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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 the 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 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.
  • Settle into your stunning canvas suite at Sayari Camp, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World (July through October departures only).
  • Join a Maasai chief on a private visit to his village, witness a traditional ceremony, and learn firsthand about Maasai culture.

Itinerary - 9 Days

Day 1 — Arusha, Tanzania

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport this evening and transfer to our hotel.
Arusha Coffee Lodge

Day 2 — Lake Manyara National Park

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

Day 3 — Lake Manyara National Park

On a morning game drive, observe the wildlife that congregates on the shores of Lake Manyara. Enjoy a guided walk around the lodge’s grounds and gardens before hiking to a nearby coffee plantation.
(B, L, D)

Day 4 — 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, 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 floor of the Ngorongoro Crater, where volcanic slopes shelter almost 25,000 animals. Observe the interactions of predator and prey; spot colorful birdlife from superb starlings to crowned cranes; and track elephants, rare black rhinos, cheetahs, and more.
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5 — 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.
(B, L, D)

Day 6 — 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. This morning, Louise, the Leakeys’ granddaughter, or Dr. Masao will discuss the family’s legacy and ongoing work at Olduvai Gorge. Then take a private tour of the site, or accompany Dr. Masao on a walk through the area where much of his life’s research has been conducted. This afternoon, drive to our lodge in the central Serengeti, looking for lions, giraffes, and leopards along the way.
Serengeti Sopa Lodge (B, L, D)

Days 7 & 8 — Serengeti National Park

Rise early for an optional hot-air balloon safari or a morning game drive before flying to the northern Serengeti. With luck, we will 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 at Sayari Camp, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection, 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)

Day 9 — Serengeti/Arusha

After a final early morning safari, fly back to Arusha. Relax at our hotel before connecting with your flight home.
Lake Duluti Serena Hotel or Rivertrees Country Inn (B, L)

Optional Extensions

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

David Bygott

David BygottBiologist and artist David Bygott first came to Tanzania in 1969 to work on Jane Goodall's National Geographic-funded team studying wild chimpanzees. David spent four years as a lion biologist for the Serengeti Lion Project, researching lion behavior in northern Tanzania. He later taught zoology to future wildlife managers at the University of Dar es Salaam. David worked with Dian Fossey sketching gorillas, and has contributed illustrations to numerous East African guidebooks and to National Geographic magazine. David and his wife lived in Tanzania for more 25 than years.

David will join the following departures:

Jul 18 - 26, 2017
Aug 06 - 14, 2017
Dec 27, 2017 - Jan 04, 2018



  • Jul 18 - 26, 2017 (waitlist only)
  • Aug 06 - 14, 2017 (waitlist only)
  • Sep 03 - 11, 2017
  • Oct 08 - 16, 2017
  • Dec 27, 2017 - Jan 04, 2018 ALT
  • Dec 30, 2017 - Jan 07, 2018 ALT
  • Jan 21 - 29, 2018 ALT
  • Feb 18 - 26, 2018 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. See the alternate itinerary above..

Expedition Cost

July - October 2017


December 2017 - February 2018


Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $2,700.

On the December departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $750 per person. Airfare to/from Arusha and airfare within Tanzania are not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within Tanzania are $425 to $775 (subject to change), depending on the departure date.

Featured Traveler Photo