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TANZANIA SAFARI 2015

This trip is being conducted for a small group of friends, but there may be a few spaces available to the public. If you are interested in joining this trip please contact us about availability. SPACES AVAILABLE

TANZANIA SAFARI 2015

From the Shadow of Kilimanjaro to the Plains of the Serengeti

12-DAY ITINERARY


Day 1 – Sunday, February 1: US Gateway City to Europe

We will depart this evening from our US gateway city (likely Washington Dulles) for our overnight flight to our gateway city in Europe – likely Amsterdam, Brussels or London. Please plan to arrive at your departure gate for Europe no later than two hours prior to your scheduled departure time.

Day 2 – Monday, February 2: Arrival in Tanzania

We will arrive in Europe early this morning and will change planes for the continuation of our journey from Europe to Kilimanjaro International Airport outside of Arusha, Tanzania. We should have some incredible views of Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, and the spectacular Sahara Desert as we fly to the heart of East Africa. We will arrive in the evening, and after clearing customs and immigration, we will overnight at Machweo Lodge. Machweo is a unique lodge nestled in the foothills of Mount Meru and the twinkling lights of Arusha are visible after dark. The spacious rooms are very comfortable and filled with safari-chic décor. There is a pool and the gardens are full of birds. Machweo, and its sister property – Onsea House, are renowned for their outstanding cuisine. Machweo is located on the outskirts of Arusha Town and will provide a quiet and intimate retreat after our long flights.

Day 3 – Tuesday, February 3: Arusha National Park

After breakfast we will recover from our international flights by spending the day exploring Arusha National Park. We will be tired, but this day is slow-paced and important as we allow time to adjust our internal clocks while getting some fresh air and having a chance to view wildlife. Arusha NP lies in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro and, if free of clouds, the view of Africa’s highest mountain from Arusha is spectacular. Arusha itself is dominated by Mt. Meru and is a beautiful higher altitude park with a diverse wildlife community. We should get our first glimpses of giraffe, warthog, zebra and buffalo today. The forests of the park hold some special primates that we will not be able to see elsewhere on our trip – the blue monkey and the spectacular black-and-white colobus monkey. While searching for primates and plains game we will also be observing an incredible variety of bird species. Among the species we could spy this morning are maccoa duck, Hartlaub’s turaco, silvery-cheeked hornbill, African emerald cuckoo, narina trogon, brown-breasted barbet, Abbott’s starling and Jackson’s widowbird. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in the park before having an afternoon game on the way out of the park. Dinner and overnight will be at Machweo Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – Wednesday, February 4: Arusha to Tarangire National Park

This morning, after breakfast, we will depart for our safari to some of the greatest national parks in the world. We will travel from Arusha to Tarangire National Park crossing the Maasai Plains along the way. We should arrive at our accommodations at Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge in time for lunch. Kirurumu is located just outside the park and the surrounding bush is full of wildlife. After checking in, having lunch and getting settled into our accommodations, we will enter the gate of Tarangire National Park to enjoy our afternoon game drive. Tarangire is more like the parks of Southern Africa with thick woodlands, large sandy rivers and giant baobab trees. The park is famous for its large elephant herds and is a great place to see leopards. After our game drive we will return to Kirurumu for dinner and overnight. Kirurumu is a luxury tented camp and each comfy tent has all the amenities of a fine hotel room with one big advantage – the walls are canvas allowing for all the sounds of an African night to envelop us. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Thursday, February 5: Tarangire National Park

Tarangire really beckons to be explored and we will spend a full day game viewing in this spectacular park. The sheer number of elephants in this park is staggering and spending time with so many elephants is a magical experience! The park is also home to a few of the more arid-adapted antelope species like the elegant fringe-eared oryx, lesser kudu and the slender, long necked gerenuk. Lion, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, warthogs, impala and waterbuck are also found within the Park. Tarangire has a wealth of birdlife at all times during the year and is home to three Tanzanian endemics – yellow-collared lovebird, ashy starling and rufous-tailed weaver. Other species we hope to see include ostrich, saddle-billed stork, white-headed vulture, martial eagle, pygmy falcon, orange-bellied parrot, African hoopoe, white-bellied go-away-bird, lilac-breasted roller and a host of doves, mousebirds, swallows and hornbills. After our morning game drive we will return to camp for lunch and a bit of down time before returning to Tarangire for our afternoon game drive. Once our afternoon game drive in the park is finished we will return to Kirurumu Tarangire Camp. As the sun begins to sink below the distant highlands we will enjoy a great dinner, under a blanket of stars. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Friday, February 6: Lake Manyara National Park and on to the Great Rift Valley Escarpment

This morning we will have an early breakfast and bid the camp staff farewell as we depart for the floor of the Great Rift Valley and the escarpment beyond. Our destination for the morning is Lake Manyara National Park. Spectacularly set against the western wall of the Great Rift Valley, and hugging the lakeshore, Lake Manyara NP has an incredible diversity of wildlife. The Park is famous for its tree-climbing lions which are thought to exhibit this behavior as a way to reduce the number of tsetse fly bites. Zebra, ostrich, gazelle and buffalo take advantage of the abundant grasslands along the lake. Vervet monkeys and baboons cavort in the trees. The birdlife is fantastic and waterbirds are especially prevalent. Pelicans, storks, herons and cormorants take advantage of the Lake’s abundance. Black herons create little tents of shade with their wings to attract fish and hopefully the bright pink of thousands of flamingos will punctuate the lake’s blue waters. Egyptian and spur-winged geese and white-faced whistling ducks float on the water while spotted thick-knees, chestnut-banded plovers and three-banded coursers stalk the shoreline. After a picnic lunch we will journey to the edge of the escarpment and then begin the steep climb to our accommodations at Kirurumu Manyara Lodge. We should arrive in plenty of time to settle into our tents before we hike with a Maasai guide to the edge of the escarpment visiting Maasai homesteads along the way. The route to the edge of the escarpment is also great for birds and reptiles. After our hike we will return to camp to prepare for dinner. Our tents are nestled in the forest on the edge of the escarpment overlooking the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara National Park. The rift wall is very dramatic here and drops over 3,400 feet to the valley floor and the lake. We will have a sumptuous dinner before being lulled to sleep by the whisper of the wind and a symphony of frogs and insects. (B,L,D)

Days 7 & 8 – Saturday and Sunday, February 7 & 8: Olduvai Gorge & Serengeti National Park

This morning we will depart camp after breakfast to begin our three-day adventure in one of the greatest ecosystems in the world – the Serengeti. Along the way we will stop at the famous archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge. Africa is believed to be where humans first evolved and Olduvai is the site where some of the oldest fossils of early man have been discovered. After a tour of the small, but excellent, museum, a short hike into the gorge and a picnic lunch we will leave the roads and tracks behind as we venture across the mysterious Shifting Sands of the Maasai and into the Southeastern section of the Serengeti. With its vast open plains filled with wildlife the famous Serengeti is what everyone dreams of when they think of Africa. Covering 5,790 square miles, the Serengeti is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth. The great wildebeest migration is dependent on the rain cycle, but we should arrive when the migration is taking advantage of the abundance of short-grass found in the southeastern portion of the park. This is also the time of year when they give birth and the presence of young wildebeest and zebra means plenty of food for predators and lions, hyenas, jackals and cheetahs should be seen taking advantage of the bounty. If we are lucky we could also see some of the more elusive predators like leopard, caracal and honey badger. The vast savannas support an incredible diversity of ungulates including African buffalo, Coke’s hartebeest, steinbuck, dikdik, impala, eland and both Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. Although the mammals take center stage, the birdlife in the Serengeti is rich and varied and includes three Tanzanian endemics – grey-breasted spurfowl, Fischer’s lovebird and rufous-tailed weaver. Flocks of vultures including lappet-faced, white-headed, hooded, white-backed and Ruppell’s griffon scavenge the many carcasses scattered across the plains. Some of the other bird species we hope to see include black-winged lapwing, yellow-throated sandgrouse, black coucal, Abyssinian scimitar-bill, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Usambiro barbet, magpie shrike, yellow-billed and red-billed oxpeckers, banded warblers, blue-capped cordon bleu, purple grenadier and beautiful sunbird. We will be staying at Ubuntu Tented Camp which is one of the few camps situated in the southeast. As a result we will be very close to the action on the plains – a big advantage in such a large park where other accommodations can be hours away. This camp will be our retreat as we explore the Serengeti and search for the migration. The accommodations at camp consist of individual luxury tents with all the comforts of a hotel room. The camp is not fenced and wildlife is often seen right outside the tents. Being able to witness the annual cycles and ancient drama of life, death and rebirth in this primeval wilderness is extraordinarily special and a rare privilege. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Monday, February 9: Serengeti and on to Ngorongoro Crater

We will have a morning game drive in the Serengeti and then have a chance to pack up before we travel to the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater. After we depart Ubuntu Camp we will game drive our way through the Serengeti stopping for a picnic lunch along the way. We should arrive in the Ngorongoro highlands later in the afternoon. Ngorongoro is a collapsed volcano that was once as tall as present day Mount Meru. The collapse of this volcano created a ten-mile wide crater that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. Once we climb into the crater highlands the views of Lake Eyasi and the Serengeti plains from this height are fantastic and the views overlooking the crater itself are breathtaking. After a brief look at the views from above we will continue to our accommodations at Sopa Lodge. Sopa is perched atop the east side of the crater rim. This isolated position, and proximity to the entrance road, makes Sopa very convenient for our early morning descent. After our arrival, if enough time permits, we may have a chance to look for birds and wildlife around the lodge grounds. After settling into our rooms we will have dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Tuesday, February 10: Ngorongoro Crater and Gibb’s Farm

The Ngorongoro Crater has been called the eighth wonder of the natural world and has been designated as both a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Taking a packed breakfast with us we will descend into the crater at dawn to explore this fantastic Park. The crater is home to the highest density of lions in Africa and contains more than 20,000 herbivores including hartebeest, buffalo, eland and Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles. Lions are not the only predators in this rich ecosystem as spotted hyenas, cheetah, servals, jackals and bat-eared foxes are also on the hunt. Hippos laze in many of the pools and bull elephants often move throughout the Park. The grasslands are filled with birds such as ostriches, kori bustards, crowned cranes and secretary-birds. The many marshes are home to flocks of ducks, geese, ibis, plovers, herons, kingfishers and weavers. The soda lake near the crater’s center often has a pink fringe to it as both greater and lesser flamingos feed in its shallows. Our early start is necessary today if we hope to see some of the last free-ranging black rhino in Africa as they are far more active in the early morning. All of the animals are used to vehicles and we will be able to get close enough to take excellent photographs. We will also have a packed lunch with us so we can maximize our time in the crater. After lunch we will continue our game drive and eventually climb the eastern wall to do a short hike through the forests along the rim. These forests are home to a myriad of bird species, most of which are not found on the crater floor. We will be looking for Schalow’s and Ross’s turacos, trumpeter hornbill, dusky turtle-dove, brown-backed woodpecker, montane white-eye and both golden-winged and Tacazze sunbirds. Mammals are also present along the rim, but are more difficult to see amongst the lush vegetation. After a full day in and about the Crater we will descend into the rolling hills of the Crater highlands and our accommodations at Gibb’s Farm. Gibb’s Farm was founded in 1929 and expanded to provide the first guesthouses in the region in the 1960s following the establishment of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro protected areas. Gibb’s Farm has continued to evolve and today is one of the premier resorts in East Africa. The accommodations at Gibbs are very comfortable with excellent amenities and outstanding service. Its relaxed plushness will be perfect after our long days on safari. After dinner we might have a chance to do a night walk in search of nocturnal mammals and birds. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Wednesday, February 11: The Crater Highlands to Arusha and our Departure

The gardens at Gibb’s Farm are extensive and the birdlife prolific so we will have a chance to do some bird watching early this morning before breakfast. After breakfast we will depart from the Crater highlands and travel back to Arusha. Once we arrive in Arusha we will visit, and have lunch at, the Shanga River House Restaurant and Craft Cooperative. This stop will give us a chance to do some shopping as well. Shanga is the Swahili word for “bead” and this cooperative was originally set up as a small project to empower and sustain disabled Tanzanians and provide them with an opportunity to create desirable crafts from recycled materials. Shanga now employs 34 workers and has grown into a popular restaurant and gift shop. After lunch and shopping we will transfer to Lake Duluti Lodge to settle into our private day rooms. We should have plenty of time to rest, pack and freshen up before our sumptuous farewell dinner at Duluti. After dinner we will transfer to the airport for our late night flight to Europe. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Thursday, February 12: Arrival in Europe and on to the US and Home

We should arrive at our European gateway city early in the morning with plenty of time to transfer to our flight to the US. Once in our US gateway city we will make our final transfers to our flights home.

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.

Cost:

$7,026.00/person all-inclusive tour package
<$1,700.00/person estimated international airfare* $8,726.00/person all-inclusive* *Note: It is EcoQuest Travel’s philosophy to provide an all-inclusive price, but due to the volatile nature of the airline industry, we are only able to provide an estimated airfare at this time. The actual date of ticketing will determine the price. Typically, we are accurate in our estimates, but please note that there may be a slight difference in pricing at the time of ticketing. If ticket prices at the time of booking are lower than our estimate the savings will be passed on to you. If they are higher you will be invoiced for the difference.

What’s Included:

Round-trip airfare from Washington DC to Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha, Tanzania
Land transportation within Tanzania
All accommodations – based upon double occupancy
All tours within the scheduled itinerary
Most meals are included throughout the safari – please see the itinerary for details
Permits, National Park entrance fees and guides
The leadership services of EcoQuest Travel professionals

What’s Not Included:

Gratuities (for drivers and Tanzanian guides)
Passport and Visa fees
Travel insurance (please see the Travel Insurance Section below)
Costs associated with pre-trip medical planning (such as vaccines)
Gifts and items of a personal nature

Travel Documents:

A passport valid for at least 6 months after our arrival is required for travel in Tanzania. A tourist visa, issued from the Tanzanian Embassy here in the US, is also required. The visa is called a “Single Entry Tourist” visa and is good for up to a three-month stay. Currently the visa application fee is $100.00. For full details on how to apply, including application forms, please see the Tanzanian Embassy website at: HYPERLINK “http://www.tanzaniaembassy-us.org/” www.tanzaniaembassy-us.org

Group Size:

The trip cost is based on a minimum number of participants – 10 people. Although 10 people are required in order to make this trip a reality; we may be able to accommodate up to a maximum of 12 people depending on the availability of accommodation space.

Health Requirements:

The Government of Tanzania only requires vaccination against yellow fever if you are arriving from infected areas. There is no risk of yellow fever in Tanzania so a yellow fever vaccination is not necessary for this trip unless you visited a country where yellow fever occurs immediately prior to our trip. While a Yellow Fever vaccine is not required, there are several vaccines that would be prudent to consider prior to traveling in Africa. These include Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Hepatitis B. One should also check to make sure that vaccines against Tetanus/Diphtheria and Polio are up to date. Malaria is present in East Africa and the use of anti-malarial medications should be considered mandatory for this trip. Information on travel related diseases and vaccines to prevent them can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website at: www.cdc.gov/travel
We highly recommend discussing all medical issues related to travel with your doctor well in advance of the proposed travel date (at least 6 months prior to departure).

Payments and Reservations:

A deposit of $2,000.00 per person is required by April 30, 2014, along with your reservation form, in order to reserve space on the trip. We are traveling to Tanzania during the busiest time of the year and this early deposit is necessary in order to insure accommodation space. This is also a popular trip, so we encourage you to send the deposit well in advance of the due date as paying the deposit is the only way to secure your spot. The reservation form is available on our website here and can be filled out online and submitted via email, or downloaded and mailed. Personal checks, money orders and credit cards are accepted. If paying by personal check it should be made payable to EcoQuest Travel, Inc. and on the memo line please indicate: For Tanzania Trip 2014. If paying by credit card please phone your credit card information in to EcoQuest Travel at: (919) 963-3038. EcoQuest Travel accepts Visa, MasterCard and most bank debit cards. After your initial deposit the remaining balance will be invoiced in two payments according to the schedule below.

  • A payment of at least $3,363.00 is required no later than August 1, 2014.
  • The remainder of the trip expense ($3,363.00) will be due on or before November 1, 2014.

Cancellation:

The initial deposit, as well as subsequent payments, will be used to purchase airline tickets and pay deposits for accommodations, travel arrangements, etc. in Tanzania. Therefore, if you must withdraw from the trip, irrespective of reason, a refund will not be possible. We strongly suggest that you protect yourself with the purchase of trip cancellation insurance. We will try to retain a wait list for this trip and it is possible, if you end up not being able to participate, that we would have a replacement for you; however, it is your responsibility to find a replacement or to have insurance.
Please note that in the event EcoQuest Travel, Inc. does not have enough participants for this trip a refund of the initial deposit, and any subsequent payments, will be issued.

Travel Insurance

EcoQuest Travel, Inc. partners with Allianz Global Assistance (formerly – Access America) to provide the best possible travel insurance for our clients. They offer trip cancellation and worldwide emergency services (such as emergency evacuation and emergency medical services) as well as a host of other benefits. You can find more information on Allianz’s website ( HYPERLINK “http://www.allianzassistance.com” www.allianzassistance.com) including how to get quotes and sign up. You do not have to use Allianz Global Assistance and may choose to use another company. In either case, EcoQuest Travel, Inc. strongly suggests the purchase of trip cancellation/medical insurance. If you do decide to purchase travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance please give them the following EcoQuest Travel vendor (or ACCAM) number: F031120. This number identifies that you are working with an Allianz Global Assistance partner.
Note: Pre-existing conditions will be waived by Allianz Global Assistance if you purchase travel insurance within 14 calendar days of your initial trip deposit. For more information please see their website.

General Information

Upon receiving your deposit and reservation form you will be sent an information packet containing flight information, baggage requirements, hints on what to bring and other useful information. The climate will vary from potentially hot and dry during the day to quite cool at night and the possibility of rain should be prepared for. You will want to bring a camera, film and binoculars. Again, a more exhaustive list will be provided after you are registered for the trip.

Trip Leaders:

David Davenport: Zoologist and President – EcoQuest Travel

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