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Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara NP, Ngorongoro & the Serengeti, Tanzania

Beyond the Serengeti

£8,795 pp sharing

At a Glance

Dates: June 4th - June 15th, 2023

Extension: We can offer extensions to this itinerary visiting Rubondo Island or Zanzibar.

Prices: £8,795 pp sharing (with no single supplement)​, excluding international flights. 

In a sentence: The first small-group safari to Northern Tanzania focussed exclusively on rare mammals.

Overview

When one mentions the word 'safari', visions of Tanzania's vast plains are often the first image that comes to mind. And no wonder! The game densities seen in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater are envied across the continent. Quite simply, there is nowhere quite like Tanzania. There is, however, an unseen side to this beautiful area. Often missed by safari enthusiasts racing to the Serengeti or by trekkers making a beeline for the climbing routes, the parks of Tarangire and Lake Manyara have much to offer. Tree-climbing lions, huge herds of elephant and plentiful dry-country species including gerenuk, fringe-eared oryx and even striped hyena make this a truly well-rounded and incredible itinerary. And keep an eye out too for our favourite species, the African wild dog, that shadows the vast migratory herds in the Western Serengeti!

 

This itinerary is unique in that it combines the unmissable sights of the Serengeti with the quieter, but by no means less rewarding, backwaters of this famous area. This spin on a classic safari route is not to be missed! 

 

Itinerary

Day One

Arusha

On ​arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport, you will be met by your Pictus Safaris representative and local guide. We will transfer directly to your comfortable local hotel. There is a pre-tour briefing in the hotel this evening, with the remainder of your day at leisure.

Day Two

Tarangire

This morning we will take our first steps on Tanzania's famous 'Northern Circuit' with a short drive to Tarangire NP. This delightful national park is home to a wide variety of wildlife and, particularly at this time of year, wildlife concentrations are high as nearby swamps dry out. The park is home to a remarkable volume of Bush Elephants, as well as local specialities including Gerenuk and Fringe-Eared Oryx. Smaller predators, including Serval, Bat-Eared Fox and numerous Mongoose species, are here in abundance. Larger predators, especially Lion, are also present, although sightings are not always as forthcoming as in other parks. Our afternoon will be spent in pursuit of the the first 'big game' of the trip, and we would highly recommend using this first drive to soak in the exhilarating experience of spending time with the large herds of Elephant in the park.

Day Three

Tarangire

Our full day today will be spent exploring Tarangire. Leopard, lion, elephant and many dry-country species are the key targets today, and a night drive will likely reveal some rare nocturnal species, with the chance of encountering zorilla and caracal, amongst other rarities.

 

Day Four

Lake Manyara

We start early today, leaving Tarangire behind at dawn and heading to the smaller Lake Manyara National Park. Despite its size, this charming park really packs a punch, and we will spend a full-day exploring in search of wildlife. Big game is less easy to find here than in some other destinations visited on this tour, but the park does support a booming population of elephants and lions. These huge herds of elephant will be a key focus today, as will the unusual population of tree-climbing lions that calls the park home.

At dusk, we head to the town of Karatu to overnight.

Day Five 

Ngorongoro Crater

We leave Karatu at first light, and we will make a beeline for the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater, arguably the premier wildlife destination on the continent. After checking into our lodge we will head out on a full-day game drive into the crater.

Descending the crater rim, many guests are astonished by the wealth of wildlife laid out before them. All of the 'Big Five' are present in high numbers, with Black Rhino particularly well represented - there are several individuals here with remarkably long horns which makes for great photos. Lion and Leopard are seen frequently, with very healthy populations of Spotted Hyena and Serval also. Rarities including Cheetah and African Golden Wolf are also located easily - the only problem will be making sure you have enough space in your camera! 

Day Six

Central Serengeti

We will head north once more this morning, this time to the centre of the Serengeti. En route, we will pass through the Ndutu area, once a part of the Serengeti. This area can provide excellent sightings of game, although the wildebeest migration will be far from this are during our visit. Be sure to look out for wandering packs of African Wild Dogs - these apex predators have made a comeback in recent years around the fringes of the Serengeti, and Ndutu and Grumeti are two of their strongholds.

By early afternoon we will have reached our accommodation. This central area of the Serengeti is an extraordinary area for wildlife and we will use an evening drive to explore our new surrounds. The small rock formations dotting the plains are favourite spots for the resident prides of Lion to snooze, with the more heavily wooded riverine areas haunted by Leopards and rambunctious herds of Bush Elephant. The Serengeti has also got a knack of turning up the unexpected, and we shouldn't be too surprised to encounter Caracal or even Aardvark today.

Days Seven to Eight

Central Serengeti

Two full days will be spent exploring the central reaches of the world-famous Serengeti. The game-viewing here is truly world-class, with the Big Five found in abundance. Cheetah, leopard and lion ensure the big-cat viewing is consistently excellent, with the chance of encountering rarer species around every corner. Each evening, on our return to camp, we will be able to relax in these stunning surrounds, listening to hyaenas whooping and lions roaring around us.

Days Nine to Eleven

Western Serengeti

We now have three full days during which the western reaches of the Serengeti are our playground, with morning and evening game drives structuring our days. At this time of year, the Western Corridor is the key area through which herds of hundreds of thousands of grazers migrate, following the rains, and the spectacle of seeing wildebeest and zebra in such numbers is quite remarkable. This migration draws in impressive densities of predators too, with cheetah, lion and leopard being commonly seen. We will also make a special effort to find some of the rarest predators in Northern Tanzania - the African wild dog. These iconic predators are absent in much of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, but they do occasionally appear here. 

These western parts of the Serengeti are some of the most exclusive in the entire region, meaning that we will sometimes have the privilege of having rare wildlife, including striped hyena, caracal and serval, all to ourselves. Each evening will be spent at our luxurious tented camp deep in the remote Serengeti.

Day Twelve

Tour End

This morning we will transfer guests to a local airstrip for scheduled flights to Arusha, or other destinations in Tanzania such as Zanzibar or Rubondo Island. 

Please be aware that whilst we make every effort to follow the above itinerary as closely as possible, circumstances may occasionally arise that mean the tour deviates from the itinerary.

Dates and Prices

This tour will run in June 2023, aiming to take advantage of the dry season when wildlife populations congregate around water sources. This is also the time of year when Wildebeest and Zebra migrate through the Western Corridor of the Serengeti, which is truly an incredible spectacle. The tour will run from June 4th to June 15th,

The cost of this trip is £8,795 per person excl. international flights. This includes all meals, accommodation and wildlife-focussed activities. All drinks besides water are excluded. We are pleased to confirm that there is no single supplement for this trip. To secure a booking, a deposit payment of £3,550 must be paid. 

Flights and Visas

Pictus Safaris do not offer flight booking services. However, we do recommend the use of travel comparison websites such as skyscanner.net or momondo.com to identify the best fares, and then booking with the airline directly where possible. This will reduce the likelihood of complications and fees should any issues with your booking arise. If you wish to spend an additional night in Arusha at the end of your tour, we can arrange this for you at an extra cost. We strongly recommend booking flights leaving Kilimanjaro after 15.00 on your return to avoid disruption to your plans.

British nationals do require a visa to enter Tanzania. Clients of other nationalities are advised to check well before travel whether they require an entry visa. Details of the process of obtaining a tourist visa for Tanzania will be provided to you upon booking. The cost of a Tanzania  e-visa for UK citizens is $50 - these must be obtained online or on arrival into Tanzania. To acquire a tourist visa for Tanzania you will require a valid passport, one passport photo and a copy of your itinerary. 

Weather and What to Bring

The weather in Tanzania in June is cool and dry, with maximum temperatures of around 23 degrees Celsius. At night, temperatures will drop to around 15 degrees Celsius.

A full packing list will be circulated at least two months prior to departure. Pictus Safaris will be able to provide one extra set of binoculars and two spotlights per group, and clients are welcome to bring additional camera, videography and scope equipment should they wish to. Please note that the use of drones is not permitted in many protected areas. We strongly recommend bringing comfortable, loose-fitting and neutral-coloured clothing on safari - please do not bring camouflage clothing. We recommend against dark coloured clothing (e.g. black or dark blue) as this attracts biting flies. Worn-in hiking boots with ankle support are a must, as are sunglasses, sun protection and a hat.

Do also remember to budget for any expenses not included in the cost of the trip, including for gratuities and additional activities. We recommend bringing US Dollars.

Safety and Security

There are currently no security concerns in any of the areas visited on this trip.

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Image by Rohan Reddy
Image by Rohan Reddy

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