#KeepingUpWithKirsty: My Educational Trip to Tanzania in November 2023

Published: 3 April 2024

Step into my travel diary, a space that is as idyllic as it looks. It’s a few months late, so I hope that you find it worth the wait! I’ve just been incredibly busy with enquiries and December and January saw so many new faces and return guests traveling with Anywhere in Africa Safaris. But without further ado, I bring to you my educational trip to Arusha, Tarangire, Karatu, Ngorongoro and the Serengeti…

Monday 20th Nov 2023 - Arrival in Arusha

Kirsty Gordon at Kilimanjaro Airport | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | blog

I landed at Kilimanjaro Airport, and took the mandatory photo, but sadly this time I wasn’t going to hike the tallest peak in Africa (Kilimanjaro). I was here on another mission. I was here to test all the new places and revisit some old favorites as I firmly believe in sending guests to places I have actually been to.

Kirsty Gordon on Tanzania educational trip | Anywhere in Africa | blog

Anderson & Harvey’s guides welcomed me with open arms (as usual), providing a refreshing towel and a bottle of water. A short transfer led me to the luxurious Siringit Villa, my accommodation for the night - a real pinch-me moment, and don’t get me started on the delicious dinner we had!

Tuesday 21st Nov 2023 - Arusha to Tarangire National Park

Kirsty Gordon at Siringit Serengeti Camp Entrance on Tanzania Educational Trip | blog

In true safari style, the day started early as Penuel, our amazing guide, collected us from Siringit Villa for the drive to Tarangire National Park. This is a nice easy drive through the bustling town of Arusha and then the lovely open space of the countryside before you enter the Tarangire National Park. 

Image of Siringit Villa | Anywhere in Africa Safaris
Siringit Villa

An often-overlooked gem, Tarangire’s characteristic skyline, framed by the stubby branches of fat baobab trees, is the backdrop for superb game viewing, particularly in the winter months of the peak season. Its marshes, which dry out into verdant grassy fields during the dry season, draw great herds of elephant, buffalo, antelope and other plains game. Lions and other predators are frequently spotted. The park boasts over 500 species of birds, including some species endemic to Tanzania. 

Image showing Lemala Mpingo Ridge | Anywhere in Africa Safaris
Lemala Mpingo Ridge

Away from the busier north, the southern end of the park is home to camps that specialize in walking safaris, allowing their guests to immerse their senses in the experience of exploring the African bush on foot. Here we had lunch at the beautifully situated Lemala Mpingo Ridge with amazing sweeping views over the Tarangire plains. Then we continued our game drive towards our next incredible camp, Nimali Tarangire where thirst-quenching sundowners and dinner were served in the lap of luxury.

Nimali Tarangire in Tanzania | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | Travel Blog
Nimali Tarangire

Wednesday 22nd Nov 2023 - Exploring Tarangire National Park

When guests talk to me about their safari they (obviously) rave about the wildlife and scenery, but you know what they also love the most? The food - and breakfast at Nimali was no exception to this.

Image showing Tarangire Treetops Camp | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | Travel Blog
Tarangire Treetops Camp

We did an incredible site inspection at Tarangire Treetops Camp, followed by another exciting game drive and then back to Nimali Tarangire to experience their incredible photographic hide. Any budding photographers or birders should read this blog of mine on some of the most incredible hides in Africa.

Thursday 23rd Nov 2023 - Tarangire to Karatu via Manyara

Our journey continued to Gibbs Farm, but first Penuel took us to visit a local Maasai family which was incredible. We were greeted by the head of the family who gave us a tour of the village where he explained how all the circular houses are built using mortar made from cow dung and soil.

Image showing Gibb's Farm on Tanzania Educational Trip | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | Travel Blog

He also explained how with the help of the government, international donors, guests and the impact of tourism and conservation levies, they are building a classroom in the area and that education is the legacy he would like to leave one day. It was here where I saw firsthand the power of conservation (if you’d like more info on this, read this blog I wrote during the height of covid).

Then we continued our drive, passing through the famous Lake Manyara National Park where the wildlife certainly wasn’t camera shy. We had a site inspection at Acacia Farm Lodge which is a great 4 star venue and well priced. Then we headed to the famous Gibb's Farm Lodge - I’ll let the photo do all the talking of how beautiful this place was.

Friday 24th Nov 2023 - Karatu to Ngorongoro

The day commenced with an early morning descent into the Ngorongoro Crater (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) - a large volcanic caldera, renowned for its breathtaking scenery, including a diverse landscape with grasslands, forests, and a soda lake. With all of this going on you can imagine how rich the biodiversity and concentration of wildlife are!

We were fortunate enough to enjoy a picnic lunch on the crater floor, before heading off for site inspection at Gran Melia Ngorongoro - wow what incredible vistas! Then onto amazing Andbeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, where I was spoiled for my birthday (25 November) dinner celebration!

Image showing AndBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | Travel Blog
AndBeyond Ngorongoro

Saturday 25th Nov 2023 - Ngorongoro to Central Serengeti

An early morning Crater descent paved the way for our journey to the Central Serengeti where Penuel took us "off the beaten track" on an incredible game drive. We first stopped for a site visit at Nomad Entamanu. As you may know, the Central Serengeti is where millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other herbivores embark on a circular journey spanning approximately 1,200 miles, seeking fresh pastures and water sources.

Image showing Nomad Entamanu | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | Travel Blog
Nomad Entamanu

During the migration which takes place typically from December - July, the Central Serengeti serves as a key stage in this incredible natural drama. The vast grasslands and acacia-dotted plains become a prime grazing ground and a theater of survival as predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas await the opportunity to prey on the migrating herds. This evening we spent the night at Nimali Central.

Sunday 26th Nov 2023 - Central Serengeti Balloon Safari

Image showing hot air balloon on tanzania educational trip | blog

I hardly slept the night before as I was so excited for this morning’s activity - a sunrise Balloon Safari over the Serengeti, followed by a Champagne breakfast. Yes folks, dreams do come true! I was able to see all angles of a safari, as we finished the day off with a game drive, accompanied by site inspection with a late lunch at the beautiful Siringit Central Serengeti - ‘twas a busy day indeed!

Monday 27th Nov 2023 - Central Serengeti to Northern Serengeti

Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | Travel blog
Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge

Early start this morning; we had a site visit at the fantastic One Nature Nyaruswiga. Our journey continued to the Northern Serengeti where we got to carry out another site inspection to Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge. I could honestly write a book about these places, but I’d rather keep all the details a (good) surprise to you so that when you experience them for yourself, you’ll see what I mean when I say - “heaven on earth.”

Image showing Nimali Mara in Tanzania | Anywhere in Africa Safaris | Travel Blog
Nimali Mara

Then onto Nimali Mara our home for the next two nights. Built on this rocky outcrop with incredible views towards the Mara River with Kenya in the distance.

Tuesday 28th Nov 2023 - Northern Serengeti

After a delicious breakfast with the sun rising over the northern Serengeti plains, we headed out with Penuel for our morning game drive to explore. 

Kirsty Gordon at Serengeti National Park entrance on Tanzania educational trip

The Northern Serengeti offers a distinct landscape compared to the Central Serengeti. It features rolling hills, valleys, acacia woodlands, and riverine areas, rather than vast open grasslands you find in Central and Southern Serengeti. From July to October, wildebeests migrate to the Northern Serengeti in search of richer grazing grounds. Here they encounter one of the biggest challenges in their journey. The mighty Mara river! Mara River, which runs through Northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara becomes the setting for one of nature's most spectacular events: the wildebeest river crossing.

Sadly the migration had already moved down towards the Central Serengeti in November but we saw lots of general resident wildlife.

Lunch and a site inspection at the fantastic Serengeti Bushtops Camp. Lunch was incredible, if we had time I would have lazed at the swimming pool which has the most incredible views over the plains.

We spent our last evening enjoying the spectacular sunset at Nimali Mara with a dramatic thunderstorm that rolled in to cool down the evening. The colors were incredible for photos!

Wednesday 29th Nov 2023 - Kogatende to Arusha

Kirsty Gordon with safari ladies on Tanzania educational trip | blog

After one last breakfast in the bush, Penuel bundled us into the safari vehicle for our last game drive/ transfer to Kogatende airstrip. Then the Auric Air flight from Kogatende to Arusha Airport. On arrival we met Andrew from Anderson & Harvey who was our guide for our time in Arusha. I spent the night at an incredible little oasis in Arusha Katambuga House. What a lovely way to end my safari in Tanzania.

Thursday 30th Nov 2023 - Departure from Arusha back home

Kirsty Gordon Legendary Lodge on Tanzania educational trip

Luckily I had the day to explore Arusha as my flight was only later that evening, so Andrew collected me for breakfast at the amazing Legendary Lodge which is part of a huge coffee plantation. After a delicious breakfast, I had the opportunity of a coffee plantation tour which was so informative. Then onto a site visit to Gran Melia Arusha and lunch. Suddenly the time had sadly come for me to go home and onward to my international departure was seamless, closing this chapter of exploration in Tanzania.

Every time I travel for work I deepen my understanding and love of Tanzania's diverse landscapes, wildlife and people and I cannot wait for you to experience this all.

Kirsty Gordon on Tanzania educational trip with Masai | blog