Serengeti, Ngorongoro,
Lake Manyara and Tarangire

WILDLIFE VIEWING AT ITS BEST

  • Tanzania North
  • Duration: 13 days
  • Self-drive

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tarangire National Park is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, it is located in Manyara Region. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The Tarangire River is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season.

The park is famous for its high density of elephants and baobab trees. Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It’s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem.

Visitors to the park in June to November dry season can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo. Other common resident animals include waterbuck, giraffe, dik-dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baboon. Predators in Tarangire include lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, and African wild dog.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Arrive Arusha – Kisongo Farmhouse

Our manager in Tanzania will welcome you at Kilimanjaro airport, and you will be transferred to Kisongo Farm House, which is located 45 minutes outside Arusha. Kisongo Farmhouse is a family run farmhouse. The farm is the perfect place to start or finish your trip and the ideal spot to run through the logistics and spend time looking at the routes and the maps.

Service: Full Board

 

  • Day 2 – Special Campsite – Lake Manyara

Game viewing within Lake Manyara National Park 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. The campsite is simple and clean, with a beautiful view of the lake. If you are lucky, you may see the famous tree climbing lions.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 6 hours

 

  • Day 3 – Ngorongoro Farm House

The time has come to visit the Ngorongoro. It is very important to stay as close as possible to the Crater, in order to be able to visit the crater floor as early as possible in the morning. We chose Ngorongoro Farm House, a small and exclusive hotel built on a 500-acre coffee plantation, all of which has been designed to take you to the comfort and style of past times.

Service: Half Board

Driving time: 1h + full-day overland in the Crater

 

  • Day 4 – Lemala Tented Camp – Ngorongoro Crater Rim

After your visit to the Crater, a relaxing stay at one of the iconic camps in the area is what you need. Lemala Ngorongoro is intimately set in a delightful ancient acacia forest close to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater.

Service: Half Board

Driving time: 4 hours

 

  • Day 5 & 6 – More Kopjie Campsite – Serengeti

Our suggestion is to have a very early start and drive into the Serengeti early morning. It will be a long day, and you are likely to spend some time at the entrance of the Serengeti for the park permits. The campsite we chose for your first two days in the Serengeti is stunning, with its spectacular views over the Serengeti Plains.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 4 hours

 

  • Day 7 – Serengeti Safari Camp – Serengeti

You will spend the entire day in the Serengeti. Wildlife is abundant, and you will enjoy a unique wildlife experience. Depending on the seasonality, we will choose the right camp for you and hope, fully get you as close as possible to the Great Migration. This is likely to be a seasonal flying camp, with all the comforts included.

Service: Half Board + picnic lunch

Driving time: 2 hours

 

  • Day 8 & 9 – Ndutu Safari Lodge – Ndutu Lake

This is a special place for us. We are co-owners at Ndutu Safari 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. From the lodge, you will be able to visit the famous Olduvai Gorge, where evidence of the first humans has been found.

Service: Full Board

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 10 – Rothia Valley Tented Lodge – Karatu

On your way to the Tarangire, you will drive through Karatu and stay at Rothia. The tented lodge is uniquely located on top of a hill, and very active in conservation projects and responsible tourism. It is more than a Lodge. Your stay at Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge will directly contribute to the well-being of local children. The profits that we make from your stay at the lodge go straight to the Children’s Home and to two local schools of Rhotia.

Service: Full Board

Driving time: 2 hours

 

  • Day 11 & 12 – Special Campsite – Tarangire National Park

The Tarangire National Park is a diverse and picturesque African wildlife sanctuary and is located just southeast of Lake Manyara on the Tarangire River, from which it derived its name. Tarangire highlights are the herds of elephants and the baobab trees. The camp has no facilities, and self-sufficiency is needed. One of its best features is the large and ancient baobab trees, as well as its proximity to one of the wettest areas of the swamp, making it a good spot to view wildlife as well as get amazing views of the Silale swamps.

Service: Rooftop tent and self-catering

Driving time: 3 hours

 

  • Day 13 – Return to Arusha – (Kisongo Farm House)

Drop off of the vehicle and debriefing with our on-ground manager. Depending on the schedule of your flight, you can have an additional night at the Kisongo Farm House. Road transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport [JRO] for your outbound flight.

Service: Half Board

Driving Time: 3h

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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