In just a week, you can visit not one, not two, but three of Tanzania's legendary national parks for safari adventures. All the famous specimens will be on display, from the elephants at Tarangire to the lions of the Serengeti to the rhinos of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In between these epic wildlife tours, you'll have the opportunity to visit indigenous communities to spend time with tribespeople who still hunt and forage the way their ancient ancestors did.


  • See the famous African bush elephants of Tarangire National Park
  • Go on game drives in the Serengeti to search for lions and cheetahs
  • Visit the tribespeople of Mto Wa Mbu and take part in a cultural exchange
  • Drive across the crater of Ngorongoro and spot rhinos

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Arusha Arusha
Day 2 Arusha to Tarangire National Park, Game Drive Tarangire National Park
Day 3 Tarangire National Park to Lake Eyasi, Tribe Experience Lake Eyasi
Day 4 Lake Eyasi to Mto Wa Mbu, Transfer to Serengeti National Park Serengeti National Park
Day 5 Serengeti Game Drives Serengeti National Park
Day 6 Serengeti to Ngorongoro Conservation Area Ngorongoro
Day 7 Ngorongoro to Arusha, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Arusha

Arusha town
Arusha, Tanzania

Welcome to Tanzania! This gem of a country is a wildlife lover's paradise, home to some of Africa's most famous safari destinations and unspoiled national parks. Located in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, Tanzania is known for its vast wilderness areas. This country is home to the Serengeti, where millions of plains animals migrate around its fertile savannas. Also, here is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the only place you can see all Big Five animals—lions, elephants, leopards, buffaloes, and black rhinos—on a single game drive.

Upon arrival in the northern city of Arusha, your driver will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to your hotel. After unpacking and unwinding, take some time to head out and admire the views. Not only does this city sit at the foot of the 14,980-foot (4,566-m) Meru Volcano, but at certain places, you can also spot the snow-capped table of Mt Kilimanjaro. Coffee lovers will want to hit a café and sample this country's famous robusta and arabica roasts. After all, Tanzania is the third-largest coffee producer in Africa, and this bean is its largest export crop.

Day 2: Arusha to Tarangire National Park, Game Drive

Tarangire National Park Elephants
Bush elephants in Tarangire National Park
After breakfast, your driver will pick you up from your hotel to drive southwest to one of Tanzania's many natural treasures: Tarangire National Park. This 1,000-sq-mile (2,600-sq-km) protected area may only be the sixth largest national park in the country, but there's no shortage of incredible wildlife here. It's one of Tanzania's finest birding destinations, as there are almost 500 avian species in the park. Plus, during the migratory season of July to October, there are incredible numbers of plains game like wildebeests, antelope, and zebras.
However, elephants are the main attraction in Tarangire. Up to 3,000 roam the park during the peak months between June and November. Other common animals include giraffes, the Thompson's gazelle, greater and lesser kudus, elands, leopards, and cheetahs. However, the real prizes in the park are the dwarf mongoose, oryx, and gerenuk (also called the "giraffe gazelle")—but sightings are rare.
The best part is that, because Tarangire is a quiet, often overlooked park, there are fewer crowds to witness the spectacle of its migrating residents. You'll arrive at the park in time for lunch and later embark on an afternoon game drive to view the abundant wildlife.

Day 3: Tarangire National Park to Lake Eyasi, Tribe Experience

Hadzabe Tribe
Spend the day with Hadzabe tribespeople
After breakfast, you'll have more time to enjoy Tarangire National Park on a morning game drive. Then, after lunch, transfer a short way west to beautiful Lake Eyasi. This soda (alkaline) lake sits in the Rift Valley and is surrounded by walls of purple lava. More than a geological wonder, this area has been the homeland of the indigenous Hadzabe people for the last 10,000 years. They are one of the last remaining communities of hunter-gatherers on the continent.

A visit here is an excellent opportunity for a cultural exchange with these tribespeople and to learn about their rich history. Commercial production and the modern world have been steadily encroaching on their tribal land in recent times. This has created an existential threat to the Hadzabe's traditional way of life, and, sadly, they have been reduced to a small and endangered community. Despite these challenges, they fight to maintain their traditions based on hunting wild game and living off the land. Besides the Hadzabe, you'll have the opportunity to meet the Datoga people, who also reside in the Lake Eyasi region. 
Plan your trip to Tanzania
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Lake Eyasi to Mto Wa Mbu, Transfer to Serengeti National Park

Mto Wa Mbu Cultural Tour
Local artwork at Mto Wa Mbu
Wake up at first light and head out on an early hunt with the Hadzabe to see up-close how they stalk wild game and forage for items like roots and honey. You'll even get to witness their traditional dances. After the hunt, return to the lodge for breakfast, then transfer with your guide east to Mto Wa Mbu. This farming community of around 18,000 people is unique in that it's one of the only places where all of Tanzania's some 120 tribes live side by side.
Here you'll take a 3-hour cultural tour and meet some residents—notably members of the Mbugwe, Iraqw, Gorowa, Irangi, Chagga, and Maasai tribes. Each day the tour offers a different cultural immersion depending on the activities going on in the village. Examples include visiting the homes of working families who produce everything from homemade banana beer to palm oil. You can also head to nearby Papyrus Lake to meet the Rangi people, who scavenge for items in the lake to make baskets and mats. Or tour the rice farms of local tribespeople who still make traditional bows and arrows for hunting. 

Then, hop back in the car and say goodbye to Mto Wa Mbu as you travel northwest to Serengeti National Park, stopping for a picnic lunch. Once there, you'll have the remainder of the day to enjoy this 5,700 sq-mile (14,763 sq-km) protected area on an afternoon game drive. The Serengeti is a legendary safari destination and one of the oldest ecosystems in the world, and here you can see Big Five game animals, particularly lions and cheetahs. You'll head right to the central savanna in a 4x4 safari vehicle to spot as many of these specimens as possible.
Afterward, you'll drive to your tent camp, located in the park. This will be your base for the next couple of days.

Day 5: Serengeti Game Drives

Game drive on the Serengeti
Today, you'll have the option to take separate morning and afternoon game drives and return to camp for lunch—or you can enjoy a full-day game drive with packed lunch to eat on the savanna. Whatever you decide, there's a lot to see here. Besides witnessing the Big Five animals in their natural habitat, the Serengeti hosts the annual Great Migration. This "greatest wildlife show on earth" sees more than a million wildebeest, plus hundreds of thousands of zebras and Thomson's gazelles, undertaking the long trek to new grazing grounds. Hopefully, you'll be here at the right time to enjoy it.

Day 6: Serengeti to Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area

After breakfast, you and your guide will travel south to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Like the Serengeti, this region is also home to abundant exotic animals and plains game due to its fertile grazing grounds. The area is named after the Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest volcanic caldera. This UNESCO World Heritage Site measures 1,968 feet (600 m) in depth and covers 100 sq miles (260 sq km). 

Once in Ngorongoro, there will be ample opportunities to spot exotic wildlife. This area, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, is home to over 20,000 large animals. Here you can see buffaloes, elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, hippos, hyenas, jackals, ostriches, warthogs, and vast herds of gazelles. Also, thanks to anti-poaching patrols, the crater is one of the few places in East Africa where visitors are sure to see black rhinos.

After enjoying lunch and more wildlife spotting, you'll drive to your accommodation located within the park.

Day 7: Ngorongoro to Arusha, Depart

Goodbye Africa
After breakfast, head down to the crater's base for a morning game drive by 4x4. Afterward, you'll transfer to the airport in Arusha for your flight home. Safe travels!

More Great Tanzania Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your Tanzania trip? Check out these other Tanzania itineraries, with outdoor adventures, beach vacations, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of Best of Tanzania's National Parks - 7 Days
Map of Best of Tanzania's National Parks - 7 Days