Mid Range Safari Tanzania
We bow to the fact: Many of us are firmly engaged in a very busy world, a world in which time away from the busyness is precious. And so we offer this safari to three major contributors to the East African mystique: the classic game lands of Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the fabled Serengeti—all in a mere but marvelous 10 days. Direct flights from Europe take us to the sudden serenity of the Arusha Coffee Lodge, and then we’re off on a carefully choreographed safari, with two nights in each of the three camps and lodges we’ve chosen for their warmth of spirit, their serenity, their location, their refreshing lack of busyness.
Day 1: En-route
We dream of safari while we soar through the skies, bound for Africa. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 2: A coffee plantation in lovely Arusha
The Arusha Coffee Lodge, an old-fashioned island of quietude tucked away in a plantation, is a great place to unwind after the rigors of long flights. Arusha is only 3 degrees south of the equator, but its 4,500-foot elevation encourages floral luxuriance and gentle airs. So we’ll be more or less surrounded by enthusiastic greenery as we sit on our Plantation Suite’s veranda—perhaps after a relaxing swim—looking up at massive Mount Meru, a 14,977-foot volcanic colossus that looms beneficently over this quintessentially African city. (BLD) Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily The Arusha Coffee Lodge
Day 3&4: The luxurious treehouses of Tarangire
Our first experience of luxury life in the bush couldn’t be more spectacular. Treetops’ main lodge, built around a thousand-year-old baobab, is only the beginning. The lodge’s 20 famous, lovingly crafted tree houses, elevated for sweeping views of the park, are extraordinarily large, airy, and utterly magical. And from our tree house’s balcony, we look out at Tarangire’s wonderfully varied landscapes of rocky outcrops, rolling hills, and golden savannah generously strewn with acacias and baobabs, home to just about the entire cast of wild African characters— and some rare stars, like kudu and oryx — in addition to 2,500 or so elephants. We’ll spend a day in the bush discovering the big game and spying dozens of species of birds cavorting in the trees of Tarangire, and, if we’re still keen to see more all-star creatures, we can go out on a night drive, always a revelation. (BLD) Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 5&6: The Ngorongoro Crater, a lush natural masterpiece
The drive from Tarangire to the world-wondrous Ngorongoro Crater takes us north, past Lake Manyara, into the Crater Highlands and up to the reposeful cabins of Neptune Ngorongoro Luxury Lodge. We’ll drive to the crater floor for an extraordinarily rewarding game drive, exploring the caldera’s 100 square miles, spotting lions, elephants, black rhinos, just about all of East Africa’s faunal celebrities, and return to the lodge for quiet, view-besotted sundowners on our cabin’s private terraces, followed by a lovely dinner overlooking one of the world’s most magical places. (BLD) Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily Neptune Ngorongoro Luxury Lodge.
Day 7&8: Gazelles by the gazillion in the Serengeti
’’There is a lightening of the spirit,” Cyril Connolly wrote about the vast plain. We’re invited to a rare, deep-rootedly serene idyll. The sky is huge and blue and as pure as the day the earth was born. (And on the southern horizon, over the Crater Highlands— “That’s Ngorongoro, just behind that big green mountain,” we’ll say knowledgeably, affectionately—clouds pile up in grandly crazy towers, looking like computer-generated special effects.) The Serengeti’s kopjes are the creation of a cosmic bonsai master, and on a flat brown rock atop one of them, a lion rolls over and warms its fluffy white belly in the sun. We’ll spend two idyllic Serengeti nights in Migration Camp, tucked away in kopje-esque rocks just above the Grumeti River. The main lodge has a split-level lounge, a swimming pool, and a dandy restaurant, and each of Migration Camp’s 20 tents is encircled by a deck, a private sanctuary from which to gaze out at the natural extravaganza below and beyond. Those of us who can’t quite believe that hippos really exist—that’s how otherworldly they sometimes seem—are delighted that rumbling pods of them disport on the Grumeti, along with many single-minded crocodiles; the great migration funnels into a crossing of this river, and the crocs bide their time like the pleistocenic beasts they are. (BLD) Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily Migration Camp,
Day 9&10: Game viewing, back to Arusha and homeward
After a final game drive, we’ll head back to Migration Camp for breakfast. Maybe we’re close to sighting the Little Five, and need just a little luck to complete the list. The identities of these mini-masterpieces: rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise (not so mini, really; they can weigh as much as three standard bowling balls), ant lion, and the extremely shy elephant shrew, which weighs not much more than an elephant’s tear. In any case, it’s time to say good-bye to the Serengeti and Tanzania’s spectacular bush. We fly back to Arusha, relax in day rooms at the Arusha Coffee Lodge, maybe take a pre-flight swim, and board our homebound planes in the evening, arriving back home on Day 10
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