Day 1: Kilimanjaro International Airport – Karatu
Hello and welcome to Tanzania. This Independent Experience begins at Kilimanjaro Airport, where a Peregrine agent can greet you and transport you to your cabin. Please arrive before 2 p.m. so that you have enough time to move to Karatu (approximately 4-5 hours drive). The remainder of the day is yours to do whatever you want. The farmhouse you’ll be staying in for the next two nights is in a tiny town just down the road from the Ngorongoro Crater. Millions of years ago, the African continent’s eastern side began to crumble and slip apart, resulting in the emergence of massive volcanoes, one of which was Ngorongoro. It is believed that it once rivaled Kilimanjaro in scale until the lava’lid’ erupted, creating the massive crater (8,280 square kilometers) that can be seen today. The ash from the volcano provided fertile soil, which enabled the growth of rich savanna grasslands, which now sustain the world’s largest herds of hoofed animals. This, of course, draws a plethora of predators and birdlife. Take in the breathtaking vistas as the sun sinks over the crater in the late afternoon.
Day 2: Ngorongoro Crater
Today you can visit the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater, which is commonly viewed as a microcosm of Africa’s natural landscapes and is sometimes referred to as a veritable Garden of Eden. This crater contains a diverse range of ecosystems, including riverine woodland, open fields, saline and alkaline lakes. The landscape is breathtaking as you fall nearly 600 meters to the crater bottom. There’s a good chance you’ll see a wide range of animals in this small place, including any or all of the area’s ‘big five’ species. Animals in the Ngorongoro Crater are less afraid of humans and safari cars, making it possible to see them up close. The Masai are allowed to water their cattle in the permanent lake and can be seen guiding their herds in and out of the crater. The lion, wildebeest, zebra, eland, bushbuck, cheetah, jackal, buffalo, Grant’s gazelle, and Thompson’s gazelle are the most often seen species. You may also see a black rhinoceros, which is critically endangered. You will abandon the crater in the afternoon and head to the lodge for a second night. (According to national park rules, vehicles are only permitted in Ngorongoro Crater for a limit of six hours.) In the late afternoon, you will unwind at the farm house.
Notes: The average travel period for today is nearly 7 hours.
Day 3: Serengeti National Park – Ngorongoro Conservation Area
You will abandon the crater this morning and head to the Serengeti National Park. On the return to your hotel, take a game drive and see how the scenery changes within the park, from the expansive treeless central plains to dense scrub and woodland in the north. The savanna, lined with acacia trees and majestic rock outcrops, connects these habitats. You should go to the Simba Kopjes, an outcrop that lions and cheetahs use as elevated perches and hiding places for their cubs, and they can always be seen basking in the morning sun on top. (Simba is Swahili for lion, and kopje Afrikaans is Afrikaans for ‘small head.’) On the way from Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Serengeti National Park, you’ll rest for a picnic lunch. Along the way, you will stop at Olduvai Gorge, which is notable for the discovery of human ancestor remains that have the most continuous confirmed record of human development over the last 2 million years. The next two nights are spent in a safari camp in the center of the park, with a view of the hills and valleys and surrounded by wildlife. Each tent has its own bathroom, which includes a tub, vanity desk, and flush toilets. Today’s average driving time, including game drives, is nearly 7 hours.
Serengeti National Park on Day 4
The Serengeti’s ‘Endless Plains’ stretch 14,700 square kilometers and capture the spirit of Africa, with their biggest claim to fame being the 3 million or so species who call it home. Large herds of roaming animals and predators – wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, lion, cheetah, warthog, hyena, hippo, and ostrich – can be seen, and the contact between the different organisms also offers some of the finest wildlife viewing experiences in the country. Today, you’ll arrive at sunrise for a morning game drive, followed by an afternoon game drive, since the animals are more interested in the cooler hours of the day. You’ll normally return to camp during the cooler hours of the day, where you’ll eat a hearty lunch, rest, and maybe take a siesta. Depending on animal activities and sighting opportunities, the drive could last until lunch or all day. You will head to the lodge in the late afternoon in this situation.
Day 5: Serengeti National Park – Kilimanjaro International Airport
This morning, take your final sunrise game drive through the Serengeti National Park, before returning to Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) via Arusha. Flights departing from Kilimanjaro or Arusha can not be booked before 5 p.m. A switch from Arusha Airport (ARK) may be arranged if you want to depart (at an additional cost). To make arrangements, please contact your booking agent.
Today’s driving period was approximately 6 hours; game drive times can differ.