Rift Valley Adventure Trip Notes
Trip code: FFRV
Trip length: 8 days
- Safari Holidays for all the family
- Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater
- The Great Rift Valley
- Zanzibar Island extension
As part of this truly unforgettable safari in Tanzania, you explore two of the world’s greatest game reserves - the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater - and see the famous Olduvai Gorge and the little-visited Lake Manyara National Park. This is the ultimate African trip, including game drives by 4WD vehicle, camping in both open bush and in comfortable fixed tent safari camps, and experiencing the sights and sounds of a lively market town. There is an astonishing array of wildlife, including zebra, giraffe, lion, cheetah, rhino, gazelle, leopard, elephant, wildebeest and many more. You can round off your adventures in Tanzania with an extension to relax on the beaches of Zanzibar Island.
Arusha; tour starts
The tour starts at the Arusha hotel. You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. Set at an altitude of 1,390 metres, Arusha is surrounded by fertile land. Arusha was once the headquarters of the East African community in the days when Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda were members of a communications and customs union and remains one of Tanzania’s most attractive and lively towns.
Lodge (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (D)
Ngorongoro Conservation Area; crater game drive
This morning you cross the Great Rift Valley, one of the most dramatic features on earth. Stretching from the Dead Sea in Jordan to Mozambique in the south, it is up to 100km wide in places and hosts an enormous diversity of wildlife. Your journey takes you through the lands of the Masai - probably the best known tribe in Africa - and on to the famous Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro is one of the most picturesque settings for observing wildlife and with about 30,000 resident animals, there is excellent game viewing here all year round. The photographic opportunities are unrivalled! You spend the afternoon in the crater in 4WD vehicles, accompanied by a local driver/guide(s). Encounters with animals are frequent in this Garden of Eden and there is a wide variety of game to be seen. Lake Magadi, the soda lake at the floor of the crater, is home to thousands of flamingos and nearby there is a pool where splashing hippo laze in the sunshine, watched by a profusion of water birds. This is also one of the best places to see the endangered black rhino. Leaving the crater you follow the road climbing steadily up its precipitous inner edge. You spend the night on the rim of the crater, from where vantage points offer magnificent views over and down into the caldera. Nights here can be particularly cold. (Driving time to Ngorongoro crater approx. 4 1/2 hours, excluding game drives)
Camp (CS) - 1 night (BLD)
Serengeti National Park
This morning you make your way to the Serengeti (approx. 3 1/2 hours). En route you’ll stop at Olduvai Gorge; this famous archaeological site is where some of the oldest humanoid skeletons have been discovered and visit the small museum exhibiting many of the fossils and relics from the area. You continue onwards to the most famous of Tanzania's national parks. Established in 1951, the Serengeti is well known for the annual migration that takes place across the savannah plains (migration begins in the south from December to March and arrives at Ndutu from April to June); thousands and thousands of animals as far as the eye can see. Even before reaching your campsite in the middle of this vast plain you are certain to make many sightings of large animals. Arrival at camp is therefore expected in the late afternoon. There will be plenty of time to explore the sweeping grass plains, rocky outcrops (kopjes) and sparsely wooded river valleys of this incomparable park, where lion, cheetah, leopard, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, gazelle and perhaps even wild dog can be seen. Tonight you camp beneath clear starry skies surrounded by the unfamiliar sounds of the African bush. Facilities are basic and although ablution blocks consisting of toilets and wash areas exist, water is not always available - especially in the dry season from June to October. Camp (CS) - 1 night (BLD)
Usually you search for game in the early morning and return to camp for breakfast before setting off again for the remainder of the day. You take a leisurely lunch in one of the park’s designated stopping areas, outside of which it is not permitted to leave your vehicle. The exact route today depends largely on where the best wildlife sightings are thought to be, though later in the afternoon you head towards the north east of the park to your night’s camp.
Camp (CS) – 1 night (BLD)
Today you leave the grassy plains of the Serengeti behind as you travel towards Lake Natron (approx. 4 hours). The lake is a spectacular sight as it attracts large flocks of flamingos – every evening, thousands take flight over the waters of the lake. These beautiful birds come here for breeding as the high salt levels of the lake act as a natural deterrent for other predators to settle here. The water of Lake Natron is far too alkaline to swim in, but you will have the opportunity to take a splash in the nearby river and a natural pool close to camp. You will stay in a rustic but comfortable fixed tented camp. The spacious safari tents are equipped with full sized beds to give you a break from rolling out your sleeping mat – you even get your own shower and toilet tent!
Camp (CS) – 2 nights (BLD)
Lake Natron; free day
This day is free for you to relax in the peaceful setting of the camp, explore the area or sample some of the optional activities on offer. You can swim in the natural pool or go for a hike up-river, which leads you to beautiful waterfalls under which you can take a shower. If you like the idea of an outdoor spa, why not take a completely natural mudbath? The mud along the banks of Lake Natron is said to have therapeutic qualities – plus it is great fun and a perfect picture opportunity! There is also the possibility to go horse riding or river tubing (own expense). (BLD)
Lake Manyara; game drive
Time for a final safari experience as you head to Lake Manyara (driving time approx. 3 hours). You set up camp for the last night before embarking on an afternoon game drive. The lush greenery and dense vegetation of Lake Manyara National Park offers a very different habitat to the open grasslands of the Serengeti. Once inside the park keep your eyes peeled for its major attraction - the tree-climbing lions, although there is no guarantee! There are plenty of other things to see too - elephant, hippo, baboon, giraffe and buffalo as well as a huge variety of bird life, both resident and migratory.
Camp (CS) - 1 night (BLD)
You pack up your camp in the morning and retrace your steps to Arusha, where the trip ends. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesAfrican Safari
Beach / coastal
Grasslands / Savannah
No physical difficulty involved so any healthy individual should be able to take part. When travelling in Tanzania, rough roads, limited facilities and camping may require you to adjust levels of expectation. You should expect some long full-day drives and be aware that some transfer drives can be combined with game viewing en route. Driving times indicated are estimates only and can vary depending on local conditions and game-viewing. Expect the unexpected!
Minimum age: 8 years.
Transport - 4WD, bus.
Accommodation - Lodge (1nt), camping (6nts).
Meals - 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches & 7 dinners.
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 55.00 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
Clothing and Footwear
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip. It is not an exhaustive packing list. If you need further advice, please call us or consult your nearest specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store.
- Lightweight cotton clothing for the safari - bright colours are not appropriate as they are easily seen by animals and attract insects; wear muted/natural colours (but not army-style camouflage clothing)
- Windproof/waterproof outer shell (i.e. lightweight jacket/kagoul)
- Warm mid-layer (fleece or woollen jumper) - for early mornings
- Comfortable trousers (not jeans)
- Warm jacket
- Trainers/sandals for relaxing
- Sleeping bag (3/4-season) NB: Sleeping mats are provided
- Dust can be a problem - take plastic bags for cameras
- Torch or headtorch (and spare batteries)
- Waterbottle (1 litre minimum)
- Insect repellent
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lipsalve
- Money belt
- Personal first aid kit and sewing kit
- Toilet paper (can be bought locally)
- Wet wipes and/or anti-bacterial gel for ‘washing’ hands
- We recommend you take biodegradable travel detergent so you can wash clothes as you choose
- Trekking sandals (for waterfall walk at Lake Natron)
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Tsetse flies are attracted to the colours blue and black. For your comfort we advise you to refrain from wearing these colours whilst on safari.
The Ngorongoro Crater can be cooler than you imagine – sometimes even very cold! Take something warm to wear here especially at night.
Learn some Swahili: Lonely Planet have a handy little guide to learning Swahili which will add an extra dimension to your trip! There are also many good internet sites so you can learn some simple words before you travel. Your efforts are sure to be rewarded with a warm smile (no matter how wrong you sound!) – go on be brave!
Jambo – hello: is the first word you will learn, but very touristy so say Habari – How’s things?
Asante (sana) – Thank you (very much)
Wapi choo? – Where are the toilets?
Hakuna Matata – No problem.
And to really get you learning; try pointing to things and saying….
Unasemaje ….. kwa Kiswahili….? How do you say .…. in Kiswahili?
SOME INTERESTING READING:
The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life - Ryszard Kapuscinski
Natural Order on the African Plain - Mitsuaki Iwago (Photographer)
The Book of Secrets – M. G. Vassanji
The Gunny Sack – M. G. Vassanji
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications)
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
FOR YOUNGER READERS:
We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania – Laurie Krebs & Julia Cairns
Cheetahs for Kids – Winnie MacPherson
The Place of Lions – Eric Campbell
With Love – Jane Goodall
African Adventure – Willard Price
Lion Adventure – Willard Price
Local Costs - Tanzania
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Coffee/tea TSH 7,000
Soft drink TSH 3,000
Bottle of water TSH 2,000
Medium beer TSH 4,500
Bottle of wine TSH 30-60,000
Lunch TSH 15,000
3-course dinner* TSH 30,000-35,000
* in a reasonable mid-range restaurant
In Tanzania and Zanzibar, there is two (2) departure taxes. Domestic flights: 5,000 Tsh (or $5) and International flights: $30. When returning to your own country, you will be charged $30 as an exit tax. The customs sign asks for dollars, so it's probably safer to keep $30 in cash for when you leave. Check first to see if you can pay the tax in Tanzanian Shillings. This tax has to be paid in cash only and may be included to your ticket fare so it is better to cross-check before you pay the tax.
Approximate costs are given for guidance only and may depend on the number of participants. They are accurate as per time of writing.
Your Group Leader should be able to assist you in arranging them on the ground however, please note that some activities may not be available at time of travelling and are advisable to be pre-booked. (See Extensions & Extras section for pre-bookable activities. An admin fee may apply to these activities)
- Arusha NP day trip US$110 per person
- Masai village visit $50 per car
- Lake Natron Bird Walks 10 USD
- Lake Natron Flamingo walks 10USD
- Lake Natron Moonlight walk 10 USD
- Zanzibar Spice Tour (on beach extension only) US$30-40 depends on amount of pax.
- Zanzibar historical tour US$30-40 depends on amount of pax (incl entrance fees)
- Zanzibar snorkelling in Mnemba US$55 per person
- Serengeti Balloon Safari UK£333.00
(You must book the balloon flight prior to departure with our UK office to avoid disappointment. The indicated price might change due to exchange rate fluctuations.) Please note - the minimum age for anyone wishing to go on a hot air balloon ride is 12 years.
Visas & Permits - Tanzania
Holders of UK & IRL passports do require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Visas for Tanzania are available on arrival for some nationalities, but we strongly recommend that you get your visa before travelling, as delays of 1 ½ - 2 hours can occur when getting the visa on arrival at Dar Es Salaam airport. Information can also be found on www.travcour.com.
This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Tanzania
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Yellow Fever (compulsory if arriving from an infected area, not required for mainland Tanzania and for travelling from mainland to Zanzibar as per recent regulations provided by Kenya Airlines, see description below:
TANZANIA YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATES
We personaly recommend you to get your Yellow Fever Certificate anyway, to be on the safe side, as it is valid for 10 years and you might be delayed in an endemic country for more than 12h if your flight get delayed and then you will need to provide it.
Kenya Airways has received the following communication from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania regarding requirement of Yellow Fever Certificate. The directive stipulates the following:
1. All passengers arriving from Non Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) will not be required to show a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate on their arrival to Tanzania.
2. All passengers en route to Tanzania, who have passed through an Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) BUT did not leave that country's airport, will be treated as above (1) above.
3. All passengers en route to Tanzania, who have passed through an Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) and have left the airport of that endemic country, will be required to show yellow fever certificates on their arrival in Tanzania. Otherwise they will require a vaccination at the entry point of arrival in Tanzania (vaccination fee USD 50.00).
4. All passengers from Endemic Yellow Fever zone(s) will be treated as those in (3) above
5. All passengers from the Tanzania mainland to Zanzibar will not be required to show their yellow fever vaccination certificate as Zanzibar is inside the United Republic of Tanzania.
Note: The same regulations now apply to those flying directly to Zanzibar.
Please be aware that we had reports of Arusha airport abusive practices and if you get asked for your Yellow Fever Certificate and you don't have it, argue that you were only transiting in Kenya or Ethiopia and did not leave the airport and therefore aren't entitled to provide such certificate and will NOT purchase it at the airport.
For detailed information and advice concerniing vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk. Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information. A specialist travel clinic should also be able to advise regarding any special vaccination requirements for your children.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
For better or worse, tipping is an accepted part of everyday life and although it is always at your discretion, you will be expected to tip to reward service. You will be briefed on arrival as to when and how much is appropriate, however, you can use the amounts below as a guideline:
Group Leader - ca. 160 USD for the trip, divided by the whole group
Driver - ca. 20 USD per day, divided by the whole group
Cook - ca. 15 USD per day, divided by the whole group
Hotel staff / hotel porters - ca 1 USD
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Depending on the size of your group you should budget on a personal contribution of around 50 USD per person in total. Those taking the Zanzibar extension should also consider tipping small amounts to your transfer drivers and local guides for any optional excursions you may take.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.