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|Serengeti, Ngorongoro & Indian Ocean Wildlife & Marine Life Safari|
This wilderness, wildlife and marine life safari combines some of Africa'as richest wildlife and marine life locations. The grasslands of the Serengeti are undoubtedly one of the best locations to see some huge accumulations of mammals, whilst the awe inspiring Ngorongoro Crater combines intense wildlife and dramatic scenery. Lake Manyara is most famous for its thousands of flamingoes and other birdlife, whilst the Olduvai Gorge is considered to be the origin of mankind. Whilst the Indian Ocean offers too much to see in two weeks, we incorporate a choice of the country's best marine life locations of Chumbe, Pemba, Mafia and Zanzibar islands. Tanzania is home to some stunning coral reefs, abundant fish life and at Mafia Island, we can often see the World's biggest fish: the Whale Shark.
The safari section of this journey is a small group experience for which there is always a minimum of two and a maximum of seven participants. The island and rainforest sections are arranged in a combination of privately guided and small group sections. Itineraries can be adjusted to suit your personal interests, so do please call to discuss.
The Serengeti is one of Africa's wildlife viewing highlights and has featured on countless documentaries such as Big Cat Diary and the Living Planet. It derives its name from the Masai word siringet which means "endless plain" - a term which at 14,763 square kilometres it well deserves.
Throughout the year the Serengeti thrives with wildlife, providing excellent opportunities to see prides of lions and spotted hyena in clans of up to eighty strong. Plains game animals including giraffe, buffalo, warthog and antelope such as eland, impala, oryx and dikdik can be seen at any time. There are also healthy populations of predators such as leopards, side-striped and golden jackals and cheetahs, as well as 520 species of birds.
In addition to the Serengeti's residents, the plains play host to 2 ½ million migrating grazers including around 1.7 million wildebeest, half a million Grant's and Thompson's Gazelles and some 300,000 zebras. These move en masse between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya in response to seasonal pastures. This is the largest migration on Earth and it concentrates in the Serengeti and the western Ngorongoro between December and July. By August and September most of the migrating animals are accumulated in the Masai Mara.
Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara & the Olduvai Gorge
Whilst the Serengeti offers a wide open wilderness, the Ngorongoro concentrates game (and visitors) into a dramatic yet confined crater. The physical geography of the location is quite unique. Whilst the density of human life may not be what you hoped for at the crater, it is the focus of a visit to Olduvai Gorge which another volcanic landscape and the 'cradle of mankind'. This is the place where Louis Leakey discovered remains of our direct ancestors in the form of a skull dated to be 1.75 million years old.
Lake Manyara National Park may be small, but it contains one of Africa's highest concentrations of elephants and the continent's highest biomass of plant and animal per square metre. Dense bush and tree cover in this park make for a very different game viewing experience than the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. The lake itself is rich in algae and in turn this attracts large flocks of flamingoes.
Marine Life of the Indian Ocean
Tanzania is endowed with some stunning and varied islands and rich marine life. For a snorkeler in search of coral reefs and tropical fish, the undoubted highlight is Chumbe Island. Chumbe was Tanzania's first marine protected area containing more than 200 species of hard coral and 90% of East Africa's 400 species of fish. The island is like a living museum with a network of trails above and below the water. Innovative floating underwater information makes your snorkelling explorations all the more revealing. The park's rangers can guide you around the rich intertidal rock pools and the pristine coral rag forests of the island where might find the world's largest land crab. This is the rare Coconut Crab which measures up to a metre in length and as it name suggests, it can crack open a coconut with its bare claws.
For the bluest waters, Pemba has some stunning archipelago of protected islands off its western shores. Above the water you can find soft white sands, lush vegetation, frequent sightings of dolphins and traditional sailing dhows; whilst beneath the water you can find relatively shallow reefs ideal for snorkelling, and some steep coral covered drop offs which make the Pemba Channel a famous target for scuba divers. Pemba is also one of Tanzania's best places to see tropical forest and the endangered Pemba Flying Fox.
Mafia Island is an excellent marine life alternative. A well established Marine Park system set up by WWF has been instrumental in preserving the islands prolific fish life, coral reefs, whale sharks and mangroves. Chole Bay on the eastern side of the island has some very well preserved coral reefs and some schools of fish you would be hard pushed to match on reefs in South East Asia or the Caribbean. Protection from wind and waves enables diving and snorkelling at any time of the year here.
In Mafia we can take you snorkelling or diving from a traditional sailing dhow, and visit the villages, mangroves, German military ruins and wooden boat building on Chole Island. For stays between October and March we recommend daily assessment of whale sharks sightings to decide if you want to head to the west coast in search of whale sharks. These are often seen over a shallow sand bank close to the shore. You might also see them in this area when you fly in and fly out.
The most visited of Tanzania's islands is Zanzibar - an island steeped in history and architecture shaped by years of Omani occupation and an active Arab-African slave trade. For each stopover here we take you to stay in the spice island capital of Stone Town. For our 12 day itinerary we also take the opportunity to visit the Chwaka Bay mangroves and the Jozani coral rag forest, home of the endemic Red Colobus which is endemic to Zanzibar.
Photographs kindly provided by Guido Cozzi, Javed Jafferji, Michael Poliza, Hal Thompson, Selous SC, Craig Zendel