nestled right alongside the Ngorongoro Forest, Karatu Simba Lodge is situated approximately 4 km off the main road to the entry of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Accommodation is in cottages or rondavels with canvas walls and solid attached bathroom and shower, all simply decorated.
Depart after an early breakfast for the 20-30 minute drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Main Gate. Your driver will need to fill in some paperwork, so while you wait for him, you can visit the small information centre. You then drive up the narrow, winding road through magnificent trees and foliage to the Crater rim itself - stopping at the view point to take in the most amazing view across the entire Crater. The road continues around the Crater rim to the descent road down into the Crater, and within 90 minutes you will be on the Crater floor itself. The Ngorongoro Crater is on many peoples bucket list of places to see and visit. This natural wonder is the largest unflooded, intact volcanic caldera in the world. The actual crater is about 20 km across and 600 meters deep, and covers 300 sq km. Within the rim there are an estimated 30,000 animals, making this one of the densest concentration of wildlife within Africa. Stopping for a packed lunch midway through the day, you will explore every inch of the crater floor, before departing tired but happy back to your lodge.
After an early breakfast, you will depart for the long drive to your next safari camp in the Serengeti National Park. You will firstly cross the Ngorongoro Conservation Area - your driver-guide will need to stop to fill in paperwork again at the Main Gate. The drive from here onwards is long, dusty and bumpy, as the roads are not paved - rather they are more corrugated. You will also stop at the Serengeti Gate while your driver completes more paperwork, so you may have time to take the walking trail up the hill to view the surrounding plains. You will then continue with the drive to your camp, arriving in time for a late lunch. If you see anything of interest along the way, your guide will stop so that you can take a photo.
Located on the eastern edge of the central Serengeti, far away from the noise and disturbance of other well-travelled tourist circuits sits Sametu Camp. The camp boasts quiet seclusion, panoramic views of the wide open savannah plains and the Ngarenanyuki River meandering near the edge of camp.
Once fully rested, you can go out with your driver-guide to see what wildlife you can spot near the lodge. The Central Serengeti is home to the beautiful Seronera Valley where several rivers run through it enabling many resident animals to thrive year-round. The combination of location and resident prey attracts the largest populations of predators in Africa including lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas. Since many of these carnivores are themselves residents (lions maintain their territories throughout the year), excellent encounters are available year-round regardless of the season.
Depart with a packed lunch box on a full day game drive. The Serengeti is probably one of the most famous safari destinations in the world, and offers what many people consider to be some of the best game viewing in Africa.
After breakfast, you will depart for the 5 hour drive up through the Serengeti to your next camp, arriving in time for lunch. Large herds of buffalo, antelope such as eland, impala, gazelles, topi and kongoni, rhino and family groups of giraffe may be spotted along the way - if you see anything of interest, your guide will stop so that you can take a photo. You will arrive at your next camp in time for lunch. Ideally located about one kilometre from the famous Mara River is Karibu River Camp. This tented camp offers quick access to viewing the spectacular drama of the wildebeest river crossings during the long dry season months of July through to October.
After a siesta, depart for an afternoon game drive across the Northern Serengeti Plains. All year long the Mara River attracts numerous resident wildlife big and small such as large herds of elephant, eland and buffalo. Antelopes of many kinds also enjoy the grazing, and lions, leopards and cheetah maintain their territories here throughout the year too.
Depart with a packed lunch box and head to the Mara River, where if you are patient you may be lucky to witness a river crossing, where literally thousands and thousands of wildebeest surge through the waters in a continuous line. The lucky ones make the crossing unscathed, the not-so-lucky ones encounter one of the huge crocodiles who lie in wait for an unsuspecting wildebeest to stray out of the line.
After breakfast, you will be driven to the Kogatende Airstrip where you will board your flight back to Arusha.
Auric Air (Light Aircraft): Fly from Kogatende Airstrip to Arusha (ARK) - arrival and departure times to be confirmed
You will be assisted with the connection onto your flight across to Zanzibar.
Tropical Air (Light Aircraft): Fly from Arusha (ARK) to Zanzibar (ZNZ) - arrival and departure times to be confirmed
Once you have collected your luggage, make your way out of the Arrivals Hall, where you will be met outside by your driver holding a sign with your name - there is normally a mass of drivers waiting so be prepared to search for the right sign board. You will then transferred to your beach hotel.
Sunshine Marine Lodge offers peace and spectacular views of the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and Mnemba Atoll, one of the most bio diverse coral reefs on Zanzibar. Guests also have exclusive access to a private beach area on Muyuni Beach. This private beach features a restaurant, beach bar as well as umbrellas and sun lounges. It is reachable by foot on a 700m walk during low tide or by boat. It is a perfect get away for those, who would like to relax, be active and explore away from the crowds.
You will need to check out of your room this morning but you can remain at the hotel and use all the facilities until you are collected for your transfer back to the airport. Alternatively, if you have an evening flight, the hotel may be able to arrange a late check out for you (additional cost and payable directly to the hotel) subject to the availability of the room.
Holiday Destination: Holiday to Tanzania for 12 nights
Passengers: 2 Adults
Example Cost for 2 Adults: * per person sharing.
*Excludes international flights from your home country - please ask us if you would like us to include these for you.
All monies paid by UK customers for the air package holiday shown are ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10245.
When you buy an ATOL protected flight or flight inclusive holiday from us you will receive an ATOL Certificate. This lists what is financially protected, where you can get information on what this means for you and who to contact if things go wrong.