Upon arrival in Tanzania we will head to the village of Marangu on the flanks of Mt. Kilimanjaro. This village is the starting point for many trekkers attempting to summit the highest mountain in Africa. This afternoon can be spent relaxing by the pool, after the overnight flight,
Today we have a daywalk on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest 'freestanding' mountain in the world. We will gain real insight into what it takes to climb the whole mountain, as we watch the porters load up with tents and equipment at the gate. Our walk takes us through rainforest along the Marangu Route as far as Mandara Huts and the Maundi Crater from where we should hopefully have clear views up to the snow cover peak above. The walk is on a well-maintained path, and it will take us from 1830 m. to approx. 2.750 m. It is possible to shorten the walk if wanted, but the best view of the whole mountain is reached at the top of the walk. We return to our hotel in Marangu for a well-earned rest.
This morning we will explore the village and meet some of the local inhabitants which are predominantly from the Chagga tribe, one of the largest tribes in Tanzania. We will later drive on to Arusha, the gateway city to Tanzania's magnificent game-parks.
In the morning we have a short drive from Arusha to Tarangire National Park, this is the first experience of some excellent game viewing. Although Tarangire is small by comparison to other parks in the region it offers some excellent sights. Generally in the dry seasons Tarangire comes alive as wildlife and birdlife congregate on the Tarangire River which is a permanent source of water. You should see herds of giraffe, zebra, buffalo and elephant. Tonight we spend the night in Migunga.
Today we have the opportunity for a full day game drive in Ngorongoro Crater, the day starts with a short drive to the gate and from there we will drive towards and around the rim, from here we can look down and see the herd of wildebeest or elephants, finally we descend into the crater itself. Ngorongoro is a special place in that it is a Conservation Area, not a National Park; this means that the whole area is managed for both the animals and the local Masai people who graze their cattle alongside the indigenous wildlife. The crater walls provide a natural sanctuary for the animals and there certainly is plenty to see, lions, elephants, buffalo, rhino and, with some luck, leopard. The only animal we won't see in here is a giraffe whose long legs are unable to cope with the steep sides of the crater. We return to our permanent camp for the evening.
We start with a morning game drive in Lake Manyara National Park, this park is situated between the Rift valley escarpment and the lake itself, and, just as with Tarangire, although small it is very diverse. There is a dense forested area and a beautiful lake often home to many flamingos. We will also be on the lookout for Lake Manyara's most famous residents, its tree-climbing lions. Though they can be hard to spot, this is one of the best places to see the big cats lazily straddled on a thick branch, basking in the sun. We return to Arusha in the afternoon and there is time to relax by the pool.
After a short transfer to the airport we board our plane to Zanzibar. On arrival we transfer to Kichanga lodge. The rest of the day is free to relax on the beach, or by the pool. The beach is a tidal beach, so at low tide the surf is nearly 2 km out with a long stretch of shallow waters full of shells, starfish and crabs, while at high tide it's easy to go swimming. It's also possible to get a massage in the spa to relax fully. Please note that while you will be met and briefed by a representative upon arrival, you will not be accompanied by a leader during the Zanzibar part of your trip.
Day 9 - 10
Two free days at Kichanga. A day excursion with snorkelling, sunbathing and a picnic lunch on a secluded island is highly recommended. Alternatively you could simply relax by the swimming pool. Another option is a spice tour; much of inland Zanzibar is dominated by the production of exotic spices and we can visit several farms with a professional guide, with the chance to taste and buy! If a romantic or even just a relaxed, dinner is appealing, child-minders are available.
Day 11 - 12
Today we return to Stone Town and its distinctly Arabic feel. Meandering around the narrow streets is like travelling back in time to a bygone era. We have two nights here to take time to properly explore the town at a leisurely pace, take in a guided walk and learn about the rich (and not always rosy) history of the island, shop for souvenirs or just watch the world go by. You can also choose to do an excursion towards the interior of the island, if you haven't already done so, and explore the forests and plantation.
Those not on the group flights will leave us after breakfast. The group return flight to London is an overnight flight.