Tanzania Walking Safari

Trekking with the Great Migration

Overview

Overview

There is nothing quite so wonderful (trust us on this) as walking across the great savannahs of East Africa. Walking during the Great Migration, as hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra follow greening pastures, simply defies superlatives. We have been doing this trek as one of our Adventures for a Cause to raise funds for elephant conservation and it has been such a success that we wanted to offer it as a private trip as well.

Our Trek across Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is pure magic. For a week we walk between 5 and 10+ miles a day (your choice!) across an area where no safari vehicles are allowed. We follow rivers, camp amid groves of acacia trees, and revel in absolute isolation. Our highly experienced guides know and understand this environment intimately. They teach us how to observe wind direction, identify animal tracks and read the behavior of large animals so that we can observe them in safety. On the trek we see lots of wildlife, including elephants, big cats, Cape buffalo, giraffe and eland, zebra. And we trek during the period when huge herds of wildebeest and zebra are moving between the Masai Mara and the Serengeti. As we approach the Mara River there is a good chance we will be walking amidst the Great Migration.

Being on foot and seeing big game in its natural habitat is an experience that stays with you forever. It’s so much more intimate than a vehicle-based safari and you really feel you are getting under the skin of the place.

While we are walking our support team goes ahead by jeep and sets up our next camp. We arrive to find tents ready, and food and drinks awaiting us. During the heat of the day we rest in the shade of acacia trees. In late afternoon we do an optional shorter walk in the area around our camp. Then there are hot showers ready for us! After a delicious dinner we gather around a campfire beneath the vast, star–studded African sky, sharing stories with our guides.

We sleep in dome tents with comfortable mattresses and bedding. Before dawn each morning we are gently called awake, and served a hearty breakfast to prepare us for the day’s walking. We carry our own water, a packed lunch and any personal items we need. All our other belongings are transferred the next camp.

As we traverse the Serengeti, our days have a lovely, simple rhythm. We feel Africa through the soles of our feet and the beat of our hearts. At an altitude of about 5000 feet, temperatures are moderate: daytimes typically reach up to 25 – 30°C, and the nights are cool.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 — Arusha – Serengeti

Leave the bustle of Arusha behind, we fly in a small plane to the Serengeti, landing at Fort Ikomo Airstrip. Close by we visit the K-9 Dog Tracker Unit. We talk to the trainers, meet the dogs and see a demonstration of their skill. Then we transfer by jeep to the nearby camp. We have a briefing with our guides, meet our support team, and if time allows have a ‘shake down’ walk in the area. After a delicious dinner we sit around the camp fire and marvel at the amazing stars of the African night sky.

Day 2 — Nook

We are woken before dawn, and after a hearty breakfast, we start walking! Our route takes us into the wilderness zone of the Serengeti, where no jeep safaris are allowed. We walk to Nook and our first camp by the Orange River. Along the way we observe elephants and other wildlife drinking and wallowing in favourite watering holes.

Days 3, 4, 5, 6,7,8 — Serengeti Traverse

We follow Orange River upstream, heading east. Eventually we start heading north towards Bologonja, following the N.E. boundary of the Serengeti. Closer to Bologonja we turn west and follow the Bologonja River all the way to the Mara River – with luck meeting the Great Migration on the way! Our final camp is in the Kogatende area, where we celebrate our successful trek!

Note: As the crow flies, this route is 75 miles, but with our various detours it is very likely we will be up to 80 or 90 miles by Day 8.

Day 9 — Kogatende to Arusha

We have a spectacular game drive to Kogatende Airstrip, from where we fly out of Serengeti.

Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.

We think of our itineraries as melodies: they have a beginning and an end, a certain arc, dramatic highlights and a few surprises. We like to improvise, to adapt to the mood of our guests or to circumstances that arise — an invitation to a traditional wedding, say, or a local ethnic festival… Crafting beautiful, harmonious trips with delightful twists is our trade mark and passion.

FAQ

FAQ

What about safety on this trip?

On the trek we are accompanied by professional safari guides, who are highly skilled and armed, and who will always have our security as their highest priority, both when we are walking and camping. We will also be accompanied by a support crew, and a support vehicle.

Where does the trip start and end?

We meet in Arusha, Tanzania and in the morning we are transferred to airport for our flight to Serengeti. The trip ends at another airstrip in Serengeti from where you can fly to Arusha, Kilimanjaro Airport or into Masai Mara. We assist you with the booking of all these flights. The domestic flights will be about US $ 500 per person in total.

What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?

When you book this as a private trip, we can tailor it to the needs of your group. You may just want to do about 5 miles a day or if you’re gung-ho, over 10 or 15!  Any any case, your group will have to have  reasonable level of fitness. The terrain can be rough at times and the elevation is around 5000 feet. Depending on your needs, we can supply an additional vehicle in case some of your group want prefer to be driven part of the way.

What is the food like?

Plentiful, nutritious and filling — perfect for long distance walkers – and prepared by our dedicated camp cook.

I’m a vegetarian, is that a problem?

Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.

Do I need a visa?

Yes, but it’s not a big deal. You can either apply for one ahead of the trip through a visa agency or the nearest Tanzanian embassy. Alternatively, you can get one on arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport.

Do I need any special insurance?

Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Do I need vaccinations?

Your routine vaccinations (Tetanus-Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Measles, Mumps, Rubella) should be up to date. In addition, for travel in Africa yellow fever and hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended. Please consult your doctor for advice.

What about malaria?

Malaria is endemic throughout East Africa, however we are there at relatively dry times when the risk is low. Despite this, it’s recommended to take prophylactic medication and avoid mosquito bites by using an insect repellent and a mosquito net at night (nets are provided in all our accommodations).

What does the Land Cost cover?

Includes transfer from all accommodation (based on double occupancy in tents), all meals, beverages, guide fees, park fees, conservation fees, camping equipment, and medical air evacuation within Tanzania.

What does the Land Cost not cover?

Does not include flights into and out of the Serengeti, international airfares, insurance, gratuities.

How can I access cash when I’m on the trip?

You will need to bring cash (Tanzanian shillings or US $) and you can also get extra shillings at ATMs in Kilimanjaro Airport on arrival or Arusha Airport on the first day. Once we get to Serengeti we will be far away from banks. On the trek you will only need money to tip the guides and crew.

What clothes and equipment will I need?

No special equipment is required. When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.

I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?

Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with new–found friends. On this particular trip we stay in exclusive, small lodges and single accommodation can be limited, so you may have to share accommodation with another guest in some locations.

How does this trip benefit the environment and local communities?

  • In the areas where we operate, traditional communities get direct benefit through significant land use and conservation fees and from employment as naturalists and guides.
  • We have carefully chosen operators and partners who are actively involved in conservation and community development.
Gallery

Gallery

Trip Details

Land Cost
From US $5690
Domestic Flights: approx. US $500


Trip Length
9 days, 8 nights


Dates
Private: May through Feb



Group Size
12 maximum


Accommodation
8 nights camping


Begins/Ends
Arusha, Tanzania

  • A fantastic trip! The trek was very well organized and everything went perfectly. Jean was a great leader; his knowledge of the Serengeti is vast - he knew every flora and fauna. The kitchen staff were great too, and the other guides. I can’t wait to go back!

    Gina B. Aspen, USA
  • This experience changed my life in ways that I could never have imagined or expected. From my very privileged vantage point, I have had the luxury of focusing my time, energy, judgements, and resources on one particular issue and species - in my case, poaching and the demise of the elephant.  But I have learned that it is not as simple an issue for the people who live amongst the wildlife. I left with a great connection to the land and the people who fight each day to protect and preserve it. I am truly blessed and full of gratitude for this amazing opportunity.

    Lois W. Vancouver, Canada
  • The trek was absolutely spectacular.  Jean and crew were expert leaders, problem-solvers, nature encyclopaedias, protectors, and interpersonally skilled individuals to boot.  The camp staff was exceptional.  I didn’t want to leave Tanzania, and I'm eager to return.

    M.W. Vancouver, Canada
  • Thank you this wonderful trek across the Serengeti, which was life changing in many ways. It was truly amazing to see the ebb and flow of life across the landscape, from countless herds of wildebeest, zebras, eland, gazelles and topi to groups of tiny dik diks. Hearing the haunting night noises from my tent – roaring lions, screeching baboons, yapping hyenas - I loved every moment of it. The trek leaders and staff were first class. The guides had a wealth of knowledge and never once did I feel in danger. And our campsites were wonderful.  

    Sally L.S. Duncan, Canada
  • The trek was beyond all my expectations. Walking the Serengeti was truly magical; feeling part of the eco system where mankind began was a humbling experience, emotional and exhilarating. Our trek leaders ensured our safety at all times and shared their incredible knowledge of the animals and environment. So many wonderful memories - thank you!

    Sue H. Saltspring Island, Canada
  • This was the trip of a lifetime in every way. The trek was well organized and couldn't have been better. Our leader was thoroughly professional, knowledgeable and engaging. I always felt safe - even when the lions roared outside our tents and hippo walked across our path! The rest of the team were excellent and we were very well taken care of. 

    Peter and Diane S. Victoria, Canada

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