Here, everything that is Africa converges in a beautiful display. This Tanzania safari follows the migration of the great herds of the Serengeti from our luxurious tented camps.
Tanzania Safari Overview
The mountains and plains of Tanzania - the Great Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Crater, and of course, the Serengeti itself - are vibrantly alive. Here, everything that is Africa converges in a beautiful display, from the remarkable variety and sheer numbers of wild animals, to the epic landscapes that inspired the writings of Isak Dinesen, to the rich culture of the Maasai, who proudly maintain traditions while finding their way in the modern world.
Our Tanzania migration safari takes in the wonders of these places at a relaxed pace, allowing us plenty of time to come to understand what has drawn travelers to East Africa for generations. We plan our safaris carefully to correspond to important times in the annual Serengeti migration, and no matter when you go, our luxury camps allow us to be close to the action. Whether you come for the wildlife, the scenery, or the culture, it is the things that are impossible to predict – a pride of lionesses on the hunt, or a rainbow breaking over a herd of elephants, or the thrilled grin of a child for the simple gift of a pencil – that will stay with you long after you leave Tanzania.
Tanzania Safari Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Evening arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha, Tanzania. Transfer to our beautiful lakeside lodge on the grounds of a former coffee plantation, the perfect place to rest after your travels.
Day 2: Explore the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara National Park, known for its beautiful soda lake often full of flamingos, hippo pools, and tree-climbing lions. Ascend to the Ngorongoro Crater rim in time for a spectacular sunset from our perfectly located lodge, overlooking one of the great natural wonders of the world.
Day 3: Arise early to be the first on the crater floor as the sun comes up and while the wildlife is most active. Enjoy an extended game drive, taking time to observe the interactions of the lions, cheetah, hyena, wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, buffalo, elephant, and black rhino. Visit a traditional boma, where our guide introduces us to the Maasai who live and raise their livestock here.
Days 4-6: Descend from the crater rim to our deluxe, traditional tented camp, home for the next three nights, seasonally relocated to be close to the great migration in Serengeti National Park. While the migration is often quite close by, there are literally dozens of other species to catch our eyes, from big cats to baboons, and from antelope to zebra. After full days of game driving, enjoy sundowners over a crackling camp fire, reliving the day's adventures with your guide and camp staff. Camp chefs are the best, creating delicious meals whose flavors complement the magic of being in the bush.
Days 7-8: Game drive to our luxury permanent camp set in a remote corner of the southern Serengeti. Far from the often-crowded, common game routes, Kusini Camp allows us to discover our own private Africa. Enjoy game drives amid impressive herds of wildebeest which migrate to the southern Serengeti to have their babies at this time of year. Early in the morning, sip coffee on the magnificent kopjes (rock outcroppings) overlooking this very exclusive area of the Serengeti. At night, drift off to sleep under a blanket of stars, listening to the sounds of the Serengeti -- the distant roars of lions and rhythmic beat of hooves.
Day 9: Experience an incredible flight over the Serengeti and Great Rift Valley on our way back to Arusha. Say goodbye before your evening departure, or continue your adventure with an extension trip to Zanzibar.
The Boundless Journeys Safari Advantage
- Unique, award-winning itineraries. Our flexible, hand-crafted journeys have received accolades from the world’s most revered travel publications. Our luxury camps allow us to be close to the action in relative solitude and in comfort. Hotel quality linens, full-sized beds (not cots), ensuite bathrooms, a professional camp staff and indulgent touches throughout the day make Boundless Journeys' selected camps an experience not to be missed.
- Small groups. We tread softly, and our average group size is just 6-8 guests, and never more than 12 in our Tanzania safari groups. We limit passengers in each vehicle so everyone has a window seat and plenty of space, and fully retractable roofs allow 360 degree wildlife observation.
- Flexibility to suit your travel style. We offer both small-group departures and Private Collection safaris, so that you can choose which works best for you.
- Insider connections. There is simply no substitute for traveling with a knowledgeable insider. Our Tanzanian guides are experienced naturalists, and they know the park rangers and keep in touch with them regularly, so they always have the inside track on where to find the most exciting wildlife.
- A passion for travel. Simply put, we love to travel, and that is woven into every one of our journeys. For example, our flight over the Serengeti allows you to maximize your vacation time - and not spend it on long drives as some others do. It adds an unforgettable element to our journey, seeing the plains from above.
- Customer service that goes the extra mile. There is no request that is too big – or too small – for our staff to handle.
- Sustainability. We are committed to traveling responsibly – striving to preserve traditions and cultures around the world, and to protect fragile natural habitats.
Our tours often fill months in advance, and our maximum group size is smaller than most tour operators. It's very quick and easy to reserve a trip. Give us a call at 800-941-8010 or complete the online Reserve a Trip form. We will confirm your reservation with a $500 per person deposit, payable by check or credit card.
Trip Rating (1 Easiest - 5 Most Strenuous)
Traveling to and From
Most Convenient Airport:
Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha, Tanzania (JRO)
Meeting Time and Place:
Upon arrival of your international flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha on Day 1 of the trip.
Departure Time and Place:
Kilimanjaro International Airport by 4 p.m. To accommodate our return from the Serengeti and afternoon activities in Arusha, please schedule your departing flight after 6 p.m.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Boundless Journeys’ trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Migration Safari is rated 1, easy, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). We combine camping and lodges as the base for our primary activity – game-viewing drives by 4WD vehicle. Depending on current conditions, there may be opportunities for optional guided bush walks, which can be enjoyed by anyone who is in reasonably good health.
Preparing for this Trip
Although the activities on this trip are easy and this safari can be enjoyed by anyone in reasonably good health, game drives can be quite bumpy and a certain degree of agility is needed to get in and out of the safari vehicles. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-941-8010 if you have any concerns.
Our Serengeti Camps
Ranging from traditional safari style to luxurious, Boundless Journeys chooses camps that provide the ideal blend of adventure and decadence while exploring these remote wild areas. Camps are also chosen based on migratory patterns of the herds at each specific time of year, so we can always be close to the action. Amenities such as a wash basin and vanity, towels, soft bathrobes, full-size queen (or twin) beds, hotel-quality linens, writing table, and covered outdoor sitting area are standard. Electricity is available for recharging camera equipment.
Camp life is relaxed and comfortable. Upon returning from the day’s game drive in the afternoon, there is time to wash up, rest, read, write, or chat with your guides and each other over a drink. As evening falls a campfire is lit, and the camp chef prepares dinner. If the weather is particularly fine we may dine al fresco, surrounded by torches, or we may dine in the dining tent. Either way, our table is set with linens and fine dinnerware, silverware, and glasses.
Unforgettable full and half-day game drives are the primary activity of Boundless Journeys’ Tanzania safari. On most days, we will depart our lodge or camp early and spend the morning tracking various animals in our custom-built, 4WD safari vehicles. Each day is unique and unpredictable – which is why our guides say never put away your camera, even on the way to the airport!
Drives may last from a few morning hours to a full day. Sometimes we will take a picnic lunch, and other days we will return to the lodge or camp for lunch. As we come upon groups of animals, we allow plenty of time to simply observe and also take photographs. Our guides are experienced naturalists and will add greatly to your understanding of the wildlife. We keep a respectful distance – although the same cannot always be said about the animals; it is not unusual to come nose-to-car with baboons, zebras, wildebeest, gazelles, and elephants.
The weather in Arusha and the national parks is generally pleasant though the equatorial sun is strong. It can rain at any time, but chances are higher during the months of April, May, June, November, and December. In the Ngorongoro area, evenings and early mornings can be chilly, and dressing in layers is a good strategy, so that you can shed or add layers as the day heats and cools.
The following are average temperatures in Arusha:
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE ºF (HIGH/LOW) ARUSHA
DEC-MAR: low-mid 80s/low 50s
JUNE-OCT: mid 70s/high 40s
You may obtain more detailed weather information at www.weatherbase.com.
When to Go
Our safaris coincide with important times in the annual migrations, as well as take advantage of other significant animal activities and weather patterns.
December-March: The herds have typically arrived in the southern short grass plains of the Serengeti by now, and tens of thousands of wildebeest have their babies over the course of just a few weeks. A safari at this time of year will certainly offer sightings of enormous herds of wildebeest, along with all of the other African wildlife one would expect.
June-October: The large herds are on their way north and have scattered a bit around the northern Serengeti. If you are lucky, we may witness herds crossing one of the large northern rivers – truly a sight to behold. We also explore the private Loliondo reserve bordering Serengeti National Park, and include a few nights in Tarangire National Park, known for its large elephant herds and wonderful baobob trees. Please request our Beyond the Serengeti itinerary if you’d like to plan at safari at this time of year.
Other times: We suggest avoiding November and April through the first half of May, as those months comprise the rainy seasons in Tanzania. Outside of those months, there are great reasons to visit Tanzania at any time, and no matter when you choose to go, you will see more elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, buffalos, hippos, ostriches, baboons, and lions than you can keep track of. If you are interested in organizing a private safari for your own group of family or friends on the dates that work for you, please contact our office at 800-941-8010 for our Private Collection sample itineraries.
Overview: First-class lodges, traditional tented safari camp, and comfortable luxury permanent camp; all private baths.
Night 1: Lake Duluti Serena Hotel
Nestled at the foot of the wooded slopes of Mount Meru, this unique hotel stands amid coffee plantations on the shores of tranquil Lake Duluti. Designed to echo the traditional style of the colonial coffee farm, which originally stood on this site, Lake Duluti Serena Hotel offers tastefully presented cottage-styled rooms set amid extensive landscaped grounds.
Nights 2 & 3: Sopa Lodge
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The only lodge on the eastern rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, Sopa Lodge allows easy access to the crater floor, beautiful sunsets, and a private solarium for each room.
Nights 4, 5, & 6: Olakira Camp
Bordering Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
This well-appointed, traditional tented camp moves seasonally, so that we are always close to the great migration in privacy and style. Nine spacious tents with comfortable beds, side tables, and a writing desk are scattered across a private, remote landscape. Private bathrooms attached to each tent include shower, flush toilet, wash basin and vanity. There is also a dining and lounge tent with waiter service and a fully stocked bar.
Nights 7 & 8: Kusini Camp
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Perfectly sited in a cluster of rock outcrops, Sanctuary Kusini is a permanent luxury tented camp blended seamlessly into the delicate environment of the predator-rich plains of the Serengeti. The surrounding short grass plains provide the setting for the most spectacular natural phenomenon on the continent of Africa, the wildebeest migration. Kusini sits exclusively in this remote region of the Serengeti, affording guests the rare opportunity for secluded game drives well away from the usual tourist circuit.
Day 9 (day-use): Kia Lodge
Beautifully situated with views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, day-use rooms are provided for resting and repacking before your international flight, if you have not reserved our Zanzibar: The Spice Island trip extension.
A Boundless Moment in Tanzania...
After a stop at their village near our camp, we follow two young Maasai scouts out into the open savannah, an endless sea of gently rolling grassland, dotted with kopjes. Our destination, our guides explain, is one of these small, rocky hills, known to house a pack of wild “painted” dogs, one of Tanzania’s rarely seen predators.
TANZANIA SAFARI ITINERARY
Arrival to Arusha
Upon arrival of your flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport, you are met by a Boundless Journeys representative who will transfer you to our lodge, set quietly beside Lake Duluti on the grounds of a former coffee plantation on the outskirts of Arusha.
Upon arrival to the lodge, you are greeted by a friendly staff, offering refreshments before turning in to rest after your travels.
Lake Duluti Serena Hotel, Arusha
Game drive through Lake Manyara National Park.
After a pre-safari briefing, we drive through Arusha, entering the Great Rift Valley, where the earth’s plates are separating. This geologic phenomenon allows for the formation of volcanoes in the region – one reason the Serengeti supports such a unique ecosystem. On the far side of the valley we reach Lake Manyara National Park.
Even though Lake Manyara is one of Tanzania’s smaller national parks, its jungle-like forest and immense “soda lake” support a great variety of wildlife. As we slowly make our way along a dirt track through the park, we may encounter pools of water full of hippos and see countless pink flamingos, dainty gazelles, and graceful giraffes meandering through the tall grass. We enjoy lunch at a viewpoint overlooking the lake, spying on animals through binoculars and scanning the trees for elusive tree-climbing lions.
This afternoon we drive to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, a volcanic caldera that is home to a huge concentration of wildlife – including the “big five” – elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, and rhinoceros. One of seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites designated in Tanzania, Ngorongoro is the world’s largest unflooded caldera. While only 100 square miles in area, the crater is home to six distinct habitats: acacia forest, swamp, short grass plains, long grass plains, rivers, and woodland, with each habitat attracting a variety of animals. The rim of the crater reaches 7,800 feet in altitude and the crater floor rests at 5,000 feet. Home to almost 30,000 animals in an area naturally enclosed by the slopes of the volcano, this is the best location for viewing black rhinoceros and huge, old bull elephants. There is not enough vegetation to support the large cow and calf herds, but the old male elephants “retire” to the crater for the lush swamp grass and acacia forest. The only Tanzanian game not seen in the crater are impala and giraffe. It is not known why impala do not inhabit the crater, but giraffe are unable to descend the steep grade without lowering their heads, which raises their blood pressure to dangerous levels.
By late afternoon, we arrive at our home for the next two nights, the only lodge on the eastern rim of the crater.
Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater and Maasai village
Full day game drive on the crater floor.
This morning we rise early to be the first on the crater floor. This is a magical time with the sun rising above the rim of the crater and the animals still active. We enjoy an extended game drive, with plenty of time for photography and to simply observe the interactions of the lions, cheetah, hyena, wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, buffalo and black rhinoceros. The sheer number of wild animals living in such close proximity is amazing.
Making our way slowly across the caldera floor, which contains sweeping grasslands, lerai forest, a soda lake, and marshy wetlands, one has the sense of being in another time. The landscape is so primitive, the ecosystems so intact, that it is like taking a trip to prehistory. Coming upon a lone elephant, a beautiful giant with gracefully curving tusks quietly munching on the soft grasses, listening to him breathe, is something one won’t soon forget.
This afternoon we ascend out of the crater and visit a Maasai boma, where we meet the village elders and learn about the traditions of their culture.
Tonight when we are back at the lodge, sitting comfortably by a crackling fire, our thoughts will be on the crater and the unseen drama unfolding in the darkness below, on the hunters and the hunted, completing life’s circle, as they have been for thousands of years.
Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater
DAYS 4, 5 & 6
Morning and afternoon game drives through the Serengeti plains.
After breakfast we depart our lodge on the crater rim, making our way down the northwest flank of the ancient volcano and entering the renowned Serengeti National Park. Known as Siringitu to the Maasai, a word meaning “where the land goes on forever”, the Serengeti covers 5,700 square miles of open grassland, acacia-dotted rolling hills, and rocky outcrops known as kopjes. It is home to millions of the earth’s most impressive land animals, and one of the last great migratory ecosystems on the planet. Throughout the year, huge herds of wildebeest and zebra make their way from the southern plains, through the grassy woodlands, and into Kenya’s Masai Mara, before returning to the south to begin the cycle again. Even during moments when we are not in the midst of the migrating wildebeest and zebra, we will be getting to know the Serengeti’s other resident wildlife, including giraffe, buffalo, topi, hartebeest, waterbuck, impala, hippopotamus, elephant, crocodile, warthog, hyena, lion, cheetah, and leopard.
We continue our exploration for the next three days from an award-winning, traditionally-styled tented camp, far from the Serengeti’s larger lodges, and close to the wildlife action.
It is a treat to shake off the dust after a day in the bush, and enjoy a cool drink as the sun sets over the Serengeti. After sundowners by the campfire, we enjoy delicious meals prepared by the camp’s creative chef. Each evening we drift off to sleep in the comfort of our safari tents, in full-size beds with hotel quality linens, soaking in the magic of the Serengeti, with distant roars of lions and a sky full of stars.
Olakira Camp (three nights), Serengeti National Park
DAYS 7 & 8
Morning and afternoon game drives through the Serengeti plains.
Our final days find us in the short grass plains that define the southern reaches of the Serengeti, now making our home in an exclusive, luxurious permanent camp in a remote southern area of the park. Using our camp as our base, we spend these unforgettable full days game viewing. As the bush is always changing, we make our plans the night before based on where the best wildlife viewing will be. Depending on the day’s plans, we may take a picnic breakfast, lunch, or both. Game drives often begin early in the morning when the animals are most active and the lighting is best for photographs.
By now we each have favorite animals – for some it is the unflappable giraffe, standing with noble grace at up to 18 feet tall. For others it will be the herds of elephants, always protective of their young. Of course, for many it is the lions, confidently gazing from their sun-warmed kopjes, quietly planning what will be on the menu tonight.
Sanctuary Kusini Camp (two nights), Southern Serengeti
Serengeti fly-over and Arusha
After breakfast we drive to a nearby airstrip, where we say good-bye to our naturalist guide and board our flight to Arusha. Seeing the Serengeti from above is an experience few others will ever have, and it is unforgettable. We arrive at Arusha’s domestic airport in time for your flight to Zanzibar, if you have reserved Boundless Journeys’ Zanzibar: The Spice Island trip extension. If you have not reserved the trip extension, you will be met by a Boundless Journeys driver who will transfer you to a lodge where you will have a day-use room to rest and prepare for your evening international flight. On the way to the hotel we will stop at an indoor market where artisans from throughout Tanzania sell their work. This is a great place to purchase batik fabric, fine wood carvings, and even tanzanite. A transfer to the airport, in time for your flight, will be provided.
Kia Lodge (day-use), Arusha
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary to take advantage of weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these should the need arise.
- Feb 26–Mar 05, 2016
2016 Land Cost
$6,995 per person
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This does not apply to cruises in the Galapagos Islands. Please see these trip pages for more details.
Serengeti National Park to Arusha
- Expert leadership and services of safari camp staff
- All accommodations
- All meals
- Guaranteed window seating in safari vehicles
- Membership in Flying Doctor Society
- All activities as noted in the itinerary
- Mountainsmith duffle bag for each participant; the perfect size to pack for a safari!
Please complete the following information to request a reservation. A trip deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your reservation (payable by check or major credit card). Once we receive your request we will contact you within one business day to confirm availability and answer any questions you may have.
About our guides
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work – the mark of a truly great leader – our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own.
Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Wilfred Mrosso: Born near Tarangire National Park, Wilfred’s childhood was filled with the sights and sounds of Tanzania’s rugged bush. This introduction to wildlife at an early age encouraged his dream to become a naturalist guide and introduce travelers to the part of Africa he calls home. A graduate of the Mount Meru Guiding College, Wilfred has been sharing his passion for Africa’s wildlife with guests on safari since 2006. In addition to Swahili, he speaks French and English. His personable nature and wealth of knowledge has brought guests back to Tanzania time and again.
What other guests have said about our Tanzania guides:
“I just wanted to let you know that the safari was really made by Wilfred and Kelvin - they made the trip outstanding! Their personalities really added another dimension to the adventure. We also particularly enjoyed Reuben and the staff at the mobile tented camp. They were so personable... They were even kind enough to let me plug my hair dryer into the outlet – they moved it outside of the dining room and we set up a quick hair-drying session right there!” - P.G., Sacramento, CA
"Our guide, Wilfred, was awesome! We always felt safe and worry-free in his care. We were so happy to meet him and it was sad saying goodbye to him at the end of the trip. He tried so hard to show us everything and he succeeded. We even saw the wildebeests crossing the river - what a bonus!" - L.J. & M.J., Sarnia, ON
Picture Yourself Here:
Incomparable wildlife encounters – lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, hippos, and millions of zebras and wildebeests – pillars of one of Earth’s last great migratory ecosystems.
Legendary landscapes, from the Great Rift Valley, to the Ngorongoro Crater, to the plains of the Serengeti.
Expert Tanzanian naturalist guides bring the Serengeti to life.
Beautiful accommodations in astounding settings. Our private mobile tented camp allows easy access to the most animals at any time of year.
- Feb 26–Mar 05, 2016
You may also be interested in:
Prefer a private departure?
For private safaris from December-March, please see our Private Collection, Tanzania: The Great Migration Private Safari
For private safaris from May-October, please see our Private Collection, Tanzania: Beyond the Serengeti Private Safari
What others have said...
We will savor this wonderful experience for years to come. Boundless Journeys gave us the right combination of support, information, guides, accommodations, people, and pure delight in every moment. What a wonderful treat to be in such good hands!
- P.H. and D.H., Sedona, AZ
Latest Blog Posts About Tanzania
"The Migration Safari in Tanzania was amazing – so far beyond my wildest dreams. The access to so many animals and the respect for them was impressive. Everyone should have this experience!"
- Helen Uhrig, Tanzania: Migration Safari