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Imagine being hoisted up into the sky at daybreak and sailing serenely over expansive savanna plains dotted with wildlife, warmed by the rising sun and with only the occasional sound of a burner to break the silence. Such is the experience you'll have in Tanzania's epic 1.5 million-hectare Serengeti National Park if you forego the standard on-the-ground safari and opt instead for a hot-air balloon odyssey over this African wildlife playground. The trip is at its most dramatic in May and early June when massive herds of wildebeest and zebras dodge predators during their annual migrations.
A short boat ride into the ocean from Kizimkazi brings you to a breath-taking gathering place for local dolphins. The Imani Beach Villa run tours to the local fishing town daily, as well as trips to the Miza Miza caves and Dimbriani Mosque. Perfect if you love beachesMt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
The ice fields on Kilimanjaro have been in retreat over the last 150 years and only 10% of the original snow remains. Some scientists say the glacial cap is beyond recovery and could disappear within the next decade.
Uganda, Tanzania: Safari Plus
Tag along for a morning with Tanzania’s Hadza people—one of the last of Africa’s hunter-gatherer societies—on this custom journey that weaves cultural encounters with the region’s iconic experiences, such as gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and game drives in the Serengeti. Global Basecamps: “Beyond the Big Five: Uganda, Tanzania, & the Spice Island,” 17 days; $7,198; www.globalbasecamps.com
Madagascar, Tanzania, Comoros, Réunion, Mauritius: Indian Ocean Odyssey
Madagascar and its wonders—dozens of species of lemurs, virgin coral reefs, prolific birdlife—are best reached by sea. Join a team that includes marine biologists and ornithologists on the 100-passenger Island Sky from Zanzibar’s picturesque Stone Town, around the island’s northern tip, to Chamarel’s “seven-colored earths,” a geological formation in Mauritius. Zegrahm Expeditions:“Voyage to Madagascar,” 19 days; $13,980; www.zegrahm.com
Tanzania: Beyond the Safari
Trek alongside Maasai tribesmen in the Serengeti Plain, descend into Ngorongoro Crater, and forage with Hadza bushmen, one of the last surviving hunter-gatherer tribes. National Geographic Adventures: “Walking Safari With the Maasai,” 11 days; from $5,095; www.nationalgeographicadventures.com
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania -- The Serengeti National Park is one of the reining kings of African national parks. Known for its annual wildebeest migrations, the single largest animal migration on Earth, the Serengeti National Park is one of the few places on earth that can truly be considered a sanctuary for the great animals of Africa
Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania -- Mt. Kilimanjaro has the fame of being the highest mountain in Africa and the dream of avid climbers everywhere. The Kilimanjaro National Park is most famous among trekkers looking to challenge themselves on the peak, but the views and wildlife in the surrounding grasslands makes the trip worthwhile for the rest of us!
Zanzibar, Tanzania - The ancient city of Zanzibar is one of Africa's top destinations and famous for its white-sand beaches and mix African, Arab, and Portuguese influences in the historic district of Stone Town