Go in search of wildlife from crater floor to misty mountain

Take an East African road trip with Lonely Planet and Intrepid. Spend nine days searching for wildlife among Tanzania’s incredible scenery, from the remote Usambara Mountains to the vast expanse of the Serengeti. Go on game drives in search of lions, elephants and rhinos, and experience small-town life during village stays, crafting and cooking sessions. This overland adventure is all about being as close to nature and wildlife as possible – camping in the wild, watching animals you’ve only ever seen on TV in the flesh and going without wi-fi most nights.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Finish
Nairobi, Kenya
Destinations
Kenya, Tanzania
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Wildlife
Code
YXOQ
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Explore the Serengeti, a wildlife arena like no other, and look for lions, leopards, elephants and giraffes in this iconic park.

  • Spend a day with local women in Arusha, learning to prepare a Swahili dish, crafting and learning about village life in Kisongo.

  • Take a mind-blowing safari across the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in an open-roof 4WD vehicle for a chance to see endangered black rhinoceros.

  • Embark on a hike through the Usambara Mountains to the Irente viewpoint, then stop at a farm on the way back for a picnic lunch.

  • Accompanied by a local crew — a leader, driver and cook – you'll be in excellent hands for the duration of your adventure.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent, and getting as close as possible to the Big Five. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/africa/overland

  • Camping in the Serengeti National Park with no barriers between you and the animals is amazing, but it's important to heed the safety advice of your leader. You will be briefed as a group on arrival.

  • At Usambara Mountains, you'll hike to the beautiful Irente viewpoint. It's not overly strenuous, but a reasonable level of fitness is required to enjoy the walk.

  • As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

  • This trip can be fit together with another adventure to make a larger ‘combo’ tour. Some passengers on your tour will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip on the Zanzibar to Nairobi trip (YXOQC).

Itinerary

Begin your African adventure in Stone Town, Zanzibar’s Old Town. Meet your tour leader and travel group at an 11 am welcome meeting at the hotel. After this important meeting, catch the ferry to Dar es Salaam. Then board your overland vehicle (and meet your driver and cook) and take the short drive to your camp at Bagamoyo, a lovely spot by the beach.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Stone Town - Culinary Urban Adventure - USD29
  • Stone Town - Handicraft & Music Urban Adventure - USD50
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.

Upgrades are available at your beach camp however there is no wi-fi and showers are cold-water only.
If you wake early, you can make an optional excursion to the historical slave trade markets that once operated in Bagamoyo. After that visiting that sombre but important site (if you choose) it’s time to travel into the remote Usambara Mountains (approximately 7 hours). This unspoilt area of Tanzania attracts very few tourists, making it the perfect place for a Lonely Planet Experience. The forests stretch across the mountains and are ideal for easy hikes and guided walks. You base is the old German colony of Lushoto, where you’ll stay on the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The campsite has flush toilets and showers, but wi-fi is rarely available. Upgrades are available, so please speak to an Intrepid representative for more detail.
Today, explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains and experience this area’s gentle hospitality on a visit to some of its small communities. From your base, hike to the gorgeous Irente viewpoint. It's best to pack some water and snacks in a day pack for this trip. On your way back, visit a local cultural project based at Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Irente - Lushoto hike & local lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get ready for is a full day of travel as you board your truck once again and venture towards Tanzania’s national parks. Your destination is the sprawling gateway town of Arusha, approximately 10 hours’ drive. Arrive at your campsite on the outskirts of the town and settle in for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
This campsite has flush toilets and showers. It also has a bar – the perfect place to unwind with a drink after a long day in the truck.
Take a short drive to the small town of Kisongo, where you will learn how to prepare a Swahili dish and enjoy a crafting session with local women. Enjoy your food creations for lunch. After this illuminating day, drive to the small town of Karatu, the gateway to the Ngorongoro Crater.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kisongo - Cooking class, crafts & village walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
In addition to lunch being provided at the cooking class there will also be fruit, tea and coffee available prior.
Get up early, put your camping and personal gear into a six-person jeep and head out for an excursion into the Serengeti via the Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy a safari in the crater, spending between 3–4 hours exploring this perfectly intact volcanic crater. Watch for black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. Next, move on to the open plains of the Serengeti. Green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season, this is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa – the home of thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators. Your campsite is within the Serengeti itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The camp is basic with limited running water and no upgrades or wi-fi available.

You will notice some Masai villages in the region of the Ngorongoro Crater offering a cultural experience. Intrepid recommends avoiding these villages, as they can impact negatively on the Masai culture and travellers' perceptions of it by selling an artificial experience.

Our camp within the Serengeti National Park does not have a fence to separate the camp from the animals. This is quite the experience as animals such as buffalo and hyenas often come close to camp after sundown. On arrival at the camp your leader will give a detailed safety briefing on what is required to ensure the safety of the group.
Wake at dawn and embark on a game drive. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then go back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. After spending the middle of the day relaxing, just like the animals do, head out again as the day begins to cool. You'll return from this second game drive in time for dinner. There's also the option today of a balloon ride over the park (in place of a portion of the morning game drive). If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, which provides amazing photo opportunities. After landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast, then be returned to your camp.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - Balloon Ride (from price) - USD599
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The balloon ride is offered as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a place. Please speak to an Intrepid representative before your tour begins to secure a place. If you would rather wait and get a better price by booking this locally on the ground, you are welcome to, but keep in mind that this is a popular activity and places are limited. If you participate in this activity you will miss the morning half of the included game drive.
Rise with the sun and enjoy another game drive as you exit the Serengeti and head for Mto wa Mbu. On arrival, take a stroll and acquaint yourself with this small village situated well off the tourist trail. Learn about the farmer and artisan co-op that operates at the local market.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campsite has flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades (subject to availability).
Set off early and cross the Kenyan border then continue to Nairobi (approximately 9–10 hours). You'll be dropped at the finishing point hotel in Nairobi where your trip ends on arrival. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged when you book this trip (subject to availability). You can also choose to finish your trip in Arusha this morning if you wish.
Optional Activities
  • Nairobi - Nairobi by Night Urban Adventure - USD76
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
It's important not to book any flights departing Nairobi earlier than 8 pm (or 1 pm if you're departing in Arusha).
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (4 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Irente - Lushoto hike & local lunch
  • Kisongo - Cooking class, crafts & village walk
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Stone Town to Nairobi trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on all nights of this trip, subject to availability.
2. This trip finishes upon arrival at our finish point hotel in Nairobi on Day 9. Please do not book any flights until after 8 pm this evening.
3. An optional sunrise balloon ride in the Serengeti National Park is possible on this itinerary. Please see the itinerary above for full details of this activity. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and we recommend you book in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to book this optional activity.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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