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Climbing Kilimanjaro usually takes around a week, and since the flight to Tanzania is so expensive it can be a bit of a shame to see nothing else of this magical area after flying halfway around the world to get here. There are quite a few different options for things to see in the region before or after your climb, but safaris are the most popular add-on. Africa is an enormous continent so it’s very fortunate that some of its best safari areas happen to be near the base of Kilimanjaro.
A typical safari
There are infinite possibilities for a safari in the area, but especially when combined with a Kilimanjaro climb it’s typical to spend about 5 days on the safari itself. Combined together, this sort of itinerary makes a tight and unforgettable two-week adventure.
This is just a sample itinerary:
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Day 1: After breakfast at the hotel you’ll head out into Tarangire National Park, which is 120 km from the town of Arusha. This park is known for its large herds of elephants, but you’ll also see other game such as rhino, buffalo, eland, warthog, the fringe-eared oryx, lesser and greater kudu, gerenuk and a large number of impala.
Day 2: You’ll leave Tarangire National Park and drive 4 to 5 hours as you traverse the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and into the legendary Serengeti National Park. Every year, triggered by the rains, more than a million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle gather to undertake the long trek to new grazing lands in Serengeti, but Tanzania’s first and most famous national park is also known for large concentrations of lions, leopards, and other animals.
Day 3: This full day is spent in Serengeti, exploring hippo pools, looking for lions, and seeing different kinds of animals at each turn as your group heads to the migration.
Day 4: Begin with an early morning departure through the Serengeti and head to Ngorongoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which lies between the Serengeti and the Lake Manyara National Parks, boasts the largest unbroken, inactive, and unflooded caldera in the world. Perhaps having once been about the same size as Mount Kilimanjaro, when the volcanic activity subsided it collapsed inward, resulting in a crater 18 kilometers (11 miles) across. Today it’s home to legions of animals.
Day 5: The day begins with a sunrise game drive, where you’ll have the rewarding experience of seeing the animals indulging in their breakfast shortly after you’ve had your own. You’ll have a picnic lunch at the bottom of the Ngorongoro crater in mid afternoon, before beginning your ascent and long drive back to the airport or your hotel.
The safari package you choose will include all your food and either camping or hotels for the entire trip. Packages including basic camping can start as low as around US$1,700, but packages with luxury hotels can be up to US$5,000 or even more. The type of vehicle and the size of group you travel with will also be factors in the price. As with so many other things, if you can round up a larger group, each person can do the exact same trip for less per head.
Expect to pay around US$1,800 to US$3,500 as a typical base price for a quality safari lasting 5 or 6 days, but again, several factors can push that price up or down.