An ideal introduction to Tanzania, this 8-day safari showcases the wildlife and cultural highlights of an extraordinary safari destination, taking you from the grandeur of the Ngorongoro Crater to the abundant savannah plains of the Serengeti.Your family safari beings at Gibb’s Farm set on a coffee plantation close to Lake Manyara National Park. Travel overland to the Ngorongoro Crater, where Africa’s Big 5 roam the crater floor of a natural wonder. The last leg of your journey takes in the rolling grasslands of the Serengeti, where you divide your time between Serengeti Safari Camp and Nduara Loliondo, both set in a private concession on the outskirts of the Serengeti National Park. Your adventure coincides with the spectacle of the Great Migration, one of Africa’s legendary bucket list experiences. This tour also visits the semi-permanent villages of traditional Maasai people, offering you authentic insights into this fascinating indigenous culture.The Tanzania Family Adventure is tailor-made for families who have a taste for exploration and want to experience the Great Migration as well as authentic mobile camping. The tour combines well with a post-safari beach escape to the spice island of Zanzibar.
DAY 1 Welcome to Tanzania
Your adventure begins at Kilimanjaro International Airport where your guide meets you on arrival. A road transfer takes you to Gibb’s Farm, a working coffee plantation set in the forested highlands of the Ngorongoro Crater. Keep your camera close at hand: the game viewing begins almost immediately as you drive through Lake Manyara National Park on route to the farm.Lake Manyara serves up your first taste of Tanzania’s incredible wildlife. Herds of wildebeest and zebra congregate on the lake’s grassy floodplains while its forests are home to elephant families and dusty herds of buffalo. The birdlife on the lake is especially spectacular – at certain times of year clouds of flamingos colour the scene in shades of hot pink.Arriving at Gibb’s Farm in the late afternoon, you find a tranquil homestead set in a lush forested garden. Your accommodation for the next two nights is a comfortable cottage with splendid views and birdsong floating on the breeze. Recover from your long journey with a relaxing soak in your gorgeous bathtub or indulge in a massage at the farm’s spa. Stretch your legs on a stroll through the garden, absorbing the profound sense of peace into every muscle. Dinner is served in a candlelit dining room and showcases the farm’s own organic produce.
DAY 2 The wonders of Ngorongoro
After a delicious farm breakfast with home-baked bread and East Africa’s famous coffee, you head for a full day trip to the Ngorongoro Crater.The crater is easily one of the most spectacular wildlife destinations on Earth. This long-extinct volcano is the world’s largest intact caldera and supports a wide array of habitats and an astonishingly rich diversity of animals. With streams and wetlands to supply fresh water and the caldera’s steep side to protect them, the wildlife never need leave Ngorongoro. As a result, big-tusked elephants, black rhinos and black-maned lions have found sanctuary here along with a veritable Noah’s Ark of African wildlife.Such density and diversity of game are rarely seen elsewhere in Africa, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. The magic of Ngorongoro infuses your senses as you descend onto the crater floor. One of the few places in Africa where the Big 5 can be seen in a single game drive, there is so much more to absorb. Herds of gazelle, wildebeest and zebra are resident here, while smaller predators like caracal and serval may also be seen, along with lions’ main competitor, the spotted hyena, and more rarely, leopard.At midday, your guide brings the drive to a halt under a shady tree. Lunch hampers and flasks appear as you settle down for a delicious picnic and rest before continuing your exploration of the crater. Returning to Gibbs Farm in the early evening, a cosy fireplace beckons you into the lounge for cocktails and convivial conversation with your fellow adventurers before dinner is served.
DAYS 3-4 A Masai encounter
After breakfast, you depart for Nduara Loliondo. Like the Masai people themselves, this camp moves location twice a year, matching the rhythm of the seasons. The central building resembles a yurt, around which the Meru-style guest tents are laid out. Located in a private concession, this camp offers safari activities not permitted in the national park. A guided nature walk with a Maasai guide gives you an intimate portrait of the wilderness – discover how these traditional nomads find water, which plants are safe to eat and which make essential medicine. Your guide reads the natural world the way you read road signs, with as much ease and certainty he gathers information from spoor, broken twigs and scat – translating the signs to open your eyes to a whole new world.At Nduara Loliondo, the emphasis is on authentic cultural interactions. Your guide takes you to a welcoming manyatta home to witness firsthand the daily life of this proud, red-clad nation. Entering a Masai homestead, you pass barriers of thorn tree branches that keep predators at bay and learn how their intricate, egalitarian social structure has allowed them to thrive for centuries in harmony with the land, the wildlife and their hardy cattle.Another activity not permitted in national parks is night drives, which allow you to seek out nocturnal species by a spotlight. The luminous eyes of bush babies and genet cats stare back at you from trees while a pack of spotted hyenas lope beside the 4×4 with easy strides. Their powerful jaws remind you what formidable hunters they are, and how they came to be such adversaries with Africa’s apex predator, lions. There is nothing quite as spine-tingling as the whoop-whoop cry of a hyena clan in the inky black of night!
DAYS 5-7 The Plains of the Serengeti
The excitement is palpable at breakfast today – the Serengeti lies ahead. The vast, rolling plains of Tanzania’s flagship park seem endless and are the setting for one of the most incredible wildlife spectacles on the planet. Every year, over a million wildebeest, zebra and gazelles migrate through the region in search of water and fresh pastures. Undeterred by the host of predators that follow them and by perilous river crossings where enormous crocodiles lurk, these animals are driven by an instinct unchanged over millennia.Your home for the next three nights is Serengeti Safari Camp, an authentic semi-permanent tented camp, which changes location every few months to make sure guests enjoy front row seats to the migration. You are transported to a bygone era of elegant travel at this colonial-style camp. Six, spacious walk-in canvas suites radiate from the central dining and lounge tents while chairs gathered around the central fireplace invite a guest to gather together on starlit evenings.Settle into your suite after lunch and freshen up for the afternoon’s adventure. Driving out onto the Serengeti’s open plains, your guide interprets the signs of the wild and opens your eyes to the hidden gems of the natural world. Game viewing is excellent year round – elephant and buffalo sweeps like battleships across yellow-grass oceans and stern-eyed Eagles send up their haunting cry from thorn trees. The Great Migration presents this wild abundance at its most extravagant: sit back as the high drama unfolds with huge herds rolling across the savannah, the bulls jostling for supremacy, big cats and wild dogs stalking them by night and day, and crocodiles waiting patiently in the rivers.As the sun begins to sink into the horizon, you stop to stretch your legs, taking in the views. Sunset paints the sky a rich palette as sip on a chilled sundowner and listen to sounds of dusk: antelope taking shelter, pheasants going to ground, the deep coughs of lion waking to hunt, and the call of the nightjar floating on the air.
DAY 8 A farewell to Africa
After breakfast, a game drive to Ndutu airstrip connects with your flight back to Arusha and your onward journey home. Flying over the immense plains, you recall the adventures of the previous days: clouds of flamingo on Lake Manyara, encounter the Big 5 in the Ngorongoro Crater, the thrilling drama of the Great Migration, and the warm smiles of the Masai welcoming you to their manyatta … memories that remain with you forever.