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Tanzania Northern Circuit - 8 days

Tanzania undoubtedly has some of the finest wildlife viewing in Africa. This Safari journeys through four of the country's most exciting parks. Small group guarantees everyone a window seat in the safari vehicle. Weekly departures on Fridays.

Day 1: Arusha

You will be met on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport by our representative and transferred to your hotel located just a short drive from Arusha town centre in the midst of a working coffee farm. Overnight Serena Mountain Village.

Serena Mountain Village
Wreathed in multi-colored tresses of tumbling bougainvillea, Mountain Village is hidden in the depths of a beautiful coffee plantation just outside the hustle and bustle of Arusha, Tanzania's premier "Safari Town'. Strung like a necklace around the shores of an idyllic wooded lake, a haven of calm and serenity is found here. Set in the flowered gardens of a coffee planter's farm house and surrounded by rolling groves of wax-green coffee bushes, Mountain Village offers wide timbered decks with panoramic views over Lake Duluti and a selection of ethnically-styled "Rondaval' village-cluster rooms. Each of these is neatly thatched with "Makuti' stems, lavishly embellished with "Makonde' carvings and comfortably furnished in traditional safari style. It's a great location to simply relax and enjoy strolls around the farm or gentle canoeing trips on the lake.

Day 2: Lake Manyara

Morning nature walk around Lake Duluti with Serena Active naturalist followed by lunch. After lunch you depart Arusha and pass through the Maasai Steppe filled with many picturesque African villages as well as maize, coffee and banana plantations. At the town of Makayuni you turn northwest and continue the journey up through a scenic escarpment that brings you to your lodge, perched on the edge of the Rift Valley with stunning views over the distant Lake Manyara. Overnight at Lake Manyara Serena. All meals.

Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
It would be difficult to find a more dramatic setting than the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge. Situated at the edge of an escarpment, this deluxe lodge overlooks both the Great Rift Valley, which formed millions of years ago, and the beautiful soda lake of Manyara with is lavish supply of bird life. The birds themselves have provided the inspiration for the lodge's architecture. Graceful, curving and free flowing, it is built in the local circular style and exudes an atmosphere of peacefulness where man and nature co-exist. From the patterns in the reception area resembling bird migration paths, to the soft geometric designs in the bedrooms, there is barely a single straight line in its design. The bar and restaurant offer guests both indoor and outdoor seating at each meal. Sumptuous menus, buffets and barbecues are served to guests alongside authentic African dishes.

Lake Manyara

From whichever direction you approach Manyara, the first view is spectacular. From the east, the Rift Valley wall rises several hundred meters to form an impressive backdrop to the lake. From the west, if one is perched at the top of the escarpment, the park lies far below, with a long green strip of water that glistens in the sunlight. The vegetation around the lake's shores is surprisingly varied and comprises mostly forest, acacia woodland and open grassland. The park covers an area of 330 sq km of which about 230 sq km is the lake itself. You can always find hippo in the Simba River, elephant in the forests and a resident herd of Cape buffalo on the open plains at Mahali Pa Nyati, which means, "the place of the buffalo' in Swahili. In addition, there are approximately 400 species of birds and with some luck you might see tree-climbing lions. Canoeing safaris are also available here.

Day 3: Lake Manyara

After breakfast enter your safari vehicle and spend the morning exploring Lake Manyara National Park. About midday continue to Mto wa Mbu Village for lunch provided by Serena Active. Afternoon explore the local market, including interaction with the Local Tribes People. There is then an opportunity to explore the local area with visits to homes, farmland, church and a kindergarten. Following this cultural experience you return to your lodge. Overnight Lake Manyara Lodge. All meals.

Day 4: Serengeti National Park

After breakfast enter your safari vehicle and depart for Ngorongoro Conservation Area and stop at Olduvai Gorge with a short visit of the museum. You then continue into Serengeti National Park with a game drive en route to your lodge located in Seronera arriving in time for lunch. Afternoon is spent exploring and game viewing across the plains of the Serengeti National Park returning to your lode for dinner and overnight. Overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge. All meals.

Serengeti Serena Lodge
The Serengeti Serena reflects both the local culture and the surrounding environment. Set high on a hill with magnificent views of the sweeping Serengeti, the lodge is reminiscent of a traditional African village. Rondavels built in the time-honored hut style, house luxury bedrooms with en suite facilities. Simple in design, yet sophisticated in content, the Serengeti Serena's decor highlights African arts and crafts, including woodcarving, bead making and pottery. Everything from key tags to headboards for the beds has been specially made. This uniquely African design skillfully incorporates the comforts and attention to detail that is the hallmark of every Serena Lodge. Therefore, if you wish to stay in a lodge, but want more of an African experience, then you will thoroughly enjoy your experience here.

Day 4: Serengeti National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives in Serengeti National Park. Overnight at Serengeti Serena Lodge. All meals.

Serengeti National Park

In the local vernacular, Serengeti means "the endless plains that go up to the sky'. And they do just that. It is therefore easy to understand why this is the most popular and spectacular of all game parks in East Africa. Covering 14,765 sq km, one of the striking features of this park is the series of large granite outcrops that dominate the vast plains, making it very different to the Maasai Mara. Life in the park centers on the triangular trek of several million hooves. This movement never stops, as the animals constantly seek out new grazing pastures. Every year, after the south's short November rains, wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, eland, topi and hartebeest gather in their thousands on the Serengeti's southern plains and the Ngorongoro Highlands. Then, around April, they head towards the western corridor of the Serengeti, where many overflow into the Maasai Mara around July/August. They remain here until late October/November, when Tanzania's new rains prompt the move south again, towards Lake Ndutu and Lagaja. This yearly phenomenon also affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of other species, who rely on the migratory herds for their survival. These include predators, gazelles, birds and insects, not to mention the grasses and trees that are fertilized by droppings.

Day 5: Serengeti National Park

Morning and afternoon game drives in Serengeti National Park exploring the famous reserve and all it has to offer. Overnight Serengeti Serena Lodge. All meals.

Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater

After breakfast you depart for Ngorongoro viewing game across the vast Serengeti plains with a picnic lunch. On arrival immediately descend into the park for game viewing. Return to the lodge as the sunsets for dinner and overnight. Overnight at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. All meals.
Your accommodation is at the stunning Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. Built of stone and covered with a profusion of flowering plants, the lodge feels as if it's actually part of the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. The walls and terraces were designed around the existing contours of the site, making this beautiful lodge appear to be absorbed into the very earth on which it is built. The result is a unique accommodation with unhindered views of the wealth of animal and bird life that fill the vast crater below.

Day 7: Tarangire National Park

Departing Ngorongoro Crater after breakfast and drive to Tarangire National Park, arriving in time for lunch. In the afternoon you will go on a game drive and explore this diverse ecosystem. Overnight at Tarangire Sopa Lodge. All meals.

Tarangire Sopa Lodge
Tarangire is recognized as one of the best parks on the northern circuit for elephant viewing during the dry season and Tarangire Sopa is ideally placed to experience this. The lodge welcomes guests to its vast marble-floored reception area with cold flannels and iced juice. In the pretty gardens a large circular pool with a central island, a pool bar and elegant wooden loungers demonstrates the lodge's commitment to comfort. Delicious barbecue lunches are often served here. A broad veranda wraps itself around the lodge and gives prime viewing for the waterhole below, which is filled during the dry season and becomes a magnet to wildlife. The rooms at the lodge are simple, comfortable and spacious and arranged in groups of four, in African-style buildings. Large sliding doors open to a private balcony.

Tarangire National Park

South of Lake Manyara and just over 100 km from Arusha, this is a delightful, untamed gem of a park. Covering 2,600 sq km, it abounds with game and the numerous wide-bowed baobab trees create a lasting impression. Tarangire is at its finest during the dry seasons, from between June to October and December to March. This is when the Tarangire River and the various swamps attract the highest concentrations of game, providing a lifeline to thousands of species. This area is best for oryx, kudu, wildebeest, zebra, elephant and eland but leopards and massive pythons are also found here.

Day 8: Depart

Depart after breakfast and head northeast to Arusha. The journey will pass back through the scenic Maasai Steppe. On arrival in Arusha you will be provided lunch followed by a transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your departure flight.

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