Tanzania in East Africa has a rich history of safari and this action-packed itinerary is a fitting tribute to that. Your starting point is Arusha, the gateway to the northern Serengeti plains and home to some of the country’s finest coffee farms. A night at Arusha Coffee Lodge will let you sleep off your jet-lag and leave you ready to enjoy early mornings and nights around the crackling fire at Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire National Park.
After the fun of a walking safari and night drives in Tarangire, you will transfer to one of the most game-filled places in Africa: the Ngorongoro Crater. Your home here is Gibb’s Farm and a game drive through the crater is likely to be one of the biggest highlights of your vacation.
From Ngorongoro to another world-renowned highlight: Serengeti National Park. Your final three nights are at Sayari Camp, where you will lace up your boots for a thrilling walking safari before winging your way back to Arusha and then home.
DAYS 1-2 The gateway to Tanzania
Arusha is known as the gateway to Tanzania’s incredible safari areas. The bustling town, which is the centre point of the country’s high-quality coffee-growing industry, is serviced by a busy airport and is home to vibrant Maasai markets.
After jetting in, you will be collected at the airport for the short drive to Arusha Coffee Lodge. A gracious historic lodge set on a working coffee farm in the distant foothills of Mount Meru, you have the option of booking a treatment or two at the spa to help your get over the jet-lag hump, swim a few refreshing laps in the pool or simply settle back on one of the shady verandahs with a delicious cup of coffee and watch the world go by.
DAYS 2-4 From Arusha to Tarangire
After a blissful night in your private suite, you board a light aircraft for the hop from Arusha to Kuro where you will be met for your drive to Oliver’s Camp in Tarangire National Park. An intimate camp with only 10 tents, Oliver’s lies near an extensive wetland, which almost guarantees excellent bird and elephant watching. The tents are simple but comfortable and you have the option of experiencing ‘fly-camping’ or spending the night in secluded locations far from the lodge for an authentic taste of Africa.
You will soon fall into the enticing rhythm of safari: dawn and dusk game drives punctuated by bush breakfasts or sundowners. At Oliver’s, you can add exciting walking safaris and exhilarating night drives to the list. Walking safaris offer a completely different perspective of the landscape – once you leave the 4×4 behind and set out on foot with a trained, armed guide, you will discover insects, birds, flowers, tracks, spoor and all sorts of small details usually missed in favour of bigger game. Night drives add another dimension: with your power of sight diminished, your senses of hearing and smell go into overdrive and you will hear the crack of breaking branches in the undergrowth or smell a carcass much sooner than during the day. Night drives also whisper the possibility of seeing owls, hyena, leopards, porcupine and other largely nocturnal animals.
DAYS 4-6 A world of its own
It is back to ‘farm life’ as your bid farewell to Tarangire and set your sights on Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s greatest unbroken volcanic caldera and home to almost 30 000 animals who never leave its sheltering walls, nourished instead by the mineral-rich grass that grows on the crater’s floor. Game viewing here is among the easiest in the world and it is not unusual for visitors to see all members of the Big 5 in a single game drive.
You will check into Gibb’s Farm, which is on a working coffee plantation and dairy farm. With a friendly atmosphere and home-spun hospitality, guests at Gibb’s Farm find it easy relax. Between game drives to Ngorongoro Crater, you can enjoy Maasai-inspired healing therapies at the African Living Spa, scenic walks in the manicured English gardens or guided hikes to the outside wall of the crater.
Your meals here will be lovingly created from whatever the extensive organic vegetable garden yields – in the evenings, sit down to a 4-course home-cooked dinner before retiring to one of the 17 cosy cottages.
DAYS 6-9 Breath in the Serengeti
After two peaceful nights, you will fly the short distance from the airstrip at Lake Manyara to Kogatende in Serengeti National Park. This is where safari reaches its apogee: a place of classic safaris, the wildebeest migration and massive herds. You will have three days to explore this untouched wilderness from your home at Sayari, a seasonal camp lying close to the Mara River, scene of dramatic river crossings by thousands of wildebeest every year.
Sayari is great for children as there is a special kids’ programme as well as a sparkling swimming pool. But adults are also spoilt for choice and your days will be filled with game drives – look out for massive crocodiles on the banks of the Mara – as well as guided hikes and walking safaris. Picnics will be taken out on the plains and drinks around the fire under a swathe of stars…
After nine days, it will be time to take your leave of Tanzania, although a little part of this unique place will have lodged itself forever in your heart. Waving goodbye to the staff at Sayari Camp, you will be driven back to Kogatende for your flights to Arusha and then onto Kilimanjaro International Airport for your final flight home.