Land of the Endless Plains

Land of the Endless Plains, Tanzania - Personalised Vacation
Categorised in: Africa Wildlife Heritage

Subjugated by an ever-growing human footprint, few countries can claim to have vast expanses of land where animals in large numbers still roam freely. Tanzania is one of them. And it is 'plainly' spectacular.

Neighbouring Kenya in the north, this East African wildlife refuge hosts one of Earth's largest and most spectacular theatres of Nature - the Serengeti Ecosystem. Together with other natural treasures spanning its length and breadth, it has weathered the ravages of time to remain the wild soul of the African continent.

Spread over 15000 sq km, Serengeti National Park is the famous venue of one of the planet's epic spectacles the Great Migration of over 1.5million compulsive white-bearded wildebeest and some 250,000 zebra, who move along the length of the national park and cross borders into Kenya in search of grass that is literally greener on the other side. Notified for protection by the British in 1951, its exceptional density of predator and prey has made it Africa's best wild haven. Composed of savannah grassland, riparian woodland and rocky outcrops called kopjes, the Serengeti embodies the enduring symbol of the African bush.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes the Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera formed when a giant volcano committed harakiri some three million years ago. Its demise paved the way for a lavish variety of wildlife to thrive in the 2000ft deep, 260 sq km pothole that you won't mind taking a ride in, and is clearly a paradigm shift from the bone-rattling urban variety.

What you will see and experience:


For the wildebeest, the beginning of the calendar year is a good time to be born, because the rain has made the grass ripe and succulent. Buoyed, the herds move northwest from Ngorongoro. Intercepting this advance, you will behold the spectacle of a large number of hooves and horns dominating the landscape. Even at its lowest ebb, the scale, the sounds and the unending quest of life make even a Charlie Sheen film seem a bit underwhelming.

Apart from the ungulates, Africa's famed Big Five are an expected draw. Lion prides lie sprawled on the plains while cheetahs go like stink in pursuit of 'fast food'. Coexisting with the cats, elephants drift gracefully, rhinos stand their ground flaunting snout-top spikes of hair, and plucky warthogs fittingly dubbed the Savannah Express trot across the frame with their piglets in tow in a single file.

In the more aerodynamic class of creatures, the imperious martial eagle and the strikingly designed bateleur eagle reign supreme over the skies. Down below, the magnificent crowned crane and the unique southern ground hornbill will seize your attention. As many as five varieties of vulture the Ruppell's, the griffon, the white-backed, the lappet-faced and the hooded form a most effective sanitation team as they sweep the savannah clean of leftovers.

But the most exciting part of your journey can be unearthed in Seronera Valley. Harbouring the mercurial leopard in the giant sausage trees on the banks of the river, where a variety of herbivores are attracted for a drink, this is the best place in East Africa to observe the most elusive of the continent's big cats, and is probably the only place in the world that can hold a candle to the prodigious Masai Mara.


With an estimated 25,000 animals within the crater itself, Ngorongoro hosts almost every individual species of wildlife in East Africa. Clearly, there's a lot cooking in this caldera as you realize that it's much more than merely a game reserve in a giant pothole.

Most notable among the celebrities are the rare black rhino and the cantankerous hippopotamus. Saline lakes fed by shallow streams foster the graceful flamingo. Lion and cheetah allow delightful early-morning and late-evening atmospheric sightings and bewilderingly large bull elephants, free from competition in the crater, have made this terrain their own, especially once they're past their prime, to the extent that Ngorongoro is referred to as the 'old age retirement home for elephants', a 'retirement home' that can bring even retired travellers raring back into action!

When you should visit:

January to March, the calving season, is when miniature wildebeest and zebra emerge into the savannah, marking the midterm of the migration. The landscape is speckled by these creatures of hooves and horns, which, even at its lowest ebb, looks glorious. It's a sight that will etch itself on your mind permanently.


At Toehold, we are passionate about travel and photography just as you are, which lets us understand your needs and travails perfectly. And we use our insight and experience to plan your vacation to perfection, so all you have to do is enjoy yourself and make memories for a lifetime.

Here are just some reasons you should leave your next holiday to us: expand to read more »

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How different are your Personalised Vacations from other holidays?

    Unlike travel agents who plan your vacation from a remote destination to places they sometimes haven't experienced themselves, our Personalised Vacations offer a comprehensive toehold to experience a place through the knowledge and of experts who know the places first-hand. Besides, your holiday will be meticulously planned by making use of the best local contacts we have at every destination.
  • For whom is this Vacation suitable?

    Anybody with an interest in wildlife and all the myriad marvels of nature, and is over the age of 18 (unless accompanied by a parent or adult guardian) can go on Toehold Personalised Vacations.
  • Can I take my children to Tanzania?

    You may certainly take your young child, but we don't recommend taking infants and very small children when you set out to explore the wild. Please talk to us for more information.
  • Will you book my flight tickets if needed?

    Certainly! We take care of the flight ticket bookings too.
  • What is the scope of services you offer as a part of a Personalised Vacation package?

    Absolutely everything! From booking the travel tickets and arranging for a comfortable stay to suggested itineraries and planning places of interest, Toehold takes care of all the details of your vacation.
  • Is vaccination against yellow fever and polio mandatory?

    Yes; the vaccination is mandatory in many countries including India. Please talk to us for advice on how to get one.
  • Is an earlier vaccination card valid?

    Yellow fever vaccination is valid for a period of 10 years from the date of administration, but polio vaccination is valid for only a year. Please check your vaccination card to verify validity. Please note that the vaccination must be valid as on the date of your return to your country after the Vacation.
  • I'm interested in wildlife photography. What equipment do you suggest on this Tour?

    A wide-angle or normal zoom is a staple for landscape and general photography. For birds and mammals, a focal length of at least 300mm is usually necessary. An additional 100mm often proves very effective especially for birds, and longer focal lengths are particularly welcome on full frame cameras.
  • I do not have requisite equipment. What do I do?

    If you do not have appropriate equipment, there is no need to fret. Toehold offers an exhaustive array of cameras and lenses for hire, so you can always hire what you need. Click here to see what we offer. What's better, you can enjoy a 10% discount on all equipment hired on our Photo Tours!
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  • Location:
    East Africa
  • Best time to visit:
    January to March
  • Recommended min. duration:
    5 nights/6 days
  • Salient attractions:
    The Serengeti
    The Kilimanjaro
    Ngorongoro Crater
  • Popular activities:
    Vehicle safari
    Trekking and mountaineering
  • Important wildlife:
    African lion
    African leopard
    African cheetah
    African elephant
    African Cape buffalo
    Black rhinoceros
    White rhinoceros
    Maasai giraffe
    Reticulated giraffe
    Burchell's zebra
    White-bearded wildebeest
    Coke's hartebeest
    Spotted hyaena
    Common eland
    Kirk's dik-dik
    Grant's gazelle
    Thomson's gazelle
    Nile crocodile
    Leopard tortoise
    Maasai ostrich
    Grey-crowned crane
    Lappet-faced vulture
    Kori bustard
    Bataleur eagle
    Superb starling
    Lilac-breasted roller


Did you know? Photography enthusiasts joining this Tour and every other Toehold Personalised Vacation are eligible for a nett discount of 10% on all equipment rentals. Talk to us to avail of this offer!