Set out on foot to experience the wild wonders of Tanzania from the unique perspective of the people who call it home. On the shores of Lake Eyasi, a stunning salt lake in the Rift Valley, live among the timeless Hadza, one of the last hunter-gatherer groups in the world. Then settle into Maasai country, getting to know the culture and hiking the Ngorongoro Highlands, Olduvai Gorge, and the Serengeti Plain with our Maasai hosts. Complement your walking adventures with game drives in some of East Africa’s most wildlife-rich areas: the Ngorongoro Crater and the legendary Serengeti.
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport and meet our trip staff. Transfer to our hotel, set amid tropical gardens in the shadow of Mount Meru.
Dik Dik Hotel (D)
Travel to the shores of Lake Eyasi, the home of the Hadza bushmen, one of the last surviving hunter-gatherer tribes in the world. Numbering about 1,000, they cling to a lifestyle that has changed very little over several thousand years, living off the land and relying on very few modern amenities. We’ll settle into our camp and make our way to a Hadza encampment, where life will be going on as usual. Get acquainted with the people of the camp and learn about their traditions and daily life. Take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a full day living among the Hadza and accompanying them on their everyday rituals. We’ll break into small groups and join members of the camp as they go about their search for the day’s food. Through our interpreter guides, enjoy a rare chance to talk with some of the world’s last bushmen about the ways they are coping with modern encroachments. (Day 2: 2-3 miles walking, 1 hour; Day 3: 10-12 miles walking, 5-6 hours)
Private Mobile Camp (B,L,D Daily)
A morning drive brings us to the highlands above the Ngorongoro Crater, where another cultural adventure awaits. This is the land of the Maasai, the iconic pastoralists of the East African savanna, known for their scarlet robes, their beadwork, and their legendary ceremonies. Pay a visit to a Maasai manyatta, or village, where we’ll be greeted with a foot-stomping, high-jumping welcome dance. Immerse yourself in their world, learning about their customs. Meet the village elders, visit homes, and take part in a memorable cultural exchange. Later this afternoon, head to our private tented camp in the highlands. (2 miles walking, 1 hour)
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D)
After an early breakfast, hop into 4x4s for the descent into Ngorongoro Crater—a 102-square-mile caldera framed by steep green walls and teeming with some 30,000 creatures. Discover lion prides lazing in the grass or readying for the hunt; observe the antics of a herd of zebra or of elephant calves at play; spot an endangered black rhino; and train your binoculars on an astounding variety of birds. Following our safari, join our Maasai neighbors for a traditional meat-eating ritual and go for a sunset hike along the ridge. (2-3 miles optional walking, 1 hour)
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D)
Set out to discover the picturesque highlands on foot on a variety of optional walks and hikes with Maasai guides. Take a short walk to a nearby village school and then continue to the home of Ole Dorop, a Maasai elder, for an intriguing discussion about Maasai culture. Hike up a beautiful ridge to a cattle watering hole used by the local Maasai and then on to a viewpoint overlooking the rolling plains of the Serengeti. Or, climb to the summit of one of the highest mountains in the Ngorongoro highlands. (2-5 miles walking, 1-3 hours; 12 miles optional summit climb, 6 hours)
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D)
We’ll hike to our next destination, the Elwai mobile tented camp overlooking Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakey family has made groundbreaking discoveries of early human origins with support from National Geographic. Our path starts out ascending a prominent ridge along the top of the Ngorongoro highlands, from which the views of the Serengeti will be breathtaking. Wind down out of the hills toward the camp, keeping an eye out for wildlife or Maasai herding their livestock along the way. Spend the following day hiking on the vast Serengeti Plain and in Olduvai Gorge. Our Maasai hosts and walking guides will choose our route based on wildlife activity. (Day 7 and 8: 8-10 miles walking, 4-5 hours)
Private Mobile Camp (B,L,D)
Venture deeper into the Serengeti in safari vehicles, heading for kopje country, where dramatic granite boulders poke out of the savanna. Continue to our camp, located in an area with a high concentration of wildlife—in the midst of thousands of wildebeest during the annual migration, or in the savanna woodlands, home to a rich variety of wildlife species, including cheetah, leopard, giraffe, buffalo, and vervet monkey. Head out on game drives to observe the legendary creatures of the Serengeti.
Private Deluxe Camp (B,L,D Daily)
Return to Arusha and gather for dinner before transferring to the airport for our evening flights.
National Geographic Adventures are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,000. Airfare and fees for Tanzania National Parks are not included. Round-trip economy air between New York and Arusha, Tanzania is estimated from $1,600. Fees for Tanzania National Parks are $1,250 (subject to change in 2014).
GROUP SIZE: 8–16
The annual wildebeest migration coincides with the January, February, and March departures.
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.
Trips rated MODERATE typically have 3-6 hours of activity per day, with hikes up to 10 miles on rolling or mountainous terrain with some steep ascents/descents and uneven trails at altitudes of up to 8,000 feet. Itineraries with kayaking will have 3-7 miles of paddling per day.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.