Surrender to a beautiful wildlife haven, the Ngorongoro Crater; view game by hot air balloon over the Serengeti's immense, open plains; and breathe deeply amid Tanzania's star-studded night skies. During this Discovery journey through the country's diverse, fascinating landscape, meet the Maasai in their village and visit Olduvai Gorge, where ancient fossils provided clues to man's origins.
Days 1-2: USA or Canada/Arusha, Tanzania
Arusha Coffee Lodge Depart by overnight flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha. Transfer to your hotel, which is situated on a picturesque working coffee plantation.
Day 3: Arusha/Tarangire National Park
Tarangire Sopa Lodge This morning, travel to Tarangire National Park and on to your lodge. After settling in, observe local wildlife Â— perhaps hartebeest, buffalo or impala Â— on a short afternoon game drive. Tarangire has an exceptional elephant population and the highest recorded number of breeding bird species of any habitat in the world Â— watch for them at the edge of green-tinged swamps. It is also possible to glimpse the vibrantly-colored FischerÂ’s lovebird and ashy starling. This evening, partake in a welcome dinner, and exchange stories with fellow travelers.
Day 4: Tarangire National Park
Tarangire Sopa Lodge Traverse the eight varied landscapes of Tarangire, from its baobab forest to its swamps and acacia-dotted plains filled with wondrous species, including eland, fringe-eared oryx, giraffe, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, the elusive wild dog and greater kudu. The Tarangire River runs through the center of the park, providing a year-round supply of water to the thirsty animals.
Day 5: Tarangire/Lake Manyara National Park/Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge Travel overland to small, but wildlife-rich, Lake Manyara National Park Â— home to grasslands, forests, marshlands, scrub and parklands punctuated with acacia trees. Have your camera ready while looking for lion and large elephant herds. Stop for a farm-fresh lunch at GibbÂ’s Farm, a sprawling property with a local-artist-in-residence program. Continue to the 2,000-foot-deep Ngorongoro Crater, which is among the natural wonders of the world. The caldera, created by the collapsed cone of a volcano, contains a hidden world of wildlife. Settle in to your lodge, with spectacular views across this natural amphitheater.
Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge Descend to the short grass prairies of Ngorongoro Crater, a haven for lion, elephant, hyena, wildebeest and gazelle as well as flamingo and a vast array of other bird species. Even the rare and elusive black rhinoceros, one of AfricaÂ’s most endangered species, is a resident here. After a picnic lunch, visit a Maasai village firsthand, and gain cultural insight by meeting with an elder.
Day 7: Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti National Park
Serengeti Sopa Lodge Head west, stopping at Olduvai Gorge Â— site of many fossil discoveries, including a skull of human ancestor Zinjanthropus boisei Â— en route to your final destination. Explore the gorge during a privately-guided visit, followed by an exclusive lecture about the archaeological finds. Continue driving to arid Serengeti National Park and on to your lodge, which sits amid acacia, overlooking the plains. This afternoon, set off on a game drive through the 10,000-square-mile region, keeping watch for lion, leopard, hyena, cheetah, giraffe and topi. This is also the site of the annual, seasonal Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra.
Day 8: Serengeti National Park
Serengeti Sopa Lodge As the animals begin to stir, skim the treetops during a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the SerengetiÂ’s boundless plains. Watch as early morning activities begin: hippo return to water after foraging for food in the dark; elephant rustle through trees in search of breakfast; and lion amble back from a hunt with wide, yellow eyes. During an afternoon game drive, watch for cheetah, herds of ungulate, crocodile and leopard. This evening, join fellow travellers for a festive farewell dinner.
Day 9: Serengeti/Arusha/USA or Canada
Arusha Coffee Lodge (dayroom) Fly to Arusha, where a dayroom is reserved until your evening international flight.
Day 10: USA or Canada
Connect with your homebound flight.