Expedition Details

 

Go in search of the thundering herds of the legendary wildebeest migration on a wildlife safari in Tanzania. Experience the power of the migration up close in the vast savannas of northern or southern Serengeti, depending on the season (see box at right). Take in extraordinary vistas of the Great Rift Valley, and descend into the Ngorongoro Crater to spot lions, cheetahs, elephants, and much more.

Trip Highlights

  • Take a private tour of Olduvai Gorge where Homo habilis was discovered on a National Geographic–sponsored expedition.
  • Seek out the great wildebeest migration.
  • Spot spectacular wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater, a unique habitat sheltering almost 25,000 animals.
  • Join a Maasai chief on a visit to his village, witness a traditional ceremony, and learn firsthand about Maasai culture.

Itinerary - 11 Days

Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Arusha, Tanzania

Depart on an overnight flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport, and arrive the following evening.
Arusha Coffee Lodge

Day 3 — Lake Manyara National Park

Drive to Lake Manyara National Park, famous for its elephants, hippos, giraffes, flamingos, and tree-climbing lions. Set out to discover East Africa’s legendary wildlife amid the stunning Rift Valley landscape on our first safari.
Plantation Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Lake Manyara National Park

On a morning game drive, observe the wildlife that congregates on the shores of Lake Manyara. Hike through a coffee plantation this afternoon.
Plantation Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Ngorongoro Crater

After breakfast, travel to the Ngorongoro Highlands, where a nearby Maasai community welcomes us into their village on a special visit. Far from the tourist circuit, enjoy a rare opportunity to view traditional singing and dancing, visit a school, witness an initiation ritual, and learn about this fascinating culture from the village chief and his wives. After lunch, descend 2,000 feet to the base of the Ngorongoro Crater, where volcanic slopes shelter almost 25,000 animals. Observe the interactions of predator and prey; spot colorful birdlife from Marabou Storks to crowned cranes; and track elephants, rare black rhinos, cheetahs, and more.
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Ngorongoro Crater

Return to the crater floor for breakfast and a morning safari. Enjoy an afternoon to relax and watch the sun set over the crater from the lodge. Tonight, National Geographic Explorer-in- Residence Louise Leakey or Dr. Fidelis Masao, co-director of the Olduvai Landscape Paleoarchaeology Project, joins us for dinner and a discussion about the groundbreaking paleontological finds in the region.
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Olduvai Gorge/Serengeti National Park

Drive to the Olduvai Gorge where, on a National Geographic–sponsored expedition in 1960, Louis and Mary Leakey discovered Homo habilis, one of the earliest members of the human genus. Here, Louise, the Leakey’s granddaughter will discuss her family’s legacy and ongoing work before we set out on a private tour, or Dr. Masao will join us on a walk through the site where much of his life’s research has been conducted. This afternoon, drive to our luxury tented camp on the southeastern border of Serengeti National Park, looking for lions, cheetahs, and leopards along the way.
Lake Masek Tented Camp (B,L,D)

Days 8 & 9 — Serengeti National Park

Embark on an off-track safari in the Ndutu area in search of resident lion prides, cheetahs, giraffes, and bountiful herds of wildebeests, elephants, and zebras. On morning and afternoon game drives, witness magnificent birds, hippos, packs of hyenas, and pairs of jackals lurking around the surrounding marshlands and lakes. You may also choose to take an optional hot-air balloon safari to view the plains games from above. On our last evening, gather for a farewell cocktail reception and dinner.
Lake Masek Tented Camp (B,L,D)

Days 10 & 11 — Serengeti/Arusha/U.S.

After an early morning safari, fly back to Arusha. Relax at our hotel before connecting with your evening flight home, arriving the next day.
Kia Lodge or Rivertrees Country Inn (B,L)

Optional Extensions

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Laly Lichtenfeld

Laly LichtenfeldConservationist and National Geographic Explorer Laly Lichtenfeld began her work in East Africa as a Fulbright Scholar researching community-based conservation in 1996. She went on to co-found the African People & Wildlife Fund with her husband, and currently lives in Tanzania at their Noloholo Environmental Center on the Maasai Steppe. National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative supports Laly’s inspirational work to conserve lions, leopards, and cheetahs in partnership with rural people. She earned her Ph.D. from Yale University, where she continues to act as a research affiliate.

Laly will join the following departure:

Jan 24 - Feb 03, 2015

SEE OTHER EXPERTS »

Dates

2014
  • Sep 06 - 16, 2014 ALT
  • Oct 04 - 14, 2014 ALT
  • Dec 18 - 28, 2014
  • Dec 27, 2014 - Jan 06, 2015 (waitlist only)
2015
  • Jan 24 - Feb 03, 2015
  • Feb 14 - 24, 2015
  • Jul 11 - 21, 2015 ALT
  • Jul 25 - Aug 04, 2015 ALT
  • Aug 01 - 11, 2015 ALT
  • Sep 05 - 15, 2015 ALT
  • Oct 03 - 13, 2015 ALT
  • Dec 26, 2015 - Jan 05, 2016
  • Dec 29, 2015 - Jan 08, 2016

ALT indicates a departure that has a slightly different itinerary than the one shown on this page. Click the ALT icon to see the day-to-day itinerary.

*The July through October departures follow a slightly modified itinerary to provide travelers with the best opportunity to witness the wildebeest migration.

Expedition Cost

2014

$8,495

2015

$8,795

Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $2,500 in 2014 and $2,600 in 2015. On the December departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $500 per person for 2014, and $750 for 2015.

International airfare to/from Arusha and airfare within Tanzania are not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within Tanzania are from $400 to $700, subject to change depending on the departure date.