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

    • Meet Louise Leakey or Fidelis Masao for a private tour of Olduvai Gorge, where Homo habilis was discovered on a National Geographic-sponsored expedition.
    • A renowned wildlife biologist accompanies each trip to interpret the flora and fauna we encounter on safari and to give fascinating lectures about animal behavior.
    • Settle into a stunning canvas suite at Sayari Camp, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World (July through October departures only).
    • A Maasai chief invites us on a private visit to his village to witness a traditional ceremony and learn firsthand about the 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.
Plantation Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Ngorongoro Crater

After breakfast, travel to the Ngorongoro Highlands, where we will meet with Maasai community members. 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 between 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.
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge (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 southern 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.
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. While there, he visited Dian Fossey at her Rwandan research center and helped her sketch individual gorillas. David spent four years as a lion biologist in Tanzania and taught zoology to future wildlife managers at the University of Dar es Salaam. He has contributed illustrations to numerous East African guidebooks and to National Geographic magazine. David and his wife lived in Tanzania for more than 25 years.

David will join the following departures:

Jul 08 - 16, 2018
Jul 22 - 30, 2018
Aug 05 - 13, 2018
Dec 30, 2018 - Jan 07, 2019



  • Jul 08 - 16, 2018 (waitlist only)
  • Jul 22 - 30, 2018
  • Aug 05 - 13, 2018
  • Sep 02 - 10, 2018 (waitlist only)
  • Oct 07 - 15, 2018 (waitlist only)
  • Dec 30, 2018 - Jan 07, 2019 ALT
  • Jan 21 - 29, 2019 ALT
  • Feb 18 - 26, 2019 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 - Oct 2018


December 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. The optional hot-air balloon safari on Day 7 is $600 per person. Airfare to/from Arusha and within Tanzania is not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within Tanzania are an additional $450 to $775 per person (subject to change), depending on the departure date.

Featured Traveler Photo

Activity Level


Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.