The journey begins in Arusha, in the shadow of mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. Your guide meets you in the morning and you board your safari vehicle for the drive to Ngorongoro Crater. Driving through spectacular Great Rift Valley scenery, the landscape rolls past the windows as you leave the fragrant coffee plantations of Arusha behind. Stopping en route for a delicious picnic lunch in a scenic spot, you then continue towards the famous crater.
The Ngorongoro Crater ranks as one of the most spectacular wildlife destinations on Earth. This long-extinct volcano is the world’s largest intact caldera and its walls contain an incredible array of habitats, which in turn support an astonishing population of game. With springs and streams to support their water needs, the animals need never leave the crater, and the natural barricades of its walls have protected a population of elephants with enormous tusks, black rhinos and black-maned lions, among others.
With a density of game rarely seen elsewhere, combined with breathtaking scenery, the magic of Ngorongoro will begin to work on your senses. One of the few places in Africa where the Big 5 can often be seen during the course of one game drive, there is also so much more to absorb. Herds of gazelle, wildebeest and zebra are resident here, while smaller predators like caracal and serval are also seen, along with the lions’ main competitor, the spotted hyaena. The Lerai forest and the marshes below it are the domain of enormous tuskers, where sightings of these beautiful animals are enhanced by spectacular scenery as a backdrop.
After a thrilling afternoon, you ascend the crater walls and arrive at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, just in time to view a spectacular sunset view over the caldera. Enjoy a delicious dinner in the expansive dining room with its enormous windows overlooking the crater before slipping off to your suite for a well-earned rest.
Ngorongoro to Lake Manyara
Enjoy a delicious cup of Tanzanian coffee with your early breakfast before departing on your game drive to Lake Manyara National Park. This small but important park is incredibly diverse in habitat, making it a home to a great variety of species and famous for its tree-climbing lions. Herds of buffalo, wildebeest and zebra congregate on the grassy plains, while the forests are home to impressively-tusked elephants. The birdlife on the lake is spectacularly prolific and sometimes huge flocks of flamingos turn the shores pink with their plumage.
Drive through huge stands of fig, mahogany and acacia trees where monkeys shriek and chatter above; drift out into the open plains, where the lake shimmers blue in the haze of the African heat. Elephants moving toward the water take on a dreamlike quality as they shift in and out of focus in the distance. Moving closer, you watch as they plunge into the water to drink and bathe. Their sense of enjoyment is almost palpable as they splash water over their huge bodies, slurp up great trunkfuls to drink and watch the youngsters cavorting in the shallows.
As the afternoon wears on, you ascend the towering escarpment to where Lake Manyara Sopa Lodge sits perched like an eagle’s nest. Strolling out in front of the lodge, you take in the sweeping panoramic view of the lake, glistening in the light of the setting sun.
Taking some time to settle in and freshen up before dinner, you emerge from your suite as the first stars are lighting up the sky. A hearty meal in the dining room awaits, and the tales of adventure and marvel drift around the room in the soft candlelight. Taking a final hot drink out on to the terrace, you stand a few moments, gazing out at the lake shining in the moonlight, and the shimmering expanse of the Milky Way above.
Return to Arusha
Leaving Lake Manyara National Park in the distance, wend your way back to Arusha to spend the night under the soaring peak of Mount Meru, sister to Mount Kilimanjaro. Clean-lined and contemporary, Mount Meru Hotel is the perfect place to unwind after your Tanzanian road-trip, its comfortable rooming offering tranquil views of the distant mountains. Spend the day lazing at the pool or preparing the next leg of your journey.
After a delicious alfresco breakfast, you decide the next part of your travels. Watching the scenery roll past the windows, you feel a new connection with this landscape, a familiarity, a fascination; it will urge you to one day return.
Private vehicle & guide
Excellent Big 5 viewing in Ngorongoro Crater
Fantastic wildlife viewing & birding in Lake Manyara
Game drives & safari walks
Drive through the Great Rift Valley
Items of a Personal Nature
Tips and Gratitude's to Safari Staff
What to bring
A warm sweater as the nights can be chilly at high altitudes.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is known for the flamingos that inhabit the lake. During the wet season they inhabit the edges of the lake in flocks of thousands but they are not so present during the dry season.More than 400 species of birds inhabit the park and many remain throughout the year. Because of this Lake Manyara National Park is a good spot for bird watching. Visitors to the park can expect to see upwards of 100 different species of bird on any day.Leopards, lions, elephants, blue monkeys, dik-dik, gazelle, hippo, giraffe, impala, and more inhabit the park and many can be seen throughout the year. There is a hippo pond at one end of the park where visitors can get out of their cars and observe from a safe distance. The leopards and lions are both known to lounge in the trees while not hunting for prey.
Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
It is one of the most-visited regions of Tanzania and is often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The crater is the world’s largest intact caldera. The crater floor has its own ecosystem and environment and it is not uncommon for the temperature to be significantly warmer on the crater floor than it is at the rim of the crater. At the base of the crater is a large soda lake called Lake Magadi or Lake Makat. It is home to thousands of brightly-colored flamingos and is very popular for photo opps.
Mount Meru is one of Tanzania’s most beautiful volcanoes, and it is the second highest mountain in Tanzania at 4,5685m, the fifth highest in Africa.
The mountain is located within Arusha National Park, Tanzania’s gem. It is a great mountain to climb and offers spectacular scenery, including views of Mount Kilimanjaro. The mountain is unspoilt and less congested as compared to it’s Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya counterparts.