Tanzania – Ngorongoro Crater, Great Rift Valley & the African Plains
Day 1 – This is Africa
Your African Adventure begins when you arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport to be met by your Venture Safely expedition guide. Having cleared customs we will travel to Arusha for our first overnight. Arusha sits below the dormant volcano of Mount Meru (4562m) and is on the eastern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley. Arusha gives us perfect access to the National Parks of this stunning part of Eastern Africa, Ngorongoro Conservation area and all the delights that Africa has to offer.
Day 2 – Tarangire
Today we leave our guest house in Arusha to travel to Tarangire National Park. The park is famous for its incredible density of African elephant and is also host to waterbuck, giraffe, dik dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, vervet monkey, banded mongoose, and olive baboon. Predators in Tarangire include African lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, and African wild dog. In the June to November dry season we can expect to see large herds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo.
Here we will spend the night under canvas at a traditional safari lodge
Day 3 – Ngorongoro Crater
We travel today to the natural, and breathtaking, wonder that is the Ngorongoro Crater which is the starting point of our trek. Today though we have time to take in this incredible World Heritage site in all its glory. This conservation area covers 8292 square kilometers and is, quite literally, teeming with wildlife. The multiple land use policy of the conservation area allows the indigenous tribes to continue their traditional way of life and it is here that the Maasai have subsequently colonised, living in harmony with the wildlife as they rear their cattle.
Day 4 – Trek
We set out on our trek today along the crater rim through bush and grasslands. We will be accompanied throughout our trek by a Maasai guide as well as our own safari guide and cook team. Our food and camping equipment will be carried by donkeys. Tonight we camp on the rim of the Empaki Crater.
Day 5 – Trek
Today we continue along the crater rim to the Great Rift Valley escarpment. The Great Rift is a long depression that extends from Syria in the Middle East down to Mozambique in South Eastern Africa. It is visible from outer space. Formed around 20 – 25 million years ago when the earth’s crust weakened and began tearing apart. Today, this huge geological feature provides a unique landscape and some of the most famous habitats for wildlife on the African continent.
Descending to the valley floor we make our way to Lake Natron. This mineral rich soda lake is the only regular breeding area in East Africa for the 2.5 million lesser flamingoes, whose status of “near threatened” results from their dependence on this one location. Greater flamingoes and storks also breed on the mud flats. Tonight we camp in this stunning landscape.
Day 6 – Trek
Our last day of trekking sees us explore the lake area further as we make our way through the Lateoli famous for its hominin footprints, preserved in volcanic ash. These footprints of early humans date back to 3.7 million years ago and proved that early humans were walking upright before they had an enlarged brain. From here we will also explore some of the stunning waterfalls in the area.
Day 7 – Mto Wa Mbu Village
Our trekking phase completed we travel from Lake Natron to the exciting village of Mto wa Mbu. Here, among its 18000 inhabitants, are 120 separate tribes bringing with them a huge melting pot of cultures. Wildlife abounds with Baboons, Elephants, Monkeys, Gazelles, Hippos, Giraffe, Wildebeast and Zebras all easily spotted but the beauty of this village is its rich culture of indigenous tribes people and local markets, banana, rice, potato and cassava farms. Tonight we stay in a campsite close to the village.
Day 8 – Game Drive
After breakfast, we take an early game drive to Lake Manyara. Having already experienced the wildlife of Tarangire, Ngorongoro Conservation area, and Lake Natron, our game drive takes us to this scenic park famous for its tree climbing lions, elephants, and baboons.
Day 9 – Lake Eyasi & the Hadzabe Bushmen
Our last full day in Tanzania we make our way overland to the Lake Eyasi region, a shallow salt lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley at the base of the Serengeti Plateau to meet the Hadzabe and Datoga tribes. The Hadzabe Bushmen are some of the last remaining hunter-gathers in Africa.
Day 10 – Home
We return to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your flight home with a suitcase full of souvenirs, a head full of memories and Africa in your heart forever more.
Please Note: This expedition can easily be extended to give more time exploring Africa. Just contact us with your requirements.