Day 1: Arusha, Tanzania
Your family Tanzania safari begins on arrival in Arusha, where you are met at the airport and transferred to your lodge for the evening.
Day 2: Arusha National Park
Your safari adventures begin right on the edge of town, with an early-morning wildlife drive that immerses you in the Africa you’ve dreamed about. Arusha National Park offers views of Kilimanjaro and several massive craters, and plentiful wildlife: You may see antelope of all sorts, Cape buffalo, giraffe, elephant, leopard, hyena, baboon, colobus monkey and hippopotamus. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the crater lake before more wildlife viewing this afternoon.
Day 3: Tarangire National Park
Transfer by road this morning to Tarangire National Park. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way, then enter the park and enjoy an exhilarating wildlife drive en route to your camp this afternoon. This seldom-visited park, known as the “Baobab Capital of the World," teems with wildlife. Enormous herds of elephants scratch the dry riverbed for underground streams while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle and eland crowd the lagoons and wild dog roam the plains. Tarangire is also the one place in Tanzania where visitors regularly see dry-country antelope such as the oryx and gerenuk.
As you settle into your secluded camp for the night, enjoy dinner followed by stargazing around the campfire. For millennia, tribesmen in Africa have looked to the night sky for meaning and inspiration. The Maasai of East Africa saw the Pleiades above the horizon from September to mid-May. They knew that these six stars, which stayed in a group like a herd of cattle, were only visible during the rainy season. The Basotho bushmen of Southern Africa saw the Southern Cross as a giraffe with an outstretched neck and the Zulu interpreted it as the tree of life. These myths and legends are still alive in Africa today, and your guide will teach you all he has learned from his ancestors about the stars.
Day 4: Exploring the Tarangire Wilderness
Your camp has an exciting array of activities for all ages. This morning, children can set off with a guide on their own to learn bush skills such as tracking and species identification, how to make a fire without matches, how to make a toothbrush from a twig, and how to find their way in the bush without a compass. Adults and older kids may opt for a 4x4 game drive farther afield, looking for elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah and more. Your guide is a savvy tracker and almost always knows just where to spot wildlife. Meal options may include a bush breakfast after a sunrise wildlife drive, a picnic lunch in beneath a baobab tree, and sundowner cocktails before returning to camp for a sumptuous dinner. Optional activities that may available at an additional cost include a guided bush walk to unveil surprises at eye-level that are often missed from a vehicle, and night drives, which offer a thrilling opportunity to observe nocturnal wildlife, including predators on the hunt.
Day 5: Tarangire / Karatu—Cultural Encounters
After breakfast, depart by road, enjoying a last wildlife drive before we exit Tarangire National Park and continue to Karatu. Along the way you'll travel near small towns and villages, passing typical scenes of daily life as you go. Eventually you enter a landscape of undulating green hills and rich red dirt, the heart of Tanzania's coffee country. Coffee was introduced into the Tanzanian region from Ethiopia in the 16th century and today constitutes the country's largest export crop.
A highlight of your trip to Africa is a chance to meet people from other cultures, broadening an understanding of the human experience. A visit to a local Maasai village and school this afternoon will enrich your knowledge of this traditional tribal people and their distinctive heritage. During your time in the village, activities may include Maasai dancing, watching warriors demonstrate how to make fire, witnessing women craft intricate beaded jewelry and accessories, learning about medicinal plants, and possibly a chance to herd cattle if time permits. And depending on your itinerary, we may also be able to arrange an opportunity for you to write to children in the local school prior to your trip, then meet them when you arrive, enjoying a more personal cultural exchange with your "pen pal."
Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater
World-famous Ngorongoro Crater provides a safari experience second to none. This ancient caldera is home to Africa’s densest concentration of wildlife, with some 25,000 animals living on its floor. Twelve miles in diameter, the crater's sheer walls enclose a fertile “bowl” with permanent water sources, ensuring that animals here have little reason to leave. Accompanied by your expert guide, drive over the rim and over the crater wall to find an astounding assortment of African wildlife. From the vantage point of your open-topped vehicle, you’re likely to see zebra, wildebeest, eland and gazelle in numbers great enough to sustain a major predator population. Lions are abundant here, while leopard, cheetah and spotted hyena are also resident. Cape buffalo thrive in large herds, and you may even glimpse the rare black rhinoceros. After an exhilarating day on safari, return to the crater rim and enjoy one last sweeping view before returning to the comforts of your lodge.
Days 7–9: Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti is legendary. Here on Tanzania’s Great Plains, herds of wildebeest traverse the savanna in enormous numbers, while thousands of antelope and gazelle are ever-present. Giraffes lope among the acacia trees, while the big cats race after prey. You stay amidst it all at your intimate tented camp in a remote sector of the park. The mobile tents ensure that you experience all the natural wonder of this fabled setting, rather than crowded tourist centers. It also allows you to follow the herds, as the camp is moved seasonally to follow the migration. Your accommodations are steeped in the safari atmosphere of yesteryear, yet they offer surprising luxury and comfort in an authentically rustic setting.
Each morning, you'll set out in a custom-designed 4x4 safari vehicle, keeping you close to the elements with broad windows and rooftop hatches that open for photo opportunities and wildlife viewing. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the bush, or return to camp for an al fresco meal, depending on how the morning's sightseeing unfolds. After a chance to relax midday, return to your vehicle for another wildlife drive later this afternoon in search of the migrating herds on the move as well as abundant resident wildlife.
Day 10: Serengeti / Arusha / Depart
Your family Tanzania safari comes to a close as you leave the Serengeti to fly back to Arusha, where you’ll have the use of a day room before transferring to Kilimanjaro Airport for to connecting to homeward flights.