Home » Tanzania effect: unmissable itineraries from Kilimanjaro to Lake Natron. Here are the second 10

Tanzania effect: unmissable itineraries from Kilimanjaro to Lake Natron. Here are the second 10

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Tanzania effect: unmissable itineraries from Kilimanjaro to Lake Natron.  Here are the second 10

ARUSHA – “Safari” means journey in Swahili and from the highest mountain in Africa to the boundless plains crossed by wild and wonderful animals, northern Tanzania is the destination with the highest density of world-famous attractions on the continent.

To discover them, we have created a special on and off-road itinerary between national parks, geological miracles, flaming alkaline lakes and silent valleys inhabited by millenary tribes. Over the course of the approximately 2,000km of rough and dusty off-road routes, the route always passed through solitary large-scale landscapes which in turn, can only be tackled in relative safety with Toyota Land Cruisers specially equipped for safaris.

Between travel and game drives, you have to keep in mind that most of the journey will be spent inside a jolting car and with first aid of any kind, hours and hours away. From rural to urban areas, discovering Tanzania by car requires caution, planning and good health but in exchange offers chromatic compositions that would make Kandinsky envious, immense ecosystems left in their primordial state and biological cycles which, renewing themselves over millions of years, demonstrate how nature has always been the most perfect example of circularity.

In the first episode we talked about the first ten itineraries, here are the other ten.

11: Sinfonia in off-road

Continuing south-west on the B144 and still at around 2,000 meters above sea level, the laterite road that began with the entrance to the Ngorongoro winds through the fertile slopes that delimit the external side of the caldera. Like a dark red line between emerald green valleys, the dirt “track” divides a majestic pastoral landscape in which many Masai communities have been forced to relocate to make room for the tourist “development” of the parks. The light and views are extraordinary and after about two/three hours of driving, you reach the lesser-known Ndutu lake.

12: The valleys of the Masai

The route is completely removed from conventional safari tours and, especially in the first part of the off-road itinerary, you can see many examples of the Masai boma; villages with circular thatched houses where some families belonging to the largest tribe in Tanzania continue to live their lives according to ancestral customs. From traditional medicine to clothing to eating habits (semolina, milk, cow’s blood), many Maasai remain anchored to the past, repudiating any form of modernity.

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13: Ndutu and the great migration

Ndutu is a park for experts only and the only one where it is allowed to leave the paths to venture into the middle of nowhere between savannah and prairies. This allows you to literally cross the migration, guarded at a distance by the lions who, hidden in the tall grass or along the lake basin, seek shelter from the heat. Proceeding slowly you arrive at parking a few meters from the animals so much so that you can listen to their breathing, follow the love rites and even the birth of the wildebeests who, a few minutes after giving birth, must already know how to run. The downside of this pearl outside the tourist circuits of northern Tanzania is that in case of rain or if the ground is damp, the risk is to remain bogged down for entire days before a tractor arrives.

14: Serengeti crossing

Almost as large as Lazio but without a single paved road, electricity pole or other human footprints outside of small tented camps and lodges, the legendary Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of the Tanapa collection and in terms of fauna, the most important natural park on the planet. Masai word for large open space, the geographical area that extends to Kenya has approximately 3,000 lions, 1.5 million wildebeests, 500,000 Thompson gazelles, 200,000 zebras, 90,000 impalas, 400,000 thousand buffaloes, 10,000 giraffes, 3,000 elephants, 40 rhinoceroses and other dozens of animal species. The best time to witness hunting scenes are the summer months but the particular alchemy of the place between tension, survival instinct and harmony is a fixed presence. Stay as long as you can, exploring it far and wide.

15: Balconies on acacias and kopjes

To experience the dramas and confrontations of the park of parks and observe the landscape of acacias, clearings and kopjes (geological rock formations) in all its nuances, it is necessary to stay overnight within the Serengeti for at least three days. Of the approximately 150 structures present, the Four Seasons Safari Lodge Sergenti is positioned at the pinnacle of the offer. The structure characterized by an earth-colored main body and the spectacular elevated walkway over the savannah that leads to villas and homes, is aimed at its international clientele, ensuring a personalized and impeccable interpretation of contemporary luxury. The concept also extends to the Four Seasons’ 10 safari cars with premium trims, dedicated to unforgettable game drives.

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16: Serengeti Cats from the Four Seasons Land Cruiser

The Serengeti presents endless opportunities for visual interaction with wild animals but given the vastness of the place, to get the most out of game-drives it is advisable to rely on an expert driver such as those hired by the Four Seasons. Their permanent presence in the park facilitates the knowledge of the lesser-known routes, thus facilitating the sightings of the big cats which during the day tend to hide in the tall grass, on the branches of the trees or in the kopjes. With his binoculars facing the circular horizon and his ears on the radio, our guide gathers intelligence until he reaches four cheetahs (mother and offspring) walking on the grasslands. Shortly after, the Land Cruiser lurks just below a majestic leopard that scrutinizes its prey from a solitary acacia. During the return to the lodge at sunset, we drive alongside herds of buffalo and dozens of elephants of all sizes while during the night exploration (allowed to very few lodges), we happen to come across lion cubs and see leopards and lionesses in hunting setup.

17: Looking into the eyes of giraffes

In the perpetual vital recycling of the Serengeti (and other parks) the hypnotic giraffes play a fundamental role. By chewing the thorny branches and flowers of acacias, they act as gardeners for trees and shrubs, then putting seeds and nutrients back into circulation which will become food for other herbivores. Thanks to the raised platform and the opening roof of the safari Land Cruisers, it almost seems like you can look directly into the eyes of the tallest land mammal (as well as the largest ruminant in the world) whose gaze and coat are one of the main sources of inspiration for the African art. Giraffes have a 11kg heart and special valves to control circulation.

18: The hidden magic of Lake Natron

From Kleins Gate (northern exit of the Serengeti) to the intense climate of Lake Natron (the largest alkaline lake in the world), the road is so far off course that Google maps can’t even see it. Here too, it is better to have an expert guide on board because the off-road route via Wasso and Sonjo is among the most remote in Tanzania. Upon arrival, the reward is finding yourself almost alone in one of the most adventurous corners of the country. To make a small contribution to the local community, you can stay overnight at the Masai Giraffe Eco Lodge which, in addition to the charming typical-style rooms, offers excursions into the Masai culture, sunrise trips on the lake dotted with flamingos and wonderful walks towards the Engaresero waterfalls in the heart of the Rift Valley.

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19: Climb volcanoes from Ol Doinyo Lengai to “Kili”

If the climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro takes about a week, a few minutes’ drive from Lake Natron stands the iconic Ol Doinyo volcano which can be “climbed” in about 12 hours. Especially in the last stretch, the climb is tough but the views from the 2962 meter high peak are absolutely worth the effort. The only active volcano in northern Tanzania is in fact located in a privileged position between the large rift valley, Lake Natron and Mount Meru. This area is also known as “the cradle of humanity” thanks to the discovery of footprints and fossils of the first hominids, dating back to 3.5 – 2.5 million years ago. In the relatively nearby Olduvai Gorge, archaeologists have recovered the bones of Australopithecus boisei and Homo habilis among the rocky stratifications.

20: Tanzania on the road, practical advice

In Tanzania you drive on the right in the left lane but compared to England, the traffic is much messier and unpredictable. It is always advisable to go slowly (between 50-80km/h) and stick to the limits while inside the national parks, having an expert local guide with you is almost essential. To rent the car (better if equipped with two spare wheels, hydraulic jack, winch, shovel, auxiliary batteries, radio) you need an international driving license. When planning trips and transfers between destinations, it is wise to allow double the time than suggested by online maps. There are many attractions along the way, including potholes and flooding during the common rains. It is therefore advisable to have ample margin to face unexpected events and also to stop without haste, to listen and observe the rhythm of rural villages like Mto wa Mbu; crossroads for cultural excursions and small shops along the road with magnificent works of art paying homage to the colours, fauna and spirit of Africa.

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