- Africa for AFS Afriholics!
- AFS Afriholics
- Animal Lovers
- Bucket List
- Small Groups
- Wildlife Watcher
“SERENGETI UNDER CANVAS”
Bush & Beach, Tanzania & Zanzibar
October 11 -20, 2024
Price listed below the daily itinerary. New AFS small group
Just the word “safari” conjures images of the sweeping plains of Africa teaming with exotic wildlife. The word “safari” actually means “to journey” in Swahili? This AFS Adventure takes us to the heart of Africa where you embrace all Africa to witnes one of nature’s most dramatic spectacles as countless wildebeest thunder across the sweeping plains of the Serengeti in their annual migration. And then end our journey on an island jewel with powdered sugar sand beaches at a 5-star resort. This small group offering is the perfect dual-destination vacation for both our seasoned Afrioholics, as well as first-time safari babies with the finest accommodations throughout.
Karibu! A warm welcome awaits you as you personally meet the Maasai in their scarlet robes and learn their timeless culture. Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, renowned for its magnificent mountains, scenery and wildlife. With majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance, you’ll see herds of elephants lumbering across the grasslands. Prides of lions lounge in the bush while zebra, giraffe, antelope, warthogs, and gazelles frolic before them. It’s an Instagramers dream. Sail above it all at dawn in a hot air balloon. Be guided by expert trackers who will show you all of the sites you’ve only witnessed before on National Geographic.
At Lake Manyara, see the famous tree-climbing lions and vast herds of elephants. Then it’s on to the incomparable Serengeti, where it’s hard to fathom the amount of game that calls this park home. This is undoubtedly the most famous animal sanctuary in the world with the highest concentration of animals anywhere. We’ll stay in a stunning luxury Tented Camp for the ultimate safari experience under the stars, with bush dinners, spa and walking Safari. The massive Ngorongoro Crater World Heritage Site will blow you away with epic game viewing and experiences. Below its vast rim, our game drives reveal virtually all the African wildlife of predator and prey from hippos, rhinos, cheetahs and even flamingos.
The perfect addition to any safari is a flight to dreamy Zanzibar in the warm Indian Ocean. Just the name conjures impressions of ancient trade caravans and salty ocean breezes. The mystique of magical Zanzibar holds legendary status among travelers as an island paradise with palm fringed shores, fishing villages and lush spice plantations of vanilla, ginger, cinnamon and more. Unwind at the brand new, all-inclusive resorts’ blissful beach that stretches to coral reefs waiting to be explored. Emerald Resort is our paradise!
Discover a world of its own with an identity shaped by a fascinating history of sultans to pirates. It’s a melting pot of vibrant culture where Arabia meets Africa. There’s free time to explore historic Stone Town, sail the turquoise waters in traditional Dhow boats, snorkel or dive. Our stunning resort has a spa and dive center to meet your water needs.
Hakuna Matata! No worries on this adventure on our new AFS Tanz & Zanz bush and beach adventure in October is part of the dry season, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to see scores of animals, including the Big Five -lion, elephant, rhino, African buffalo, and leopard. Many of you have come before and who wouldn’t want to return again and again? It’s wild. It’s exotic. Come get your wildlife on! If you are eyeing our Kenya trip prior to this, this is a perfect extension to continue experiencing the ULTIMATE safaris in all of Africa!
Our Glorious AFS Itinerary
Click here for the Trip Tips
Oct 11 – DEPART JFK – KILIMANJARO
Depart the U.S. on an overnight flight to arrive in Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) airport on October 12 for the beginning of the tour.
12 Oct-24 ARRIVAL – KILIMANJARO
Karibu!!! Welcome to Kilimanjaro! You’ll arrive at the international airport with the famous mountain in the distance and be greeted by our local guides before transferring to the lush Arusha Serena Lodge overlooking Lake Duluti. The rest of the day is free for you to either rest or take advantage of some of the optional activities the hotel offers. At the slopes of Mt Meru, you’ll love our stone cottages are crafted like a 1920’s lake resort. Stroll the flower gardens and enjoy lakeside sundowners.
Overnight: Arusha Serena Lodge
At our Lake Manyara lodge, you’ll find everything you need to chill, unwind, and explore the stunning beauty of this region. Our accommodation is designed in traditional circular two-story “rondavels” style, with a contemporary touch for added comfort. The Flamingo Restaurant, located at the center, serves scrumptious food and boasts a veranda with breathtaking views. Enjoy the spa and outdoor pool. Get ready for the start of a vacation of a lifetime!
Oct-13 ARUSHA – LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK B/L/D
Following breakfast at the hotel, we proceed to Lake Manyara National Park. The 3-hour drive features stunning landscapes and quaint villages along the way, including the agricultural and fresh produce market town of Mto Wa Mbu, which is a souvenir hunter’s paradise and situated next to the entrance of the Lake Manyara National Park. Arriving in Manyara, we’ll enjoy the Great Rift Valley Escarpment view and be greeted by groups of baboons at the entrance of Manyara. We will arrive and take an afternoon game drive with a break for a picnic lunch. The drive takes us in search of the wildlife and birdlife that Manyara hosts along with a view of famous hot spring known as “Maji Moto.”
Lake Manyara National Park is one of Tanzania’s most dramatically located African wildlife areas, consisting of a massive but shallow soda lake (covering two-thirds of the park) at the foot of the Great Rift Valley’s western escarpment. The park’s varied habitat attracts a wide variety of animals; including one of Africa’s densely populated of herd of African elephant, famous tree-climbing lions, as well as large flocks of flamingos, attracted by the algae in the lake.
We’ll arrive at the Lake Manyara Hotel in the afternoon and in the evening, we will have one one-hour session to learn Swahili words that can be useful during safari. Note that in Africa, we move safari style to different camps and lodges. Our lodge offers a unique village lunch with guide, bush dinners and cultural tribal shows at night.
Overnight: Lake Manyara Serena Lodge
Includes complimentary Wi-Fi and delicious breakfast. Inspired by the vibrant bird life surrounding the beautifully soda-coated Lake Manyara and the pink-fringed flamingos that add a touch of charm, this extraordinary lodge boasts gracefully curving architecture that is beyond words. The lodge also offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Great Rift Valley, mesmerizing rose-gold sunsets over the Mto Wa Mbu escarpment, and the truly remarkable tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara. Designed around a captivating vanishing horizon’ pool at its center, this unique lodge features a rustic African-style reception area constructed with timber, which can be reached by crossing a small stream via a charming bridge. Beyond the reception area lies the central dining room, bar, and veranda, overlooking the pool below. The pool bar and observation point, located at the very edge of the cliffs, offer awe-inspiring vistas of Lake Manyara National Park. Scattered around the grounds are a collection of circular two-story rondavels’ providing delightful accommodation options, each offering picturesque views of the lake.
Oct – 14 LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK – SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK B/L/D
(Optional Balloon Safari details -Book now direct at serenahotels.com Cost at this time $599. Is it worth the cost?)
Welcome to Africa’s most famous game reserve for its dense predator population (big cats) and migration of countless animals heading south in search of the rains. Look for the big five and the smaller critters like impala, gazelle, springboks, eland and the many species of giraffes. Following breakfast, we travel to the legendary Serengeti National Park (2.5 hours), passing through Olduvai Gorge, the site of the Leakey’s family discovery of fossils of human and animal ancestors dating back to almost two million years. The Olduvai Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features fascinating information about the earliest humans to walk our planet. We will have a picnic lunch on the way to Serengeti and be astounded at the countless animals we see in the park’s vast grasslands.
Our home tonight is the exclusive Mbuzi Mawe Serena Tented Camp, situated in the heart of the Serengeti. This deluxe encampment is the quintessential safari experience where we can take in our surroundings, enjoy a scrumptious dinner and go to sleep to the sounds of Africa. Then we head out for a late afternoon Game Drive.
Our beautiful tents are set on a stone platform with thatched roof, two queen beds with nets and a full bathroom. There’s free Wi-Fi and room service, bush breakfast, cooking lessons, sundowners around a campfire, bush bar and more. Staff can arrange a guided walking safari with a ranger into the wild bush.
Overnight: Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp (2 Nights)
Guarded by three million year-old granite towers in the magnificent Serengeti National Park, Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp offers the quintessential African Serengeri safari experience. Our elegant tented camp is located on one of the main annual migration corridors for over one million wildebeest, half a million zebras and gazelles and their accompanying cast of predators; the camp also offers close proximity to lions, giraffes, hippos and all of the other fascinating wildlife that inhabits this 14,763 square-kilometre park.
Oct 15 – SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK – B/L.D
Welcome to the UNESCO world heritage site, the Serengeti, Africa’s oldest game reserve! It’s also the most famous for its dense population of predators (big cats) and prey, with the most spectacular game viewing. On the annual migration, countless wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, 300,000 Thompson gazelle and more animals are on the move. In October, they head south following the rains. There is also a high concentration here of leopards and cheetahs.
We start early after breakfast for morning and afternoon game drives through the Serengeti National Park. The park is Tanzania’s largest, covering more than 14,000 square kilometers. Here, we will witness the annual great wildebeest migration where wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migrate from Serengeti National Park to Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and come back later in the year. It takes place across the park’s endless plains which is full of wildlife and birdlife elsewhere in Africa. The park supports many species of wildlife including lions, African leopards, African elephants, cheetahs, African buffalos, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, topi, elands, water bucks, hyenas, baboons, impalas, African wild dogs, and giraffes. There are more than 500 bird species here, including ostriches, secretary birds, Kori bustards, crowned cranes, marabou storks, martial eagles, lovebirds, and many species of vultures. We’ll be back late in the afternoon in time for a hot shower and dinner.
Overnight: Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp
Oct-16 SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK – NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA B/L/D
We head to the Ngorongoro Conservations area after breakfast (90 minutes). We will check into Ngorongoro Serena lodge located on the rim of the crater, offering incredible vistas of the caldera below.
This is a day of leisure where you can explore or relax. Groups love this classic property. The NGO Crater is a UNESCO world heritage site. Some call it the 8th wonder of the world in “a land that time forgot.” Our lodge rooms with private balconies offer magnificent views of the crater. There’s a spa, evening dance shows and wildlife & Tanzania culture talks at 9 PM in the bar.
Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena Lodge (2 nights)
Nestled high above the plains into the Crater’s jagged rim, cloaked in river stone and indigenous vines, Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is barely visible to the naked eye. Framed by arched stone passages and timbered decks, its torch-lit walls are adorned with stylized cave paintings. At the stone heart of the lodge burns a glowing fire, which is kept constantly alight. Rooms are looped around the Crater rim. Each has its own rock-enclosed balcony, and all enjoy completely uninterrupted views of the volcanic amphitheater far below. Our Ngorongoro hotel lodge is a place that feels as ancient as the Crater itself, yet no modern comfort has been spared in an effort to bring you the best safari adventure in Africa and one of the most unique travel experiences in the world.
Oct 17 – NGORONGORO CRATER – B/L/D
After early breakfast, we collect our picnic lunch and set out for the day to explore the Ngorongoro Crater. Teaming with wildlife, the Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact caldera in the world, measuring over 600m deep and some 8-19Km in diameter. It is believed to be about 8 million years old. The steep descent into the crater is almost as exciting as the scene that awaits us within. We’ll experience a fantastic showcase of nature’s best.
The diverse landscape within the crater, in which the savannah blends into swamps, rivers, marshes, forests, and cliffs, provides sanctuary for the black-maned lions, cheetahs, buffalos, elephants, and leopards that live side by side with thousands of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras, both black-backed and golden jackals. The Crater is also home to some of Tanzania’s last remaining rhinos. Flamingos and hippos inhabit the alkaline lakes and freshwater pools. Old elephants can be seen patiently wading through the papyrus ponds, while way up, on the slopes of the crater, unique and beautiful Afro-Alpine vegetation blankets the ground in a rich green cover, occasionally hidden by the mist and fog that occurs at the rim, which stands at over 7500 feet above.
Later afternoon, we ascend to the crater rim and exit to drive back to our lodge and dinner.
Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena Lodge
Oct- 18 NGORONGORO – ZANZIBAR BY FLIGHT. B/L/D
After breakfast, we head to Arusha and board our flight to Zanzibar and our exclusive beach resort, the Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa! Newly opened in 2022, this all-inclusive resort offers a chance for you to be pampered and enjoy the gorgeous beaches of a paradise in the Indian Ocean. (Domestic flight details will be in trip tips. Pack only soft side luggage. Maximum bag weight will be 32 pounds).
Zanzibar Island is a jewel in the ocean, surrounded by beaches that rate among the finest in the world. Here we can swim, snorkel, or just lounge the hours away, while shoals of luminous fish graze over nearby coral gardens and pods of dolphins frolic offshore. In the island’s capital, Zanzibar Town, sits the historic quarter of Stone Town, with a mesmerizing mix of influences from Africa, Arabia, India and Europe. For these reasons and more, Zanzibar Island (officially called Unguja) is the archipelago’s focal point, and the most popular destination for visitors, but choose your spot carefully. While it’s easy to find tranquil beauty or party buzz (or both), increasing development threatens the island’s ineluctable magic and fragile community resources.
Overnight: 5-Star Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa (all-inclusive resort, 2 nights)
Our luxury resort and spa is under the brand of leading hotels of the world. Set an expensive pure white sandy beach, surrounded by an oval reef for calm waters. Enjoy for gourmet restaurants, three beach bars, gelato shop, spa, water sports Center for your gear and snorkeling or diving and more. This is a deluxe all inclusive heaven!
Oct- 19 ZANZIBAR – Free day B/L/D
After breakfast at resort. This is a free day to take in everything the resort has to offer. Take in the spa or enjoy the countless watersports. If you want to explore the island and take in Stone Town, that can also be arranged. The concierge staff can arrange anything for you like a dhow sunset cruise, jungle walk at Jozani Forest, a visit to see the turtles at Prison Island and much more.
Overnight: Emerald Zanzibar Resort and Spa
Oct 20- ZANZIBAR DEPART B
Breakfast is at our beach resort and later we bid goodbye to Zanzibar and proceed to the airport to connect to flights back home..
Land price $4695 plus $275 internal air per person twin share.
Small group. Price based on minimum 20 participants. Deposit $500, 2nd deposit of 50% due Jun 11, final payment due Jul 11. Single supplement limited to two, $898 additional.
Includes: 8 nights accommodation, all meals throughout the tour starting on day 2, five-game drives (two game drives in Manyara, one morning and two afternoon game drives) in Serengeti National Park, full day crater tour in Ngorongoro Conservancy, Tour manager and AFS GTL, Swahili lesson, all-inclusive stay at Emerald Zanzibar bar resort.
Not Included – Air from USA, gratuities of around $90 we will add later to final invoice, Visa (details in trip tips)
Itineraries are prepared up to a year ahead and things can change. Modifications may be made.
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Prepare to be thrilled by ..,. Our past to AFS groups rated in their “best vacation ever.” You are wise to choose this exotic country with us as it is too challenging to do on your own with all the regulations to follow. We’ve got you covered. Just start reading up on it before you go. The history here is fascinating. Our itinerary is an explorer’s delight with mystical monasteries, ancient temples stunning stupas and active fun.
We have a wonderful group of xx solo travel lovers so far. We need more so please tell your friends. Some of you are extending after AFS Nepal whereas some have visited Nepal and are doing Bhutan on its own. For now, connect with each other on your private group Facebook page and revel in the anticipation of joy ahead
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