Off The Beaten Track (13D - 12N)

Highlights: Homestay in Endallah, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park (Seronera and Lobo), Lake Natron, the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, the Masai and the Bushmen, Lake Manyara National Park

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.

Overnight: Arusha guesthouse - HB (lunch and dinner)

Day 2: Endallah Village Tour

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.            

Overnight: Endallah guest family - FB
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Day 3: 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 return to Endallah for dinner and the evening campfire.

Overnight: Endallah guest family - FB

Day 4: Endallah Forrest Walk and Banana Plantation Tour

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.

Overnight: Endallah guest family - FB

Day 5:  Ngorongoro Crater

After an early rising and breakfast we drive of to Karatu to stock up for the next three days in the bush. We'll continue 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.

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

Day 6: Serengeti National Park - Seronera

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! Those who prefer a comfortable and quiet night can overnight in a nearby lodge at own expense.

Overnight: Seronera campsite or Lodge (at own expense) - FB

Day 7: Serengeti National Park - Lobo

After the morning game drive around the Seronera river we'll head North to Lobo. On our way we'll stop at the Retima hippo pool. Here hippo's are constantly fighting for some space in the crowded pool and crocs are enjoying the sun on the nearby rocks. The Northern part of the Serengeti with its rolling hills and rocks is somewhat different from Seronera. There's an excellent track that follows the Grumeti River and all the big predators are present. Lobo is also famous for its topis, hartebeest and klipspringer. We'll put up our tents at Lobo campsite, on what they call a place with a view! For those who prefer bricks, we'll book a lodge (at own expense).

Overnight: Lobo campsite or Lodge (at own expense) - FB

Day 8: Lobo - Natron

Today we start with an early game drive around Lobo before continuing to Klein's Gate where we leave Serengeti National Park. From here it's a scenic but long drive to lake Natron. On the way we'll meet the Purko, a clan within the Masai tribe with a slightly different way of dressing up, and the Sonjo, the enemies of the Masai, generally dressed in blue and yellow and mostly carrying bows and arrows. Before descending the Great Rift escarpment to Lake Natron we'll stop at one of the most impressive viewpoints in Africa: the pink and red Lake Natron, surrounded by chains of mountains and the majestic Ol Doinyo Lengai. Woow! In the late afternoon we'll arrive at the campsite, a bright and green oasis with a fantastic view over the lake and the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano. We'll put up our tents and enjoy the rest of the day relaxing.

Overnight: World View Campsite - FB

Day 9: Lake Natron, The Waterfalls & Ol Doinyo Lengai

This day can be as relaxing as you want it. There's time to visit the flamingos at the lakeshore, undertake a wonderful hike to the waterfalls where we'll have a cool swim and/or visit a real Masai village. The adventurous can prepare for the ascent of Ol Doinyo Lengai at night.* Ol Doinyo Lengai, known by the Masai as the Mountain of God, is a still active volcano (the last eruption took place only two years ago) with a beautiful almost perfect cone. The ascent is pretty tough and steep and is done at night to avoid the heat of the day. The ascent takes about 6 hours, descending will take you about 3 hours. Those who reach the top will never forget the experience!
* The climb must be done with a licensed guide (approx. 120 USDper group).

Overnight: World View Campsite - FB

Day 10: Natron - Endallah

After breakfast we'll depart for the last stage of our 6 days trip: the road back to Endallah. The drive is very scenic and the landscapes are simply breathtaking. We'll take a short break at 'Shimu la Mungu' (the crater of God) and for lunch in Mto wa Mbu. In the afternoon we'll arrive in Endallah again.

Overnight: Endallah - guest family - FB

Day 11: Manyara Viewpoint and the Masabeda Hike

Time for a good walk! After breakfast we depart for a relatively short hike in the direction of Masabeda. This walk offers beautiful views over the rolling hills that surround the village and if weather conditions allow, you'll get a great view over the wide area. The walk isn't too difficult and we'll be back in time for lunch. After lunch there's some time for a little nap before we tie on our walking shoes again and head to Lake Manyara viewpoint. The track will lead us through the bush to a rock that borders Lake Manyara. It's a relatively short walk but there's one steep climb. The efforts made will be compensated by the spectacular view over Lake Manyara and the lucky ones might meet baboons, monkeys or klipspringer. Those who are too tired will be driven by car to a place nearby the rock. We'll wait for the golden hour to see the landscape at its best before driving back home.

Overnight: Endallah guest family - FB

Day 12: Lake Eyasi and the Bushmen

After an early breakfast we leave Endallah and drive to Mang'Ola, at the border of Lake Eyasi. Mang'Ola is locally known for its onion fields but the region around the lake is also the last refuge for the Hadzabe or Bushmen. The Hadzabe are one of the smallest Tanzanian tribes and are closely linked with San from Namibia and Botswana. They seem to live in the Stone Age, and live in close harmony with nature. They're using self made tools and weapons, hunt on foot with bow and arrows, make fire with wood and do not interfere with the outside world (although alcohol is slowly destroying the tribe). Apart from shorts they're naked and barefoot and physically they look like the pygmies of Central Africa. Since they're not living in stone houses nor stay on the same spot for long time, we'll pick up a guide locally to lead us to one of the groups. They'll explain about their culture (through the guide because most of them only speak their tribal language) and take you on a short hunt to demonstrate their skills. You'll get the chance to exercise with bow and arrows yourself or to try to make fire using wood only.

After the visit to the Bushmen we'll try to localize a Datoga village for another cultural visit. The also nomadic Datoga still live in a very traditional way and can be compared with the Masai, their enemies. They're easily recognized by their Masai-like boma's and typical way of clothing. The women wear selfmade leather skirts and necklaces and still tattoo their face by carving circles around their eyes. You'll be surprised! In the late afternoon we return to Karatu for the night.

Overnight: Karatu guesthouse - FB

Day 13: Return to Arusha / Moshi

After breakfast we drop you of at your place of destination in Arusha or at Kilimanjaro Airport. But before we say goodbye we'll pick a new date for next year because you'll certainly want to come back!

Breakfast


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.