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. 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 via Amsterdam, and arrive the following evening.
Arusha Coffee Lodge

Day 3 — Arusha/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. Visit a coffee plantation to learn about the coffee production process 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. After an afternoon to relax and listen to a talk by our expert, 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. On a private tour of Olduvai Gorge, accompany Louise Leakey and learn about the family’s legacy and ongoing work, or join Dr. Masao on a walk through the site where much of his life’s research has been conducted. This afternoon, drive to our lodge in the central Serengeti, looking for lions, cheetahs, and leopards along the way.
Serengeti Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)

Days 8 & 9 — Serengeti National Park

Rise early for a morning game drive before flying to the northern Serengeti, and with luck, witness the dramatic river crossings of the wildebeest migration. Great herds of wildebeests and zebras eye predators warily as crocodile snouts break the surface of the Mara River. Stay in a luxury tented camp, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World program, and take in the region’s spectacular array of wildlife on morning and afternoon game drives. On our last evening, gather for a candlelit farewell dinner in the bush.
Sayari Camp (B,L,D daily)

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.
Rivertrees Lodge or Lake Duluti Lodge (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 departures:

Jan 23 - Feb 02, 2016
Sep 03 - 13, 2016



  • Dec 29, 2015 - Jan 08, 2016 ALT
  • Jan 23 - Feb 02, 2016 ALT
  • Feb 13 - 23, 2016 ALT
  • Jul 09 - 19, 2016
  • Jul 23 - Aug 02, 2016
  • Aug 06 - 16, 2016
  • Sep 03 - 13, 2016
  • Oct 01 - 11, 2016
  • Dec 26, 2016 - Jan 05, 2017 ALT
  • Dec 29, 2016 - Jan 08, 2017 ALT

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 December through March departures follow a slightly modified itinerary to provide travelers with the best opportunity to witness the wildebeest migration.

Expedition Cost





Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $2,600 in 2015 and $2,700 in 2016. On the December departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $750 per person for 2015-2016.

International airfare to/from Arusha and airfare within Tanzania are not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within Tanzania are from $425 to $750, subject to change depending on the departure date.

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