Three-day Serengeti walking safari combined with classic game safaris in Tanzania’s best parks—we're the first and only company to offer this one-of-a-kind tour!
Just four years ago, MTS became the first company ever to offer walking safaris over the great plains of the Serengeti, and you can still be a pioneer on this one-of-a-kind adventure. Our three-day walking safari in the Serengeti will take you to places not visited by man for more than half a century. No roads—no other travelers. In addition to up-close encounters on foot, this trip also includes a classic game safari covering Tanzania’s four great parks in open-hatch vehicles. You’ll visit Tarangire, with its unique baobab woodlands and fantastic concentration of game; Lake Manyara, home to tree-climbing lions and water birds of every description; Ngorongoro Crater, whose 102-square-mile floor contains a veritable Eden; and the legendary Serengeti, home to the world’s largest and longest migration. You’ll have the rare opportunity to meet the Maasai in their boma (village) and get acquainted with the traditions they have carried on for centuries. At night, relax in lodges and private safari camps, allowing for comfort and privacy in the wilds of nature.
Game viewing by 4-wheel-drive vehicle, 3 days easy to moderate walking, 3 nights camping
- Explore the wilderness of the Serengeti on foot with the only company to offer this unique adventure
- See Africa’s renowned wildlife on a first-class game safari in four celebrated parks: Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and the legendary Serengeti
- Walk in remote, untouristed, and roadless areas of the Serengeti where no one has traveled for more than half a century
- Enjoy genuine encounters with the Maasai in the Crater Highlands
- Stay in private safari camps and exclusive lodges, including luxurious Gibbs Farm, a working coffee plantation and the oldest guest house in northern Tanzania
Duration: 12 days Start Location: Arusha End Location: ArushaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Tanzania
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha (most flights arrive in the evening). Your trip leader (or a representative) will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will escort you to the Moivaro Lodge, set on a tree-shaded coffee plantation in Arusha.
Day 2 : Tarangire National Park
Today, we'll drive to Tarangire National Park in the Great Rift Valley, arriving at the lodge in time for lunch. In the afternoon we’ll go out for a game drive. Tarangire is a very scenic park, with expansive views of baobab-studded grasslands stretching in every direction. Its small permanent river attracts a multitude of thirsty animals: all day long, a parade of wild animals proceeds to the Tarangire River to drink. Animals to be seen include numerous family groups of elephants (often in concentrations of hundreds), huge herds of buffalo, blue wildebeest, and zebra, many groups of kongoni, impala, and reedbuck as well as lion and leopard. Sometimes we find real safari oddities here, including the incomparably beautiful antelope called the lesser kudu and the hard-to-find African python. We will return to the lodge in the late afternoon for sundowners and a delicious dinner.
Day 3 : Tarangire National Park
We have another full day to explore Tarangire and plenty of time for extended wildlife observations. Here we’ll ease into the rhythm of the bush: we’ll wake early to the chorus of the birds, spend the day exploring and observing wildlife, and thrill to the roars of lions in the night.
Day 4 : Lake Manyara & the Crater Highlands
We'll drive through the Rift Valley to Lake Manyara National Park. Situated at the foot of a spectacular Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara hosts wonderful concentrations of animals and birds. The lakeshore teems with colorful water birds of every variety, including herons, storks, ibises, ducks, geese, cormorants, and fish eagles, and possesses one of the most fantastic hippo pools in Africa. We hope to encounter many baboons and impala, as well as groups of giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest, and buffalo. We may be lucky enough to find lions lounging in the trees. A lovely jungle-like forest is alive with the calls of hornbills and blue monkeys.
We then drive into the highlands above Ngorongoro Crater, where a steep but relatively easy ascent of about an hour through montane forest brings us to the summit of Olmoti volcano. Here, in addition to enjoying fantastic views of the surrounding Crater Highlands, we meet the Maasai, the fascinating inhabitants of this part of the world. The Maasai are pastoralists who have lived in harmony with the northern Tanzanian ecosystem for centuries. The men tend herds of cattle and goats that graze and drink from the area’s year-round springs, while the women bear responsibility for the manyatta (village), building their round homes made of cut branches, mud, and cow dung, as well as the cattle corral that is central to the manyatta. A large number of the Maasai have managed to keep their traditions intact despite the onslaught of modern African culture: polygamy is practiced (a man will average three to four wives), and there are intricate rituals and rites of passage, including circumcision for both males and females.
We’ll be greeted with traditional welcome dances, noted for athletic leaps and earth-shaking stomping. You’ll have time to ask questions and our hosts will also have the chance to ask questions about our own culture as we visit their homes. Continue to our private camp in the Crater Highlands for overnight.
Day 5 : Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater is truly one of the great natural wonders of the world. A spectacular setting for wildlife is presented within its 100-square-mile crater framed by steep green walls. The crater floor is almost entirely open country, so wildlife is in full visibility, a wonderful opportunity for photography and meaningful observations.
If you had only one day in your life to see African wildlife, Ngorongoro Crater would be the place. Envision a pride of lions, bellies flat to the ground, closing in on a group of unsuspecting zebra, or a black rhino gazing across the grassy plains, casually unaware that his species teeters on the brink of extinction. Herds of zebra, white-bearded wildebeest, and gazelle mingle and circulate together, while buffalo graze the long grass areas. Elephants feed in green marshes and there are plenty of hyenas and huge prides of lions (we may be fortunate to witness predation in action). And if that isn’t enough, we can enjoy clusters of flamingos gathered around the caldera’s soda lakes, raptors such as the auger buzzard, bateleur, or long-crested eagle perched for the hunt, or the colorful mosaic of brilliant birds, including the jacana, little bee-eater, Hildebrandt’s starling, and the red bishop. We’ll have six hours of wildlife viewing in the Crater.
In the evening, you’ll have opportunities for a sunset ridge hike and participation in an Ol Pul (meat feast) festival with our new Maasai friends. You certainly won’t find any tourist trinkets for sale here! Return to our private camp on the crater rim for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 : Into the Serengeti
We descend from the Ngorongoro highlands onto the vast plains of the Serengeti, game viewing across the short grass plains with their classic granite kopjes, which are rounded piles of boulders formed into a distinctive shape by eons of wind. The kopjes occur as archipelagos, artistic islands of stone punctuating the Serengeti’s sea of grass, and each has a very different character. Deeper into the Serengeti the vegetation begins to change, with valleys with riverine woodland and more acacia trees, in places quite dense, then opening up into small hidden plains. Occasional kopjes still appear through the trees like vast rock icebergs.
En route to the Serengeti, at the edge of the valley, we will stop at the Oldupai Gorge Museum. Founded by Mary Leakey in the late 1970’s, the museum is dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of the archaeology of the gorge and Laetoli fossil sites. Today, the Oldupai Gorge (formerly called Olduvai Gorge) is the most famous archaeological location in East Africa, due to the excavations and hominid findings of Louis and Mary Leakey in the 1930’s. We will then continue our drive to our seasonal tented camp.
Day 7 : Game viewing in the Serengeti
Today we’ll enjoy a day of traditional game viewing by vehicle. Our location varies by seasonality, but we will likely spend some time in the Seronera area, where the woodlands of the northern Serengeti meet the edge of the treeless plain. The savannah woodlands are a mosaic of habitats: small grassy plains mix with tree savannas and areas of dense bush. The variety of vegetation makes for a much greater diversity of animals: buffalo, giraffe, dik-dik, reedbuck, impala, waterbuck, baboons, and vervet monkeys are all common resident species, as are lion, cheetah, leopard, and hyena. The bird life is also extremely varied and prolific, ranging from colorful weaverbirds to imposing Martial eagles. Several permanent rivers drain the woodlands of the north, and these are the habitat of hippos and crocodiles. In the Seronera area itself are the beautiful Masai kopjes and the Seronera River—one of the finest areas in Africa for encounters with the elusive leopard. Seronera always has resident game, including several resident prides of lion, and may well be thronged with zebra herds.
Days 8 - 10 : Serengeti walking safari
After breakfast we pack water, binoculars, and snacks in our day bags and head off to begin our foot safari. The camp crew will take care of the rest of our bags as they set up each campsite ahead of us. Hiking in the Serengeti isn’t about covering a lot of ground, it’s about really experiencing Africa up close and personal, reveling in the smaller sights, smells, and feelings that are missed from a car: finding a lion’s paw print in the damp ground, watching a dung beetle laboriously rolling a ball of dung uphill, or smelling a herd of elephants before you spot them in the valley below. You will move slowly with your guide interpreting what you see and hear. We’ll stop for lunch under a shady tree or a cool overhang, perhaps overlooking a waterhole or small plain. In the afternoon we continue hiking, perhaps following a stream in the hope of seeing game come down for a drink or scrambling up a kopje to get a view of the surrounding area.
There are no roads and no sign that anyone has ever been here before. Many of the places where we'll hike have not been visited by man for more than half a century, so we are true pioneers, looking for the secret spots that the animals use to survive—the natural salt lick, the pool in the steam that never dries even during a drought year, the best place to cross the river, the ridge with the best views, the meadow with the sweetest grass, or the kopje with the cooling breeze.
The mobile camps are a bit more basic than our deluxe camps: the sleeping tents are domes with standing room outfitted with low cots and foam mattresses. Toilet and shower tents are separate and are shared between tents. But we still have the roomy bug-proof mess tent and the same great food. In the afternoon we will go for a short orientation walk to learn about walking in the bush and perhaps catch a glimpse of some of the animal life that inhabits these hills and valleys year-round.
Day 11 : Gibb's Farm
Today we will drive out of Serengeti National Park and stay overnight at the fantastic Gibb's Farm. Gibb's Farm is a working farm located on the forested slopes of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The drive takes about 5 hours, but that includes plenty of game viewing in the morning as we exit the Serengeti. We'll arrive at Gibb's Farm in time to enjoy an evening massage or relax on your own personal verandah.
Set among formal English gardens, the farmhouse and 20 ensuite cottages are the heart of a working farm. Built in 1929, the farmhouse has hardly changed, retaining the charm of a well looked-after private house. Fireplaces fill the farmhouse with warmth and historical charm. Just outside, a sprawling verandah and floral garden invite sweeping views of the valley below the farm. Organic coffee is grown, processed and roasted on the farm, and a vast 10-acre organic fruit and vegetable garden provides 90% of the ingredients needed for fresh, home-cooked meals.
Gibb's Farm is a great place to unwind after our walking safari!
Day 12 : Arusha - Depart for home
Enjoy a half-day at Gibb's Farm, taking a guided nature walk or getting a spa treatment using traditional Maasai healing techniques.
After lunch at the farm, we'll drive back to Arusha (about 1.5 hours), where dayrooms at the Moivaro Lodge await us. We'll enjoy dinner in the evening before transfering to the airport for our homeward-bound flights. You should schedule your departure flight from Arusha no earlier than 7:00 p.m.
NOTE—Passengers transferring to Nairobi will need an extra night at the Moivaro Lodge, and transfer to Nairobi the following day. We are happy to make these arrangements for you—please call for details.
DATES: Best time to go: January - March, June - September, December Departures: Jan 4 - 15, 2015 Jan 26, 2015 - Feb 6, 2015 Feb 24, 2015 - Mar 7, 2015 Jun 9 - 20, 2015 Jul 20 - 31, 2015 Aug 18 - 29, 2015 Dec 18 - 29, 2015
$5,895 (4-10 members)
$1,300 park fees
Bring the Kids!
$5,995 (4-10 members)
$1,300 park fees
Bring the Kids!
You will find a charming atmosphere together with every comfort: an ideal spot to enjoy the impressive flora and fauna of East Africa. Moivaro Lodge is situated right in the heart of beautiful, natural scenery and yet is only 7 km from the town of Arusha.
At Moivaro Lodge the staff will ensure that you are looked after in a unique, friendly and peaceful environment, helping you to prepare for your safaris and cosseting you on your return in the evening. Relax and enjoy the beautiful vista of Mount Meru from the comfortable veranda, or perhaps to laze at the pool nestling in the midst of tropical trees and coffee plants.
Tarangire Safari LodgeTarangire National Park, Tanzania
Built high on a bluff overlooking the game-rich Tarangire River, the lodge offers you an uninterrupted view of the landscape and wildlife below. Luxury tents combine modern comforts with the authentic safari atmosphere.
Gibb’s FarmKaratu, Tanzania
This working farm boasts a 10-acre fruit and vegetable garden that provides the ingredients for delicious home-cooked meals. Built in 1929, the farmhouse has hardly changed, retaining the charm of well-kept private house. Organic coffee is grown on the farm, and daily coffee bean roasting sessions take place on the patio.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
James Adiel Kivuyo was born in Arusha, Tanzania. He is interested in the conservation of biodiversity in African wildlife, and has had previous experience as an interpreter. James speaks a number of languages from English and Masaai to the local dialect of Chagga and Kiswahili—the national language of Tanzania. He enjoys using his knowledge of other languages to communicate with people from a broad cultural spectrum, and loves sharing his experience with travelers from around the globe. He has also been helping travelers climb Kilimanjaro for more than a decade, with qualification to respond to emergencies on the mountain.