Luxury Tanzania safari | Art of Safari

Tanzania | Exclusive Serengeti & Wildebeest Migration | 7 Nights Grumeti Reserves & Serengeti National Park

Taking in a colonial-style coffee plantation beneath a dormant volcano and the vast Serengeti plains, this seven-night luxury Tanzania safari is a study in contrasts. The one constant is the high standard of accommodation and personal service throughout, which offers the perfect counterpoint to the wild landscapes and the immensity of the savannah.

One night at Legendary Lodge

As you might expect of a city in the shadow of an ancient volcano, Arusha has quite a history, as we learnt on our luxury Tanzania safari. It effectively changed hands several times as various European countries gained ascendancy over Africa. Today the mountain may no longer be brewing, but happily the coffee still is – and it’s wonderful. In the afternoon, the manager of Legendary Lodge – just a short drive from Arusha airport, and our sanctuary for our first night in Tanzania – joined us for a cup on the verandah overlooking the lush gardens. She told us that John Wayne had once filmed nearby. We were more than happy to have exchanged espresso shots for the six-shooters.

As you might expect of a city in the shadow of an ancient volcano, Arusha has quite a history, as we learnt on our luxury Tanzania safari. It effectively changed hands several times as various European countries gained ascendancy over Africa. Today the mountain may no longer be brewing, but happily the coffee still is – and it’s wonderful. In the afternoon, the manager of Legendary Lodge – just a short drive from Arusha airport, and our sanctuary for our first night in Tanzania – joined us for a cup on the verandah overlooking the lush gardens. She told us that John Wayne had once filmed nearby. We were more than happy to have exchanged espresso shots for the six-shooters.

Two nights at Sasakwa Lodge

Rising early in our garden cottage, we reflected on how superbly situated Arusha is as a safari stopover. It’s within easy flying distance from the Serengeti, but also close to Mount Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Crater.Arriving at Sasakwa Lodge, we immediately felt that we were on safari. Situated in the exclusive Grumeti Reserves, it has a timeless quality, and we soon found ourselves unwinding. Sasakwa’s position on a rocky ridge offers a dynamic vista of clouds, savannah and sunlight. Many of the patches of shadow turned out to be groups of antelope – the Great Wildebeest Migration was in full swing. Our afternoon drive was however ‘hijacked’ by a herd of elephant – the antics of the young calves kept us entertained all afternoon. Over dinner, we’d discussed being relaxed and at ease, while so much movement was going on around us.Waking early the next morning, we were keen to witness the wildebeest on the move. The effect of being surrounded by so many animals was mesmerising. All around us wildebeest grazed calmly – except when they would suddenly dash around in a circle for no apparent reason. Our guide explained the current absence of lion: they become lazy at this time of year. Anticipating that we’d want to spend the whole day on safari, the kitchen had packed a lunch, which was brought out to us. We picnicked under an acacia tree, grazing in unison with our travelling companions.On our final morning at Sasakwa, we spent time with some of the other creatures that tag along on the Great Wildebeest Migration: topi and zebra. Our guide joked that the zebra would need all their go-faster stripes to reach the Mara River crossings before the wildebeest.

Rising early in our garden cottage, we reflected on how superbly situated Arusha is as a safari stopover. It’s within easy flying distance from the Serengeti, but also close to Mount Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Crater.

Arriving at Sasakwa Lodge, we immediately felt that we were on safari. Situated in the exclusive Grumeti Reserves, it has a timeless quality, and we soon found ourselves unwinding. Sasakwa’s position on a rocky ridge offers a dynamic vista of clouds, savannah and sunlight. Many of the patches of shadow turned out to be groups of antelope – the Great Wildebeest Migration was in full swing. Our afternoon drive was however ‘hijacked’ by a herd of elephant – the antics of the young calves kept us entertained all afternoon. Over dinner, we’d discussed being relaxed and at ease, while so much movement was going on around us.

Waking early the next morning, we were keen to witness the wildebeest on the move. The effect of being surrounded by so many animals was mesmerising. All around us wildebeest grazed calmly – except when they would suddenly dash around in a circle for no apparent reason. Our guide explained the current absence of lion: they become lazy at this time of year. Anticipating that we’d want to spend the whole day on safari, the kitchen had packed a lunch, which was brought out to us. We picnicked under an acacia tree, grazing in unison with our travelling companions.

On our final morning at Sasakwa, we spent time with some of the other creatures that tag along on the Great Wildebeest Migration: topi and zebra. Our guide joked that the zebra would need all their go-faster stripes to reach the Mara River crossings before the wildebeest.

Four nights at Mara River Tented Camp

How wonderful to fly over the Serengeti! By the time we landed in the far north we had a real insight into the vast scale of this wilderness.Mara River Tented Camp is in an area known as the Lamai Triangle. Any lingering doubts about ‘camping’ were immediately dispelled when we arrived. This camp was the embodiment of comfort under canvas, with the walls and filmy mosquito nets rippling in the breeze. In the bohemian-chic surroundings, we instantly felt even closer to nature – even taking a dip in the infinity pool gave us panoramic views of the fabled Mara River as the sun sank in the western sky. We’d had to leave the spa at Sasakwa for another time; but this was too good to miss.Next morning, our guides excitedly told us that they were anticipating an imminent crossing of the Mara River, perhaps the most significant obstacle on the Great Wildebeest Migration. As more and more wildebeest arrived, the pressure was mounting. We watched a small herd of topi pick their way between the rocks and then, as though a seal had been broken, hundreds of wildebeest poured across. We’d heard about crocodile ambushes, but the water here was too shallow. Perfectly positioned for taking photos, we chose to spend the entire day on a game drive. All of which made the hot shower, ice-cold beers and exquisite evening meal even more welcome.During the night, we heard more antelope crossing, and the next morning we returned to the same spot. Not all of the wildebeest had made it; inevitably there had been casualties, much to the delight of the vultures. Despite this, the urge to advance was so strong that the antelope continued to surge forwards. Our guide reckoned that the crossing could continue for days, so after lunch back at the camp we headed away from the river for some birding. A commotion in the grass alerted us to a struggle between a secretary bird and snake, which the snake lost.We knew Mara River Tented Camp would be hard to leave. Heading back to the river, we soon detected a definite change in mood among the wildebeest: they seemed hesitant to cross. On our side of the river, barely concealing themselves, lion had taken up position at a place the wildebeest must pass. We steeled ourselves to watch the kill, which we were certain must happen. The tipping point came: wildebeest began to cross, and the lion remained still, like sphinxes. Eventually one stood, stretched, and walked to the water’s edge to drink. As you can imagine, this provoked exquisite pandemonium.On our final morning, we acted rather like lion ourselves, and rested. Our guide promised to call us if the big cats became more active, but they seemed content to lazily cause panic. The luxury of our surroundings gave us the exact opposite feeling, and we were very relaxed as we headed for the airstrip after four thrilling days on the banks of the Mara River.

How wonderful to fly over the Serengeti! By the time we landed in the far north we had a real insight into the vast scale of this wilderness.

Mara River Tented Camp is in an area known as the Lamai Triangle. Any lingering doubts about ‘camping’ were immediately dispelled when we arrived. This camp was the embodiment of comfort under canvas, with the walls and filmy mosquito nets rippling in the breeze. In the bohemian-chic surroundings, we instantly felt even closer to nature – even taking a dip in the infinity pool gave us panoramic views of the fabled Mara River as the sun sank in the western sky. We’d had to leave the spa at Sasakwa for another time; but this was too good to miss.

Next morning, our guides excitedly told us that they were anticipating an imminent crossing of the Mara River, perhaps the most significant obstacle on the Great Wildebeest Migration. As more and more wildebeest arrived, the pressure was mounting. We watched a small herd of topi pick their way between the rocks and then, as though a seal had been broken, hundreds of wildebeest poured across. We’d heard about crocodile ambushes, but the water here was too shallow. Perfectly positioned for taking photos, we chose to spend the entire day on a game drive. All of which made the hot shower, ice-cold beers and exquisite evening meal even more welcome.

During the night, we heard more antelope crossing, and the next morning we returned to the same spot. Not all of the wildebeest had made it; inevitably there had been casualties, much to the delight of the vultures. Despite this, the urge to advance was so strong that the antelope continued to surge forwards. Our guide reckoned that the crossing could continue for days, so after lunch back at the camp we headed away from the river for some birding. A commotion in the grass alerted us to a struggle between a secretary bird and snake, which the snake lost.

We knew Mara River Tented Camp would be hard to leave. Heading back to the river, we soon detected a definite change in mood among the wildebeest: they seemed hesitant to cross. On our side of the river, barely concealing themselves, lion had taken up position at a place the wildebeest must pass. We steeled ourselves to watch the kill, which we were certain must happen. The tipping point came: wildebeest began to cross, and the lion remained still, like sphinxes. Eventually one stood, stretched, and walked to the water’s edge to drink. As you can imagine, this provoked exquisite pandemonium.

On our final morning, we acted rather like lion ourselves, and rested. Our guide promised to call us if the big cats became more active, but they seemed content to lazily cause panic. The luxury of our surroundings gave us the exact opposite feeling, and we were very relaxed as we headed for the airstrip after four thrilling days on the banks of the Mara River.

What sets it apart

Our luxury safari in Tanzania allowed us to make the most of our time in-country by spending six nights in the Serengeti and Grumeti Reserves, while still building in an opportunity for some downtime after our international flight. The careful planning we’d done with Art of Safari definitely paid off, as it meant that (much like a newborn wildebeest) we were ready to ‘hit the ground running’ once the game drives began.Spending one night in Arusha gave us an insight into Tanzania’s colonial past, as well as the opportunity to see where the best coffee in the world is grown. Of course, Tanzania is not the only country to make this claim, but both the assertion and the coffee itself were superbly well made!From the managed paradise of a working coffee plantation, it was a relatively short hop to the Serengeti. We were both delighted at how well the logistics of our safari worked seamlessly, meaning the only time we weren’t looking for wildlife, was when we chose not to. With lodges as inviting as the ones we stayed in, this was very definitely on the cards, at least some of the time.Most of all, it was the wonderful experiences that set this luxury Tanzania safari apart: being able to take a dip in an infinity pool overlooking the river, or play snooker on a full-sized table that was matched for colour and flatness by the savannah just metres away. Every moment – whether serene or scintillating – was uniquely Tanzanian, and unique to us.

Our luxury safari in Tanzania allowed us to make the most of our time in-country by spending six nights in the Serengeti and Grumeti Reserves, while still building in an opportunity for some downtime after our international flight. The careful planning we’d done with Art of Safari definitely paid off, as it meant that (much like a newborn wildebeest) we were ready to ‘hit the ground running’ once the game drives began.

Spending one night in Arusha gave us an insight into Tanzania’s colonial past, as well as the opportunity to see where the best coffee in the world is grown. Of course, Tanzania is not the only country to make this claim, but both the assertion and the coffee itself were superbly well made!

From the managed paradise of a working coffee plantation, it was a relatively short hop to the Serengeti. We were both delighted at how well the logistics of our safari worked seamlessly, meaning the only time we weren’t looking for wildlife, was when we chose not to. With lodges as inviting as the ones we stayed in, this was very definitely on the cards, at least some of the time.

Most of all, it was the wonderful experiences that set this luxury Tanzania safari apart: being able to take a dip in an infinity pool overlooking the river, or play snooker on a full-sized table that was matched for colour and flatness by the savannah just metres away. Every moment – whether serene or scintillating – was uniquely Tanzanian, and unique to us.

Day 1

Tanzania is the perfect stage for both epic natural events and intimate shared moments.

You’ll be met as you disembark from your international flight at Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, and assisted through customs and immigration. A private transfer will take you to Legendary Lodge, where you’ll spend one night.

Day 2–3

Stretch your legs with a game of golf while staying at Legendary Lodge. © Legendary Expeditions

Following a private transfer from Legendary Lodge to Arusha Airport in Arusha, you’ll take a scheduled light aircraft flight to the Serengeti. You’ll then take a transfer to Sasakwa Lodge, where you’ll spend two nights.

Day 4–7

Your guide will teach you all about the Serengeti when you stay at Sasakwa Lodge. © Singita

Following a transfer from Sasakwa Lodge to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light aircraft flight to another part of the Serengeti. You’ll then take a transfer to Mara River Tented Camp, where you’ll spend four nights.

Day 8

You can watch the Mara River from your private deck when staying at Mara River Tented Camp. © Singita

Following a transfer from Mara River Tented Camp to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light aircraft flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, where you’ll be assisted through check-in for your international flight.

  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, taking into account when you’d like to travel, how long you’d like to be away for, who you’d be travelling with, what safari lodge style you’d prefer, and more.
  • This high-end safari trip idea is simply to show you what’s possible. To see what this type of safari costs, and what’s generally included, click hereFor a general overview of African safari prices, you can click through to our blog.
  • We also offer a curated selection of Tanzania safari packages, wrapped and priced for your convenience, click here to explore them.

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