Hit Tanzania's acclaimed safari circuit for a 10-day adventure that takes you from the prized national parks of Mikumi and Nyerere to the golden plains of the Serengeti and the awe-inspiring crater of Ngorongoro. Throughout the journey, you'll embark on game drives to witness the Big Five safari animals in their natural environment and experience the warmth and generosity of the Maasai community before winding up on the elephant-strewn planes of Tarangire.


  • Witness lions and hyenas return after a night of hunting with dawn game drives 
  • See the "Cradle of Humankind" with a visit to Olduvai Gorge 
  • Marvel at hippos and crocs as you travel Tanzania's largest river
  • Immerse yourself in Maasai culture on a private visit to a local village

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Dar es Salaam, Transfer to Mikumi National Park Mikumi National Park
Day 2 Dawn & Afternoon Game Drives in Mikumi National Park Mikumi National Park
Day 3 Transfer to Nyerere National Park, Afternoon Game Drive Nyerere National Park
Day 4 Full-Day Rufiji River Boat Safari, Riverbank Picnic Lunch Nyerere National Park
Day 5 Fly to Serengeti National Park, Evening Game Drive Serengeti National Park
Day 6 Dawn Game Drive, Transfer to Olduvai Gorge & Ngorongoro Ngorongoro
Day 7 Full-Day Ngorongoro Safari Ngorongoro
Day 8 Maasai Cultural Tour, Transfer to Tarangire National Park Tarangire National Park
Day 9 Morning & Afternoon Game Drives in Tarangire National Park Tarangire National Park
Day 10 Fly to Dar es Salaam, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Dar es Salaam, Transfer to Mikumi National Park

Impala in Mikumi
Arrive at golden hour, and you might spot impala in Mikumi National Park

Welcome to Tanzania! One of the globe's most popular safari destinations, many of the country's dozens of national parks and reserves are within driving distance of one another. These convenient logistics have resulted in an entire "safari circuit" many travelers follow when in Tanzania—precisely what's in store for you during this adventure.

It starts with your arrival in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. Your driver will be waiting at the airport terminal for the 3.5-hour ride inland to Mikumi National Park. The drive is long but scenic, as you'll pass sprawling savanna grasslands where elephants and giraffes roam free. The route also offers glimpses into rural Tanzanian life while showcasing the natural splendor of the southern highlands.

Eventually, you'll arrive in Mikumi. This protected area covers 1,250 square miles (3,230 sq km) of riverine, grassland, and forest habitats. These are home to a diverse array of wildlife species, including zebras and wildebeests, as well as predators like lions and leopards. Over 400 bird species have been recorded here, including dazzling and colorful specimens like the African fish eagle and lilac-breasted roller. Upon arrival, you'll check into your luxury safari lodge, Camp Bastian Makumi, decked out with welcome amenities including a large and inviting swimming pool. 

Day 2: Dawn & Afternoon Game Drives in Mikumi National Park

A hyena at sunrise in Mikumi
See big cats and hyenas on a dawn safari in Mikumi National Park

You've got a full day of safari fun in store as you set off at dawn in an open-topped 4WD vehicle for the first of two game drives. The early hour allows you to capitalize on the fact the animals are more active during these cooler hours. And while not as famous as some other national parks in the country, Mikumi is home to the legendary Big Five game animals (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos). You'll likely spot some (if not all) of these majestic creatures enjoying their morning drink at watering holes.

Return to the lodge for lunch, then leave on an afternoon game drive. As you explore the savanna and follow the Mkata River and other waterways, you'll see plenty of animals up close, including hippos, Nile crocodiles, antelope, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, buffalo and others. A little while after sunset, you'll return to the lodge. 

Day 3: Transfer to Nyerere National Park, Afternoon Game Drive

Female lions relaxing amid the last light of the day

Say goodbye to Mikumi as you meet your driver for the ride south to Nyerere National Park. Another of Tanzania's massive protected areas (it covers 11,917 sq mi/ 30,893 sq km), the park is filled with various habitats, ecosystems, and waterways. The most prominent is the mighty Rufiji River, the largest river in the country and the park's lifeblood.

The scenic journey to Nyerere will take around six hours, and you'll stay at the luxurious Selous River Camp. Featuring jaw-dropping river views, there are many amenities to enjoy here, including an infinity pool. You'll arrive just in time for a late-afternoon game drive to spot animals like giraffes, zebras, antelope, and exotic birds as they make the most of the remaining daylight. The safari lasts until about 6:30 pm, after which you'll return to the lodge in time for a sundowner followed by dinner.

Day 4: Full-Day Rufiji River Boat Safari, Riverbank Picnic Lunch

Watch hippos on the move in Nyerere National Park

The highlights of this park are the animals you'll see in and around its riverine ecosystems. This morning, you'll board a boat for a full-day river safari. As you motor at a leisurely pace down the Rufiji, you'll observe various wildlife in their natural habitats, particularly aquatic animals like hippos and crocodiles.

You'll also find over 400 colorful bird species here, including waterbirds like kingfishers, herons, African fish eagles, and more. After a morning cruising the river, you'll enjoy a picnic lunch on the riverbanks, followed by more wildlife viewing until the end of the day. Dinner will be served back at the lodge amid river views.

Day 5: Fly to Serengeti National Park, Evening Game Drive

Get lucky, and you might spot a leopard on the savanna

Transfer to the airstrip after breakfast and leave the southern highlands on a scenic four-hour flight to Serengeti National Park. Located in northern Tanzania, the Serengeti is one of the most popular safari destinations in the world. This is due in no small part to the Great Migration, which sees millions of wildebeests and zebras cross vast savannas and rivers each year from June to November. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted by your driver and transferred to your luxury tent at Kati Kati Tented Camp, which sits amid the savanna in the heart of the park.

This luxury safari camp is the ideal base for exploring the Serengeti's iconic plains. In fact, the adventure begins right after check-in when you embark on an afternoon game drive. You'll witness animals that have rested during the heat of the day begin to stir and see herds of elephants leisurely moving toward watering holes or see giraffes gracefully navigating the acacia trees. It's also an excellent time to spot predators like leopards and lions, who are gearing up for the nightly hunt.

Day 6: Dawn Game Drive, Transfer to Olduvai Gorge & Ngorongoro

Early Morning Game Drive
See exotic animals at dawn, when they're at their most active

You've seen the great Serengeti in the evening; now it's time to witness it come alive at dawn. Leave at first light in a safari vehicle to see the animals at their most active. You'll likely spot grazing giraffes, zebras, and perhaps even lions as they hunt wildebeest and gazelles. Other animals you'll glimpse include elephants and buffalo, with leopards and rhinos being a less common sight. 

There will be a break for lunch either on the road or back at camp. After eating, you'll depart the Serengeti in a private vehicle for the three-hour drive south to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses a vast expanse of diverse landscapes, including grasslands, woodlands, forests, and the most famous landmark of all: the Ngorongoro Crater. This geological marvel is one of the largest intact volcano calderas in the world (about 12 mi/ 19 km in diameter). 

On the way there, you'll visit Olduvai Gorge. Known as "The Cradle of Humankind," this vast ravine—about 30 miles long (48 km) and 300 feet (91 m) deep—is home to paleoanthropological sites that have been crucial in furthering our understanding of human evolution. Archaeological discoveries here, including fossilized bones and stone tools, reveal some of the earliest signs of human development. After a tour of the gorge, you'll transfer to the luxury Karatu Tented Lodge in Ngorongoro, where you'll enjoy views of Lake Manyara and a spacious swimming pool in which to unwind.

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

Day 7: Full-Day Ngorongoro Safari

Herd of gnus and wildebeests in the Ngorongoro crater National Park
Spend the day exploring the vast Ngorongoro Crater wildlife habitat and see herds of gnus and wildebeests

It's time for a full-day safari in Ngorongoro. One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, this region teems with bull elephants, buffalo, rhinos, wildebeests, and the highest concentration of lions on the continent. You'll find plenty of rhinos in the park, as anti-poaching protocols mean they abound in this area. Ngorongoro is also unique in that over 40,000 Maasai tribespeople live here while their livestock grazes right alongside the endemic wildlife.

You'll spend the day racing across the plains in a 4WD vehicle in search of the most exotic specimens. Lunch will be a picnic affair under the azure African sky. After some more game viewing, you'll return to your safari lodge at the end of the afternoon. 

Day 8: Maasai Cultural Tour, Transfer to Tarangire National Park

Receive a welcome from young Maasai warriors at their village

Trade the safari adventures for an enlightening journey into the heart of Maasai culture in Ngorongoro. This private guided tour is a deep dive into the rich heritage of the Maasai people, who are the ancestral residents of these lands. It begins in the morning with a transfer to a traditional Maasai village, where you'll receive a warm welcome expressed through spirited songs and dances.

Meet elders and young Maasai women and warriors as you tour the village, see their pastoral way of life, and learn a bit about their hunting techniques—activities that have defined their culture for centuries. The wisdom of the elders unfolds in their storytelling, offering a profound understanding of their history and beliefs. Sharing a meal with the locals isn't just about savoring traditional cuisine; it's a moment of true cultural exchange.

Later in the afternoon, you'll proceed south to Tarangire National Park. This 1,000-square-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. It's one of Tanzania's finest birding destinations, as there are almost 500 avian species on record. When you arrive, you'll head to the Manyara Safari Lodge, perched on an escarpment with prime views of the Great Rift Valley.

Day 9: Morning & Afternoon Game Drives in Tarangire National Park

Generuks, Tanzania
A gerenuk looks out across the Tarangire plains

After breakfast, you'll head out on morning and afternoon game drives. Elephants are the main attraction in Tarangire, with up to 3,000 roaming the park. Other common animals include giraffes, the Thompson's gazelle, greater and lesser kudus, elands, leopards, and cheetahs.

Some unique and unusual species in the park are the dwarf mongoose, oryx, and gerenuk (also called the "giraffe gazelle")—but sightings are quite rare. Enjoy the quiet and isolation as you observe the park's wildlife—because Tarangire is a quiet, often overlooked park, there are fewer crowds to witness the spectacle of its migrating residents. The last safari of the day continues through sunset, after which you'll return to the tent lodge.

Day 10: Fly to Dar es Salaam, Depart

Bid farewell to the Tarangira National park
See one last sunrise on the Tarangire plains before heading home
Time to pack up your camera and get your bags in order, as today you bid farewell to Africa. After an early breakfast, you'll meet your driver for the ride to the airstrip. There, you'll board a charter plane back to Dar es Salam and catch your connecting flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Tanzania Safari Highlights: Best of the National Parks - 10 Days
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