DAYS 36 – 47: TANZANIA
From Chitimba you will cross the border into Tanzania and drive through its southern highlands to reach your campsite for the night on a working ranch. The following day you will head into Iringa town to visit the Neema Crafts Centre, a crafts workshop that gives local disabled people a wonderful opportunity for training and employment, where you can take a tour of the workshop and have a chance to purchase some the crafts! If there is time you will also try to visit the interesting Stone Age site of Isimila nearby.
You will then travel through Mikumi National Park. The Park is situated at the foot of the thickly wooded Uluguru Mountains and is home to large herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe, as well as lions and leopards. It is Tanzania’s third largest national park and you will spend a couple of hours travelling through the park on the main route to and from Southern Tanzania. Although you won’t be making an off-road safari into the depths of the park on your overland tour, you will usually still see a good selection of wildlife here as you pass by along the way.
You will travel to Dar es Salaam and spend the night at a lovely beachside campsite before heading to the exotic and beautiful island of Zanzibar! You will travel on the local commuter barge from Kigamboni to the city centre of Dar es Salaam, and then take a ferry from Dar es Salaam centre to Zanzibar.
When you reach Zanzibar, the group will meet up with your local guide who will help you check in to your hotel in Stone Town, and then give a quick orientation of the town before you branch off and head to lunch! You will have a free afternoon to explore the atmospheric streets of the historic centre of Stone Town, with the option of meeting for sunset drinks at Africa House and heading out to the night markets for a local dinner.
On your second day on Zanzibar you will join your local guide for a very interesting and informative tour around the sights of Stone Town and learn about the history of the island. You will then head away from town and take in a tour of a spice plantation, enjoy a local lunch with your guide, then head to Nungwi beach at the very north of the island. Nungwi is the Indian Ocean at its best – bright white sand, sparkling blue sea outstanding seafood and a fantastic chilled atmosphere. On your third day on Zanzibar, you will have free time to enjoy Nungwi beach and relax, or to try snorkeling, diving, or other beach activities, or maybe go further afield looking for Red Colobus monkeys in the Jozano Forest.
Returning to your campsite in Dar es Salaam for the night, you will then set off early the next morning to beat the legendary morning traffic in Dar and have a full day’s drive day to Marangu, where you have a nightstop camping in the grounds of a beautiful colonial hotel at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. You should have good views of the mountain on the drive in (if it is not covered in cloud!).
Your next stop will be Arusha, Tanzania’s second major city and formerly the capital of the East African community. The town sits in lush countryside near the foot of Mount Meru and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year. Surrounding it are many coffee, wheat and maize estates tended by the Arusha and Meru people. The town is the centre of Tanzania’s safari business and is bustling and busy, and you stop off here to stock up in preparation for your excursion into the Serengeti National Park. On arrival at your campsite on the outskirts of Arusha you should have time to go on an optional walk to a nearby Maasai village, or visit a reptile house and snake-bite clinic that are run by the campsite.
For your unforgettable 3 day / 2 night safari into the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater National Reserves you will travel in a fleet of 6-person 4×4 jeeps. On the first day you will drive along the rim of the Ngoronogoro Crater (stopping to take in the awe-inspiring views!) and then down into the plains of the Serengeti. You will take an evening game drive around the savannah before heading to your campsite – the area is one of the world’s premier spots for wildlife viewing and hopefully you will find elephants, lions, leopards, giraffe and other big game during your time here! You still stay the night in a campsite within the Serengeti National Park, surrounded by animals and their nocturnal noises.
The next morning you will get up very early and set off in the jeeps for an early morning game drive in the heart of the Serengeti plains. The early morning is the best time of day for wildlife viewing, as many of the animals are at their most active while it is still cool. There is an option this morning for to take a hot air balloon flight over the Serengeti instead of the game drive – demand is high for this activity, so this must be pre-booked at the time that you book your trip. You will return to your campsite for brunch, and then aim to exit the Serengeti at around lunchtime. You will head back through the conservation area to your second campsite, on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, where you will arrive in the early evening.
In the morning you will have another early start to descend into the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater for a morning game drive. Again, the Ngorongoro Crater is an outstanding area for wildlife spotting, often described as a ‘natural wildlife enclosure’. This is the best chance on the excursion to spot black rhinos as well as a myriad of other big game. You will spend as long as your entry tickets allow in the Ngorongoro Crater before departing, which will usually give you about 3-4 hours of game driving.
You will then be dropped off at your next campsite in the small town of Mto Wa Mbu, where you will be re-united with your truck. Here you will go on a fantastic community walk around the town where you will see local craft workshops, learn a little about the life here, and enjoy a lunch of delicious specialties from the area. You will then head back to your camp for a relaxing evening at the campsite!