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Photo by J.McIntrye

Birding, big game and photographic safari to Northern Tanzania.

Lark Plains in Northern Tanzania, Arush National Park, Tarangire and Serengeti National Parks, Ndutu, Olduvai gorge, Ngorongo Crater and Lake Manyara


2018 Departure Dates & Costs

April 14 to 28, 2018 &  May 2 to 16, 2018
Tour cost: $ 5,150 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 860 USD
Deposit: $ 800 due at time of booking


TOUR ESCORT & GUIDE
Photo by J.McIntyreAnthony W Raphael earned his degree in Wildlife Management from the College of African Wildlife Management in the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. Anthony took special interest in Field Ornithology (a hobby he had from childhood). He has led a number of trips in East Africa ranging from international university students, researchers, international birding groups, bird and wildlife photographers, keen ornithologists, entomologists, and casual tourists. His experience and skill in locating and identifying East African mammals, reptiles and primates and well over 900 bird species as well as his humor while leading groups on safari, is second to none, earning him the name “The Man with an Eagle Eye”. When out of the guiding schedules and out of the African bush, Anthony volunteers at the National Natural History Museum in Arusha where he helps out in the Bird Department of the Museum. He also spends time training upcoming bird guides at a local college.


Itinerary
Slight adjustments in the itinerary will take place in the different months according to movement of birds and wilidlife.

Day 1: ARRIVE ARUSHA (D)
You will be met at the airport on arrival and transferred to Korono Villa, 3 nights.

Day 2: LARK PLAINS (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we drive to the famous Lark Plains to the north of Arusha in search of the endemic Beesleys Lark (one of Africa’s rarest bird) and others. Our first stop will be the ‘Lark Plains’, a strange open area situated between Arusha and the border town of Namanga. In the rain shadow of Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro these plains are perfect habitat for a great variety of birds.  After exploring these plains and the surrounding wooded Acacias, we drive back to Arusha.

Day 3: ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK (B,L,D)
Today we drive to Arusha National Park for a day of birding and big game viewing.  Dominated by rugged Mt. Meru (14,979 ft.), this small jewel of a park (just 55 sq. miles) is remarkably quiet, diverse and peaceful. If we are lucky, we may glimpse the snow-clad peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet. This park has outstanding birdlife as well as many of the better-known big game animals.

Day 4: ARUSHA/TARANGIRE PARK (B,L,D)
After breakfast you will head out for birding and wildlife viewing in Tarangire National Park. Tarangire is the home of Tanzania’s oldest elephants and bird life is prolific too. The endemic Ashy Starling and the rare Yellow colored Lovebird are numerous in Tarangire. You will spend the entire day exploring the bushes in Tarangire after which you will drive to Lake Manyara area arriving for dinner at the Tarangire Safari Lodge for dinner and 2 nights.

Day 5: TARANGIRE PARK  (B,L,D)
Day of birding and big game viewing in Tarangire.

Day 6: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK (B,L,D)
This morning you will be transferred to the Serengeti, which is actually a continuation of the Masai Mara Eco System. The Serengeti National Park is arguably the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world. “Serengeti” means “endless plains” in the Masai language, and within its boundaries are more than three million large mammals. About 35 species of plains animals can be seen here including the so called “big five” – elephant, rhino, lion (more than 2,000 of them), leopard and buffalo. During the wet season, November to May, most of the plains game congregates in Southern Serengeti, followed by their attendant predators. Some time in May or June the herds migrate North and West in search of water. They remain in North Serengeti and the western corridor during the dry season, July-October, returning South again as the November rains approach. The Wildebeest calving takes place on the short grass plains during late December to early February. In their wake follow the predators; lion cheetah and hunting dogs with vultures circling overhead. Other common species found here include hippo, giraffe, eland, impala and other antelope types, baboons, monkeys and a profusion of almost 500 bird species.

We will stay 3 nights in the middle of the Serengeti plains at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge. The Lodge is situated in the heart of the Serengeti, world famous for its large amount of grazing mammals, this includes 1.5 million wildebeest. The lodge has been built on the wildebeest migratory route, which occurs twice annually. The area is an important transition zone between the southern plains and northern woodlands. It provides a rich mosaic of habitats, crisscrossed by rivers. With year-round water, this is the most reliable part of the park to view wildlife. The elusive Leopard is also common here but less easily spotted. The river tracks offer the best possibilities to view leopard, which usually rest in the branches of the acacia trees.

Day 7-8: SERENGETI (B,L,D)
Two full days on the Serengeti Plains exploring the expanse of the park.

Day 9: NDUTU (B,L,D)
This morning you will be met and transferred to Ndutu Safari Lodge (2 nights). Ndutu Safari Lodge is situated in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the southern Serengeti eco-system with the mighty backdrop of the Ngorongoro Crater highlands. The Lodge nestles unobtrusively under a canopy of giant acacias with views towards Lake Ndutu. The lodge offers a superb base in which to explore the range of habitats that lie within easy reach. Swamps, woodland, soda lakes and the world famous Serengeti short grass plains make this one of the best places to watch wildlife.

Day 10: NDUTU (B,L,D)
Day of birding and big game viewing in Ndutu.

Day 11: OLDUVAI GORGE MUSEUM/ NGORONGORO (B,L,D)
Morning departure to the famous Olduvai Gorge and its museum.  Then drive to the Crater Rim, 2 nights at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.

Day 12: NGORONGORO CRATER (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we will drive to Ngorongoro Crater for a full day Crater Tour. Listed by Unesco as a world heritage site, the incomparable Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest caldera. A caldera is the broad, crater-like basin of a volcano formed by the collapse of the central cone. Dominated by cliffs standing some 600 meters high and presenting a sheer drop down to a wide open space of some 264 square km, the crater is one of the most amazing sights seen anywhere. The Crater is home to 25,000 larger mammals, almost half of them zebra and wildebeest. There are also gazelle, buffalo, eland, hartebeest and wart hog. Such vast numbers attract predators a plenty, mainly lion and hyena but also cheetah and leopard. More than 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted here. Countless flamingos form a pink blanket over the soda lakes. Return to the Lodge for dinner and over night.

Day 13: NGORONGORO HIGHLANDS / LAKE MANYARA (B,L,D)
Morning drive to the Ngorongoro Highlands, birding the Ngorongoro Highlands and Gibbs Farm Grounds, and lunch at the Gibbs Farm. After lunch drive to Lake Manyara National Park. 2 nights Tloma Lodge.

Day 14: LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK (B,L,D)
The day will be spent exploring Lake Manyara National Park. This is where florists, botanists and big game lovers meet their world. A variety of vegetation species occur, ranging from monotone forest vegetation to plain savannah grassland. Here the natural world is for you; spot tree climbing lions, zebras, Maasai giraffe and the breathe taking view of the spectacular Lake Manyara. Bird life is prolific as you approach the lake shore, a variety of Gulls may be spotted and may be the Vulturerine Guinea fowl, Blue napped mouse bird. Lake Manyara has the highest density of elephants in East Africa (at least 7 elephants per sq kilometre). A profusion of colourful birds awaits your discovery in the ground water forest as you spot pelicans and cormorants swimming among walloping hippos and flamingos in their pink on the lake. You will be able to update your bird check list while in Lake Manyara, do not miss a visit the Hippo pool.

Day 15: TO ARUSHA (B,L)
Morning game. After lunch drive to Arusha to catch evening International flight out.


TESTIMONIALS

This was indeed a trip of a lifetime. Words can not describe what we saw and experienced. It was fantastic. We were so thrilled to watch the great migration on the Serengeti. Anthony and Gaetan became family. W & S Valentin