DAY ONE: KIGALI – MUSANZE
Upon arrival in Kigali, you’ll be met by your Shadows of Africa driver and begin the ninety-minute drive to Musanze, Rwanda’s second-largest city. Located in the foothills surrounding the famous Volcanoes National Park, Musanze is a dynamic town with a variety of dining and entertainment options. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to visit the nearby Twin Lakes or pay a visit to the Iby Iwacu Cultural Village.
DAY TWO: VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
After an early breakfast at your hotel, you’ll proceed directly to the Volcanoes National Park’s headquarters to meet your guides. After completing the briefing, you’ll embark on the once in a lifetime experience of tracking the enigmatic mountain gorillas. There is no guarantee how long or difficult your tracking experience will be as it depends on where the family of gorillas is and on weather conditions, It can take anywhere from two up to six hours of trekking through the mountain forest at relatively high altitudes. Fitness is definitely recommended for those wishing to undertake the excursion. One of the most memorable experiences you’re likely to ever have, you’ll be allowed an hour of
close contact with the gorillas once you’ve found them. You’ll be privileged enough to come within mere meters of a family of these rare and beautiful animals, observing their family dynamics and getting to learn a bit about each gorilla’s distinct personality in serene silence. After your hike is complete, you’ll return to your lodge to relax.
DAY THREE: VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
You’ve got a more relaxed day today, with a pair of activities designed to help you come down from the thrills of gorilla trekking. You’ll start your day by headed back into Volcanoes National Park to visit another of its residents: the cheeky and cheerful golden monkeys. You’ll spend the morning observing these acrobatic primates before returning to your lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, it’s time for some cultural discovery as you venture to the nearby Iby Iwacu Cultural Village to learn more about the Rwandan culture. Staffed by reformed poachers, this replica village introduces visitors to Rwandan cuisine, medicine, history, and traditional dance through a number of fun and interactive exhibits. You’ll then overnight in Musanze.
DAY FOUR: KIGALI – ARUSHA
You’ll return to Kigali in time for lunch in the Rwandan capital before participating in a complimentary city tour including the Genocide Memorial, the Presidential Palace Museum, and the local craft markets. The opportunity to have lunch at the famous Mille Collines Hotel (Hotel Rwanda) is also a highlight of your day. You’ll fly to Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Airport in the afternoon/early evening and overnight in Arusha.
DAY FIVE: ARUSHA – LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK
You’ll depart from Arusha after breakfast for the drive to Lake Manyara National Park. The journey takes approximately two hours, but we’ll pass through the market town of Mto Wa Mbu along the way. This agricultural and fresh produce market is a melting pot of local cultures and a souvenir hunter’s paradise. After a brief stop at the village market, you’ll enter Lake Manyara National Park. The park is truly a photographer’s playground and offers some of the best game viewing in the world. You can expect to see many of Africa’s most well-known animals, with the tree-climbing lions a particular treat. These proud predators lounge in acacia trees practically begging to be photographed. Bird-watchers will find Lake Manyara is an absolute delight, with a huge variety of birds on display in the park. Even the novice can expect to be amazed by large flamingo flocks, circling birds of prey, and the brightly colored lilac-breasted roller. You’ll then retire to your chosen accommodation for dinner and a good night’s rest.
DAY SIX: LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK – SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
We’ll take an early breakfast, as we’ve got a big day of exploration and adventure ahead of us! We’ll begin the day with the scenic drive towards the Serengeti. Along the way, we’ll pass through the mist-shrouded rainforests of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where you might be lucky enough to glimpse cape buffalo, baboons, or even elephants and leopards in the dense undergrowth.
It’s a nearly four-hour drive to the Serengeti park gates, but you can choose to break up the drive with one or both of the below optional activities: • Oldupai Gorge Museum: Sometimes known as the Cradle of Mankind, the Oldupai Gorge Museum commemorates some of the oldest evidence of human habitation ever found. Here you can see some of the oldest fossil evidence in the world of human habitation, visit the Oldupai Gorge Museum to learn more about the human journey, and take in the stunning views of this stark gorge country. • Maasai boma visit: Pay a visit to one of the famous Maasai bomas, where you’ll have the opportunity to witness (and participate in) traditional Maasai dance, tour an authentic Maasai village, and even do a little souvenir shopping at the local market. Both of the above activities attract an additional cost. Speak with your safari expert about adding them to your itinerary. After a delicious lunch at the Serengeti National Park picnic area, it’s time to explore the Serengeti itself. Witness Africa’s iconic savannah landscape and be amazed by the sheer number of animals that roam these grassy plains. Dinner and overnight in the heart of the Serengeti National Park according to the standard and the type of accommodation requested from our options.
DAY SEVEN: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
We start your day early by getting up before dawn to embark on a sunrise game drive. Accompanied by the melodic singing of the birds, you’ll spend your morning searching for leopards and lions hunting for their morning meal and spying the contrastingly calm hippos returning to their watery homes with their families. You may also wish to include a sunrise hot air balloon safari and champagne breakfast in your safari. Consult your safari expert on how to make this happen. After your morning meal, you’ll set out with a packed lunch to continue your exploration of the park. Your driver will select the best possible route based upon the time of year and the kind of animals you’d like to see, catering your day so that your opportunities to see the Serengeti’s diverse wildlife are maximized. Dinner and overnight in the heart of the Serengeti National Park according to the standard and the type of accommodation requested from our options.
DAY EIGHT: SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK – NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
After breakfast, we get right on the road back towards the Ngorongoro Crater National Park. Our drive takes us back through the Serengeti via a different route, offering plenty of opportunities to spot the animals that eluded you on day two. As far as the eye can see, you’ll spot thousands upon thousands of animals in herds; wildebeests and zebras migrating together, tall and graceful giraffes, jumping antelopes and gazelles, the powerful African elephant and the most respected group of animals: the predators. You will have the chance to spot lean cheetahs and shy leopards, foraging hyenas, and last but not least, the king himself; the lion. Dinner and overnight on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater or in nearby Karatu Town according to the standard and the type of accommodation requested from our options.
DAY NINE: NGORONGORO CRATER
After breakfast, you’ll depart for Ngorongoro Crater; considered by some to be the Eighth Wonder of the World. When you get your first glimpse of this vast, verdant caldera from the panoramic viewpoint, you’ll soon understand why it has earned such a lofty reputation. Home to over 120 species of mammal including the fabled Big Five, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of the most sought after safari destinations in the world. It’s a particularly good place to see the endangered black rhinoceros enjoying a lonely meal out on the grassy plains, as well as a place to see large numbers of hippopotamus enjoying the cool water. From the comfort of your open-top vehicle, you’ll be able to observe and photograph some of Africa’s most recognizable faces. The crater is home to a large number of predators including lions, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, and hyenas, as well as a large population of wildebeest, zebras, antelope, cape buffalo, and more. It is truly one of Africa’s premier safari destinations. After the thrills and excitement of the day, you will have a picnic lunch by the park’s famous hippo pool. You’ll return to your Karatu accommodations for the evening for dinner and rest.
DAY TEN: TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK – ARUSHA
You’ll depart your accommodations early for the drive south to Tarangire, where you’ll spend your day driving through Tanzania’s most underrated national park. Once inside the park, you’ll see the eponymous Tarangire river lined with acacia and Baobab where game amble to and fro throughout the day. During the dry season, thousands of animals from the Masai steppe migrate to the Tarangire region looking for water so you can see dozens of different species in a small amount of time. Exclusive to the park are endangered animals such as the Greater Kudu, Fringe-Eared Oryx, and the Ashy Starling. Enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the park’s picnic areas and take in an unparalleled view of the Tarangire River. Keep an eye on your food though, as the local monkey population will be only too happy to make off with a tasty treat if given the opportunity! You’ll return to Arusha late in the after