The Iconic Northern Circuit | 10 Days

Wildlife, Adventure, & Culture

Adumu Safaris invites you on a once in a lifetime journey into Tanzania, home of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the great Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the magical “Spice Island” of Zanzibar! This 10-day all-inclusive adventure, led by Adumu Safaris’ local expert naturalists and cultural guides, takes you on a wildlife safari through the iconic Northern Circuit. It includes a variety of activities that explore the natural environment, as well as the history and culture of the people in this magnificent region. Feel good knowing that this trip strictly abides by socially responsible ecotourism practices and supports our social impact mission of Maasai empowerment.

This wildlife safari takes you through Tanzania’s most famous parks where you will see the lauded “Big 5” and a variety of other majestic fauna up close in their natural habitats. Feel like an adventurer as you encounter a myriad of breathtaking landscapes deep in the African bush. View the world-famous Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra (and the predators that follow them!) in the Serengeti from your spacious and comfortable hatch-top Land Cruiser, and perhaps even while enjoying a beverage at camp! Explore the unique Ngorongoro Crater, alkaline Lake Manyara, photogenic Tarangire, and other natural wonders. Retreat to your fantastic accommodations where you’ll experience Tanzania’s warm hospitality and impeccable service. Savor delicious African-inspired continental cuisine prepared with the bounty of fresh, local ingredients. Learn about the culture of the Maasai, as well as other vibrant local cultures as you pass through the parks and conclude your trip with some memorably authentic experiences at the region's only Maasai-owned lodge. Experience this incredible Tanzanian voyage while making lasting memories with your travel companions that you will cherish forever. Karibu Tanzania!

Itinerary

Destination: Arrival at Kilimanjaro National Airport (JRO); Transfer to Arusha
Accommodations: Ilboru Safari Lodge
Activities: International Arrival and check-in; Optional Fair-Trade Organic Coffee Tour
Transfer time: 1 hour

International Arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport. After clearing customs, you will be met by an Adumu Safaris representative and transferred to the lovely Ilboru Safari Lodge. Nestled on the lower slopes of majestic Mt. Meru, this beautiful Swahili sanctuary is set on a five-acre plot, tucked away beneath ancient trees on the outskirts of Arusha town—a perfect place to relax after a long international trip. After settling into one of your comfortable cottages situated throughout the lushly landscaped grounds, enjoy a peaceful night’s rest in preparation for the two weeks adventure ahead of you!

NB: if you are arrive early in the day, you have the option of venturing on a tour of a forest coffee plantation where you will see how beans are grown, harvested, and roasted, culminating in a fantastic cup for you to enjoy. All meals will available at the hotel according to your arrival time.

Destination: Tarangire National Park
Accommodations: Tarangire Safari Lodge
House Activities: Game Drive; (Optional) Massage
Transfer Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Today begins your incredible African wildlife safari, full of amazing encounters with animals, breathtaking natural scenes, as well as some life-changing cultural excursions and cross-cultural exchanges! After a leisurely breakfast, your naturalist guide will pick you up from Ilboru in a roomy 6-passenger, hatch top Land Cruiser and drive 120km to Tarangire National Park for an afternoon game drive with a picnic lunch in the park. Identify different species of mammals such as lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, python, zebra, oryx, impala, and more. Over 450 species of birds have been observed in this park, so get out your binoculars! This park is also known as the park of elephants and baobabs, both of which are scattered everywhere. The Tarangire River is a vital source of water to animals in the park, and here you are likely to find many major species behaving and interacting naturally. Arrive at Tarangire Safari Lodge for sundowners, perhaps a massage, dinner, and overnight in one of their charming circular bungalows, built in a similar style to the Maasai boma. These airy rooms are situated near a large watering hole, creating the opportunity to watch wildlife from your shaded verandah.

*During the rainy season, this stop at Tarangire would be substituted with a second day at Lake Manyara (see below).

Destination: Lake Manyara
Accommodations: Isiotok Camp Manyara
Activities:Game Drive; Adumu and Musical Performance; Viewpoint Walk
Transfer Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

After breakfast, depart for a morning drive in Lake Manyara National Park, which lies at the base of the western wall of the eastern arm of the Rift Valley. Typically shimmering in a golden heat haze, the lake is often frosted with thousands of flamingos, while the trees that surround the lake are famous for their tree-climbing lions. The park also offers abundant sightings of monkeys, jackals, mongoose, hyenas, hyraxes, zebras, hippos, warthogs, buffalos, Maasai giraffes, duikers, waterbucks, and impalas. Significant numbers of elephants are also resident in the park, while sightings of black rhino and leopard are not uncommon. Before lunch, check into Isiotok Camp Manyara, a unique, sustainable luxury tented camp situated in the Maasai area known as Esilalei on the soft rolling hills of Losimingori, 13km away from the national park. Set in a rich wild savannah bush location with an altitude of 1075 metres above sea level, this relaxing, intimate camp of only 8 beautiful tents blends into the bush and also offers wonderful opportunities to delve into Maasai culture. After settling in and meeting camp staff, a member of one of the nearby Maasai villages, with whom Isoitok enjoys fruitful relationships and supports through giving programs, will take you on a traditional medicine walk. Towards sunset, join your camp host and Maasai scout who will take you up to one of several viewpoints overlooking Lake Manyara and The Great Rift Valley. Sundowner snacks and a beverage of your choice are available whilst you soak in a melting sunset overlooking Lake Manyara. After returning to camp, enjoy a performance by members of the nearby community of traditional dance and song, including the famous Adumu! Retreat to your tent and sleep soundly to the night chorus of crickets, cicadas, tree frogs, and the occasional soulful call of a hyena and other passing wildlife.

Destination: Serengeti National Park
Accommodations: Pumzika Camp
Activities: Game Drive
Transit time: Approx 3 hours to Naabi Hill Gate; approx 2 hours to Pumzika Camp, leisurely game viewing en route

Today you drive to the great Serengeti National Park, the world’s most famous game park! After an early breakfast at Isoitok, drive 145 km to the Naabi Hill entrance. En route to the Serengeti, you have the option of stopping to visit Oldupai Gorge (often misspelled as Olduvai), commonly referred to as the “Cradle of mankind”. This site is where the Leakeys made some of the world’s most important archaeological discoveries, including discovering the remains of several early hominids estimated to be around 3.7 million years old. Oldupai is the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant (Sansevieria ehrenbergii), which grows in the gorge. Afterwards continue to the park entrance where you will check in, stretch your legs, and enjoy a picnic lunch. Before lunch, arrive at Pumzika Camp, an eco-friendly tented camp reminiscent of the first safaris at the turn of the 20th century, with furniture made by local craftsmen and decorated with handmade carpets woven by the Mbulu women’s community. Set inside the Seronera area, Pumzika occupies a unique and privileged paradise within the Serengeti, far from main roads and civilization, surrounded by two of the biggest and most prolific lion prides in the park. After settling in, venture back out into the park with your guide for a late afternoon game drive. Return to camp to enjoy sundowners beneath an acacia tree on the open savannah followed by a bush dinner.

Destination: Serengeti National Park
Accommodations: Pumzika Camp
Activities: Game Drive
Transit time: leisurely game drives around the park

After breakfast, continue with both morning and afternoon game drives in Serengeti national Park. Totaling 14,763 km2 in area, the park is appropriately named after the Maasai word for “endless plains”. Here you are certain to get up close and personal with the “Big Five” (Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards, and Cape Buffalo), if you haven’t already, and hosts of other iconic and lesser known species. Given the vast terrain, weather patterns, and migratory patterns of the innumerable species, many animals of the Serengeti are constantly on the move. This makes for an adventurous game drive! Your drives will depend on the move of the migrants; your expert naturalist guide knows very well how to locate the herds. Bush lunch and bush dinner will be at Pumzika.

Destination: The Serengeti
Accommodations: Pumzika Camp
Activities: Game drive
Transit Time: leisurely game drives through the park in the morning and afternoon

Spend another day in the magnificent Serengeti, finding the animals and behaviors that you might have missed the day before, capturing those amazing photos, and savoring nature at its finest. With the park being as large as it is, and with so many wonders to see here, this second full day in the Serengeti is worth every minute. Return to camp for lunch, sundowners, dinner, and another blissful night under the stars.

Destination: Serengeti – Karatu
Accommodations: Farm of Dreams Lodge
Activities: Game Drive
Transit Time: 4 hours of game drive, broken up with stops and a picnic lunch; 2 hours from Serengeti Gate to lodge

Today, wake early, and after a cup of tea or coffee and some biscuits, depart on an early morning game drive back into the Serengeti. The earlier mornings are magical in Serengeti, when the wildlife is just waking up to greet the day. Spend the day in the park, stopping for a picnic lunch. In the early evening, depart through the Serengeti Gate and travel through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the town of Karatu on the western south slopes of Ngorongoro Crater at 1400 feet above sea level where resides Farm of Dreams Lodge. The lodge sits in a garden of flowers and vegetables and offers spectacular sweeping views of the surrounding hills. In the early evening, settle in to your warm and cozy room which overlooks the reserve and tropical gardens and opens up to a terrace furnished with a table and chairs. Perhaps, take a walk around the farm to contemplate the daily activities, relax in the fragrant gardens, take a dip in the pool, or just enjoy the spectacular sunsets before dinner, evening entertainment, and a good night’s rest.

Destination: Ngorongoro Crater; Mto wa Mbu Cultural Village*; Maasailand, Ngare Nanyuki
Accommodations: Osiligilai Maasai Lodge
Activities: Game Drive; Welcome Ceremony; Maasai Storytelling
Transit Time: 1 hour to Crater Gate; 1 hour Crater decent; 1 hour ascent; 5 hours to Ngare Nanyuki, with an optional stop approx. half way at Mto wa Mbu Cultual Village

Today is an exciting day when you will venture to the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater! After an early breakfast, drive the short distance to the rim of the Crater and descend to its floor for a half-day tour, inclusive of a picnic lunch by the hippo pools. Often referred to as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s best-known wildlife areas. An UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also one of the largest volcanic craters in the world (almost 20 kilometers wide, 610-760 meters deep and covering a total area of 264 square kilometers). An utterly unique biosphere, the Crater harbors grasslands, swamps, forests, saltpans, a freshwater lake and a glorious variety of birdlife, all enclosed within its towering walls. Due to its high concentration of wildlife, close-range viewing opportunities and striking scenery it is also Tanzania’s most visited destination. In the afternoon, ascend once more to the rim of the crater and continue on toward Ngare Nanyuki, about an hour northwest of Arusha, with an optional stop at the Mto wa Mbu Cultural Village to learn about various tribes in the region and do some souvenir shopping.

You will then be driven to the unique Osiligilai Maasai Lodge, a special place where you immediately will come to rest and reflect on the essentials while enjoying an immersive cultural experience with the Maasai. In the middle of the wilderness of the Maasai steppe are 12 exclusive bungalows with handcrafted furniture and a great view of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. It’s all about being together, traditions, stories and learning from each other. You will arrive in the evening in time for a festive welcome ceremony followed by sundowners and a delicious dinner overlooking the savannah, and finally some Maasai storytelling around the fire.

Destination: Maasailand, Ngare Nanyuki
Accommodations: Osiligilai Maasai Lodge
Activities: Spear throwing; nature walk; donkey ride; Maasai dance; Mt. Mkuru Day Hike*; Social Project in Tinga Tinga Art Visit*; River Walk*; Beekeeping*, Traditional Healing*, Massage*, Meditation

Wake to the sounds of nature and commence a full day of relaxation and Maasai activities at your own pace: Participate in a spear throwing competition with the Maasai; have a Maasai guide take you on a guided nature walk or a walk to the fresh spring river; go on a Donkey Ride to the local school. If you are feeling energetic, you may consider a day hike up Mt. Mkuru. While you are here, relax, unwind, and enjoy the “Warm Your Heart” Meditation room, the natural sauna and pool. In the evening, gather around the fire for some more traditional storytelling for the whole family, sundowners, and another delicious dinner.

*Items with an * are optional add-ons. Other listed activities are included.

Destination: International flight home, or connection to next destination
Transit Time: 1.5 hours to the Kilimanjaro airport

After lunch, you will be driven to Kilimanjaro Airport to board your flight to home or to your next destination. Kwaheri!

SAFARI INCLUDES

  • Pick up at JRO airport or Arusha region
  • Entrance fees into the game parks/reserves
  • Crater service fee
  • Government Taxation
  • Professional naturalist guide
  • Transport and wildlife viewing in 4×4 Land cruiser with open roof hatches
  • All game drives and activities (unless noted with an * as optional)
  • All cultural excursions mentioned in the itinerary
  • Full board accommodations and additional meals, per itinerary
  • Plentiful drinking water (mineral water)
  • Coffee, tea, and fresh fruit juices as provided by accommodations
  • Alcoholic beverages and sodas at select lodges/camps
  • Flying Doctor services in Tanzania
  • Currency Conversion Fee
  • Service charges
  • Maasai Empowerment Land Restoration Fund

SAFARI EXCLUDES

  • International airfare & flights
  • Passport & visa fees
  • Personal health insurance
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended and offered upon making your deposit)
  • Laundry services, unless provided by the lodges
  • Alcoholic beverages & sodas, except at select camps and lodges (all-inclusive beverages optional for additonal cost)
  • Optional massages and spa services
  • All items of personal nature
  • Gratuities to safari guides and lodge/camp staff

Please note: Adumu Safaris makes every effort to customize your safari itinerary in order to cover areas where wildlife habitats are known to be plentiful during the season and precise time of year that you are traveling. However, since wild animals move freely in their environment, we cannot absolutely guarantee sightings of every species. We also use our best effort to provide the lodging set out in this itinerary, but occasionally there are circumstances that occur which require lodging substitutions. We reserve the right to make comparable lodging substitutions or upgrades whenever necessary or in your best interest to do so. Fortunately, we have vetted all of our lodges and stand by their ability to provide an amazing accommodation experience.

SAFARI COST

High Season (January 7 – March 15, June 15 – October 15, December 1 – 15, 2020; please inquire about low season and peak holiday season)

Single occupancy, solo traveler………………………………..6,139 USD
Single occupancy, group of two travelers……………………5,099 USD
Single occupancy, group of three travelers………………….4,753 USD
Single occupancy, group of four travelers…………………..4,590 USD
Single occupancy, group of five travelers……………………4,492 USD
Single occupancy, group of six travelers…………………….4,434 USD
Double occupancy, group of two travelers…………………..4,673 USD
Double occupancy, group of four travelers………………….4,162 USD
Double occupancy, group of six travelers……………………4,060 USD
Child………………..Please inquire, as this varies based on age and number of other adults and children traveling.

To reserve this trip we require a non-refundable deposit of $500 per person. 50% of the balance is due 190 days prior to departure, and the remainder is due 59 days before departure. All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted. We will send a secure payment link when you are ready to confirm this trip.

Please note that we offer these variations to demonstrate some of the ways that we can modify an itinerary to suit your preferences (destinations, activities, level of luxury, type of accommodations, length of stay, budget, etc.). If none of these options looks best for your group, we are more than happy to gather more information from you and customize the perfect trip. You can call us at +1 530 574 9519 or email us at to discuss this itinerary or others on our website.

Karibu Africa!
The Adumu Safaris Team