The first part of this Tanzania adventure will take you on safari at Tarangire National Park, Serengeti National Park, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Here, you'll do game drives, learn about the ecology of the parks, and see the African big five. Then, you'll fly over to the gorgeous Zanzibar archipelago, where you'll spend days swimming in crystal-clear waters and diving around corals.

Highlights

  • Watch for more than 500 species of birds at Tarangire National Park
  • Do a scenic hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti
  • See rare black rhinos and black-maned lions at Ngorongoro
  • Catch an astonishing sunset over the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater
  • Dive the Mnemba Atoll and see colorful marine life in Zanzibar

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Arusha Arusha
Day 2 Tarangire National Park Tarangire National Park
Day 3 Transfer to Serengeti National Park Serengeti National Park
Day 4 Serengeti National Park Serengeti National Park
Day 5 Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater Ngorongoro
Day 6 Ngorongoro Safari/Transfer to Zanzibar Zanzibar
Days 7-12 Free Days in Zanzibar Zanzibar
Day 13 Depart from Zanzibar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Arusha

Arusha sits at the foot of Mount Meru
Arusha sits at the foot of Mount Meru

Welcome to Tanzania! Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, a representative will greet you and take you to your accommodation.

Once you're checked in and rested, you are free to explore Arusha on your own. While the city is mostly known as a gateway to Mount Kilimanjaro and several safari opportunities, there are plenty of things to do within city limits as well. Head to the Arusha Natural History Museum, hit Maasai Market Curio & Craft for souvenirs, and immerse in local coffee culture at a café.

Day 2: Tarangire National Park

Elephant at Tarangire National Park - Photo taken by Jonathan G
Elephant at Tarangire National Park - Photo taken by Jonathan G

Get excited for your first day of wildlife viewing. You'll depart early in the morning towards the amazing Tarangire National Park.

Named after the river that crosses through it, Tarangire is famous for the abundance of elephants and baobab trees you can find here. Enjoy a full-day game drive with local guides who will help you spot species like cheetahs, baboons, zebras, buffalos, and more. If you're into birding, you're in for a real treat, as the park is home to more than 500 species of birds!

For lunch, you'll do a scenic picnic right in the park, then continue your search for more exciting animals.

Once the light of day starts to dwindle, you'll retire to your lodge.

Day 3: Transfer to Serengeti National Park

Zebras and wildebeest in the Serengeti
Zebras and wildebeest in the Serengeti

After an early breakfast, you'll start making your way to one of Africa's most famous nature reserves: the Serengeti National Park

The park is known around for its Great Wildebeest Migration—the largest land migration in the world! This natural wonder sees over a million wildebeest migrating from Tanzania to Kenya and back. Other animals such as zebras and antelopes also participate, albeit in smaller numbers. Of course, predators like lions and cheetahs follow the migration, making it the perfect opportunity to see the big five and other species! 

Even if you visit the Serengeti when the Great Migration is not happening, you will find a land teeming with life, and there are always exciting wildlife-watching opportunities. 

You'll have a delicious picnic lunch and a short game drive within the park.

Plan your trip to Tanzania
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Serengeti National Park

Hot air balloon taking off in the Serengeti
Hot air balloon taking off in the Serengeti

Rise with the sun to begin a full-day safari in the Serengeti.

Be on the lookout for the famed wildebeests, but also Nile crocodiles, fierce honey badgers, hippos, lions, giraffes, and more! Your local guide will provide information about the different species you encounter, as well as about the history of the region, and conservation efforts. 

Option: Balloon Safari
See the Serengeti through another perspective by hopping aboard a hot air balloon. You'll not only get a unique view of the park, but will also be able to access parts that are off-limits to land vehicles. This means you'll be able to see animals as they behave when they are completely undisturbed by humans. This is truly an experience you'll never forget!

Day 5: Transfer to Ngorongoro Crater

View of the Ngorongoro Crater Lake
View of the Ngorongoro Crater Lake

This morning, you'll do one last explorative tour of the Serengeti before beginning the drive to the astonishing Ngorongoro Crater.

Formed from the collapse of a volcano, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa—it boasts being the largest intact inactive caldera in the entire planet. With its unique environment, the Ngorongoro Crater is teeming with diversity, housing around 30,000 wild animals. If you've dreamed about seeing the endangered black rhino or the rare black-maned lion, this is considered the best place in the country to do so. However, don't bother looking for giraffes, as they cannot make it into the crater (although they do like to roam the conservation area around it).

As if that wasn't enough, the Ngorongoro Crater is also important to the history of humanity: it contains the oldest known evidence of homo sapiens, fueling the theory that we all come from Africa. 

You'll enjoy the sunset from the rim of the crater, taking in the wonderful view of the caldera before retiring to your accommodation within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Day 6: Ngorongoro Safari/Transfer to Zanzibar

Safari through the Ngorongoro Crater
Safari through the Ngorongoro Crater

Start the day early to get the most out of a safari in Ngorongoro Crater. You will spend the entire morning spotting the different species that live within this unique biosphere, while learning more about its geology and history. 

This will be your last game drive of the trip, so keep your eyes open for any species you haven't yet crossed off your list!

After lunch, you'll drive back to Arusha to take an evening flight to Zanzibar.

Days 7-12: Free Days in Zanzibar

The white beaches of Zanzibar
The white beaches of Zanzibar

For the next week, you'll be free to explore the astonishing Zanzibar archipelago. 

This semi-autonomous region is one of Tanzania's greatest treasures, and is know for its impossibly soft-sand beaches and clear waters (as well as for being Freddy Mercury's birthplace). You'll get to decide how to best spend your days in this exciting destination. If a week seems like too long, rest assured, there are plenty of things to do for all kinds of travelers:

Beach Days:
One of Zanzibar's main attractions are its gorgeous beaches. Considered one of the best in the west African coast, you can spend some days (or the entire week) simply lounging around the beach and working on your tan. Head to Nungwi if you're also looking to party, to Bwejuu for calm and relaxation, and to Michamvi for some isolation. 

Nature Encounters:
The main activities for encountering nature are, of course, snorkeling and diving. 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. You can also spend a day at Jozani Forest, home to the endemic red colobus monkey. For even more nature, explore the Kuumbi Caves in Jambiani

History & Culture:
Besides beaches and nature, Zanzibar boasts an extremely rich history. Its capital, Stone Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to some of the archipelago's most important buildings and monuments, such as the Arab Fort. Spend time walking around the town, admiring its Arabic architecture and Indian influences. You can also visit the solemn Former Slave Market, and learn about this tragic part of the island's history.

Gastronomy:
With its unique blend of Muslim, Indian, Middle Eastern, and African cultures, the food in Zanzibar is truly something else. Don't skip out on the Stone Town Market, a large outdoor market that offers spices, snacks, and fresh meals. If you love trying different spices, arrange a spice tour to visit local farms. You should also plan a visit to the world-famous Rock Restaurant, which has earned a name for itself due to its unique location on a small rock in the ocean. 

Sports:
If you're looking for fun ways to stay fit and active while on vacation, the options extend far beyond swimming (although this is always a good excuse to do some beach hopping). Try kayaking along mangroves, surfing on the southeast coast, biking around the island, kite surfing, or—for those wanting something a bit more unique—deep sea fishing.

Day 13: Depart from Zanzibar

Rock formations in Zanzibar
Rock formations in Zanzibar

Enjoy your last morning on this earthly paradise by bathing in the beach and taking in as much sun as you can. 

In the afternoon, you will be taken to the airport for your onward flight.

Map

Map of Parks & Beaches of Tanzania: Tarangire, Serengeti, Ngorongoro & Zanzibar - 13 Days
Map of Parks & Beaches of Tanzania: Tarangire, Serengeti, Ngorongoro & Zanzibar - 13 Days