Go in search of the thundering herds of the legendary wildebeest migration on a wildlife safari in Tanzania. Experience the power of the migration up close in the vast savannas of the northern or southern Serengeti, depending on the season. Take in extraordinary vistas of the Great Rift Valley, and descend into the Ngorongoro Crater to spot lions, cheetahs, elephants, and more.
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Arusha this evening and transfer to our hotel. Accommodations: River trees Country Inn
Drive to Lake Manyara National Park, famous for its elephants, hippos, giraffes, flamingos, and tree-climbing lions. Set out on our first safari to discover East Africa’s legendary wildlife amid the stunning Rift Valley landscape. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodations: Plantation Lodge
On a morning game drive, observe the wildlife that congregates on the shores of Lake Manyara. Enjoy a guided walk around the lodge’s grounds and gardens before hiking to a nearby coffee plantation.
After breakfast, travel to the Ngorongoro Highlands, where we will meet with Maasai community members. Far from the tourist circuit, enjoy a rare opportunity to view traditional singing and dancing, witness an initiation ritual, and learn about this fascinating culture from the village chief and his wives. After lunch, descend 2,000 feet to the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater, where volcanic slopes shelter almost 25,000 animals. Observe the interactions between predator and prey; spot colorful birdlife, from superb starlings to crowned cranes; and track elephants, rare black rhinos, cheetahs, and more. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodations: Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Return to the crater floor for breakfast and a morning safari. Enjoy an afternoon to relax and watch the sun set over the crater from the lodge. Tonight, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Louise Leakey or Dr. Fidelis Masao, co-director of the Olduvai Landscape Paleoarchaeology Project, joins us for dinner and a discussion about the groundbreaking paleontological finds in the region. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodations: Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Drive to the Olduvai Gorge, where, on a National Geographic-sponsored expedition in 1960, Louis and Mary Leakey discovered Homo habilis, one of the earliest members of the human genus. This morning, Louise (the Leakeys’ granddaughter) or Dr. Masao will discuss the family’s legacy and ongoing work at Olduvai Gorge. Then take a private tour of the site, or accompany Dr. Masao on a walk through the area where much of his life’s research has been conducted. This afternoon, drive to our lodge in the southern Serengeti, looking for lions, giraffes, and leopards along the way. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodations: Serengeti Sopa Lodge
Rise early for a morning game drive before flying to the northern Serengeti. With luck, we will witness the dramatic river crossings of the wildebeest migration. Great herds of wildebeests and zebras eye predators warily as crocodile snouts break the surface of the Mara River. Take in the region’s spectacular array of wildlife on morning and afternoon game drives. Meet with a conservationist from KopeLion to learn about National Geographic-funded work aimed at preventing human-lion conflict in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. KopeLion was founded by National Geographic grantee Ingela Jansson, a field biologist who has studied lions in northern Tanzania for more than 10 years. On our last evening, gather for a candlelit farewell dinner in the bush. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily Accommodations: Sayari Camp
After a final early-morning safari, fly back to Arusha. Relax at our hotel before transferring to the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) to connect with your flight home. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodations: River trees Country Inn