Your Safari starts with a short domestic flight from Zanzibar Airport to Arusha. Your guide will pick you up and tke you to Tarangire National Park for your first private game drive of this trip. The park lends its name from the important Tarangire River, which flows through the park, providing a vital water source for the wildlife that inhabits the area.. This quiet park is famous for its huge number of elephants, ancient Baobab trees and birdlife.
During the dry season (June to October), the river becomes the only water source, attracting large concentrations of wildlife. Safari guests can expect to see elephants, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, impalas, buffalo, and various antelope species. The park is also home to a population of big cat predators such as lions, leopards, and even cheetahs.
Today you will visit Lake Manyara National Park, a relatively small park compared to others in the region but famous for its tree climbing lions and its diverse ecosystems. The park is named after Lake Manyara, an alkaline lake that covers a big part of its area. The waters attract a wide variety of birdlife, including flamingos, pelicans, storks, and numerous other waterbirds. The lake’s shores are also frequented by large herds of elephants, buffaloes, and other animals.
The park’s landscape varies from open grasslands to acacia woodlands and groundwater forests. This dense groundwater forest is a great habitat for various primate species, including a lot of baboons and blue monkeys.
The amazing Ngorongoro Conservation Area, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, is on your Safari schedule today! The main attraction is the largest unbroken volcanic caldera in the world, approximately 3 million years old and 20 km² in size. Due to its natural borders, the wildlife in the crater is amazing. The crater is home to the Big Five and offers a good chance to spot the rare black rhino. Located within the conservation area, Olduvai Gorge is an important archaeological site that has yielded some of the earliest evidence of human evolution. It is one of the most significant paleoanthropological sites in the world, and numerous fossils and artifacts have been unearthed here.
Because it is still inhabited by the Maasai, Ngorongoro is not classified as national park, but as a conservation area – managed to balance conservation and the needs of the local communities. Therefore it is a a multiple land-use area, meaning it allows for limited settlement, agriculture, and livestock grazing while also protecting wildlife and the environment
An enchanting road trip to the remote Lake Natron basin is planned for today. This unique soda lake valley is the lowest point in the the East African Rift system, an active tectonic region that will eventually lead to a separation of East Africa from the rest of the continent. Natron is a shallow lake with a high alkaline level, known for its distinctive red color, caused by the presence of cyanobacteria and other microorganisms that thrive in the extreme conditions.
These microorganisms attract the largest concentration of Lesser Flamingos in the world. Millions of flamingos gather here during the breeding season to nest on the lake’s salty shores, creating a breathtaking spectacle of pink and white colors. Lake Natron’s water has an extremely high pH level, often exceeding 10.5, making it one of the most alkaline lakes in the world. The high alkalinity is primarily due to the volcanic ash and minerals that flow into the lake from the surrounding area.
The area is dominated by Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai that holds spiritual significance for the Maasai people who live in the region. In the Maasai language, Ol Doinyo Lengai means Mountain of God. The Maasai believe that the mountain is the home of their god, Engai, and its eruptions are considered important events in their spiritual beliefs.
After breakfast a local Maasai will guide you for a Flamingo lake walk. During this walk you can learn more about the fragile ecosystem of the Lake Natron basin and its important flamingo breeding grounds. These migrating pink-hued birds are well-adapted to the lake’s environment and feed on the algae found in its waters. You will have the chance to take some great photos of the lake with its pink flamingo population and Ol Doinyo Lengai mountain in the background.
This is followed by a road trip back to Arusha city and then a short return flight to the Zanzibar archipelago. Here a driver will wait for you to bring you back to your beach resort.