- Currency: Tanzanian shillings
- Local time: GMT +3
- Language: Swahili, English
Lake ManyaraMy trip started in Lake Manyara National Park, which we drove to after flying into Kilimanjaro airport. Known for its flamingos, there is also a high chance of seeing elephants, which is exactly what we saw approximately 3 minutes into our drive. It’s a great place to start your safari adventure, as the drive from Kilimanjaro airport (via Arusha) isn’t too far. We checked into Kirurumu Manyara Lodge for the night, which is an authentic tented lodge on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater. The panoramic views from the balcony of our tent were incredible, and the staff welcoming and friendly. Breakfast was included here, and they made us a lovely packed lunch to take on our trip to the Serengeti the next day. Make sure you save some time for a cocktail in the bar before dinner – the menu was extensive!
The SerengetiLeaving Kirurumu behind, we drove towards the Serengeti and were treated with incredible wildlife viewing along the way. We checked into Sanctuary Kusini, which is the only permanent camp in the South of the Serengeti. The luxury tents here, coupled with the stunning main lodge (where breakfast and dinner are served each day) make for a fantastic safari experience, and the sundowners each night on the huge rocks in the middle of camp offer stunning sunset views and a change to relax and share stories with other travellers after a full day of game viewing. The staff were also able to lend a telescope when night fell so that we could study the amazing stars above us. The Serengeti itself was where we saw the most varied wildlife, including but not limited to: elephant, lion, leopard, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and cheetah. Game drives can be arranged through the camp if you are not travelling with a private driver.
Ngorongoro CraterAfter an incredible two nights in the Serengeti, we moved to the Ngorongoro Crater, via a trip to a Masai Village. It was a great way to see how this tribe live in the middle of barren land, and we not only got to see the inside of their huts and meet the tribesmen, but were also treated to a traditional welcome dance. It was inexpensive to visit the Masai, and we were encouraged to buy a small trinket/piece of jewellery from their stand on the way out, to which we happily obliged (and I still wear my bracelet to this day!). We stayed overnight in the stunning Gibbs Farm during our time in this area. A peaceful and rustic environment with individual cottages for guests, the service here was impeccable and the food some of the best we ate on the entire trip. Gibbs Farm operate a farm-to-table motto with their food, with most of what you eat here having been grown on site. The meat is locally sourced and the coffee roasted each morning on the patio (a lovely activity to watch while eating breakfast) and you really can taste the freshness in each meal. There are a whole host of activities to join in with during your stay here, including farm walks, local town tours and even a visit to a primary school. The Ngorongoro Crater was formed by a volcanic eruption, and the form of the crater creates an almost ‘natural enclosure’ for the wildlife. It is a great place to try and spot the elusive black rhino, along with lion, zebra, wildebeest, gazelle and plenty of flamingos in the lake in the south.
TarangireOur final stop on safari was in Tarangire National Park, staying at Sanctuary Swala. This unapologetically luxury camp had everything, from an on site watering hole to a swimming pool that frequently had elephants drinking from it! The accommodation was stunning and the dining area in the main lodge had an outside terrace, meaning meals could be served with a view to the animals drinking from the waterhole. Tarangire park is famous for it’s elephants, and is without doubt the place that we saw the most. From young babies to older matriarchs, the elephant viewing in this park is unrivalled. It is one of the lesser visited parks in Tanzania, which meant we were often the only vehicle around and watching the elephants in silence felt like we had been let in on an African secret that nobody else knew about!
From Tarangire, we transferred to Arusha airport, where we caught a flight to Zanzibar to finish off the trip with some time on the beach. More about the beach break, and our overnight in Stone Town can be found here.