Day 1 – Saturday – Tarangire National Park
An early morning briefing kick starts our safari, before we head off away from the main safari route of the Northern Circuit, to TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK, a true hidden gem.
Highly underated, yet bursting with a dense wildlife population, it won’t take you long to appreciate just why we love Tarangire.
It’s a special park – virtually untouched, with far fewer visitors than the world famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro – that offers an undisturbed, secluded safari. During the dry season of June – September thousands of animals including elephant, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, and the rarely seen oryx migrate from the dry Masai steppe to the Tarangire River in search of water.
Lion, leopard and other predators follow – so be sure to be sure to charge your battery and empty your memory stick as some unique memories await you. Home to the largest population of elephant of any park in the northern circuit, and over 550 varieties of bird, Tarangire offers far fewer tourists and loads of game – a winning combination!
From Tarangire, we head up through the beautiful highlands to the rich farming area of Karatu on the outer slopes of Ngorongoro crater, where we overnight at Bougainvillea Lodge.
Day 2 – Sunday, Ngorongoro
Breathtaking, incredible, unforgettable – today is surely one you’ve been itching to tick off your Wildlife Bucket List. One of the natural wonders of the world, the volcanic caldera of Ngorongoro offers spectacular game viewing in the crater – we can almost guarantee you four of the Big Five will show up, as well as a rich variety of birds, all viewed against the backdrop of the thickly forested crater walls. Our picnic lunch in the crater will forever remain a unique memory – good luck beating this view on your next picnic!
Varied terrains consisting of forest, grasslands and both freshwater and soda lakes make this a true marvel of creation.
Overnight Bougainvillea, or similar.
Day 3 – Monday, Serengeti
Our route to the Serengeti today takes us via fascinating Olduvai Gorge and the ‘cradle of humankind’. It’s here where, in 1959, the ground-breaking discovery of a hominid (human-like) skull dating back 1.8 million years preceeded other more recent hominid remains discoveries – dating as far back as 3.7 million years.
Take time to visit a Masai village – immerse yourself in their culture and daily vibe. When we take the time to understand and appreciate another’s culture and way of life, our eyes open to Henry Millar’s wisdom that “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
We continue onto Serengeti Wilderness Camp, to settle in for the evening.
Day 4 & 5 – Tuesday/Wednesday, Serengeti
Relax with two full days in the Serengeti – unequalled for its beauty and home to more than three million large mammals spread over the vast endless plains. It is here, at certain times of the year, that we may encounter the breathtaking spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration, where one and a quarter million wildebeest trek in columns of up to forty kilometres long in search of grazing, drawing with them their predators and numerous other species of game. From January to March the herds can largely be found in the southern area, proceeding north through the centre and Western Corridor during June and July before splitting to the west and north, continuing their way toward the Mara River. They return south in November to repeat this amazing instinctive procession all over again.
It really is a rare privilege to immerse yourself in the unique natural phenomena of this Great Migration.
Huge herds of wildebeest and zebra can be found here along with smaller concentrations of Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, impala, kongoni, Kirk’s dik dik, klipspringer and small numbers of roan, oryx, oribi, eland and waterbuck. There are also significant numbers of buffalo, giraffe and warthog. Elephants are relatively scarce on the open plains, and more common in the northern areas and the western corridor. The few remaining black rhinos are restricted to a small part of the park and are not often spotted. But the most popular animals to be found here in greater abundance than elsewhere on the northern circuit are the cats.
Lions, cheetahs and leopard may all be seen here along with other predators, such as the spotted hyena, golden and black-backed jackals, wild cats and servals.
Overnight Serengeti Wilderness Camp.
Treat yourself to an adventure words fail to capture, as you soar effortlessly above the vast plains in a hot air balloon – an added optional extra well worth spoiling yourself with. This is one story you will brag about for years to come!
Day 6 – Thursday, Arusha
Transfer to the Seronera/Ndutu or Kogatende airstrip for your (optional) flight to Arusha – mid morning. It is an exceptionally scenic flight (weather dependent) over the highlands of Ngorongoro, across the vast expanse of the Rift Valley escarpments. Or return by road to Arusha – it’s a long, bumpy trip!
If you are not flying out tonight, but overnighting in Arusha, we highly recommend heading out to Mosque Street. Here, you will find probably the best chicken in Africa. Relax, eat, meet the locals … real people.
A uniquely authentic optional extra: You may have heard of Khan’s first as “Chicken in the Ditch”, or “Chicken on the Bonnet”, “Kuku on the Curb”, or “That place by Soko Kuu with the fantastic chicken”, or “Zubeda Autospares by Day, Khan’s Chicken BBQ by Night”.
In every town there are a few gems – delightful places off the beaten path that give you a sense of the soul of the town. Khan’s is undoubtedly one of the key gems in Arusha, and while it’s definitely been discovered, it’s still the real deal. Tasty salads, Zanzibar pizzas, garlic naan, barbecued chicken, beef mishkaki and mutton shish kabob are all stars. Even the passion juice is top notch. But Khan’s serves up more than an evening out – it’s the kind of place that you’ll always remember when you think of Arusha.
Another memorable spot is the ” Lively Lady Bar and Grill “, down by the old train station, where the ambience is great (best pork chops ever), drinks icy, and, 1960’s ROCK AND ROLL is played … loudly!
However you end off your Essence trip with us, your journey through Tanzania will forever remain a huge highlight along the journey of your life.
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2017 Set Departure Dates: This safari is confirmed with a minimum of 2 participants
Sat 22 July (Ladies only)
Sat 9 Sept (Ladies only)
Sat 21 Oct (Ladies only)