Itinerary summary: This adventure begins at the Ngorongoro Conservation area, where visitors will descend into the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera; the second day will be spent at Lake Manyara National Park, where visitors can gaze in wonder at the thousands of flamingos and (safely) spot a hippo or two. The next day will be spent in the lush Tarangire National park, where visitors will catch sight of one of the hundreds of bird species, as well as the park’s many elephants and zebras. Finally, visitors will spend their last full day at the lesser explored Arusha National Park, where visitors can experience rich wildlife in the shadow of the volcanic Mount Meru. Kindly find the full itinerary below.
Day 1: Pick up at Kilimanjaro International Airport or hotel in Arusha; drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Descend inside the crater for a full day game drive, with picnic lunch provided. Have dinner and spend the night at Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge or Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.
The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, is 610 meters (2,000 feet) deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometers (100 square miles). Estimates of the height of the original volcano range from 4,500 to 5,800 meters (14,800 to 19,000 feet) high. The elevation of the crater floor is 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) above sea level. The Crater was voted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
Approximately 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, live in the crater. Large animals in the crater include the black rhinoceros, the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, and the hippopotamus. There also are many other ungulates: the blue wildebeest, Grant’s zebra, the common eland, and Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles. Waterbucks are mainly seen near Lerai Forest. There are no topis or crocodiles. Impalas are absent because the open woodland they prefer does not exist. Giraffes also are absent, possibly because of a lack of browse species. The Tanzanian cheetah, East African wild dog, and African leopards are rarely seen.
Day 2: After breakfast, drive to Lake Manyara National Park for a full-day game drive, with picnic lunch provided. Have dinner and spend the night at Nsya tented camp or Kilimamoja luxury lodge.
Lake Manyara National Park is a Tanzanian national park located in both Arusha Region and Manyara Region, Tanzania. The park consists of 330 km2 (130 sq mi) of arid land, forest, and a soda-lake which covers as much as 200 km2 (77 sq mi) of land during the wet season – but is nearly nonexistent during the dry season. Lake Manyara National Park is known for the flamingos that inhabit the lake. During the wet season, they inhabit the edges of the lake in flocks of thousands, but they are not so present during the dry season. More than 400 species of birds inhabit the park, and many remain throughout the year. Because of this, Lake Manyara National Park is a good spot for bird watching. Visitors to the park can expect to see upwards of 100 different species of bird on any day.
Leopards, Masai lions, cheetahs, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-dik, gazelles, hippopotami, Masai giraffe, impala, zebras and many more wild animals also inhabit this park, and many can be seen throughout the year. There is even a hippo pond at one end of the park where visitors can get out of their cars and observe from a safe distance. Leopards and lions are both known to lounge in the trees while not hunting for prey.
Day 3: Experience a full-day game dive in Tarangire National Park, with picnic lunch provided. Have dinner and spend the night at Maramboi tented camp or Tarangire Sopa Lodge.
Tarangire National Park, located in the Manyara region, is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania. It is named for the Tarangire River that crosses the park; this river is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season. The Tarangire Ecosystem is defined by the long-distance migration of wildebeest and zebras. During the dry season, thousands of animals concentrate in Tarangire National Park from the surrounding wet-season dispersal and calving areas. The park is famous for its high density of elephants and baobab trees. Visitors to the park in June to November dry season can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo. Other common resident animals include waterbuck, giraffe, dik dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baboon. Predators in Tarangire include the African lion, leopards, cheetahs, caracals, honey badgers, and the African wild dog. Home to more than 550 bird species, the park is a haven for bird enthusiasts. The park is also famous for the termite mounds that dot the landscape; abandoned termite mounds are often home to the dwarf mongoose. In 2015, a white giraffe (due to leucism) was spotted in the park.
Day 4: After early morning breakfast, drive to Arusha National Park for a full-day game drive, with picnic lunch provided. Have dinner and spend the night at camp or lodge.
Arusha National Park, in the Arusha region of northeastern Tanzania, covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566 m. The park is small but varied with, spectacular landscapes; it has a rich variety of wildlife, but visitors shouldn’t expect the same game-viewing experience they find in other national parks of Tanzania’s northern circuit. Despite its size, common animals include giraffes, Cape buffalos, zebras, warthogs, the black-and-white colobus monkey, the blue monkey, flamingos, elephants, lion and many others. Leopard populations are present, but rarely seen. Birdlife in the forest is prolific, with many forest species more easily seen here than elsewhere on the tourist route – narina trogon and bar-tailed trogon are both possible highlights for visiting birders, as well as the less flashy starling species.
Day 5: Drive back to Arusha. Final drop off at your accommodation or Kilimanjaro Airport to catch your flight back home or to your next destination.
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