Journey into Northern Tanzania and experience some of the most stunning safari camps and lodges, with impeccable service – even under canvas.
Having flown overnight with Kenya Airways from Heathrow to Nairobi, you will then take a connecting flight to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. After enjoying lunch at a local restaurant in Arusha, a transfer is provided to Arusha airport for a flight by light aircraft to the Manyara airstrip.
Experience your first game drive of the trip as you transfer from the airport to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge. The Tree Lodge is discreetly tucked away amongst a thick jungle of ancient Mahogany forest. There are 10 stilted tree house suites with contemporary furnishings and understated features. Elephants regularly walk through the camp and during the hours of darkness it is necessary to be accompanied by a guide between your room and the main building. Game viewing lakeside includes flamingos, elephants, giraffe and tree climbing lions. Spend the following day in Lake Manyara National Park and enjoy both morning and afternoon game drives. You will then overnight, once again at the Tree Lodge.
Your forth day will take you on a journey to Ngorongoro and to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, known to be one of the most architecturally spectacular safari lodges in Africa. The altitude at the lodge is approximately 8000 ft, so the air is much cooler with clouds and mist. There are three different camps; North, South and a third, more rustic camp with just six suites. The other two have 12 each. The outside has been built to look local; timber stilts, banana thatch and earth colours. Inside is a revelation of panelling, chandeliers, open fireplaces and comfy sofas giving it a very grand, manor house feel. The bedrooms are huge and some interconnect. All have balconies and views towards the crater. The bathrooms are cleverly divided to offer some privacy but also include two basins, separate mosaic shower area and free standing bath with a glistening chandelier hung above it. During dinner the wood burning stove is lit so that you can enjoy the warmth and sounds of a crackling fire. Guiding between rooms and the lodge is necessary especially because of ‘resident’ buffalo that sometimes lurk beneath the buildings. Five star service, a great crowd of staff and possibly the best food of the trip.
Having explored the Ngorongoro crater, an extinct volcano that plays host to wildebeest, zebras, buffaloes, gazelles, elephants, rhinos and the big cats, you will fly by light aircraft on your sixth day to the Serengeti.
There are a number of camp options in the Serengeti, however our trip included a night at Serengeti under Canvas. This camp moves with the migration and, in case things don’t go exactly according to plan, a second camp is set up to cover the animals’ movements. The tents are substantial with double doors including fine mosquito mesh. The shower is out the back in the form of a 40 gallon bucket, filled to order with hot water. The toilets are white porcelain and flush perfectly – it’s a wonder how they do it. Extremely comfortable beds and duvets. ‘Sung’ to sleep by the wildebeest who keep in touch all night. Lions also patrol the camp after dark. There are no telephones, but a claxon type device to call for a guide if necessary. Game viewing was spectacular in this area, including lions and leopard, and a group of cheetah.
On your last full day of safari, there is an optional extra early morning champagne balloon flight – well worth it. A ‘bubbly’ breakfast awaits you on your return and of course you can follow breakfast with another game drive.
Alternative camps to stay at are Grumeti River Camp in a remote valley in the Western corridor of the Serengeti or Klein’s camp, a small elegant safari lodge set deep in the heart of Masai territory in the buffalo-rich north-eastern Serengeti.
Grumeti River Camp is under canvas but on permanent concrete bases. The main buildings are proper timber and thatch structures, overlooking the river, with a ‘hippo pool’ which was fully stocked and lively. A different bedtime tune here, and luckily the tents are built with steep steps up to the decking and entrance so that hippos cannot get it! The tents are huge and have all mod cons, and a whistle. Very good game viewing, including the sight of an enormous hippo!!
Alas, all good things must come to an end and on the final day after breakfast you will board a flight to Arusha, where you can enjoy lunch before your onward journey to Nairobi and then onto Heathrow. If this trip is too short for you then why not enjoy a few extra days (or a week) in Mombasa, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zanzibar or Lamu?
What makes this particular safari so special is the minimal travelling by road (apart from game drives). The light aircrafts enable viewing of the picturesque scenery, but also cut down on travel times. Accommodation is small but luxurious throughout and all of the three parks offer something different in terms of terrain and animals.
For more information or to discuss other options in Tanzania, please call Tina on 01428 658 777.