Open-roof safaris, seaside strolls and Africa’s ‘Spice Island’

Admire the sweeping landscapes of Tanzania – full of incredible wildlife and fascinating cultures – on this 12-day East African adventure with Lonely Planet and Intrepid. From the pristine beaches of Zanzibar across the lush slopes of the Usambara Mountains and through the savannas of Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, discover a land where elephants roam, lions hunt and communities embrace the land. This is the heart of Africa – a land for the true explorer. When will you go in search of the Big Five?

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Stone Town, Tanzania
Finish
Nairobi, Kenya
Destinations
Kenya, Tanzania
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Wildlife
Code
YXOQC
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

  • Wander around Stone Town’s bustling bazaars and fragrant spice markets and opt to embark on a guided tour of the spice plantations.

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

  • 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.

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, occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the Big Five. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/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.

  • 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.

  • Some passengers on this trip will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip. To see what you're missing out on check out our Vic Falls to Kenya trip – search trip code YXOWC on the Intrepid website for more information and to book.

Itinerary

Welcome to Zanzibar! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm where you'll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. Aside from this important meeting, there are no planned activities for the day and you are free to explore on your own. Filled with pristine white-sand beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar has had a colourful history – everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast evokes what the island must have been like in centuries ago. The old part of Zanzibar's main city is known as Stone Town, and the best way to see this is on foot, exploring the markets, shops, mosques, palaces and courtyards. When the sun is setting, why not grab a drink from a bar overlooking the seafront. A seafood curry at a local restaurant is also a great choice. You'll spend the night in Stone Town at a basic inn.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Stone Town Tour - Dharajani Market, Joseph's Cathederal, Palace Museum, Forodhani Food Market - USD20
  • Zanzibar - Prison Island Tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note the Zanzibar portion of your itinerary may have more passengers than the maximum group size of 22 as we have a crossover of trips starting and finishing in Zanzibar.
Once checked out of your Stone Town accommodation, consider booking in to an optional guided tour of the island's spice plantations, learning all about the history of this town's spice trade. You will have the opportunity to smell and taste various spices, such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, plus sample some teas made with these spices too. After lunch, head to the Northern Beaches, where white sands and sparkling blue seas await. This is the Indian Ocean at its best.
Accommodation
  • Bungalow (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Zanzibar - Spice tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you choose not to book in on the optional Zanzibar spice tour this morning, you will be transported directly to the island's Northern Beaches.
Enjoy free time in this beautiful archipelago today. There are many ways you can spend your day – perhaps talk to your leader for any recommendations they might have. Snorkelling in search of exotic fish is an excellent option, or you could take a traditional dhow boat on the water. You might also like to feast on a sumptuous lunch of grilled local seafood, or just relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book. It's totally up to you!
Accommodation
  • Bungalow (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Zanzibar - Dhow Trip - USD60
  • Zanzibar - Snorkelling - USD60
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Catch the midday (12 pm) ferry to Dar es Salaam, then hop in the overland vehicle – and meet your driver and cook – for the short drive to your camp in Bagamoyo, located right on the beach.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group are likely to change today.

Accommodation upgrades are available at this location (subject to availability). However, there is no access to wi-fi, and showers are cold 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

12 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Ferry, Minibus

Accommodation

Hotel (1 night), Bungalow (2 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with facilities) (6 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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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
2. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm on Day 1.
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.
4. This is a combination trip made up of two shorter trips. This means the composition of your group may change in Stone Town as some group members leave.
5. The Zanzibar portion of your itinerary may have a few more passengers than the maximum group size of 22 as we have a crossover of trips starting and finishing in Zanzibar.
6. This trip finishes upon arrival at our finish point hotel in Nairobi on Day 12. Please do not book any flights until after 8 pm this evening.

Essential trip information

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