Jim’s Recky 2021    (20 Days)


Guided by Jim Heck

November 6 to 24, 2021

$9,585 – $15,845

Like all travel companies, EWT was forced to suspend and postpone many of its trips starting in March, 2020. The first safaris will be restarted in January, 2022. EWT’s Jim Heck routinely spent half the year in Africa until the pandemic, and it’s now important that he return to his staff and vehicles, and check-out the situation before the safaris start up again.  Jim is inviting you to come along!

This is his reconnoitre, known in Africa as a “recky.” It will have been 20 months since he’s been in his beloved Tanzania when Jim greets you on this safari. So this is not a normal EWT Safari, as the conditions in Tanzania will not have been known before Jim takes this trip. At the same time, it’s an extremely unique opportunity to visit the veld just as it’s emerging from a very deep sleep!

 

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 one, Kidnapped in Nigeria. His companies have organized safaris into Africa for more than 10,000 visitors including most of the country’s major zoos and conservation organizations. And in 2016 he became the first American to be 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 are four possible beginnings to this trip:

The Main Safari begins with your arrival into Kilimanjaro airport on Sunday, November 14.  Option 1 begins with your arrival on Friday, November 12.  Options 1&2 begin with your arrival on Wednesday, November 10.  The Complete Safari program begins with your arrival on Friday, November 5.

  2021
Sharing Single
Main Safari November 14 – 24 $ 9,585 $  11,625
+ Option 1 November 12 – 24 $ 10,525 $ 13,075
+ Options 1 & 2 November 10 – 24 $ 11,250 $ 14,165
Complete Safari November 6 – 24 $ 15,845 $ 20,185

The following daily description is for the Complete Safari program, with explanations within the description of the later arrivals.

Current Covid-19 regulations are expected to change. Below is what is required as of this writing, September 14, 2021.

CURRENT COVID-19 REGULATIONS FOR ARRIVING TANZANIA:

* PCR Test

* Health Survey

* Possible Rapid Antigen Test

A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival must be presented.  No earlier than twenty-four hours before arrival you must complete an on-line health survey available at afyamsafiri.moh.go.tz.  Submission of the survey allows entry. Upon entry health officials may ask you to take a rapid antigen test for $25.
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Dates & Pricing


Day 1: KILIMANJARO

Friday, November 5, 2021

Whenever you arrive at the Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania, you’ll be personally met and privately transferred to Lake Duluti Lodge, one of the most beautiful properties in northern Tanzania.  Lake Duluti Lodge is nestled in a dense forest overlooking Lake Duluti only about 20 minutes outside of Tanzania’s largest northern town, Arusha.

Each room is its own contemporary African styled chalet.  The chalets are air-conditioned and heated, as required, in the fickle climate of northern Tanzania. All chalets are positioned to face the coffee farm and each has a private deck with an amazing view of the ancient indigenous trees found in big number within the farm.

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Day 2: KILIMANJARO

Saturday, November 6

The day is free. Options are offered at the front desk for guided trips including a walk around Lake Duluti whose forests abound with exotic birds and monkeys. Other options are to go canoeing on Lake Duluti, visit the local village market, take  an informative "Coffee Tour" among the evergreen coffee trees, splash in the swimming pool, or relax with a massage. Overnight at the Lake Duluti Lodge.

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Day 3: SERENGETI NORTH

Sunday, November 7

After a very early breakfast transfer to the small, local Arusha airport for a 7:45a flight into the Serengeti. The flight is scheduled to arrive the northern Lobo airstrip at 9:50p. Vehicles and guides from the camp meet the group and drive them to camp. The journey takes several hours and travels through the very wooded northern Serengeti crossing several major rivers. Today begins ten days exploring the great Serengeti. This is the last venue for the largest big animal migration on earth, more than 2½ million animals, mostly zebra and wildebeest. But the chances of actually intersecting the great migration depend so much on weather. If patterns are normal Jim will have no problem finding the migration for you. If not, it could be very challenging as unusual weather often causes the herds to move in unexpected directions or even disperse. Arrive the lodge for lunch followed by an afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at Klein's Camp.

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Day 4: SERENGETI NORTH

Monday, November 8

If the weather and migration is normal no great herds are expected here, but if the weather is unusual large collections of wildebeest and zebra may be lingering in these northern areas. Game viewing, activities, meals and overnight at Klein's Camp.

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Day 5: SERENGETI NORTH

Tuesday, November 9

Another fantastic day in this beautiful part of the Serengeti adjacent the Kenyan border. This area adjacent Kenya’s famous Maasai Mara is the highest, hilliest part of the ecosystem and contains the greatest number of rivers. The resident game – wild animals that don’t migrate – is among the densest of any protected area in Africa. Game viewing, activities, meals and overnight at Klein's Camp.

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Day 6: SERENGETI NORTH

Wednesday, November 10

Jim’s vehicles and drivers take over today for the rest of the safari. Drive from Klein’s south on the route back to the airport, then head further into the center of the Serengeti towards the famous Grumeti River. Near the river the thick forests break into a woodland and finally several beautiful meadows that are stopping points for the great migration on the journey up and back. After lunch at the lodge enjoy an afternoon game drive in the area. Dinner and overnight at Migration Camp.

 

If you are arriving today for Options 1 & 2:

Whenever you arrive at Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania, you’ll be personally met and privately transferred to Lake Duluti Lodge.  [no meals ]

 

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Day 7: SERENGETI CENTRAL

Thursday, November 11

After a very early breakfast leave this part of the northern Serengeti and drive south to Seronera enroute the dramatic Retima junction of the Grumeti and Seronera Rivers. This river junction supports one of the largest hippo colonies in the world. Continue to the Seronera airstrip to collect the group arriving on Options 1 & 2.

If you arrived yesterday for Options 1 & 2:

After a very early breakfast transfer to the small Arusha airport for a 7:45a flight scheduled to arrive the central Serengeti at 9:15a. This begins a week exploring the Serengeti.

Entire Group:

After collecting the new group of travelers from the Seronera airstrip, Jim continues game viewing in this popular Seronera region. This is the most heavily visited part of the Serengeti, where the administration of the park is located and where most of the researchers are stationed. The reason is that the small Seronera River is one of the last water courses in the great veld before the great prairies begin southwards towards Ngorongoro. So the area draws a lot of game, from hippo to prides of lion and many leopard plus all the ungulates and antelope. Because the game is good year-round, Seronera becomes the most obvious place for travelers with short itineraries visiting the Serengeti, so it is definitely the most crowded. The safari will spend two nights at a famous camp set a bit away from the crowds on Robanda Hill with beautiful views of the veld. Meals and overnight at Ewanjan Camp.

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Day 8: SERENGETI CENTRAL

Friday, November 12

Dawn game drive along the Seronera River searching especially for leopard. The beautiful acacia that line the river are home to the densest congregation of these cats in Africa. Enjoy a picnic breakfast somewhere on the veld before returning to camp for a late lunch. Enjoy a second game drive this afternoon returning in time for sundowners before dinner.  Meals and overnight at Ewanjan Camp.

If you are arriving today for Option 1:

Whenever you arrive at Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania, you’ll be personally met and privately transferred to Lake Duluti Lodge.
[no meals ]

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Day 9: SERENGETI EAST

Saturday, November 13

After breakfast return to the relatively nearby Seronera airstrip to collect the last group of travelers arriving for the safari.

If you arrived yesterday for Option 1:

After a very early breakfast transfer to the small Arusha airport for a 7:45a flight scheduled to arrive the central Serengeti at 9:15a. to begin five days exploring the Serengeti.

Entire Group:

After the last optional group arrives at Seronera, Jim heads the safari immediately to the very remote eastern Serengeti. Game view for a short while along the Seronera River before quickly leaving the crowds of Seronera. The route travels across a huge prairie grassland that is bone dry and dusty most of the year, but which erupts in splendor with each drop of late year rain. Even at the driest of times, though, the unique Thomson’s gazelle is found in the thousands year-round, because after it stops suckling it never drinks. The gazelle is the principal food of the cheetah, so this area abounds with them as well. By lunch time the safari arrives at Nanyukie Tented Lodge. After lunch, an afternoon game drive in this beautiful area.  Dinner and overnight at Nanyuke Tented Lodge.

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Day 10: SERENGETI EAST

Sunday, November 14

This is the optimum time for this area when the great migration heads south from Kenya’s Maasai Mara. The wildebeest are six months pregnant. The great grasslands to the north where they’ve spent the last four months have dried up. Following the huge thunderstorms in the great open sky, they trek southwards also descending in altitude. The lower grasslands of the southern plains are rich in nutrients, necessary to produce the millions of gallons of mother’s milk necessary for the calves. The herds are accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebra and all sorts of other animals get swept into the frenzy. Take all this with caution! An unusual weather pattern, and the great herds will be nowhere to be seen! But with the abundant resident game, there is never an end to game viewing! Meals and overnight at Nanyukie Tented Lodge.

If you are arriving today for the Main Safari:

Whenever you arrive Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania, you’ll be personally met and privately transferred to Lake Duluti Lodge.
[no meals ]

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Day 11: MORU

Monday, November 15

After breakfast return to the relatively nearby Seronera airstrip to collect the last group of travelers arriving for the safari.

If you arrived yesterday for the Main Safari:

After a very early breakfast transfer to the small Arusha airport for a 7:45a flight scheduled to arrive the central Serengeti at 9:15a. to begin five days exploring the Serengeti.

Entire Group:

Leave the central Serengeti Seronera airstrip and transect the entire neck of the Serengeti traveling from the far east to the far west. Often such a route intersects the great southern movement of the migration as it heads onto the southern Serengeti plains (where you’ll be in a few days). Enjoy a picnic lunch enroute and constant game viewing before reaching one of the most beautiful parts of the Serengeti, the Moru Kopjes. Famous for its scenery, it’s also full of game that reside here year-round because of the few small streams that are created off the collections of giant granite boulders. Dinner and overnight at Serengeti Pioneer Camp.

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Day 12: MORU

Tuesday, November 16

Jim takes you at dawn on a mystical journey through the granite wonderland. Some of these enormous rocks have been dated almost to the beginning of earth. He’ll navigate to the famous Ngong Singing Rock where his staff sets breakfast out on top of the kopjes. As you enjoy some spectacular views he’ll recount some important Maasai history. After breakfast he takes you to a cave with old Maasai paintings where young morani were trained. (This depends on whether lion are denning in the cave, however.) Return to camp for a late lunch and free afternoon to enjoy this very posh property, although those overly enthusiastic can use Jim’s vehicles and driver/guides for a short game drive near the lodge this afternoon. Overnight at Serengeti Pioneer Camp.

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Day 13: SERENGETI SOUTH

Wednesday, November 17

Today we leave the central Serengeti for its southern-most border with the great Ngorongoro Conservation Area. If weather patterns have held, it’s unlikely the great herds will be seen once we leave Moru. But you never know. If the rains are early, the most dramatic part of the migration might be found today, so Jim will leave no grass unturned! After breakfast the safari explores the last bits of the Moru Kopjes before heading to the Simuyu Ranger station of the western edge of the Serengeti. The forests begin to decline, the tse-tse begin to increase, and soon the safari travels through some beautiful meadows to the Kusini airstrip. Considerable game should be encountered even if it doesn’t include the great herds. Enjoy a picnic lunch in an area known for its wild dogs before heading over the massive Kusini Plains. Like the Lemuta Plains which you’ll encounter in a few days, this is the preferred habitat for the great herds. Flat and endless for miles and after the rains thick with the most nutrient grasses in all of East Africa, it’s the perfect place for calving and rearing young. But if the weather has held to traditional patterns Jim will find little here except dust and the ubiquitous Thomson’s Gazelle. Ironically the safari is heading directly to the only lakes area of the Serengeti, even though normally at this time it is exceedingly dry and dusty. Arrive at the modest Ndutu Lodge for dinner and overnight.

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Day 14: SERENGETI SOUTH

Thursday, November 18

It’s no telling what the game viewing will be like, today. If the rains have started, the great herds will be present. If they haven’t, then Jim will concentrate on the shore routes along Lakes Masek and Ndutu, searching for the resident leopard and lion famous in the area. Whether he decides to go out with picnics on longer game drives or return to the lodge for meals will also depend on circumstances at the time. Whatever the rain and game situation, Ndutu is a breath-taking area, with scenic views of the lakes and their smattering of flamingoes just under great Ngorongoro Crater. Meals and overnight at Ndutu Lodge.

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Day 15: LEMUTA PLAINS

Friday, November 19

After breakfast Jim takes you on what many consider the most exciting drive of the safari. Within an hour of leaving the lodge the safari crosses the main road in the Serengeti and spends the greater part of the day off-roading through the remote lands of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. All civilization is left behind! Spectacular scenery as you race over 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. From time to time Jim spots an errant 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 outcrops, the trademark of this ancient, fecund land. The views leave people breathless. After lunch the safari visits the sacred Maasai site of Shifting Sands, where a hill walks across the veld! Nearby is Olduvai Gorge where so many precious finds of early man were found. Jim gives a short lecture before the safari returns to gravel tracks and continues up some truly spectacular twists and turns to Ngorongoro Crater. After sufficient time for your photos, continue around the rim to the distant northern side. Dinner and overnight at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp.

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Day 16: NGORONGORO

Saturday, November 20

Today you explore the amazing Ngorongoro Crater National Park. The 102 sq. mile crater is a volcanic caldera, Tanzania’s most visited wilderness attraction. There’s a reason to get down onto the crater floor early! (Click here to read of Jim’s incredible experience on one dawn drive into the crater. And note that this was only the first hour of the 4-hour game drive!) Enjoy a picnic breakfast on the crater floor before returning to camp for a late lunch. This afternoon relax in camp or hike up nearby Olmoti Volcano! Meals and overnight at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp.

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Day 17: KARATU

Sunday, November 21

Leave camp after an early breakfast and drive back around the rim then finally after all these wondrous days leave protected wilderness. You have explored an area of around 5,000 sq. miles. The Ngorongoro Gate exits onto rich Tanzania farmland and shortly thereafter arrives the town of Karatu. Here Jim organizes your PCR tests at the FAME medical clinic operated by his friend widely known in the country as “Doctor Frank.” Afterwards we continue across this highland farming area to the very edge of the Great Rift Valley. After a quick stop for photos descend the escarpment and enter Lake Manyara National Park, an UNESCO biosphere known for its incredibly rich number of species of plants and animals. Manyara is the closest big game park to the town of Arusha, so usually quite crowded. The northern edge that we enter has spectacular scenery and several famous hippo pools and hundreds and hundreds of baboon. It’s another several hours to the Lake Manyara Tree Lodge so you’ll enjoy a picnic stop enroute. Sundowners before dinner.

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Day 18: MANYARA

Monday, November 22

Jim has scheduled a dawn game drive that returns for breakfast around 9 a.m., but you may want to enjoy this early morning in your luxurious room. After breakfast the safari exits the south end of the park into a densely populated area of fishing villages at the bottom of Lake Manyara. After then crossing the main 2-lane highway to the capital, Dodoma, the safari enters the last park on the trip. Tarangire National Park is Africa's best elephant park and includes a huge resident population of very wild elephant. Immediately you’ll start seeing zebra, buffalo, giraffe and lots of impala but mostly the wildest and largest elephant in Africa. We’ll arrive at our lodge in time for a later lunch and a short afternoon game drive. Dinner and overnight at Mpingo Ridge.

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Day 19: TARANGIRE

Tuesday, November 23

Tarangire is a huge park. Beautiful landscapes of rolling hills, deep valleys and intriguing swamps are all near the lodge. Jim might take you out on several game drives returning to the lodge for meals, or take meals for longer drives. Tarangire with its formidable sand rivers is actually more like a southern African park than East Africa, and actually affords the chance of finding some unusual wildlife like kudu and roan antelope. But no matter where you go the feature of your day will be elephants. See Jim’s blog for many posts about his feeling there are now too many elephants in northern Tanzania, and he’ll undoubtedly use Tarangire to describe the many features of the area you probably wouldn’t get from ordinary news: like the advancing agriculture and education in the area, both seriously endangered by marauding elephant. He’ll also use the big Silale Swamp to recount the exciting tale of Stanley finding Livingstone, since Stanley had to cross a swamp exactly like Silale. Meals and overnight at Mpingo Ridge.

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Day 20: TARANGIRE

Wednesday, November 24

The day is unscheduled with more game viewing available for those interested. After lunch drive to the Kuro airstrip for the 4:15p flight nonstop to Kilimanjaro airport, scheduled to arrive around 5 p.m. Check-in procedures for the flights home begin shortly thereafter.

Current Covid-19 regulations are expected to change. Below is what is required as of this writing, September 14, 2021.

CURRENT COVID-19 REGULATIONS FOR RETURNING TO THE U.S.:

* PCR Test

A negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure must be presented to the airline check-in clerk before a boarding pass will be issued to you. This test will be presented to U.S. customs officials as well when you arrive home in the U.S. This test will be taken at FAME medical clinic on November 21.

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