Get rid of those bars! We’re ready for the real thing.

Zoo, Washington, DC

We want to see African animals and birds in their natural environment, quietly, without a big crowd. We had no idea this was possible until we read about Mark Thornton Safaris in the Travel Section of “The New York Times”.   His company offers walking safaris as an option and designs each trip specifically for your own group.  How cool is that?

Could we do it?  The perfect timing for us is to make Africa a stop in June 2014 on our upcoming round-the-world trip.  Next, we needed to form a group. This was ridiculously easy as 2 members of Beth’s book group immediately jumped in, with a husband to join as well. Now we are a group of 5.

We all met for Saturday brunch at a local bistro.  Mark Thornton’s website offers a number of options, which we used as a starting point to discuss, as a group, the safari we wanted: where to go, how many days, how did we feel about roughing it as opposed to luxury, etc.?  Decisions were made and emails were sent back and forth with Mark.

What do you think of the itinerary he has planned for us in Tanzania?:

Day 1: Arrive and overnight at a small quiet mountain lodge

Day 2: Hiking and some game driving in Arusha National Park & Mt Meru – hiking, forest environment, primates, excellent birding, views of Kili, forest antelope, buffalo and just a very different environment than the dry bush country. Overnight back at the lodge.

Day 3: Drive out to the Maasai Steppe, to our exclusive area. Walking, hiking, real authentic interaction and time shared with our Maasai partners in conservation for the area who are in camp with us and on walks. We usually make a full day of it to drive out there because it is very interesting passing through Maasai country that nobody else goes to. We stop for a picnic lunch and get to camp around 4:00pm.This afternoon you can stretch your legs on a walk. For this you’d be wilderness mobile camping.

Day 4: Morning hike and afternoon walk in Maasai Steppe

Day 5: Option of morning walk and afternoon driving into Tarangire. Or you can just head out in the morning in the vehicle to game drive. Camp is moved this day to inside Tarangire National Park.

Day 6: Game driving this day through Tarangire to a tented lodge located near the shores of Lake Manyara which has great views of the Rift Valley escarpment. In Tarangire, it’s excellent wildlife viewing this day.

Day 7: Morning walk, then head to the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. We can even put in an afternoon walk here in the forests here is you like. Overnight at a gorgeous tented camp set on the crater rim.

Day 8: Early morning game drive in Ngorongoro Crater. Afternoon head to a wonderful lodge for the night located in the highlands farms near Ngorongoro.

Day 9: Return to Arusha. You can game drive in Lake Manyara if you want. All depends on when you depart.

We think the itinerary is perfect for us.  In the meantime, we’ll be doing a lot of dreaming – and reading up – about all that we’ll see on our safari. Check back in June 2014 for our report.

September 2012

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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15 Responses to Get rid of those bars! We’re ready for the real thing.

  1. jules says:

    Hi. Just having a look around your blog and it sounds like you are having a wonderful time. I love some of your stories. Not sure if you are in Tanzania yet? I lived in Tanzania for many years and your trip should be great. I have been around the northern circuit many times and think you have chosen some ‘un-touristy’ things to do which should get you away from the hordes. Walking is one of the best ways to see things. I’ve walked in Ruaha and the Selous (both amazing and much less touristy) and ridden on a horseback safari in the foothills of Mt Meru. Don’t miss out Zanzibar, even if you only have a couple of nights. Ramadhan starts soon but out at the beaches you wouldn’t notice too much. I’m probably biased, but I’ve always found Tanzanians more friendly than their neighbours! Enjoy!

  2. In March of this year (2012), I led a group of 10 people to Rwanda and Tanzania. Our portion in Tanzania led us to Arusha, the Ngorogoro Crater, and Tarangire. It was quite an enjoyable first safari experience for everyone else on the trip and a great 4th safari (but first outside of South Africa) for me!

  3. charley280 says:

    Thank you for liking our post about Montepulciano olive oil. We went on a Tanzania safari last February. You’ll love it. I recommend spending all day in Ngorongoro Crater. It takes all day to cover the entire crater. We would have missed our only black rhino sighting if we had left at noon. You’ll miss the great migration, because they’ll be in the western Serengeti in June. Our posts for Tanzania document our safari day-by-day. Best wishes from a recently retired couple.

  4. Sounds great! I have been visiting Southern Africa from time to time for wine and game but never made it to the East. Off to SA again in November.

  5. That sounds like the trip of a lifetime and I’m digging all the planned hikes! Moreover, you’re planning a trip around the world for 2012 – I’m incredibly jealous!

  6. suletta says:

    Hi, seems like a good route, but you should consider the less frequented parks like Ruaha in Tanzania if it must be Tanzania – an absolute gem. The Maasai Mara in Kenya is the original Garden of Eden – the variety of scenery more vast – the pink sea of flamingos on Lake Nakuru, Kuki Gallman’s farm – Ol ari Nyiro, Lake Bogoria, Elsamere to see where Joy and Joe Adamson lived (Born Free lion story), Crater Lake and the walks around it, Amboseli at the foot of Mount Kilimandjaro, the rainforest around Mount Kenya to walk and see the Mau-Mau bunkers – to name but a few. And then to end it with a tropical seaside rest at Kilifi or Lamu – sorry to say, but far far more beautiful than Tanzania! Coming from the U S, and speaking english, it would be better for you to be in Kenya, where everyone is fluent in english and incredibly well-mannered. Little wonder that the British royals love Kenya so much. Clearly I do too! 🙂

    • Thank you for your informative comment about the Kenya option. You have piqued our interest. We want to go with Mark Thornton first in Tanzania. Maybe Kenya another time or a side trip after Tanzania?

  7. Tar-Buns says:

    Wow! What a trip you have planned. Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
    Enjoy!

  8. Very Nice! I’m a little jealous. I get to see a few of these animals every day at work… but to see them in their natural habitat would be wonderful!

  9. Wow that looks fantastic. What an amazing trip you will have. I’m already looking forward to the photos and posts!

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