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Follow enthusiastic guides of Usambara Trails Expedition to explore the natural beauty and sheer density of plant and wildlife species in Tanzania. This is one of the top destinations for people who want to experience new things in new places or love adventuring. Come and take a chance to feel the breath of nature while watching animals and the way they live.
You will stay overnights at Panorama Campsite, Seronera Campsite, and Simba Campsite during this trip.
You will be picked up from Arusha city and depart for Lake Manyara National Park via Mto-wa mbu village with a picnic lunch for a full day game drive. Lake Manyara, which packs a lot of diversity into a small area, is the only park in the area that is green all year round.
The park also offers a spectacular view of the Great Rift Valley and the fig forest here is a good place to see monkeys and some of the 350 species of birds that have been recorded here. With luck, you may spot the tree-climbing lions for which the park is famous. Dinner and overnight will be served at Panorama Campsite.
After the breakfast, you will depart for Serengeti National Park with a picnic lunch. The Serengeti is arguably the most impressive wildlife sanctuary in the world. You will have an afternoon game drive in the endless plains of the Serengeti for a chance to see the great herds of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles or a pride of lions lounging in the shade. Dinner and overnight will be served at Seronera Campsite.
You will have a full day game drive in Serengeti and have a chance to see predators chasing their prey and enjoy their kill. Serengeti is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequaled for its natural beauty and scientific value. You will have game drives in the endless plains of the Serengeti for a chance to see the great herds of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles or a pride of lions lounging in the shade. Dinner and overnight will be served at the lodge or camp.
After the breakfast in the morning, you will enjoy game drives in Serengeti National Park with a picnic lunch. Later, you will depart for Ngorongoro Crater Rim. Ngorongoro Crater is the largest collapsed volcanic crater in the world and fourteen kilometers of isolated natural beauty. Ngorongoro Crater is surrounded by a ring of extinct volcanoes and the floor, dotted with watering holes, shelters some 30,000 animals. Dinner and overnight will be served at Simba Campsite.
After the breakfast, you will descend to the Crater floor for game drives. You can expect to see lions, elephants, zebras, hippos, flamingos, jackals, rhinos antelopes, and many birds. The birds seen here include eagle, vulture, and flamingos in the Crater Lake, stork, bats, giant vulture, sacred ibis, kori bustard, blacksmith plover, long-necked heron, and the cattle eagle. Lunch will take place at a hippo pool picnic site. Then, you will ascend to the rim and departure for Tarangire National Park for dinner and overnight at the campsite.
After the breakfast, you will enjoy game drives in the park with a picnic lunch. Tanzania’s third largest national park is known for its majestic baobab trees that dot the landscape, dwarfing the animals that feed beneath them. The Tarangire River is the centerpiece of this park which is famous for some of the largest herds of elephants in Africa. Here you may see lion, leopard, cheetah, lesser kudu, buffalo, Oryx, eland, giraffe, and zebra. Later, you will depart for Arusha city.
The safari will take place in Manyara Region, Tanzania. Tanzania is the united Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar Dodoma its political capital center of the country. Dar es salaam, its the economic capital, is on the coast, out of 945,087 kilometers, over 1,000,000 kilometers are devoted to reserves and nation parks.
Photos of the country shows a vast central plateau sloping down towards the Indian ocean, three great lakes including Victoria to north, Tanganyika to the west, and Nyasa to the south, and in the north, a gigantic fracture of the earth's crust, the Great Rift valley, with its twenty large volcanoes, and hundreds of little cones, dotting the Indian ocean, are a series of coral or volcanic islands.
Lake Manyara National Park is another of Tanzania’s small parks with an area of not more than 330 square kilometers. The beautiful nature, the varied flora, and the existing fauna make Lake Manyara an obvious place to spend a day or so on the way to Serengeti and Ngorongoro. Lake Manyara is situated in the bottom of the Great Rift valley, which stretches all the way from Jordan to Mozambique, and it has an intriguing ecology and a greatly varied bird life, perfect for bird watching.
380 species have been registered, and at most times of the year, thousands of flamingoes settle down, feeding on algae as a pink ribbon along the lake. The vegetation is also very unique with groundwater forest with high fig and mahogany trees, acacia forest, marsh area, and grassland, as well as hot springs in the south.
The park is especially famous for its lions, which have a habit of climbing the trees. Except in the Ruwenzori Park in Uganda, the lions in Lake Manyara are the only ones who have this peculiar behavior, which is inherited from generation to generation. Zoologists believe that they have attributed this habit to avoid the biting flies and the heat on the ground. You are lucky if you spot these lions, though.
There are good chances of spotting elephants. Lake Manyara used to have the largest concentration in Africa, but because of poaching, the number of animals has decreased. You also sure find hippos, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, gazelles, and a lot of baboons. Lake Manyara is about 120 kilometers or from one and a half to two hours from Arusha on the way to Ngorongoro and Serengeti. One can also take a one-hour flight from Arusha. This park can be visited year round.
In the flat, open surroundings, the animals are easy to spot, and they are more used to cars than animals in Serengeti and other national parks. This means that one can come quite close to the animals with the camera. The only thing, which might ruin the experience, is to come inside the crater with far too high expectations. You cannot find rhinos on every road-turn, and the lions are not paid to hunt while the tourists watch and take photos.
It takes a land rover or another four-wheel-drive to manage the steep road descending and ascending the crater. It is a good idea to start at sunrise, so one can spend the entire day inside the crater. Most people prefer to have lunch at the picnic area in the crater, where the vultures dive and sometimes manage to snatch the food out of your hands.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which consists of several volcanic mountains and craters, altogether an area of 8288 square kilometers. Until 1959, this area was a part of Serengeti National Park. Out of consideration to the local Maasai, it changed its status, so that it now both protect the animals and the Maasai’s rights. They are allowed to take their cattle down the crater to get water, but they can not stay inside permanently. The cattle must get out of the crater the same day.
From Arusha it is about 180 kilometers or from four to five hours depending on the road to the Ngorongoro crater. Follow the road to Serengeti past Lake Manyara through the trading city Karatu. One can also take a one-hour flight from Arusha to Ngorongoro. The first view over the crater is at Heroes Point, about 2286 meters.
Here, there is a monument dedicated to the park employees, who have been killed in the battle against poachers. A little further, you find a monument over the German professor, Bernhard Grzimek, and his son Michael, who with their scientific work, movies, and books contributed greatly to promoting the nature of Northern Tanzania. Michael was killed in a plane accident in Ngorongoro in 1959.
Serengeti National Park is the most famous of Tanzania’s national parks. It occupies vast areas, covering 14,763 square kilometers, and the wildlife conservation is a high priority. Serengeti was gazetted in 1951 and accepted by the World Heritage Convention as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve in 1981. With more than four million mammals, among them, wildebeests, Thomson-gazelles, zebras, impalas, topis, buffaloes, grants-gazelles, giraffes, and warthogs, Serengeti is an excellent park for game viewing.
Every year in May or June, zebras and wildebeest carpet the northern Serengeti, undertaking a circuit of 1000 kilometers as they thunder westwards searching for new pastures, waterholes, and young grass of the park corridor. Predators prowl the plains, and Serengeti is the only place where one can witness this annual movement, also called "the race for life”.
The vast grass fields make Serengeti a paradise for predators. There are most hyenas, but the national park is especially known for its lions so you will be very out of luck if you cannot capture some lions on camera while you are in the park, even the black maned male lions. The first thing you spot after the drive in at Naabi Hill is a vast, flat area of short grass, not a tree in sight for miles.
As you approach Seronera in the center of the park, the grass is longer and there are plenty of acacia trees to be seen on the savanna. At the other side of Seronera, in the western corridor in the direction towards Lake Victoria and north towards Lobo and Maasai Mara, the terrain becomes more occupied. Serengeti National Park is set between 900 and 1850 meters height.
The best time to see this park is between December and May when the wildebeest migration is in the south, and if you are lucky, you will catch the annual movement of wildebeest and zebras in May or June.
Covering approximately 2,600 square kilometers, Tarangire lies to the south of large open grass plains of the southern Maasai land. Tarangire National Park is named after the Tarangire River, where great flocks of animals gather together in the dry season from June to November. This is the best time to visit Tarangire. Most of the other waterholes are dried out, so the flood is the only place where the animals can extinguish their thirst.
After the short rainy season in November, the animals wander in big flocks of wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and hartebeests, outside the borders of the park, some wander off to Lake Manyara, others all the way to Lake Natron close to the border with Kenya.
First when the rainy season has passed, the animals turn back to Tarangire, where they arrive during the summer. Several circuits are possible including Burundi to the west, Lamarkau to the south, and Matete along the river. Acacia and baobab trees shelter animals seeking refuge near the river. The park is especially known for its elephants, which are more numerous than in the other northern parks.
Apart from this, there are good chances of spotting buffaloes, giraffes, waterbucks, kudus, Oryx, lions, leopards, hyenas, and if you are lucky, you will even spot the famous tree climbing pythons. The park has a varied landscape consisting of open grassland with acacia trees and baobab trees, bush steppe, forests, and swamps.
In the whole area, there are tsetse flies, which make the area unsuitable for cattle holding. This explains why Tarangire today has a status as a national park. Tarangire is not far away from the tarred main road between Arusha and Dodoma. The distance from Arusha to the gate of Tarangire is 115 kilometers or about one-hour driving.
Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner as specified in the itinerary are included in the prices.
Kilimanjaro International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Usambara Trails Expedition will pick you up from the airport.
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