Guided by Jim Heck
January 13 to 24, 2021$10,995
EWT’s Great Migration Safari, led by the famous guide and African-expert Jim Heck, is the most dramatic safari left on earth! The migration of nearly three million herbivores across the Serengeti in search of better grass is the last great animal migration. The safari includes four famous game parks and usually encounters tens of thousands of animals and dozens of predators. Jim’s knowledge of the area allows him to introduce you not just to the animals, but to the history, paleontology, culture and politics of the area.
This is a great time for a safari! January is about one month into the rainy season, the grass is green and fresh, the animals are fat and sassy, and the dust is down.
This tour offers four options for the length of your tour:
|Nairobi Extra Day||January 8||$ 390||$ 490|
|Kenya Safari||January 9 to 13||$ 4,605||$ 5,270|
|Tanzania Great Migration||January 13 to 24||$ 10,995||$ 11,625|
|Zanzibar Extension||January 24 to 28||$ 1,090||$ 1,990|
WHY ADD KENYA? Kenya’s best season for game viewing is generally the last half of the year, but its Great Northern Frontier has some of the rarest animals and most striking scenery on earth. This area provides the greatest contrast with Tanzania. The extension also allows Jim to introduce you to both the history and powerful contemporary times of East Africa’s most important country.
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.
Participants coming only for the Tanzania section of the safari will be assisted in every way from the moment of their arrival into Kilimanjaro airport. If overnight accommodation is required, EWT will make arrange that for you as well. Kenyan participants fly seamless into the Great Rift on the day they depart Samburu.
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.
|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).
Those taking only the Great Migration Safari will arrive Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania any time today, then be transferred to the Airport Planet Lodge for the overnight.
Those taking the Kenya pre-tour will continue their adventures in Kenya today, joining the rest of the group in Tanzania tomorrow.[no-meals]
After an early breakfast the Kenya group travels back across the desert to the airstrip for the flights to Tanzania. Fly from Samburu to the local Wilson airport in Nairobi in time to connect with a second flight to Kilimanjaro airport in northern Tanzania. They will be met by those already in Tanzania, and together will take an afternoon charter flight from Kilimanjaro airport into Tarangire National Park. The flight lands in the remote center of the park, far from the heavily used tourist circuits. Jim’s Tanzanian vehicles and drivers which will now remain with the group until the last day will be there waiting for everyone. This is Africa's best elephant park and includes a huge resident population of very wild elephant. Immediately begin game viewing. Expect zebra, buffalo, giraffe and lots of impala but mostly the wildest and largest elephant in Africa. By the end of the afternoon arrive Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge for dinner and overnight.[b-l-d]
Jim plans game viewing based on local information about where the best animal events can be found. 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 gives Jim the chance of finding some unusual wildlife like kudu and roan antelope. Meals and overnight at Tarangire Ndovu Tented Lodge.[b-l-d]
Time for more game viewing this morning before leaving the northern end of the park for a spectacular drive up the Great Rift Valley. Jim will stop there to give you a quick overview of the ancient geology of East Africa which has led to such a rich biomass that included the evolution of man. Continue into the Karatu farming communities and to a lovely lodge, Gibb's Farm for lunch, a free afternoon, dinner and overnight.[b-l-d]
The day is free at Gibb’s for a variety of included or optional trips. This is your only chance on safari to see everyday Tanzania. Take the free guided tour of the nearby town, or many free tours of this large organic farm famous for its coffee and truck vegetables. Participate in farm life or simply enjoy the incredibly beautiful surroundings which many EWT clients compare to Tuscany. Meals and overnight at Gibb's Farm.[b-l-d]
Dawn game drive in Lake Manyara National Park, an UNESCO biosphere known for its incredibly rich number of species of plants and animals. Dawn is the best time to find the gigantic Silvery White Hornbill, a dinosaur of a bird! Jim will guide you through Manyara’s thick forests right down to its lake shore where sometimes there are millions of flamingoes. They can’t be guaranteed because unusual rains or little rain disturbs the chemistry of the lake and then they leave. Expect to see hippo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and much more. This is the park famous for lions-in-the-trees. Jim’s staff will set out a beautiful picnic breakfast along the lake shore before leaving the park and returning to the town of Karatu for a taste of local Tanzanian food for lunch! Afterwards, continue into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and to one of Tanzania’s most popular and visited attractions, Ngorongoro Crater National Park. After stopping at the grand viewpoint for pictures, the safari continues around the rim to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge for dinner and overnight. We’ll arrive early enough for the beautiful sunset over the crater.[b-l-d]
Dawn game drive in the amazing Ngorongoro Crater National Park. 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. There’s a reason to get down 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 special picnic breakfast on the crater floor before returning to the lodge for a late lunch. This afternoon choose from a second game drive in the crater or a hike up nearby Olmoti Volcano! Dinner 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 will give you a short lecture and update you on the exciting 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! After that it’s strictly off-roading! Spectacular scenery as you enter the Lemuta Plains, a domain of the few remaining traditional Maasai people. From time to time Jim is able to introduce you to these proud herders. 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 it for the hyaena in wait. Lunch is taken atop one of the billion-year old kopjes, or rocky outcrops, 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 lakes, a relatively small area in the middle of the vast Serengeti, and it appears on the great grassland plains like a mole on someone’s smooth face: It looks out of place, but in fact has an incredibly strategic value 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 the end of February and by March nearly a quarter million wildebeest are born. It takes them 3-4 months to grow strong enough to start running. 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. Of course nothing in the wild can be guaranteed and 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 the central Serengeti airstrip for a quick flight back to Arusha, where separate vehicles will be waiting to take everyone shopping and to lunch before continuing in the afternoon to the Airport Planet Lodge. Your room is available overnight until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning if needed, but most people will leave this afternoon on the Zanzibar Extension or this evening on overnight departures to Europe.[b-l]