Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Safari Itinerary


January 3, 2006


Moshi – Lake Manyara National Park


Twiga Campsite


After morning breakfast at the hotel, we will head to Lake Manyara National Park


Cradled in the glory of its surroundings below the sheer majesty of the Rift valley wall, Lake Manyara lies serene, spreading in a heat haze backed by a thin green band of forest and the sheer 600 metre red and brown cliffs of the escarpment.


A wedge of surprisingly varied vegetation sustains a wealth of wildlife, nourished by chattering strums bubbling out of the escarpment base and waterfalls spilling over the cliff. Acacia woodland shelters the park’s famous but elusive tree-climbing lions, along with squadrons of mongoose feasting on the trail of buffalo and elephant the most pachyderms per square kilometre in Tanzania.


Deep in the south of the park, hot springs bubble to the surface in the shadow of the escarpment. Hippo wallow near the lake’s borders of sedge. The park hosts 400 varieties of birds, including thousands of red-billed quelea flitting over the water like swarms of giant insects; pelicans, cormorants and pink streaks of thousands of flamingo on their perpetual migration.


Enter Manyara from the village of Mto wa Mbu, an eclectic market town where several tribes coverage to form a linguistic mix that is the richest in Africa.


Drive Time: 3 Hours


 


January 4


Serengeti National Park


Public Camp Site


From Lake Manyara National Park, we will travel to the legendary Serengeti National Park. This will be about a four to five hour drive, driving on the Rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.


More than 6 million hooves pound the legendary plains of the Serengeti. Every year, triggered by the rains, more than a million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle gather to undertake the long trek to new grazing lands. Tanzania’s first and most famous park, the Serengeti is renowned for its wealth of leopard and lion. The vast reaches of the park help the black rhino to fight extinction and provide a protected breeding ground for the vulnerable cheetah. Witness predator versus pry and the fundamental independence of the Serengeti’s abundant species, from more than 500 varieties of bird to 100 types of dung beetle.


January 5


Serengeti National Park


Public Camp Site


We have a full day of game drives in the Serengeti from sunrise to sunset, exploring hippos pools, looking for lions, and discovering animals around every corner. This is the day we will try to head to the migration.


Depending upon the wildebeest migration vicinity, we will begin with a morning game drive, return to the hotel for lunch, and have an afternoon to sunset game drive. This will be the day that you will see most likely the most animals.


Drive Time: You are free to drive as far, or as little, as you please today


January 6


Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Crater


Ngorongoro Public Campsite on Rim of Crater


Simba Camp A


Begin with an early morning departure through the Serengeti and head to Ngorongoro Crater.


Leaving the Serengeti behind we drive past Olduvai Gorge, which was made famous by the Leakey’s in their quest for the origin of mankind. Fragments of a skull were unearthed in 1959 dated at 1.8 million years old and later in 1979 the Laetoli footprints were discovered dating back 3.5 million years.


The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which lies between the Serengeti and the Lake Manyara National Parks boasts the largest unbroken, inactive, and unflooded caldera in the world. Perhaps having once been about the same size as Mount Kilimanjaro, when the volcanic activity subsided, it collapsed inward resulting in a crater 18 kilometers (11 miles) across. Surrounded by very steep walls 610 meters (2000 feet) deep, this natural amphitheatre covers an area of about 260 square kilometers (100 square miles) and is home for up to 25,000 larger mammals. Nearly half of those being zebra and wildebeest while other species found are buffalo, gazelle, eland, hartebeest, warthog, and the elusive black rhino. Lion, hyena, cheetah, and leopard are among the predators within the crater.


Drive Time: 3 hours


January 7


Ngorongoro Crater – Moshi/Arusha


After breakfast, we begin with a sunrise game drive, which is always rewarding to watch the animals eating early in the morning.


We have a half day of game drives in and around the Ngorongoro, exploring hippos pools, looking for lions, and discovering animals around every corner.


Today we begin a long journey back to Moshi, the town at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro. It will take most of the day to get back to Moshi. We will stop at some of the abundant craft markets as we return.


Tentative/optional evening visit to a Masai village, one that only a few tourists have ever seen.

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