wonders of tanzania

November 7-24, 2018

 
exploring the Selous by boat

exploring the Selous by boat

 
 

Tanzania arguably is the greatest wildlife extravaganza on our planet – offering an abundance of birds and mammals in the most dramatic and amazingly beautiful setting! Long ago Tanzania realized the importance of its natural resources and today more than 30% of the country is protected land in the form of national parks and reserves.

Our expedition will be an adventure of a lifetime. Get ready to wander among the giant baobab trees of Tarangire National Park, explore the compact Lake Manyara National Park, and visit two of the world’s most famous wildlife destinations—the Ngorongoro Crater and the vast Serengeti. Next head south to the lesser known Selous Game Reserve; the largest reserve on the continent, where exploration options include vehicles, boats and walking. Finally we finish on the island of Zanzibar – rich in history and culture, surrounded by the beautiful blue waters of the Indian Ocean.

As with all Galápagos Travel expeditions we don’t want to rush the experience; spend an incredible 18-days/17-nights in Tanzania getting to know this remarkable country. Our days will be full, with early-morning and late-afternoon excursions to catch the peak animal activity as well as best lighting for photography. We will travel in traditional Land Cruiser type safari vehicles, with everyone having a window and an open roof above them guaranteeing the best views and photo opportunities. Our accommodations will be a mix of charming hotels and traditional tented safari camps.

Group size is capped at 16 participants so you may experience the wonders of these parks and preserves without the crowds. The photo opportunities will be unrivaled! 

Serengeti lioness; photo by Kevin Hansen

Serengeti lioness; photo by Kevin Hansen

TOUR LENGTH:
18 days in Tanzania, plus travel days.

GROUP SIZE:
Maximum group size is 16 participants, plus Mark Grantham from Galápagos Travel escorting the group. An expert Tanzanian Guide will be with us throughout our stay, plus specialty guides in several locations. Minimum group size is 10 participants. 

ITINEARY OVERVIEW:
Day 1: International arrival into Arusha
Day 2: Full day exploring Arusha
Day 3: Tarangire National Park
Day 4: Tarangire National Park
Day 5: Lake Manyara National Park
Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater
Day 7: Olduvai Gorge / Central Serengeti
Day 8: Central Serengeti
Day 9: Northern Serengeti
Day 10: Northern Serengeti
Day 11: Serengeti to Dar es Salaam
Day 12: Selous Game Reserve
Day 13: Selous Game Reserve
Day 14: Selous Game Reserve
Day 15: Selous/Dar es Salaam/ Zanzibar
Day 16: Zanzibar
Day 17: Zanzibar
Day 18: Zanzibar / international departure 

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DAY BY DAY ITINERARY:

Day 1: International Arrival
International arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) Tanzania – most flights will arrive at night. Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), you will be met outside customs and transferred to Arusha (60 kilometers / 45 minutes) for an overnight stay at Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge & Estate.

Day 2- Day in Arusha
A relatively easy day today, allowing us to adjust to the time change and long flights. We’ll have a city tour plus check out some of the local handicrafts, including woodcarvings and fabrics. We’ll also be guided around the coffee plantation. A good night’s rest will prepare us for tomorrow’s adventures. Overnight Arusha: Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge & Estate.

Day 3 - Tarangire National Park
After an early breakfast and safari briefing we depart with picnic lunches for game drives in Tarangire National Park, which is known for up to 300 elephants. It‘s the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as the stately Fringe-eared Oryx and peculiar Long-necked Gerenuk are regularly observed. The swamps, tinged green year round, are the focus for 500 bird species; the most breeding species in one habitat anywhere in the world. Overnight Tarangire: Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Tarangire National Park; photo by Kevin Hansen

Tarangire National Park; photo by Kevin Hansen

Day 4: Tarangire National Park
Another full day in Tarangire to explore this extremely bird-rich habitat. Avian highlights might include White-headed, Rüppell’s, and African White-backed Vultures, Maasai Ostrich, Red-necked Spurfowl, Bare-faced Go-away Bird, Black-faced Sandgrouse, Lilac-breasted Roller, Nubian Woodpecker, White-browed Coucal, African Hoopoe, Magpie Shrike, Northern White-crowned Shrike, and the endemic Yellow-collared Lovebird. The rare African Hunting Dog is occasionally seen here. Overnight Tarangire: Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Day 5- Lake Manyara National Park
Following breakfast at the lodge we depart for Lake Manyara National Park. Small, beautiful and richly diverse, it is easily explored. Lake Manyara is surrounded by tall forests supporting abundant bird life. The park is also known for its famous tree-lounging lions and a concentration of baboons. Meanwhile the lake harbors pods of hippos wallowing alongside clouds of pink flamingos, plus elegant pelicans and other aquatic life. And that’s just a sample of the wonderful wildlife found here!  Overnight: Ngorongoro Farm House Lodge. 

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Day 6 – Ngorongoro Crater
We rise very early this morning so we may descend the steep walls of the Ngorongoro Crater at 6am. The Ngorongoro Crater is a World Heritage Site – the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera – and is commonly referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. The 2,000 foot high walls of the approximately 10 mile wide crater form a natural amphitheater for the densest population of large animals anywhere. The crater supports upwards of 25,000 large mammals. Grazers dominate: zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, buffalo, eland and hartebeest, plus the engaging wart hog. There is no shortage of predators as well. It is a microcosm of the vast Serengeti National Park and in one day it is possible to see a staggering array of East Africa wildlife including the rare black rhino and massive bull elephants. The Crater is truly awe-inspiring and will surely be one of the highlights of our safari. Overnight: Ngorongoro Farm House Lodge.

Day 7 – Olduvai Gorge & Central Serengeti National Park
Today is a full day with our ultimate destination being the vast and remarkable Serengeti National Park. Taking its name from the Maasai “siringet,” meaning “endless plains,” the Serengeti contains as many as 3 million large animals, most taking part in seasonal migrations unparalleled in nature.

Our first stop will be FAME: Foundation for African Medicine and Education – where we might learn a bit about their remarkable work in the region.

Along the way we will also visit a Maasai village for a cultural interaction with these deeply traditional people. They have likely inhabited this part of Tanzania and Kenya since the mid 15th century; today many of Tanzania’s famous parks were once part of their lands. Nomadic pastoralists, they retain many of their traditions, including their colorful dress and ceremonies.

Next we visit the Olduvai Gorge, where Louis and Mary Leakey unearthed remarkable fossils in the 1950's that changed our understanding of human evolution. Homo habilis occupied Olduvai Gorge, here at the edge of the Rift Valley, approximately 1.9 million years ago.

We’ll wrap up our day’s travels with game viewing in the Serengeti en-route to our camp! As with all of our tented camps take the time to savor the night sky, searching for the Southern Cross and other constellations not visible from the northern hemisphere. Overnight Serengeti: Kati Kati Tented Camp. 

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Day 8 – Central Serengeti National Park
Today is dedicated to a full day of exploration of the Central Serengeti, including watching for wildlife along the Seronera River. This vast valley teems with wildlife, with plentiful vegetation supporting herbivores throughout the year. Wildebeest, zebras, elephants, giraffes, gazelles and many other species can be spotted here on any given day. The large amount of prey also draws the highest population of predators. Once again our day starts very early with a sunrise game drive, or an optional hot air balloon journey over the plains. Overnight Serengeti: Kati Kati Tented Camp.

Days 9 & 10– Northern Serengeti National Park
We now travel further north, to the wildlife-rich Northern Serengeti. Two game viewing days will give us an opportunity to explore the area to the fullest, with early morning and late afternoon drives. Overnight at Bologonya Under Canvas.

Lillac Breasted Roller: photo by Chris Ang

Lillac Breasted Roller: photo by Chris Ang

Day 11 – Serengeti – Dar es Salaam
Today we fly from the Serengeti to Dar es Salaam, via Arusha. Here we are in Tanzania’s largest city, former capital, and center for the arts. The seaside Dar es Salaam is also the world’s largest Swahili speaking city. Overnight Dar es Salaam: Southern Sun Hotel. 

Day 12 – Selous Game Reserve
After breakfast we return to the airport and leave the big city behind, in favor of the largest game reserve on the continent (and another UNESCO World Heritage Site)! Located in south-western Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve was founded by the German colonial administration in 1905. It was later expanded to include traditional elephant migration routes and accommodate the vast herds of buffalo that roam this remote, untouched corner of Africa. Today it is three times the size of the Serengeti, or twice the size of Belgium! Owing to the immense size of the sanctuary it is relatively undisturbed by human impact. Most of Africa’s mammal species, from the largest to the smallest to the rarest, thrive here. Vegetation zones/habitats include Miombo woodlands, rocky acacia-clad hills, open grasslands, riverine forest and swamps. An astonishing 2,100 plant species have been recorded within the different ecosystems. More than 440 bird species are found here! Concentrations of game include elephant, black rhinoceros, giraffe, hippopotamus, cheetah, lion, leopard, wild dog, crocodile, and more. One of the remarkable features here is the diversity of explorations possible; classic jeep safari, small boat excursions, or walking safaris.

Upon landing we anticipate our first game drive before lunch. This afternoon we will continue our explorations of the reserve, possibly by safari vehicle or boat... Overnight at Lake Manze Tented Lodge. 

Day 13 – Selous Game Reserve
Today you will wake at sunrise to head out for a game drive and another full day of activities. We might enjoy a walking safari, escorted by an armed ranger, to get closer to the innumerable small details and beauty of the Selous; animal tracks, insects, plants... Or possibly we’ll take a boat safari onto Lake Manze for a different perspective on the flora and fauna... One sure thing is it will be a full day of activities and adventures! Overnight at Lake Manze Tented Lodge.

Day 14 – Selous Game Reserve
This morning we take an early boat ride down Stiegler's Gorge. From a mile wide, the river narrows, flanked by steep forested walls and dotted with sandbanks. On one of these we will moor the boat and hop out for a picnic breakfast, perhaps trying our hand at a little tiger fishing. As the day warms up, we will drift gently back down the river, watching to see what's coming down to drink. Overnight at Lake Manze Tented Lodge.

Day 15 – Selous/Dar es Salaam/ Zanzibar
After breakfast we take a short drive to the airstrip for our flight to Zanzibar. Upon arrival in Zanzibar we will be met by a local guide and transferred to our hotel in the heart of Stone Town (another UNESCO recognized site). Zanzibar retains the imprint of its deep history of passing sultans, explorers, slave traders and merchants. Many a voyage started, or ended, here. Arab influenced architecture and winding streets are home to churches, bazaars, markets and palaces. Beyond the city fragrant spice plantations and palm-fringed beaches beckon the visitor. This afternoon we tour Stone Town, including the historic Slave Market, Spice Market, and more. Overnight Stone Town: Maru Maru Hotel Zanzibar. 

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Days 16 & 17 – Zanzibar
After breakfast transfer we transfer to one of Zanzibar’s beach hotels. Here we spend 2 nights on the lovely beaches of Zanzibar. A number of water activities can be independently arranged on arrival, including snorkeling and diving. Overnight: Zanzibar.

Day 18 Zanzibar – international departure
Late morning we check out of our hotel, catching a mid-day flight to Arusha. Here we connect with international flights home.

This itinerary represents our intended routing. The final routing might be modified based on recent wildlife activity, weather, and accommodation or transportation logistics.

Crown Cranes: photo by Chris Ang

Crown Cranes: photo by Chris Ang

EXPEDITION DETAILS:

November 7-24, 2018

EXPEDITION COSTS:
$12,000 per person (double occupancy) / $13,900 single but willing to share / $15,500 guaranteed single

For single travelers we are happy to try and schedule a roommate for you. If we fail to find a roommate you will be invoiced at the "willing to share" rate. Alternately we have a very limited number of guaranteed singles available if you prefer. 

INCLUDED IN EXPEDITION COST:
All lodging in Tanzania; All meals with group in Tanzania, from breakfast on Day 2 through lunch on Day 18; In-country flights (Serengeti/Dar es Salaam/Selous and Selous/ Zanzibar/Arusha); Airport transfers, hotel transfer and meet & greet services; National park & reserve entrance fees, including special game drive permits with exclusive access; Olduvai Gorge Museum entrance fees; Maasai Village visiting and photography fees; Private use of specially outfitted 4WD stretched Land Rover or Land Cruisers for our group; Leadership by our expert Tanzanian Tour Leader, plus knowledgeable Tanzanian driver-guides; Unlimited bottled drinking water in your vehicle; Emergency Flying Doctor insurance; Pre-departure materials, guide book & map.

NOT INCLUDED IN EXPEDITION COST:
International airfare to and from Tanzania (Kilimanjaro International Airport: JRO; passport or visa fees; mandatory travel insurance (evacuation insurance required); travel inoculations or medications; Gratuities to your safari driver-guide (suggested at $20 per day); Gratuities to your camp staff (suggested at $2 per night; Items of a personal nature, such as laundry services, telephone or WiFi charges, or room service; Excess baggage charges; Alcoholic beverages or sodas.   

BOOKING TERMS:
A 25% deposit is required to confirm space on this expedition, with the remaining balance due 90 days before departure.  Due to the limited space at the lodges, pre-payments in Tanzania, and the general expense of operating in these remote destinations all deposits and payments are non-refundable.  For this reason we strongly recommend purchasing Trip Cancellation Insurance: a comprehensive International Travel Protection Insurance package is available through GALAPAGOS TRAVEL to all U.S. residents – you will receive a policy application along with your deposit receipt.

DOCUMENTATION:
You will need a current passport to travel to Tanzania, valid for at least 6 months after the trip. Visas are issued on arrival - your passport must have a blank visa page for endorsement.  If arriving from a yellow-fever-infected country a vaccination certificate is required.

OPTIONAL:

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For many visitors to the Serengeti the quintessential image they might have in mind is a hot air ballon drifting over the wildlife. You can do that!  In place of one of our sunrise safari drives you can take to the air for a 90 minute sunrise "flight"! The balloons carry 16 riders in their basket and this outing must be reserved in advance. Cost is $500 per person.

Your time in Tanzania or Zanzibar can also be extended if you wish.

 

ACCOMMODATIONS:

Accommodations have been selected to give the best access to the places we really want to be for the fullest wildlife experience. They are a mix of traditional hotels, permanent and mobile tented camps. Accommodations are in doubles, with a very limited number of singles available at a surcharge.

On the outskirts of Arusha we find the Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge & Estate (2 nights). Tropical gardens surround the brick cottages with thatch roofs and private verandas, plus a welcoming pool. http://moivaro.com/lodges/tanzania/moivaro-lodge/ 

The Tarangire Safari Lodge (2 nights) is situated on a bluff overlooking the vast savannah and Tanangire River below. Accommodations are offered in quintessential safari tents (with en-suite solar showers) or Maasai boma-style bungalows. Other features include a spectacular view terrace, boutique, open-air dining pavilion, a pool, and WiFi.  www.tarangiresafarilodge.com 

Near Ngorongoro Crater we will stay at the Ngorongoro Farm House (2 nights). This coffee plantation offers modern accommodations, large verandas with views of the Oldeani Volcano, gracious gardens, a pool, WiFi, and laundry.  http://twctanzania.com/en/accommodation/ngorongoro-farm-house/

The Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp (2 night) offers 10 traditional tents, each with private showers, flush toilets, and lighting by solar lights. Sundowners and dinners are served around a nightly campfire. www.tanganyikawildernesscamps.com/camps/serengetimediumcamp/ 

The Bologonya Under Canvas (2 nights) is a mobile tented camp that follows the great migration across the northern Serengeti. The intimate setting of the lovely tented camp brings us as close to nature as possible! http://tanganyikawildernesscamps.com/camps/bologonya-under-canvas/ 

The Southern Sun Dar es Salaam Hotel (1 night) offers the exotic African appeal of a tranquil oasis amid a bustling capital city. https://www.tsogosun.com/southern-sun-dar-es-salaam 

The Lake Manze Tented Lodge (3 nights) is located on the shores of Lake Manze. Twelve lovely walk-in tents, each with twin or double beds, flush toilet, outdoor shower and private shaded veranda are perfectly situated to enjoy the setting and passing wildlife. The central “lodge” is simply a large thatched roof spreading above a sand floor, with armchairs and sofas for lounging with a drink to watch the animals come and go. http://www.ed.co.tz/property/lake-manze/ 

The Maru Maru Hotel Zanzibar (1 night) offers 5-star quality, blending classic Zanzibar style and modern luxuries, just steps from the city’s historical wonders. A rooftop pool deck offers 360 degree views over the city. www.marumaruzanzibar.com 

Our last two nights on Zanzibar will be at a seaside resort hotel. Options are still being considered for these nights.

Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp

Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp

Lake Manze Tented Lodge

Lake Manze Tented Lodge

Southern Sun Dar es Salaam

Southern Sun Dar es Salaam

Bologonya Under Canvas

Bologonya Under Canvas

Tarangire Safari Lodge

Tarangire Safari Lodge

Ngorngoro Farm House

Ngorngoro Farm House

Please note that all accommodations are subject to final confirmation based on availability – comparable hotels will be substituted as required. 

LEADERSHIP

This exclusive safari has been designed by, and will be led by, Tanzania native Deus Haraja. Now a resident of the U.S., Deus has been guiding in his homeland for more than 15 years. Today he returns just 4 to 6 times each year, leading specialized groups with a focus on wildlife, photography and anthropology. Both individual travelers and groups who want the best experience possible seek Deus out. Recent clients have included PBS, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

In addition game drives will be led by expert local driver/guides with a passion for the wildlife and sharing it with us.

Mark Grantham from Galápagos Travel will also escort the group – his first time back in Tanzania since 1999. 

Tarangire National Park; photo by Kevin Hansen

Tarangire National Park; photo by Kevin Hansen

AIR ARRANGEMENTS
International carriers flying into Arusha include KLM, British Air, Turkish Air, Ethiopian. No carriers fly directly there from the U.S.

The internal flights – Serengeti/Arusha/Dar es Salaam, and Dar es Salaam /Zanzibar/ Arusha – are included in the tour cost.  On these internal flights the luggage allowance is one checked piece (33 pound maximum) plus a small carry on, per person.  Additional luggage may be brought for an additional fee. 

WEATHER EXPECTATIONS

November is the start of the warmer season. We might expect daytime temperatures around 70 in the highlands, and from the upper-70’s to upper-80’s in the lower elevations. November is further characterized by short rains, typically only lasting a few minutes. This is a time of rejuvenation for the plants and great wildlife activity! 

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Neither Galapagos Travel nor Beyond Adventures LLC can be held responsible for any delays caused by international or domestic flights, lost or delayed baggage, strikes, government regulations, weather or volcanic activity, or other circumstances beyond our control.  In such an event if we are unable to operate the services according to the schedule described we will attempt to substitute services of equivalent value. If we are unable to do so, participants may be responsible for additional costs due to circumstances beyond our control. 

Hippo pool: photo by Chris Ang

Hippo pool: photo by Chris Ang