A perfect seven night itinerary staying in lodges in Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarangire on the northern circuit.
Northern Tanzania Lodge Safari
Day 1: Depart UK
Depart from London Heathrow on an airline of your choice. Fly overnight to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania.
Day 2: Arrive Tanzania – drive to Lake Manyara
This morning your safari adventure will begin. When you arrive a driver/guide will be waiting. You will drive through the bustling town of Arusha, continuing on through the Maasai Steppe past a number of picturesque African villages. Your journey will take you North West from the town of Makuyuni, towards the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley.
Enter Lake Manyara-The park is often just seen as a stopping off point on the popular ‘northern circuit’ of Tanzania, yet this small and interesting park definitely warrants a visit in its own right. Return to your lodge in the evening at the end of a fantastic first safari day.
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge stands high on the bluff overlooking the frosted expanse of gleaming alkaline waters of Lake Manyara and the plains below the rift escarpment. The infinity swimming pool and pool bar and restaurant have a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
Day 3: Drive to Serengeti National Park
Following breakfast at Manyara, you will enjoy a drive through some of the most stunning scenery in Tanzania. The journey will take you up into the forests of Ngorongoro Crater and on to the rim of the Crater itself, where the views will take your breath away. Olduvai Gorge is the perfect place to stop and break your journey, stretch your legs and enjoy the surroundings.
The Gorge acquired its name from the Sansevieria bush that grows profusely in the area, named Olduvai by the Maasai. The Gorge is about 50km long and in some places around 90m deep and is found between the Crater and the Serengeti. It was first discovered by a German entomologist named Professor Kattwinkel, who instigated an expedition just before the First World War.
Later, the exploration was continued by Dr Louis Leakey and his wife, who in 1959 found humanoid remains of Zinjanthropus, later renamed Australapithicus boisei, an early form of man. You will have time to walk through the simple small museum at the gorge, where you can view copy displays of some of the finds as well as pictures of what life was like for the gorge’s earliest inhabitants.
Continue on into the Serengeti for lunch at your lodge before spending the afternoon exploring the park. The Serengeti Sopa Lodge looks out from a lofty position over the seemingly endless Serengeti plains, and is the only lodge to be located in the Nyaboro Hills in the south west of the Serengeti National Park.
Year round water and the acacia woodland in this area create an ideal environment for the wide variety of wildlife seen in the immediate vicinity of the lodge. Guests are accommodated in 79 suites, each enjoying wall-to-wall carpeting, a private lounge with a mini bar, a bedroom with two queen size beds and ample room for a third, an en-suite bathroom with shaver sockets and a hair dryer and a private veranda which offers stunning views over the plains. The elevation at 1,615 metres and surrounding hills provide cooling breezes.
Day 4: Serengeti National Park
Today you will have the chance to enjoy a morning and an afternoon game drive in the Serengeti. In the heart of the national park, just to the north of the short-grass plain is the Seronera area.
It is here that Myles Turner, the first National Park Warden of the Serengeti, made his home in the 50’s.
It is also home to the Frankfurt Zoological Society and a number of other NGO’s. Seronera’s resident game is phenomenal, with high densities of relaxed leopards, cheetah and lion. These cats live off the resident herbivores, as well as the migrating game.
Day 5: Ngorongoro
Spend the whole morning enjoying Serengeti National Park followed by lunch at the lodge after which you will depart for the Ngorongoro Crater area. You will pass back through Olduvai Gorge and up onto the Crater Rim. Remember this journey will all be through protected areas so keep your eyes open and there should be plenty to see en route.
The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge is the only lodge on the eastern rim of the crater. It has a commanding view into the crater below and enjoys spectacular sunsets. It is also the only lodge in the area to use the eastern entry point into the crater itself, so within 20 minutes of leaving the lodge you can be game-viewing on the crater floor.
There are 100 rooms each with en-suite facilities and vast floor to ceiling windows to ensure maximum crater views. The restaurant has a towering thatched roof, there is a well-equipped bar and, of course, a beautiful swimming pool.
Day 6: Ngorongoro – Crater Tour
This morning you will experience what is often described as the highlight of a northern safari! After breakfast you will set off for the Ngorongoro Crater, descending 2,000 feet onto the crater floor.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the World’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Due to its size and diversity, the crater floor is comprised of several distinct areas, ranging from forest, swamps, lakes and springs to open grassland and some sandy dunes. It’s an awesome wildlife experience! You will return to your lodge in the afternoon where you will be able to relax and enjoy the changing view with the setting of the African sun.
Day 7: Tarangire
Depart Ngorongoro Crater after breakfast and head south east en route to Lake Manyara, Mto wa Mbu village and Tarangire beyond. You will travel back through the highlands and the Karatu district, you’ll view the scenic wheat plains and coffee plantations here before journeying down the spectacular escarpment where you turn south on to the main Arusha – Dodoma road and into the park. From here to the lodge, you will be in the midst of the National Park so keep a look out for any animals you have not seen yet. After lunch and perhaps a swim, the remainder of the afternoon will be spent enjoying a game drive.
Tarangire National Park, dominated by the Tarangire River, is a grossly under-rated park and one of the best-kept secrets in Africa. Perhaps this is because it does not fit so conveniently into a week’s safari, or because it lies just off the ‘northern circuit’. Whatever the reason, it means that Tarangire is a superb wildlife destination for the enthusiast, particularly welcoming when added on after the busy ‘northern circuit’ of Manyara, Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
The river attracts enormous herds of elephants and the landscape is a rich and varied mix of Baobab Trees, Acacia bush, plains swamps and rocky outcrops or kopjes. The wildlife here is superb and the area actually experiences its own migration – although smaller in scale than the one further north. Elephants are virtually guaranteed here, and lion, cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena, jackal and occasionally wild dog hunt the vast herds of Cape buffalo as well as Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, Burchell’s zebra, giraffe and warthog. The area is excellent for birds of prey and provides superb habitats for hundreds of other species. The park is within half a day’s drive of Arusha and Lake Manyara so it is an easy add-on to any northern circuit safari.
Arrive at Tarangire Sopa Lodge where accommodation has been reserved for you for tonight. The lodge is located on the eastern side of the River, twenty miles inside the Tarangire National Park. Opened in 1995, the hotel can accommodate 160 guests. The rooms are carpeted with mini bar, private lounge, en-suite bathroom and a private veranda. The main areas are huge and have a balcony which goes round the entire hotel. Below the hotel is large patio area for BBQ and a rather ornate swimming pool.
Day 8: Return home or extend your trip to include Zanzibar or one of the other superb island destinations.
This itinerary is just a taste of what we can offer.
It is perfectly possible to extend this itinerary to include time at a wonderful beach location Zanzibar, Pemba or Mafia.
Indicative Cost for this itinerary per person £2,700.00
What is included?
Full board accommodation, services of an English-speaking guide and private safari vehicle all national park and concession fees.
What is not included?
International flights, drinks, visa, extra meals, extra excursions, travel insurance, beach extension, TIPS and items of a personal nature.