A Walk in the Wild

A Journey through the Highlands of Tanzania

A Walk in the Wild

One of the best ways to experience Africa is to leave the game vehicle behind and explore the wilderness on foot.  The slow pace allows time to absorb the stunning landscape, notice the details of the bush, and breath the clear air of the African highlands.  This privately-guided safari will do just that.  A Walk in the Wild will take you through some of the most dramatic scenery in east Africa where you'll experience remote landscapes, incredible wildlife, and witness the changing world of the Maasai.

You’ll begin in Arusha with a full day of guided walking in Arusha National Park as you explore the diverse landscape on your search for big game.  From Arusha, continue to the high volcanic craters atop the Great Rift Escarpment for the start of your 3 day, fully supported trek down the Escarpment to Lake Natron.  Maasai guides and their donkeys carry all supplies, cook delicious meals, and set up each night's camp.  Following the trek, you’ll have the chance to summit Ol Doinyo Lengai, the sacred mountain of the Maasai towering over 10,000 ft (or relax in camp and explore the surreal Lake Natron on shorter walks).   Your safari concludes in beautiful Tarangire National Park (at a small treetop lodge) where you'll search for game both on foot and in a safari vehicle. 

Learn More About A Walk in the Wild

ITINERARY

Day 1 | Arrive Arusha | Mount Meru Game Lodge | Full Board

Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport near Arusha and after clearing customs and Immigration formalities you will be met and transferred to the Mount Meru Game Lodge.  The lodge will be our base for 2 nights while we visit Arusha National Park and rest up for our trekking adventure.

Resting at the foot of Mount Meru, the sprawling city of Arusha is known as the safari capital of northern Tanzania. It serves as an excellent base from which to explore the remarkably scenic surrounding area which includes majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as the Manyara, Tarangire and Ngorongoro National Parks. Arusha is a good spot to take a day or two off from the safari circuit as it features a temperate climate and lush surrounds.

Outdoor Dining, Mt Meru Game Lodge

Mount Meru Game Lodge is nestled between the peaks of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro, midway between Kilimanjaro International Airport and Arusha.  The Lodge is located within 33 acres of mature, well-manicured gardens bounded on one side by the tranquil waters of the Usa River and on the other by an animal sanctuary where birds and wildlife are frequently seen.

The lodge comprises 15 double or twin en-suite bedrooms and 2 suites. The design and character of the rooms are as individualistic as the lodge itself. All rooms have a veranda with comfortable chairs where guests may sit during the late afternoons enjoying the peace of the surroundings, soaking up the unique atmosphere of the Lodge and watching the animal and birdlife.  The main stone building is decorated in classic safari style and you’ll enjoy excellent food and wine in dining area overlooking the lush, forested grounds.  Take a dip in the pool or sit in the garden with its camp fire listening to the exotic night sounds.

 

Day 2  | Arusha National Park | Mount Meru Game Lodge | Full Board

Arusha National Park

After breakfast, depart with packed lunch and drive to Arusha National Park.  Spend the day exploring the park on foot with our guide and an armed ranger.  Later return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Arusha National Park is situated in north-eastern Tanzania and idyllically set against the spectacular backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. This 220 square mile park is renowned for its remarkable scenery and excellent choice of trekking possibilities. This exceptionally beautiful area is divided into three parts: Mt. Meru, a spectacular volcanic cone; the Ngurdoto Crater, with its lost-world feel; and the multi-hued Momela Lakes. It features a wide range of habitats which provide a home to an array of wildlife and plant life. Commonly spotted species include: Cape buffalo, giraffe, zebra, warthog, monkey, flamingo, lion and elephant.

 

Day 3 | Drive to Empakai Crater | Empakai Crater Camp | Full Board

After breakfast, our journey into the highlands begins.  Our drive today takes up the Great Rift Escarpment to the little town of Karatu.  From here the road continues to climb through dense forest until we reach the rim of the famous Ngorongoro Crater.  We’ll drive around the eastern rim of the crater and head north-east to the Empakai Crater and our camp for the night, Empakai Camp.

Upon arrival at camp, we’ll have the opportunity to explore the spectacular Empakai Crater.  From Empakai’s dramatic rim, on clear days you can see the distant snows of Kilimanjaro far on the eastern side of the valley, the Great Rift Valley, and Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano (which we’ll have the opportunity to summit later in our trek).  The trail is steep and can be quite slippery but is well worth the effort as you pass through ancient forests filled with birdlife.  Keep a sharp eye out for various monkeys, bush buck, water buck and other wildlife.  After about 40 minutes we’ll reach the floor of the crater and explore the lake shore.  Flamingos are often seen flying into the crater or feeding in the lake at the base.  We’ll return to camp for a hot shower before dinner.

Empakai Crater

Empakai Crater, an ancient, collapsed volcanic caldera, is nearly 1000 feet deep and more than four miles in width.  The rim of the crater sits at an elevation of over 8000 feet.  The floor of the crater is covered by a 280-foot deep alkaline lake that attracts breeding flamingos in season.  Empakai Crater is part of the vast Ngorongoro Conservation Area situated in the Crater Highlands in Northern Tanzania.  The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is best known for its archaeological and geological significance, rich wildlife, and beautiful scenery. The conservation area encompasses Empakai Crater, the famous Ngorongoro Crater, the renowned Olduvai Gorge and vast plains of grasslands, forests and mountains extending to the Serengeti. This 3000-sq mile protected area is recognised for its natural beauty and has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Empakai Camp is located on the edge of the Empakai Crater with spectacular views looking into the crater. It is a truly special and unique location and a great spot for bird watching. It is also the starting point for our Great Rift Valley Trek.

 

Day 4 | Trekking | Leonotis Camp | Full Board

leonotis camp

Breakfast, Leonotis Camp

Dawn rises and our lofty position affords a great sunrise. As we enjoy breakfast our camp crew break camp and depart to send the camp ahead with donkeys. We then set off hiking with Maasai guides following a route that takes us through picturesque Maasai villages and rolling hills. Lunch can be taken on route as a picnic or if guests are very fit a late lunch can be had in camp. In the late afternoon a hike up to a nearby viewpoint is highly recommended and a great place for sundowners!

Gregorian Rift Valley -  The world-renowned Eastern Rift Valley passes through Kenya and Northern Tanzania, this section is known as the Gregorian or Gregory Rift Valley. The 'Great Rift Valley' stretches over 3700 miles from northern Syria in the Middle East to Mozambique in Southern Africa. It features an array of glistening lakes, volcanoes, craters, endless desert landscapes, majestic mountains, and ancient rolling hills.  The Gregory Rift is home to the majestic craters and volcanoes of Ngorongoro, Empakai, Olmoti and Lengai; Lake Natron, a vast mineral lake; and the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

Leonotis Camp is in a truly special location nestled in the Great Rift Valley. Right below Empakai crater and on route to Lake Natron in a grove of magical Acacia trees. This camp, accessible only by foot, is mid-way on the Great Rift Valley Trek and part of an amazing journey and conservation effort to protect this endangered forest.

 

Day 5 | Trekking | Lake Natron Camp | Full Board

The final section of hiking has two options of a shorter hike or a longer more strenuous option right along the rift wall. The views are spectacular with the active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai dominating the foreground. This volcano affects almost everything from hydrology to lifestyle, as will become apparent. Once down on the rift valley floor we are picked up and transferred to Lake Natron Camp and the have the chance to jump in the natural pools to cool down. Sundowners are served at any number of beautiful points close to camp.

lake natron

Lake Natron

Lake Natron - Wild and remote Lake Natron lies in the northeast of Tanzania below the Ngorongoro Highlands and situated at the base of Africa’s only active volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai (Mountain of God).  Here it is the landscape rather than the animals that is the attraction – the area around the lake inhabited by Maasai is dry, desolate and hauntingly beautiful.  Lake Natron, one of the most alkaline lakes in the world, is fed by mineral-rich hot springs and is less than six feet deep. High levels of evaporation leave deposits of salt and minerals behind and volcanic carbonate colors the water a striking red.  The lake is home to millions of tiny crustaceans, attracting thousands of Lesser Flamingos making Lake Natron one of the most important flamingo breeding grounds on earth.  It is known as the deadliest lake in the country, the high sodium carbonate level in the water is will calcify and petrify wildlife who get too close.

lake natron camp

Lake Natron Camp

Lake Natron Camp consists of 10 luxury tents and is located on the very edge of Lake Natron in the grasslands below the Rift Valley. Within walking distance of the camp are fossil hominid footprints and Lake Natron itself where over 1 million flamingos come to breed. It is ideally situated as an ending point for our Empakai to Lake Natron Trek. 

Unique in its setting, Lake Natron Tented Camp is set back in a grove of trees adjacent to the shores of the lake. Safari tents offer showers, comfortable beds and a private veranda.  A fully stocked bar and candle lit dining area ensure you have a cold drink and delicious food at the end of an long day of walking.

Lake Natron has a number of activities from day hikes to casual walks along the lake shore. The staff are on hand to make your stay as adventurous or relaxing as you want.  Spent a few hours at the local hot springs or a short hike to the Ngare Sero Waterfall.  Amble the lake shore and visit the fossil footprints or just relax in camp.  There is a natural pool at camp with wild fish that will give you a free pedicure! Just the thing to pamper your feet after your trek.

 

Day 6 | Ascent of Ol Doinyo Lengai (optional) | Lake Natron Camp | Full Board

Summit Ol Doinyo Lengai

Summit, Ol Doinyo Lengai

For those in the group looking for another adventurous hike, we have the option today to hike up the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano.  A night ascent of the 10,00 ft  “Mountain of God” lit by moonlight is an unforgettable and mystical experience. This very challenging hike up an active carbonatite volcano with stunning views requires a very early start (3am) but can be done in a day.  A permit ($100,cash) is needed for the ascent, payable in US cash when we arrive at camp.  Note that the conditions on Lengai can change daily. It must be understood that the guide’s decision to reach the summit section is based on daily conditions and clients should be briefed that there is the possibility of not reaching the true summit. If that is the case please note refunds are not available.  Hikers are required to wear climbing helmets at the final section near the summit. For those wishing to relax in camp, Lake Natron has a number of activities that will suite your interest (see above). 

 

Days 7  | Tarangire National Park | Tarangire Treetops Camp | Full Board

Tarangire Treetops Camp

This morning you can have a walk by the lake to view the flamingos, or have a leisurely morning at the camp before we depart Lake Natron for our drive to Tarangire National Park.  We should arrive at the Elewana Tarangire Treetops Camp for lunch then enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Tarangire Treetops On the path of an annual elephant migration sits alone in a 312km2 private wildlife area bordering Tarangire National Park, amid a landscape of rolling and baobab-studded hills. Our elevated "treehouse" suites are perched high up with views over the adjacent baobab and marula trees, giving Tarangire Treetops an adventurous and exotic feel.  Twenty suites with a private balcony, are lavishly furnished. Natural materials are blended with contemporary Africana décor, to provide guests with a unique and most memorable safari experience.

 

Days 8 - 9  | Tarangire National Park | Tarangire Treetops Camp | Full Board

Today you will have a walking safari with your armed ranger and later in the day enjoy a game drive in Tarangire National Park. Return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Located just a few hours drive from the town of Arusha, Tarangire National Park is a popular stop for safaris traveling through the northern circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. The park extends into two game controlled areas and the wildlife are allowed to move freely throughout. After the Serengeti, Tarangire has the greatest concentration of wildlife in Tanzania and in the dry season the Tarangire River is a magnet for thirsty wildlife. Large herds of elephants and migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland gather and not surprisingly the predators follow. This is also the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope such as oryx and gerenuk are regularly spotted.  Tarangire is also known for its spectacular baobab trees, and its breathtaking views of the Masaai Steppe and the mountains to the south.

Day 10 | Return to Arusha

Depart Tarangire in the morning and drive to Arusha, arriving at Shanga for lunch.  You'll then be transfered to Kilimanjaro International Airport for departing flights.

GROUP SIZE:  A minimum of 4 guests is required to confirm this safari.  Maximum group size is 12.

REGISTRATION:  The deadline to register is March 28, 2019.  If 4 guests are not confirmed the safari will be cancelled.  A $300 early registration discount is offered if you sign up before February 1, 2019,

PAYMENT:  A 20% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm booking and due within 7 days of receiving an invoice from GrassTrack Safaris.  Your deposit will be refunded only if safari is cancelled due to lack of interest.  Once 4 clients are confirmed, deposit will not be refunded.  Full balance due by June 1, 2018.  Other terms & conditions apply.  We reserve the right to modify or change itinerary and/or accommodation.

Included

  • Full board accommodation while on safari
  • Transfers to and from the airport
  • A safari briefing at the beginning of the tour
  • Lunch at Shanga
  • All game viewing in a safari vehicle driven by a professional English speaking driver guide
  • Local beer & house wine at Lake Natron
  • Laundry & drinks at Tarangire Treetops (except premium brands)
  • Excursions as per the itinerary
  • Park Entrance fees throughout
  • Flying doctors medical evacuation cover
  • I liter of water per person per day while in safari vehicle
  • Current Government taxes and levies

Excluded

  • International and domestic Airfares
  • International and domestic departure tax
  • Meals and excursions not described in the itinerary above
  • Entry Visas to the country
  • Ol Lengai hiking permit (US$100)
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Any optional tours or excursions not mentioned in the itinerary above
  • Gratuities (tips) to your guide, hotel staff and porters
  • Any other items of a personal nature, such as drinks, laundry,
sundowners

2019 Rates

5 guests $6825 | 6 guests $6960

7 guests $6725 | 8 guests $6545

9 guests $6410 | 10 guests $6295

11 guests $6210

*Rates are per person sharing and for Sept-Oct departures; Contact us for other dates/rates; Single supplement applies.

Length: 10 days

Route:  Starts & ends in Arusha, Tanzania.

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