Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro

PRIME GAME VIEWING

  • Tanzania North
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Overland with private guide

Areas of Interest

Lake Manyara National Park is well known for the tree climbing lions, the soda ash lake and its flamingos. Breathtaking scenery! 

Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is worth a stop in its own right. Its groundwater forests, bush plains, baobab strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds.

This is a special place for us. As part of our involvement in Conservation projects, a long time ago we decided to invest in the Ndutu Safari Lodge, and this is now our official logistics base in Tanzania.

The location has always been amazing, and the game viewing is rewarding all year long. Even pioneering naturalists, distinguished zoologists, and photographers such as celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall and renowned wildlife filmmaker Hugo van Lawick researched, filmed and wrote about wild dogs in the area.

Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek form shallow basins where water accumulates from the nearby areas of slightly higher altitude. The water in both lakes is saline, however, in the dry season, these are the only freshwater that never dry, attracting the prey and predators.

From February to April, Lake Ndutu becomes even more alive with animals, because the Great Migration here is in it’s the calving and foaling season. In these weeks the Guests of the Lodge enjoy the view of millions of newborns in the woodlands and the Short Grass Plains, which provide ample cover and food for them.

It is the most famous park in Tanzania, and probably the most famous in the World for wildlife viewing. The park covers 5,700 sq mi (14,760 sq km), it is larger than Connecticut, and it is a huge landscape of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands.

The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem and the legendary Great Serengeti Migration, a stunning natural spectacle‎.

The park is usually described as divided into three regions:

    • Serengeti plains. The almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May.
    • Western corridor. The black clay soil covers the savannah of this region. The Grumeti River and its gallery forests are home to Nile crocodiles, monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
    • Northern Serengeti. The landscape is dominated by open woodlands and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), this is the best place to find the elephant, giraffe, and dik-dik.

The migratory -and some resident- wildebeest, which number over 2 million individuals, constitute the largest population of big mammals that still roam the planet. They are joined in their journey through the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem by 250,000 plains zebra, half a million Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, and tens of thousands of topi and Coke’s hartebeest. Masai giraffe, waterbuck, impala, warthog, and hippo are also abundant. Some rarely seen species of antelope are also present in Serengeti National Park, such as common eland, klipspringer, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, fringe-eared oryx, and dik-dik.

It is impossible to predict the exact time of the Migration. The key element in understanding ”The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth” is that it follows the general rainfall gradient across the ecosystem, with lower rainfalls in the short-grass plains of the southeast and the higher rainfall in the northwest, that involves 3 of the most spectacular wildlife parks: the Masai Mara, in Kenya and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park, in Tanzania.

Every year, approximately 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, and 250,000 Thomson’s gazelle cover a circuit of about 1,800 mi (3,000 km), and their odyssey will lead them from drought to water and good grazing, though the way will be fraught with peril.

Crocodiles will claim some migrators as they traverse rivers, battling strong currents and the press of their herd’s wet, heaving bodies. Lions, leopards, and hyenas will run down their share of prey on the plains. These ecosystems support more large mammal species than any other place in the world. And they’ve maintained one of the world’s last remaining migrations of large mammals in a relatively unchanged state since the time of the hunter-gatherers.

Olduvai Gorge is a paleoanthropological site in the eastern Serengeti Plain, within the boundaries of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania. It is a steep-sided ravine consisting of two branches that have a combined length of about 30 miles (48 km) and are 295 feet (90 m) deep. Deposits exposed in the sides of the gorge cover a time span from about 2.1 million to 15,000 years ago. The deposits have yielded the fossil remains of more than 60 hominins (members of the human lineage), providing the most continuous known record of human evolution during the past 2 million years, as well as the longest known archaeological record of the development of stone-tool industries. Olduvai Gorge was designated part of a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 110 mi (180 km) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania.

The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 2,000 feet deep and its floor covers 100 square miles.

The crater was voted by Seven Natural Wonders as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania in February 2013. Approximately 25,000 large animals live in the crater.

Large mammals in the crater include the black rhinoceros, the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, and the hippos. Although conceived as “a natural enclosure” for a very wide variety of wildlife, 20 percent or more of the wildebeest and half the zebra populations vacate the crater in the wet season, while Cape buffalo stay; their highest numbers are during the rainy season. A safari holiday in Tanzania is not complete without a descent to the mighty Ngorongoro Crater.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrive Arusha – Rivertrees Country Inn

Meet our representative at your arrival at Kilimanjaro [JRO] International Airport. Shared road transfer to your lodge in Arusha. Visit the active Arusha town, base for all the Kilimanjaro climbs.

Service: Half Board

 

  • Day 2 – Isoitok Camp – Lake Manyara

Road transfer to the Lake Manyara National Park. Enjoy a full-day safari in the park. Game viewing within Lake Manyara is excellent all year round, but the best views can be enjoyed from late June to the end of September since it is the dry season. If you are lucky, you may see the famous tree-climbing lions.

Service: Half Board + picnic lunch

 

  • Day 3, 4 & 5 – Ndutu Safari Lodge – Ngorongoro CA, southern Serengeti

Early morning safari in Lake Manyara NP to the park gate. Road transfer and safari to the UNESCO World Heritage of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. You will stay for the next 3 nights at Ndutu Safari lodge. This is a special place for us. We are co-owners at this lodge, and you will be treated like a friend. The location is amazing, and game viewing always rewarding. Over two million migratory animals made up of several species wildebeest, zebra, eland, and Thompson gazelle move clockwise from Ngorongoro and the Southern Serengeti to the Northern Serengeti into Kenya and back. Statistically, between mid-December and April, the Great Migration is the Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek areas. The grass at Ndutu is particularly rich in nutrients and sustains the migratory animals whilst they have their babies. You will spend also 1 full-day visiting the UNESCO Heritage paleoanthropological Site of Olduvai Gorges.

Service: Full Board

 

  • Day 6 – Mbalabgeti Serengeti Lodge – Serengeti NP

Early morning road transfer to Serengeti National Park. Enjoy the full-day safari to the western corridor of the Serengeti NP, the most famous park in Tanzania, UNESCO World Heritage, and probably the most famous in the World for wildlife viewing. The Great Migration is statistically in the western corridor, from the end of April to June.

Service: Full Board

 

  • Day 7 & 8 – Ndutu Safari Lodge – Ngorongoro CA, southern Serengeti

Early morning road transfer and safari southbound to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Enjoy another day of safari staying at our Ndutu Safari Lodge, with the cultural visit to a Maasai tribal village.

Service: Full board

 

  • Day 9 – Plantation Lodge – Ngorongoro CA

Early morning road transfer and safari southbound to the Ngorongoro Crater gate. Full-day safari in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. Approximately 25,000 large animals live in the crater. Large mammals in the crater include black rhinoceros, the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, and hippo.

Service: Half Board + picnic lunch

 

  • Day 10 – Arusha

Road transfer to Arusha. You will say goodbye to your guide and with a shared transfer, you will reach Kilimanjaro International Airport [JRO] for your outbound flight. Depending on the scheduling of your flight you may consider and additional night in Arusha at Rivertrees Country Lodge.

Extensions

Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain 19,340 ft (5,895m) in the world that is not part of a mountain range, and the easiest mountain in the world for a climber to ascend to such heights.

The park has 6 different corridors that climbers can use, through tropical forests with blue and colobus monkeys, semidesert alpine areas with Giant Groundsels trees, to its snow-capped peak, situated only 3 degrees South of the Equator line.

Our expert partners and guides help choose the best route for you, that with the correct acclimatization time, will help you to successfully reach the summit.

Our ground staff will take care of all the logistics: tents, meals, water, and toilets, during the climb. While we can suggest the best training plan to prepare your body for this adventure!

Flamingoes!

The lake is the only regular breeding area in East Africa for the 2.5 million lesser flamingoes, whose status of “near threatened” results from their dependence on this one location. When salinity increases, so do cyanobacteria, and the lake can also support more nests. These flamingoes, the single large flock in East Africa, gather along nearby saline lakes to feed on Spirulina (a blue-green algae with red pigments). Lake Natron is a safe breeding location because its caustic environment is a barrier against predators trying to reach their nests on seasonally forming evaporite islands. Greater flamingoes also breed on the mud flats.

The lake has inspired the nature documentary The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos by Disneynature, for its close relationship with the Lesser flamingoes as their only regular breeding area.

Ol Doinyo Lengai, 9,650 ft (2,870 m), also known as “Mountain of God” in the Maasai language, is an active volcano located in the Gregory Rift, south of Lake Natron within the Arusha Region of Tanzania, Africa.

A beautiful shape, a perfect cone, ideal for a climb. You can combine this fascinating trek with a visit to Lake Natron. Once at camp, you can go to a waterfall and relax in the river, or drive out to the shoreline of Lake Natron and see the massive flamingo colonies wading in the shallows. You can climb the volcano the whole year round, only in the wet seasons (March to May, October to December), the roads are in bad conditions.

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