Experience the breadth of Tanzania's riches, from Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti to exotic Zanzibar and Saadani National Park
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
The enormous sweep of the grasslands and plain was amazing as was the symbiosis between such disparate creatures as the zebras and wildebeest. We watched a baboon jump on our land cruiser hood and proceed to unscrew an antenna.”
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This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.
From the depths of Ngorongoro Crater and the vast plains of the Serengeti to exotic Zanzibar and coastal Saadani National Park, discover the breadth of peaceful Tanzania’s riches—abundant wildlife, tropical shores, varied cultures, and valued traditions. Begin in Arusha National Park with a game drive in search of leopard, zebra, and giraffe, with a possible backdrop of snowcapped Mt. Kilimanjaro. At Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you’ll visit a local Maasai village and descend to the floor of magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage site that represents Africa in microcosm: grassland, swamps, lakes, forests, and some 25,000 mammals, including elephant, black rhinoceros, lion, hippo, and zebra. After a stop at Olduvai Gorge, considered the "cradle of humanity,” continue to Serengeti National Park, considered Africa’s finest park. During your many game drives, see some—or all—of Africa’s “Big Five” and maybe the savannah teeming with wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle during their famous migration. Then fly to Zanzibar to learn about its worldwide reputation as the “Spice Island.” Conclude your safari with three days of game drives, river excursions, and bird watching at our deluxe river lodge adjacent to Saadani National Park. Limited to 18 participants.
Day 1 & 2 — Depart U.S. for Arusha, Tanzania
Upon arrival after midnight, transfer directly to the hotel where your room is ready for early check in.
Day 3 — Arusha
At this morning’s briefing learn about the journey ahead then set out on an afternoon game drive in Arusha National Park, where you may spot leopard, zebra, giraffe – and in the distance, possibly, snow-capped Mt. Kilimanjaro. Inside the park see Mt. Meru, Africa’s fifth highest peak at almost 15,000 feet. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Arusha and Ngorongoro
Depart today for Ngorongoro Conservation Area, wildlife haven and homeland of the semi-nomadic Maasai people. En route stop at Mto Wa Mbu village for a cultural experience visiting local homes, farms, markets, and schools. Enjoy a savory lunch at a banana plantation. Arrive at the Ngorongoro Crater, blending in so much with the landscape as to be invisible from the crater floor. This afternoon visit a local Maasai village and see their traditional pastoral lifestyle up close. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Ngorongoro Crater
This morning descend to the floor of magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage site and at 100 square miles the world’s largest intact and perfectly formed volcanic caldera. The unique biosphere here has remained unchanged for eons; towering walls encircle the crater’s floor which represents Africa in microcosm: grassland, swamps, lakes, forests, and some 25,000 mammals, including elephant, black rhinoceros, lion, hippo, and zebra. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Ngorongoro, Olduvai Gorge, Serengeti National Park
En route today to the fabled Serengeti, visit 31-mile Olduvai Gorge. It was here in 1959 that anthropologist Mary Leakey discovered the 1.8 million-year-old skull of Australopithecus boisei – and revolutionized the study of human evolution. Part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (which itself is part of the Serengeti region), Olduvai is considered the “cradle of humanity” and ranks as one of the world’s most important prehistoric sites. Continue to Serengeti National Park, home to such plains dwellers as the lion, cheetah, zebra, and wildebeest. The Serengeti, the Maasai’s “endless plain,” is considered Africa’s finest park, and begin to see why on this afternoon’s game drive. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Serengeti National Park
In Tanzania’s northeast corner sits the vast Serengeti, 5,700 square miles (equal in size to Connecticut), one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges, and the Tanzanian portion of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. Twice a year (Jan–Feb and Jun–Oct), some 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle migrate to new grazing lands, sparking one of nature’s most spectacular sights and the world’s largest migration. But the Serengeti’s treeless plains teem with animal life year-round, and this is the best place to see lion and cheetah up close. On today’s game drives, there’s an opportunity to see some – or all – of Africa’s “Big Five,” along with other plains animals and some 500 species of birds. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Serengeti National Park
Wake up to the sun rising over the Serengeti and begin another day to savor the spectacles and satisfactions of safari life in the Serengeti. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Serengeti and Zanzibar
Fly this morning to tropical Zanzibar, Tanzania’s semiautonomous Indian Ocean archipelago with a storied history. After checking in at the hotel, set out to discover Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital and East Africa’s only ancient town still functioning. A heady mix of Moorish, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African influences (though predominantly Muslim today), Stone Town boasts a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with shops, homes, hidden courtyards, and extravagantly carved wooden doors, as you’ll see on this afternoon’s tour. Highlights include the open air market, teeming with exotic fruits and vegetables; the 19th-century Cathedral on the site of a former slave market; the Old Fort, offering lovely views of town and the ocean; and “Tip Tip House,” residence of Zanzibar’s late Sultans. Dinner tonight is on your own. (B,L)
Day 10 — Zanzibar
A morning tour of a spice plantation reveals why Zanzibar is known as the “Spice Island”– its bounty of cloves, nutmeg, ginger, chilies, black pepper, vanilla, coriander, and cinnamon have found their way around the world for centuries. Following lunch on your own take a short boat ride to Prison Island. Here enjoy a rare opportunity to see giant tortoises up close. This is one of the few place besides the Galapagos islands where giant tortoises exist. Learn about conservation efforts for the continued survival of this ancient reptile. Return to Stone Town later today, and enjoy dinner at the hotel. (B,D)
Day 11 — Zanzibar and Saadani
Leaving Zanzibar today, fly to Saadani and our deluxe lodge nestled on the southern shore of the Wami River. Adjacent to Saadani National Park on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Tanzania’s only coastal wildlife reserve, Saadani offers a unique safari experience. This afternoon enjoy the first of the activities available throughout your stay, including game drives, river excursions, bird watching, and sailing on a traditional dhow. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Saadani
Enjoy Saadani’s activities today, which enable you to see wildlife up close – and with little chance of encountering other safari-goers. In and around the lodge and national park, an abundance of wildlife includes lion, leopard, buffalo, antelope, giraffe, elephant, and zebra. Closer to the river, we may see hippo and crocodile. There will be a diverse array of birdlife. (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Saadani
Start another day with an opportunity to appreciate your unique wildlife-viewing opportunities at this alluring outpost. Tonight celebrate your Tanzania adventure at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 14 — Saadani and Dar es Salaam
Travel overland this morning to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city. This afternoon is at leisure; dinner tonight is at the hotel. (B,D)
Day 15 — Depart Dar es Salaam for U.S.
Early this morning transfer to the airport for your flight to the U.S.