Guided by Jim Heck
EWT’s Great Migration Safari led by the famous guide and African expert, Jim Heck, is the most dramatic safari left on earth. The migration of nearly 3 million herbivores across the Serengeti in search of better grass is the last great animal migration on the planet. The safari includes four famous game parks and usually encounters tens of thousands of animals and dozens of predators. Jim’s knowledge of the area allows him to introduce you not just to the animals, but to the history, paleontology, culture and politics of the area.
This is Jim’s signature safari, one which he has guided annually for 47 years. His trusted staff and carefully crafted safari vehicles ensure an optimum experience. You’ll visit places that only a few of the best guides know how to find and navigate, with wildlife and scenery completely unmatched by the ordinary tourist circuit. You’ll enjoy lengthy off-roading with miles and miles of pristine wilderness uncongested and totally wild.
This is a great time for a safari! With the onset of the rains the East African veld is the most beautiful of the year. The forests are lush green and wild flowers cover the grasslands. It’s cooler and less dusty. There’s no question this is the best time to go.
This tour offers three options for the length of your tour:
|Tanzania Great Migration (12 Days)||March 31 to April 11||$ 9,995||$ 490|
|. . . including the Gorilla Trek (15 Days)||March 28 to April 11||$ 14,830||$ 5,270|
|Zanzibar Extension (4 Days)||April 11 to 13||$ 1,390||$ 1,990|
WHY ADD ZANZIBAR? Zanzibar is where it all began. Traders from Arabia and China came here in the 13th Century. For many centuries thereafter the Sultan ruled all of East Africa, controlling all excursions into the interior including for slave trading and ivory harvesting. Stone Town is a distinctly Arab town.
Few people know Africa as well as Jim Heck. For more than 45 years he has worked, lived and guided in Africa. His popular blog, Africa-Answerman, includes investigative journalism of some of Africa’s most critical news stories as well as anecdotes and features of daily African life. His award-winning novel, Chasm Gorge, will soon be followed by a second book, The World by Ole Kulet. His companies have organized safaris into Africa for more than 20,000 visitors. In 2016 he became the first American named an honorary senior elder by Kenya’s Maasai tribe.
Jim was the first westerner allowed to leave Addis after the Red Terror; had canoes overturned among crocs and hippos on the Zambezi; been charged by an elephant that he hit with a plate of waldorf salad; lost in the jungles of Cameroun; marooned in the Ituri Forest and rescued by Rhodesian sanction busters; and was among the few outsiders to travel through Uganda during the time of Idi Amin. Jim has never lost a client or fired a gun.
There’s no better safari and no better guide to take you there!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.
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 at Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania you’ll be personally met and privately transferred the hour into Arusha town. Jim arrives tomorrow with those coming from the gorilla trek in Rwanda. Overnight at the Four Points by Sheraton. Dinner is independent.[no-meals]
The safari departs the hotel right after breakfast for the gorgeous drive over the Maasai plains west of the city. The route traverses the acacia bushveld that is still used by Maasai herders. Arrive at the gate into Tarangire National Park by late morning. Game viewing begins immediately! Expect large herds of zebra and lots of impala, but Tarangire is known above all as the best elephant park in the world! Jim believes there are too many elephant here and will recount numerous dramatic encounters with them. Picnic overlooking the great Tarangire sand river from which the park gets its name. From the picnic site you continue game viewing to the airstrip to collect Jim and those arriving from the gorilla trek in Rwanda. Everyone continues to Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge for sundowners around the campfire before dinner.[b-l-d]
Jim spends as much time as possible on the veld often taking picnics so that the safari can roam far afield. Sometimes the schedule is determined by known animal events, such as the location of the migration or a recent kill. Many stops are made during which Jim recounts stories of past safaris or retells the exciting history of earlier days in Africa. And if you wish an afternoon off to enjoy the marvelous surroundings of the camp, no problem! The day ends with sundowners and hors d’oeuvres around the camp fire during which Jim debriefs everyone on their exciting day! Meals and overnight at Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge.[b-l-d]
Morning game viewing to the park gate before rejoining the highway. The road makes a spectacular ascent up the Great Rift Valley before continuing to Gibb's Farm for lunch, dinner and overnight. Many EWT clients critique Gibb's as if it were a resort in Tuscany. Set in gorgeous hills just beyond Ngorongoro Crater, it’s one of the most luxurious properties on the circuit. Each room is a single Nantucket cottage with multiple bathrooms including an outdoor shower, a large living area with fireplace and a large deck surrounded by lush vegetation. Gibb's is a working farm that supplies much of the safari circuit with organic vegetables and the export market with prime quality coffee.[b-l-d]
Dawn game drive in Lake Manyara National Park when the light is spectacular for photography and the great exotic birds are most active. Known for its “lions-in-the-trees,” Manyara has the greatest biodiversity for its size of any protected wilderness in Africa. It sits dramatically on the edge of the Great Rift Valley so its habitat ranges from a high escarpment that descends through a thick highland rainforest onto a savanna woodland that becomes a prairie before running into the lakeshore. A huge range of bird, animal and plant species are contained in this ever changing landscape. The concentration of food sources especially benefits baboon and troops of several hundred are often seen. Jim’s staff will set a picnic breakfast near the lake shore so you might enjoy the millions of flamingoes sometimes seen here. Return to the farm for a later lunch. Relax this afternoon or enjoy any of the free options offered at the farm, including guided tours of the fields and coffee plantations. Nominal charges apply to mountain biking and a variety of exotic massages. Meals and overnight at Gibb's Farm.[b-l-d]
After breakfast drive into the nearby Ngorongoro Conservation Area on a spectacular track through the highland rain forest to the rim of the Crater with its awesome views. Continue around the rim and then descend into Ngorongoro Crater National Park for an afternoon game drive. The 102 sq. mile crater is a volcanic caldera that is one of the most spectacular sites in the world, and the crater floor is dense with animals including Africa's greatest concentration of cats and its largest number of free-ranging black rhino. At the end of the afternoon ascend on the opposite side for dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.[b-l-d]
Dawn game drive in crater. There’s a reason to get down early! (Click here to read of Jim’s incredible experience at dawn in 2019. Note this was only the first hour of the 4-hour game drive!) Enjoy a special picnic breakfast on the crater floor before returning to the lodge for a free afternoon. Those interested can book a modest hike up the nearby volcano of Olmoti in the middle of the beautiful Maasai highlands. Meals and overnight at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.[b-l-d]
Leave the crater after breakfast for what many consider the most exciting drive of the safari into the remote southeastern lands of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. All civilization is left behind! First stop is Olduvai Gorge where so many precious finds of early man were found. Jim gives a short lecture and updates you on the current knowledge about early man before a bit of time to visit the museum. Afterwards Jim navigates to the sacred Maasai site of Shifting Sands, where a hill walks across the veld! Then it’s strictly off-roading! Spectacular scenery as you cross the Lemuta Plains, a domain of the few remaining traditional Maasai people. Few guides or drivers are capable of navigating these remote and wondrous lands. Sometimes it’s wall-to-wall animals, including the hundreds of thousands of Thomson’s gazelle which don’t migrate. From time to time Jim spots a pond resting on the plains, and his vehicles slowly search for the hyaena in wait. Lunch is taken atop one of the billion-year old kopjes, or rocky outcrop that is the trademark of this ancient, fecund land. The views leave people breathless. By the end of the afternoon the safari reaches the southwest. This is an incredibly strategic area for the great migration, and that’s why Jim brings you here. The two large lakes, Masek and Ndutu, are an important watering station for the great herds. Meals and overnight at Ndutu Lodge.[b-l-d]
The entire day is spent game viewing. The lakes are surrounded by thick acacia woodlands filled with leopards and lions, and the plains outside the forests are one of the finest places in Africa to find cheetah. Normally on these plains at this time of the year is where large sections of the great migration are seen. Calving normally begins at the end of February and by March nearly a quarter million wildebeest are born. The particularly good nutrient grasses of these specific southern Serengeti plains provide their best fodder. Ndutu is perfectly located for exploration of the great Kusini plains, or into the Kekesio Valley where in 2019 Jim found the migration together with wild dog! (Click here for his blog about that.) Meals and overnight at Ndutu Lodge.[b-l-d]
Another morning game drive in the exciting lakes area of the Serengeti, usually concentrating along the shores of Lakes Masek and Ndutu. Return to the lodge for lunch and then in the afternoon the safari moves north into the central Serengeti. A stop is made at Naabi Hill for a short hike to a viewpoint with the most fabulous 360-degree views of the great plains! Pull into the Moru Kopjes area of the Serengeti which many believe is its most beautiful area. Dinner and overnight at Naona Moru Camp.[b-l-d]
Hopefully by now the great herds have been found, although nothing in the wild can be guaranteed. Unusual rain patterns in particular can massively disrupt the migration. So today is entirely available for continuing the search if necessary! But normally Jim’s game drives in Moru search for resident leopard, elephant and buffalo. This is also the area of the Serengeti in which black rhino are being reintroduced. Usually Jim schedules a short lecture atop a giant boulder in the fabulous Moru Kopjes with its magical “Singing Rocks.” It’s one of the most beautiful places in the Serengeti. This was historically one of the most sacred parts of Maasailand. From there Jim usually takes you to several ancient cave paintings and “singing” rocks! (In 2019 Jim was throwing rocks and shouting to make sure the caves were safe before letting the rest of the group join him when a mother lion appeared from within the cave with her cubs!) There will be time this afternoon around the camp fire for Jim to debrief your incredible journey with the stars of the Serengeti above you and all the animal sounds of the wild below! Meals and overnight at Naona Moru Camp.[b-l-d]
After breakfast game view to a nearby airstrip for the quick flight back to Arusha. New vehicles will take you shopping and to lunch before continuing in the early afternoon to Kilimanjaro airport. Everyone has a private room at the Airport Planet Lodge. The lodge shuttles guests to the terminals on demand.[b-l]