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Tanzania Tour - History, Culture and Wildlife Safari

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Preliminary Tour Itinerary

Itinerary:Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Serengeti National Park, Arusha
Duration: 12 days

Day 1: DEPART U.S.
(Due to the ease with which air can be purchased over the internet and the restrictions most airlines now impose on group contracts, international air from the U.S. has not been included in the cost of this safari. This however, allows participants the flexibility of using frequent flyer miles, of booking air from their home towns and of spending time in Europe on the way to or from East Africa.)


Following your arrival at the Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha, you clear customs and are met by your drivers and guides who transfer you to Mountain Village Lodge for the remainder of the night.

In the morning you depart for Kikoti Safari Camp, a nice tented camp, located on Maasai land, just outside of Tarangire National Park. While at this camp you will have the opportunity to walk, take a night game drive, in search of some of Africa’s rarely seen nocturnal animals and visit with the Maasai pastoralists who maintain a traditional life style that dates back more than four hundred years. Upon entering the park you begin to see wildlife and the many Baobab trees which thrive in this area. These large, pulpy trees, scattered in ones and twos throughout the park, may be as old as California Redwoods and can branch out as much as 50 feet in diameter. Tarangire is best known for its herds of Elephant — the park is the seasonal home for about 2,500 of these large, gentle creatures. In addition, there are many Impala, African Buffalo, and rarer mammals, such as Leopard and Lesser Kudu.  Goliath Heron, Woodland Kingfisher, Magpie Shrike, both Fischer’s and Yellow-collared Love-birds, Orange-bellied Parrot, Bateleur Eagle, Secretary Bird, Maasai Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Beautiful Sunbird and Paradise Whydah are but a few of the birds you expect to see in this sanctuary where more than 300 species have been listed. Your dinner and overnight accommodations are at Kikoti Safari Camp.  B/L/D


You spend the day exploring the 2600 sq km’s of Tarangire National Park – famous for its numerous Baobab trees and large elephant population. The park derives it name from the Tarangire River which, during the dry season, is the only source of water for a vast area. During the months of July, August and September it becomes a “sand river” with almost no surface water. Although most animals are incapable, by themselves, of reaching the water that still flows under the sand, Elephants are expert well diggers and it is on these water holes that Tarangire’s wildlife depends. As in other ecosystems, vegetation type and animal species are closely related and it is its diversity of habitats that makes Tarangire such a superb wildlife conservation area. The principal vegetation zones here include grasslands, floodplains, riparian areas along the Tarangire River, Acacia-Commiphora woodlands and rocky outcroppings, each with its unique component of wildlife. Your dinner and overnight accommodations are at Kikoti Safari Camp.  B/L/D


In the morning you drive out of Tarangire National Park and onto the floor of the Great Rift Valley. In its seam are a series of beautiful lakes, where the opening scenes from Out of Africa were filmed. One of these is Lake Manyara, a beautiful wildlife sanctuary famous for its tree-climbing Lions, herds of African Buffalo, and a thriving population of Elephant. You enter the park along a road that passes through a ground water forest frequented by troops of Baboons, Blue Monkeys and herds of Elephants. Nile Hippo wallow in the channel that directs the water of the Mto-wa-Mbu River into Lake Manyara, and many species of shore and water birds frequent this area.  Pink-backed and White Pelicans, Long-tailed Cormorant, Fulvous and White-faced Whistling Ducks, African and Lesser Jacanas, Common Pratincole, Water Thick-knee, and African Fish Eagle are but a few of the many species you may expect to see here. This national park has been designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve and is one of the prettiest parks in northern Tanzania. In the afternoon you drive to the village of Karatu and visit the Akweso Iraqw Cultural Center. Here you are met by Daniel and introduced to the ancient culture of the Cushitic people who moved into what is now know as Tanzania from the “Horn of Africa’ nearly 1000 years ago. Later in the afternoon you drive to the famous Ngorongoro Crater and check into your accommodation at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. B/L/D


Elephant, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

After an early breakfast you depart with a picnic lunch for a full day’s game drive on the crater floor. Ngorongoro is the largest unbroken crater on earth, and is a veritable Garden of Eden. The year-round grazing and fresh water available here provides a permanent home for approximately 23,000 large mammals. Herds of Wildebeest, Common Zebra, African Buffalo and Thomson's Gazelles mingle as they feed in this serene setting. With almost 100 Lions, masses of Spotted Hyena, and numerous Golden, Silver-backed, and Side-striped Jackals, the crater also has the highest concentration of carnivores of any place on earth. Leopards and Cheetah occur here, but are not commonly seen. In the lakes and marshes you look for Nile Hippo, Common Waterbuck, Black Rhino and any of the 220 species of birds that have been seen here, including Greater and Lesser Flamingos. In the afternoon you return for dinner and to spend the night at the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. B/L/D


After breakfast you descend from the Crater highlands into the great alter-crater where Maasai cattle mingle freely with zebra and eland. As you crest the rim of the crater all of Africa seems to come in view. This is the great Serengeti, the grande dame of all Africa's game parks, a huge expanse of grass that was once a great inland sea.  After descending from the crater rim you stop at Olduvai Gorge, one of the world's most important prehistoric archaeological sites. It was here, in 1959, that Mary Leakey discovered the fossilized bone fragments of one of your earliest hominid ancestors. Several of the fossils, which have been found here, are displayed in a small, but nice museum at the Olduvai Visitors Center. (Although most frequently written as "Olduvai," the more correct spelling for the name of this area is "Oldupai," a Maasai name for a species of wild sisal, which grows abundantly in this area.) In the afternoon you drive across the great Serengeti plains, game viewing along the way, to your accommodations at the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge. B/L/D


The Serengeti is the largest and most famous of Tanzania's superb national parks with the greatest and most spectacular concentration of large mammals to be found anywhere on Earth. It is the seasonal is home of more than two million large mammals and is world renowned for its vast herds of Wildebeest, Common Zebra, and Thomson's and Grant's Gazelles which are on a continuous "migration" around the Serengeti in search of fresh pastures and water. Morning and afternoon game drives allow you time to explore this vast wildlife area. In addition to wildlife the area is rich in human history and you may visit several sacred Maasai sites, including Gong Rock, and some ancient cave paintings. Your meals and accommodations are at the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge. B/L/D


Ngorongoro Crater - Karatu, Tanzania

Depending on the time of year you depart on an extended game drive to either the western or northern part of the Serengeti. Our objective is to place you in the location where the migratory herds of Wildebeest and Zebra must cross either the Mbalageti and Grumeti or the Mara Rivers as they travel north from the Serengeti’s short grass plains towards Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. In addition to these migratory animals, the grasslands, near these permanent sources of water, provide a habitat for herds of Grant’s and Thompson’s Gazelle, Topi, Maasai Giraffe, African Buffalo and Warthog and the riparian forests that flank the river are home to Vervet Monkeys, Olive Baboons and numerous birds. After moving into your tented accommodation you gather for an afternoon “tea” and lecture / discussion regarding the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem and the “great migration”. Your accommodations for the next two nights are at either Kirawira Tented Camp in the west or Migration Camp in the northern Serengeti. B/L/D

Hadzapi Women, Tanzania

In the morning you bid a fond farewell to the Serengeti, drive to a nearby airstrip and board the scheduled flight to Arusha. After lunch and an opportunity to shop at the Cultural Heritage Centre you transfer to dayrooms at Mountain Village Lodge. In the evening you join your Tanzanian hosts for a farewell dinner before departing for the Kilimanjaro Airport. B/L/D

Day 12: ARRIVE U. S.

You arrive back in the U.S. this afternoon with many fond memories of your wildlife safari in Tanzania.


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