From Kilimanjaro to Lake Tanganyika

17 days Fixed Departure Safari from North to South and further on to West Tanzania. HighlightsItinerary

Safari Highlights

This adventurous safari takes you to remote wildlife areas with an impressive variety of flora and fauna as well as scenic landscapes. Whether you are travelling with motor boat to Gombe Stream NP for chimpanzee tracking, game viewing in the untouched wild of Katavi NP, hanging out on the shores of Lake Tanganyika or, just hiking in the cooler, fertile Southern Highlands and enjoying a freshly brewed cup of tea straight from one of its’ tea plantations – this safari will keep you on your toes. It’s not for the faint hearted but for those who wish to experience a real safari.

  • 16 overnight stays in hotels, guesthouses, lodges and tented camps (simple to mid-range)
  • guaranteed departure from 2 persons only
  • small group up to max. 7 persons
  • 4x4 safari vehicle (Toyota Land Cruiser or similar) with window seat guarantee
  • Safari may be combined with Kilimanjaro or Mt Meru climb, safari in South or West Tanzania or, a beach extension
  • optional add-on: Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater

Join this safari

Duration: 17 days

Starts from: Kilimanjaro Airport

Ends at: Mwanza Airport

Extension starts from: Mwanza Airport

Extension ends at: Kilimanjaro Airport

Tour code: FDSCSW

Price: from 4180 EUR per person
Extension: from 1030 EUR per person

Our day-to-day itinerary

(click on the day to expand)

Day 1: Arrival

Arrival and transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your lodge.

Accommodation: African View Lodge or similar. (-/-/D)

Day 2: Tarangire NP

After breakfast, transfer to Tarangire National Park for a game drive. This park which is famous for its gigantic baobab trees and large herds of elephant (some of which have the longest tusks in Tanzania!) is home to many different mammals and birds. The Tarangire River which flows through the park draws the animals to it’s banks especially during the dry season and it’s swamps in the south also provide water and food when times get tough.

Accommodation: Burunge Tented Camp or similar. (B/L/D)

Day 3: Kolo Rock Paintings & Dodoma

Today is a long day although the route takes you through picturesque hilly landscape to Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital. Along the way, you will stop to visit the Kondoa rock art sites (since 1981 a UNESCO World Heritage Centre).

The Kondoa Rock Art Sites include over 150 natural caves or shelters that have been used for rock paintings over at least two millennia. The paintings have high artistic quality and were made with a brush-like instrument. They depict elongated people, animals, and hunting scenes. The rock art of Kondoa belongs to the distinct rock art traditions of central and southern Africa.

Accommodation: New Dodoma Hotel. (B/L/-)

Day 4: Ruaha NP

Another longish driving day as you proceed on towards Ruaha National Park. Along the way you will pass through the lively city of Iringa. The name is derived from the Hehe word lilinga, meaning fort. The city itself has approx. 120,000 inhabitants and is the gateway to southern Tanzania. If all goes well, you might arrive in time to enjoy a sundowner from the lodge terrace.

Accommodation: Ruaha Hilltop Lodge or similar. (B/-/D)

Day 5: Ruaha NP

Full day game drive in Ruaha NP. This park, which hosts a unique variety of species, is the largest national park in Tanzania. The name of the park is derived from the Great Ruaha River, which flows along its southeastern margin and is the focus for game-viewing. The park is noted for its large elephant population, with about 10,000 roaming here. More than 571 species of birds have been identified in the park. Among the resident species are hornbills, kingfishers and sunbirds. Many migratory birds visit the park like the white stork.

Other noted animals found in this park are cheetah, leopard, lion, African wild dog, giraffe, hippopotamus, buffalo and sable antelope. The rhinoceros population was last sighted in 1982 and are most likely extinct in the park due to poaching.

Accommodation: Ruaha Hilltop Lodge or similar. (B/L/D)

Day 6: Ruaha NP & Southern Highlands

After breakfast you will partake in a morning game drive in Ruaha NP before proceeding on to the Southern Highlands.

Accommodation: Kisolanza Farm, simple rooms with shared bathroom facilities. (B/L/D)

Day 7: Southern Highlands

Today you will drive to the Southern Highlands where tea is grown. The highlands comprise a range of volcanic mountains, partly covered in forest and grassland. This region is Tanzania’s main bread basket and also experiences the coldest weather in the country, especially in the months of July.

It also experiences the highest rainfall in Tanzania for part of the year. Dotted with waterfalls and craters, the Southern Highlands is a ramblers paradise. Today you can enjoy a short walk to the fascinating Kaporogwe Waterfall.

Accommodation: Hotel in Tukuyu. (B/-/-)

Day 8: Southern Highlands

In the morning you will visit a tea plantation where you will learn everything there is to know about tea farming, harvesting and drying. Afterwards, it’s time to stretch the legs and take part on a nature walk to the “enchanted” Ngozi crater lake. Lake Ngozi is the second largest crater lake in Africa.

It can be found near Tukuyu. It is part of the Poroto Ridge and, part of the caldera rim is the highest point of the Ridge and mostly composed from trachytic and phonolitic lavas. Ngozi is a Holocene caldera that generated the Kitulo pumice 12,000 years ago during a Plinian eruption, most likely in the same eruption that generated the caldera.

Accommodation: Utengule Coffee Lodge near Mbeya. (B/-/-)

Day 9 and 10: Lake Tanganyika

After breakfast, drive to Kipili. Lake Tanganyika is an African Great Lake. It is estimated to be the second largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, in both cases, after only Lake Baikal in Siberia; it is also the world’s longest freshwater lake. The lake is divided among four countries – Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, and Zambia, with Tanzania (46%) and DRC (40%) possessing the majority of the lake. The water flows into the Congo River system and ultimately into the Atlantic Ocean.

The name apparently refers to “Tanganika”, ‘the great lake spreading out like a plain’, or ‘plain-like lake’.

Lake Tanganyika is home to many different and often, endemic fish species (at least 250 species of cichlid fish and 75 species of non-cichlid fish). Day 10: Simply spend the day relaxing on the beach or choose from a variety of optional activities eg. snorkelling, diving, sailing.

Accommodation: 2x Lake Shore Lodge, overnight in bandas (simple bungalows with shared ablutions). (B/-/D)

Day 11: Katavi NP

Early breakfast and transfer to Katavi NP for an afternoon game drive. This Tanzanian national park created in 1974 is located in Katavi Region, Tanzania. It is a very remote park that is less frequently visited than other Tanzanian national parks. The park is approximately 4,471 km² which makes it the third largest national park in Tanzania.

Accommodation: simple Banda (TANAPA Resthouse). (B/-/D)

Day 12: Katavi NP

Full day game drive in Katavi NP that encompasses the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chada floodplains. Remote Katavi NP is an absolute highlight and home to a huge variety of animals. Wildlife features include large animal herds, particularly of buffaloes, zebras, wildebeest, giraffes and elephants, plus along the Katuma river, crocodiles and hippopotami which upon annual dry seasons results in mud holes that can be packed with hundreds of hippos.

Carnivorous animals that roam this park are cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, leopards, and lions. Katavi has fewer human visitors and jeeps conducting game drives than other Tanzania parks.

Accommodation: simple Banda (TANAPA Resthouse). (B/L/D)

Day 13: Kigoma

Today is another driving day. Your route takes you through picturesque landscape to Kigoma. Kigoma is a town and lake port in western Tanzania, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika and close to the border with Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

It serves as the capital for the surrounding Kigoma Region and has a population of approx. 140,000 inhabitants and an elevation of 775 m. It is one of the busiest ports on Lake Tanganyika, since historically it was the only one that had a functioning railway connection (the one at Kalemie in DR Congo is not operational), a direct link to the seaport at Dar-es-Salaam. On arrival at the hotel, check in and enjoy an ice cold sundowner or a dip in the pool with stunning views overlooking the lake.

Accommodation: Kigoma Hilltop Hotel or similar. (B/-/-)

Day 14: Gombe NP

After breakfast, you will travel via motorboat to Gombe Stream NP. Established in 1968, Gombe Stream is the smallest national park in Tanzania, with only 52 km² of forest running along the hills of the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The terrain is distinguished by steep valleys, and the forest vegetation ranges from grassland to alpine bamboo to tropical rainforest. Accessible only by boat, the park is most famous as the location where Jane Goodall pioneered her behavioral research conducted on the chimpanzee populations. The Kasakela chimpanzee community, featured in several books and documentaries, lives in Gombe Stream National Park.

Gombe Stream’s high levels of diversity make it an increasingly popular tourist destination. Besides chimpanzees, primates inhabiting Gombe Stream include beachcomber olive baboons, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys, blue monkeys, and vervet monkeys.

Red-tailed monkeys and blue monkeys have also been known to hybridize in the area. The park is also home to over 200 bird species and bushpigs. There are also 11 species of snakes, and occasional hippopotami and leopards. Visitors to the park can trek into the forest to view the chimpanzees, as well as swim and snorkel in Lake Tanganyika with almost 100 kinds of colorful cichlid fish.

Accommodation: TANAPA Resthouse (simple standard). (B/L/D)

Day 15: Gombe NP & Kigoma

You will take part in a chimpanzee tracking tour, guided by a ranger in the company of a tracker. It is an exhilarating experience to spend time observing the chimpanzees in their natural habitat and you will be amazed to discover how active and loud they can be! After spending an hour (allocated time allowance) with the chimps, your ranger and tracker will bring you back to headquarters where you will board your motor boat for your return trip to Kigoma.

Accommodation: Kigoma Hilltop Hotel or similar. (B/-/-)

Day 16: Mwanza

After an early breakfast, depart for the long drive through Tanzania’s “Wild West” to Mwanza at Lake Victoria or, optional flight from Kigoma to Mwanza or Arusha. Mwanza is a mid-sized port city on the southern shores of Lake Victoria in northwestern Tanzania. With a population of over 700,000, it is Tanzania’s second largest city, following Dar es Salaam.

Accommodation: Tilapia Hotel. (B/-/-)

Day 17: Departure

Transfer to Mwanza airport. Departure or extension. (B/-/-)

Optional extension program

Day 17 and 18: Serengeti NP

The next two days will be spent exploring this park on game drives. The wide open grassy savannah plains of the Serengeti, interspersed with scattered “kopjes” (granite boulders which have been ‘peeled’ smooth by the constant dramatic changes in temperature) is a paradise for grazers. During their annual migration, thousands of wildebeest, zebras and antelope move continuously through this worldwide unique ecosystem on the search for fresh grazing areas. Lions and hyenas follow the herds in the hope of an tasty meal.

During the game drives in the park you are most likely to see elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, ostriches and many other species and, with a little luck, cheetahs hunting or even a dozing leopard lying in the fork of a tree. Along the sand banks of the rivers, crocodiles can be seen sunning themselves whilst the depths of the waters are closely guarded by pods of tightly-packed hippos.

Accommodation: 2x Serengeti View Tented Camp or similar. (B/L/D)

Day 19: Ngorongoro Crater

After breakfast, you will embark on a game drive en route to Ngorongoro Crater where you will spend up to five hours doing a game drive in the crater. In this “Garden of Eden” (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978), it is possible with a little luck to see all of the “Big 5”. Apart from elephants, buffalo, leopards and many lions, there are also more than twenty black rhino living in the crater.

These animals all share an area of only 260 km² with numerous wildebeest, various antelopes, zebras and many other East African mammals.

Accommodation: Endoro Lodge in Karatu or similar. (B/L/D)

Day 20: Arusha

This morning you will partake in a guided walk to the nearby Elephant Caves, deep in the Ngorongoro montane forest. Elephants, buffaloes and other wildlife frequently visit this place to dig up mineral rich soil. The trail is lined with fascinating flora, some endemic to the thick montane forest bordering the south-eastern slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands.

Accommodation: African View Lodge or similar. (B/L/D)

Day 21: Departure

Transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport. Departure or extension (e.g. Zanzibar). (B/-/-)

Requirements

Team spirit and willingness to forgo comfort during long drives in non-acclimatized safari cars on badly-maintained roads and tracks is necessary. Sure-footedness, a good fitness level, and the ability to cope with different climates especially for the chimpanzee tracking and the walking trips are a plus. It is not absolutely necessary to participate in the individual walks as they are day trips or short walks. Certain types of accommodation are of a very basic standard and only offer shared toilets/showers.

 

Beach holiday extension at Bahari View Lodge, Zanzibar

We recommend a few relaxing days after your safari on the beaches of the Indian Ocean, for instance at Bahari View Lodge on the lovely, south-east coast of Zanzibar Island.

Stay 5 nights at Bahari View Lodge and pay 4 nights only (valid year round, except August and 25.12.-08.01.)

Interested in joining?

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