When you arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport, your guide will greet you and drive you to Arusha, we will welcome you and then drive to Four Points by Sheraton Arusha The Arusha Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Arusha is a city in northern Tanzania, located at the foot of Mount Meru and near the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas, making it a popular destination for wildlife safaris and outdoor adventures.
Early morning transfer to Arusha Airport for your flight to the Serengeti Kogatende by the Mara River ( ETD 0800/ETA 1020) operated by Coastal Aviation/Regional Air. You will land into the heart of wild Africa – the Serengeti National Park. You will be met by our guide at the airstrip. He will give you the briefing of the area and then proceed with game drive along the Mara River. Among other incredible wildlife and stunning views of Kogatende, it is famed for the annual river crossing of over 1.5 million wildebeest and hundred thousands of zebras for an actual survival of the fittest-like movie as these animals plunge through crocodile-infested waters. River crossings at Kogatende starts in August as the mega herd settles into the area. Between August- October, game viewing is at its best with river crossings pretty much guaranteed every day. There is no distinct movement as the herds tend to cross back and forth over the river, following the rains and subsequent fresh grasses. Late in the evening enroute to Serengeti River Camp Mara River, arriving on time for hot showers, campfire, dinner and overnight.
HOT AIR BALLON RIDE FLIGHT in the morning. This is an unforgettable journey above the Serengeti and the Mara River Skies!
From your camp to the balloon – 0400 – 0515hrs
Some things are worth getting up early for and this is certainly one of them. Rising before the birds and heading out in the silence of the pre-dawn towards the launch-site is all part of the anticipation. Perhaps one of the Serengeti’s more elusive inhabitants will be caught in the headlights on this nocturnal game drive.
Keeping safe & preparing to fly – 0615 – 0645hrs
Your pilot takes you through the important safety briefing ahead of your flight as the sky begins to lighten and the crew inflates the balloon – an envelope of savannah gold and acacia green billowing into the cool morning, lit by the flames of the burners. You climb into the basket and prepare to lift into the dawn.
Serengeti from the sky – 0645 – 0815hrs
Each flight is a different journey dictated by the direction of the wind, where the sights and sounds rise from the ground to meet you. We know where we’ve started but we don’t know where we will return to earth. This is part of the adventure. Sometimes the basket will be gently brushing the tips of the grass and then climbing, climbing through the layers of air until you’re high enough to see the curve of the horizon, painted gold and pink by the early sun. Our pilots not only have years of experience in harnessing the African wind, but are also interpreters of the wild lives in the ebb and flow of the landscape below. Around an hour or so after you lift into the sky, the basket will return to the plains of the Serengeti. But it’s not over yet.
Celebrating a tradition – 0815 – 0830hrs
“The Winds have welcomed you with softness. The Sun has blessed you with its warm hands….” The balloonist’s tradition is to toast the flight with bubbly. A short walk or drive from your landing spot will find you raising a glass to your time in the skies. We then seek to take care of earthly concerns and whisk you off by safari car to our special Serengeti breakfast spot.
Meeting hunger with plenty – 0830 – 0930hrs
There is truly nothing to compare with breakfast served under the sweeping canopy of an acacia in the middle of the Serengeti plains. Tropical fruit, bread baked this morning and eggs cooked in the bush (or a lovely avocado option), all made more delicious by the location, and served on linen, bone china and Sheffield cutlery in an ‘Out of Africa’ style. Shoulder to shoulder with your fellow passengers, this is a time to soak in the exceptional flight you’ve just been a part of and absorb the moment.
After the balloon ride, would be followed by day game drive viewing the great migration along the Mara River and surrounding areas. Resident wildlife numbers are exceptionally high in the Wogakuria area. The key feature is the Mara River and there is a great chance to see the herds cross the Mara River to the north on one day and back south a few hours or days later. Please note that it can be very difficult to witness crossing and is sometimes a matter of lucky. A herd can be seen next to river and only decide to cross a couple of days later. This area is a stunning region with kopjes, woodland, riverine vegetation and open plains, similar to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. Late in the afternoon drive towards the Central Serengeti – with its endless plains, rolling into the distance as far as the eye can see. You will then head to the central Serengeti area, known as the Seronera, one of the richest wildlife habitats in the park, featuring the Seronera River, which provides a valuable water source to this area and therefore attracts wildlife well representative of most of the Serengeti’s species. You will have game drive enroute towards Sametu, arriving in time for hot shower and enjoy campfire before dinner and overnight
After an early breakfast you will then spend the rest of the day exploring the vast Serengeti plains. You will rise early to enjoy an early morning game drive. At sunrise, you may encounter animals grazing in the beautiful light of sunrise and predators may still be busy hunting before retiring to rest for the day. Sunrise on the Serengeti is not to be missed and extraordinary photographic opportunities will abound at this magical time of day. You have the option to return to your accommodation for a hot lunch or to opt for a packed lunch which can be enjoyed at one of the various picnic sites found in the Serengeti. After lunch, you will continue on a game drive. Around the time of dusk be on the lookout for lion.
Cheetah can also be spotted on the plains in the early morning and late afternoon when temperatures are not too high. They rely on daylight and speed to catch their prey. Hippos can be seen in the bigger pools and rivers while crocodiles can be seen sunning themselves on the riverbanks. You will return to Sametu in time to enjoy a sundowner before your evening meal.
After an early breakfast you will then spend the rest of the day exploring the vast Serengeti plains. You will visit the Serengeti Rhino area of Moru. After this visit, you proceed with game drive enroute towards Ngorongoro. You stop at one of the numerous Maasai Village found in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. You will then proceed to Ngorongoro Coffee Lodge for dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast, check out from the lodge and your guide will pick you up at 6.30am and drive to the Ngorongoro crater. After check in you descend down 600 meters into the crater for a full day game drive. Supported by a year round water supply and fodder, the Ngorongoro crater supports a vast variety of animals, which include herds of wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, eland, warthog, hippo, and giant African elephants. Another big draw card to this picturesque place is its dense population of predators, which include lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs and the ever-elusive leopard, which sometimes requires a trained eye to spot. You will visit Lake Magadi, a large but shallow alkaline lake in the southwestern corner, which is one of the main features of the crater. A large number of flamingos, hippos and other water birds can usually be seen here. After lunch you leave the crater and drive via Arusha to Kilimanjaro International Airport for your flight to Home.