Trip Number: 13545A
Staff: Wayne Martin
- Be dazzled by an incredible number of animals and birds
- Experience the Serengeti Plains during their peak
- Learn from expert guides
- Meet local people and learn about their lives
- All meals and on-trip transportation (including airport transfers during
trip dates), tips, accommodations, admissions, and park entrance fees
Tanzania provides all the essential elements of a classic African adventure.
The largest country in East Africa and situated just south of the equator, Tanzania
has a truly magnificent variety of landscapes and 12 national parks that are
unsurpassed in beauty and variety. Among its unspoiled savannah one can still
find Maasai nomads and millions of wild animals. Tanzania is home to over 40
species of mammals, including elephant, zebra, wildebeest, antelope, warthog,
lion, cheetah, leopard, and hyena. Tanzania is also a bird watcher's paradise
with too many species to list.
Our adventure will take us from the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro to the limitless
expanse of the Serengeti Plain, to the misty beauty of Ngorongoro Crater, and
the scenic gems of Tarangiri and Arusha national parks. We will also have opportunities
to meet and interact with native peoples. Our safari is during one of the most
pleasant seasons in East Africa. A rainy season will have just ended and all
will be fresh and green.
We will be accompanied at all times by accomplished Tanzanian guides who will
be able to teach us about the wildlife we’ll encounter. We'll listen for
the sounds of the bush as we enjoy our comfortable camps and lodges. In settings
of incomparable beauty and grandeur, we will experience Africa at its finest.
Photo: Melinda Goodwater
Day 1: Upon evening arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, the leader
will be there to greet you. We will drive 45 minutes to Mount Meru Hotel for
dinner and overnight.
Day 2: We'll take a morning game drive to Arusha National
Park, the smallest of Tanzania's parks, but also one of its most beautiful.
It is bordered by Mt. Meru (14,000 feet) on the west and Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,400
feet) to the east. In the afternoon we will take a walking safari with a park
ranger. You will see many kinds of wildlife and hundreds of different species
of migratory and resident birds.
Day 3: We'll drive two hours to Tarangire National Park, known
as “the Baobab Capital of the World.” Tarangire is also famous for
its elephants. In addition to numerous mammals, the park has over 300 species
of birds, the highest number of breeding bird species of any habitat in Africa.
Tarangire has a large swamp that attracts birds and animals of all kinds. We
will be staying at Tarangire Safari Lodge, which overlooks the Tarangire River.
Day 4: We’ll be taking a full day of game drives in
the National Park today.
Day 5: After breakfast, we will depart for Manyara National
Park, which is located along the western edge of the Great Rift Valley. The
entrance to the park is a rainforest fed by underground springs and is home
to baboons, monitor lizards, leopards, pythons, and a tremendous variety of
birds. The heart of the park is a large soda lake where flamingos, water fowl,
and hippos abound.
Day 6: We'll devote this day to a combination of game drives
and hiking in the Manyara area, and then proceed directly to Ngorongoro Crater,
which is one of the seven World Heritage sites and the world’s largest
unflooded caldera. We will be staying at the beautiful Serena Lodge, which has
a fantastic view overlooking the crater floor.
Day 7: Ngorongoro Crater has been referred to as the Garden
of Eden and it will not disappoint you. Measuring over 100 square miles, the
crater represents every micro-climate found in Tanzania. We will enjoy a full
day's game drive in the crater, leaving the lodge early in the morning to enjoy
the early light and higher activity level of the predators. The crater wildlife
remains constant during the year, as most animals find no need to migrate elsewhere.
The crater boasts a huge number of hyenas and the densest population of animals
in any Tanzanian park. Black rhinos are usually seen and the elephant population
consists of very old and extremely large bulls.
Day 8: We'll depart after breakfast for Serengeti National
Park. Along the way, we will stop at Oldupai Gorge, the famed archaeological
sites of Mary and Louis Leakey. Standing at the top of the gorge envisioning
early man evokes a feeling of returning home to the birthplace of humankind,
quietly reminding us that we are all related. We will then continue to the Serengeti,
enjoying our first sight of this "endless plain" as we arrive at our
Days 9-11: We'll enjoy our first of many game drives in one
of the most famous wildlife preserves in the world on our way to our private
luxury mobile camp. The park's name is derived from the Maasai word "siringet,"
which means “endless plains.” Within an area of 5,700 square miles,
we'll find a staggering animal population of about four million, including incredible
herds of zebra, wildebeest, and other grazing animals. Each day will feature
different game drives with different animals and surprises. The skill and experience
of our driver guides will be obvious as they look for animal viewing opportunities
away from other tourist vehicles.
You may choose to either spend full days photographing and observing far away
from the camp, or you may choose to leave before sunrise and return for brunch
and rest. Late-afternoon drives allow us to enjoy the interesting light and
increased activity of the predators. After these excursions, you will be met
back at camp with cold beverages, appetizers, hot showers, a gourmet meal, and
a crackling campfire. There's nothing quite like falling asleep and waking to
the sights and sounds of the nearby herds.
Day 12: We'll enjoy our last Serengeti game drive as we travel
eastward. In the afternoon you wiill have the opportunity to learn about the
Iragw tribe, or you can just relax by the swimming pool at the Bougainvillea
Lodge. Dinner and overnight will be at this same lodge.
Day 13: Day trip to Lake Eyasi to visit the Hadzapi and WaToga
tribes of this region. The Hadzapi are Tanzania`s Bushmen, still speaking in
clicks, and numbering less than 600 individuals at this point. Hadzapi are nomadic
hunters and gatherers; the men are anxious to show you how they hunt, make and
prepare their arrows, and the women will usually take you into the surrounding
bush to gather berries. The WaToga are pastoralists, like the Maasai, living
in the Lake Eyasi region after the government moved them out of Ngorongoro Crater
to avoid conflicts with the Maasai.
Day 14: We will travel back to Arusha, and visit the Cultural
heritage centre. Here we will visit a collective of at least 175 artists and
visit the Cultural Heritage Museum. Our last meal together will be served at
the Impala Hotel. From there, we will depart for our evening flight home from
There are several options to reach the trip starting point. Participants will
need to book a flight from the U.S. to Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. The
flight will require a transfer in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, since KLM is the
only airline that currently flies into Arusha.
You can also fly into Nairobi, Kenya, and then transfer to a short flight to
Kilimanjaro Airport in Tanzania. This will require a Kenyan visa and also a
taxi transfer from the international airport in Nairobi to a local airport across
town. There is also an option of taking a bus from Nairobi to Arusha. Since
there is only one airline that flies into Tanzania, it is advisable to commit
to this trip as soon as possible so that you can then purchase your airline
tickets. Since this trip occurs during high season, the limited less expensive
seats will sell quickly. Airfares will increase as time progresses, and one
takes the chance of not being able to get a seat at all.
Accommodations and Food
Accommodations will include both safari lodges and tented camps. The lodges
are among the finest that Tanzania has to offer, but do not correspond to luxury
class hotels in the more developed countries of the world. In the tented camps,
each tent has two cots, electric or kerosene lamps, and its own bathroom facilities
with either plumbing or chemical toilets. These accommodations are quite comfortable.
Showers will be available daily, although sometimes the crew will have to fill
your individual water tank. Vegetarian diets can be accommodated. Please check
with the leader regarding other dietary requirements.
No special conditioning is required for this safari. We will ride in vehicles
with a maximum of seven people in each vehicle, with each person having access
to a window and roof hatch. There will be the inevitable inconveniences and
difficulties associated with travel in a developing country. It is important
to accept Tanzania on its own terms, with a sense of adventure and good humor.
On rare occasions the itinerary may need to change somewhat due to unforeseen
Equipment and Clothing
The trip leader will send approved trip applicants detailed apparel and equipment
recommendations. Dress will always be informal. The weather will be about 80
degrees or so during the day, although it can get warmer. Mornings can be chilly,
especially on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. February falls within the dry season,
but showers can occur.
There are many good general guidebooks to Tanzania and East Africa. For example,
one of Passport's Regional Guides of Africa, Tanzania, by Lisa Asch and Peter
Blackwell, gives a very readable overview of this fascinating country. For
more in-depth material and a better understanding of the safari experience,
here are a few of the leader's recommendations:
- Moss, Cynthia, Portraits in the Wild.
- Bonner, Raymond, At the Hand of Man.
- Smith, Anthony, The Great Rift: Africa's Challenging Valley.
- Saitoti, Tepilit Ole, and Carol Beckwith, Maasai.
- Matthiessen, Peter, Sand Rivers.
- Grzimek, Bernard and Michael, Serengeti Shall Not Die.
- Hatch, John, Serengeti: A Profile.
- Iwago, Mitsuaki, Serengeti: The Natural Order.
- Matthiessen, Peter, The Tree Where Man Was Born.
Twenty-five percent of Tanzania's land (over 95,000 square miles) has been
set aside for wildlife parks, reserves, and game areas. This is probably more
than any other country on earth. However, Tanzania's economic resources for
rangers, roads, research, and administration of these lands is meager, and
illegal poaching and hunting still take their toll on wildlife. The integrity
of national parks and wildlife reserves are also being threatened as the need
for land and food increases.
There are many projects going on in Tanzania today to help solve these problems.
Ngorongoro Crater is part of the extensive Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which
is a pioneering effort in multipurpose land, allowing for the protection of
animals and the continuation of tribal lifestyles at the same time. Also,
there are several animal research projects in the field, including the world's
longest-running research project on lions, the Serengeti Lion Project, which
began in the 1960s.
One of our conservation objectives will be to try to understand the challenges
that Tanzania faces in continuing to support such a large national park system.
Tourist dollars are a major source of revenue, so by coming to see these magnificent
animals and their habitats, we are helping to ensure their future. That said,
we will become aware of both the positive and negative consequences of tourism
in a country like Tanzania.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Wayne Martin began his adventures with the Sierra Club more than two decades ago, when he went snow camping in the Sierra Nevada with the Bay Area chapter. Two years later, in 1984, he led his first national Sierra Club trip. Since then he has led more than 50 trips and served as chair of the club's International Outings Subcommittee.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips