Arrive Arusha, Tanzania
Tour begins: Kilimanjaro International Airport. A transfer is included from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Meliá Arusha in Arusha. Your new 5-star luxury resort is located adjacent to a traditional coffee plantation. Your family's Africa safari adventure begins in the morning!
Arusha National Park game drive
Adventures await on our family safari! First up this morning, join an experienced local guide on a full-day game drive in Arusha National Park (the first of many on your journey); you’ll be on the lookout for giraffes, zebra, the Cape buffalo, baboons, waterbuck, flamingos and other wildlife during your drive. Return to the hotel mid-afternoon for some time to spend as you please prior to a welcome reception and dinner – with some special surprises.
Tarangire National Park
Head to Tarangire National Park today – the place where life began, according to Maasai legend, and immortalized in many movies about Africa. Marvel at the classic African savannah stretching out all around you, the wildlife-rich plains studded with baobob trees. Hop aboard our open-topped safari vehicles for an afternoon game drive; look for big cats lounging under baobab trees or elephants cooling off at a watering hole. Enjoy dinner and the evening at Tarangire Safari Lodge.
Wildlife Viewing on Two Game Drives
An up-close look at wildlife in Tarangire today begins with a morning game drive to Silale Swamp. After returning to the lodge for lunch and and some hands-on learning of Maasai crafts, head back out into the bush for an afternoon game drive and even more experiences guaranteed to create shared memories that will last lifetimes. Following dinner back at camp, learn some Swahili around the campfire, perhaps including such words as jambo (hello), kwa heri (goodbye), simba (lion) and ninafurahia (I am having a great time)!
A Maasai Boma & On to Ngorongoro
Make your way to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area today. En route, you'll stop for lunch in Lake Manyara National Park, a bird-lover's paradise; meet the students and teacher at a new primary school that Tauck helps support; and visit a Maasai boma (a traditional hut village preserving Maasai cultural customs). Arrive late afternoon at your colonial lodge in Karatu, where your cottage-style accommodations for the next two nights overlook a coffee plantation and the eastern wall of the remarkable Ngorongoro Crater.
Game Viewing Inside an Age-Old Crater
One of the best places on this Africa tour to spot the Big Five – elephants, leopards, lions, buffalo and the rare black rhinoceros – ancient Ngorongoro Crater, often called Africa's "Garden of Eden," is home to almost every species in Africa... except the giraffe, which can't negotiate the steep incline down into the caldera. Game drives and a unique picnic lunch on the crater floor offer ample opportunities to spot lions, cheetahs, hippos and lots of birds. Then it's back to your lodge in Karatu for the evening.
Serengeti National Park
Today, you'll depart Tloma Lodge and hop a morning flight from Lake Manyara to the Seronera airstrip in Serengeti National Park. As you do, you'll fly over Oldupai Gorge, where, over 50 years ago, archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey discovered the fossilized remains of some of the earliest known human species, an estimated 1.8 million years old. Arrive late morning at the Meliá Serengeti Lodge, where you'll begin a three-night stay in the heart of the vast Serengeti plains. After lunch, embark on a late-afternoon game drive in Serengeti National Park, in search of animals that make their homes here; perhaps you’ll see lions, antelopes, elephants and zebras in their daily rituals. Return to camp for a briefing on tomorrow's hot air balloon flight across the Serengeti, followed by dinner at the lodge.
Hot air ballooning over the Serengeti
Rise early for a whole new angle on the landscapes and wildlife of Serengeti National Park – an unforgettable ride over the vast Serengeti plains in a hot air balloon* – followed by a champagne breakfast in the bush and some game viewing later in the morning. After lunch at the lodge, look for zebras, hyenas, leopards and more on an afternoon game drive with your local guide. Back at your lodge tonight, enjoy a special dinner, where you'll have more stories to share.
Farewell to the Serengeti
Your lodge in the Serengeti enables you to savor the African landscape, view even more wildlife, and discover local Maasai traditions and daily life on the last full day of your family's fun-filled Africa tour. The whole family will learn about Maasai crafts and local conservation projects, and enjoy walks with the lodge's Maasai staff. After lunch, enjoy a farewell game drive in Serengeti National Park, where you can often see wildebeest and large numbers of lions and cheetahs, as well as herds of giraffe and zebra – an unforgettable spectacle of Africa's circle of life, right before your eyes! Equally impressive are Tanzania's magical sunsets, which you'll enjoy during a farewell reception on the terrace of your lodge on your final night on safari, followed by a festive farewell dinner and some authentic Maasai fun.
Tour ends: Kilimanjaro International Airport. Tour concludes after a flight back to the city of Arusha, a visit to the Shanga community project, and lunch at the Cultural Heritage Center. Flights departing Africa leave late tonight; we have reserved a day room for you at the Meliá Arusha so that you can repack and relax as you wish. A transfer is included from the Meliá Arusha to Kilimanjaro International Airport this evening.