Safari Itineraries

A wildlife safari is the perfect way to complete an expedition to the top of Africa. As an optional extension after a Mount Kilimanjaro climb, Mountain Gurus offers three- and five-day safaris in the world-renowned Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, famous for their abundant wildlife and unforgettable landscapes. We also offer custom safari planning for those seeking longer or private experiences.

Ngorongoro Safari • 3 Days

After climbing Kilimanjaro, extend your adventure with this classic three-day safari. You’ll visit three stunning wildlife parks: Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire.

Day 1 • Lake Manyara National Park
Day 2 • Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Day 3 • Tarangire National Park • Depart

Serengeti Safari • 5 Days

The legendary Serengeti. The Ngorongoro Crater. One million stampeding wildebeest. An ancient land where mankind began. On the plains of the Serengeti you’ll enjoy one of the most outstanding safaris in all of Africa. After climbing Kilimanjaro, this 5-day itinerary allows you to explore the amazing wildlife and wild landscapes, while relaxing in luxury wildlife lodges and tented camps within the boundaries of Tanzania’s national parks. We recommend flying one-way into the Serengeti to minimize driving time.

Day 1 • Lake Manyara National Park
Day 2 • Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Day 3 • Serengeti National Park
Day 4 • Tarangire National Park
Day 5 • Arusha • Depart

Custom Safari • Sample Itinerary • 9 Days

Do your friends or family want to join you in Africa while you climb Kilimanjaro, but they don’t climb? Many of our customers join their loved ones on an extended Tanzanian safari adventure before or after summitting Kilimanjaro. You may also choose to relax on the beautiful white sand beaches of Zanzibar Island or Pembar Island after your safari. Mountain Gurus’ knowledgeable staff can help plan your ideal trip. We offer a wide variety of options for active travelers, including walking safaris, family safaris, Serengeti hot air balloon rides, and canoe trips on Lake Duluti. You may also choose to visit Arusha National Park, climb Mount Meru, explore the Olduvai Gorge or tour a Maasai village.

Day 1 • Arrive JRO • Airport pick-up • Overnight hotel
Day 2 • Drive to Tarangire NP • Overnight lodge
Day 3 • Morning walking safari in Tarangire, afternoon in Lake Manyara NP • Overnight lodge
Day 4 • Ngorongoro Highlands • Maasai walking safari • Overnight lodge
Day 5 • Ngorongoro Crater Safari • Overnight lodge
Day 6 • Serengeti NP • Olduvai Gorge, Maasai Village along the way • Overnight tented camp
Day 7 • Morning balloon ride in Serengeti NP • Afternoon game drive • Overnight tented camp
Day 8 • Fly out Serengeti, kayak on Lake Duluti or visit Arusha town • Overnight hotel
Day 9 • Arusha NP • Airport drop-off • Depart home

Tanzania’s Northern Circuit / National Parks and Conservation Areas

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where more than 2 million animals roam one of the planet’s oldest ecosystems. The 5,700-square-mile park is an unparalleled wildlife destination. On the plains of the Serengeti, we often see giraffes, impalas, Grants and Thompson gazelles, hyenas, crocodiles, and elephants, hippopotamus, rhinos and cape buffalo. Large predators such as lions, cheetahs and leopards stalk the grazing herbivores, while the grasslands and forests are filled with monkeys and baboons and more than five hundred species of birds.

Each year, the great migration flows across the Serengeti as more than a million white-bearded wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of plains zebra seek the lushest grasslands. During the short rains of October and November, they roam from the northern plains to the southern plains. Then they graze west and north again after the long rains of April, May and June. It is the largest remaining unaltered wildlife migration in the world.

On a Mountain Gurus safari, you’ll explore this rich and diverse landscape of grasslands, rocky promontories, rivers and woodlands. You’ll visit with the Maasai people, who continue to graze their cattle on the vast grassy plains, or as they describe them, siringitu – “the place where the land moves on forever.” We will visit the famous Olduvai Gorge, where Drs. Louis and Mary Leakey discovered remains of the earliest known human ancestors.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected region and a UNESCO World Heritage Site west of Arusha in Tanzania’s Crater Highlands. Its centerpiece is the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, a 12-mile-wide volcanic caldera teeming with abundant wildlife and some of the most important archaeological evidence of the evolution of man.

Ngorongoro Crater is nicknamed the planet’s “Noah’s Ark.” It was once a massive volcano, which rose and collapsed into the world’s largest unbroken caldera. Now it’s filled with savannah, rivers and woodlands – one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet. We enter the crater by Land Rover. As we descend its nearly 2,000-foot-high walls, we gaze out over a majestic landscape home to the rare and endangered black Rhino, which is protected by strict environmental and anti-poaching laws. After a safari in the crater, we relax over dinner in our beautiful lodge perched on the crater rim. In the Ngorongoro Highlands area we also have the opportunity to visit a traditional Maasai village.

Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park extends across 1,100 square miles in the Manyara Region of Tanzania. On a clear day, we can see Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru rising above the park’s forests and grasslands. Named for the Tarangire River, which flows through it, the park is famous for its abundant elephants and massive baobab trees, which dwarf the animals grazing beneath them. In the dry months, the Tarangire River attracts thousands of animals. The park’s elephant population swells from the 2,000 to more than 6,000. Wildebeest and zebras migrate through the park by the thousands, along with black rhinos, cape buffalo, hippos, lions, leopards, antelope, giraffe, monkeys and more than 500 species of birds. The park’s immense biodiversity is partly the result of its diverse plant life and geology. Granite ridges crisscross a landscape home to more than nine distinct vegetation zones, from marshes to woodlands to grasslands. We may also visit with Maasai people in the park to learn about their culture.

Lake Manyara National Park

Lake Manyara National Park extends for 207 square miles across a vast floodplain between the savannah grassland of the Maasai Steppe and the Great Rift Valley escarpment in northern Tanzania. Its centerpiece is Lake Manyara. Fed by springs, Lake Manyara expands and dwindles from season to season. It can be as large as 25 miles wide. It is an ornithologist’s paradise. In the wet season, it attracts hundreds of thousands of brilliant flamingoes, creating one of Africa’s most stunning wildlife scenes. More than 400 other bird species visit the park as well, including crested eagles, pelicans, spoonbills, Egyptian geese and hammerkops. The park is one of the few places where you can spot a comical Ground Hornbill. Forests of acacia, giant fig trees, mahogany and towering baobab trees grow beyond the shores of the lake. The acacia groves are famous for the tree climbing lions that relax in their branches.

Arusha National Park

Arusha National Park is one of Tanzania’s hidden gems. Located not far from Arusha, it is known for its Momella forests, the Momella Lakes, the Ngurdoto Crater and the Meru Crater with its iconic ash cone. It is also home to 14,979-foot Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain. Mountain Gurus can arrange guided ascents of Mount Meru. In the Ndurdoto Forest, you will have a chance to observe the rare black and white colobus monkey.

The Maasai

The Ngorongoro Highlands and the Tarangire are home to the Maasai, a nomadic people whose iconic bright red fabrics are an unmistakable element of life on the grasslands of Tanzania. While on safari, you’ll have the chance to visit a traditional Maasai village, where you’ll enjoy their traditional music and jumping dance (a courtship ritual) and browse for local handicrafts, including handmade jewelry and the Maasai’s signature, brilliant red blankets. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about their way of life, from their homes, or inkajijik, which are made from locally available material and are traditionally built by women, to their herds of long-horned cattle. The Maasai believe that their cattle were given to them by god. Cattle are their primary source of food and, in addition to children, one of the main measures of a family’s wealth. A man who owns many cattle and children is considered wealthy. If he lacks either one, he is poor.

Olduvai Gorge

Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge is one of the most important pre-historic sites in the world. Within it, paleoanthropologists have found incredible evidence of early human evolution, including footprints, fossilized bones, and stone tools that date back millions of years. Known to the Maasai as the “Oldupai” Gorge (their word for the wild sisal plant), the gorge is a steep-sided, 14-kilometer-long ravine in East Africa’s famous Great Rift Valley. It is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the vicinity of Ngorongoro Crater. In the gorge, the legendary paleontologists Mary and Louis Leakey discovered the remains of Homo habilis, a human ancestor that lived in Africa 1.9 million years ago, as well as many other fossils. Findings from the Olduvai Gorge have served as invaluable evidence for scientists attempting to understand the origins mankind.

Arusha Hotels and Wildlife Lodges

Mountain Gurus stays at a variety of hotels, wildlife lodges and luxury tented camps during your stay in Tanzania. Accommodations vary depending on season, itinerary, budget and availability.

Mount Meru Hotel

Arusha Coffee Lodge

The Arusha Hotel

Lake Duluti Lodge

Lake Duluti Serena Lodge

Kigongoni Lodge

Moivaro Coffee Plantation

Gibbs Farm

Serengeti Serena Lodge

Serengeti Wildlife Lodge

Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge

Ngorongoro Farmhouse

Lake Manyara Serena Lodge

Tarangire Osupuk Lodge

Tarangire Safari Lodge

What’s a luxury tented mobile camp?

Ernest-HemingwayOur comfortable, tented mobile camps allow you to sleep on the plains of the Serengeti, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You’ll hear lions roar in the distance, and the laughter of hyenas in the evening. These camps are available in Serengeti National Park. They offer an experience straight of an Ernest Hemingway novel: not only an adventure like you’d find in the pages of “Out of Africa,” but also excellent, fresh cuisine; luxury sleeping tents with comfortable beds, tables and lanterns; hot showers upon request; and bathrooms within your sleeping tent. A watchman keeps vigil over the camp throughout the night for your comfort and safety.

Luxury Tented Camps

Our tented luxury camps move with the wildlife to offer the best viewing experience. Some are moved seasonally, as often as three or four times in a year.

Dining Tent Safari Camp

Morning Breakfast

Serengeti Balloon Ride

Luxury Sleeping Tent

Serengeti Tented Camp

Fresh Cuisine

Safari Camp

Safari Land Rover

Why Safari with Mountain Gurus?

Our director has been planning world-class safaris in Tanzania for nearly twenty years. We are intimately familiar with Mount Kilimanjaro and the national parks of Tanzania’s Northern Circuit and the Great Rift Valley. As with our Mount Kilimanjaro climbs, all of our itineraries are specialized, small group adventures led by professional guides and drives, with high-quality meals and lodgings and safe, well-maintained safari vehicles.

What can I expect on my Safari Adventure?

On safari, every day brings something new. Depending on your itinerary, you can expect to travel to a variety of national parks and conservation areas, each with its own distinct landscape and ecosystems. You’ll visit with Tanzania’s indigenous Maasai people in their villages with their cattle and other animals, and of course you’ll see abundant wildlife from a vast array of species. A typical day will include a game drive in either the morning or the late evening, and another during the day. We vary the schedule depending on when animals in the area will be most active. Many become more active in the cool hours of dawn and dusk, when they are less visible to their prey. We eat breakfasts and dinners in lodges or our luxury mobile camps in the parks themselves. We usually bring a lunch basket for to eat while on safari. You can expect to be able to purchase snacks and beverages in small towns along the way. These are generally not available inside the game parks. If you become weary of driving, you can always take a break from viewing wildlife and relax instead at our safari lodges, many of which offer cocktail bars, beautiful gardens and swimming pools where you can enjoy the beautiful African sunrises and sunsets.

What does my Safari Adventure include?

After summitting Mount Kilimanjaro, you’ll descend to luxury hotel accommodations where you can rest from you climb. The next day, most of our guests set off on a 3-day or 5-day itinerary in the Ngorongoro Highlands or on the awe-inspiring Serengeti, the plains where early man took his first steps. These safaris are the stuff of legends! You can expect a wildlife viewing like no other.

Our safaris include national park entrance fees, skilled guides and drivers, ground transportation in fully equipped 4×4 safari vehicles with pop-up-tops for game viewing, double sharing accommodations in wildlife lodges and/ or luxury mobile tent camps, and all scheduled meals. Individual lodgings are available for an additional fee for those travelling alone or who are unable to be paired. Additional expenses may include entrance fees to the Olduvai Gorge and Maasai village tours, balloon rides, walking safaris, and other supplemental activities, as well as bottled beverages and alcohol and non-scheduled meals.

At Mountain Gurus, we plan our adventures to provide our guests with the best possible experience. At the same time, we take care to respect the local customs and traditions of our host countries. We strive to minimize the environmental impacts of our expeditions, ensuring that while you will take away many memories, you will leave only boot tracks.

What wildlife will I see on my Safari Adventure?

A great variety! On every safari, we hope to see Africa’s Big Five: the bush elephant, black rhinoceros, cape buffalo, lion and the most elusive of these, the leopard. The Northern Circuit is also home to hippos, white rhinoceros, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and wild dogs, and of course, great herds of migratory herbivores, including: zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, hartebeest, Grants Gazelle, Thomson Gazelle, antelopes, dik diks, gerenuk, elands and kudus. Many of these take part in the Great Migration. We often see flamingoes, ostriches, crowned cranes and other birds from the hundreds of species that live in Tanzania, as well as warthogs, crocodiles, baboons, blue monkeys and colobus monkeys.

Lion

Cape Buffalo

African Elephant

Leopard

Black Rhinoceros

Hippopotamus

Wildebeest

Zebra

Giraffe

Hyena

Wart Hog

Baboon

Grants Gazelle

Ostrich

Flamingo

Cheetah

The Great Migration

The Great Migrations is one of the wonders of the natural world. Each year, more than 1.4 million wildebeest migrate nearly 1,000 miles between the Tanzania’s Serengeti and the Maasai Mara in Kenya. It is the largest remaining uninterrupted natural migration on the planet. The Great Migration is a circuit, dictated by East Africa’s seasonal rains. Most animals begin their year on the southern Serengeti, where they calve their young among the lush grass of the relatively wet months of January and February. By May, most have set off north toward the Maasai Mara National Reserve. By early October, the rainy season begins once again and again the wildebeest turn south.

When is the best season to view wildlife?

When it comes to viewing the Great Migration, different months offer different opportunities. Late January and February are the best times to see wildebeest calving on the plains of the Serengeti. More dramatic migratory scenes often begin in June, during the dry season when the animals are fording rivers on their journey toward the Maasai Mara. These dry months, from late June to October, are usually thought to offer the best overall wildlife viewing because the vegetation is drier and less dense and animals congregate at waterholes. During the wet season on Serengeti, from November through May, the parks become beautifully lush and green with fewer tourists. No matter what season you choose, you can rest assured that you will see plenty of wildlife and enjoy a stunning safari. Most guest schedule their trips during the dry season, when trekking conditions on Kilimanjaro are at their best.

Ready for your African Adventure?

For dates and detailed itineraries for our Mount Kilimanjaro Treks and Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safaris, click here. If you have questions about booking a custom safari or any other adventure, please contact us. Join us on Mount Kilimanjaro and the plains of Serengeti National Park!