Arrive in Dar es Salaam, meaning “Haven of Peace” in Swahili. You’ll be met and transferred to the Holiday Inn. The remainder of the day you are free to rest or explore on your own. Depending on airline used, this night may be required at the end of the trip instead.
Transfer to the airport for flight to Mikumi National Park, arriving in time for lunch and a siesta before your evening game drive. Mikumi is part of the Selous ecosystem and consists of a plain surrounded by mountains with the Ulugurus and Udzungwas to the south east and north east and the Ruhumero mountains to the west. Four major vegetation zones converge in Mikumi, and there are 60 different mammal species, 400 bird species, and over 1200 plant species. Stanley's Kopje offers 360 degree panoramic views of the Mwanambogo water hole – a favourite haunt for hippo, water fowl, kingfisher, ibis, goliath heron, giraffe, buffalo and elephant. Using open game viewing vehicles you will also have the chance to see lion, leopard, elephant, crocodile, hippo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and varied antelopes, sable, colobus monkey and blue wildebeest (of the Nyassaland variety) on your drives. Overnight at the camp.
We head to the Mkata plains and the Mwanamboga Waterhole, where there’s a good chance of seeing wildebeest, buffalo and various antelopes, as well as their predators: lion, leopard, hunting dog and hyena. With a full day game drive around the park, and a picnic lunch en route, you will have plenty of opportunity to explore the various habitats of the park. Overnight at Stanley's Kopje.
Although you can spend another day exploring Mikumi, we recommend a day trip to the unique and fascinating Udzungwa Mountains National Park. This small mountainous rainforest park is a comfortable hour’s drive away from Mikumi. There are no roads within the park, so the recommended excursion is a strenuous trek up the slopes under the canopy of the rain forest to the spectacular Sanje waterfall. There are various endemic primate and bird species to look out for as you go. After the trek, you return to Stanley's Kopje.
Transfer to airstrip for flight to Ruaha National Park. You will be met in an open game viewing vehicle for the drive up the river to the lodge. Ruaha is the largest national park in Africa, with species associated in both southern and eastern Africa: Grant’s gazelle, lesser kudu, striped hyena, greater kudu, Lichenstein’s hartebeest, roan antelope etc. The park has dramatic mountainous scenery and varied topography, ranging from the grassland plains - with cheetah and gazelle; - riverine forests - refuge to the delicate dik dik and bushbuck as well as hippo and crocs; Baobab-covered rocky kopjes - home to elephant, klipspringer and leopard. There are also a staggering 1600 plant species and 526 bird species. Ruaha River Lodge is positioned to give spectacular views up and down the river. Wildlife amasses along this limited water resource and you can you can sit on your private veranda and watch giraffe, impala, greater kudu and warthogs come to drink. Stay 3 nights at Ruaha River Lodge.
From Ruaha you fly to Selous Game Reserve, the largest conservation area in Africa. Dominated by the Rufiji River, the Selous is the only park which offers boating safaris. Exploring the river on the adapted flat bottom boats is dramatic: you'll be navigating through the hordes of hippos and crocs, and watching the elephants splash around at the waters edge. Being a Reserve rather than a National Park the reserve offers great opportunities for walking safaris as well as 4x4 safaris. Stay at Rufiji River Camp.
A beach extension at Lazy Lagoon can be added to this programme. This itinerary begins and ends in Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania's oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration,
Reputedly having the densest population of lions in Tanzania and if so the world, chances of seeing all of the "Big Five" within a single day are as high as they get