September 01, 2016 – the Annular Solar Eclipse is going to take place and one of the best viewing sites is at the small town of Mbeya in South-West Tanzania. As with our past eclipse tours, we have once again put together an exciting journey that combines the eclipse viewing with two wild game safaris. The best thing is that annular is timed for one of the best game viewing season.
Tanzania is known as the best game life destination in the world. This is the land of the Big Five: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Cape Buffalo. Tanzania is notable both for sheer numbers and variety with representatives of 430 species and subspecies among the country’s more than four million wild animals. These include the Big Five as well as zebras, wildebeest, giraffe, buffaloes, hyenas, hippos, antelopes, gazelles, elands, kudus, etc.
Our 15 days journey will start with the popular Northern Circuit with an exciting 7 days game safaris at the National Parks in Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Tarangire – using the deluxe and strategically located mostly Serena Safaris lodges. Then we take a country drive to Dodoma (the new capital) enroute to Mbeya. A 3 days stay here allows us to view the Annular eclipse very comfortably. Next we drive to the Ruaha National parks where it is a whole different setting for animal viewing. Ruaha is known for the rare rhinos, hippos and an abundance of birds. We culminate the eclipse safari at Dar es Salaam from where international flights are easily available. All this in comfort using specially designed deluxe 4x4’s safari jeeps with each getting a window seat. This the way to experience the best game safari in the world with, what is expected to be a spectacular viewing of the annular eclipse.
The tour leader is Dr. B. Ralph Chou, Professor Emeritus of Optometry at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. Dr. Chou is recognized as a world authority on solar eclipse eye safety, and is was a contributor to the NASA Solar Eclipse Bulletins until 2010. He has led 12 solar eclipse tours since 1983, and the 2016 event will be his 18th total solar eclipse. He has been a consultant for almost all of the major manufacturers of solar filters, and serves on the International Astronomical Union's Solar Eclipses Program Group as an advisor on eclipse eye safety.
|Tour Duration||:||14 days|
|Min. Tour Size||:||12 persons|
|Max. Tour Size||:||20 persons|
|Includes international air|
|Tour Price (from)||:||US$|
Day 01: Aug 23, 2016: Arrive Arusha (Kilimanjaro)(Tanzania)
Jambo, Karibuni! We are cordially welcomed as we arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport. We are warmly welcomed and transferred to our resort. Balance of the day is free. Arusha is the exact centre between Cairo and Cape Town and the gateway to the safari game parks of Northern Tanzania. For those arriving early in the day an optional tour of Arusha town and the Masai Craft Centre can be arranged.
Overnight: Serena Mountain Village (1 night)
Day 02: Aug 24, 2016: Arusha/Lake Manyara
Our safari starts with a scenic drive to Lake Manyara. We enter the majestic Lake Manyara Game Park and embark on the first of the many game safari of the North. The park is sandwiched between the Rift Valley and Lake Manyara. A pretty location with a good range of game of giraffes, elephants, baboons and the rarely seen tree-climbing lions.
Overnight: Lake Manyara Serena Lodge (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 03: Aug 25, 2016: Lake Manyara/Serengeti National Park
We depart for the famous Olduvai Gorge where the Africanthorpus skull An archaeological site located in the eastern Serengeti Plains, the gorge is a very steep sided ravine roughly 48 Kms long and 100 meters deep. Exposed deposits show rich fossil fauna, many hominid remains and items belonging to the one of the oldest stone tool technologies, called Olduwai. The time span of the objects recovered date from 2,100,000 to 15,000 years ago. Arrival at the Serengeti National Park in time to enjoy our 2nd game safari.
Overnight: Serengeti Serena Lodge (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 04: Aug 26, 2016: Serengeti National Park
Optional early morning balloon safari.
The Serengeti National Park is most famous for its annual migration of over one million and a half white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey. Today is full day game drive with either a hot lunch at the lodge or picnic lunch. (B, L, D)
Day 05: Aug 27, 2016: Serengeti National Park/Ngorongoro Crater
After breakfast we drive to the incredible Ngorongoro Crater. We will use the Malanja Depression route allowing us to see many Masia villages enroute. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a conservation area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site The jewel in Ngorongoro's crown is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world. About 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq Kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder. The rich pasture and permanent water of the Crater floor supports a large resident population of wildlife of up to 25,000 predominantly grazing animals. These include wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, buffalo, eland, kongoni and warthogs.
Overnight: Ngorongoro Serena Lodge (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 06: Aug 28, 2016: Ngorongoro Crater/Tarangire National Park
After breakfast we take another scenic drive to Tarangirte National Park. Afternoon we take our last Northern Tanzania game safari. Herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the dry river bed for underground streams, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. It's the greatest concentration of wildlife outside the Serengeti ecosystem - a smorgasbord for predators – and the one place in Tanzania where dry-country antelope as the stately fringe-eared oryx and the long-necked gerenuk are regularly observed.
Overnight:Tarangire River Camp (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 07: Aug 29, 2016: Tarangire/Dodoma
After breakfast and packed lunch we drive to Dodoma (the new official capital). Enroute we visit the Koo Rocks Paintings. Today’s drive will be another interesting one very different scenes then the drives between the national parks. We will stop at villages and small towns. The drive can take about 6 hours. Evening, drive through tour of the new capital.
Overnight: New Dodoma Hotel (1 night) (B, L)
Day 08: Aug 30, 2016: Dodoma/Mbeya
After breakfast we drive head for Mbeya. This is a long day’s drive and should take us about 8 hours. Again, we will be seeing a whole different country with stops at villages and towns enroute.
Overnight:Hill View Hotel, Mbeya (3 nights) (B, L)
Day 09: Aug 31, 2016: Mbeya
Founded as a gold mining town, Mbeya is the capital of the region but with a very small population of some 300,000 inhabitants. Mbeya is an important halt in the Tanzania-Zambia railway that starts in the coast at Dar es Salaam and was built in the 60’s by the Chinese to give an access to the sea for the landlocked country. After breakfast we survey the eclipse site followed by a tour of Mbeya town. (B)
Day 10: Sep 01, 2016: Mbeya - ECLIPSE DAY
Today is eclipse day and after breakfast we will go to our site from where we will view the eclipse. Our leader, Dr Ralph Chou, will give us hints and suggestions on how to view and take photographs. By the time the eclipse viewing is completed, it should be afternoon. Balance of the time will be at leisure many will be exchanging images of the eclipse. (B)
Day 11: Sep 02, 2016: Mbeya/Ruaha National Park
One excitement ends and another one starts. Back to the safari gear and we drive to Ruaha River Lodge to arrive in time for a hot lunch. Ruaha National Park has a high diversity of plants and animals including elephants, buffalos, antelopes and some of rare and endangered species like wild dogs. Ruaha National Park has a high diversity of plants and animals including elephants, buffalos, antelopes and some of rare and endangered species like wild dogs. Ruah River Lodge has a unique privileged position allowing views of the river. Game is drawn from and to the river from the hills allowing us to see a lot action from our windows. It has resident hippos and crocs and guests have seen several incidents of lion and leopard kills from the lodge. Afternoon we enjoy the first of the many Ruaha game drives.
Overnight: Ruaha River Lodge (3 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 12: Sep 03, 2016: Ruaha National Park
After breakfast we enjoy full day game drives. Game drives are divided into a morning and afternoon one. Ruaha has game throughout the year. Due to its location between the northern and southern hemispheres, bird migrants, mammal and plant species practically over lap. There are over 1600 plant species and over 500 bird species making it home to over half of the bird species in the whole of Tanzania. (B, L, D)
Day 13: Sep 04, 2016: Ruaha National Park
Our last day at Ruaha and we are still enthusiastic to see more of the animals in action. We have two half day game drives scheduled for today. It will be our last day of seeing the game life in action. (B, L, D)
Day 14: Sep 05, 2016: Ruaha/Dar International Airport
A relaxed day today. After an exciting eclipse and wildlife safari, we are transferred to Ruaha airstrip for your flight to Dar es Salaam from where we can connect with flights back home. Optional extensions at Dar es Salaam or an excursion to the Spice Island of Zanzibar, available upon request. (B, L)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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