Spend two weeks experiencing the best of Tanzania and Uganda's wildlife alongside enriching cultural experiences. Setting off from Arusha, you'll embark on game drives through Tarangire National Park and a hot-air balloon ride over the Serengeti. After spotting Big Five animals and meeting Maasai villagers in Ngorongoro Crater, fly to Uganda to track gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, visit the chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island, and seek out rare birdlife in the Mabamba Swamp.


  • Watch artisans hard at work at the Shanga & Shanga Foundation
  • Descend into Ngorongoro Crater to look for Big Five animals
  • Learn about life in a traditional Maasai village
  • Canoe across Lake Duluti, nestled in a volcanic crater
  • Cruise through Mabamba Swamp in search of shoebill storks

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Arusha (Tanzania), Visit a Craft Workshop Arusha
Day 2 Transfer to Tarangire National Park, Half-Day Game Drive Tarangire National Park
Day 3 Full-Day Game Drive Across Tarangire National Park Tarangire National Park
Day 4 Transfer to Serengeti National Park, Relax at the Lodge Serengeti National Park
Day 5 Hot-Air Balloon Ride at Sunrise, Full-Day Game Drive Serengeti National Park
Day 6 Transfer to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Visit a Maasai Village Ngorongoro
Day 7 Full-Day Game Drive Across the Ngorongoro Crater Ngorongoro
Day 8 Transfer to Arusha, Canoe Across Lake Duluti Arusha
Day 9 Fly to Entebbe (Uganda), Kampala City Tour Entebbe
Day 10 Transfer to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Day 11 Gorilla Trek in the National Park Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
Day 12 Fly to Entebbe, Cruise to Ngamba Island  Entebbe
Day 13 Cruise Through Mabamba Swamp, Fly to Arusha (Tanzania) Arusha
Day 14 Visit the Serval WildLife Sanctuary, Depart Arusha  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Arusha (Tanzania), Visit a Craft Workshop

Tour the Shanga & Shanga Foundation's workshop and watch the artisans at work

Welcome to the Tanzanian city of Arusha, sitting at the base of Mount Meru. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel to refresh. Then, venture out to the Shanga & Shanga Foundation, a social enterprise that employs people with disabilities to create intricate handmade goods, including glassware, textiles, and jewelry. Go on a guided tour of the space to see the artisans at work, then participate in interactive workshops to learn how to blow glass or weave colorful textiles. This gives you the chance to truly understand and appreciate each artisan's remarkable skills.

You also have the opportunity to learn some Swahili Sign Language to communicate with the deaf and hard-of-hearing artisans. End the tour at the gift shop, where you can browse the array of handmade goods made on-site. Each purchase supports the artist and the foundation's work, and the crafts make great souvenirs. If you're hungry, you could also grab a bite to eat at the adjoining restaurant before returning to your hotel to recover from any jet lag. 

Day 2: Transfer to Tarangire National Park, Half-Day Game Drive

Look out for herds of elephants on your safari through Tarangire National Park

After a restful night in the city, it's time to head to Tarangire National Park, nestled between the Great Rift Valley and the Maasai Steppe. On the two-hour transfer, watch the landscape transform from bustling urban scenes to rolling hills and open savanna, with glimpses of Mount Meru in the distance. Check into your luxury tent at Maramboi Tented Lodge, leave your bags behind, and set off on a half-day safari. Traverse the array of ecosystems within the park, from golden grasslands to ancient baobab-studded landscapes.

You're most likely to see elephants, as there are hundreds in the park, but keep an eye out for tree-climbing lions, grazing giraffes, or zebras meandering across the plains. Don't forget to look up, as there are plenty of birds in the park as well, like the lilac-breasted roller, often considered one of Africa's most beautiful birds. After the 3.5-hour game drive, return to the lodge to relax and enjoy a delicious dinner under the stars.

Day 3: Full-Day Game Drive Across Tarangire National Park

Traverse the baobab-studded Tarangire National Park on your game drives

Get ready for another day of exploring the national park, starting at dawn to catch a glimpse of the nocturnal residents before they go to sleep. Enjoy a quick breakfast at the lodge, then jump in the safari vehicle and set off across the sprawling landscape while the savanna comes alive under the rising sun. Listen as the guide teaches you about the park's nocturnal wildlife and their behaviors while you keep an eye out for mammals like the seldom-seen aardvark, who spends the night foraging and then returns to the den to rest during the day.

Around midday, stop for a picnic lunch in the wild, giving you the opportunity to take in the tranquil atmosphere. After eating, continue the safari, driving deeper into the national park. You may spot more elephants moving toward watering holes or the Maasai ostrich, with its distinct black and white plumage. Stay out until the sun begins to set, covering the towering baobab trees in golden light, then transforming the sky into hues of red and orange. When darkness starts to fall, head back to the lodge for dinner.

Day 4: Transfer to Serengeti National Park, Relax at the Lodge

Spend your first evening in Serengeti National Park enjoying a drink while the sun sets

Trade one national park for another today as you transfer four hours to the UNESCO-listed Serengeti National Park, renowned as one of the best places to see the Great Migration—when millions of wildebeest and zebras traverse the plains in search of fresh grazing grounds. Even if you don't visit during the Great Migration, which takes place from July to October, the park still has plenty to offer.

After checking into the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, which lies in the heart of the park, the rest of the day is yours to spend as you wish. You can relax by the pool overlooking the vast plains, enjoy a cocktail while the sun sets, and then sit down for dinner in the central lodge. When darkness falls, look up at the star-filled sky, uninterrupted by city lights, to end your first night in the national park. 

Day 5: Hot-Air Balloon Ride at Sunrise, Full-Day Game Drive

Rise above Serengeti National Park in a hot-air balloon at sunrise

Wake up before dawn for what's sure to be a highlight of the trip—a hot-air balloon ride over the Serengeti at sunrise. Head to the launch site as the first light begins to illuminate the horizon, looking out for nocturnal predators prowling for prey. Watch as the balloons slowly inflate, then jump into the basket and rise above the sprawling plains. Look down as glide over herds of wildebeest and zebras grazing and roving prides of lions beginning their day. After an hour in the air, touch down and celebrate your flight with a Champagne toast and breakfast under the shade of an acacia tree.

The adventure doesn't stop there, as you set off on a full-day safari deep into the park. Traverse the diverse ecosystems, from the Grumeti River to the Seronera Valley, looking for wildlife like cheetahs stalking their prey or hippos going for a swim. At the hottest point of the day, stop for a picnic lunch to wait for the air to cool down, bringing more animals out of hiding. Continue the safari until the sun starts to cast a warm glow over the plains while it sets. Then, return to the lodge to enjoy dinner and rest after your early start. 

Day 6: Transfer to Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Visit a Maasai Village

Wander through a Maasai village and meet the locals

Say goodbye to Serengeti National Park this morning as you transfer two hours to the UNESCO-listed Ngorongoro Conservation Area, perched at the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, which is often called the eighth wonder of the world. Leave the Serengeti plains behind, transitioning into the Malanja Depression, which reveals an otherworldly expanse of volcanic formations. When you arrive, check into The Highlands, a luxury safari camp whose perch on the slopes of the Olmoti Crater affords breathtaking views all the way to the edge of the Serengeti.

Plan your trip to Uganda
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
As soon as you arrive, you'll head straight back out for a heritage and culture tour of a local Maasai village, where you'll be warmly welcomed with spirited songs and dances. Wander through the village and engage in activities that have defined the tribe's culture for centuries, such as listening to age-old stories from village elders, herding cattle, making intricate jewelry, and sharing a traditional meal. After eating, watch the warriors train, then follow your guide on a nature walk to learn about the indigenous flora and fauna. At the end of the tour, thank the villagers for their time and return to your lodge.

Day 7: Full-Day Game Drive Across the Ngorongoro Crater

Stop at a lake within the Ngorongoro Crater to see an abundance of flamingoes

Get ready for another early wake-up call to spend a full day exploring the conservation area, starting with a game drive at sunrise when the wildlife is most active. Look out for the Big Five game animals—lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and Cape buffalo—as you traverse the rugged terrain and descend into the crater. Once in the caldera, you have a better chance of spotting wildlife, including the endangered black rhino. Around midday, enjoy a picnic lunch on the crater floor, where you can relax and enjoy the wilderness around you. 

After eating, the safari continues to different parts of the crater, stopping at tranquil lakes to spot large flocks of flamingoes or hippos lazing in the water. Flamingoes aren't the only birds you'll see, as the conservation area is also home to species like kori bustards, crowned cranes, and secretary birds. In the late afternoon, begin the journey back up the crater rim, enjoying a final panoramic view of the lush landscape before returning to the lodge. End your action-packed day with a sundowner, which is almost like happy hour, where you wind down with a drink while watching the sunset.

Day 8: Transfer to Arusha, Canoe Across Lake Duluti

Head to Lake Duluti, nestled within a volcanic crater, for a two-hour canoe ride

After spending six days discovering some of Tanzania's best natural landscapes and wildlife, return to Arusha on a four-hour transfer. Leave your bags at the hotel and venture back out to Lake Duluti to canoe down the tranquil waterway. Paddle down the crater lake surrounded by lush green hills, tropical trees, and vibrant flora, looking to the shores and the skies for birds like kingfishers, fish eagles, or darters. When two hours have passed, return to shore and transfer back to the city to enjoy the rest of the day at your own pace.

Depending on the time, you can head to the National Natural History Museum to dive into the country's geology, paleontology, ethnography, and archaeology. Step inside and browse the fossilized remains, taxidermy animals, botanical specimens, and geological formations. When you get hungry, wander down to Boma Road, a bustling thoroughfare in the central business district lined with an array of shops, cafés, and restaurants. Find an international restaurant or sit down for a local meal, like nyama choma, beef or goat roasted over an open flame and served with vegetables.

Day 9: Fly to Entebbe (Uganda), Kampala City Tour

Admire the opulent exterior of Kabaka's Palace and learn about the royal family's history

Bid farewell to Tanzania this morning as you head to the airport to catch a 1.5-hour flight to Entebbe, a bustling Ugandan city nestled on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. When you arrive at Entebbe International Airport, meet your driver outside and transfer to your hotel in the city. When it's time, join your guide for a half-day tour of the nearby capital, Kampala, starting at the Uganda Museum, where you can browse the impressive collection of tools, musical instruments, and ceremonial objects that offer insight into the daily lives of Uganda's various ethnic groups.

Then, take a 30-minute ride in a boda-boda, a bicycle or motorcycle taxi, to weave through the chaotic traffic and stop for a rolex (a chapati roll filled with eggs, tomatoes, and onions). Don't fill up too much, as luwombo (a traditional Ugandan dish of meat, peanuts, and beans wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf) awaits at your next stop. After eating, head to Kabaka's Palace, the official residence of the Buganda tribe's king since 1885.

Although you can't enter the opulent building, your guide will share stories of the royal family as you admire the grand gates, lush gardens, and traditional thatched roof structures. One part of the complex you can enter is Idi Amin's torture chambers to pay your respects to victims, typically those perceived as political opponents or dissenters, of the former president's brutal regime in the 1970s. End your tour at a local craft market to witness the skill of local artists offering unique souvenirs, then return to your hotel in Entebbe.

Day 10: Transfer to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

Enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine around the campfire at the Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

After one night in the city, set off for the UNESCO-listed Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park on a 7-8 hour transfer. Drive past picturesque villages, vibrant markets, and lush farmlands, making regular stops to stretch your legs or grab a bite to eat. Watch as the rolling hills and dense greenery give way to rugged mountains as you approach the national park.

Check into the luxurious and secluded Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, then spend the rest of the day enjoying the lodging's amenities. You can unwind at the spa, grab a cocktail from the bar, and then sit down for a delicious dinner around the campfire to end the night.

Day 11: Gorilla Trek in the National Park

Follow families of gorillas through Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park

One of the national park's most famous residents is the gorilla, so today, you're going to try to find them deep in the forest. Meet your guide at the ranger's station at 8 am, complete a safety and etiquette briefing, then set off down the path on foot, looking for gorilla footprints to follow. The trek's duration varies, from 3-6 hours depending on how long it takes to find the resident gorilla troops, so wear a good pair of hiking shoes.

When you finally spot them, try to stay 22 feet (7 m) away at all times to reduce the risk of compromising their health with human illnesses. Watch them go about their daily lives—feeding, playing, and resting—in their natural habitat. Conservation protocols allow you to spend one hour with these incredible creatures, so when it's time, return to the park's entrance along the same path. After a day in the forest, return to the lodge to relax and enjoy another delicious dinner al fresco.

Day 12: Fly to Entebbe, Cruise to Ngamba Island 

Watch the playful chimpanzees interact with each other during their feeding session

After spending a day with the gorillas, head to the Kihihi Airstrip to catch a one-hour flight back to Entebbe. Refresh at the hotel, then head to the pier for a boat tour to the nearby Ngamba Island, renowned for its chimpanzee sanctuary. Disembark and head to the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary to meet the knowledgeable staff, learn about the ongoing conservation efforts, and meet the curious chimpanzees up close during their feeding time. 

The sanctuary is home to over 50 chimps that were orphaned or rescued from poachers, circuses, and wildlife traffickers. Learn about each animal's story while you observe their playful antics and intriguing social dynamics. When you're done at the sanctuary, wander around the island, enjoying panoramic views of the lake, before returning to the mainland. In the evening, stroll through the town center, lined with local and international restaurants, to find somewhere for dinner. End the night with a sweet treat of mandazi, a deep-fried doughnut-like pastry dusted with powdered sugar.

Day 13: Cruise Through Mabamba Swamp, Fly to Arusha (Tanzania)

Take a boat ride through Mabamba Swamp to look for the elusive shoebill

Your penultimate day in East Africa takes you to Mabamba Swamp, just a short ferry ride and 20-minute drive away. When you arrive, jump in a motorized wooden boat and glide through the winding water channels to look for the area's most popular and mysterious resident—the shoebill stork. If you don't spot any shoebills on the shores or in the skies, don't worry. There are plenty of other birds to see, such as the African fish eagle, African jacana, or malachite kingfisher.

Don't forget to look in the water as well, as you may spot otters, mongooses, Nile monitors, and water snakes. After a morning of bird-watching and wildlife spotting, return to the hotel to grab your bags, then head to the airport for a 1.5-hour flight back to Tanzania and Arusha. Meet your driver outside the airport and transfer to your hotel. If you're hungry, head to the Njiro Complex, a shopping and entertainment center that houses several restaurants and cafés serving both Tanzanian cuisine and international dishes.

Day 14: Visit the Serval WildLife Sanctuary, Depart Arusha

Watch the wild servals roam freely in the Serval WildLife sanctuary

Your last day in Tanzania takes you to Serval WildLife, a sanctuary almost two hours outside of the city. Although the sanctuary is dedicated to the rehabilitation and conservation of servals, graceful wildcats native to Africa, you can also find animals like Maasai giraffes, elands, ostriches, lions, and monkeys within the sanctuary. Wander through the well-maintained grounds covered in 3,000 hand-planted endemic flora species to get an up-close look at some of these creatures. On a clear day, you can also enjoy mesmerizing views of Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro.

After meeting some of the sanctuary's animals, feeding them, and petting them when possible, sit down for lunch before returning to the city. Back in Arusha, spend some time shopping at the Maasai Market, a treasure trove of handmade goods and local delights. Browse the stalls full of Maasai jewelry, colorful fabrics, and traditional decor. If you find something you like, try your hand at negotiating a price to really immerse yourself in Tanzanian culture. When it's time, return to your hotel to grab your bags and meet your driver, then transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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