Tanzania - A Treasure Trove of Wildlife and Culture with Serena Lodges

In Tanzania the ancient Maasai have shared the endless plains of the Serengeti with endemic lion and elephant for eons. Journey into the dawn of time as you pass the stoic red-robed Maasai boy herding his cattle and descend 2,000 feet by Land Rover beneath the cloud cover into Ngorongoro Crater, Africa’s ‘Garden of Eden.’ The amazing wildlife you see crossing the diverse terrain is only enhanced by a visit to Olduvai Gorge, where Mary Leakey discovered one of the earliest fossils of humankind. Home to both humans and beast since the beginning of time, the magic of the Serengeti continues to thrill, especially during the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra which move to the eternal rhythms of Mother Nature.

Degree of Difficulty - Two Paws

Slightly Active. May involve some walking and climbing.

Weather Reports - When To Go

Tanzania is located close to the Equator. The temperature, therefore, does not vary too much. During our summer months (June through August) it is about 10 degrees cooler, but days will be warm and can reach 80’s and evenings can be cool and can drop to the 40’s in the higher elevations. The program includes some high elevation spots – the rim of the crater is at 7,500 feet. The rainy season is in April/May (long rains) and November (short rains). However, it does not rain every day, or all day, and rainstorms are quickly followed by brilliant sunshine which makes for incredible photographic opportunities. Wildlife viewing is good year-round, however the migration of zebra and wildebeest follows the following cycle:

  • January-March – southern sector of the Serengeti and the animals are massing and giving birth to their young
  • April-June – central Serengeti and the animals begin to move
  • July – western corridor of the Serengeti and on the move towards Kenya
  • August-October – northern Serengeti and mostly into neighboring Maasai Mara in Kenya
  • November-December – returning back to the Serengeti and making their way to the southern sector.

Zanzibar follows a similar pattern with rains (longer rains in April & May with short rains in November) but it does not rain every day and all day, rather short showers. Being so near the equator, Zanzibar is tropical year round, but in summer (December/January) it’s usually windy, so there are pleasant sea breezes.

Days 1/2 WASHINGTON, DC/ADDIS ABABA/ARUSHA

Board your overnight flight to Arusha, via Addis Ababa. Upon arrival the next day, your professional naturalist will escort you to your lodge on the shores of Lake Duluti. LAKE DULUTI SERENA HOTEL. (Meals Aloft)

Days 3/4 LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

Drive to Mto Wa Mbu, a modern Tanzanian village for lunch and exploration of local life. Continue on to Lake Manyara National Park, an ornithological paradise inhabited by over 350 bird species including flamingo which flock here in the thousands. Stretch your legs near the hippo pool. Examine the amazing ‘upside-down’ baobab tree, as well as giant fig and mahogany trees which are home to blue vervet monkey, baboon, bushbuck and elephant. Your luxurious lodge rests on the edge of the Rift Valley escarpment and overlooks Lake Manyara. LAKE MANYARA SERENA SAFARI LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 5/6 NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA

Watch as Maasai tend their cattle on your drive to the Ngorongoro Crater and to your lodge, poised on the crater’s rim with your first spectacular views of the world’s largest unbroken caldera. Next morning, descend through misty clouds 2,000 feet to the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater. See swaggering prides of black-mane lion, large herds of wildebeest, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and zebra, roaming the grasslands with hyena close behind. The best chance to observe the fiercely protected endangered black rhino is here. Hildebrandt’s Francolin lurk in the forest while Verreaux’s Eagle soar high above a flamingo filled soda Lake. Massive tusked bull elephant charge in the plains, while the matriarchs meander through the forest under the watchful eyes of a leopard. NGORONGORO SERENA SAFARI LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 7/8 OLDUVAI GORGE/SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Discover Olduvai Gorge, the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ where Louis and Mary Leaky uncovered the early origins of humankind. Tour the museum to learn about their archaeological methods and remarkable finds. Resume your drive, stopping at a Maasai village before crossing into the Serengeti – the crown jewel of Tanzania’s protected areas and host to the annual centuries-old migration of over one million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra. Watch as cheetah, leopard and hyena keep a keen eye on the herds. Explore the open plains for giraffe, topi, buffalo, and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. Elephant herds find shade in palm thickets and sausage trees of the Seronera Valley. Look for lion stalking its prey along rivers and hippo pools inhabited with scores of water birds. Prehistoric rock outcroppings host hyrax and dwarf mongoose. Soar through the skies on a balloon safari for exhilarating views (at additional cost). Also a World Biosphere Reserve, visit the Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre to learn more about the Park’s diverse ecosystems. The architecture of your stunning lodge is inspired by a traditional African village. SERENGETI SERENA SAFARI LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 9/10 SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK/WESTERN CORRIDOR

Continue your exploration of the Serengeti in the Grumeti River area of the Western Corridor, known for huge crocodile and hippo pools. This is the Africa of Hemingway’s books and travels. Look for lion sunbathing atop prehistoric rock outcroppings framed by the bluest of skies, or a solitary leopard watching your every move from a tree branch. Feel like one of the first explorers as you settle into your camp – an elegant Victorian-era tented outpost set upon a hill with spectacular views. Here, slowly savor every minute of Africa’s splendor from vibrant sunrises to seemingly endless starlit night skies. KIRAWIRA CAMP. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 11/12 ARUSHA/ADDIS ABABA/WASHINGTON, DC.

Enjoy a last game run in the Serengeti in search for the perfect picture. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight to Arusha where you enjoy some last-minute shopping at Cultural Heritage Centre before you transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for your return flights home. Arrive next day in the US with memories to last a lifetime. (B,L; Meals Aloft)

OPTIONAL POST EXTENSION TO ZANZIBAR

Spend four days on the exotic island of Zanzibar beginning in Stone Town’s winding alleys and bustling bazaars. Stay at the ZANZIBAR SERENA INN on the Indian Ocean – a haven of tranquility and old-world opulence. Dazzle your senses at a spice plantation and watch rare, red colobus monkeys frolic overhead in Jozani Forest. Then, travel to MATEMWE BUNGALOWS for a refreshing stay in spacious villas set on a small cliff overlooking the ocean, and next to a beach with powder fine sand. Enjoy some of the best snorkeling and diving on the continent in the turquoise waters.

YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:

  • Roundtrip air transportation between Washington, DC and Arusha. The extension returns from Zanzibar.
  • Superior accommodations as indicated, or similar.
  • All meals on safari; breakfast and dinner daily plus lunch during tours on extension (B =Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • All wildlife viewing by private 4x4 vehicles driven by a naturalist driver/guide. A window seat is guaranteed.
  • Visit to a Maasai village and Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre.
  • Traditional lunch at Mto Wa Mbu Village.
  • Professional naturalist will accompany the group with a minimum of 10 travelers.
  • Water in vehicles and during meals.
  • All applicable hotel taxes and gratuities for baggage handling.
  • All park entry fees.
  • Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet
Prices starting at $5,695. For further booking, date, and pricing info please contact info@classicescapes.

Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.