Day 1: Depart U.S. for Arusha, Tanzania
Day 2: Arrive Arusha Upon arrival we transfer directly to our hotel.
Day 3: Arusha At this morning’s briefing we learn about the journey ahead then set out on an afternoon game drive in Arusha National Park, where we may spot leopard, zebra, giraffe – and in the distance, possibly, snowcapped Mt. Kilimanjaro. Inside the park we’ll see Mt. Meru, Africa’s fifth highest peak at almost 15,000 feet. Tonight: a welcome dinner. B,L,D
Day 4: Arusha/Ngorongoro We depart today for Ngorongoro Conservation Area, wildlife haven and homeland of the semi-nomadic Maasai people. We arrive in time for lunch at our safari lodge uniquely set on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater, blending in so much with the landscape as to be invisible from the crater floor. This afternoon we visit a local Maasai village, where we see their traditional pastoral lifestyle up close. B,L,D
Day 5: Ngorongoro Crater This morning we descend to the floor of magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO site and at 100 square miles the world’s largest intact and perfectly formed volcanic caldera. The unique biosphere here has remained unchanged for eons; towering walls encircle the crater’s floor which represents Africa in microcosm: grassland, swamps, lakes, forests, and some 25,000 mammals, including elephant, black rhinoceros, lion, hippo, and zebra. B,L,D
Day 6: Ngorongoro/Olduvai Gorge/Serengeti National Park En route today to the fabled Serengeti, we visit 31-mile Olduvai Gorge. It was here in 1959 that anthropologist Mary Leakey discovered the 1.8 million-year-old skull of Australopithecus boisei – and revolutionized the study of human evolution. Part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (which itself is part of the Serengeti region), Olduvai is considered the “cradle of humanity” and ranks as one of the world’s most important prehistoric sites. Then we continue on to Serengeti National Park, home to such plains dwellers as the lion, cheetah, zebra, and wildebeest. The Serengeti, the Maasai’s “endless plain,” is considered Africa’s finest park, and we begin to see why on this afternoon’s game drive. B,L,D
Day 7: Serengeti National Park In Tanzania’s northeast corner sits the vast Serengeti, 5,700 square miles (equal in size to Connecticut), one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges, and the Tanzanian portion of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Twice a year (Jan–Feb and Jun–Oct), some 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle migrate to new grazing lands, sparking one of nature’s most spectacular sights and the world’s largest migration. But the Serengeti’s plains teem with animal life year-round, and this is the best place to see lion and cheetah up close. On today’s game drives, we have the chance to see some – or all – of Africa’s “Big Five,” along with other plains animals and some 500 species of birds. B,L,D
Day 8: Serengeti National Park Another day to savor the spectacles and satisfactions of safari life in the Serengeti. B,L,D
Day 9: Central Serengeti/Western Corridor As we drive across the rolling Serengeti plain to the park’s famed Western Corridor, we’ll likely spot game along the way. We arrive at our well-appointed lodge in time for lunch together before this afternoon’s game drive. B,L,D
Day 10: Serengeti Western Corridor Today we enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the Western Corridor. Our lodge sits near the seasonal Mbalageti River, which attracts all forms of wildlife; the nearby Grumeti River is home to massive crocodiles that hunt wildebeest, zebra, topi, and other animals as they attempt to ford or drink from the river. B,L,D
Day 11: Serengeti Western Corridor Another day of game drives in this alluring outpost. In between, we can relax at our lodge, which features a stone-ringed outdoor swimming pool with sweeping views of the Serengeti. B,L,D
Day 12: Serengeti/Zanzibar We fly this morning to tropical Zanzibar, Tanzania’s semiautonomous Indian Ocean archipelago with a storied history. After checking in at our hotel, we set out to discover Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital and East Africa’s only ancient town still functioning. A heady mix of Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African influences (though predominantly Muslim today), Stone Town boasts a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with shops, homes, hidden courtyards, and extravagantly carved wooden doors, as we see on our afternoon tour. Highlights include the open air market, teeming with exotic fruits and vegetables; the 19th-century Cathedral on the site of a former slave market; the Old Fort, offering lovely views of town and the ocean; and “Tippu Tip House,” the historic residence of a notorious slave trader. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L
Day 13: Zanzibar A morning tour of a spice plantation reveals why Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island” – its bounty of cloves, nutmeg, ginger, chilies, black pepper, vanilla, coriander, and cinnamon have found their way around the world for centuries. We return to our hotel in time for lunch on our own and an afternoon at leisure. Then we celebrate our Tanzania adventure at tonight’s farewell dinner. B,D
Day 14: Zanzibar/Dar es Salaam/Depart for U.S. Leaving Zanzibar today, we fly to German-influenced Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city. There’s time for lunch on our own and to relax in our hotel day rooms. Tonight we have an early dinner together prior to our departure for the airport and our overnight flight to the U.S. B,D
Day 15: Arrive U.S. We arrive in the U.S. this morning and connect with our flights home.
When To Go On Safari ...
• January to February: Summer – dry and warm; cooler at Ngorongoro because of elevation. Migration picks up, with plenty of game throughout central/southern Serengeti
• March: Rains become possible, bringing plains animals in search of fresh grass and food. Significant movement of antelope and other game to the plains for calving season, predators follow
• June to October: Dry season; can be cold on the rim of Ngorongoro. Wildebeest and plains game begin migrating in search of water. By late July, wildebeest migration is in full swing, with opportunities for excellent game viewing and predator kills
• November to December: Season of the “short” rains (brief daily thunderstorms); comfortable at Ngorongoro; warm in the Serengeti, with plentiful game
B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included