This Tanzania & Kenya Budget Camping Safari combines Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit with Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru in Kenya.
Start with the top wildlife destinations on Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit - Tarangire National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the world-famous Serengeti National Park.
Venture off the beaten track to encounter local Tanzanian culture at Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. Cross into Kenya to explore the quintessential African wilderness of Masai Mara Game Reserve, teeming with wildlife. Going to both legendary Serengeti Park and neighbouring Masai Mara gives safari-goers the unforgettable game viewing experience of witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration in season.
From the game-rich open plains of Masai Mara we head north to Lake Nakuru, where we see an abundance of birds and wild animals. Then we drive south to Kenya's buzzing capital, Nairobi, bringing the wildlife adventure of a lifetime to a close.
After a short tour briefing this East African Camping Safari leaves Arusha and sets off southwest toward our first Tanzanian game viewing destination, Tarangire National Park.
Tarangire is part of the Northern Safari Circuit, Tanzania's foremost tourist attraction, that lies close to the Kenyan border and hosts the world's greatest annual migration.
Tarangire is a little known gem on this safari circuit and is home to a large variety of wildlife, particularly during July to October when it hosts the migrant elephants. Considered one of the most beautiful, tranquil wilderness areas in northern Tanzania, the landscape is dotted with baobab and acacia thorn trees.
The big cats, lion, leopard and cheetah, as well as tree climbing pythons, giraffes, buffalos, zebras and various antelope species such as gazelles are to be found here.
We spend the late afternoon enjoying superb game viewing in Tarangire Park followed by our first night of camping in Tanzania, near Lake Manyara and Tarangire Park.
Leaving Tarangire National Park behind we depart, after breakfast and travel further into the Great Rift Valley. Our scenic drive takes us to the ethnically diverse town called Mto wa Mbu and a cultural stop on our journey.
More than 120 tribes live in this area, each with its own traditions. More than thirty kinds of bananas are grown here and a sample of the locally brewed banana beer is a must. We also see the coffee plantations of Mto wa Mbu and meet some of the children at the school.
We stay for a lunch of traditional African dishes before continuing through the Rift Valley to our next overnight spot.
Renown for beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, the Great Rift Valley stretches over 6000 kilometres north to south from Syria to Mozambique in southern Africa. A short drive takes us out of the Great Rift Valley where the lowlands disperse making way for the richly vegetated crater highlands.
Up in the highlands we pause to take photos of the spectacular views over the plains and Lake Manyara.
On night two we stay at campsite on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, looking out over the huge crater below.
Today we are up at dawn for an early breakfast before we descend the steep walls of the Ngorongoro Crater to the wildlife-rich floor below.
The Ngorongoro is a huge caldera (collapsed volcano) which boasts an 18km diameter span with walls as high as 600 metres. Home to the densest mammalian population in Africa, at around 25,000 large animals, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The many diverse habitats found on the fertile crater floor attract a variety of wildlife including Africa's Big 5 as well as elephant, monkey, hyena, jackal and herds of zebra, wildebeest, buffalo and other antelope species.
Offering first class game viewing, Ngorongoro is considered one of the best places to photograph the endangered black rhino.
In the early afternoon we leave this wonderland and move on to the seemingly endless Serengeti Plains. Famous for the incredible spectacle of the annual Great Migration, when vast herds of stampeding wildebeest, gazelle and zebra migrate across the plains in search of fresh grazing, in turn attracting numerous predators, Serengeti Park is undoubtedly Tanzania's most famous game park.
Tonight we stay at a camp, located inside Serengeti National Park, surrounded by the untamed African bush and its wildlife.
Game drives are best taken as the sun rises, for that is when the animals are on the move, consequently we are up at dawn to start the day with a Serengeti game drive, followed by a welcome, hearty breakfast back at the camp.
The game viewing here in Serengeti National Park is sensational all year round being home to healthy populations of Africa's Big Five - rhino, lion, buffalo, elephant and leopard as well as huge numbers of various antelope species such as eland, topi, kudu, impala, oribi, waterbuck and gazelle.
Cheetah, hippo, giraffe, serval cat, crocodile, hyena and a rich array of other wildlife including numerous monkey, mongoose and rodent species also inhabit the Serengeti, along with over 500 bird species!
A guided trip to the visitor's centre with a representative of the Frankfurt Zoological Society is an option during the morning. This organisation has been involved in Serengeti for the last thirty years and the knowledgeable guide can tell you what they have been doing. (Please advise when booking if you want to participate in this option.)
We leave Serengeti National Park this morning, game viewing as we exit the park and travel towards Lake Victoria. We stop on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake and the second biggest lake in the world. Here we have an opportunity to encounter Tanzanian people, watch the local fisherman as they bring in their catch and see the way the locals live. We visit a rural community school in this less explored area of Tanzania seldom visited by tourists.
Tonight we camp near Lake Victoria.
After a hearty breakfast we venture onto the lake in a boat to see the locals fishing in the old fashioned way.
And then we move on to the world-renowned Masai Mara of Kenya.
Known for its exceptional population of Big Cats, Masai Mara is said to host the largest lion populations of Africa's game reserves, as well as other large cats including cheetah and leopard.
It is here that the incredible annual Wildebeest Migration takes place. This is an unforgettable wildlife spectacle with over two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle stampeding over the scenic plains as they migrate between Tanzania's Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya.
The rolling hills and open grasslands of the Masai Mara are world famous as the perfect movie setting for African wildlife experiences.
The 1510km² Mara Reserve is home to an impressive variety of wild animals, including numerous antelope species, rhino, giraffe, hippo, crocodile, elephant, hyena and an incredible array of birds.
On day six of this budget East African Wildlife Safari we camp near the Masai Mara Reserve.
We dedicate the next two days to exploring the incredible Masai Mara game reserve in open-sided 4x4 vehicles.
In the company of an experienced safari guide we go in search of the Big Five of Africa and other wildlife roaming the Masai Mara Game Reserve on full day game drives.
Our game drives take us to the River Mara, where birds and wildlife congregate year round. During the rainy season the great migration takes place, from July to October, when the river swells to several times its normal size. Tens of thousands of hoofed beasts take the plunge into the surging River Mara risking the crocodiles that lie in waiting as they make the dangerous crossing.
We sleep in tents at a safari camp in the Maasai Mara National Reserve area.
Today after an early breakfast, we head north through Kenya to Lake Nakuru, a bird watcher's paradise.
We arrive early in the afternoon at this shallow soda lake in the Great Rift Valley. The lake attracts a wide range of water birds, the migratory flamingoes being the most famous. Sometimes there are so many flocks on the lake shores that it becomes a visual sea of pink.
The Lake Nakuru National Park set around the lake, is home to plenty of big mammals, warthogs and baboons, as well as black and white rhinos.
In the morning we have breakfast and depart from the tranquil Lake Nakuru, making our way south to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
Arriving in the bustling city of Nairobi early in the afternoon, we transfer you to the airport or your post-tour accommodation, bringing our Tanzania & Kenya Budget Camping Safari to a close.