Cats & Culture (13D - 12N)

Highlights: Homestay in Endallah, the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Olduvai, the Masai and the Datoga, Lake Manyara en Tarangire National Parks, the Haynu Waterfalls

Day 1  ARUSHA / KILIMANJARO

We'll await you in Arusha (for those who arrive by shuttle or bus) or  Kilimanjaro Airport (for those who arrive by plane) for a city-exploration. We'll spend the night in a comfortable guesthouse in Arusha.

Lodging: Arusha guesthouse – HB (lunch and dinner)

Day 2  LAMBO HILL - ENDALLAH VILLAGE

We'll leave Arusha in the morning and head for Endallah, our home during this trip. On     our way to Endallah we'll take a short break in Mto-wa-Mbu, a very colourful town at the shores of Lake Manyara. Before arriving in Karatu, we'll offer you a wonderful view on Lake Manyara national Park from the top of the Great Rift. After lunch we’ll bring you to the top of Lambo Hill where our walking guide will be waiting for you. From there on you’ll walk to Endallah using goatpaths  while our car will bring your luggage to Endallah by mainroad. Our walking guide will explain you more about the fauna and flora you encounter on the way and about the village life in Endallah. It’s a beautiful walk and a great way to leave the tourist road and enter the real Tanzania. In Endallah we'll take our time to install and meet our guest family. After the home cooked dinner you’re free to retreat to your room or stay up and sit around the campfire.

Lodging: Endallah guest family - FB

Day 3  BANANA PLANTATION TOUR AND VILLAGE VISIT

Today we'll tie on our walking shoes for a challenging forest walk. Although the itinerary will be adapted to the physical condition of your group, we'll use mainly goatpaths and track the Endallah river for a while. During our walk we'll visit a tropical plantation, well covered in the valley and with an abundance of bananas, avocado, sugarcane, oranges, jackfruit etc... From there on we'll follow the irrigation canal and continue through the river and over the rocks. Before climbing out of the valley we'll visit a hyena cave and a 6 m. high waterfall (dried up during the dry season). After lunch our guide will take you on a village visit. You’ll visit secondary and primary school, the stone bakery and maize mill, the waterpump and dispensary and a traditional Iraqw hut. The day ends with a homecooked meal and a cosy little campfire.

Lodging: Endallah guest family - FB

Day 4 LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

Another early wake for a whole day of game driving in Lake Manyara National Park. Lake Manyara is maybe the most beautiful and certainly the most tropical park of the Northern circuit. Vegetation is lush as there’s always plenty of water sipping down from the surrounding mountains. Here we’ll have a good chance to have a really close encounter with elephants and giraffes as well as spotting many colourful birds and a variety of raptors. Blue monkeys, giant monitor lizards, bushbucks and klipspringers are often spotted as well. Lions, hyena’s and leopards are present but generally well covered in the bushes. We’ll have our picnic at the beautiful ‘Endallah picnicsite’ and also visit the beautiful hot water springs (‘maji moto’), made famous by Ernest Hemingway who had a tented camp nearby. We'll drive to the nearby Mto wa Mbu for a tatseful traditional dinner prepared by local mamas. 

Lodging: Mto wa Mbu guesthouse - FB

Day 5  ELEPHANT CAVE WALK

After breakfast a local guide will take you on a cycling tour through the rice fiels and banana plantations. You'll ride to the backside of Lake Manyara where you may encounter flamingos, wildebeests, zebras, vervet monkeys and a lonely buffalo. After lunch we'll head to Karatu where a ranger form the Ngorongoro Conservation Area will take you to the Elephant Caves and Karatu Waterfall. It’s a nice 2 hours walk on the edge of the Conservation Area. The ranger will explain about fauna and flora. The really lucky ones may encounter bush elephants or bushbuck although they're shy and try to avoid humans.

Lodging: Karatu guesthouse - FB

Day 6  NGORONGORO CRATER

After breakfast we drive to the gate of Ngorongoro Conservation Area and get down to the craterfloor for about 6 hours of gamespotting. The garden of Eden hosts a surreal variety and quantity of animals and is considered as one of the best places in the world to spot the endangered black rhino in the wild. Buffaloes, elephants, lions, hyena's and many species of antelopes are common and can be sighted at close range. The more elusive leopard is also present but rather difficult to spot. The two picnic sites, inhabited by steeling monkeys and acrobatic black kites, provide a real spectacle. Take care of your belongings! Around 5 p.m. we'll climb the steep crater rim again and head for a fresh shower. We'll spend the night in the guestrooms of the Endulen Mission, a spectacularly located little hospital served by the flying doctors and used for the treatment of the local Masai. Ready for a cool but quiet night.

Lodging: Endulen Mission (Simba campsite if Endulen Mission is fully booked) - FB

Day 7  SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

We wake up early again and depart for an exciting day in Serengeti National Park. If the condition of the road allows, we 'll take an idyllic and seldom used shortcut to Lake Ndutu that will offer you the real Out of Africa-feeling: the rising sun, endless plains and no one else around. From Ndutu we continue to Naabi Hill, the gate of Serengeti National Park. From there on we'll follow the routes that give us the best chances of tracking the big cats. These vary from season to season. We'll picnic on route. In the late afternoon, just before dusk, we'll stick to the river where the leopards will slowly wake up after a long day of sleeping. Of all national parks in Africa the Seronera region in Serengeti is the best option to spot a leopard. The night will be spent in a small tent at one of the Seronera campsites. Whooping hyena's, roaring lions and screaming prey will accompany us at night: few hours of sleep but excitement guaranteed! For those who prefer a comfortable and quiet night we’ll book a nearby lodge (at own expense).

Lodging: Seronera campsite or Lodge - FB

Day 8  SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK - NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA

We'll leave at sunrise for another day of game driving. The early hours are the best for spotting leopard or lions 'at work'. We'll follow the river and the Kopjes to Naabi Hill where we enter Ngorongoro Conservation Area again. We 'll continue our game drive to Ndutu or make a stop at the mysterious Shifting Sands and Olduvai Gorge for a short visit to the famous archaeological museum (your choice). On or way back to Endallah we'll visit a Masai boma if there's still some time left. The dinner in the family's house and a small campfire will give you the chance to look back on your three days trip to one of the most spectacular wildlife sites in the world.

Lodging: Endallah guest family - FB

Day 9  ENDALLAH HIKES

Today’s another hiking day’! You can sleep as long as you want and wake up slowly for breakfast. After breakfast we’ll leave for another hike that will lead you to the Northern part of Endallah. Another great opportunity to get to know more about daily life in the village and discover some beautiful landscapes. We ‘ll show you the kindergarten of Masabeda where children of the remotest part of Endallah learn their first words in Kiswahili. We’ll return home for lunch and leave again for a shorter walk after siesta. This time we’ll walk up to the boundary between Endallah and Lake Manyara National Park to watch the sun set over the lake from a well placed kopje. Dinner and campfire at home as usual!

Lodging: Endallah guest family – FB

Day 10 MBULU HAYNU WATERFALLS

Today we’ll leave after breakfast for a scenic drive to the Mbulu highlands. This seldom visited part of Tanzania is inhabited by the Iraqw. The Iraqw capital is Mbulu and it looks like Tanzanian Switzerland because of the many green hills surrounding the city. Mbulu also houses the biggest cathedral in Africa, a gift of European missionaries. Before going to our guesthouse we’ll go for a little hike to the beautiful Haynu waterfalls. We’ll spend the night in a guesthouse in Mbulu.

Lodging: Mbulu guesthouse - FB

Day 11 TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast we’ll continue to Tarangire National Park, a scenic drive through the hills of Mbulu. We’ll arrive in Tarangire around noon, set our camp on a wonderfully located hill in the park and have lunch before driving off again for half a day’s game drive. Tarangire National Park has a very large concentration of elephants but is also famous for its tree-hanging pythons and leopards. We hope we’ll be lucky enough to see them! Dinner is used around the campfire before we prepare for another entertaining night, full of horrific sounds and uninvited visitors… Again, those who prefer a quiet night in bed can spend the night in a lodge at own expense. Hakuna matata!

Lodging: Tarangire campsite or Lodge - FB

Day 12 TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

We wake up early and break up our camp before leaving on another game drive. Also here the cats are at their best at night and in the early morning. Around noon we’ll leave the thousands of giraffes, elephants and dikdiks for what they are and leave the park again. After lunch we take off to Arusha where the souvenir hunters will enjoy themselves bargaining at the famous Masai market. And those who don’t care can have a cold beer and watch the others bid. We’ll end the day at Khan’s Street BBQ, well known in Arusha for its good spare parts and … delicious BBQ at night!.

Lodging: Arusha guesthouse - FB

Day 13 ARUSHA / MOSHI

Today our ways split again. Some will travel on to Zanzibar or Kenya and others will fly home. But before we say goodbye we’ll pick a new date for next year because you’ll certainly want to come back!

No lodging - HB


Prolongations

All of our tours can be extended  with one or more extra days. The cost of the prolongation is depending on the type of activity you wish to do that day. It’s clear that an extra park day will cost you more than an extra day in Endallah and climbing Kilimanjaro will cost you more than staying in Zanzibar for some more days.

Possible extra’s: climbing Kilimanjaro or Mount Meru, Zanzibar, Lake Victoria, extra park days in Serengeti, Ndutu or Tarangire, extra days in Endallah, Lake Babati and Lake Basotu,… Just tell us what you have in mind!

Lodging

In order to give you the chance to meet the local people and experience the daily life in a small Tanzanian village, all safaris will be based in Endallah. You will stay in the house of a local family in an authentic village on the border of Lake Manyara National Park. There are 4 double rooms and 3 single rooms. Mattresses, pillows, blankets and mosquito nets are provided. There's a (cold) shower and a toilet with flush. The house (and the village) is perfectly safe as there're always people around to take care of your belongings. If wanted, dirty clothes can be washed (free service).

Once on road, you will stay in guesthouses. In the national parks you can choose between sleeping in a tent at a public campsite (included in the total cost) or staying in one of the lodges (at own expense). The campsite is very basic (long drop toilet and an uncertain water supply) but definitely wild! Whooping hyena’s and roaring lions will entertain you at night so you’ll never forget that you’re camping in one of the most beautiful and wildest parks in the world.  

If you choose to stay one or more nights in a lodge, we can book them for you (no additional booking cost). The cost of a quite expensive stay in a lodge is not included in the fixed itineraries tour price though. In this way the guests can choose themselves if they go for the budget option, choose a luxurious safari or want to sample both.

Meals and drinks

The meals in Endallah are homemade and consist of fresh ingredients. Vegetarian meals can be provided. Traditional food (ugali) will be served on demand (no extra cost).

The meals on safari will be prepared by our safari-cooks or will be served in little restaurants. During the whole trip there will always be plenty of bottled water. Coffee and tea will be available at breakfast. Alcoholic and soft drinks are available too but they're at own expense (at democratic prices).

Transport

All transport will take place in a 4WD Toyota Landcruiser. The roof will be taken off during the game-drives, guaranteeing perfect views. Since you (and your group) are the only passengers, you can ask the guide to stop whenever you want. The car is in good shape but the roads are not. Occasional breakdowns may happen but will be dealt with by our guides who are, like all Tanzanians, very handy mechanicals.

Park fees and taxes

The park fees and taxes for the national parks are pretty high and have raised seriously in the past few years. All park fees and taxes are included in the total cost of the trip. If the park fees would rise after your booking, we’ll have to adjust your tour price.