Big Cat Safari – February 2016

This safari has been custom designed to provide the classic East Africa safari experience – staying under canvas, traversing wide, open plains teeming with animals in amazing quantities, and experiencing vibrant culture. The trip is focused on having the highest quality wildlife viewing, with top guiding and time to view the fascinating behavior of animals. We have designed it to suit a relaxed pace with plenty of time spent in each region.

Your safari begins with a visit to the iconic Ngorongoro Crater including two game drives into the crater where game viewing is exceptional with great opportunities to see lion and the endangered black rhino.

The centerpiece of your safari is to visit two very different areas in the Serengeti ecosystem, Ndutu and the Central Serengeti. Serengeti is likely the most famous wildlife area in the world and rightly so. The migration of over 2 million large grazing animals (wildebeest, zebra and gazelle) and large populations of big cats are present. Beyond the famous animals there is a full diversity of species and guests typically see between 30 and 40 different species of mammals along with a stunning array of birds.

Serengeti migration, Tanzania

From January to March, the wildebeest give birth to their calves, roughly 400,000 of them. This safari is planned to witness the huge quantities of wildlife as well as the fascinating behaviors that occur with so many animals sharing the area.  If you want to see Africa’s Big Cats (lion, leopard and cheetah) in action, this safari is for you.

OTHER TANZANIA ITINERARIES

Below are some of our sample itineraries, but note that we can customize the perfect Tanzania adventure that meets your needs.

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Itinerary


DAY 1: Arrival to Arusha: Upon arrival to Kilimanjaro Airport, you’ll be met by your private guide team for your transfer to the African Tulip, your hotel in Arusha.  The African Tulip is an elegant and charming boutique hotel right in the heart of Arusha.  A warm and friendly welcome awaits guests who want to experience the best of Tanzanian hospitality. Relax this evening after your flight from the US.   Overnight at African Tulip. (http://www.theafricantulip.com)

Ngorongoro Conservation Area – A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and commonly referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World, Ngorongoro is the largest volcanic caldera on the planet. The rich soils and abundant, year-round water provide an ideal habitat for a variety of large animals. The crater’s walls, 2,000 feet high, create a natural amphitheater for the densest populations of large animals anywhere on the planet.  This is the best location in Tanzania to spot the highly endangered black rhino.  Elephant, buffalo, zebra, and wildebeest are all common within this confined habitat so up-close viewing is quite possible.

DAY 2: Ngorongoro Crater: Your day starts with a transfer by road to Ngorongoro Crater (transfer time approx. 4 hrs).  Afternoon game drive.  Overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. (B,L,D)

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge offers an ideal location.  It’s the only hotel on the east rim of the Crater so guests have stunning views into the Crater, especially at sunset.  Best of all, it’s perched by one of only two access roads into the Crater.  This road is only used by 5% of Crater traffic so access is faster and prime viewing easier early in the morning.

DAY 3: Ngorongoro Crater/ Ndutu: A second visit today with a morning game drive in the Crater.  After lunch, continue on to Tanzania’s Ndutu region located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (transfer time approx. 2 hrs).  Overnight at Njozi Ndutu Camp. (B,L,D)

Ndutu – an area famed for extraordinary wildlife. Huge concentrations of the great migration often gather in this area from late December through March during wildebeest calving season when 400,000 wildebeest calves are born. This incredible concentration of potential prey leads to very high densities of predators.  The Ndutu region at this time of year is unrivaled for the potential to observe start to finish hunts by big cats.

Cheetah cubs - Ndutu, Tanzania

Ndutu is exceptional for cheetah and has proven to be an important nursery area to raise young cubs. Lions and spotted hyena are also very common and frequently observed hunting. A diversity of habitats with expansive plains, great marshes, lakes, and woodlands makes it worthwhile to spend several days exploring the area during game drives. Full day trips can be made to other rich areas such as Gol Kopjes, Central Serengeti, Kusini Plains, Moru Kopjes, and the Kakesio Plains to the south.

Njozi Ndutu Camp – local wildlife biologists gain experience as they conduct original big cat research from the camp.  This gives camp guests an unparalleled opportunity to observe and learn during their stay.  The philosophy of the camp is to provide comfort for guests while the staff works hard behind the scenes to allow full flexibility with meal times and service, including packing meals to go to the bush. This way, guides are able to deliver the superior game viewing experience.

DAYS 4-6: Ndutu: These three days provide ample opportunity to explore Ndutu and other game rich wildlife viewing areas.  Overnights at Njozi Ndutu Camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 7: Ndutu/ Central Serengeti/ Moru Kopjes: Today, you’ll depart Ndutu for Serengeti National Park.  Your camp for the next three nights is located in Central Serengeti near the stunning Moru Kopjes.  The central Serengeti valley has the most resident wildlife of any area in the park so sightings are stellar all months of the year.  The area has a dozen different lion prides and is also the most productive region for leopard sightings.  It’s not uncommon to have quality observations of all three of Tanzania’s big cat species in a single day – a Cat Trick.  Overnight at Shani Camp. (B,L,D)

Serengeti National Park – one of the premiere wildlife destinations on the African continent. The park’s ecosystem supports the largest herds of migrating ungulates in the world. Few sights are as breathtaking as that of the rumbling thunder of thousands of hoofed African mammals pounding across the Serengeti plains. Every year, 20,000 zebras and nearly 1 million wildebeest chase the seasonal rains in a 300-mile loop around Tanzania and Kenya. This great migration is one of the most spectacular wildlife spectacles on the planet.

Elephant on safari, Tanzania

Shani Camp – a stay at this camp helps support the creation of jobs for aspiring wildlife biologists.  In exchange, guests receive a much deeper wildlife experience than the typical safari.  Guiding at Njozi Ndutu and Shani Camps is of utmost importance and your guides will make the effort to explore away from crowds so you have the greatest opportunity for top-notch and memorable sightings.

DAYS 8-9: Central Serengeti/ Moru Kopjes: These two days provide ample opportunity to explore central Serengeti and Moru Kopjes.  Overnights at Shani Camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 10: Departure: For your final day in Tanzania, enjoy a game drive en route to Seronera Airstrip.  Flight to Kilimanjaro Airport and day room for use at KIA Lodge until your evening flight home. (B)


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DETAILS

Meals: B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner

Price: $6950 person (double occupancy).  Single supplement: contact us for availability.

Package includes accommodations, airport transfers, private guide and vehicle with unlimited mileage (4 people per vehicle to enhance game viewing experience; max group size 8 – 2 vehicles), meals, drinks at Njozi and Shani Camps, laundry, park fees and flight from Seronera to Kilimanjaro Airport.

Exclusions: international airfare, passport and visa fees, travel insurance, drinks at Africa Tulip and Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, optional cultural visit with the Maasai ($20/ person payable directly to the community), health preparations, gratuities ($25 per person per day suggested), and items of a personal nature.