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Ngorongoro Crater Extension (2021)

Itinerary

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Itinerary Map
Day 1: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Travel over the southern Serengeti plains into the Ngorongoro Highlands, a high-altitude region characterized by rolling hills and a tapestry of farms. Continue to the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest unbroken, unflooded caldera on the planet. Once we reach the crater rim, we descend down its steep side to the floor, where we'll have our first encounters with the abundant wildlife that resides within this 100-square-mile space. Continuing up the other side, we reach our accommodations on the opposite side of the rim. Our secluded camp offers rare privacy in this region, with the closest proximity to the crater floor. Enjoy a feeling of solitude in the wilderness as we retire to spacious canvas tents tucked within a dense acacia forest on the crater's edge.

Day 2: On Safari in Ngorongoro Crater / Ngorongoro Highlands—Coffee Plantation
Rise early this morning for a full day of exploration inside the Ngorongoro Crater. Our camp's coveted location allows us to access the crater floor more quickly than most visitors, affording premier wildlife-viewing opportunities free of crowds at the start of the day. In 4x4 safari vehicles, we make our way down the steep crater walls, covered in scrub heath, open moorland, grasslands and the remains of dense evergreen forests. The crater floor is often referred to as the “Garden of Eden” because of its primeval environs inhabited by such a diverse array of animals. The crater's varied habitats include acacia forest, swamp, savanna and riverine vegetation, all of which nurture a great diversity of species. The crater is especially famous for its lions, cheetahs, old bull elephants, Cape buffalo, herds of wildebeest and outstanding birdlife, including huge flocks of pink flamingos. It also holds the world’s highest density of hyenas, which compete fiercely with the crater’s dominant lion population for food.

If we are lucky, we may catch a sighting of a black rhinoceros—a rare reward in northern Tanzania. There are 23 of them that reside within the crater, though they are famously elusive. While animals are able to migrate in and out of the crater, they predominantly remain within, since perpetual water and grass makes the crater an inviting location at any time of the year. We'll break for a midday picnic lunch on the crater floor, to facilitate a full day of wildlife viewing. Late this afternoon, we drive back up the crater wall and continue to our colonial-style accommodations for the night, located on a working coffee plantation. A swimming pool set among verdant gardens offers enticing relaxation after a stimulating day.

Day 3: Arusha / Depart
After breakfast, depart by road for Arusha (an approximately 3-4 hour drive), enjoying a scenic route through the rolling Ngorongoro Highlands passing fertile valleys, agricultural fields where crops are grown in the rich, red dirt, and small villages along the way. We reach Arusha in time for lunch. A day room is provided, and the remainder of the afternoon is free to spend at your leisure—consider making a visit to Arusha's famous craft market. This evening, a transfer is provided to Kilimanjaro International Airport for homeward flights. 

Physical Rating: Easy

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