Big game safari in Tanzania

“With luxury private tented camps as your base, and everything else taken care of, you’ll experience the wilds of the African savannah in style on this tailor made safari.”


Lake Manyara National Park | Tented Lodge on edge of Rift Valley | Serengeti National Park | Big Five viewing | Ngorongoro Conservation Area and crater | Olduvai Gorge |

Description of Big game safari in Tanzania

This luxury safari is ideal if you want to experience Tanzania for the first time, or to combine a northern Tanzania safari with another destination.

The SERENGETI is the highlight of the trip for many people, especially with the luxury private camping in this famous park. This prime game-viewing safari also stops at the NGORONGORO CRATER and LAKE MANYARA (or TARANGIRE, depending on the time of year).


LAKE MANYARA is a shallow, alkaline lake which attracts masses of pink flamingoes. The park is well known for its herds of elephants, and for its unusual tree-climbing lions. It is also home to hippos, baboons, giraffes, zebra, wildebeest, and has over 380 bird species recorded. You will be staying at Kirurumu Lodge, overlooking the Great Rift Valley and this magnificent lake and park. The lodge offers thatched tented accommodation with en-suite facililties.

Your next 3 days are spent in the SERENGETI. The vast Serengeti Plains are perhaps the highlight of a Tanzanian wildlife safari experience. Here you see massive herds of zebra, wildebeest and gazelle, large numbers of giraffe, buffalo and warthog, and of course the big cats - lion, cheetah and leopard. The park is particularly known for the annual migration of the herds to Maasai Mara. Your base in the Serengeti is in a private camp with luxury camping facilities, so you are always very close to the wild experience of the African savannah! .

Travelling towards the Ngorongoro Crater, you will stop at Olduvai Gorge. This is known as the 'cradle of mankind', as it was where the Leakeys unearthed the secrets of man's early evolutionary heritage. By late afternoon you will be on the Crater rim enjoying a drink at your lodge, the Ngorongoro Sopa.

The focus of this famous national park (Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area) is the immense volcanic NGORONGORO CRATER which is about 16 miles in diameter. The walls of the crater are covered with dense forest and the crater floor has quite a diverse range of habitats encompassing open grassland, an area of mature forest, and wetlands including a permanent lake. There is a profusion of wildlife here and in a relatively short time you are bound to see lions, elephants, buffalo, black rhino, hippos, zebra, wildebeest, antelope and occasionally you can even find leopard. The crater is packed full of animals all year around.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:On arrival at Kilimanjaro or Arusha Airport you'll be personally met and escorted by our driver-guide to the fashionable Arusha Hotel in the heart of Tanzania’s safari centre where you’ll spend the night. Activities, including swimming, shopping, or visiting the Tanzanite Experience museum are available for those who arrive early.
Day 2:Leave Arusha after a buffet breakfast for Lake Manyara National Park. Here, you’ll take a short game drive through its lush groundwater forest where you might even see its famous tree-climbing lions. In the early evening you’ll arrive at Kirurumu Tented Lodge. Perched on the edge of the Great Rift Valley with commanding, panoramic views of Lake Manyara, you’ll be treated to a gourmet dinner. After a nightcap, retire and fall asleep to the comforting sounds of the African night. (FB)
Day 3-5:Leave camp after breakfast for the drive to the Serengeti National Park, passing through rich farmland until reaching the lush montane forests of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Crater Highlands. After ascending and descending the rift escarpment, stop first at Olduvai Gorge, one of the world’s most famous fossil and archaeological sites dating back to two million years where many finds of early humans were discovered. Tour the Olduvai museum before a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, continue game-viewing in the Serengeti. Undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, the Serengeti is home to the highest density of animals in the world as well as being unrivalled for its natural beauty, diversity and scientific value. During your daily game-drives you’ll witness the annual ancient drama of life, death and rebirth in this primeval wilderness. Three nights in our luxurious Classic Serengeti Camp.(FB)
Day 6:Drive to the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, a collapsed volcano, once as high as present day Mount Meru for an afternoon of exciting game-viewing and a picnic lunch. Descend 2,000 feet to the floor of this 10 mile-wide ‘caldera’ that teems with a variety of wildlife including the highest density of lions per square kilometre in Africa, open savannah grasslands, the Lerai groundwater forest and a soda lake tinged pink by thousands of flamingos. Drive back up to the Crater rim in late afternoon for dinner and overnight at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. (FB)
Day 7:After an early breakfast, spend another half-day in the Crater following and photographing the animals and landscapes. At lunchtime, relax with a picnic, then leave on a 2-hour drive to the historic and newly renovated Plantation Lodge in heart of coffee country in time for a cool drink and hot shower before a delicious dinner and restful night. (FB)
Day 8:After breakfast, return to Arusha stopping for lunch at a popular local restaurant and day accommodations at the Kilimanjaro Airport Hotel before a late transfer to the airport for your return flight home.(B,L)

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Check dates, prices & availability

30 Oct 2016
£ 2775
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 30 Oct 2016 departure
13 Nov 2016
£ 2775
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 13 Nov 2016 departure
27 Nov 2016
£ 2775
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 27 Nov 2016 departure
11 Dec 2016
£ 2795
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 11 Dec 2016 departure
25 Dec 2016
£ 2895
excluding flights
Click here to enquire about or book the 25 Dec 2016 departure
Our top tip:
Tsetse flies are attracted to blue and black; avoid wearing these colours if you'd like to avoid them...
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
1 night hotel, 3 nights luxury camp, 1 night tented lodge & 2 nights safari lodge (other options available).
Welcome but may incur a surcharge.
Full board on safari, breakfast & lunch on final day.
Accommdation, transfers, local guides, listed activities.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Big game safari in Tanzania

Kirurumu Tented Lodge is run on strict environmental principles. The lodge is also at the forefront of an initiative to set up the Kirurumu Gorge Conservation area, to help stop the degradation of the gorge, and help local villagers with an income and sustainable wood source. All staff on this trip are paid fair wages.

The company offering this safari has won an international responsible tourism award twice in the last three years. They run their office in an environmentally friendly way, donate funds and administrative help to a charity the directors set up, and try to ensure that the services they offer are run responsibly and fairly, as regards the people, wildlife and environment.

Flights are automatically carbon offset through The Travel Forest, which plants trees on your behalf (currently in northern Malawi). Whilst the primary motivation for planting the trees is to offset carbon emissions, the project also works as a poverty alleviation and environmental improvement scheme.

Reviews of Big game safari in Tanzania

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 24 Nov 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Watching a herd of wildebeest crossing the Mara River. It was a truly astonishing, primal sight.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take your time: don't rush from one animal to the next. It's the unexpected interactions between animals that can make the experience so special.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We did feel that local people and agencies were benefiting from this trip (as far as we can tell). I'm sure the revenue from our visits helps conservation. It's rather hard to argue that flying part way round the world then chugging around in a Land Cruiser is particularly environmentally friendly...

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Superb: it exceeded our expectations. I wouldn't go as far as 'reborn', but it was a very special trip.

Reviewed on 20 Aug 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

All the amazing animals that we saw and the shear size of the open spaces. The time spent on Chumbe was so relaxing in on idyllic paradise Island & with it's eco ethics it is a place with a truly great purpose.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Kenyan Airlines and in particular their associated airline Precision Air are awful avoid them if you can or make sure you have loads of time between connecting flights. It's better to have several hours in an airport waiting than missing connecting flights &/or temporarily losing luggage etc!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Certainly the Chumbe Island part of the trip did all the above. The Safari part less so but tourism is a big industry in a very poor country and seeing all the animals and learning about their impact on the local people increases awareness of this countries difficulties. We did watch the animals in their natural habitat and obviously didn't interfere with them directly. I hope the presence of so many safari vehicles doesn’t have too great and influence in the way animals behave/ interact with each other (eg do loads of vehicles stop animals moving in a certain direction which might reduce the chance of a lion/cheetah etc hunting them?). Still this way is by far the best way to view all these amazing animals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic, a holiday of a lifetime (it was our honeymoon). Our travel agent, were really excellent.

Reviewed on 21 Jul 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Difficult to say because every element was exciting, but I would say an early morning boat safari was especially memorable, simply because the lake was a haven for birds, mammals and reptiles. For example, we were surrounded by a wealth of birds, such as storks, kingfishers, eagles and beeaters. Everywhere we looked there were birds: on the water's edge, in the air, perched in trees. Crocodiles slipped into the water and there were pods of hippos, plus giraffes, elephants, buffalo and impala.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Aim to enjoy every part of the holiday, whether it is the flight in a prop plane and landing on an air strip with elephants and giraffes standing to on either side (or in the middle), or hundreds of hairy caterpillars in procession. Big or small, take it all in and enjoy watching and listening. The animals will be doing something different every time you see them and remember that it is a privilege to be in their environment. Don't worry about dressing up for travel or evening meals, and forget make-up and hair styling too. I would also recommend taking a travel washing line and biodegradable washing liquid and doing regular washes- the clothes dry quickly. And ladies, wear a sports bra...

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Many local people were able to benefit from the holiday, e.g. through employment (and importantly, use of local guides), local produce was used if possible, and one lodge provided clean drinking water for local people. Solar power was used extensively and some camps filtered and boiled water to avoid using bottled water. As far as I could tell (we had short stays at each location), bedding and towels were not changed daily, unlike in hotels.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This was a superb holiday. It was my first experience of taking a safari and I am overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. Every aspect was great. Everyone we met was friendly and each location was stunning (we travelled to North and South Tanzania) and with breathtaking wildlife.

Reviewed on 24 Aug 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Out of our party of 4, for me it was arriving at Mwagusi and seeing elephant, giraffes and abundant wildlife en route from airstrip to camp; for Toby it was seeing a leopard resting in a tree (Ruaha); for Phil it was watching a pride of lions going to a water hole to drink, and for Brittany it was Mwagusi in general. Also, fly camping in Selous was exciting!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If staying at Sable Mountain Lodge (which I wouldn't necessarily recommend, given its distance from the Rufiji River in the Selous), I would make this your first stop, then go on to Ruaha (Mwagusi was fabulous). We were slightly disappointed in Sable Mountain after having been at Mwagusi, but feel that had we gone to Sable Mountain first, we would have enjoyed Sable Mountain more. Mixing safari with beach was a very good combination. Sports bra is a must for safari (particularly route from Matambwe airstrip to Sable Mountain), and tsetse flies are almost unbearable here; not sure what you can do to stop them, (don't wear navy or black) but pre-warned is pre-armed! If you get the chance, fly camp in the Selous from Sable Mountain - a great experience!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes, in as much as we were told that those working at the camps were, where possible, local people. At Chole Mjini they fund the local kindergarten and hospital with income raised through visitors. Sable Mountain encourage visits to a local Maasai villa where you buy jewellery made by the villagers. In terms of the environment, solar panels are used; low-energy light bulbs where possible. Chole was very environmentally aware, and food was sourced locally.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fabulous experience; Mwagusi was incomparable; Sable Mountain grew on us, and Chole Mjini was an enchanting place with magical treehouses, but one of our party felt that the 'romanticism' of Chole outweighed its charm... the rest of us adored the place! Very laid-back, relaxed and extremely enjoyable for kids (of all ages!).

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