Remarkable beauty, unfathomable wild games, unmatched hospitality and extremely original down to earth culture – exactly like what we see on National Geographic and you can experience it with patience, perseverance, planning, knowledgeable guide and pure luck! We selected Tanzania as our main destination for African Safari due to migration season in north western Serengeti plains and off course Ngorongoro Crater. We also added Maswa Game Reserve and Tarangire National Park into the mix to cover wide range of parks in Tanzania and it was one of the best recommendations our African Safari organizer gave- because, we got to see African Wild Dogs in a pack in Tarangire National Park, almost a rare site, and Maswa became a buffer zone just in case we weren’t able to keep up with the schedule due to bad weather (which we never had! ) or vehicle breakdowns (which we had a few! and its very normal plus adds some adventure).
There are few other options in Tanzania other than Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Maswa and Tarangire with beaches in Zanzibar, hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro and visiting Dar-es-Salaam city, etc. but as every trip has an objective, ours was maximizing just on wild games (and we saw all, in abundance) and witnessed wildebeest migration across the Grumeti and Mara rivers, which is once in a lifetime experience.
It is highly recommended to stay within the park as much as possible due to the experience it provides, amazing properties and proximity to game watching,
THE ROUTES AND PLACES
We landed into Mbalageti in north western Serengeti on a small bush plane from Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserve, our private certified naturalist experienced informative ranger guide was waiting for us with his Land Cruiser to greet before we landed and was with us for next 11 days throughout Tanzania until we took off from Arusha’s Mt. Kilimanjaro airport.
Stop 1 – Western Serengeti (Mbalageti)
No sooner we landed than we left for a safari drive and were amazed by the abundance of game in this part of Serengeti. Top Thing to Do – Just park yourself near Grumeti river and wait for Wildebeest and Zebra to cross the river with waiting hungry crocodiles and hippos. Lots of game in this area – but it also depends what time of the year you visit this region to see the migration across Grumeti river. We spent 3 full days here and we thought we needed more to experience more.
Stop 2 – Central Serengeti (Headquarters)
Hub of the park with it’s headquarters run by Frankfurt Zoological Society, with museum and off course lots of game. This is the place where we saw maximum number of Cheetahs, a sleeping Leopards and also encountered 2 different game chases, one where a big group of juvenile Lions were digging out a Warthog from it’s ground hole.
Stop 3 – Southern Serengeti (Naabi Hill Gate, Maswa Game Reserve)
Great place to unwind for a day and do nothing after 5 days of constant game watching, just to gear up the next set of parks, for us it worked well as a buffer zone because our vehicle needed some repair. On the way to Masawa from Southern Serengeti we passed through many kopje across the plains, as in the stories about Lions and their caves. Jackles, bat-eared Foxes and fish eagles were in abundance all throughout the game reserve.
Stop 4 – Ngorongoro Crater
No where you will see wild games in plenty stored within the boundaries created by nature – the volcanic crater in Rift Valley . We spent 2 full days in Ngorongoro and still couldn’t get used to the symbiosis between all these animals from Leopards, rare Black Rhino, Lions, Wildebeest, Zebras, Buffalo, etc. They all live and they live care free, we saw a herd of Zebras passing right next to Lions and they didn’t even care. The crater has it’s own weather and the climate is completely different from the areas on the rim. Also, while visiting Ngorongoro make a point to visit a coffee plantation on it’s outskirts, Kitela is a good option. On the way to Ngorongoro Crater we stopped by a Masai villiage for experience as well as visited the Olduvai Gorge (the oldest evidence of human origin, remains of Hominins, a close relative of humans).
Stop 5 – Tarangire National Park
It is not part of Serengeti, and there is a stark difference between the two, Tarangire is part hilly and part shrubbery dotted with huge trees called Baobab Trees as found in Madagascar, but they are plenty in Tarangire as well. Tarangire is also famous for abundance of Elephants and watching game chases. It is in this park that we saw a pack of 13 African Wild Dogs just by chance, they were all sitting beneath an acacia tree after some great meal – we observed them for more than 2 hours. We spent 2 full days in Tarangire and it was enough.
Finally we drove to Arusha, spent a day at a Safari Club where the returning safari tourists, guides, organizers, outfitters and travelers end their journey and say good-byes. In the end, we were dropped at the Mt. Kilimanjaro airport to fly back home.