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Savannah through Rift Valley & and Cradle of Mankind
Featuring Oldupai Gorge & Laetoli Hominid Site
Lake Eyasi Hadza Bushmen Subsistance Hunting

see "Why Travel To Tanzania "

January and February 2014

with Jim Brett exclusively for 10 pax 18 days
Tanzania Safaris Registration form

 

January Sample Itinerary

Inclusive to mileage of all accommodation, meals, bottled water throughout, complimentary wine served at dinners in camps, laundry (water supplies permitting), all official fees, English speaking driver/guides, unlimited mileage.

Not included: Airfare, visa/passport fees, staff tips, beverages (soft drinks & mixers, alcoholic beverages (spirits, beer).

You'll need dollar bills for the luggage porters at Mountain Village, Ngare Sero Natron Lodge, Planet Africa Lodge @ $1.00/bag.

If you need to exchange money dollars into Tanzania Shillings I carry sufficient shillings in the glovebox for the purchase of local (Maasai) crafts, etc. along the way. We always refer to our cash as 'dollars' never "American Money"...bad taste. You can use credit cards at the African Cultural Heritage, but the exchange rate is very high.

A minimum of 10 persons is required to operate this itinerary.


January Sample

Beginning January

Depart Newark Liberty Airport on the evening flight to Amsterdam arriving Tuesday morning. Following a short lay-over continuing on aboard KLM Royal Dutch Airline over Europe and North Africa. Arrival at Kilimanjaro Intl Airport in Tanzania late evening. Proceed through TZ Customs, transfer to the Mountain Village Lodge for check in and late night drinks and hot bits; samosa, chips (real French fries) chicken wings.

 

Day 1

Situated in the flowered gardens of a former coffee farm house and surrounded by a lush forest on the slopes of Mount Meru relax with morning coffee or tea overlooking Lake Duluti. Breakfast buffet is offered in the dining room. We will check out after breakfast and depart for Arusha Town.

30 minutes south of Mountain Village. We meet our Tanzanian drivers and after a short stop at ShopRite Market we'll continue in our specially designed Toyota Land Cruisers for Tarangire National Park some two hours south. Following a late afternoon game drive well return for hot showers, cocktails fireside and a candle-lit dinner with fine South African Wines.

Day 2

Pre-dawn wakeup with hot coffee, tea or chocolate tent side precedes breakfast at camp or alfresco in the park. This unique landscape of highland thornbush, dotted with massive Baobab trees, very large elephant herds and all the plain's game and predators found in other equatorial grassland thornbush landscapes is a great way to begin our safari. Tarangire's bird-life is extraordinary with a propensity of birds of prey.

Our Land Cruisers are equipped with electrical connectors above each seat for charging photographic equipment. There is a cooler in each vehicle for unlimited ice cold bottled water on each gamedrive.

Day 3

Wakeup calls. Depart camp with alfresco breakfast picnic basket with fresh fruit, toast, jams, peanut butter, hot coffee, tea or chocolate. We head south and west for Selali Swamp to search this vast pristine wetland for waterbirds and ducks, tree-climbing pythons,Cape Buffalo, a per-chance leopard. It was here two years ago one of the teens on the trip spotted seven wild dogs--a complete surprise for me and our drivers since none had been seen here in so many years. Back to camp for hot lunch, a rest and out again at 5:00 for late day game drive. Before dinner relax for sundowners by the fire with cocktails and wine/beer and talk about the day ahead of us.

Day 4

Travel the long distance from Tarangire to Mto Wa Mbu Village and onward to Engaruka and Lake Natron. Dinner served in spacious canvas dining room with fine South Africa wine. Overhead on a clear night the African sky affords one of the most spectacular views of the Universe here at the edge of the Milky Way.

Day 5

Coffee served in our sleeping tents. Following early breakfast walk from camp to Natron to view the Lesser Flamingos before returning to camp for departure. Drive north along the base of the Gregory Rift Wall, then the climb with 4x4s to the top of the rift to Sonjo and Malambo Villages. Picnic lunch at Olkarian Special Camp with time for a rest before leaving for Ang'ata Kiti Plain for sundowners.

Day 6

Depart Olkarian Special Camp with Eli Labuku our, Maasai Guide for hike into the Gorge. The hike is optional. For those deciding to stay below I'll take you to the plains for an early morning birding drive. Those hiking through the gorge can expect to encounter Maasai boys herding their cattle through the gorge for water. Olkarian is known for its strange echos and vocal reverberations off the cliff-sides. Not necessary to keep up with the more physical hikers as as the trail is one-way in and out.

in and out. We will return to Olkarian Camp for a hot lunch. Relax around camp and before dinner we'll drive from camp to the top of a knoll facing Oldoinyo Lengai--The Mountain of God. Later, in the dark sky, we'll point out the Southern Cross and familiar constellations here at the edge of the Milky Way. Back to our campfire for drinks before dinner. Early to bed for tomorrow we will move northwest to Nasera Rock in the Lemuta Hills some of the most stunning landscapes in all of East Africa.

Days 7, 8, 9

We could almost guarantee that one would not encounter a single other vehicle out on game drives in the surrounding area. This is the last remaining 'true' wilderness experience left in the Serengeti where one can still roam the famous Serengeti plains like an ancient explorer. The nearest lodge (Ndutu Lodge) is about 2-hours to the southwest. Off road driving, walking safaris and 'authentic' Maasai cultural tours can be conducted in the remote area around Camp.

Expect fine china, crisp linens and gourmet meals to be served by the flicker of candle lamps and a billion stars overhead. Spacious sleeping tents, en suite bathrooms and a comfortable bed round out the tented accommodations. Bask in the radiance of an authentic wilderness, where civilization seems a million miles away. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Upon approach one can begin to make out the details of the Lemuta Hills - the rocky crags, the sparkling granite, the gnarled bonsai trees rooted stubbornly in the rocky soil. One can make out more hills in the distance now - rising from the flatness of the plains, gently sloping upwards in smoky blue folds of ancient volcanic soil that immortalize the memory of the great lava flows that erupted here millions of years ago. Go a little further and you'll find the giant monolith of Nasera Rock - a towering mountain of solid stone that ascends from a fold in a valley of sleepy hills, as grand and odd and mysterious as it is beautiful. It is no wonder this area is considered sacred, and to this day Nasera Rock holds great spiritual significance to the Maasai people who call this isolated area their homeland.

The beautiful valley of Ang'ata Ilkarian cuts through the Gol Mountains and opens up to the Salei Plains. The open plain around Lemuta is a destination in itself for the Great Migration, a place where the great herds take pause on their annual pilgrimage. The volcanic ash that once settled over the area formed a shallow dust pan where tree roots cannot gain a foothold, which is the reason for the stark treeless landscape. There is safety for the great herds here in the open spaces where approaching predators can easily be spotted at a distance. The top soil here is also rich in volcanic nutrients; add rainfall to this ashy mixture already basking in sunshine and instantly lush savannah grasses burst forth in emerald splendor.

As mentioned previously these nutrient rich grasses are the main reason this area is a crucial stopover point for the Great Migration. During the green season the migratory wildebeest and zebra pour over the open plains and devour the abundant grasses like giant lawnmowers. This feast of fresh grass fuels the mass calving of Wildebeest that occurs once a year, loading the cows' milk with nutrition. Here the calves are able to develop and grow enough to have a fair shot at surviving the continuation of the endless quest for more food and water in the harder months to come.

This area is also home to a few of the last remaining wild dogs in East Africa.

Days 10, 11

Travel southwest to Lagarja for four days camping in the heart of the Serengeti Ecosystem. Siringet Maasai for The Endless Place. We cannot plan specifics; this will be a time of wandering. A time of exploring the nooks and crannies of the Moru Mountains and Kopjes, shorelines of Masek, Ndutu and Lagarja Lakess spending post-campfire nights looking into the heavenly skies where the Milky Way meets the end of its galaxy. We plan each day during breakfast. Our days have gone on way to quickly and we will need to maximize the remaining days in Tanzania. We have yet to visit the massif of the Ngorongoro Caldera this sunken volcano which at one time rivaled Kilamanjaro. Well do it with great aplomb and more than enough anxiety in contemplation of our time left.

Day 12

Moving on to Ngorongoro Crater. Lunch in the Lerai Forest and a later afternoon game drive. Tonight we will check in at our special campsite Tembo B Extra. We will be camping on the rim of Ngorongoro in the Acacia Lehi Forest. This is a uniquely bold landscape just at the edge. Elephants roam the campsite; a Maasai askari guards the place all night. Stay up late and hear the leopard 'coughing' well into the night. Stay up late if you dare.

Day 13, 14

From early alfresco breakfast until late afternoon will be in the crater with lunch at the Lerai Forest picnic site. Return to Tembo B Extra for dinner and sundowners in the Acacia Lehi Forest. A full day of wildlife viewing.

Day 15

Depart early on the Rim Road to Arusha. Lunch at the African Cultural Heritage Center and last minute shopping. We will check in later in the afternoon at Planet Africa where there may be time for an afternoon game drive in Arusha National Park.

Day 16

Early hot breakfast and leave for Arusha National Park for birding on the Momella Lakes and a visit to Ngurdoto Crater looking for Black & White Colobus Monkey. Back to Planet Africa for lunch, showers and packing before heading to the airport for our evening flight to Dar es Salaam and onward through the night.

Day 17

Approximately 5-hour layover at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam Landing early afternoon at Liberty Airport in Newark.

 

 
Storks At Sunset
 

 

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