1 Start Arusha.
Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, it will be an hour by transfer to the bustling town of Arusha, the gateway to the Northern safari circuit. Today is a free afternoon to relax, lie by the pool or explore the town and get your first taste of Swahili cuisine ( dinner for own account). In the evening you will have a group briefing from the tour leader. Stay: Ilboru Safari Lodge or similar.
2 To Lake Manyara National Park, an afternoon with drive
This morning we leave the town of Arusha behind as we drive to Lake Manyara National Park (approx. 2.5 hours). We enjoy a bike ride/walk en-route in the fertile plantation town of Mto wa Mbu, dominated by the Rift Valley wall towering over it. This is a great chance to expereince the lives of the local population, on the border of the park. Lake Manyara is one of Tanzania's more intimate parks and has some incredible birdlife, and unique wildlife. The glistening lake shore teems with birds and the park is famous for its elusive tree-climbing lions which are an incredible sight. Our camp is tucked away in the most exclusive location deep in the park, with the striking cliffs of the Rift escarpment forming a dramatic backdrop to our first experience of the region's magnificent wildlife. Stay: WAYO Manyara Green Camp or similar.
3 Full day in Lake Manyara National Park
Today we enjoy a full day basking in the splendour of Lake Manyara National Park. We will have a morning walk on the lake shores, when you can learn more about plants, insects, birds and small mammals from your knowledgeable guide. The remainder of the day will be filled with various game drives throughout the park in search of the resident wildlife. Due to the location on the river, our camp often attracts herds of buffalo and elephant which we can watch over a sundowner this evening. Stay: WAYO Manyara Green Camp or similar.
4 Manyara to Serengeti
We bid farewell to Lake Manyara today, and end on a high note with the first treetop walkway in Tanzania, in Lake Manyara NP. This 370m airwalk starts with a short boardwalk that gradually rises from ground level up through the canopy of the forest. You walk over a series of suspension bridges with thick netting on the sides, and reach a height of 18m off the ground. Each of the bridges end on a viewing deck situated around tree trunks. These treetop platforms are perfect places to stop and enjoy life in the canopy amongst butterflies, monkeys and birds. En route to the Serengeti, we drive through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where we can get stunning views of this, the 8th wonder of the World from the rim, an inspiring sight to behold. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is dotted with Maasai bomas and you will likely see them grazing their cattle alongside the road. We arrive in the Serengeti National Park via Naabi gate, arriving late afternoon at camp with game drives en-route. Which of the 2 camps we stay at is decided by the location of the annual migration and proximity of other wildlife to get us closest to the action. Stay: WAYO Serengeti Green Camp (Naabi/Banagi) or similar.
5 Today we will enjoy a full day of game viewing in the Serengeti National Park.
Today we will enjoy a full day of game viewing in the Serengeti National Park, rising early to make the most of our time in this vast wilderness. Our guides will choose the best spotting locations for the time of year. We can spend time at the hippo pool watching these comical animals laze about in the water happily living alongside the crocodiles, or perhaps find ourselves in the middle of the migration, surrounded by wildebeest and zebras. We journey through wide open plains to the kopjes, these volcanic rocky outcrops provide protection and shelter for a wide variety of animals, in particular, lions and from the top we can see out across the vast grasslands of the Serengeti. This diverse and interesting landscape will provide us with the ultimate in game viewing, we will be hoping to elephants, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lions, cheetah and if you are lucky the elusive leopard, as well as huge amounts of interesting bird life such as the elegant secretary birds and the flightless ostrich. Stay: WAYO Serengeti Green Camp (Naabi/Banagi) or similar.
6 Game drive in Ngorongoro Crater.
This morning we will rise early to leave the Serengeti, and drive through the Ngorongoro Conservation to reach the descent road into the Crater. An ancient caldera, Ngorongoro is a conservation area rather than a national park. This means that whole area is managed for both the animals and the local Maasai people who graze their cattle alongside the indigenous wildlife. During the drive down to the crater floor we will gain a glimpse of the Maasai's pastoralist lifestyle. The crater walls provide a natural sanctuary for the animals, which means there is plenty to see including lions, elephants, buffalo, rhino and leopard (if you are lucky enough). The only animal you won't see in here is a giraffe, whose long legs are unable to cope with the steeps sides of the crater. In the late afternoon, we will ascend and make our way the short distance to our lodge for the night. Stay: Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge or similar.
7 Game drives in Tarangire N.P; stay at a lodge within the park.
Enjoy breakfast with a stunning view from Rhotia Valley, before we make we make our way to Tarangire National Park. This park is characterized by the classic icon of the African savannah, the Baobab tree. The park comes into its own in the dry season, being the only place in the area with a permanent river. Birdlife congregates along the river banks, and herds of giraffe, zebra, buffalo and in particular, an elephant can be seen in abundance. This park boasts the biggest population of elephant in Northern Tanzania, with herds numbering in the hundreds. Predators such as lions and leopards are also regularly spotted here. Our lodge is located within the park and has a breathtaking view over the park, you can enjoy sundowners from the large lookout deck from whilst watching the wildlife on the rolling plains below. Stay: Tarangire Safari Lodge or similar.
8 Morning game drive in Tarangire National Park; transfer to Arusha
We enjoy our final early morning game drive in Tarangire today, before returning to the lodge for lunch and a final chance to spot some action from the lookout deck. After lunch, we will begin the journey back towards Arusha (approximately 3 hours) and for those on the group flights, we will continue on to Kilimanjaro Airport in time to catch our flights home.