"Thanks again for all the hard work you put in to providing us with another fantastic holiday - we loved every minute!."...... Mr and Mrs J, July 2014
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Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Victoria and the Great Rift Valley are names to stir the emotions and conjure up classic African images.
Tanzania has all you can ask for in an African wildlife destination. Birds are plentiful and easy to see and it is one of the best countries in the world for big game viewing. Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Elephant, Black Rhino, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Hyena and many species of antelope are likely to be seen along with many other smaller mammal species. As for the birds, it has one of the largest lists of any African country.
East African endemics on the northern circuit include Grey-breasted Spurfowl, Fischer’s Lovebird, Yellow-collared Lovebird, Beesley’s Lark, Ashy Starling and Rufous-tailed Weaver. However Tanzania has much more to offer in birdlife than just endemics and it is the close views of so many colourful birds that leaves a lasting impression.
The tourist infrastructure is excellent and we are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation and itineraries. We have gone for a classic wildlife safari that includes plenty of mammals and birds. We will be staying at very good quality accommodation in the best locations.
It is a peaceful, stable country with a level of equality surpassing most other countries in Africa. The people are very friendly, courteous and welcoming.
If anybody wishes to extend their stay with, for instance, a beach holiday in Zanzibar or more game viewing in other areas of Tanzania we are happy to arrange this for you.
We arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha in the early evening. We will drive the short distance to Ngaresero Lodge, for a three night stay, giving us plenty of time to unwind. For our first full day we will take it easy and have a morning drive to the plains north of Arusha for the endemic Beesley’s Lark (a recent split from Spike-heeled Lark) and other dry country birds. We will return to the lodge for a siesta followed by birding in the lodge grounds. On the next day we will visit Arusha National Park for birds and big game. The park includes Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest peak, though we will be sticking to the lower slopes. Here we expect to see our first Masai Giraffes, Buffalo and Grant’s Zebra while the forests harbour Vervet and Black-and-White Colobus Monkeys. Birds should include hundreds of Lesser Flamingos, along with wildfowl like Cape Teal, Southern Pochard and Maccoa Duck. White-fronted and Cinnamon-chested Bee-eaters, Red-fronted and Brown-breasted Barbets, Cape Robin-chat, Buff-bellied Warbler and Banded Parisoma are all likely.
On day four we will catch a domestic flight to Mwanza. We will drive to Speke Bay Lodge, on the shores of Lake Victoria, for a two night stay. We will spend our time here exploring the extensive grounds and surrounding area. Herons, egrets, storks and ibis will be seen along with many other waterbirds. Spotted Thick-knee, Wattled Lapwing and Double-banded and Three-banded Coursers can all be found in the grounds. Smaller birds should include Angola Swallow, White-browed Robin-chat, African Reed Warbler, Red-chested Sunbird and Slender-billed Weaver. We are about half an hour away from the western gate of the Serengeti, so are nicely poised for a one way trip through this magnificent park and on to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
We will spend day six taking a leisurely drive through the western corridor of the Serengeti. Here, we should come across our first Wildebeests on migration, which will have calved in May in the south-east part of the park. They will be accompanied by Zebra and Buffalo along with many attendant predators and scavengers such as Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Bat-eared Fox, and Golden and Black-backed Jackals. Our lodge is in the Seronera area in the central part of the park and is the richest area for resident wildlife. The Serengeti is a huge area and we will maximize our time and effort by spending three nights here in the centre of the park. Ostrich, Yellow-billed Stork, Black-chested, Western Banded and Brown Snake-eagle, Secretarybird, Silverbird, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Magpie Shrike, Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Rüppell’s Long-tailed Starling and Swahili Sparrow are all likely.
On day nine we will drive through the eastern part of the park, birdwatching and wildlife viewing. We then spend two nights at Ndutu Lodge. Set in acacia woodland, this is a real oasis for birds and mammals. This is in the vast Ngorongoro Conservation Area, an extension of the Serengeti Plains.
NGORONGORO HIGHLANDS AND LAKE MANYARA
On day 11 we will drive to the rim of this world famous crater to stay at the lovely Sopa Lodge for two nights. On the way we will visit Olduvai Gorge, made famous by the Leakey family, who discovered some of the oldest and best preserved remains of our human ancestors here.
The next day we will have a full day inside the crater where we hope to see Black Rhino amongst many other mammals. It is also possible to see Serval here during the day. Birds include Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Scaly Francolin, Kori Bustard, Long-toed and Black-winged Lapwing, Yellow-throated Sandgrouse, Banded Martin and both Yellow-throated and Rosy-throated Longclaws.
The next night will be spent at Bougainvillea Safari Lodge, still in the Ngorongoro Highlands, where we can do some forest birding. It is then a short drive to Lake Manyara, our base for the following night. The area around the lake is famous for its tree climbing Lions and is also an excellent birding destination.
On day 15 we will drive to Tarangire Safari Lodge inside Tarangire National Park, for two nights. In the afternoon we will do another game drive. The next day will be spent in the park. This is a wonderful area with many large baobab trees and a thriving elephant population. Yellow-collared Lovebird and Ashy Starling are common. Red-and-yellow Barbet is another conspicuous species. Ostrich, Saddle-billed Stork, Lappet-faced Vulture, Bateleur, Martial Eagle, several species of francolin, Grey Crowned Crane, Buff-crested Bustard, Double-banded Courser, Southern Ground-hornbill, Northern Pied Babbler, Arrow-marked Babbler and many more are likely to be seen. We have a further chance of seeing all the big cats here too.
On day 17 we will drive to Arusha for lunch and a chance to do some souvenir shopping. We will then return to Ngaresero Lodge where we will have the use of day rooms before an evening transfer to the international airport.
CLIMATE AND PACE
It is normally warm and sunny at this time of year, with very little chance of rain. It can be hotter in the Serengeti, but cooler at Arusha and the Ngorongoro Crater. Early morning mist is normal on the crater rim. Breakfast will mostly be taken early (7am or earlier). On other days it may be taken later to give us time for pre-breakfast walks or game drives. Due to the fairly high midday temperatures we plan to do morning and late afternoon excursions, with time off in between to siesta (except on travelling days). Travelling is made a pleasure due to the high standard of most roads. It is a large country but there is no need to cover it all as most of the classic wildlife areas are in the northern part of the country. Basic fitness is all that is required. There will be virtually no uphill walking.
ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD
Full-board accommodation is provided, with three nights at Ngaresero Lodge, Arusha, two nights at Speke Bay Lodge, Lake Victoria, three nights at Seronera Lodge, Central Serengeti, two nights at Ndutu Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, two nights at Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater, one night at Bougainvillea Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Highlands, one night at Manyara Serena Hotel and two nights at Tarangire Safari Lodge (plus a day use room back at Ngaresero Lodge, Arusha). All rooms have en suite facilities. All accommodation is of a high standard and meals are excellent.
PRICE INCLUDES …..
All birdwatching excursions with Bird Holidays leader and expert local guide, full-board accommodation (starting with dinner on 23rd, ending with lunch on 9th), soft drinks at meal times, bottled water throughout, local transport by safari vehicles, park entrance fees and international flights.
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
Travel insurance. Cost of obtaining a visa (£40 and obtainable by post in advance from the Tanzanian embassy). Items of a personal nature, alcoholic drinks, laundry.
Flights are from most UK airports (via Amsterdam), using the scheduled services of KLM. Outbound flight departs early morning, return flight arrives back mid-morning.
Oxpeckers lining up for a meal.
The Hippo Pool at Tarangire provides some impressive sights.
Oops.. couldn't quite fit him in he was so close!
Leopard in the Serengeti.
A Cheetah crosses the track in front of us.
Cape Buffalo were on the move.
This was a particularly impressive male Lion.
Agama lizards come in an impressive array of colours.
click here to see the photographs in our Tanzania Album
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