Gladys Adenture

Gladys Adventure
Safaris

The word safari is one of the Swahili words that has been incorporated into international usage. The meaning of the word is simply "trip". Outside of East Africa the meaning has become more specific to mean a trip offering wildlife viewing in the natural habitat. Tanzania with over 30% of its land being protected, this means that it is not difficult for a Tanzanian trip to be a safari. While safari destinations are to be found all over the country, Gladys Adventure has elected to stay focused close to our base in Moshi, Tanzania - "in the shadow" of Mt Kilimanjaro. We offer northern Tanzania safaris for the time being. But, with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater as the highlights along with several other solid destination choices there is a great opportunity to see amazing sights. While the animals are amazing so is the scenery and the cultures. From the smoldering live volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai, to the majestic crater walls in Ngorongoro, tribal visit to the Maasai, watching the Hadzabe tribe on a hunt, visiting Olduvai Gorge. The possibilities are endless.

Your safari can start on any day of the year that you like. Each group can decide if they want to keep their safari private or open it up for others to join. We will never add people to your group unless you request us to open the group up to others. In those instances, the price of the safari is adjusted accordingly. Each participant will always have a window seat and each of our safari vehicles has a pop up safari viewing roof. We use Toyota Land Cruisers for our safaris. We have both standard and extended vehicles to use according to the number of participants.

We offer a variety of overnight accommodations while on safari, from basic camping to luxurious lodges and tented camps. For all levels, the vehicles, guides and game drives are the same. Only the meals and accommodations differ. Lodges and tented camps will have their own food service so only on basic camping safaris will we bring a cook and food.

Gladys Adventure Tanzania safari map

Safari Destinations

Click for details.

  • Serengeti National Park

    The oldest national park in Tanzania, the word Serengeti is derived from the Maasai word meaning "endless plain". With a reputation so huge, it might seem impossible for the park to live up to its hype. But it does indeed deserve its fame. As host to most of the continual cycle of the animal great migration this is a very good start. The Mara River crossing in the north (Kogatende portion of the Serengeti) is the most famous and spectacular portion of this cycle (Little known fact: both sides of the Mara River where the wildebeest crossings occur are in Tanzania). If you want a chance to witness this, August - September are the best bets. But there is also an excellent spectacle in February - early March. The birthing season of the wildebeest. During approximately a 3 week period over 400,000 calves are born. This occurs in the Ndutu area, which straddles the Southern Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The birthing is done in unison, which works as a preservation since predators can only eat so much at at a time. A mother can delay birth up to one month to be in unison with the others. A newborn calf will be able to stand within 2 - 3 minutes of birth and is able to run within 5 minutes! Overall, the movement of the migration is based on the best grazing at the moment. This in turn is based on the weather. But, there migration is not the only reason to visit the Serengeti. It is great year round. The park is known for the large number of cats (lions, cheetahs, leopards, caravels, servals). It is also one of the best places to find black rhino.

    From Moshi, the central Serengeti (Seronera) is a 9 hours drive, which requires you to drive across Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), but not through the crater. There is no game viewing opportunities along this route until you arrive in the Serengeti. This long drive (and in parts a bit rough) is often broken up by either visiting Tarangire, Lake Manyara or stopping at Ngorongoro Crater for the night. There are several airstrips inside of the Serengeti to fly into by small plane. There is also a medium size plane that flies from the Seronera to Zanzibar.

    Accommodations in the Serengeti can range from basic camping to exclusive lodges costing more than $10,000/night. Tented camps and lodges can fill quite early in Kogatende (August & September) and Ndutu (February & March). Campsites are always available for basic camping. If very short on time, you can squeeze in a Serengeti safari in 3 days but it is quite tiring and short. At least 4 days is best. To drive to the northern Serengeti, an absolute minimum of 5 days is needed.

  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA)

    Along with the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater is a destination not to be missed. Named as a World Heritage Site, the NCA is not a national park. Unlike national parks, the indigenous population is still allowed to be in the area but with certain restrictions, balancing preservation, human development and tourism. The highlight is Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Winding your way down the 600m walls brings you into an area amazingly dense with animals. Most of the animals here are non-migratory so this is a reliably great destination. It is easier to list what you can't find here rather than all you can find. You will not see giraffe, topi or gazelle inside of the crater. Yes, it is possible to spot the "Big Five" in just a few short hours. The crater is only open from 6am until 6pm. All people (including Maasai) and vehicles must be out of the crater except during these hours since the environment is fragile. The crater is only 10km in diameter though so all will be seen in the recommended 6 hours maximum inside.

    All accommodations are outside of the crater. There is enough elevation-- 2,286m (7,500 ft) at the top if the crater to feel the difference in oxygen and the chill. It also tends to be quite windy at the top so bringing sufficient layers of clothes is important for your comfort. There is a pubic campsite (Simba Campsite) and a number of lodges/tented camps inside of the conservation area. There are many more just to the east of NCA, a few kilometers outside of the boundary. These are good choices except not practical if coming from the Serengeti to the west. In addition to the daily conservation fee (entry fee $60/person + 18% VAT = $71/person), there is an additional fee for each vehicle that enters into the crater. At $250 + 18% VAT ($295 total) for each vehicle entering into the crater this makes a Ngorongoro Crater safari more pricey than other destinations. All Gladys Adventure prices include all park fees and taxes, so this is already calculated into any price quote. In addition to the crater itself having a restriction of people being out from 6pm until 6am each day, the NCA itself does not allow entry or exit from 6pm until 6am daily. Being a 5 hours drive from Moshi, this makes a day safari to Ngorongoro Crater possible but a tight schedule and tiring.

    There is more to the NCA than the crater itself. On the way from the crater towards the Serengeti is Olduvai Gorge museum ($30 + 18% VAT admission per person). Here you can learn about the findings of Dr Leakey and his staff. This can be a 1 - 2 hours stopover on the way to/from the Serengeti. There are also some Maasai villages in the area to visit ($20/person). North of Ngorongoro Crater is a smaller crater, Empakai Crater. There is a chance for a short walk with a park ranger here. There is a public campsite near this area.

    Mentioned in the Serengeti section, is Ndutu, which straddles the Serengeti and NCA. During February and March. The animals wander back and forth in an unpredictable manner between NCA and Serengeti so it is best to have permits for both destinations during this time as their location can change from morning to afternoon or one day to the next. In this area are some nice tented camps but no public campsites. If on a budget safari you could visit as a day trip from your campsite.

  • Tarangire National Park

    This is a beautiful and underrated park with plenty of elephants and giraffe. This park is at its best during dry months (January - February, July - October) since the only water source in the area is the Tarangire River which winds its way through the park. The landscape is dotted with the massive and unusual baobab trees and huge termite mounds. In addition to the numerous elephants and giraffe, it is possible to find lions, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, hippo, various antelope, impala, gazelle, leopard, warthog, monkeys, baboon, ostrich. You won't find rhino and there are almost no cheetah. The park has some nice lodges and tented camps. Typically we like to spend an afternoon, overnight followed by morning game drive before exiting the park. This amount of time is sufficient. The park is about 3.5 - 4 hours drive from Moshi, making it a good option for a day trip if you are short of time. Otherwise it pairs well with a trip to the Serengeti, breaking up the long drive. As a 2 day safari with either Lake Manyara or Ngorongoro this works well also.

  • Lake Manyara National Park

    Located along the Great Rift, this park includes the shallow soda lake Manyara. During wet season (March - May, November) this lake hosts many flamingos. The chemistry of the lake is changing so that in drier months there are no longer many flamingos at all. The park is favored greatly by bird watchers, with over over 400 species of birds present. The most numerous animals present include giraffe, zebra, lions, cheetahs, leopards, gazelle, hippos, elephants, impala, baboon and monkeys. Typically spending half day here is sufficient time. We prefer the accommodations that are found just outside of the park.

  • Arusha National Park

    This is a very convenient park to get to, less than one hour drive from Moshi or Arusha. But the park is not heavily visited. It has lovely landscape and contains Tanzania's second highest mountain, Mt Meru. It has large numbers of giraffe and antelope but lacks lions, cheetahs, rhino, and other tourist favorites. Walking safaris are an option here, with a mandatory armed park ranger. And we typically offer this destination as a day trip. The Mt Meru climb is a good option also (4 days typically -- see our trekking page for details).

  • Lake Eyasi

    This shallow soda lake located to the east of Ngorongoro Conservation area and to the south west of Lake Manyara is home to one of the most fascinating culture tours - a visit to the Hadzabe and Datooga tribes. The Datooga are pastorialists who have also turned to some agriculture. They are a very isolated tribe, resisting outside influence and education. Only 5% speak Swahili and their literacy rate is at 1%. They are skilled craftsmen and are experts at melting scrap metal and molding arrowheads and knives which they trade with the Hadzabe tribe. Outside of this interaction, they are not a friendly tribe towards outsiders typically but will welcome your visit with a local guide. In the past young Datooga warriors would improve their status by killing any outsider. Fortunately this no longer is the case. They are a shy tribe but, when escorted by a local guide, welcomes visitors.

    The Hadzabe (Hazda) are one of the last true hunter-gatherer tribes left in the world. They love their lifestyle and have completely rejected government attempts to assimilate them into modern society. Free houses and schools were left abandoned as they quickly returned to their traditional ways. They are very opportunistic, hunting anything with bow and arrow from mice to giraffe, with baboon being their favored prey. For large prey they use poison tipped arrows. Their dwellings are very primitive and temporary to the extent that if a large animal such as a giraffe is killed, they will move to the kill site rather than bring the animal to their camp. Since their huts of sticks, mud and leaves can be built in a few hours. They are experts at gathering wild honey and foraging for edible roots and berries. You can accompany them on a hunt, learn how to make fire without matches, compare your archery skills and join them in dance. They are a very friendly tribe.

    The surrounding area is a very harsh environment with onion farming being the mainstay. We can arrange a visit to one of the small farms for an insight into the local life of the inhabitants.

  • To the north of Ngorongoro Conservation Area is Ol Doinyo Lengai (mountain of god --translated from the Maasai language). This is an active volcano 2962 m ( 7,650 ft) high that is sacred to the traditional Maasai religion. For geologists this volcano is of special interest due to the unique composition of the lava. This lava is much cooler than any other (but still 600°C). it is not hot enough to give off light in the daytime but emits a dull glow at night. The lava is not thick but water-like, making it flow very quickly (and dangerously). The molten lava is black in color but solidifies into a white powder. The volcano is quite active and unpredictable. The surrounding area is very desolate, dry, dusty and hot. With daytime temperatures regularly in excess of 40°C (104°F). The mountain can be climbed in half day, but is considered the toughest climb in the country (surpassing Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru). It is steep, covered with loose gravel, dusty, without shade. Gaiters to keep stones out of your shoes are essential, plenty of water must be brought (4 - 5L recommended per person), gloves for scrambling on your hands, bandanna or face mask to filter dust and good sun protection are all vital. The local authorities require climbing with one of their local guides. They do not have any safety training or equipment, very few of them speak any English and they will climb at a very fast pace with little regard to your ability to keep up. The climb starts at midnight to avoid the scorching heat of the day. It will be cold at this time so a layer of clothing is important. Most climbers return from the climb at mid morning. We do not recommend this climb but can offer it to you with a liability waiver.

    Along the Kenyan border is Lake Natron, a shallow lake with a pH of the water near that of ammonia. Nothing can survive in these waters except an algae highly favored by flamingos. At times several hundred can be seen crowding the shallow waters. A trip to Lake Natron would include walking along the lake shore, hiking at a waterfalls and cultural tourism of the Maasai community. This is truly off the beaten path in a remote, desolate, scorching hot but amazing environment. One day at this destination is sufficient to see all.


Our Safari Vehicles

A comfortable and dependable vehicle is vital to a successful safari...

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Our Safari Vehicles

All our safari vehicles are Toyota Landcruisers equipped with custom pop-up safari viewing roof, charging ports for small electronics and a mini-fridge/cooler. We offer standard and extended body vehicles. The standard body will fit a maximum of 5 for game drives, all with window seats. The extended body vehicles can accommodate up to 7 clients. For a basic camping safari, we need to allow extra room for tents, food and camping gear, so depending on the length of the itinerary we may increase the size of the vehicle or take an additional vehicle along. All our vehicles are well maintained and our guides are well experienced, safe drivers.

Basic Camping Safaris

There really are two different types of basic camping safari experiences...

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The Basic Camping Experience

At times we camp outside of the safari destinations at private campsites. This is usually done near the town of Mtu wa Mbu or Karatu. The biggest reason that we would do this is due to the timing of travel, especially if needing to enter into Ngorongoro Conservation Area early the next morning. At these campsites, they share the grounds with lodges. There will be nice amenities such as hot water, flushing toilets, bar, and perhaps swimming pool. But it will certainly not be an "in the wild" experience. More like backyard camping. In most instances, we will use the food service provided by the lodge rather than cook.

At campsites inside the safari destinations, these will be at designated camping areas so there will be many others camping close by. The campsite will consist of a fenced in food storage area, communal showers and toilets. The toilets and showers are rather basic. Some of the toilets may be squat toilets. There is nothing keeping the animals out of the camping area but during the day it is not so common to spot an animal wandering through. Maybe occasionally a zebra, an elephant or a monkey. The animals do not disturb the tents as long as you do not have food inside. Some precautions must be taken when going to the toilet during the dusk or night. Your safari guide will give you specifics.

A cook will be along during these safaris and will handle all of the meal preparations. As long as the cook knows in advance, he can handle special diet requests such as vegetarian/vegan, gluten free, food allergies, etc. Along with the guide, they will set up the tent for you so all you need to do is to relax and take in nature.

The tents that we use can sleep 2 people comfortably. It is your choice of whether we should bring camp beds (folding cots) or mattress for sleeping on the tent floor.

Gladys Adventure Basic Camping Tent Gladys Adventure Basic Camping Tent

Tented Camps/Lodges

Exactly what is meant by tented camp? How does this compare to basic camping tents? What are the options?

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Tented Camps/Lodges

For mid range and luxury accommodation packages, we use lodges and tented camps. The term tented camp is sometimes confusing. The difference between our basic camping tents and what is used in tented camps is completely different. In the tented camps, these will be high enough to easily stand inside, they will be room sized with lighting (either solar powered or generator operated during predetermined hours), will be fully furnished with bed frames and will be self contained. You can expect hot water for showers. The meals will be prepared not by Gladys Adventure but by their own chef and served in a communal dining tent. You can expect a communal bar/lounge. Some have swimming pools and entertainment at night. Some of these operate seasonally and move according to where the migration herds typically are at that time of the year.

There are many, many lodge and tented camp options. We have some where we have had very good response from our clients that we like to use. But we are in no way limited to certain accommodations. We can book any lodge/tented camp that you would like.

An example of a mid range tented camp that we like to use is Kati Kati Tented Camp in the Seronera portion of the Serengeti (central Serengeti). We have selected some pictures, shown below to give you an idea of what this is like.

Kati Kati Tented Camp Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp Serengeti

Luxury tented camps are difficult to remember that they are even tents. An example of one of our favorite luxury tented camps is Kubu Kubu Tented Camp also located in the Seronera portion of the Serengeti. Pictures are shown below.

Kubu Kubu Tented Camp Serengeti Kubu Kubu Tented Camp Serengeti Kubu Kubu Tented Camp Serengeti Kubu Kubu Tented Camp Serengeti

For lodges, there are also a wide variety, ranging in prices from around $250/night to over $10,000/night! As an example that we have chosen to show for a mid range lodge is Rhino Lodge in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Some pictures of this lodge are shown below

Rhino Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area Rhino Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area Rhino Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area Rhino Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The very top end lodges such as Four Seasons Serengeti we consider to be exclusive lodges and prices are available by request. Just below this though are luxury lodges. An example of this is Serena Ngorongoro Lodge, pictures of this are shown below.
Serena Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area Serena Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area

As mentioned, we are able and willing to book any lodge or tented camp. We price our safaris as budget (basic camping), mid range/standard and luxury. But prices will be adjusted according to the accommodations selected. During your itinerary, you are not restricted to one catagory. You can camp some nights and stay in lodges/tented camps other nights or mix standard and luxury options in the same itinerary.

For safaris during busy months (February, June, July, August, September) we recommend booking at least 4 months prior to secure the preferred accommodations. There is no deadline for booking but we will not secure accommodations until a deposit has been made. Typically the accommodations will hold a reservation for 10 days before a payment needs to be made. We will not make a payment until a deposit has been received.

Safari Planning Tips

How to make efficient use of your safari days...

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Making the most efficient use of your safari days

There are a few things to consider when planning your time on safari.

  • One is to know that Kilimanjaro Airport is located conveniently on the way from your safari destination to Moshi. In many itineraries, the last day is visiting Ngorongoro Crater. This is not a large destination, and is 5 hours from Moshi (4 hours from Kilimanjaro Airport). It is quite possible to have enough time inside the crater then fly out of Kilimanjaro Airport. If taking a domestic flight (to Zanzibar for example), then any flight departure from 17:00 or later would work well in the itinerary. If an international flight, then any time 18:00 or later would be fine. This also would also apply for a last day that has either Lake Eyasi (Hadzabe), Tarangire or Lake Manyara as the final destination.
  • The Serengeti is of course the most desired destination. But it is a 9 hours drive from Moshi to central Serengeti (Seronera) and 12 hours drive from Moshi to Northern Serengeti (Kogatende). But there are flights that can reduce this time drastically. Flying into the Serengeti can be done through Coastal Aviation to various airstrips inside of the Serengeti. Returning from the Serengeti can be done either through Coastal Aviation from several airstrips or from Seronera to Kilimanjaro Airport or Zanzibar through Precision Air. There is an afternoon flight each day into the Serengeti (15:15 departure from Kilimanjaro Airport) through Coastal Aviation which is convenient when considering the next point listed...
  • If you are on a Kilimanjaro climb before your safari, note that Machame, Lemosho, Rongai and Grand Traverse routes have a short last day. You will be typically back in Moshi before lunch time. You can shower, have lunch then start traveling part way to the Serengeti/Ngorongoro the same afternoon - or catch the afternoon flight into the Serengeti. If driving part way the same afternoon, there would be no game viewing this day, just traveling about 4 hours west to just outside of Ngorongoro Conservation Area. So it would not matter much if you were tired. You can even sleep during the drive and not miss anything terribly interesting. If planning a basic camping safari, you might want to take into consideration that you would have been sleeping in a tent for the past week on the mountain and you may want a little more luxury at a lodge/tented camp, even if just for the first night. For Rongai route or Marangu route, the last day does not finish until mid afternoon, so traveling the same afternoon is not an option.
  • If your itinerary includes the Serengeti and you are leaving in the morning, it is a good idea to visit either Tarangire or Lake Manyara National Park to break up the long 9 hours drive into the Serengeti. You would then arrive in the Serengeti the next day but feeling much fresher.

Safari Day Trips

Moshi is blessed with not only being the closest sizable town to Mt Kilimanjaro, but also being close enough for one day wildlife viewing...

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Safari Day Trips

Moshi is blessed with not only being the closest sizable town to Mt Kilimanjaro, but also being close enough for one day wildlife viewing. Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Mkomazi National Park and Ngorongoro Crater are all possible to visit without an overnight stay. The day trips listed can start from Moshi or Arusha. Although an extra transportation fee for visiting Mkomazi National Park from Arusha would be needed.

Arusha National Park is good in that it is so close - just a one hour drive from Moshi. But it is not a busy park, there are no lions, cheetah, elephants here. Plenty of antelope and giraffe. The good thing is it is possible to spend part of the day as a walking safari (with an armed park ranger). It is also a beautiful park and Tanzania's second highest mountain, Mt Meru is located there.

Tarangire National Park offers some very nice game viewing. There are a high number of elephant and giraffe. You most likely will see many lions as well. This is a exceptional choice during dry months since the only water source in the area is the Tarangire river which winds its way through the park. The landscape is dotted with the very unusual looking baobab trees. This park is located approximately 3.5 - 4 hours drive from Moshi.

Lake Manyara National Park is a very good park if you are an avid bird watcher, with over 300 species present. The park is known for its lions that like to sleep high up in the trees. You should see elephant and giraffe also. The lake itself is often having many flamingos feeding on the algae in the water. During drier months, Tarangire is a better destination. This park is also a 3.5 - 4 hours drive from Moshi.

Ngorongoro Crater has a very high concentration of animals. The crater itself is not very large, in half day all will be seen. It is one of the few places where it is possible still to see rhino. The only safari animals not present are giraffe and topi (a large antelope). This location is along with the Serengeti (which is too far away) the best safari destination in the world. The negative---it is very expensive and far. In addition to the park fee ($71) there is a fee of $295 to bring the safari vehicle into the crater. Also there is a total of 10 hours travel time for a one day safari (without including the game viewing). Entry and exit into the conservation area is restricted to 6am - 6pm so in order to return the same day we would have to exit the crater no later than 5pm.

Mkomazi National Park - this is a less visited park, located to the east of Moshi where the other parks are to the west. That dooes not make it convenient if visiting several parks in one itinerary, but its location is good for a day trip safari. It does not have a great infrastructure yet but is nice in that the park is not at all crowded, giving the feel of an old style safari. It is located approximately 2 hours from Moshi.

The prices include private transportation, all park fees & taxes, guide salary, boxed lunch and drinking water. Suggested tip for guide is $30 - $40 total from the group.
Prices (quoted in USD):
Arusha National Park day trip (includes a portion of the day as a walking safari)
1 person- $344
2 people - $223/person
3 people - $204/person
4 people - $170/person
5 people - $156/person
Mkomazi National Park day trip
1 person- $360
2 people - $232/person
3 people - $218/person
4 people - $183/person
5 people - $170/person
Tarangire or Lake Manyara day trip
1 person - $396
2 people - $251/person
3 people - $234/person
4 people - $205/person
5 people - $192/person
Ngorongoro Crater day trip
1 person - $742
2 people - $495/person
3 people - $328/person
4 people - $287/person
5 people - $251/person