Arusha National Park

Size: 325 sq. miles (137 sq. km.) Best Time to Visit: July – March

Arusha National Park is one of the most easily accessible of north-eastern Tanzania. Situated between the peaks of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro (less than an hour’s drive from Kilimanjaro airport and only 20 minutes from the city of Arusha itself) the park is home to many varieties of smaller game as well as giraffe, elephant, leopard, hippo, colobus monkey, water buffalo, bushbuck, and over 400 species of birdlife.

The views of Mt. Kilimanjaro are breathtaking but it is Mt. Meru that dominates the park. Excursions can be made to Meru’s summit (with an armed ranger because of the animals) and it is a popular “practice” run for those whose destination is the peak of Kilimanjaro. Although not as high as Kilimanjaro, the view from Meru’s peak is spectacular and includes a magnificent crater and eruption cone. The hike itself traverses a variety of landscapes including plains, forest and lava desert. For the less ambitious, Arusha National Park is one of the few parks where a walking safari is possible (also with an armed ranger). Walking safaris can be as short or as long as desired..

The slopes and summit of Meru are only one type of protected habitat in the park, others include the Momela Lakes region and the Ngurdoto Crater, all of which afford spectacular views of the African countryside and wildlife. The lakes are very salty and the animals do not use them for drinking but the high mineral content gives each lake a different colour and each supports a unique array of insect and bird life. The Ngurdoto crater, which measures nearly two miles across, remains undisturbed by humans. The views from the rim are magnificent and a variety of wildlife can be spotted grazing on the crater floor.

For those on safari, one of the unique aspects of the Arusha area is its dense population. It is possible to experience Africa as its modern inhabitants do by visiting one of the local communities that has initiated grassroots tourism. You’ll be charmed by the authentic African meals, songs and the hospitality of Mama Anna as she demonstrates her cheese-making techniques. You may also be able to purchase coffee – and even help roast and grind it using traditional methods! For a small fee, breakfast lunch and/or dinner can be provided.
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Accommodation

Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge

Built on a former coffee plantation, the Moivaro Lodge (link) features individual thatched cabins, beautiful gardens and a large colonial style verandah that can’t be beat for relaxing with a cool drink after a long day or breakfasting in anticipation of one. Moivaro has nature trails on the grounds and is optimally located near Arusha and Kilimanjaro airport.

Mountain Village

Similar to Moivaro, although somewhat older, the Mountain Village Lodge offers individual cabins and fantastic views. Nature walks can be arranged and the hotel is located near Arusha town and Kilimanjaro airport.

Novotel Mt. Meru

The Novotel at Mt. Meru is a large, western-style 1960’s hotel just at the edge of Arusha town. The Novotel is a pick-up point for shuttles to and from Nairobi and is slightly more central to the town and airport than the above-mentioned lodges.

Mountain Village

Similar to Moivaro, although somewhat older, the Mountain Village Lodge offers individual cabins and fantastic views. Nature walks can be arranged and the hotel is located near Arusha town and Kilimanjaro airport.

Dik-Dik

Named for the smallest of the African antelope, the dik-dik is a newer hotel, centrally located and features 18 double suites all with modern amenities. Typical east African flora can be viewed throughout the grounds.
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Luxury Tent Camping Safari

Duration: 12 nights, 13 days
Description: Luxury tented camps
Location: Arusha, Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire
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Day 1

Arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, meet with your tour guide and transfer to Arusha.

Dinner and overnight stay at Moivaro Coffee Lodge.

Day 2

After breakfast depart for game watching at Arusha National Park with picnic lunch. After lunch go on an afternoon game drive around the Momella Lakes where you will have good views the Kilimanjaro. This is also where you will enjoy your first sights of wild animals and the beautiful landscapes surrounding Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru. Drive to the lodge before dark.

Dinner and overnight stay at Moivaro Coffee Lodge.

Day 3

After breakfast drive to Lake Manyara National Park where you will arrive in time for lunch at the lodge. Here you will have the best views of the Great Rift Valley while having lunch. After lunch prepare for an afternoon game watch at the Lake Manyara National Park, which lies in the middle of the 8,000km long Great Rift Valley. Here, you will have very good chances to see more wild animals than in Arusha National Park.

Dinner and overnight stay at Lake Manyara Migunga Forest Camp.

Day 4

After breakfast depart to Serengeti National Park, stopping along the way to visit Oldupai Gorge with a picnic lunch. Here you will visit the museum which was set up by Dr. Leakey who found the bones of the first human from some millions years ago. Visit Maasai Boma and become familiar with the Maasai culture and their way of life. Continue game drives en-route to Serengeti National Park, where you arrive for dinner.

Dinner and overnight stay at Serengeti Simiyu Camp.

Day 5

Early morning game drive at dawn and then drive back for breakfast. After breakfast leave with a lunch box for an all day game viewing in the Serengeti grassland, woodland and bushland where you will have time to explore and spot the migrating animals including predators, such as lion, hyena, leopard and scavengers who follow the migratory animals. Serengeti is incomparable in its beauty and home to more than three million larger mammals spread over its vast endless plain. It is here, at certain times of the year, that we may encounter the breathtaking spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration and during a safari in the month of March you will be able to view the animal migration at Serengeti. Return back to the lodge before dark.

Dinner and overnight stay at Serengeti Simiyu Camp.

Day 6

After breakfast depart and drive to explore the central area of Serengeti National Park, where you will have a different experience with resident wild animals that are depending on the Seronera River for drinking during the dry season, when all migratory animals have moved to Maasai Mara. This area is where the lion – the biggest pride of the Serengeti National Park – waits along the banks of the Seronera River for the resident animals to come for drinking and catches them. This is also one of the best places along the Seronera Valley to spot leopards in acacia trees. Then drive to the camp for a warm lunch and afternoon rest before another afternoon game drive.

Dinner and overnight stay at Olakira Luxury Camp.

Day 7

After breakfast depart to Ngorongoro with picnic lunch which gives you have enough time to complete a short game drive to the centre of Serengeti, famous for big cats, lions, leopards and cheetah. Then on the way to Ngorongoro you will visit Oldupai Gorge, the site where Dr Leakey discovered the fossils of the first human and past creatures from over 1.7 million years ago. This is also an opportunity to visit a Maasai village. Ngorongoro is over 300 years home to the people of the Maasai tribe.

Dinner and overnight stay at Kensington Luxury Camp.

Day 8

After breakfast descend to the caldera for a full day game drive with picnic lunch from the kitchen of your camp. This day you will have time to explore every corner of the crater to try to find the last of the Big Five which you might have missed in the Serengeti National Park. This is a very special place to see the rare Black Rhinoceros, which due to poaching over a long time is an endangered species. If you are lucky you will also spot the Big Bull Elephants, which have bigger ivory than other elephants, feeding in the permanent swamp in the crater. You will also see many wild animals here, which are very docile compared to those migrating in Serengeti. Enjoy lunch by the lake at the Ngoitoktok picnic site whilst watching the hippos, but beware of the Black Kites – birds wanting to steal your food!

Dinner and overnight stay at Kensington Camp.

Day 9

After breakfast drive to Lake Eyasi, southwest of Ngorongoro where you will arrive at the camp in time for lunch. After lunch you will have an afternoon relaxing. A short walk along the camp offers a view over the lake. Here you will experience different cultural activities amongst two separate tribes who live around the area. You can visit the Datoga who are blacksmiths and the Bushmen who are hunters and gatherers around the Lake Eyasi. Their life depends on animals which they can hunt and fruits which grow on the bushes near the lake. They also depend on roots of different trees and grass.

Dinner and overnight stay at Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp.

Day 10

Today you have the opportunity to experience the daily life of the local people. Leave bright and early in the morning before breakfast with a cup of tea/coffee and join with your local guide who will lead you to the Bushmen where they prepare for their hunting activities. The Bushmen normally start very early before the wild animals disappear into the bush because of the human activities. After their preparation join them for an approximately two hour hunt, but sometimes longer depending on where they will find wild animals. After the morning hunt drive back to the camp where you will arrive in time either for breakfast or brunch. Thereafter drive to a Datoga village where you will see the traditional life and activities of the tribe. Then drive back to the camp for lunch and have a short rest before your afternoon activities. In the afternoon drive to another Datoga blacksmith village, where you will see a different culture from the previous village. Watch the family members of villagers perform their different duties and how they make bristles or arrows and metal jewelry out of old padlocks and recycled metal parts . Thereafter drive to the lakeshore where you can enjoy a spectacular sundowner with a view of the lake.

Dinner and overnight stay at Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp.

Day 11

After breakfast depart to Tarangire National Park via Mto wa Mbu, the famous area in Tanzania where can count all tribes living around the country. There are more than 100 tribes with individual languages and culture. Tarangire National Park is one of most the beautiful parks in our country, especially during the dry season when you can enjoy the animals drinking and wallowing in the Tarangire river. It is especially the elephants that made this park famous, since in each square kilometre you may encounter an elephant. However, during the rain season the grass in the park is too long and the soil is water logged and slippery causing all game move out of the park and into the Maasai land, where the grass is short and more sweet. Drive to the camp for a warm lunch and relax at the swimming pool before going on another afternoon game drive.

Dinner and overnight stay at Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Day 12

After breakfast depart to Tarangire National Park for a full day game drive with your picnic lunch which allows you to further explore the park and spend much more time watching the wild animals coming to Tarangire River for drinking. Drive back to the camp before dark.

Dinner and overnight stay at Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Day 13

After breakfast depart to Arusha, where you will at the Moivaro Plantation Coffee Lodge for lunch. Thereafter enjoy the facilities of the lodge whilst preparing for your departure to Kilimanjaro International Airport at 5:30pm.

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Programme includes:
– accommodation on full board basis
– transport and transfers
– park fees
– crater fee
– camp fee
– mineral water in the car
– driver guide

Programme excludes:
– International flight
– soft drinks and alcohol
– Maasai visit
– Bushmen visit
– personal expenses
– visa

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Link to all our Classic Itineraries, click here.