This epic adventure takes you to Tanzania, one of East Africa's most beautiful and culturally rich nations. Famous for its many wilderness reserves and stunning offshore islands, this country offers something for everyone—and you'll experience it all. That includes game drives in safari hotspots to see Big Five animals, cultural exchanges with local tribespeople, and lazing on the white-sand beaches of dreamy Zanzibar.


  • See exotic animals on game drives in Serengeti and Ngorongoro
  • Visit the tribespeople of Mto Wa Mbu and take part in a cultural exchange
  • Tour the historic center of Zanzibar and laze on its white-sand beaches
  • Swim in the crystalline waters of Pemba, a gem of the Indian Ocean

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 Cultural Exchange in Mto Wa Mbu, Transfer to Ngorongoro Ngorongoro
Day 4 Ngorongoro Game Drive Ngorongoro
Day 5 Transfer to Serengeti National Park, Stop at Olduvai Gorge Serengeti National Park
Days 6-7 Explore Northern Serengeti National Park Serengeti National Park
Days 8-10 Transfer to Zanzibar, Optional Activities Zanzibar Beach
Days 11-13 Transfer to Pemba Island, Optional Activities Pemba Island
Day 14 Depart Tanzania  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Arusha

Arusha town
Welcome to 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 ecosystem, 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 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

Drive alongside African 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 pretty 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: Cultural Exchange in Mto Wa Mbu, Transfer to Ngorongoro

Mto Wa Mbu Cultural Tour
Local artwork in Mto Wa Mbu
Wake up early for one last exploration of Tarangire. Around midday, enjoy a picnic lunch and then head north to the village of 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 participate in a cultural tourism program and meet some of the different tribespeople—notably members of the Mbugwe, Iraqw, Gorowa, Irangi, Chagga, and Maasai. The exciting thing is that each day the tour offers a different cultural immersion depending on the activities going on in the village. Examples include visiting local farms and the homes of working families who produce everything from homemade banana beer to palm oil.
Another option is to head to nearby Papyrus Lake and meet the Rangi people, who collect items they find in the lake to make baskets and mats. You can tour the rice farms of local tribespeople who still make traditional bows and arrows for hunting. Another highlight is a visit to the Makonde carver families, whose impressive skills in the art of wood carving go back generations. 

Afterward, you'll continue to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the tented camp where you'll stay. 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). It's also unique in that over 40,000 Masaai tribespeople live here, and their cattle, goats, and sheep graze right alongside the abundant wildlife. This offers rare insight into a way of living in harmony with nature that has hardly changed since ancient times.

Day 4: Ngorongoro Game Drive

The Ngorongoro Crater
After breakfast, head down to the crater's base for a full-day, 4x4 tour around Ngorongoro. There will be ample opportunities to spot exotic wildlife throughout the day. This area, which is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, is home to over 20,000 large animals. Here you can spot 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.
Plan your trip to Tanzania
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Most interesting, however, might be the region's anthropological wonders. Archeological studies at Ngorongoro have revealed evidence of human evolution dating back some four million years. This includes fossilized footprints of early Homo sapiens and remains that document the development of stone technology. After the game drive, you'll head back to the camp in time for dinner.

Day 5: Transfer to Serengeti National Park, Stop at Olduvai Gorge

The residents of Serengeti National Park
In the morning, you'll leave Ngorongoro and head north on a 3-hour drive toward Serengeti National Park, but you'll have the option to stop on the way at Olduvai Gorge. This vast gorge (about 30 miles long and 300 feet deep) is home to paleoanthropological sites that have been crucial in furthering our understanding of human evolution. It's famous for the evolutionary discoveries of some of the earliest signs of human development. Hundreds of fossilized bones and stone tools have been found in the area dating back millions of years, concluding that humans evolved in Africa. 

After Olduvai Gorge, you'll continue on into Serengeti National Park. This legendary wildlife reserve is the archetypal safari destination. In the Maasai language, the name Serengeti means "endless plains," and this protected area's 5,700 sq miles (14,763 sq km) deliver on that promise. The park is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve that supports the world's largest concentration of plains game. This includes famous Big Five animals like lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and black rhinos.
Upon arrival in the park, you'll head to your camp, which will be your base for explorations over the next couple of days.

Days 6-7: Explore Northern Serengeti National Park

Lion cub in a tree in Serengeti
In the morning, head onto the plains and discover the Serengeti on a full-day tour. There's a lot to see here, as the Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest. Besides being a great place to spot 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. 
Today you'll explore the northern region of Serengeti, near the Massai Mara Reserve in neighboring Kenya, as this is the main route of the migration. The area also offers a chance to escape the crowds, as it's remote and relatively inaccessible. Those who make it here are rewarded with sweeping vistas of rolling green hills, granite outcrops, and acacia woodlands dotting the open savanna.
Then there's all that incredible wildlife—most famously the massive herds of wildebeests and zebras making the dangerous crossing of the croc-infested Mara River during the Great Migration from June to November. This sector is also home to the greatest concentration of elephants in the Serengeti and good numbers of lions, leopards, and cheetahs—plus giraffes and hippos.
Depending on your preference, head out early for a morning game drive and return to camp in time for lunch. Later in the afternoon, you can embark on another game drive or opt to relax by the pool with a good book. Alternatively, enjoy breakfast in camp, then head out on your game drive a bit later, returning mid-afternoon.

Days 8-10: Transfer to Zanzibar, Optional Activities

Zanzibar Beach
Welcome to Zanzibar

You'll fly from Arusha to Zanzibar City in the morning, on the island of the same name. This island is one of the true gems of the continent and enjoys a reputation for having exquisite beaches. Upon arrival at the airport, you'll transfer to your hotel. After settling in, you can head out and enjoy the soft white sands and turquoise waters. 

There is a diverse array of optional activities to keep you busy. Of course, some of Zanzibar's main attractions are its inviting beaches. If you prefer, you can spend the next couple of days sunbathing on one of these prized stretches of sand. If you're feeling social, there's no shortage of beach clubs and party vibes in the coastal village of Nungwi. If calm and relaxation are your goals, head to Michamvi Kae for some isolation.
Nature lovers and aquatic adventurers might prefer snorkeling and diving tours. Matemwe is the best place to engage in either activity, as it provides access to the Mnemba Atoll and the coral reefs that surround it. Another option is to spend a day at Jozani Forest, home to exotic animals like the red colobus monkey. Explore the Kuumbi Caves in Jambiani for even more nature on the southeastern coast. And for options beyond swimming and hiking, try kayaking in mangrove forests, surfing on the southeast coast, biking around the island, or kite surfing. You could also head out to sea for a sport-fishing adventure and reel in some marlin and sailfish.
Besides beaches and nature, Zanzibar boasts a rich history. The medieval center of the capital, Stone Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This warren of alleyways, shops, bazaars, and mosques is home to some of Zanzibar's oldest and most historic buildings. One standout is the Arab Fort, a defensive fortification built in the 17th century. A great activity is to stroll Stone Town and admire its unique mix of Arabic architecture and Indian influences. You can also visit the solemn site of a former slave market and learn about this tragic part of the island's history.
Then there's the cuisine of Zanzibar. With its unique blend of Muslim, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African influences, the food here is truly something else. Get right to the heart of Zanzibar's gastronomy with a visit to Stone Town Market, a large outdoor market that offers spices, snacks, produce, teas, and fresh meals. And if you want to dine like a castaway, visit the world-famous Rock Restaurant, so-named for its unique location atop a tiny rock island off the coast.

Days 11-13: Transfer to Pemba Island, Optional Activities

Pemba Island
Pemba Island
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport and catch the 30-minute flight north to Pemba Island. If you thought Zanzibar was a tropical paradise, wait until you see Pemba—it's regarded as the most beautiful of all the islands in this archipelago. This jewel was dubbed El Huthera or "The Green" by early Omani sailors. Ever since, Pemba has managed to retain its laid-back charm and even today remains unspoiled by modern civilization. There are very few modes of transport and limited accommodations here, so expect the very definition of a rustic, barefoot beach holiday.
That said, there are many optional activities to keep you occupied over the next couple of days. Pemba is one of Tanzania's top diving and snorkeling destinations, making it a playground for water lovers. For example, located between Pemba and mainland Tanzania is the Pemba Canal, which is 6,561-feet (2,000 m) deep and home to diverse sea life like barracuda, tuna, sharks, and even whales.
Nature is another highlight of this island. The lack of infrastructure combined with the many clove, mango, and coconut groves lining green hills and fertile valleys make this a huge draw for spiritualists and traditional healers. But one of the most memorable ways to pass the time is to lie under a blanket of stars as the scent of clove carries in the ocean breeze and the sounds of tropical birds lull you to sleep. Other activities include visiting the Mkame Ndume Ruins (an abandoned 15th-century palace) and enjoying fresh seafood and delicious Swahili cuisine. At the end of your stay, you'll return to Zanzibar. 

Day 14: Depart Tanzania

Farewell, Africa

After breakfast, enjoy one last stroll along the powdery white beaches of Zanzibar. You'll transfer to the airport and fly to Arusha to catch your connecting flight home at the appropriate time. Safe travels!

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Map of Highlights of Tanzania - 14 Days
Map of Highlights of Tanzania - 14 Days