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This dream itinerary, specially designed to follow the great migration, takes you to the heart of this majestic event. With four nights in the Serengeti, you are afforded the opportunity to take in the vast Serengeti Plains and also spend some time witnessing the great migration taking place on the northern tip of the Serengeti.
On the first and last nights of your safari, you will be staying at Ilboru Safari Lodge, in Arusha, on bed and breakfast basis. Nestled on the lower slopes of the majestic Mount Meru, the legendary Ilboru Safari Lodge has been welcoming mountain climbers and safari travelers to Northern Tanzania for decades.
Ideally located between the northern safari circuit and Mount Kilimanjaro, the beautiful Swahili sanctuary is set on a five-acre plot, tucked away beneath ancient trees, on the outskirts of Arusha town. Their team is focused on providing simple comforts and fine hospitality. With crisp white linen, extra pillows, fluffy towels, and a desk to write in your journal, you have everything you need to make the sanctuary your home.
The lodge has 38 rooms accommodating guests in single, double, twin, triple, and family rooms. Four rooms are in the main building, close to the pool and other facilities, each with a balcony overlooking the garden. The rest of the rooms are in double cottages situated throughout the lushly landscaped grounds.
The lodge has a conference center, reception, gift shop, swimming pool, botanical gardens, dining and massage services, as well as Wi-Fi.
On the second and eighth nights, you will be staying at Eileen’s Trees Inn in Karatu. The inn has 20 rooms. En-suite single, double, triple, and family rooms are available on request. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, privately situated throughout lush gardens. Each room has twin beds or a large queen size bed with mosquito nets. Triples are possible on request. All rooms have a writing desk and seating area on the veranda.
The bathrooms have a large shower with hot water on request. Bottled drinking water is provided in every room. The guest rooms are set in beautiful tropical gardens, and you will find a bar, small lounge area, and dining room set in a rustic wooden building reminiscent of a tree house. Their own dedicated water source is a deep pure well to ensure your healthy stay. They also provide bottled water in the rooms.
Starting from the third until the sixth night, you will be staying at Serengeti Heritage Tented Camp (Central on nights three and six and Mara on nights four and five). The camps are located in Northern Tanzania, in the famous Serengeti National Park.
They provide all types of accommodation for anyone who needs to have the maximum relaxation during a hard day of wildlife exploration inside the park in single, double, twin, and triple rooms.
The traditional tented camp is by far the best choice to explore wildlife on a safari in Africa. There is nothing that compares with being at a camp in a beautiful setting with the sights and sounds of nature close by.
If you might want to come to Africa to see the wildlife and the beautiful landscapes while being close to the rhythm of nature, the tented camp provides the perfect way to do so.
Serengeti Heritage Tented Camp provides its guests with the most authentic African experience due to its colonial, old days’ hunter’s camp ambiance.
Sitting snugly in a clearing surrounded by acacia trees, its 13 spacious walk-in tents create an intimate atmosphere for only 40 guests, while indulging them with the amenities of a big lodge, as all tents are equipped with running water, flush toilets, and hot and cold water showers.
The friendly staff will go to extremes to ensure that you have a wonderful, satisfying, and memorable stay. In order to protect its amazing environment, the camp runs entirely on solar energy in terms of electricity and hot water supply. A backup generator is only used to ensure electricity supply throughout rainy days.
At Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, the stunning setting on the rim of the ancient Ngorongoro Crater provides a gateway to unforgettable adventures and excursions. Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge provides a restaurant and free Wi-Fi, 20 kilometers from Ngorongoro Crater and 36 kilometers from Laetoli Footprints. There is a private bathroom with bath and a hair dryer in each unit, along with free toiletries.
Arrive in Tanzania and check-in at Ilboru Safari Lodge in Arusha. There, you will enjoy the day on a bed and breakfast basis and prepare for your adventure.
In the morning, you will be collected from your lodgings in Arusha by your private safari guide. You will drive to Tarangire National Park on a good tarmac road across gently rolling Maasai plains with scattered acacia trees. On the way, you will pass many Maasai in their colorful dress walking on the roadside, riding bicycles, herding cattle, and driving donkey carts.
Tarangire National Park, well known for its large elephant herds, is also host to a multitude of other animals. From the open roof of your safari jeep you will see seasonal swamps, savanna, and the life giving Tarangire River.
You will see zebras, wildebeest, buffaloes, elephants, and giraffes, to name but a few. It is also possible you will see lions stalking prey or leopards watching and relaxing in the trees above. After your extensive game drive, you will drive to your accommodation for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, you will continue towards the fertile highlands where wheat and corn are grown by the Iraqw people. Along the way, you'll pass through the mist-shrouded rain forests of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where you might be lucky enough to see baboons, or even leopards and elephants in the dense undergrowth.
Passing through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you will be able to see the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater before traveling onward to Serengeti National Park which you will reach by midday.
Serengeti National Park is the largest park in Tanzania, with diverse landscapes and habitats, such as grassy plains, swamps, lakes, savanna, and mountains. After an extensive game drive, you will drive to your accommodation where you will enjoy dinner and an overnight stay.
In the morning, you undertake your en-route game drive to the northern region of the Serengeti. Stretching from Seronera for about 100 kilometers, Northern Serengeti is a gentle rolling countryside broken by small rivers, occasional hills, and kopjes. Here resides a permanent population of wildlife, with very striking geological occurrences such as the beautiful Lobo Kopje.
Northern Serengeti is an interesting and varied habitat that is far from the park's main entry point in the south, hence receiving fewer visitors.
The migration is found in this area during August, and you may witness the most spectacular of river crossings as the herd attempts to fjord the Mara River and avoid the strong currents and hungry crocodiles. After a full day, you head for your accommodation where you will enjoy dinner and a night of sleep under the magnificent African sky, out upon the endless plains.
After an early breakfast, you will head out to make the most of the day. There is a chance you may see the animals crossing the Mara River. Hundreds of thousands of desperate wildebeest gather together on the banks of the river, gazing wistfully across the turbulent water at the green grass on the other side, but not one animal will make a move.
All it takes is one brave wildebeest to take the literal plunge and, then, all follow. The animals that successfully avoid the awaiting crocodile jaws and make it over the river are rewarded with the lush green grazing grass of the Maasai Mara.
After breakfast, you will return to Seronera with further opportunities to experience the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of the Serengeti.
During the longer rainy season from April to June, the herds return to the north. Apart from the migrating herds, you may have the opportunity to see the resident predators, like leopards, cheetahs, and lions, fulfilling their role in the circle of life.
After an extensive game drive, you head for your accommodation for a hearty dinner and another night of relaxation and conversation by the fire, under the sweeping majesty of the bright African stars.
After breakfast, you will embark upon another incredible game drive in the Serengeti before traveling to Ngorongoro Crater. Arriving at the edge of the crater in the afternoon, you will have your first glimpse of what awaits you on the following day - glistening streams, open grassland, and an infinite number of animals. You will spend the night at a nearby lodge.
Very early in the morning, after breakfast, you descend down into the crater's floor for a day of wildlife viewing in one of the most incredible places on Earth, where the animals roam freely through the un-fenced reserves, offering an uninterrupted game viewing experience.
The caldera was formed about three million years ago with the massive explosion of a volcano that rivaled Kilimanjaro in height. It is 610 meters deep and covers roughly 260 square kilometers, being an enclosed ecosystem.
The word Ngorongoro represents the sound of the bells that the Maasai cows wear around their necks. It is one of the best places in Africa to view the big five, as well as wildebeest, gazelles, reedbucks, and many other animals, along with about 500 bird species. You will stop for a picnic lunch near the hippo lake and, in the afternoon, you will ascend the steep road out of the crater. You will overnight in the nearby town of Karatu.
After breakfast, you will drive to your final destination on this epic safari - Lake Manyara National Park. This, a relatively small but diverse park 120 kilometers west of Arusha, is so named after the shallow salt lake that covers some seventy percent of the surface area, flooding and drying with the seasons and home to thousands of flamingos and 500 other bird species.
On your exploration of the park, you will see monkeys, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, buffaloes, elephants, and, with some luck, lions lounging in the trees. The park is known for its diverse landscapes, not only open grassy plains, but also primate-filled woodlands and baobab dotted cliffs. After lunch, you head back to Arusha where you will arrive in the late afternoon.
You will be collected from your accommodation by a Lion King representative and driven to the airport.
This safari will take place in Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
Manyara is 250 square miles long, of which one-third is land, the remainder being part of Lake Manyara. It is Tanzania’s third smallest national park. The park is known for its resident forest that is fed by an underground water forest, keeping the park green throughout the year. That attracts both migratory and wetland birds. Two-thirds of the lake are dominated by shallow alkaline-saline soda waters.
The unique waters are formed by Rift Valley heat, causing rapid evaporation of Manyara’s waters, leaving high concentrations of saline and sodium carbonate. It creates an ideal environment for microorganisms, cyan bacteria, to thrive, which produces blue-green benthic algae. That attracts flamingos that feed on it.
Whereas the caustic waters that can reach PH levels of nine are too toxic for most of the other creatures, the flamingos have adapted to it and the benthic algae provide a year-round food source for them.
Lake Manyara National Park’s most common species, in addition to flamingos, are large troops of baboons, blue or syke monkeys, vervet monkeys, tree climbing lions, kudus, buffaloes, giraffes, hippos, wildebeest, zebras, elephants, impalas, Grant and Thomson gazelles, lions, cheetahs, warthogs, leopards, hyrax, elands, bush backs, waterbucks, and dik-diks.
Ngorongoro derives its name from the Maasai tribe who are the native peoples of the area. Referred to as the crown jewel of the Serengeti, Ngorongoro’s breathtaking views overlook a 2,000-foot drop to its volcanic caldera crater floor formed over three million years ago. A caldera forms when land collapses, following a volcanic eruption.
Ngorongoro Crater’s caldera is unique. It is the world’s largest caldera with a high elevation at its rim of 10,000 feet and its floor at 5,400 feet. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The eruption of the crater deposited volcanic ash throughout the Serengeti, which created a mineral-rich fertile soil with high concentrations of phosphorous that grow short grasses the wildebeest thrive on, as every cell of their body contains phosphorous.
The short grasses that grow on the Southern Serengeti Plains during the rainy calving season help the young wildebeest grow strong grazing on them, which prepares them for the migration season ahead. Ngorongoro’s unique ecosystem is defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley wall escarpment that makes it difficult for animals to migrate easily from the crater’s natural enclosure.
Its unique 100-square-mile caldera floor’s eco-culture is home to most of the animal species found in East Africa. The cool breeze at its rim creates ideal conditions within the crater to keep it cool during hot days, which encourages animals to enter it. It is inhabited by 25,000 animals.
Its diverse species of wildlife drink from Lake Magadi that is on the floor of the crater, formed by other water sources in the crater that flow into it. There is a high probability of seeing the endangered black rhinos drinking from its waters. Ngorongoro has five different prides of lions in the crater and three prides along its rim. There are seven clans of hyenas, of which three hunt mainly at night. The hyenas provide 80 percent of the lions’ food.
Ngorongoro Crater is an especially good place for photographic safari expeditions as the animals get close enough to the jeeps for the photographer to get excellent wildlife close-ups.
Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park. It is a world heritage site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Serengeti is arguably the most scintillating game-viewing site in all of Africa. It features big mammals, cats, and an amazing variety of herbaceous and carnivorous animals. It is also the native land of the Maasai who have lived there for millennia, herding their cattle.
The Serengeti ecosystem includes the Maasai Mara in Kenya, while 75 percent of the unique ecosystem is in Tanzania. Its lush green ocean of green grasses expands on 5,700 square miles. The grasses are the result of volcanic eruptions in the Ngorongoro area three million years ago, which spread volcanic ashes throughout the wide area now known as the Serengeti Plains.
The ashes had high concentrations of phosphorous, creating the mineral-rich fertile soils covering a vast area growing short green grasses that support millions of wildlife.
The Serengeti supports huge numbers of wildlife and is the natural habitat of the big five, such as the rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, as well as giraffes, 400 species of birds, hippos, gazelles, jackals, hares, dik-diks, mongooses, warthogs, hedgehogs, cheetahs, waterbucks, hartebeest, ostriches, and crocodiles.
Where the Southern Serengeti Plains meet the Central Serengeti, woodlands are a mixture of diverse species. They include predatory carnivorous animals, big cats, and hyenas. The Seronera River in the central region is the habitat of the famous tree lion, tree climbing leopards, and prides of lions. All of these animals have their own natural predators and prey.
The bulk of the three-million animal herds participating in the great migration are the wildebeest. Wildebeest thrive on the short grasses with high concentrations of phosphorous as every cell of their body contains phosphorous. The great migration also includes zebras, antelopes, and other species that circulate in a clockwise direction following water sources on an annual 1,800-mile trek.
The fall rains is calving season when 250,000 wildebeest calves are born over a three-week period in the Southern Serengeti. They graze on the grasses in preparation for the next stage of their migration to the Northwest Serengeti, that begins in the early spring.
From October to December, the migration makes its way from the Maasai Mara in the Northern Serengeti region to Southern Serengeti along its eastern border formed by the Great Rift Valley escarpment to begin the calving season. Once the herd arrives in the Southwestern Serengeti, calving season begins when the wildebeest give birth to a quarter million newborns during a three-week period.
It is a great time to see the drama of the hunt, as predatory animals seek their babies. The short rains occur from November to December. Kusini Camp is on the wildebeest migration path where they congregate on Kusini’s grassy plains during the calving season. The Southern Serengeti has specific areas that provide exceptional views of the great migration such as the Moru Kopjes where the rare black rhinos migrate at that time of the year and where you can see Maasai rock paintings.
It is also an exceptional location for viewing cheetahs, as is Gol Kopjes where fresh green grasses attract cheetahs. Lake Ndutu, one of the Rift Valley’s soda lakes, attracts flamingos that nest in its waters. It also has stunning acacia woodlands where a variety of animal species hunt within this ecosystem.
From January to March, the great migration is scattered between Southern Serengeti and Ndutu, on the Ngorongoro side. This time of the year is also a calving season whereby the wildebeest give birth. From April to May, the long, heavy rainy season occurs, when many camps are closed in the Southwestern and Central Serengeti.
In the Central Serengeti, the great migration must defend itself against large prides of lions, leopards, and cheetahs located in the area. In June, around 800,000 zebras along with antelopes in the Western Serengeti region join the great migration of about 1.8 million wildebeest.
It is one of the most exciting and breathtaking times to view the great migration, as the massive herds of animals attempt to cross the Grumeti River that is filled with hungry crocodiles. As the baby wildebeest and zebras are still young, they make easy prey for the huge crocodiles that await in the Grumeti River’s turbulent rushing waters.
Many animals drown as they cross the Grumeti, getting pulled downstream by rushing currents heading westward towards Lake Victoria. By July to September, the migration has made its way to the Northwestern region of the Serengeti, located in Southwestern Kenya called the Maasai Mara.
Tarangire National Park is known for having the largest elephant population in Northern Tanzania. Currently, Tarangire has three major elephant populations with each population having around 1,000 elephants. The national park also has zebras, giraffes, wild dogs, hyenas, hippos, wildebeest, impalas, jackals, waterbucks, cheetahs, kudus, Grant gazelles, dik-diks, lions, leopards, fringe eared oryx, and elands.
You can also view the Tarangire River which attracts animal life and has many Baobab trees. During the short rainy season (November - December), it is commonplace to see tree-climbing lions.
During this safari, your daily meals will be provided for you, except on day one when only breakfast is included. You will also be provided with water and soft drinks during the safari.
Most dietary requirements can be catered for. Please inform Lion King Adventures of any specific dietary requirements, and those will be communicated to all properties.
Should you require kosher meals, substantial additional costs might incur as those meals are specially flown in. Two weeks prior notice is required for all dietary requirements.
Kilimanjaro International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK). Transfers from and to these airports are included. Lion King Adventures will pick you up from the airport.
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