Arusha | Lake Manyara | Serengeti | Ngorongoro Crater | Maasai
See three Northern Tanzania National Parks, including the Serengeti, visit the Maasai tribe, and descend into the Ngorongoro Crater.
Day 1- Arusha National Park
This is the closest National Park to Arusha Town, Northern Tanzania’s safari capital. The park was established in 1960 and is 137 square kilometers (52 square miles).
The entrance gate leads into a shadowy mountain forest inhabited by inquisitive blue monkeys, olive baboons, and the most famous place in the northern safari circuit to see the acrobatic black-and-white colobus monkeys.
In the midst of the forest stands the spectacular steep, rocky cliffs of the Ngurdoto Crater which surrounds a wide marshy floor, sometimes dotted with buffalos and warthogs.
Further north, the beautiful Momela Lakes yield different hues of green and blue. The lake waters can often be tinged with pink from thousands of Flamingos. The lakes support a rich selection of resident and migratory water fowls all of which offer plenty of opportunities for bird watching. The park is also home to waterbucks, giraffes, dik-diks, duikers, zebras, and the occasional elephant sighting.
While in the park, the majestic snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro can be seen, but it is Kilimanjaro’s unassuming cousin, Mount Meru, the fifth highest peak in Africa at 4566 meters (14990 feet), that dominates the park’s horizon.
Day 2- Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park’s name derives from a plant called Euphorbia tirucalii, known as ‘Olmanyara’ in the Maasai language. The Maasai use this plant to cover their bomas (hedges) which surround their dwellings.
Lake Manyara is 330 square kilometers (127 square miles) and was founded in 1960. It is located in Northern Tanzania, 126 kilometers (78 miles) west of Arusha Town and strategically located along the highway westward to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park.
Some of the attractions found here may not be seen in other famous parks, such as the ground water forest-- an evergreen forest fed by freshwater springs-- and the Great Rift Valley escarpment, one of the most unique and beautiful sceneries in the park. You will be amazed by the diversity of wildlife species and habitats. The lake forms the most spectacular sight of the high diversity of bird species both migratory and resident, especially the spectacular volumes of flamingos.
Day 3 & 4- Serengeti National Park
The name “Serengeti” is derived from the Maasai word “Siringet” meaning endless plains. As you stand on the southern grass plains, you experience this vastness. The Serengeti became Tanzania’s first national park in 1951. At this time, the Serengeti National Park also included the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Tanzania was called Tanganyika. Further alterations in 1959 resulted in the park boundaries which we see today. Covering 14763 sq kilometers (5700 sq miles), the park is almost the size of Northern Ireland or Connecticut, making it Tanzania’s second largest national park. It is Tanzania’s oldest and most famous national park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and recently proclaimed a World Wide Wonder.
The park is the center of the Serengeti ecosystem, which is roughly defined by the annual wildebeest migration. However, it offers much more than just this migration. The Serengeti’s colorful topography of mountains, rolling hills, rivers, and plains provide a year-round habitat for many Tanzanian species. Even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa with great herds of buffalos, giraffes, groups of elephants, eland, topi, impala, gazelles, and the spectacle of predators like prides of lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, and hyenas.
But there is more than big games-- more than 500 species of birds, ranging from the oversized Ostrich, to the bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland, to the eagles that soar above the beautiful sky.
In addition to everything else, one of the most unique features of the Serengeti is the beautiful rock outcrops known as “kopjes” (pronounced “copy” from the Dutch word meaning “little heads”). The technical term for kopjes is inselbergs. The intriguing round shapes of these ancient granite rocks are the result of cracking and erosion from exposure to the sun, wind, and rain.
Day 5- Maasai & Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area boasts the finest blend of landscape, wildlife, people, and archaeological sites in Africa. The rich pasture and permanent water of the crater floor support a large resident population of wildlife. Up to 25,000 predominantly grazing animals live with predators and about 500 species of birds.
This conservation area is situated 180 kilometers (110 miles) west of Arusha Town and covers an area of 8288 square kilometers (3200 square miles). Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, the Ngorongoro is home to wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing. It includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest unbroken caldera and a sanctuary for the critically endangered Black Rhino. The stunning landscape of the Ngorongoro Crater, combined with its spectacular concentration of wildlife, is one the greatest natural wonders on the planet.
Day 6- Arusha City
Depending on your flight schedule, the City of Arusha has many wonderful cultural activities. Choose from a Spice tour, local market tour, museum tours, or the Cultural Heritage Centre. Mix and match these mini-adventures to have a full day experience in the city.
Pick up and drop off at your desired location. Included: private safari driver, park fees, cultural excursions, full room and board (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and lodge accommodations), and bottled water. Be sure to call or email us to customize your Off Season Adventures experience!
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