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The Great Tanzania Migration Safari

Itinerary

Tanzania migration safari mapDay 1: Arusha, Tanzania
Arrive at Tanzania's Kilimanjaro Airport and transfer to a peaceful country lodge in the rolling foothills at the base of Mount Meru. Relax amid the ambience of a 1905 colonial farmhouse and lush gardens, surrounded by mature native forest where colobus and Sykes' monkeys play in the trees. If time permits, enjoy a swim in the pool, ride horseback through the forest, or enjoy a restorative massage in the open-air tent, serenaded by birdsong. As the afternoon wanes, sip a sundowner on the terrace in view of Mount Kilimanjaro before gathering for a welcome dinner this evening.

Days 2–4: East Central Serengeti Plains
Early this morning we depart the lodge for Arusha's domestic airport and our flight to the Serengeti. This legendary savanna derives its name from a Maasai word meaning “endless plains.” We fly to Serengeti National Park, where a vista of golden grasslands stretching to the horizon under a blue bowl of sky provides an iconic image of East Africa. Meeting our safari vehicles and drivers, we set out on our first wildlife drive. Our destination is a remote sector of the Serengeti previously off-limits to visitors for two decades during a period of habitat rehabilitation to increase the cheetah population. Surveying open range and kopjes—large granite outcrops that dot the plains—the camp offers fabulous wildlife viewing in diverse habitats, particularly of the abundant feline predators that live and hunt in this area.

Ehlane Plains Camp provides exceptional seclusion to experience this natural setting away from tourist crowds. Ehlane is a Zulu word meaning "wilderness," which is exactly what we experience in this isolated location. Evoking the classic atmosphere of an earlier safari era, the camp's eight canvas tents, shaded by giant acacia trees, offer surprising comforts in this remote setting. Enjoy 360-degree views of wildlife traversing the savanna, plus the river with its perennial vegetation and dense reed beds that attract birds and smaller animals. Thrilling encounters are in store on wildlife drives, while walking safaris offer a more intimate view of the landscape in the company of a resident specialist guide. 

Days 5–7: Southern Serengeti—Nat Hab's Private Mobile Camp
Depart this morning for the southern Serengeti with a game drive en route. The days of heavy canvas hunting camps set for the likes of Roosevelt and Hemingway were nearly over until photo safaris gained popularity beginning in the 1970s. Nat Hab's private mobile camp is redolent of vintage character, with fine dinners presented on white linen by candlelight. While home to a profusion of wildlife year-round, there is nothing like the Serengeti during the phenomenon of the Great Migration. We spend three days among the sea of mammals, following them in 4-wheel-drive vehicles with pop-top roofs that offer superb photography access.

During the short rains each year, some 2 million wildebeest trek from Kenya’s Maasai Mara to the southern Serengeti, then back again, in search of new grass. The wildebeest migrate with hundreds of thousands of zebra, whose superior vision and hearing serve as an early-warning system for predators. Gazelle and other antelope accompany the great herds as well. We are in the region during the time when zebra and wildebeest are giving birth, and the herds are mostly stationary. The majority of baby wildebeest are born during a single three-week window, after most zebra young have emerged. We'll hope to see infants (though timing on the calf drop is weather-dependent), as well as prey interactions. Predators seek out the most vulnerable members of the herds, and we may see a lion seize a sick wildebeest or a cheetah overtaking a newborn that has become separated from its mother. Leopard, hyena and jackal also prey on the migrating herds while vultures hang in the air, waiting to feast on carrion. While the spectacle is at times grim, its primal drama is a wonder to behold.

Day 8: Arusha or Ngorongoro Extension / Depart
Our safari concludes today, leaving us with a slate of memories to savor forever. After breakfast at camp, we transfer to the nearest airstrip for our flight back to Arusha, where we have lunch on arrival. A day room awaits, offering a chance to relax before a transfer to Kilimanjaro Airport for international departures this evening. Guests continuing on our Ngorongoro Crater extension will say farewell to their fellow travelers in the Serengeti, then continue driving on to the crater in pursuit of further exciting wildlife encounters.
 

Physical Rating: Easy to Moderate

Interested in extending your trip? Link it up with another adventure!
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Extra Day in Arusha

Extra Day in Arusha

Arusha is the jumping-off point for safaris to Tanzania’s famous national parks—a lively city with a temperate climate at the foot of Mount Meru.
1 Day / From $465
Ngorongoro Crater Extension

Ngorongoro Crater Extension

Nothing compares to a wildlife drive across the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater, home to Africa's densest concentration of wildlife. From rhinos to lions to pink flamingos, the crater's creatures will delight you.
3 Days / During Migration Season, From $2795
Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Extension

Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Extension

A 5-day safari extension to track endangered mountain gorillas. Hike through the rain forest and spend rare moments with a habituated family troop.
5 Days / Year-Round, From $3295 (+permits)
Uganda Mountain Gorilla Extension

Uganda Mountain Gorilla Extension

Take a 5-day safari extension to track endangered mountain gorillas in the rain forests of Uganda. A once-in-a-lifetime experience!
5 Days / Year-Round, From $2695 (+air/permits)
Custom Kenya Safari Camp Extension

Custom Kenya Safari Camp Extension

A fly-in extension to some of Kenya's most remote safari camps in the Maasai Mara, Samburu, Amboseli and more. Check out options at iSafari.com...
Year-Round, From $2395
Custom Tanzania Safari Camp Extension

Custom Tanzania Safari Camp Extension

Extend your safari with a visit to Tanzania's secluded safari camps in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Selous, Ruaha and more. Read about options at iSafari.com...
Year-Round, From $3225
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