12 Days Tanzania and Zanzibar safari

Arrive in Moshi, gateway and capital of the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you’ll need to arrive into Arusha International Airport (airport code JRO), which is 25 miles, around 45 minutes from the airport. Your local leader will meet you in the morning of day 2. If your flight arrives earlier in the day you can use the hotel swimming pool or take a walk in the hotels extensive grounds.

Day 1: Join trip in Moshi, Tanzania

Arrive in Moshi, gateway and capital of the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you’ll need to arrive into Arusha International Airport (airport code JRO), which is 25 miles, around 45 minutes from the airport. Your local leader will meet you in the morning of day 2. If your flight arrives earlier in the day you can use the hotel swimming pool or take a walk in the hotels extensive grounds.

Day 2: Visit Materuni village, home of the Chagga tribe. Take a forest walk and cool off in the waterfalls.

Our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 8.30 for the welcome meeting. Heading directly from the lodge, the day starts with a walk around the grounds, comprising of 30 acres of arable land, all situated in the foothills of Kilimanjaro. We stroll through lush gardens, visit the coffee plantation and learn how coffee is grown, harvested and processed. Heading further afield, we drive to the small village of Materuni, a short distance outside of the town of Moshi and set within a dramatic landscape covered in tropical rainforest. The village is home to the Chagga tribe. From the village it is a short walk to a 150m high waterfall. We pass along a network of waterways and irrigation systems feeding farmland where coffee, bananas and other fruit is grown. There is ample opportunity for a refreshing swim near the waterfall, after which we return to our vehicle and drive back to Moshi. The rest of the day is free.

Day 3: Visit Lake Duluti for canoeing, drive to Arusha and visit Meserani Snake Park

Today we visit Lake Duluti, a small crater lake located to the east of Arusha. The dense forest around the lake is home to a variety of mammals, reptiles and over 140 species of birds including giant kingfisher, fish eagle, darters and barbet. Take a canoe trip and paddle for a couple of hours on the tranquil waters of the lake, allowing us the chance of getting close to nature in this beautiful surrounding. Returning to Moshi and our hotel in the afternoon we make a stop at the Meserani Snake Park. Here we learn about some of the most dangerous snakes in the world, from the Black and Green Mamba, Egyptian Cobra and Puff Adders as well as watch the crocodiles at feeding time.

Day 4: Drive to Lake Manyara National Park: afternoon game drive

Our safari adventure really begins this morning as we drive toward the Great Rift Valley, one of the continent’s most geologically important features. Today’s destination is the western escarpment of Lake Manyara, a shallow soda lake that abounds with birds, hippos and elephants. On arrival at our lodge you may like to take an optional walk down to the waters edge with a local guide who will tell you about the flora and fauna of the area including the prolific birdlife. Alternatively why not relax and take a swim in the pool. This afternoon we will embark on our first game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. Despite being one of Tanzania’s smaller parks its incredible diversity has earned it status as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and much of the 360 sq km of parkland is taken up with water, affording a spectacular variety of habitats along the shoreline for a dazzling concentration of animal and birdlife. The algae rich waters of the lake attract huge flocks of flamingos, while the rich vegetation and cooling pools attract elephant, hippo and buffalo in large numbers. Antelope, zebra, giraffe and baboons also graze along the lakeshore and the rare sight of tree-climbing lions has also been seen in the park sharing the branches with some of the 380 recorded species of birds found here. Please note that drones are not permitted in any Tanzania National Park without a permit, please refer to the equipment section of the trip notes for more information.

Day 5: Full day’s drive to Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Today we have a long but rewarding journey into the world famous Serengeti National Park. The scenery and views are spectacular as we drive along the Ngorongoro Crater and through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We pass several Maasai homesteads before arriving at Olduvai Gorge, where in 1959, anthropologists Dr and Mrs Leakey discovered the remains of an almost intact human skull named Nutcracker Man. It was here at this important prehistoric site, together with other startling discoveries, that have contributed to the furthering understanding of early human development. Olduvai Gorge and the fossils that it contains give a unique insight into the way that this part of the world has changed and humans with it. Accompanied by a local guide we visit Olduvai Gorge visitor centre and museum to learn more of this fascinating place and its secrets. Later today we will enter the Serengeti at Naabi Hill Gate. Serengeti is the Maasai name that means the endless grass plains and it is through these plains interspersed with granite outcrops that we travel to our lodge. Once in the Serengeti we’ll move slowly through the park, keeping a close eye out for game.

Day 6: Game Drives in Serengeti National Park spotting the rich variety of game including zebra, lion and giraffe

Covering some 15,000 sq km the Serengeti is the oldest and largest park in Tanzania. It is on these plains that we focus most of our attention with early morning and late afternoon game drives in search of the ‘Big 5’ and so much more. Our exact movements are dependent upon the location and concentration of wildlife. We may head to the Retima Hippo Pool, the Moru Kopjies or perhaps the Seronera River area in search of leopard and lion. Cheetahs are often seen out on the Serengeti plains and during the annual migration hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra move north-westward, covering some 800 km from the central plains through the park’s ‘long corridor’, towards richer grazing lands and fresh water. These spectacular journeys are often fraught with danger as their long trek invariably draws the attention of the ever present predators – lion, leopard, hyena and crocodile. This is nature in its rawest sense, where the struggle for survival is played out daily across these expansive plains.

Day 7: Drive back through the Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater for game viewing and continue on to Karatu

In and around KaratuThis incredible natural amphitheatre presents us with the perfect setting for some remarkable game viewing and this morning we enter the caldera in search of big game. Not that we have to look far, as this setting provides a rich haven for herbivores and carnivores alike. The open plains thunder beneath the hooves of countless zebra, buffalo, black rhino and antelope, whilst predators like lion and hyena thrive amidst this plentiful open-air buffet, and all against a stunning backdrop of dramatic cliffs and lush vegetation that present perfect photo opportunities. After our morning’s safari we drive back through the Serengeti with further opportunities for game viewing including descending into the crator where we have lunch before heading to Karatu were we stay overnight.

Day 8: Drive back to Arusha, fly to Stone Town on Zanzibar

In and around ZanzibarThis morning we may have the opportunity of visiting a village orphanage in Mto Wa Mbu before returning to Arusha for our onward flight to Zanzibar. If you would like to give useful gifts such as stationary, footballs and toys to the children, this is possible – mention this to your local leader before the visit itself. The exotic spice island of Zanzibar is a land of sun-kissed beaches, Arabian dhows and swaying palms, where the rich smell of spice in Stone Town’s old quarter mingles with colonial and Arabic architecture to create a perfect getaway island. Zanzibar’s glorious scenery, fascinating culture and remarkable history makes any visit to the island a captivating experience, with beaches and reefs to explore, plantations to wander through and a rich history of conquests, slavery and pirates to investigate. Your Tour Leader will be with you throughout the safari however they will not continue with you to Zanzibar. Upon arrival on the island our local representative will meet you, assist with the transfers and be available for booking excursions, but essentially from this day onwards the tour is unaccompanied.

Day 9: Walking tour of Stone Town. Optional afternoon trip around the island to discover the range of spices produced

Today we take a walking tour of Zanzibar’s ancient capital of Stone Town, meandering through a landscape of labyrinthine alleys and whitewashed houses, where the pungent aroma of coffee and spices permeate the town and the backstreets are filled with a cacophony of noise and colour. Much of the town was built on the back of trade and slavery, which at its height saw some 60,000 unfortunate souls processed through these narrow streets, to be shipped off to the far lands of Arabia, India and the overseas colonies of the European powers. The town still retains the feel of its Arab roots, many of the existing buildings dating back to the reign of Sultan Barghash in the 19th century. The end of the slave trade and a devastating cyclone saw the end of Zanzibar’s heyday. The island passed from Arab to British to African hands over the intervening years and neglect followed, until Stone Town’s inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage Listings saw a return to something of its previous glory. Those who wish to learn something of Zanzibar’s rich history, visit the Sultan’s palace and see clove plantations established by the Sultan in the 19th century can take an optional ‘Spice Tour’ of the island (including lunch).

Day 10: Drive to Nungwi, renowned for its white sandy beaches located in the north of the island

In and around NungwiToday we drive to Zanzibar’s north coast, an enchanting community of fishing vessels, coral reefs and wild beauty. The rest of the day is free to explore, or just relax on the beach.

Day 11: Free day for optionals & beach activities on the Indian Ocean

Our final day on the island has been left free for optional activities. It’s easy to spend time watching the fishermen bringing in their catch. Stroll along the beach admiring the idyllic vistas, or venture out by boat onto the colourful offshore reefs with mask and snorkel. The rich seas around the island teem with a colourful array of tropical fish and marine life, everything from sharks and turtles to tiny bright damsel fish. For anyone qualified these waters also present fabulous opportunities to scuba dive.

Day 12: Trip ends on Zanzibar

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel on the coast. It’s possible to extend your holiday with additional nights on the coast or request a late check out, please speak to our reservations team should you wish to do so. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Zanzibar at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you’ll need to depart from Zanzibar International Airport (ZNZ), which is around 90 minutes drive, 40 miles.

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