Provider: Thomson Safaris
Length: 14 days
Home to one of the largest concentrations of wildlife on earth, Tanzania not surprisingly attracts safari-goers in great numbers. To keep this inquisitive species of traveler in line, the government restricts visitor activities in many popular wildlife areas. Luckily, long-time Tanzania specialists Thomson Safaris will be taking travelers into a new wilderness area near Serengeti National Park on its Explorer's Safari starting in May.
The company's American founders, who run their own African ground operation and employ full-time Tanzanian-born guides, recently purchased the private Loliondo wilderness area expressly to give their clients more activity options. "Because it is 12,000 privately-owned, unspoiled acres, guests will be able to move about freely with their guides and not see any other tourists," says Ina Steinhilber of Thomas Safaris. "The area also allows for walking, hiking, [dining in the bush], and night wildlife viewing drives. All of these activities are heavily restricted or forbidden within the parks, but we can do it all."
This safari doesn't leave out the other important conservation areas either. After Loliondo, you'll spend several days going on game drives in Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, and then trek though Maasailand and the Great Rift Valley, visiting with local Maasai people along the way. "We've managed to mesh together the 'best of the best' into one trip, so that we cover excellent wildlife viewing, exploration, culture, and the ability to explore on foot, all within two weeks," says Steinhilber.
Monthly departures run May through October in 2008 and January to February in 2009. Rates cover all accommodations, meals, guides, ground transportation, park fees, game drives and walks, and airport transfers from Arusha, the trip's start and end point. Airfare is not included. Thomson can arrange flights from the East Coast starting around $1,320 round-trip.