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Arusha, Tanzania

8 Days Northern Circuit Vacation

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Safari Itinenary


Though famed for its wildlife, Tanzanian cultures are equally remarkable – and this tour combines it all. Beginning in the quiet corners of Tarangire National Park, guests are ushered into the soothing rhythm of the African bush. Depth is added to the wilderness experience while walking alongside the Hadzabe people, among the only remaining hunter-gatherer societies. Having lived for centuries in the region, time with these cultures reveals a rare human connection with nature. The tour culminates in the famed Serengeti National Park and in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Great Wildebeest Migration (month dependent) and countless wildlife encounters are nothing short of spectacles performed against stunning backdrops.

Search the plains of the Serengeti and the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater for the famed cast of the Big Five
Explore the raw wilderness of Tarangire National Park, observing a substantial elephant population against the backdrop of baobabs
Set out on foot in Tarangire and the Serengeti, learning animal behavior and tracking from local guides
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade of an acacia tree, while surrounded by the Great Wildebeest Migration
Spend time with one of the world’s remaining hunter-gatherer tribes – the Hadzabe – on the remote shores of Lake Eyasi
Hike across the plateau of the Ngorongoro Crater, taking in sweeping views of the Serengeti, the crater floor, and Lake Eyasi

Trip at a Glance

(Day 1): Arusha to Tarangire – Drive to Tarangire National Park, arriving in time for an afternoon safari
(Day 2): Tarangire to Lake Eyasi – Drive through the Kidero Mountains, arriving on the shores of Lake Eyasi
(Day 3): Lake Eyasi – Spend a day learning from the hunter-gatherer Hadzabe people
(Day 4): Lake Eyasi to the Serengeti – Drive via Olduvai Gorge towards the Serengeti National Park
(Day 5): Serengeti – Safaris across the Serengeti in search of the Great Wildebeest Migration
(Day 6): Serengeti – Further explorations of the Serengeti in search of the Big Five
(Day 7): Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater – Drive towards the prehistoric Ngorongoro Conservation Area
(Day 8): Ngorongoro to Arusha – Return to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your outbound flight

Detailed Description

Specked with ancient baobab trees at Tarangire National Park, days will be spent amidst giraffe, wildebeest and impala while searching for the elusive wild dog and oryx. Bush picnics and fireside chats will establish a familiar and soothing rhythm in this raw and remote wilderness.

The midpoint in this tour exposes guests to one of Africa’s oldest and most traditional tribes. Two days will be spent near the shores of Lake Eyasi, observing the habits and traditions of the Hadzabe people. As one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer societies, you will be among the privileged few able to spend time at an active homestead and on foot in the bush. Driving onwards to the Serengeti, detour through the Olduvai Gorge, one of the most important paleoanthropoligical sites worldwide. This is the site where some of the oldest hominid fossils were discovered by George and Mary Leaky.

The tour concludes in the famed and spectacular Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Explore these two complimentary landscapes in search of the Great Wildebeest Migration and the members of Africa’s Big Five. Game drives provide countless opportunities to observe lions lazing under an acacia tree, and elephants walking the horizon. Take time to explore both regions on foot, learning of the insects, birds and plant life that are both fundamental and endemic to the region. You will inevitably leave Tanzania with a greater appreciation and understanding of this country’s fantastic wildlife and people. Consider adding on to your Watoto wa Bingwa. Take a look at the testimonials for ideas and to read about other adventures experienced by travelers.

Ideal Travel Months

This safari tour is designed to be amazing year round, but we would recommend visiting between July and October. During this period, wildlife and birds flock to the shores of the Tarangire River, which is a permanent source of water in the region. If interested in seeing the wildebeest migration, it would be wise to plan your trip towards the beginning or end of this period.

This tour is also excellent between January and March, when many of the resident ungulates give birth to their calves in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. Wildlife may be somewhat less prolific in Tarangire during this period, given that it is a migratory park, but it will still be stunning. Landscapes also happen to be at their most lush during this time.


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Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Lake Eyasi, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Olduvai Gorge

This morning you will likely be awoken and after breakfast, you will depart in your private vehicle for Tarangire National Park. As you drive away from the city, the landscape will transform into farmland before you enter this relatively undiscovered national park. Enormous baobab trees will begin to cover the landscape as you near the park gates, ushering you into this unique terrain.

The beauty of Tarangire is that it is seldom visited by the masses of Tanzanian tourists, giving you plenty of opportunities for privacy and exclusivity in the wilderness. The park feels raw and untouched, which will nicely compliment the upcoming experiences in the Serengeti. Over the course of the morning, you may have the opportunity to observe the rare and endangered wild dog or an oryx. Giraffe, wildebeest, eland and impala are near guaranteed sightings over the course of the morning, as they graze in the acacia trees and plains.

As the sun climbs, you will drive back to the lodge or Camp of your choice for brunch and relax in the shade during the afternoon. For some, that may mean curling up with a book from the library on the shaded terrace, while others may prefer to suntan beside the pool. Massages and yoga classes are available if looking for a bit of indulgence and relaxation

Today you will leave Tarangire, driving west towards Lake Eyasi. Located just south of the Ngorongoro Crater, the landscape here will become significantly more mountainous. The lake lies between the Eyasi Escarpment and the Kidero Mountains, with stunning meadows and forests along the shoreline. While wildlife viewing in this area will be good, the real draw to the region is the opportunity to spend time with the Hadzabe people, who have lived here for nearly 10,000 years. The Hadzabe are one of the few known tribes that continue to sustain themselves off hunting and gathering. Here, you will have the chance to learn from them, and perhaps even try out a few of their hunting techniques.

In the afternoon after driving to you Lodge or Camp of your choice, you may wish to stretch your legs with a guided walk along the shores of the lake, which are often dotted with flamingos, storks, pelicans and hippos. Dinner will be served at the main area, and you will have the option of having international fare or perhaps sampling some Tanzanian specialties.

This morning you will wake for a delicious breakfast, after which you will be introduced to your local guide, who will be a member of one of the area’s tribes. You will spend the day with him as you explore the region, in search of these hunter-gatherers. As you track signs of human activity in this remote landscape, you will hopefully have the opportunity to interact with these unique individuals. Due to their small numbers and nomadic lifestyle, it is often difficult to predict their precise location. However, your guide will be able to follow signs left by wildlife and Hadzabe, drawing you closer to these 400 survivors. Upon reaching them, and earning permission to interact with them, you will learn about the culture, traditions and history of the tribe. You will also be able to visit the tribe’s current base, in order to observe an active homestead. It is possible to spend time learning how to hunt with a bow and arrow, or visiting the caves where they sleep while hunting. Throughout this walk, it is also likely that you will see smaller game including dik diks and lesser kudu.

In the late afternoon, return to the camp for tea and coffee and some time to relax and reflect in your private tent. Enjoy a magical dinner tonight lit by hurricane lamps and the moon. As you gather round the fire tonight, you will be able to imagine the Hadzabe sitting around their own fire grilling the day’s hunt.

This morning, after breakfast, you will leave the secluded Lake Eyasi region and head towards the famed Serengeti. You will drive through the Olduvai Gorge, making a quick detour to the site where Mary and Louis Leaky discovered the remains of the Zinjanthropus bosei and the Australopithecus. These distant ancestors of man date back 1.8 and 1 million years old respectively, and are among the oldest remains ever found. You can also see where fossilized footprints were found that date back approximately 3.6 million years. This is among the world’s most important paleoanthropological sites, and reveals a fascinating and hands-on opportunity to observe human evolution.

From the gorge, you will carry on to the plains of the Serengeti. This predator-rich region is an impressive 14,900 square kilometers, and you will drive through the heart of the ecosystem as you head towards the western edge and the Camp of your choice. Arriving in the late afternoon, you will be welcomed with a cool drink and face towel before being ushered to your luxury tent. You will likely want to spend the rest of the afternoon familiarizing yourself with the camp, and relaxing with a chilled drink on your private porch. A warm outdoor safari bucket shower might be the perfect way to refresh yourself after today’s drive. This shower-with-a-view quickly becomes a favorite activity among guests at the Camp.

Enjoy a sundowner as the sunset transforms the sky and landscape around you. As the stars emerge, you will head to the main dining area for a candlelit four-course dinner before having a final glass of wine or whiskey around the campfire. Fall asleep tonight to the sounds of hyenas and buffalo as they wander around the outskirts of your camp, reminding you that you truly are in the African bush. Guards patrol the unfenced perimeter of the property, ensuring that you are completely safe while you sleep.

This morning you may want to rise early in order to have breakfast in the bush. Driving into the park with your expert guide, you will trail alongside the Grumeti River in search of lions, wildebeest-eating crocodiles and, ultimately, the perfect breakfast location. Spreading out a checkered blanket under the shade of an acacia tree, you will feast on fresh fruits and pastries as the sun rises around you. Getting back in the truck after tea and coffee, you will then work with your guide to explore the Serengeti. He may take you through the Gol Kopjes, a popular place with cheetahs. Otherwise, you may head towards the Seronera River, where leopards are often spotted.

No matter where you drive, herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle will undoubtedly surround you. These ungulates will be in the process of completing their annual migration through the Serengeti towards Kenya’s Masai Mara. Feasting on fresh grasses as they go, this event is heralded as one of the world’s most impressive and dramatic wildlife spectacles. Stop for lunch in the shade as wildebeest revolve around you, before carrying on with the adventure. In the late afternoon, you may want to spend some time searching for the threatened White and endangered Black rhinoceros that live in the area. Extinct from many Tanzanian parks, including Tarangire, your time in the Serengeti will be opportune for a rare interaction with these beauties. As the afternoon draws to a close, you will weave your way back towards the western corridor, arriving at the Camp of your choice in time for a sundowner overlooking the river.

This morning, you will have a few different ways to explore. Continuing with a day of game drives is always an option, though floating above the Serengeti in a hot air balloon is certainly worth considering. Camp will gladly organize an early morning tour, complete with a champagne breakfast upon landing. As you drift high over the savanna, the true expanse of this ecosystem will become abundantly apparent. The trip emphasizes the total magic of the region, as you look down on the acacia trees and wildebeest that stipple the landscape below.

In the afternoon, it may be of interest to go on a one to two hour walking safari off the Camp property on the edge of the park. Walking safaris are among the most intimate ways of exploring the area. Your senses heighten as you follow the tracks of a lion and the markings of an elephant. Stopping to learn of the insects, birds and plants that sustain this park gives added insight into the eco-system, drawing attention away from merely ‘spotting’ the Big Five. Guides at the Camp are very knowledgeable and will be able to share their perspectives and experiences as you walk together through herds of wildebeest, zebra and, if lucky, an elephant.

Return to the warm hospitality of the camp for a final evening of sundowners, dinner and fireside drinks and stories. Spend a few final moments enjoying the wilderness and the rhythm of African time on your final night in the Serengeti. A guard will escort you back to your tent when ready for sleep, to avoid any unexpected wildlife encounters on the camp.

This morning, after days full of wildlife and adventure, you will leave the savanna and drive back towards the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 25,000 animals, and has a dramatically different landscape than that of the Serengeti. Lush jungles line the crater slopes, contrasting the plains of the floor and the expansive surrounding plateaus. Today you will drive through the region en route to Ngorongoro Crater.

En route to Ngorongoro Crater, you will make a stop in a local Masai village where you will have the chance to observe another fascinating east African culture. Famed for their intricate beadwork and impressive jumping abilities, a visit through a Masai boma (homestead) will give further insight into the tribes that survive in this remarkable landscape. A highlight of the Masai tour is always the moment when young men perform the famed adumu, the Masai jump. Competitively practiced among young men, the ability to soar to remarkable heights informs social positioning within the tribe. It is truly impressive.

A short downhill drive will take you into the Crater, which is 600m deep, making it rich in permanent grazing and browsing materials for resident animals. We will break for lunch at the picturesque Lerai Picnic Site, where Hippos wash and wallow. 14.5km wide, the Crater is home to all the “Big Five”, which can usually be seen on one single day visit. Hippos, Cheetah, Antelopes and the Spotted Hyena are other species commonly seen, as well as Flamingos on the crater lakes.

The evening will be spent unwinding at the lodge or Camp of your choice, perhaps in anticipation of a wildlife sighting. Enjoy a buffet dinner with the lodge guests or Camp of your choice

This morning you will wake up to enjoy a final breakfast, before reluctantly driving out of Ngorongoro and back towards Arusha. For those departing home from Kilimanjaro International Airport, be sure to sneak in one final glimpse of Mount Meru’s snow-capped peak as you fly away from Africa. Others however, may wish to squeeze in a few final days of adventure and relaxation with a customized conclusion to the trip. Many of our clients enjoy lounging on the shores of the Indian Ocean while exploring the magic and mystique off Zanzibar. A representative will happily discuss options further

  • All accommodations
  • All meals
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
  • Professional English-speaking naturalist driver/guide
  • Transportation in a custom safari 4×4 with viewing roof and guaranteed window seating
  • Safari vehicles have an inverter for charging batteries, a communications radio, electric cooler, and filtered water
  • National Park gate fees, Park commission, and Government taxes (based on current rates)
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Bottled water and drinks
  • Optional tours (Olduvai Gorge and Maasai Village visit)
  • The flight out of the Serengeti
  • Discount for kids under 15 years old

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