In terms of weather and game-viewing East Africa is the perfect place to be over the Christmas season. This trip to Tanzania was a great choice for a family of four.
Day 1 ~ Arusha ~ Legendary Lodge
Arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport, Tanzania this evening. Your private driver will be there to meet you in the airport. A forty-five minute transfer will take you to your hotel, the Legendary Lodge.
The city of Arusha, with a population of around 150,000 people, sits in a pleasant, lush valley, divided by the Naura River near the base of 15,000-ft Mt. Meru. This bustling city, the safari capital of Tanzania, is the economic center of an area with a rich agricultural economy, thanks to the rich volcanic soil.
Your first night in Africa is spent at the Legendary Coffee lodge. This cozy, boutique lodge is built within a coffee plantation just outside Arusha. The lodge’s 10 luxurious suites in 7 cottages are built amongst coffee trees and reflect the colonial style of the original plantation homes, which serve as the reception and dining area. Each cottage is lavishly furnished, with a split area sitting area and a private deck. Play croquet on the lodge lawns, take a swim in the plunge pool, a match on the tennis courts before setting off on your safari adventure.
Overnights at LEGENDARY COFFEE LODGE. Includes: Breakfast. Family Cottage
Days 2/ 3/ 4 ~ Serengeti National Park ~ Serengeti Safari Camp
Today you’ll have a short flight from the nearby Arusha Airport to the Ndutu area of the Serengeti, where the migration herds have arrived. Upon landing you’ll be met by your guide and will proceed via game drive to Serengeti Safari Camp. You’ll have three nights in this small authentic mobile camp. Note that this camp uses hot bucket showers and lanterns and is truly a safari experience of the finest variety.
This is exactly where you want to be to see the great wildebeest migration. Serengeti National Park (3,646,500 acres) is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania’s protected areas with over three million large mammals roaming its plains. It lies between Ngorongoro and Lake Victoria and adjoins Kenya's Maasai Mara. The Serengeti has come to symbolize paradise to all, including the local Maasai, who have grazed their cattle on the vast grassy plains for generations. To the Maasai, it is Siringitu – “the place where the stretches on forever."
Today, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Maasai Mara Reserve across the border in Kenya, protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on earth, and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. More than a million wildebeest, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebras and other herbivores, descend upon the short-grass plains of the southeastern Serengeti at the start of the rainy season around December. After calving in January and February, they scatter over the southern and central plains. By May the rain ends, the grass has been reduced to stubble, and the animals begin their long march to dry-season grazing grounds near the permanent waters of the Serengeti's northern woodlands and Kenya's Maasai Mara. Reaching these destinations by July or so, they remain until October, when they head back to the southeastern Serengeti. This struggle for survival continues unaided and unaltered through the millennia!
Serengeti Safari Camp was the very first camp of it’s kind. This camp was designed with one purpose in mind, to be in the best possible location to view the wildebeest migration as it covers hundreds of miles of the Serengeti. As the migration moves south from the boarder with Kenya, the camp follows, mirroring the progression of the herds. Understanding the Serengeti seasons and game movement is what this camp and it’s guiding team are all about. You will find a simple, yet luxurious under canvas experience at Serengeti Safari Camp. The camp has just six large walk in Meru style tents with a dressing area and en-suite bathroom at the rear. You’ll find new eco-flush toilets, safari style hot bucket showers, as well as jugs of hot or cool water delivered whenever you need them. A main dining tent as well as a library/ bar tent round out the camp – this is the ultimate in luxury camping.
Here the schedule is completely yours and you can take game viewing at your own pace. Each client group has a private vehicle and a Nomad’s guide for the duration of your stay. Picnic breakfasts and lunches are possible, or you can come back to camp anytime you are ready.
Overnights at SERENGETI SAFARI CAMP. Includes: All meals, house wines, soft drinks and beer with meals and on drives, laundry. Accommodation is in two neighboring Meru style luxury tent with en suite bathroom with on call hot water bucket showers and eco-flush toilets.
Today you’ll head north to a quieter region of the Serengeti. Upon arrival at Kogatende airstrip your guide will meet you and take you to the brand new Lamai Serengeti Camp, in the remote Northern Serengeti, where you will spend four nights.
Lamai Serengeti sits tucked among the rocks of Kogakuria Kopje with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, just a few miles from where the wildebeest cross the Mara River. For roughly a quarter of the year, between late July and October, this is where you'll find the migration. Right here, on the camps doorstep. Your visit isn’t timed to witness the wildebeest crossings, but visits to the river will reveal the local bird and crocodile populations. The resident game viewing in this area is fantastic and more well rounded than when the migration is here.
The 12 luxurious, rooms are all a clever blend of canvas, plaster and natural poles, built to take advantage of the views and the natural scenery. Activities range from game drives to explore the area and reach the nearby Mara River crossings. The landscape here lends itself to being on your feet and walking through small valleys, river lines and rocky kopjes make for frequent changes of scenery and great cover for approaching wild animals unseen. With the elevated and strategic location of the camp, some amazing game viewing can be done right from your own verandah!
Overnights LAMAI SERENGETI CAMP. Includes: all meals, house wines, soft drinks and beer with meals and on drives, scheduled game viewing activities
Days 9/ 10 ~ Ngorongoro Crater ~ Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Today your family flies from Kogatende to the Manyara Airstrip. From here you’ll be picked up by your private safari guide for your journey to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge you base as you explore this natural wonder.
Crater Lodge lodge embodies the ultimate in safari luxury with its eclectic, opulent design and superior levels of client service. What we love the most about this lodge is the location on the rim of the crater, with amazing views in every direction, and a unique ecosystem at it’s doorstep.
This extinct volcano is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The cone is believed to have collapsed nearly two million years ago, and while the cone was standing, it could have been as tall, if not taller, than Mt. Kilimanjaro. The crater (1,800 feet deep and 102 square miles) is a microcosm of East African scenery with abundant wildlife – more than 25,000 larger animals, mostly zebra and wildebeest. This is also the best place in Tanzania to see magnificent black-maned lion and black rhino. A soda lake changes size depending on the rains that are the lifeline of this amazing land. Colorful flamingoes and more than 100 species of birds found here and not in the Serengeti frequent the area. Patience may also reward you with glimpses of leopard, cheetah, hyena, jackal, elephant, warthog, buffalo, impala, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and lots of other antelopes. As you descend into the crater, you may see the local Maasai as they take their cattle down the steep walls of the crater.
Perched on the edge of the Crater rim, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge’s sumptuous safari suites present breathtaking views. Inspired in design by the Maasai mud and stick manyatta (homestead), this is without doubt one of the most architecturally spectacular safari lodges in Africa. Immerse yourself in the noble elegance of the traveling colonials in this magnificent lodge perched on the edge of the ancient crater rim.
The lodge consists of three small villages – north and south camp have 12 suites each while intimate Tree Camp has six suites. All cottages have an en-suite bathroom and chandelier-lit bathtub and shower. The sumptuous colonial-style interiors combine silver, gold and ruby colors under banana-leaf ceilings and grass roofs. Antiques, plump cushions, voluptuous raw silk curtains and tall, leather-backed chairs complete the picture.
This opulent design blends with African art elements in unexpected harmony. Each camp has a central living area and viewing decks overlooking the awesome crater. Askaris (Maasai warrior guards) accompany you to/from your room at night. Once there, your personal butler discreetly tends to your wishes.
You will have your own private vehicle and driver (from our partners at Nomads Tanzania) while staying at Crater Lodge, so the pace of the day is yours to control. We suggest asking for a picnic lunch to bring to the crater and staying down well into the afternoon. Enjoy your last few days on safari in the splendor that is Crater Lodge.
Overnight at NGORONGORO CRATER LODGE. Includes: All meals, house wines, soft drinks and beer with meals and on drives, water, all game viewing activities, laundry
Day 11 ~ Depart
Your last day of adventure in Africa! Today you will arrive back in Arusha by late afternoon for your departing flight home.
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