Arusha | Tarangire | Lake Manyara | Hadzabe | Datoga | Ngorongoro Crater | Maasai
See three Northern Tanzania National Parks, experience the culture of three indigenous tribes, 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- TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK
Tarangire National Park is 2850 square kilometers (1100 square miles) and located southwest of Arusha, about 118 kilometers (75 miles) from Arusha Town. During the dry season, the Tarangire river is a mere shadow of itself. The trickle of water causes the wildlife to remain in high quantities, but in a limited space. Thirsty antelopes and elephants wonder many kilometers in Tarangire in search of water. These stronger animals can dig into the damp earth of the riverbed to find underground springs, while wildebeest, zebras, buffalos, giraffes, and gazelles mingle around the shrinking lagoons with rare species such as elands and oryx. Pythons climb into the shade of the trees that line Tarangire’s massive southern swamps and hang there like giant malignant fruit, coiled neatly around the branches in a perfect sphere.
Tarangire in the dry season has the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem. Its huge herds of elephants rival the park’s gigantic baobab trees as its most celebrated feature. Bird lovers will also enjoy the large diversity of winged species in Tarangire.
DAY 3- 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 4- HADZABE & DATOGA TRIBE EXCURSIONS
The Hadzabe bushmen live in groups and both hunt with bows and arrows and gather roots, tubers, and wild fruits, much as humankind lived in the Stone Age. They are also nomadic and move from place to place, depending on the availability of the animals around their camps. They typically hunt baboons, monkeys, kudus, dik-diks, elands, and birds. They do not, however, hunt hyenas and vultures because of deeply-held cultural beliefs. The distance between these groups depends on the landscape and the availability of wild animals. They live in small thatched houses during the dry season and in caves in the wet season.
The Datoga Tribe are expert blacksmiths. They are skilled craftsmen who use scrap metal to forge pieces of jewelry, along with weapons and arrow heads, used locally by other tribes. They also keep goats, sheeps, cattle, donkeys, and a few chickens. They were formerly nomadic, but now many of their groups farm plots of maize, beans, millet, and similar crops.
You will be able to try forging metal and practicing your bow-and-arrow skills!
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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