Days 1 - 2
Set 23 kilometres east of Arusha, Usa River is the capital of Tanzania’s Meru District and lies between the Ndurdoto Crater and Arusha National Park. Dotted with numerous eco-lodges and other accommodation options, the town provides an ideal base for exploring the magnificent surrounding nature. Visit the seven Momela Lakes to see vast swathes of pink flamingos, and look out for buffalos and waterbuck. The park offers an array of safari tours and the chance to see unique primates such as blue monkeys, albino baboons, and colobus monkeys (this is the only place in Tanzania’s northern safari circuit where they can be found). The spectacular Mount Meru is a fantastic achievement to climb and provides unparalleled vistas of Kilimanjaro. At Usa River’s Cultural Arts Centre, take part in drum-making and Tanzanian cooking classes or visit traditional Maasai and Meru bomas.
Lake Manyara National Park
Days 2 - 4
Situated in Tanzania’s central-northern region with the Lake Manyara on its east and the Manyara Escarpment to its west, the Lake Manyara National Park offers breathtaking views and a large variety of habitats supporting an array of wildlife. This small park is home to surprising biodiversity and features a magnificent landscape of acacia woodlands, water forests, baobab strewn cliffs, algae-streaked hot springs, swamps and the lake itself. The park supports 400 species of bird, and the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world. Other species include giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, warthog, the Cape clawless otter, and Egyptian mongoose. Don’t miss the opportunity to see thousands of flamingos on the lake, the renowned tree-climbing lions, and large families of elephants strolling through the forest.
Days 4 - 6
Travellers heading for the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater will inevitably pass through the town of Karatu in the green hills of Tanzania’s northern highlands. Presided over by the towering Ol Deani Volcano, this small, colourful town serves as a popular overnight stop for visitors exploring the area’s many game parks. The town offers a variety of activities including browsing the bustling marketplace, sampling beer at a local brewery, visiting a traditional Iraqw homestead, or taking a guided walk through the Ngorongoro Forest in search of waterfalls and elephants caves. Whether you are looking for cultural tours, hiking and biking opportunities, a chance to enjoy an authentic rural Tanzania experience, or simply a break between safari game drives, this underrated town has plenty to offer.
Days 6 - 8
Set in the Arusha Region, Ndutu is situated in the northern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area within the magnificent Serengeti. The surrounding landscapes are covered in sweeping grasslands which provide the perfect habitat for the migratory route for hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, antelope and zebra. Visitors can look forward to exploring the forest around Lake Ndutu, spotting an array of wildlife, and visiting the fascinating archaeological site at the Olduvai Gorge. Don’t miss the opportunity to jump on a game drive to view the spectacular herds of the annual Great Migration, enjoy a scenic hot air balloon ride over the plains and take a guided tour with the local Maasai and learn about culture and traditions. Other commonly spotted species include: leopard, lion, cheetah, caracal, serval, African wildcat, and a variety of prolific birdlife.
Days 8 - 10
The Seronera region, in the central Serengeti, is set directly on the Great Migration route, and offers excellent viewing of this incredible annual phenomenon, when countless wildebeest flood across the plains. While migratory game populations fluctuate seasonally, Seronera is still a wildlife hotspot at other times of the year, sheltering the Big Five, among many other species. A number of small campsites provide accommodation and visitors can enjoy hot air balloon trips and walking safaris as well as guided game drives.