February 2020 - Breeding Season in the Serengeti
During the breeding season in February/March the animals are located in the lower part of the Serengeti. This is a different and wonderful time to visit. The great herd of Wildebeest, calve their young during a two week period in the last two weeks of February. Of course all of the predators follow, so all of the animals are concentrated in the one area.
Most people associate a Safari with the dry season, but at this time of year, the long awaited rains will begin to arrive, and the animals await the season of plenty. The scale of this event puts most other wildlife spectacles in the shade.
Of course, there is the possibility of a little mud, but there are always lots of vehicles to help anyone who is bogged, part of the experience.
Please click on the link above to download the full itinerary
Itinerary – February 2019
February 11th – Arrive Kilimanjaro Airport. Transfer to Arusha
February 12th – Explore Arusha and return for a home visit
February 13th - Cultural Heritage, Shanga and Masai Craft Market
February 14th - Masai Boma and dinner at Khans
February 15th - Tarangeri National Park
February 16th – Morning drive in Tarangeri before departing to Central Serengeti
February 17th - Central Serengeti
February 18th - Central Serengeti to Lower Serengeti, Ndutu area
February 19th - Ndutu
February 20th - Ndutu
February 21st - Morning drive in Ndutu before departing for Ngorongoro Conservation area to spend the night or or near the rim of Ngorongoro Crater
February 22nd - An early start to spend maximum time in the world famous Ngorongroro Crater, before returning to Arusha.
February 23rd - St Jude, optional activities
February 24th - Fly to Zanzibar, afternoon tour of Stone Town
February 25th - Stone Town
February 26th - Stone Town
February 27th - Stone Town
February 28th - Transfer to Airport for flight home
5 days in Arusha at The School of St Jude
Whilst in Arusha, we will stay in visitor accommodation at The School of St Jude. Accommodation is located within the grounds of the Primary School Campus. Each room will be a private room with an en-suite, some have a small lounge. I will organise a cook while we are at St Jude’s, who will cook breakfast and dinner. Organising our meals is fairly flexible here, and if we decide to eat out, we just let the cook know. We usually can catch up on the meal for a lunch. It is very interesting to have lunch with the children, so we will try to fit that in. The meals with the children are very basic and part of the traditional diet. As our last day falls on an assembly day, we should try to attend.
Day 1- Tuesday
Arrive at Kilimanjaro airport. I will meet you at the airport for your transfer back to Arusha and The School St Judes. On arrival, I will take you to your room, to unpack. There are forms to sign about expectations while staying within the school and a short video. Nothing formal is planned for the rest of the day. Most people like to have a short sleep and a wind down. We can go for a walk around the school grounds, and have a talk about our upcoming activities. We will have a drink at “The Hole” a little bar just outside St Judes. Dinner will be organised for you in the Rotary Kitchen.
Day 2 - Wednesday
After a leisurely breakfast, we will go into town and organise a local sim card so we can keep in touch with each other and home. Then we can do have a short tour of town and do some food/snack/drinks shopping. We will have a nice lunch in town (own expense) and return early afternoon to prepare for your optional visit to the home of a primary student from St Jude's. This is a rare opportunity to see how the locals actually live, and highly recommended. You will purchase a "home pack" of staple items for the family (own expense) to donate to the family. The St Jude’s Wageni Wagon (visitors’ bus) and an interpreter will take you to the home of a student. The student may meet you at the school (depending upon his/her) age and make the trip with you. This can be a very emotional experience, but one I highly recommend.
Day 3- Thursday
We will visit the Cultural Heritage Museum and shop. This is a bit more of a touristy place, but there is lots to see. The museum is amazing, so many unique pieces, and the goods for sale here are top quality. If you are interested in Tanzanite, this is the place to visit, it is the worlds’ largest supplier.
Next we will also visit Shanga, Shanga is a wonderful facility where disabled people are taught a skill to help them earn a living. They produce beautiful glass beads as well as beautiful glassware and much more. We will lunch at Shanga or Arusha Coffee Lodge (next door). There will be the opportunity of the return journey to visit the local Maasai Craft Market. This is a less expensive option to the goods on sale at Cultural Heritage, but the vendors are VERY keen to sell, so be prepared to bargain.
Day 4 - Friday
We will again use the Wageni Wagon (visitors wagon), and Felix (head of St Judes Visitors Centre and all around showman) will take us to visit a genuine Maasai Boma (not sure which Boma, but it is usually the Boma of one of the students). Along the way we will stop at a local market and bargain for a goat. You ARE NOT able to take photographs at the market, if you purchase something, ask to take a photo, many store-holders will allow a photograph if you purchase something. We will then be accompanied by the goat on the remainder of our bus journey. The goat will be presented to the Head of the Village, and we will be blessed. We will also give sugar or another staple food to each of the wives. The Boma of each wife must be visited and blessed. We are free to take as many photographs here as you like. It is a special opportunity to visit a "non-tourist" Boma, and an option not generally available to tourists. Having visited the "tourist" Boma, there is a big difference, and this is a special experience. We will return mid-afternoon, there is nothing planned to allow you time to pack for your safari.
Other activities may include:
We can tour of the St Judes Campus’ both primary (where we will be staying), and the boarding facilities with some of the students. It is also possible to participate in an art of music class (lots of fun).
Catching the local transport Dala Dala into town for a walk around, a Dala drive is an experience, can be cramped but lots of fun. I recommend that we do a Dala trip into the Maasai Craft Market, we can then catch a taxi back with our purhases.
We can go for a walk around outside the school. If you are interested in a long walk, let me know, many of the volunteers go for a walk early in the mornings.
We will have a drink outside the school grounds at the local pub “The Hole” most nights before dinner.
We will have one of our evening meals at the iconic Khans also known as “chicken on a bonnet”. This is because it operates as a mechanical workshop by day, and of an evening rolls BBqs onto the street. We will be served local meats with a variety of salads, warning some are very hot. As the hosts are Muslim, no alcohol is allowed at this venue.
If the schedule allows, it is well worth a meeting with Gemma Sisia, the founder of St Jude’s. She is a wonderful warm and passionate woman, and her story is amazing. It is also worth encouraging Felix (who is the head of the visitor’s office) to tell his story, he is a born showman.
For anyone wishing to learn more about the local area, it is entirely possible to arrive earlier and enjoy some additional activities.
The nearby Baby Orphanage is a well run the wonderful experience. There is the opportunity to catch a local Dala (minibus) into town for some shopping at the local markets for fresh produce or some of the fabulous fabrics, this is lots of fun. There are many other options if you are interested, let me know.
8 Days Northern Parks Tarangerie, Central Serengeti, Ndutu & Ngorongoro Crater
This safari is timed to coincide with the “calf drop” when almost 2 million Wildebeest give birth. The huge herd travels with large numbers of Zebra, many of which also have young at foot. Or course, the predators also are about in numbers, so they will also be likely to have a number of young during this time of plenty. The “calf drop” is an amazing natural phenomenon, there is nothing else like it in the world.
Day 5 - Safari Day 1
Expect an early morning start, for our first day of safari to Tarangerie National Park. We will be met by our driver outside the gates of the School. The drive is around 3 hours and the road is excellent. Tarangerie is the sixth largest national park in Tanzania, it covers an area of 2,850sq km, and is famous for its huge elephant numbers, baobab trees and tree climbing African pythons. The rest of the day will be spent on a game drive. Overnight at Tarangerie Chaka Camp or something similar.
Day 6 - Safari Day 2
We have a morning game drive, then depart Central Serengeti. We will take a packed lunch and Game Drive until late afternoon. We will have 2 nights in Central Serengeti to explore this wonderful area.
Overnight at Serengeti Bush Camps of something similar.
Day 7 - Safari Day 3
A full day of game driving in Central Serengeti.
Day 8 - Safari Day 4
An early start to enjoy the sunrise before returning to camp for breakfast. We will then game drive to the main Serengeti gate before entering the Ndutu area. We will have a packed lunch to enjoy along the way. We will arrive at our camp in Ndutu late afternoon. Overnight at Chaka Ndutu Camp or similar.
Day 9 - Safari Day 5
Today we have a full day of game driving in the Ndutu area where the great migration animals are expected to be. We will have breakfast in camp and depart for the day with a lunch pack. We will have a full day on Safari and arrive at our accommodation late afternoon.
Day 10 - Safari Day 6
Today we have a 2nd full day in Ndutu Area, with an itinerary similar to the other days.
On days 5 or 6 there is the option of a Balloon ride over the area. This is a wonderful experience to float silently above the landscape. Spotting animals is a completely different experience, however, while there is the possibility (pretty good) of spotting lots of animals, there are no guarantees on what you will see. I have done this a number of times, and absolutely love it. The landings can be pretty spectacular as well.
Day 11 – Safari day 7
A sunrise drive before returning to camp for breakfast. We will then continue of safari, spending the night near Ngorongoro Crater.
Overnight at Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge
Day 12 - Safari Day 8
We will have an early breakfast before our descent into the Crater Gorge for an 8 hour crater tour. Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest “caldera”. It is dominated by cliffs which stand at 600 meters high, and dropping down to a wide open space of 246 sq km. The Ngorongoro Crater contains most animals of the Serengeti, and is the only place in Serengeti where there is the opportunity to see the near-extinct black Rhino. We will lunch in the Crater before we end our Safari here and return to Arusha.
Prices include All national park fees, Safari vehicle 4 wheel drive, All nights at the lodges/camps on full board (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) Safari does not Include Tipping, Liquors, Items of a personal nature, anything beyond that mentioned above. The generally accepted rate of tipping is $15.00-$25.00US per person per day for the safari driver, also please leave something in the tip jar at each place we stay.
Optional Extras: * Optional Balloon flight - expect to pay at least $560US per person. It is pretty awesome, imagine floating silently over the great migration.
Prices will be quoted in US$ per person on the basis of the itinerary above. The price is valid unless additional government fees & levies are imposed.
Our accommodation is excellent. It is not camping, more like “Glamping”
Because this is a personalised tour, we are able to have some control over the scheduling, and our Safari driver will join us for dinner and discuss what we are doing the next day.
Day 13 – St Judes
Today we will have a free day at St Judes to wash and rest (I can arrange for your washing to be done, and a cleaner for your room for a small charge).
We can have a have a lovely luxury lunch and head off to the Maasai Craft Market or wander around town. Our day here is flexible, and will be a group decision. Because it will be a Sunday many of the shops will not be opened. Being a Sunday the St Jude's volunteers may be able to join us, a nice way to say good-bye.
5 Days Relaxation in Zanzibar
In Stone Town most people like the freedom to choose where they eat - therefore accommodation in Stone Town is on a Bed & Breakfast Basis.
Zanzibar has a rich and colourful history as the centre of the slave trade. It also boast some amazing architecture, the doors of Zanzibar rival those of Morocco.
Zanzibar boast stunning white beaches, wonderful seafood, unique animals such as the Red Colobus Monkey.
Day 14 - Zanzibar Day 1
Transfer from St Jude's to Arusha Airport for your 12.30 flight to Zanzibar. You will transfer to your motel in Stone Town. There is nothing booked in Zanzibar, and you can set your own itinerary. For your first day I recommend a have a look around and relax on the beach with a drink. Overnight at Tembo House.
Day 15 - Zanzibar Day 2
Full day in Stone Town
Day 16 - Zanzibar Day 3
A second full day in Stone Town
Day 17 - Zanzibar Day 4
A third full day in Stone Town
Day 18 - Zanzibar Day 5
Time to relax and pack before your transfer to the Airport for your flight home.
Accommodation in Zanzibar is at Tembo Hotel (or similar) on a bed and breakfast basis.
There are many options in Zanzibar depending upon your interests. A tour of the old slave quarters is, I think a must, but there are fishing, snorkelling and diving tours. A visit to Prison Island to swim (optional) with the turtles is awesome, you can sail on a traditional Dhow, do a spice tour, check out the amazing doors (they rival those or Morocco) or check out more wildlife with a visit to see the rare Red Colobus Monkeys. Sooo many options.
Zanzibar has stunning white beaches, and crystal clear waters. A bit of luxury to complete the tour.
This tour will be around $5,500US (excluding airfares, some meals, tipping, gifts and alcohol and optional balloon trip). Pricing can vary according to double of single occupancy, and the number of people in each vehicle.
Please be aware, this is a small group tour and I DO NOT run sardine Safari's, there will be spare seats in each vehicle.
As a professional photographer, I offer as much help as needed to improve your photography skills. While there are not formalised lessons, I am willing to help at any time, so please ask. Advice will be given as to what gear to bring (or purchase).