Day 1 (Saturday, Feb. 23)-Departure
Our adventure begins as we depart Minneapolis in the afternoon and we spend the night over the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 2 (Sunday, Feb. 24)-Ilboru Safari Lodge
Our flight arrives at Kilimanjaro International Airport in the evening. Following Immigration, we collect our luggage and move outside. We board a bus and transfer to our hotel in Arusha. This is about an hour drive. We overnight at the Ilboru Safari Lodge.
Day 3 (Monday, Feb. 25)-Ilboru Safari Lodge
This morning we awake to the birds chirping. Our bungalows are surrounded by beautiful flowers and shrubbery. If the sky is clear, we can see Mt. Meru, at almost 15,000 ft. elevation. Following our breakfast, the vehicles collect us and take us to the Arusha Community Church for 10:30am service. This is an interdenominational service for English speakers and is made up of people from all over the world. After the service we transfer around to the backside of Mt. Meru, to the Arusha National Park. We ascend through lush forest up towards the ash cone and stop at a waterfall for a picnic lunch. We then descend and drive around the Momella Lakes, where we may see giraffes, warthogs, Cape buffalos, zebras, elephants, hippos, black and white Colobus monkeys, pink flamingoes, and a variety of duikers and other small antelope. We return to our lodge in time for a quick shower before dinner. We overnight at the Ilboru Safari Lodge. B/L/D
Day 4 & 5 (Tuesday, Feb. 26-Wednesday, Feb. 27)-
Ilboru Safari Lodge
These days are filled with visits to various Lutheran church projects, many that were started by missionaries David and Eunice Simonson, Concordia alumni. The group is divided into smaller groups so that things are more manageable and so we do not overwhelm the sites we visit. Everyone gets the chance to see and participate in the following projects: Arusha Lutheran Medical Center, Selian Hospital for the Maasai and other poor people who live in the area, Plaster House which houses up to 100 children who have undergone various surgeries (straightening legs, cleft palates, burns etc) and receive physical and occupational therapy here until they are ready to return home, palliative/hospice care where you may be able to accompany someone on a visit to meet the patients at their homes, and a visit the Olchoki School, an elementary school that is in the general area of your lodge. One of these afternoons around 4:30-5pm, you will have the opportunity to visit the home of Eunice Simonson for refreshments and goodies. Eunice will regale you with the tales of her 60 years in Tanzania. We overnight at the Ilboru Safari Lodge. B/L/D
Day 6 & 7 (Thursday, Feb. 28-Friday, Mar. 1)-Tloma Lodge
Our safari starts right after breakfast when we drive to the Maasai Girls Lutheran Secondary School in Monduli. Concordia College has a close relationship with the girls of this school. There have even been some of these women who have had the opportunity to come to Concordia College to study. This was David Simonson's last project and the fulfillment of a dream, many years in the making. We continue on to Lake Manyara National Park. This lake/park is nestled along the base of the Great Rift Wall and is home to giraffes, Cape buffalos, lions, elephants, warthogs, impalas, hippos, baboons and others. We enjoy a picnic lunch at a picnic site that is set up on a hill overlooking the lake. After lunch we drive around looking for wildlife and birdlife. This small park contains 5 vegetation zones. Next we ascend the Rift Wall, as we drive towards Ngorongoro Crater. We overnight at the Tloma Lodge. B/L/D
Day 8 (Saturday, Mar. 2)-Ndutu Safari Lodge
After an early breakfast, we ascend to the rim of the crater. The early morning fog and the Spanish moss hanging from some of the trees, gives off a spooky feeling. The sun eventually rolls back the low hanging clouds. The descent to the floor of the crater is about 2,000 ft. and the diameter of this intact caldera is about 10 miles. We spend much of the day driving around looking for the endangered black rhinos, lions, zebras, wildebeests, Feb jackals, Thompson and Grants gazelles, warthogs, Cape buffalos, ostriches, cheetahs, and more. At Soda Lake we’ll also see pink flamingoes. We enjoy a picnic lunch by the hippo pool. By mid-afternoon, we ascend out of the crater and drive around the rim, down onto the Serengeti Plains. This drive may be rushed in order to get to the lodge before dark but you drive through the migrations of thousands of wildebeest and zebra. You will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the animals at a slow pace during the next two days. We overnight at the Ndutu Safari Lodge. B/L/D
Day 9 (Sunday, Mar. 3)-Ndutu Safari Lodge
For those who choose, there is an opportunity for an early sunrise game drive returning to the lodge in time for breakfast. After breakfast we go out on a game drive and return to the lodge for lunch. A relaxing siesta gives us time to recharge both our bodies and our camera batteries. Around 4:40pm, our driver collects us for a sundown game drive. This area has so much to see especially at this time of year. Wildebeests are here to calve, so there are many babies wobbling around. You also see zebras, Thompson and Grant gazelles, elands, cheetahs, lions, possibly even leopards, ostriches, warthogs, bat-eared foxes, jackals, and etc. This evening we sit around the campfire after dinner. We overnight at the Ndutu Safari Lodge. B/L/D
Day 10 (Monday, Mar. 4)-Tarangire Safari Lodge
After an early breakfast we head back toward the Ngorongoro Crater. There is an optional stop to visit the Oldupai Gorge. This famous archeological site was where Mary and Louis Leakey found many remains of early humans. There is a museum on site and we can view down into the gorge, which shows beautifully the different strata that give archeologist information about weather at that time, volcano eruptions, flora and fauna living at each time period, and what type of humans existed there at different times in history. We continue up and over the Crater and on to Tarangire National Park. We arrive in time for lunch. After lunch we can relax and rest in the permanent en suite tent or go for a refreshing dip in the beautiful swimming pool. The lodge is situated on the edge of a bluff overlooking the Tarangire River. We can watch from the veranda of the lodge or the veranda in front of the tent, as various animals come to the river to drink. This park is known for its large elephant population. Around 4:30pm, the driver takes us out into the park for a game drive until sundown. We overnight at the Tarangire Safari Lodge. B/L/D
Day 11 & 12 (Tuesday, Mar. 5-Wednesday, Mar. 6)-
Tarangire Safari Lodge
These two days offer us three game drives each day, sunrise, morning and late afternoon. Some can choose to stay at the lodge, to relax or swim, instead of going on a game drive. Besides the many family groups of elephants, you may see lions, cheetahs, possibly leopards, Cape buffalos, impalas, warthogs, ostriches, and a wide variety of birds. This park looks different than the others because of the huge baobab trees that dot the rolling hills, giving it a prehistoric appearance. We overnight at the Tarangire Safari Lodge. B/L/D
Day 13 (Thursday, March 7)-Return
On our last day of the safari we can remain at the lodge and game view. After lunch our driver drives us to Arusha and on to the airport for our flight back to the States. B/L
Day 14 (Friday, March 8)-Return
We arrive in the US today.