Experience Africa's Densest Concentration of Wildlife on the Giant Crater Floor
Day 1: Lemala Camp Ngorongoro, 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. Depending on our arrival time, there may be a chance for an optional walk along the crater rim. Our accommodations at Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp offer rare seclusion and the closest proximity to the crater floor. The exclusive camp's nine spacious canvas tents are situated along the rim within a dense acacia forest.
Day 2: Ngorongoro Crater / Plantation Lodge
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 100-square-mile crater floor is often referred to as the “Garden of Eden” because of its primal environs inhabited by such a diverse array of animals. Its varied habitats include acacia forest, swamp, savanna and riverine environs, all of which nurture a great variety of species. The crater is especially famous for its lion, cheetah, 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 hyena, which compete
fiercely with the crater’s dominant lion population for food.
If we are lucky, we may catch a sighting of the black rhinoceros—a rare reward in northern Tanzania. While the 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 Plantation Lodge, our accommodations for the night. The genteel inn is located on a working coffee plantation, and a spectacular 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