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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Key: (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner
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