March 23 – April 1, 2018$9,000
Read a personal letter from safari guide Jim Heck addressed to you.
This will be Jim’s 42nd consecutive year of guiding a Great Migration Safari in Tanzania. No one has his length of experience or vibrancy of knowledge. The nearly half million readers of his AfricaAnswerman blog, the awards to his novels and other writing, and his unique credentials (including being made one of the few non-native honorary Maasai elders by the Kenyan community) assures you of a safari experience second to none.
Traveling with Jim means you’re traveling in the optimum safari style possible! The finest and most luxurious properties in Tanzania are included, along with his favorite Ndutu Lodge for its outstanding location and of course, two nights at an authentic, very comfortable but truly mobile tented camp! This extraordinary mixture of top luxury, perfect location and vestiges of the bye-gone days maintains the perfect atmosphere for a constantly exciting but always comfortable trip!
According to Jim, this safari gives you the best chance of the entire year of seeing the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth, the great migration. This is when more than two million animals congregate on the great southern grassland plains of the Serengeti. Of course the migration goes on throughout the year, but at this time of the year the herds are calving and usually most concentrated.
This is also Jim’s favorite time of the year. The veld is blossoming with spectacular wild flowers and lush nutrient grasses. Predation by hyaena and lion becomes intense and the drama over hundreds of miles of veld is incredible.
For many years Jim has nicknamed this safari, “The Most Animals Ever,” and while nothing can ever be guaranteed in the wild, there’s a wonderful chance this will prove true again, as it has from year to year in Jim’s long 42 years of guiding!reserve now
|Price||Single Supplement||under 12||12-16||local air|
The prices include:
** Jim Heck guiding the safari from start to finish;
** Guaranteed window seating in Landrovers & Landcruisers with pop-top roofs;
** Professionally-trained, English-speaking driver/guides with each vehicle;
** Meals as detailed in brackets following each day's description below;
** All park entrance fees, VAT and other government taxes;
** Comprehensive pre-trip material with discount coupons for travel gear and equipment.
Additional expenses not included:
- Meals not included;
- Some beverages;
- All international, regional and local scheduled flights;
- Requisite visas and other travel preparations like inoculations;
- Tipping (Jim Heck does not accept tips).
Whenever you arrive you'll be personally met at Kilimanjaro airport by Jim's driver/guides with the same safari vehicles that will now remain with you for the entire Tanzanian trip. You'll be assisted with your luggage and helped to obtain local currency before driving towards Arusha town onto Africa's 5th highest mountain, Mt. Meru. Dinner is included this evening at a beautiful, peaceful resort in the cool foothills of the mountain, Arumeru River Lodge.[d]
Ready to go, Jim's special driver/guides will take you early this morning into Arusha National Park for your first game drive. Located on the slopes of Mt. Meru this popular big game wilderness is a favorite of Arusha residents who refer to it as "giraffic" park because of its many giraffe. Return to your lodge for lunch before an afternoon drive through busy Arusha town onto the Maasai Plains and up the Great Rift Valley into the farming community of Karatu. Arrive in time for dinner and two nights at one of East Africa's most beautiful resorts, Gibb's Farm.[b-l-d]
Dawn game drive in Lake Manyara National Park with a picnic breakfast. This is when the light is best for photography and the chances for encountering the park’s famous lions-in-the-tree so very good! Enjoy breakfast along the lake shore which often includes a view of millions of flamingoes! Return to the farm for a late lunch and free afternoon. Gibb’s offers a variety of options including a walk with an armed ranger into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Meals and overnight at Gibb's Farm.[b-l-d]
Leave Gibb's after a very early breakfast as you head deeper and deeper into the Tanzanian wilderness! Enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area after only a few minutes from Gibb's and drive through the magical rain forest of Ngorongoro. Continue around its rim with breath-taking views onto the mighty Serengeti. (Don't worry, you're coming back to game view here later in the trip!) First stop is one of Jim's favorite attractions, Olduvai Gorge, where so many precious finds of early man were found. He'll give you a short lecture and update you on the exciting current knowledge about early man. The rest of today is a gigantic adventure as Jim leaves the roads and tracks altogether and heads overland onto the great plains. There are few guides and drivers capable of navigating into these remote but wondrous lands. Depending upon the weather, Jim might stop at the sacred Maasai site of Shifting Sands and enjoy lunch on the Lemuta Kopjes with landscapes stretching for 60-70 miles in every direction! Often these roadless plains are saturated with game: hundreds of thousands of gazelle and with luck, even the fractional millions of the migration. By the end of the day you arrive at Ndutu Lodge in the great southwest lakes region for dinner and overnight.[b-l-d]
Another day in this spectacular southwest lakes region at exactly the right time. Jim hopes to find the great wildebeest migration, currently about two million white-bearded gnu (wildebeest), zebra and assorted other gazelle, feasting on the nutrient grasses of the Serengeti plains in preparation for the great trek north. Sometimes Jim takes picnic baskets for longer excursions if longer drives are appropriate. Often shorter drives right around the lakes find all sorts of cats, giraffe, hartebeest and lots of impala. Recently wild dog has been regularly seen in the area, a wonderful bounce back from near extinction hardly a few decades ago. Meals and overnight at Ndutu Lodge.[b-l-d]
Jim normally finds the migration at this time of the year near Ndutu, but the whereabouts of the great herds is very weather-dependent. If it turns out to be drier than normal, the herds could move into the center. So the next two days will be spent further north in the park. Depending upon the information at the time, Jim may take the entire day moving through vastly remote areas of the park. There are several fascinating Maasai historic sites along the way, including the magical Ngong Singing Rock and nearby Morani cave paintings. These provide perfect locations for Jim’s story of the Maasai who were relocated from this area to expand the park in 1972. Whatever is decided, and whether you’ve already seen the great herds or not, rest assured the Serengeti is packed with resident game that doesn’t migrate! Expect lions and buffalo, impala, cheetah, topi and much more – even hippo in the few streams Jim knows how to find in this vast prairie. Arrive a beautiful setting for the group’s final two nights in a Luxury Private Camp.[b-l-d]
Camp is located in the center of the park, near the Moru Kopjes and Seronera River. It’s a small river but enough to provide potable water for the research centers and park headquarters which are located here. It draws a lot of game year-round, including thousands of resident zebra. Croc are often found on its shores and the acacia woodlands that follow its embankment are famous for leopard. There may be time as well to go even further north, to the Grumeti River with its famous hippo and giant croc. This evening around the campfire before dinner Jim will review the trip and help you frame your exciting memories! Meals and overnight in the group’s Luxury Private Camp.[b-l-d]
Depart the Serengeti after breakfast and continue game viewing south towards the giant Ngorongoro Crater reentering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area after a brief stop at Naabi Hill. It's then onto Crater Lodge, the beautiful, outrageous and luxurious lodge in Tanzania, perched right on the rim overlooking the crater. Jim feels this is a fitting end to the world's most spectacular safari!
Jim's special crater game drive is scheduled for tomorrow at dawn, but enthusiasts who don't want to lull in the lodge's luxury with butlers serving you tea and cookies beside your private fireplace this afternoon can instead take a short afternoon game drive today into Ngorongoro Crater National Park, the most visited national park in East Africa. Hardly 100 sq. miles, it’s famous for its cats and rhinos and at this time of the year, upwards of 20,000 herbivores including thousands of wildebeest that normally calve here. The steep 1500-foot sides of the crater provided safe sanctuary for the wildlife since the earliest days, and so much of the game here is considerably more approachable than on the great plains.
Those taking the game drive will join the rest of the group for drinks and conversation in the lodge's spectacular classic lounge before a gourmet dinner with premium wines. Overnight at one of the world's most famous safari lodges, Crater Lodge![b-l-d]
Crater Lodge’s perfect location allows Jim to get you onto the floor of Ngorongoro Crater National Park shortly after dawn. Famous for its cats and rhinos, at this time of the year there are also upwards of 20,000 herbivores including thousands of wildebeest. The steep 1500-foot sides of the crater provided safe sanctuary for the wildlife since the earliest days, and so much of the game here is considerably more approachable than on the great plains.
Dawn in the crater is a wondrous time: the crater rim is usually ribbed with thick white clouds glows and changes like the northern lights. Jim will set out a wonderful picnic breakfast midway through the drive, and you’ll return to the lodge in time for a late lunch. This afternoon you can relax in the beautiful surroundings of Tanzania's most famous and luxurious lodge or visit a community of Maasai not far away in the Layani Highlands. These are lush, beautiful lands that drape the seven small volcanoes extending north and east of the mighty Ngorongoro.
Then join Jim in the classic safari lounge before dinner to recount the many exciting moments of this outstanding trip! End with another gourmet dinner with fabulous wines. Overnight at Crater Lodge.[b-l-d]
This breath-taking journey comes to an end with a final view over the giant 100 sq. mile crater as the early morning fog lifts from the rim. Drive back to Arusha town for some shopping and a special farewell lunch hosted by Jim before continuing to KIA Lodge, a modest hotel adjacent the airport. Repack and relax lax until the lodge shuttles you to the terminal for your return flight home. There are many well-planned trips that travelers worldwide remember fondly, but none as fondly and with as much excitement as Jim’s Great Migration Safari![b-l]