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Tanzania Northern circuit astonishing 17 days

Magical Tanzania Northern Circuit 17 days

Join our Magical Tanzania Northern Circuit 17 days and you will see the most amazing landscapes and find an immense variety of wildlife.

You will also get in touch with local people, mainly Maasai. Kindly note that photographing and bargaining with Maasai outside villages allocated for visitors is prohibited.

Your Tanzania Northern Circuit journey takes you from fascinating Arusha National Park, to the dreamland of Tarangire National Park, the interesting Manyara National Park, to magical Lake Natron, famous Serengeti, unique Ndutu Conservation Area and as the last highlight down into the Ngorongoro Crater.

You can go on this safari all year round. We might have to adjust during rainy season since roads in Ndutu area are turning into a real challenge after rain.

Arusha National Park is not only a good start into your Tanzania North circuit but also a very interesting and beautiful place. It is best to visit it for a full day with picnic lunch. Then you have time to walk with a ranger to Tululusia Waterfall and drive up to the amazing fairy tale like forest.

Some parts of the Momella Lakes are coloured pink by the presence of flamingos. You will visit Ngurdoto Crater which measures 3 km in diameter and is 15 Million years old.

Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro are visible from several points in and outside the park. There are interesting sign boards at the entrance of Arusha National Park. Mountain trekking to Mount Meru start from here and we gladly organize it for you.

Tarangire National Park captivates your attention with the many baobab trees and elephant families. Each baobab has its own face and story. Best you take a full day to drive south to the Silale swamps.

Manyara National Park got famous for tree climbing lions despite lions climb tree also in other areas. Great are the hot springs further south along the steep rim of the Great Rift Valley and the evergreen forest fed by water flowing down underground. Lake Manyara white-throated monkey (Cercopithecus miti manyaraensis) is a new subspecies of the variable genus.

Very special is the area around Lake Natron. The region seems inhospitable but Maasai people have been living here for centuries. Lake Natron is the only known breeding ground for Lesser Flamingos. They build their nests far inside the lake where no human or animal can reach on foot. Lake Natron can only be visited from Tanzania side.

It rises in Northern Tanzania and belongs to the volcanic system along the Great Rift Valley. Oldoinyo Lengai is not only special due to the fact that it is the only active volcano in Kenya and Tanzania, but its lava is unique on earth. Silvery Carbonatite lava (calcium, sodium and carbon dioxide) flows down and due to the relatively low temperature of 700 degrees Celsius it only glows at night. 2007 it was spitting ashes covering the area and tremors were felt up to Nairobi.

The Northern part of Serengeti is hilly while central and southern are flat grassland decorated with Kopjes / Inselbergen. The animal density is highest during the Great Wildebeest migration from April to June and October to February. During the time the big herds are absent, carnivores have to search more for suitable prey – this time is called “cat season”.

Ndutu area is one of the areas where White-bearded Wildebeest give birth from mid February. But also during time the big herds are further North it is full of wildlife and a great place to find big cats and large elephant bulls.

Oldupai Gorge is also called Olduvai Gorge narrates about evolution of mankind and animals but also about excavation work. The place is absolutely worth a visit!

The highest wildlife density is found in Ngorongoro Crater with 35.000 small and large mammals. Lion and Spotted Hyena density is also highest in the crater. With 18 km in diameter and 600 m deep ranks Ngorongoro Crater as 1 of the largest caldera on Earth.

Accommodation on our Magical Tanzania Northern circuit 17 days

Perfect camping – mobile tented camp during our Tanzania Northern circuit safari. At Tarangire National Park we prefer a nice campsite not far from the entrance. On Ngorongoro Crater the public campsite Simba is a great place to be with a fantastic view down to the crater floor. Ndutu area only has private campsites which must be pre booked and prepaid. In Serengeti you have the choice of private and public campsites. Nice campsite are constructed up the hill at Lake Natron where a slight breeze is a bit cooling.

Lodge chains have properties at good strategic locations. In Lobo region there is only Wildlife Lodge present.

Luxury Camps are great in most areas. Only most at Ngorongoro Crater are outside the conservation area and passing the entrance can be quite time consuming.

Tanzania is a land for land cruisers and land rovers! Minivans are not suitable.

One possible itinerary for Magical Tanzania Northern circuit special 17 days

Day 1 – Arrival at Kilimanjaro international Airport
Your driver/guide will welcome you at the airport and take you to your accommodation near Arusha National Park.
Accommodation, breakfast
either Kiota Nest or any of the lodges nearby

Day 2 – Arusha National Park
Already the entrance to the park is interesting and the park itself is a very good introduction into the coming days of Tanzania Northern circuit. The sign boards have a lot of information about wildlife and volcanism of Mount Meru.

Shortly after the entrance you reach a small plain called “Small Serengeti”. Here you can find Warthogs, Maasai Giraffes, Buffalos, Bush Buck and others.

The road starts ascending and you look out for Kilimanjaro Colobus Monkeys and Red Duiker. A small road takes you to a forest like in a fairy tale! Mosses and lichen decorate trees and dead wood.

At the opposite gate you walk with a ranger to Tululusia Waterfall. Buffalos, Warthogs and Maasai Giraffes are nearby. Impressive are the huge Strangler Fig trees. You will take your lunch here.

While driving around Momella Lakes you might see Bush Bucks, Warthogs, Maasai Giraffes and the pink colour of flamingos.

The road leading up to the rim of Ngurdoto Crater will reveal a lovely forest to you. Again keep your eyes open for the Kilimanjaro Colobus Monkeys. The crater has a diameter of 3 km and is 15 Mio years old. The walls of the crater are overgrown by very interesting plants and you might spot the large Silvery-cheeked Hornbill and hear their laughter.
Accommodation, full board
Either Kiota Nest or any of the lodges nearby

Day 3 – Arusha – Tarangire National Park
You drive through Arusha town and south to Tarangire National Park. Those who like snakes can visit the well managed and interesting snake park Meserani. A small Maasai Museum is attached.

If you do camping you get to the campsite first to pitch the tents while the cook is preparing lunch.

If you sleep in a lodge or in a luxury tented camp you check in and enjoy lunch.

Game drive in the afternoon to get the first impression of the many Baobab trees and the many elephants.
Accommodation, full board

Day 4 – Tarangire National Park
To reach Silale Swamp in the South a full day game drive with picnic lunch is recommended. A stop at a picnic site to look down to Tarangire is a must. Then you follow partly the river and drive through a fascinating landscape with a lot of wildlife.

Near the swamp look up the trees; a leopard, a lion or a Rock Python could rest up there.

Each Baobab tree has a unique face and story to tell. Elephants and giraffes tear off fibers during dry season due to the high water content.

The variety of wildlife you can meet on our Tanzania Northern circuit safari is amazing! Lions, Cheetahs, Leopards, Bat-eared Foxes, Plain Zebras, Buffalos, Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest, different antelopes, Black-backed Jackals a.o.

Always inspect termite mounds – there could be Dwarf Mongoose, Nile Monitors, Plated Lizards or Cobras peeping out.
Accommodation, full board

Day 5 – Tarangire – Lake Manyara National Park
It is less than one hour drive on a good tarmac road to the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park. Here you can find a recently described subspecies of the White-throated Monkey – Manyara White-throated Monkey (Cercopithecus mitis manyaraensis). Baboons and Bush Bucks are often spotted in the evergreen forest which is fed by water flowing down underground from the wall of the Great Rift Valley.

While watching wildlife you are heading south to the hot springs “Maji moto”. There is also nice picnic site.

In the afternoon you drive back and visit the busy hippo pool. On the plains you can see Zebras, Warthogs and Wildebeest grazing. And if you are lucky you will find a lions.

Overnight will be in on a campsite, a tented camp or in a lodge at Mto wa Mbu. Visit the market and taste the red bananas. They taste so sweet!
Accommodation, full board – Kirurumu Tented Lodge, Serena Manyara Lodge etc

Day 6 – Mto wa Mbu – Lake Natron You start the journey as early as possible. The road can be rough and you might loose some time at road pay stations. The area is dry, stony and occasionally a lonely tree stands in the middle of nowhere. A stop at the meteorite crater is a must. It is an impressive hole of 400 m diameter and about 200 m depth. In the local Kiswahili language it is called “Shimo la Mungo” – God’s cave. Soon the large 2.942 m high volcanic Gelai mountain can be seen and also the steep cone-shaped active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai is appearing. The lake will hardly to be made out due to the shimmering air. Soon you will be at the most Northern spot of our Tanzania Northern circuit safari. You will reach the campsite or lodge for lunch and please drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. In the afternoon you can hike up Ngare Sero River or relax at your accommodation and enjoy the beautiful view. Accommodation, full board

Day 7 – Lake Natron

Activities:

To visit Lake Natron with hopefully masses of Flamingos and African Spoonbills you should be there shortly after sun rise or even when the sun starts raising. Very soon the air starts shimmering due to the heat and to take photos becomes almost impossible.

Nearby you visit 120.000 year old footprints of human kind and hoof prints of zebras and buffalos or similar. Discover history on our Tanzania Northern circuit safari.

You can drive to the foot of Ol Doinyo Lengai and look up this amazing volcano. OR you start trekking up with a guide in the middle of the night. Steep but looking down into the caldera is the big reward.

Ngare Sero or Engare sero means “only water” in Maa language. Hike up along and through this very scenic river with a guide until you reach a natural Jacuzzi. The water temperature is very pleasant and it is a nice fitness training.

If you like to visit a Maasai boma please coordinate with your guide.
Accommodation, full board

Day 8 – Lake Natron – Serengeti National Park Lobo area – Central Serengeti The rough road takes you through a rugged region, agricultural land and plantation until after a few hours you reach Klein’s Gate of the northeastern part of Serengeti. Packed lunch is taken on the why and after checking in you continue to Central Serengeti to pitch the camp. The best lodge in the area is Lobo Wildlife Lodge. Built into a kopje you have a great view over the plains of Serengeti. Game drive in the afternoon. The mountains of Lobo are close to Kenya. From October to November and June/July you can watch the Great Wildebeest Migration here. Plain Zebras and Western White-bearded Wildebeest will be on the move North or South depending on the season. Impalas, Eland antelopes, Maasai Giraffes, Defassa Waterbucks, Klipspringers, Rock Hyraxes but also big cats can be spotted. Accommodation, full board – camping or Lobo Wildlife Lodge

Day 9 – 11 – Serengeti Lobo – Central Serengeti National Park
While heading South you will make many stops for wildlife sightings. You will pass a number of really interesting looking kopjes / inselberge.

On the way is also one of the best hippo pools and you can spend a lot of – the place is never boring. Photographers will visit during a morning game drive due to the light.

You will cross small rivers and check if there are Nile Monitors or Crocodiles. You can also come across Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs and other animals.

For lunch you will check in at your preferred accommodation and go for the afternoon game drive later.

Accommodation, full board – there is a big variety of lodges and camps

Day 12 – Central Serengeti – Ndutu area
While watching wildlife you are getting to Naabi Gate. Shortly after the kopje you can see from far Ndutu Conservation Area starts. Now you are looking for wildlife on the way to your accommodation. Game drive in the later afternoon.

Ndutu area is not only interesting when the large herds of Western White-bearded Wildebeest and Plain Zebras are present or even during the calving season mid February – it is a fantastic area to find big cats and big bull Elephants.
Accommodation, full board – very nic

Day 13 + 14 – Ndutu Conservation Area
You might be lucky and find Flamingos at Lake Ndutu. Definitely you will search for the beautiful male lions with big manes and maybe lionesses with cubs. Leopards and Cheetahs are also often found.

Since the area is not very big you go for morning and afternoon game drive and have lunch and a heat rest at your accommodation.
Accommodation, full board

Day 15 – Ndutu – Oldupai Gorge – Ngorongoro Crater
If the road is dry you will pass at “Shifting Sands”. This sickle shaped, dark sand dune is moved forward by the wind. You will see the sand corns moving.

It is a scenic drive through Oldupai Gorge or also called Olduvai Gorge. If you like succulents you will really like the place! From the museum higher up you have a splendid view into the gorge and the different layers. Water and wind have exposed fossilized bones of human and animals.

At the museum you will learn about evolution and excavation work. Enjoy your picnic at this lovely place before you start the drive up to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. If you like to visit a Maasai village you have the opportunity here. Take a short break at the grave of Prof. Dr. Bernhard Grzimek and his son Michael. Sadly Michael died at a young age in a plane crash. Frankfurt Zoologische Gesellschaft is still active in Serengeti. Prof. Dr. Grzimek was director at the Zoo in Frankfurt during the 2nd world war.

Accommodation, full board

Day 16 – Ngorongoro Crater
Early morning when it might still be misty you descend on a steep road 600 m deeper to the crater floor. In this immense wildlife paradise you will spend the day with picnic lunch until the gate closes at 18.00 hours.

Ensure you have enough batteries and memory cards since you will take more photos than you anticipate.

Ngorongoro Crater has the highest Lion and Spotted Hyena density. It is also here that usually solitary Black Rhinos are more social. It is also a good place to find Golden Jackals and large Elephant bulls.

You might be lucky and witness a hunting scene or predators feeding on prey.

Enjoy your last day of your Tanzania Northern circuit safari!

Accommodation, full board

Day 17 – Ngorongoro Crater – Arusha
After breakfast it is time to leave the beautiful wilderness of Northern Tanzania. You descend from the crater, pass Karatu and Mto wa Mbu where you can buy tasty red bananas and continue to Arusha.

Either you fly from the local airport before Arusha town to Zanzibar

OR

You go straight to KIA Lodge at the Kilimanjaro Airport where you have a lunch and a dayroom. A lodge driver will take you to your departure flight.

It is also time to say goodbye to your driver/guide who you spent a lot of time with on this Tanzania Northern circuit. We hope you enjoyed your safari and we say Kwaheri na safari njema – Goodbye and safe journey

Magical Tanzania Northern circuit 17 days

You will be driven in a land cruiser or land rover by an experienced, English
speaking driver/guide

Dates:
Wildebeest Calving season mid February
Wildebeest migration in Lobo October/November and May/June
Wildebeest migration in Central Serengeti April – June, November – January

Prices for our Tanzania Northern circuit safari depend on season, number of participant and your preferred accommodation. We therefore quote each safari exactly according to services provided.