You will be met by your guide and vehicle and driven to Lake Manyara, arriving with plenty of time for an afternoon game-drive. Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is famous for its large alkaline soda lake which is home to the pink flamingo, yellow-billed stork and heron. If you are lucky you may get chance to see the tree climbing lions, which are unique to this national park. Watch out for some fun antics from the local baboon population; Lake Manyara is believed to have the largest number of these primates in the World!
After breakfast, you will take a picnic lunch with you as you continue to the Serengeti, a drive of around 4 ½ hours through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Your journey will take you to the Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton of Australopithecus boisei, one of the distinct links of the human evolutionary chain. In a small canyon just north of the Ngorongoro Crater, the Leakeys and their team of international archaeologists unearthed the ruins of at least three distinct hominoid species, and also came upon a complete series of hominoid footprints estimated to be over 3.7 million years old. Evacuated fossils show that the area is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation in the world. You will then continue into the Serengeti.
After breakfast, you will set out with a picnic lunch for a full day game viewing in the Serengeti National Park. During June, the migrating herds will be collecting in the western corridor, preparing to cross the Grumeti River. Even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers some of the most exciting game viewing – great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, as well as thousands of eland, topi, hartebeest, impala and Grant’s gazelle.
After an early breakfast, you will drive to the fascinating wildlife arena of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The crater, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is over 260km2 (100 miles2) and was formed when a massive volcano exploded and collapsed on itself 2 – 3 million years ago. It is now the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world and often referred to as “Africa’s Eden”. Home to more than 25,000 large mammals – it is not unusual to see all of the ‘Big Five’ (buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard) in a single day. Driving through the Ngorongoro Highlands, you will arrive at the crater rim and then descend down 610m (2000 feet) onto its floor to start your safari extravaganza.
You will drive to Tarangire, a “must see” for avid birdwatchers, boasting over 550 different bird species, the most diverse in Africa, including the Kori Bustard, the heaviest flying bird in the World! The Tarangire River runs through the park attracting a huge number of elephants, buffalo, giraffe and antelope, particularly in the dry season between June and October. It is not uncommon to see large herds of elephants roaming through Tarangire’s savannah grasses or taking shade under the odd looking “upside down trees” (baobab) that are dotted around the park. Following a morning game-drive you will transfer to your hotel in Arusha or directly to Kilimanjaro Airport for onward travel.