TT006 - TANZANIA - SERENGETI LENGAI & NATRON TREK
10 days safari - 3 day walking - 7 nights camping - 2 nights in lodges - Fitness level moderate (except Lengai Climb advanced)
Northern Tanzania safari for the outdoors persons who wants to get off the classic safari route and appreciate the beauty of landscape and wildlife as well as cultural interaction with different tribes in this area.
Discovering the Ngorongoro and the Serengeti National Parks then walking the Gol Mountains, the Salei plains, down the Rift Valley escarpment and up an active volcano makes this safari a complete African experience. The trek up Lengai is very steep & quite strenuous, but an alternative walk to some spectacular waterfalls can be arranged for those not wanting to attempt it.
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Day 1 Arusha or Nairobi/ Karatu Lodge
Day 1 NAIROBI � ARUSHA � KARATU LODGE (Optional visit to Lake Manyara National Park for safaris commencing in Arusha) Half an hours drive from Nairobi and we are already in the midst of Africa as it was known by Hemingway. This excellent tarmac road lined with acacias and termite mounds brings us quickly to the Namanga border post. The sacred mountain Oldonyo Orok dominates Namanga. There lies the grave of one of the most important Laibon or Masai sorcerers. It is not however the religious aspect that attracts people to this busy town but the trading opportunities offered by the border post. Whilst carrying out the formalities to enter Tanzania we will have proposals to purchase a wide variety of contraband goods.
Once we have crossed into Tanzania we penetrate the heart of the greatest geological feature of this continent. The Rift Valley is 8000 km long and runs from the Dead Sea to Madagascar. Late afternoon we arrive at Karatu in the Ngorongoro highlands and pass the night in a lodge FB
Day 2 NGORONGORO CRATER Half day game-drive in the crater. Ngorongoro Conservation Area was created with a separate entity from the Serengeti to protect the Masai herdsmen. The Masai had in fact found themselves thrown out of their traditional pasturelands. It was decided that to protect the ancestral rights of the Masai they should be given the right to graze their cattle in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area but not in the Serengeti. This compromise seems to be a success as we are able to observe an enormous variety of wildlife against the backdrop of some spectacular landscapes.
The amateur photographer will appreciate the contrast of the cloudy skies and the brilliant golden sunlight illuminating the vegetation on the crater floor, and the white soda lake where pink flamingos search for food.
Night spent in Lodge on crater rim or within the Conservation Area depending on availability.
Days 3/4/5 SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK Ngorongoro Conservation Area is not only an animal reserve but also a very important location for research into the roots of mankind. At Olduvai and Laetoli, Louis Leakey discovered several Australopithecus as well as footprints that date back 3.5 million years. We visit the museum at Olduvai Gorge, before entering the Serengeti ecosystem with endless plains of game. Camping inside the park. Full day game driving in one of the most famous areas of the Serengeti, Seronera at the heart of the Serengeti. Camping inside the park.
Day 6 SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK � GOL MOUNTAINS Morning games drive before crossing into Masai country. The Gol Mountains form the escarpment of the western wall of the Rift Valley. This higher altitude makes it a greener area where Masai herdsmen graze their cattle. It will be also the starting point of our trek. Camping FB
Day 7 TREK GOL MOUNTAINS. The Masai are of Nilotic origin and once these warriors frightened even the bravest explorers, but today they live a peaceful existence principally caring for their enormous herds of cattle. We meet them grazing their herds and perched on the top of the highest granite rock they keep guard over the plains for any lion or other possible threat to their cattle.
Accompanied by our Masai guides, with lunch and water for the day�s journey, we set off to cross this small chain of mountains. The large valleys that cut through the mountains are gathering points for wildlife in search of water and grazing. Even the large predators are attracted during February and March when the young wildebeest are born. The peaceful cohabitation between the Masai and this wildlife is spectacular, and it�s not unusual to find herds of zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and cattle grazing together. Passing Masai villages we frequently meet with the warrior herdsmen.
A river has cut a deep gorge in the escarpment wall and in some places we walk in narrow canyons of basalt barely a few meters wide and towering a hundred meters above our heads. The river at this stage flows permanently and occasionally we have to walk waist deep in the clear water. It�s a refreshing and cool moment we enjoy to its fullest, knowing that quite soon we will reach one of the hottest places in Tanzania. Later strolling easily on the high plateau we appreciate the rock formations and views of the surrounding mountains. Our vehicles meet us in the evening to set up camp. Camping FB
Day 8 TREK RIFT VALLEY We follow an important track used by the Masai from Lake Natron during the dry season when they herd their cattle up onto the highlands for grazing. In turn the Masai from the highlands herd their cattle down onto the salt plains of Natron. Descending the escarpment towards Lake Natron, the path is rough and the vegetation changes rapidly. Incessant meetings with the Masai slow our progression, as we make way for their herds of goats and cattle to pass on this steep and rocky pathway.
Even for the Masai of Natron the environment is inhospitable and tough. Deep down on the floor of the Rift Valley, the giant fault that cuts its way across the African continent, the world continues to evolve. Several other volcanoes rise from the plains and Gelai dominates at some 3000 metres over Lake Natron. This lake was discovered by English geologist named Gregory and is certainly the most spectacular in the Rift Valley. An enormous pan of pink soda stretches for over 30 kilometres. All around the edge of the lake there is hot salty water bubbling from the ground at temperatures exceeding 50� C. These springs produce a microscopic aquatic life that feeds a variety of local bird species, along with a number of migratory birds. A species of perch, "Tilapia Grahami" manages to survive in these extreme conditions, breeding in puddles of fresh water. Areas more concentrated in soda are favourable for the reproduction of algae that flamingos feed upon. It's not unusual for the flamingos to number into the hundreds of thousands. Camping FB
Day 9 TREK LENGAI VOLCANO The active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai is the sacred mountain of the Masai. Lengai means God in Maa language and on the summit, protected from the vapour and heat of the volcano, resides 'Ngai'. We start our climb at 1am to the summit of Lengai at 2800 metres above sea level. The climb is a steep one that we attempt in the moonlight, so that we'll reach the summit in time to watch the sun rise on Kilimanjaro 200 km away. From the jagged crater rim we have a spectacular view over Natron and the surrounding volcanoes and escarpment. We follow our guide carefully down into the caldera where the volcano is active and lava flows regularly from small eruptive cones. We make a weary descent back to our vehicles and after some lunch to regain our energy head cross the Rift Valley towards Longido. Lengai is one of the most difficult mountains to climb in the area, not because of the technical difficulty but due to the steepness, hot climate and loose volcanic gravel. Camping FB
DAY 10 RETURN TO ARUSHA OR NAIROBI After the dusty track of Longido we meet a good tarmac road that takes us to Namanga and the border post once again.
For clients ending in Arusha you will be dropped at your hotel.
For clients going back to Nairobi, with formalities to cross the border completed, we head on and after a last glance over Hemmingway's Africa we find ourselves once again amongst the hustle and bustle of city life. After saying our farewells to the group with whom we have shared so many memorable experiences you will be dropped at your hotel or proceed on the airport.
Starting from $2618 per person based on a group of 3 people - Park fees per adult in US Dollars $545 Park fees subject to change Transport in 4WD safari vehicle with for clients and camp equipment; Drinks, sleeping bag, personal torch and personal toiletries. (all these can be provided on request)
Experienced African Latitude guide & safari cook;
Full board except meals in Nairobi and Arusha
Treated drinking water
All camping equipment
Transfer between Nairobi Arusha & Namanga will be by regular shuttle bus
Tips & items of a personal nature, ie. laundry etc.
Optional visit Lake Manyara National Park
Starting from $2618 per person based on a group of 3 people - Park fees per adult in US Dollars $545 Park fees subject to change
Transport in 4WD safari vehicle with for clients and camp equipment;
Drinks, sleeping bag, personal torch and personal toiletries. (all these can be provided on request)