Africa's Premier Mobile Tented Safari Across the Serengeti in Pursuit of the Herds
Day 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. We also glean
exclusive insight from our Expedition Leader on research conducted by zoologists and cheetah researchers in the region.
Days 5–7: Southern Serengeti—Nat Hab's Migration Base 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 Migration Base Camp–Serengeti is redolent with that 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.
Some 2 million wildebeest trek annually from Kenya’s Maasai Mara to the southern Serengeti in search of new grass during the short rains, then back again. 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 lunch 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