Depart for Tanzania.
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport near the city of Arusha, nestled at the foot of Mount Meru and the gateway to Tanzania’s renowned national game parks. Transfer to the deluxe Arusha Serena Hotel, Resort & Spa, built amid verdant, landscaped coffee fields next to tranquil Lake Duluti.
Arusha/Serengeti National Park
Board your scenic, privately chartered flight over the sweeping African plains to the legendary, UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Serengeti National Park. On your game drive to the lodge, see the diverse and abundant fauna of this vast ecosystem, such as Thomson’s gazelle, giraffe, cheetah and leopard. Check into the deluxe Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, located within the park’s boundaries, with prime proximity to its largest year‑round concentration of wildlife. Join your fellow participants this evening for a Welcome Reception at the lodge. (b,l,r,d)
Days 4 and 5
Experience a sublime spectacle of sheer nature, surrounded by great herds of wildebeest, gazelle, topi, zebra and Cape buffalo, only a fraction of more than two million animals inhabiting a mere 5,400 square miles of savannas and woodlands. During morning and afternoon game safaris, traverse the trackless grasslands that support this abundance of grazing animals and scan the plains for granite kopjes (outcrops) favored by large cats, especially lion and leopard. Enjoy prolific, world‑class bird‑watching possibilities with more than 500 species in the expansive marshland, which attracts thousands of waterbirds. An early morning hot-air balloon flight option, weather conditions permitting, offers a phenomenal aerial perspective of the Serengeti’s plains. (2b,2l,2d)
Serengeti/Oldupai Gorge/Ngorongoro Crater
Visit Oldupai Gorge, the “cradle of mankind,” the most famous archaeological location in East Africa and the wellspring of our DNA. Here, Louis and Mary Leakey’s paleoanthropological work was made famous when, in 1959, Mary unearthed the skull of Zinjanthropus, an early hominin that proved invaluable to the study of human ancestry. A year later, the Leakey family also discovered a 1.8‑million‑year‑old Homo habilis. Meet the local curator for a discussion. Enjoy game-viewing opportunities as you continue to the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Check into the deluxe Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, perched on the precipice of the magnificent crater, where each guest room offers stunning views of the natural surroundings and wildlife. (b,l,d)
After breakfast, board a four‑wheel‑drive land cruiser and descend 2,000 feet to the floor of Ngorongoro Crater, a remarkable sanctuary for hundreds of mammal and bird species. Born from the collapse of a massive volcano over two million years ago, the 12-mile‑wide crater shelters a perennial mass of incredible wildlife in diverse habitats: savannas, forests, marshlands, salt pans and a freshwater lake. With bountiful grass and a permanent water supply, the crater floor supports herds of grazing animals that, in turn, attract lion, leopard and cheetah. Observe parades of zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, Cape buffalo and bush elephant; watch for the critically endangered black rhinoceros; and look for hippopotamus seeking refuge from the midday sun in the Ngoitokitok Springs. Note the numerous species of birds that find a home in the crater, including ostrich, crowned crane, flamingo and other waders. After a morning of game tracking, stop for a picnic lunch amid the distinct flora and fauna of this rare and enthralling ecosystem. Later, survey the crater and its ample wildlife from your lodge’s viewing terrace, right on the crater’s rim. (b,l,d)
Ngorongoro Crater/Lake Manyara National Park
Enjoy a scenic drive to the edge of the Great Rift Valley, a significant geographical detail visible from outer space. Observe Tanzania’s educational system firsthand in Kibaoni Primary School, the first public primary school in Tanzania with a library—visitors to the country donated most of its book collection. Meet the headmistress and see the school’s classrooms. Later, check into the deluxe Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge before embarking on an afternoon game drive through Lake Manyara National Park in search of hippopotamus and brilliantly hued flamingo found in pools along the shoreline. Comb the landscape for troops of baboons and blue monkeys scampering along tree branches; Cape buffalo, wildebeest, tusked elephant and giraffe meandering the grassy floodplain; and Lake Manyara’s most famous inhabitant, lion, which can commonly be seen lying languidly, high in the outstretched boughs of the acacia tree. (b,l,d)
Lake Manyara/Tarangire National Park
This morning, continue to a typical Maasai village to meet a local tribe; dressed in colorful traditional vestments, these Tanzanians have held fast to their ancestral ways, centered around their cattle, which provide them with sustenance and clothing, and shape their cultural values. Enjoy a scenic drive to Tarangire National Park and the distinctive Tarangire Safari Lodge tented camp. See a vast array of wildlife on an afternoon game drive along the banks of the Tarangire River, and try to spot the stocking‑thighed ostrich and the kori bustard, the largest flying bird native to Africa. (b,l,d)
Rise with the African sun for a game drive after breakfast. Upon returning to the lodge, watch herds of elephant gather near the drying riverbed in search of underground streams while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle and eland crowd the banks. Keep a keen eye for lion and cheetah—Tanzania’s most powerful predators—in their natural habitat on your afternoon drive. (b,l,d)
After breakfast, enjoy a scenic drive from Tarangire back to Arusha. Continue to the Arusha Coffee Plantation Lodge for lunch. Day rooms have been reserved in the deluxe Arusha Serena Hotel, Resort & Spa. This evening, transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (b,l)
Your return flight arrives today.