Northern Tanzania and the Wildebeest Migration
Focusing on the game parks of Northern Tanzania, this compact itinerary encompasses some of Africa’s most dramatic landscapes and wildlife experiences, including the volcanic amphitheatre of the Ngorongoro Crater, the serene Lake Manyara and the baobabs and elephants of Tarangire. A particular highlight is the vast Serengeti National Park; home to diverse resident game throughout the year. However, the park comes especially alive from November to July when wildebeest and other ungulates arrive in huge numbers to breed. Including all meals and a good number of game drives utilizing shared 4×4 vehicles with a maximum of seven passengers to get close to the animals, this tour provides you with some of Africa’s best wildlife sightings at a very down to earth price.
Arrive Kilimanjaro (Arusha). Continue the drive to Lake Manyara.
Staying at Lake Manyara Serena. Includes All Meals.
Enjoy a morning game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. The lake itself is home to lesser flamingos and other water birds. Hippo can be found in the Simba River and large herds of elephant and buffalo on the open plains. Enjoy lunch at the hotel and take a game drive en route to Serengeti National Park.
Staying at Serena Serengeti Lodge Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Enjoy morning and afternoon games drives in the world famous Serengeti National Park. The annual migration of over two million animals through the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. Dominated by wildebeest but also containing large numbers of zebra, gazelle and, of course, many expectant carnivores, the migration is largely controlled by the rains and its timing varies accordingly. The plains also support an exceptional diversity of large game throughout the year, including elephant, hippo, black rhino, giraffe, buffalo, eland, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles, Burchell’s zebra, lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and many more.
Staying at Serena Serengeti Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Take a game drive transfer to the famous Olduavi Gorge, an archaeological site located in the eastern Serengeti Plains and made famous by the discoveries of Mary and Louis Leakey. The gorge is a very steep-sided ravine roughly 30 miles long and 295 feet deep. Exposed deposits show rich fossil fauna, many hominid remains and items belonging to the one of the oldest stone tool technologies, called Olduwan. In the afternoon, continue the drive to Ngorongoro Crater.
Staying at Serena Ngorongoro Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Morning safari in the wildlife filled Ngorongoro Crater. Its open grasslands are home to wildebeest, zebra, lion, cheetah and black rhino. Its acacia woodland gives cover for leopards and the swamps provide food for elephants and buffalos. Freshwater pools harbour hippos and a small soda lake is well populated with flamingos. In the afternoon visit a traditional Maasai village.
Staying at Serena Ngorongoro Lodge. Includes All Meals.
In the morning take a leisurely game drive en route to the little visited Tarangire National Park. Check in and lunch at the hotel, followed by a game drive in the national park. Tarangire is outstanding for elephants and large herds sometimes numbering 50 or 60 animals are not uncommon. The park is also home to buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, greater kudu, eland and the rare fringe-eared oryx. There is a small population of unusual tree-climbing lions and African wild dog here and leopards are widespread throughout the park. The normally rare African rock python is often found resting in acacia trees close to wetlands near Silale.
Staying at Tarangire Sopa Lodge. Includes All Meals.
Transfer to Kilimanjaro (Arusha). Take your international flight home.
Includes In-flight Meals.
Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
Situated on the Mto Wa Mbu escarpment overlooking the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara below, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge is perfect for those seeking comfort combined with easy access to a multitude of activities.
Accommodation is in sixty seven delightful, circular thatched cabins influenced by the Maasai boma style of construction, each complete with private bathroom and verandah and some with views of the lake below. Although fairly simple, the rooms are clean and very comfortable. There is one suite, and ten pairs of rooms (20 in total) are interconnecting and specially designed for families.
There is a good restaurant, bar and communal TV room and lounge to relax in. One of the attractions of this lodge is its stunning central swimming pool overlooking the lake.
Lake Manyara comprises around 230sq km of the total park size of 330 sq km and is often home to flamingos, pelicans and a wealth of other waterbirds. Hippo can easily be found in the Simba River and there are large numbers of elephant and a resident herd of buffalo on the open plains at Mahali Pa Nyati, meaning, ‘the place of the buffalo’ in Swahili. For the fortunate the famous tree- climbing lions could also be seen. In addition to the mammals approximately 400 species of bird have been recorded in the park.
Restaurant, bar, lounge, TV room, swimming pool, private bathroom, telephone, mosquito spray, pool table, massage service, gift shop,
Hippo, elephant, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, olive baboon, blue and vervet monkeys and specially adapted tree-climbing lions are frequently sightings. Over 400 bird species include large numbers of lesser flamingos, great white pelican, yellow-billed stork, southern ground hornbill and many raptors.
Optional activities include mountain biking, 4x4 game drives, night spotlighting drives and canoe and boat trips across the great lake, each offering a different aspect of the region’s wildlife. Cultural options include guided tours of the local villages and dance performances are given by the local Iraqw and Sukuma people.
Serengeti Serena Lodge
From its breathtaking position on a ridge overlooking sweeping savannah near the central Seronera area of the park, Serengeti Serena Lodge offers superb, year-round big game viewing, even directly in front of the lodge. Taking inspiration from local village architecture, the sixty-six traditional African rondavel chalets are spacious with luxury bedrooms and views of the vast Serengeti plains. All are furnished with African rugs and various decorations and feature en suite bathroom, dressing room, luggage rack and built-in cupboard.
For such a large game lodge, the service is very good. Facilities include a large infinity pool, bar and restaurant. The focal point of the restaurant is the buffet where chefs freshly prepare delicious, hearty meals in front of you. All the meals are buffet style and feature a mixture of both local specialties and international dishes, all of high quality.
Restaurant, bar, swimming pool and private bathroom.
The plains here support an exceptional diversity of large game throughout the year with elephant, hippo, black rhino, giraffe, buffalo, eland, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles, Burchell’s zebra, lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and many more. During the annual wildebeest migration, the nearby Grumeti River offers one of the more spectacular crossing points where the massing animals run the gauntlet of waiting crocodiles and lions.
Game drives included.
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Perched on the rim and affording spectacular views of the world famous Ngorongoro crater floor below, the ivy-clad Ngorongoro Serena Lodge offers good rooms, friendly service, well run facilities and delicious food.
Ngorongoro Serena Lodge is actually built into the rim of the crater itself, with the foliage-covered native stone of the lodge blending into the surrounding hillside. The views of the crater will certainly take your breath away: the 75 rooms, bar and restaurant all overlook the picturesque valley below. The rooms have attractive wooden floors and are decorated with ancient cave art. Each features modern en suite bathrooms, patios and heating as the temperatures can significantly drop here at night.
The main building contains a large restaurant, bar, gift shop, TV area and an attractive outside decking area, perfect for relaxing while admiring the view. There are buffets for breakfast and lunch but an a la carte menu is available for dinner.
Beside the exciting safaris within the crater, there are numerous walks and activities one can do from the lodge including visits to local tribal villages.
Within Ngorongoro crater is a diverse ecosystem representing nearly every habitat found in East Africa. Open grasslands are inhabited by wildebeest, zebra, lion, cheetah and black rhino; acacia woodland provides cover for leopards; swamps supply the food for elephants and buffalos; freshwater pools harbour hippos; and a small soda lake is a feeding ground for flocks of flamingos. In addition there are small outcrops of rocks which give shade for lions and even an highly arid area of shifting sand dunes.
Restaurant, bar, lounge, TV room, gift shop, heating and private bathrooms.
Large game is abundant and includes elephant, black rhino, buffalo, zebra, gazelle, impala, eland, waterbuck, lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena. Smaller species often seen in the crater include serval, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, dwarf and slender mongooses and olive baboons. The crater is regarded as one of the best places in all Africa to see the highly endangered black rhinoceros.
Game drives within the crater and guided walks along the rim. Cultural activities are also available including visits to local tribal villages.
Tarangire Sopa Lodge
Located on the eastern side of the Tarangire River and nestled within wildlife rich woodland, Tarangire Sopa Lodge offers good midrange accommodation for the park.
Tarangire Sopa Lodge has seventy five suites offering scenic views and is well placed in the heart of a good wildlife viewing area. Each suite has a small lounge area, minibar, en suite bathroom, two queen size beds and a balcony from which to view passing wildlife. There are four interconnecting rooms for families and an additional four for those with disabilities.
Facilities at the lodge include an excellent restaurant offering a combination of European, African and Asian dishes. There is ample seating in the large lounge area which includes a pool table and board games plus a good bar. The most striking feature of the lodge is its large central swimming pool with surrounding sun loungers, perfect for cooling off after an exciting game drive. Free Wi-Fi is available in the public areas and some evenings there are Maasai dance performances. There are no fences around the lodge allowing free movement of wildlife through the camp, so armed guards are on hand to safely accompany guests outside. The lodge can accommodate large numbers of guests so has less intimacy than some of the other options in Tarangire.
Less visited Tarangire National Park is a marvellous and somewhat underrated National Park. The 2,600sq km park has a large density of game and is known for its numerous wide-boughed baobab trees which give it a unique landscape. The park is outstanding for elephants and large herds numbering 100 or so animals are not uncommon.
Restaurant, bar, lounge, swimming pool, private bathroom, minibar, mosquito nets, free Wi-Fi in public areas, hot water showers (morning and evening only).
The park is known for its large numbers of elephant, particularly in the dry season. Buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, greater kudu and eland can also be easily seen here. There is a small population of tree-climbing lion and African wild dog. Leopards are widespread throughout the park. The very rare fringe-eared oryx can be seen on occasion. The normally rarely seen African rock python is often found resting in acacia trees close to wetlands near Silale and other reptiles include puff adders, Speke’s hinged and pancake tortoises. Birdlife is also impressive at 550 species including secretary bird, martial and crested eagles and the endemic yellow-collared lovebird. You can also see Africa’s heaviest flying bird, the Kori bustard, and the world’s largest bird, the stocking-thighed ostrich.
Game drives and nature walks.
Are International Flights Included?
No. Please contact us for a quote if required.
Domestic flights within Tanzania are included.
June to February
Are you ATOL Registered?
Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.
This itinerary spends a lot of time on dirt roads and the dust can be a big nuisance, particularly during the dry season months. Keep cameras and optics in well-sealed bags which can be opened quickly for wildlife sightings. Water proof bags used for sailing and canoeing are perfect for this.
If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965
Big thanks to Jonathan Morris for preparing an excellent trip – one of our favourite holidays to date. The guide at Sand River couldn’t do enough to ensure we saw and did everything of interest. The guides were very happy to do walking safaris, and we fit in a walk every day, as well as some boating and fishing trips.