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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Wilderness and Culture Safari

Duration: 14 nights, 15 days
Description: Luxury camps, tented lodges & lodging safari
Location: Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Manyara, Tarangire, Arusha, Amboseli
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Day 1

Arrive at Jomo Kenyata International Airport and transfer to Nairobi for dinner and overnight stay or transfer to Nairobi for breakfast if you arrive in the morning. After breakfast drive to Lake Nakuru where you arrive in time for lunch. Afternoon game drive and thereafter return to the hotel for dinner.

Dinner and overnight stay at Sarova Lion Hill.

Day 2

After breakfast depart to Masai Mara (northern part of Serengeti) to arrive in time for lunch at the lodge. Thereafter go on an exciting game drive along the Mara River where you may see the large Nile crocodile along the river banks waiting for their prey; other animals which depend on the Mara River for drinking. You may also see a big herd of zebras and wildebeest (gnus) which migrate from Serengeti to Maasai Mara. Return to the lodge before dusk.

Dinner and overnight stay at Masai Mara Serena Lodge.

Day 3

After breakfast depart on a morning game drive to explore the area along the plain. Observe the grasser animals and some predators, like cheetah, lion, hyena as well as birds. Then drive back for lunch and enjoy a cooldown at the swimming pool. In the afternoon go on a game drive to the woodlands where the animals are resting during the daytime when it is too hot. Drive back to the lodge before dusk.

Dinner and overnight stay at Maasai Mara Serena Lodge.

Day 4

After breakfast depart for Isebania on the way to Lake Victoria, stop at the Sirari border for immigration and customs clearance and continue to Speke Bay Lodge. Speke Bay Lodge is located on the southeastern shore of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, East Africa, 15 kilometres from the Serengeti National Park. Speke Bay is part of Speke Gulf, named after the famous explorer John Hanning Speke, who in 1858 discovered Lake Victoria to be the source of the Nile. Arrive at the camp for lunch. After lunch relax or enjoy activites offered at the lodge, such as fishing, bird watching (water birds) and excursion by local canoe.

Dinner and overnight stay at Speke Bay Lodge.

Day 5

After breakfast depart with picnic lunch to Serengeti National Park. On the way to the centre of Serengeti where you may spot more animals, especially the Big Five, and depending on the time of the year even the migrating animals. Serengeti is famous for its migrating animals, as well as its non-migrating residents, such as two groups of wildebeest (gnus), lions, elephants, gazelles and various cats.

Dinner and overnight stay at Olakira Luxury Camp.

Day 6

After breakfast have a full day game drive with picnic lunch to give you more time to explore the Serengeti, a “sea of grass” with its unique flora and fauna. The Serengeti is an endless plain where you always see the horizon with spectacular landscape such as the Kopjes (rocks) which lie on top of each other. The Serengeti is the largest national park in Tanzania, covering almost 15,000km², with almost two million migratory animals. Drive back to the camp before dusk.

Dinner and overnight stay at Olakira Luxury Camp.

Day 7

After breakfast depart to Ngorongoro Crater via Olduvai Gorge where Dr Leakey found the first human fossils named Homo habilis almost 2.5 Million years ago. Arrive at the lodge for lunch before proceeding to the crater. After lunch descend into to the crater for an afternoon game drive where you will have a special time, hopefully spotting several of the non-migrating animals. This is one of the places where all kinds of animals can be found, including the Big Five, which are living here all the time. Due to its rich biodiversity, the Ngorongoro Crater is a dedicated conservation area.

Dinner and overnight stay at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.

Day 8

Early morning game drive with breakfast box and packed lunch, to wake up the animals in the crater. You will have time to see all the animals and birds in the crater within a section of the yellow-barked acacia forest. Return to the lodge just before dark.

Dinner and overnight stay at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge.

Day 9

After breakfast depart to Lake Manyara, where you arrive at the lodge in time for lunch. After lunch you continue to Lake Manyara National Park in search for the remaining Big Five and other animals and birds around the lake shore. Then drive back to the lodge before dark.

Dinner and overnight stay at Kirurumu Tented Lodge/Migunga Forest Camp.

Day 10

After breakfast drive to Tarangire National Park passing through the Great Rift Valley. Along the way you will stop at various villages and come across nearly all Tanzanian tribes living in the region. Arrive at Tarangire National Park for lunch and have a short rest by the swimming pool. In the afternoon you continue the journey along the Tarangire River where you can watch a big herd of elephants drinking with their young ones and wallowing in the mud to cool their bodies. Then drive back to the lodge before dusk.

Dinner and overnight stay at Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Day 11

Depart before breakfast for an early morning game drive in the Great Rift Valley before the cats hide from the heat of the sun. Then drive back to the lodge for breakfast and a short rest before departing for another game drive along the park. Thereafter have a warm lunch at the lodge. Continue the day with another game drive in the afternoon and enjoy a sundowner by the majestic baobab trees.

Dinner and overnight stay at Tarangire Safari Lodge.

Day 12

After breakfast have a game drive around Tarangire National Park and return to the lodge in time for lunch. Thereafter drive to Arusha where you will arrive at noon, have dinner and stay overnight.

Dinner and overnight at Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge.

Day 13

After breakfast drive to Mulala Culture Village: This village lies on the slopes of Mount Meru and its inhabitants are farmers. They grow coffee and banana on small plantations and have small gardens with vegetables for their own consumption as well as selling in the market. Additionally they raise cattle and produce cheese from their milk. One of the local women will show you around the village before having lunch at the Mulala Culture Village.

Dinner and overnight stay at Moivaro Coffee Plantation Lodge.

Day 14

After breakfast depart to Amboseli National Park via the Namanga border. After completing immigration and customs formalities, continue to Amboseli National Park, where you will arrive at the lodge in time for lunch. At noon begin a game drive in the park which should give you plenty of photo opportunities of wild animals and depending on the weather the Kilimanjaro.

Dinner and overnight stay at Amboseli Serena Lodge.

Day 15

After breakfast have a half-day game drive, then drive back to the lodge for lunch. Thereafter drive to Nairobi where you will have an early dinner at Carnivore, a meat specialty restaurant, before proceeding to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for your departure.

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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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