Arusha Journals

A Safari in Tanzania

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A July 2004 trip to Arusha by Safiri

Ndutu Safari Lodge Photo, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania More Photos
Quote: A five-day safari through Tanzania's breathtaking Northern Circuit, including visits to Olduvai Gorge and a Masai boma, as well as the spectacular vistas and wildlife viewing of the Serengeti Plain and Ngorongoro Crater.

A Safari in Tanzania

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Overview

Buffalo Photo, Arusha, Tanzania
Quote:
Every single moment was a highlight, but some of the best things were: Lions that crossed the road right in front of our jeep, and then sauntered down the hill and climbed a tree. A visit to a Masai town where we watched dancing and were invited to sit in the chief's wattle-and-daub hut. The first glimpse of Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest intact caldera, teeming with wildlife (the elephants are just visible from the rim). A blood-red sunrise over the dusty Serengeti. The thousands upon thousands of birds on Lake Manyara: flamingos, pelicans, egrets, and the fantastically ugly marabou cranes. If you like birds, don't miss Lake Manyara. Animals every...Read More

Ndutu Safari Lodge

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Hotel

Ndutu Safari Lodge Photo, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Quote:
The Ndutu Safari Lodge was our favorite of the places we stayed on safari. The lodge is located well off the beaten track even by Serengeti standards: it's not near a year-round watering hole, and to reach it we had to bounce over almost 40km of mediocre track. During the migration, the bare land we drove through is apparently full of wildebeest, but we saw few animals on the plains on our way in. The main sight was the saltpan of Lake Ndutu, a vast, white flat which fills with water in the rainy season. It looks like the surface of the moon: beautiful, but inhospitable. We felt that this was unpromising for our hotel, and when we arrived at the low, unostentatious buildings, we were n...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 15, 2004

Ndutu Safari Lodge

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
(255) 2725-08930

Tarangire Safari Lodge

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Hotel | "Tarangire Wildlife Lodge"

Quote:
The Tarangire Wildlife Lodge is located in the middle of the Tarangire National Park, above a watering hole in the river. It's a palatial building, a luxury hotel in the wilderness. Unlike many of the lodges in the national park system, the lodge really lives up to the luxury hotel billing: the floors are polished stone; the decor of the public spaces is elaborate; there's a gift shop stocked with wooden carvings, fine jewelry, hats, photo books, and a few shelves of pricey toiletries; and in the large, elegant rooms, the mosquito nets drape around the double beds like shower curtains, leaving a giant insect-free box. Unlike all the other lodges we stayed at, dinner at the Tarangire Wildlife Lod...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 15, 2004

Tarangire Safari Lodge
Tarangire National Park
Arusha, Tanzania
+255 27 254 4752

Lake Manyara National Park

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Attraction

Lake Manyara National Park Photo, Arusha, Tanzania
Quote:
Lake Manyara National Park is usually added to safaris as an afterthought, to pad out the main attractions and the Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Parks. The reason for this is probably that most people on safaris just want to see large mammals: lions, elephants, giraffes, and so on. These are harder to spot at Lake Manyara, because, unlike the other parks in the Northern Circuit, it's wet year-round, so that it can support dense foliage, which, in some places, makes it impossible to see more than a few yards from the road. We saw some elephants and hippos while we were there, but we never caught a glimpse of the famed, tree-climbing lions (though we saw some in Tarangire). We didn't care, because w...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 15, 2004

Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara
Arusha, Tanzania

What to bring on a Safari

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Story/Tip

Ngorongoro Zebras Photo, Arusha, Tanzania
Quote:
Space is limited in a safari jeep, and the small airplanes that do the hops from Dar to Arusha have strict weight limits. So here are a few thoughts to help you decide what to bring and what to trim. Clothes: People wear khaki on safari for a reason: everything you wear will get dusty, and bright colors can scare off the animals. If you’ve got two complete changes of safari clothes, one to wash and one to wear, you’ll be fine over the day, though of course, a third shirt always comes in handy. Remember, no one’s going to be looking at you when there are lions around. Lodges have laundry service. In the evenings, it’s nice to have something to change into. Unless your tra...Read More

How to plan your safari

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Story/Tip

Quote:
There are two ways to plan your safari on the Northern Circuit. You can do it ahead of time, finding a company through guidebooks, recommendations, and the internet, or you can just turn up at Arusha and look around there. Each of these techniques has advantages and drawbacks. Planning ahead makes it more likely that you'll get bookings at the lodges you want (they fill up during high season), but can be scary, since it involves a certain leap of faith in the company's honesty and competence. Showing up in Arusha and looking allows you to check out the company more thoroughly, but it may take a while. The town itself is unpleasantly touristy, and you'll have to sort through a lot of competing offers o...Read More

Olduvai Gorge and Visiting the Masai

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Story/Tip

The Chief Photo, Arusha, Tanzania
Quote:
We almost didn't visit the Masai. I get shivers when I think of it. The second day of our safari was mostly driving: a long day in the jeep going from Tarangire to the Serengeti, a trip which takes you via the top of the Ngorongoro Crater. The one highlight of the day was to be a stop at Olduvai Gorge, the site where the Leakey Expedition discovered the earliest human remains. My father-in-law is a biologist, and the rest of us are interested in science, so we were very excited by the idea of getting a good look at the Gorge. We toured the museum, which costs an outrageous $10 per person extra, but contains casts of the famous footprints preserved in volcanic ash which the Leakeys discovered abo...Read More