Best of Tanzania Tour: Zanzibar Excursion & Safari Adventure

A More than 18 day trip to Tanzania 
4.25
4.25 out of 5 stars
4 reviews

People who visit Tanzania are practically inducted into a secret society, a hidden land where lions and elephants roam free, where the ocean is clear and refreshing, and where you have the chance to indulge in all of Tanzania’s majesty. Luckily for you, you don’t even have to keep it a secret. 

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
Leapords are one of Africa's big five game animals.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Stone Town, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Empakaai Crater, Ambosli National Park, Lake Burunge, Ngorongo National Reserve, Jozani Natural Forest Reserve, Olduvai Gorge, Serena Ngorongo Lodge, Kati Kati Camp, Kambiya Tembo, Mountain Lodge, Ras Nungwi Beach Resort

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1 – The Secret is Out

Depart your home for your luxury Tanzanian trip and get ready for the incredible adventures of Tanzania and the not-so-secret beauty that the country offers. From decadent game drives to luxurious accommodations, let the excitement course through you as you make the journey over oceans and through the clouds taking you one step closer to the unparalleled beauty of East Africa. 

Day 2 – Relax and Refresh in Luxury

Arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport in Arusha and be transferred to your lush accommodation at Mountain Village, snuggled into the beautiful undulations of Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second highest peak, and situated next to the serene Lake Duluti, the village resembles a colonial coffee farm with reception made of pristine stone, and the immaculate interior captures the romantic idealism of the decadent colonial past. Merlot carpet stretches the halls and the dining room is decorated with the fragile colors of unused china. The air is fresh and smells of damp wood and fresh water. Settle into your comfortable room. Take a deep breath. The not-so-secret beauty of Tanzania has already begun to be revealed.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer

Day 3 – Splendor on Safari

Wake up to your first day in Tanzania with a large smile; watch the mist rise off the lake and disappear into the cool morning air. Taste the delectable fruit that crowds the breakfast table waiting to be eaten; the pineapples are juicy and the bananas are rich and ripe. After breakfast transfer to the incredible Kambi ya Tembo, where Kilimanjaro towers over the flatlands in the distance. The site boasts luxury fit for royalty with accommodation spaced far enough away from one another to give a feeling of absolute solitude once the sun has set. The stars glisten and the Milky Way swirls in the deep dark night.

Your accommodation opens to the vast space of Kambi ya Tembo where the natural world lives harmoniously with time. Pull up a chair on the sundeck and look over the semi-arid terrain that expands before you. Know that the feeling that tingles from your toes up your spine is Kambi ya Tembo, and that feeling of being accepted into the secret society that is Tanzania becomes a reality for all those who visit.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4 – Open the Doors to the World

The early hours of the day bring the crisp wind of dawn as you venture into the wilderness for a morning game drive. The sun rises gracefully over the horizon. The colors absorb the distance and burn away the night. The light slowly glows over the landscape until reaching you, the world illuminated as far as the eye can see. The cool morning air is refreshing. The crisp smell of dawn still lingers in the sunlight. You’re wide-awake from the morning breeze and excitement, ready to scour the area for wildlife.

The plains come alive in the mornings, the rambunctious sounds of animals moving through the vast landscapes, from acacia trees to open plains, mountains to swamps. Kambi ya Tembo is one of the greatest sites in Tanzania to see elephants. Often roaming between the swamps of Amboseli National Park and the acacia woodlands in search of water, when the incredible mass of the elephants wander through the plains, the herd looming large amongst the tiny blades of grass, the known world shrinks until all that exists are the elephants grazing in the plain. You secretly watch them, knowing  that in that instant you are in a secret society, a private moment all on your own.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5 – Unravel the Secrets of Nature and Natives

The sun ascends colorfully over the open plain. The new secret world rises with the dawn and you rise with it, eager and capable, settling in quickly with your gorgeous, natural surroundings. The morning game drive has you venturing out into the wild, wandering the golden landscape in search of the varieties of antelope and the animals that predate them. Venturing into Sinya, a private reserve, closes you into the semi-arid park due to the surreal surroundings. Mountains line the boarders of Sinya with views of Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, Oldoinyo Orok (a mountain that points into the sky like an arrow), and Oldoinyo Lengai (East Africa’s only active volcano). When the breeze rolls through the plain it’s as is if it has blown from the tip of Kilimanjaro, fresh, crisp, cool, and completely freeing.

Return to camp and prepare for the different experience of visiting a traditional Maasai village. In the face of globalization, technology, land grabs, and tourism the Maasai people hold strong to their age-old traditions and are proud of their heritage. The bright purple and reds of the men’s clothing drape their bodies keeping them cool in the heat and warm in the cold. Cows roam around the bomas, the gated village area, and are still considered a source of wealth amongst the Maasai community. Some of the men and women stretch their earlobes with corks made from wood, tusk, stone, or even thorns. Men build the bomas and watch over the cattle; women build the huts and watch over the children. Drums pulse in the sky, guttural sounds emanate from a line of men, and while some sing to the beat, others jump into the air challenging one another as to who can jump the highest. Don’t hesitate to literally jump in. Dance to the music, join in the laughter, and enjoy the differences of this new world that you find yourself in.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6 – Open the Door to Lake Burunge

Watch the sunrise from the cocoon of your sheets. The night’s depth dissipates as the golden sun emerges from behind the horizon. Birds chirp in the distance. The aroma of rich African coffee reaches into your bed and prepares you for the amazing day ahead. After breakfast you will transfer to Lake Burunge located on the outskirts of Tarangire National Park. Reception is plush with polished wood floors and a traditional thatched roof. Arrive in time for a beautiful lunch that will have you relaxed and rested before heading into the wild for an afternoon game drive.

Explore Lake Burunge’s surroundings on an afternoon game drive. Giraffes linger in the trees, their long necks stretched high into the branches scouring for leaves with their tongues. The combination of light and dark brown spots merges the giraffes with the tree bark. Elephants meander through the trees oftentimes stripping bark and marking their path for later journeys. The wind sweeps through the trees and the earthy smell of fallen leaves and bark fills the vehicle. The sun overtakes the horizon as it sets and you see it all from the kopje, a hill that overlooks the lake and showcases the beauty of dusk.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer

Day 7 – Venture into Tarangire’s Secrets

Wake up to the morning mist rolling along Lake Burunge. The fresh scent of wet grass rises from the ground. Take the morning to relax. Enjoy a change of scenery with a canoe ride on the lake.  Paddle out onto the lake with your guide and wade through the collection of water lilies. Cape buffalo huddle around the lake’s shore and gulp the water. Their horns bud from their heads and oftentimes resemble braids. They watch as you float by at a comfortable distance, their curious stares following your drifting canoe.

An afternoon game drive takes you into the hidden treasures of Tarangire National Park. The large plain is speckled with acacia trees that fill the park with a sweet smell. Cheetahs loiter in the yellow brush lazily awaiting the cool dusk. Their gold and black spotted fur blends effortlessly into the grass. Their tails swish in the warm air. Black streaks stretch down their faces; markings that locals often refer to as tears. When feeling threatened, the cheetah will stand as large as it can, face its aggressor, and slam down its paws while growling as loud as it can, dirt flying into the air while a thunderous warning echoes through the sky. The sound resounds until the sun begins to set and you make your way back to Lake Burunge settling in with a soothing cup of hot chocolate as the verandah’s fireplace warms the night.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8 – Experience Wildlife and Tribal Life

Venture back into Tarangire National Park to experience all that the wild has to offer. Journey through the brush and find the zebras grooming one another. Two zebras position themselves back to front, nibbling each other’s fur while also keeping an eye out for lions, leopards, and other predators. The black of their stripes pop against their white frame. When in a herd, their intense pattern can blend, hypnotize, and confuse lions, and possibly people as well.

Take the opportunity to meet the area’s Datoga tribe. They were once affiliated with Nilotes (peoples associated with the Nile River), and although they find themselves separated from other tribes, their language remains similar and evolved from other Nilotic languages. From a distance their clothing blends into the oxidized soil; however, once you come closer you see the detail of their beadwork and the features of the women’s patched leather dresses. They are similar to the Maasai in their culture, but where the Maasia still retain a sense of nomadic ritual, often following the cattle, the Datoga no longer drift with the seasons. As they open up to you showing their culture and heritage, you know it is another secret that Tanzania has offered you; another experience that is unique to you that no one else could ever have.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9 – The Secret  World on the Crater Floor

Depart Lake Burunge Lodge early and make your way to the ever-lush Ngorongoro Nature Reserve, which contains the exceptional Ngorongoro Crater, considered one of the best sites in Tanzania to game drive. Enter the crater by descending from the crater’s rim. The moist mid-morning air fades to a dryer, warmer climate as you make your way to the vivacious crater floor. Black rhino graze the green grass close to Lake Makat. Their pointed beaks help pull at the roots and cut twigs at a perfect ninety-degree angle. While White rhino are known to be territorial, Black rhino prefer to roam, which makes them incredibly elusive. However, in Ngorongoro Crater, Black rhino tend to wander around their preferred spots, chomping away, while beautiful white egrets peck at the bugs that pour from the ground as the rhinos uproot the grass.

In the late afternoon you will be taken to the luxurious Ngorongoro Serena Lodge. Carved out of strong stone and built into the crater’s ridge, Ngorongoro Serena Lodge is full of stone passages and decks that overlook the entire crater. Watch the nightly mist roll in from the comforts of your personal rock-enclosed balcony or from the warmth of the fire located in the lodge’s center. The wonders and luxuries of Ngorongoro Serena Lodge will never end and are always welcoming.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer

Day 10 – The Secrets of Bushwalking

Head to Empakaai Crater with a picnic lunch and the excitement of another adventure. Settle onto the rim and peer at the incredibly clear water below. The lake shimmers with a crisp blue in the center, outlined in a vibrant pink. The water’s pink hue comes from the reflection of the flamingos that stand on the lake’s shore scouring  for tiny fish that will vitalize their feathers’ sheen. Their dark pink legs dip into the water. The water mirrors the flock making the number of birds double and the size of the crater grow in the illusion. The outlying volcanoes of Keremasi and Oldonyo Lengai are visible from Empakaii. Although Keremasi is inactive, watch Oldonyo Lengai and look for the smoke that often rises from the volcano’s rim, mixing with the clouds. Take the trail from the crater’s rim down to the shore of Lake Empakaai. Trees crowd the walkway, which smells of rich timber. Brush the branches aside and enjoy the brisk walk. Once at the shore, keep your eyes open for bushbuck, a large shaggy antelope decorated with white stripes that resemble war paint. They litter the shore and fill themselves up with refreshment before plunging back into the bush.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11 – The Secret Origins of Life

On your way to the Serengeti you will stop at Olduvai Gorge, where the oldest human remains ever discovered were found. The museum blends in with the arid surroundings, its green roof sometimes the only color that lets people know it is a building and not another open space amongst the gorge. The museum is full of fossils found in and around Olduvai, including an abundance of footprints fossilized in volcano ash, and even remains that date back 1.75 million years. The air at Olduvai is often dry and warm as you wander through the area not quite deep enough to be considered a canyon. However, rivers have carved several layers into the gorge, which is apparent in the coloration of Olduvai’s rim; the closer to the gorge’s floor, the lighter the earth, while the higher up the rim, the more oxidized the terrain, which causes a rusty-red coloration.

Continue on to your incredible accommodation in the Serengeti, the Kati Kati Camp,  the closest you can come to the open space of the great outdoors while still enjoying incredible luxuries. Kati Kati is set in the open plains of the Serengeti, a place where wildlife roams unimpeded. Notice the amount of impala that trot along the open grass, their golden fur blending in with the field. Their tails point downward while they graze, a black streak highlighted by the surrounding gold and white fur, and complimented by similar black streaks that run down an impala’s back legs. The guttural grunt of the lone male impala echoes in the sunset as it calls for a mate. The smell of roasted vegetables fills the campsite. As you eventually drift off to sleep, listen for the quiet brush of footsteps from elephants or hyenas that wander through the camp.  

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer

Day 12 – Uncover the Secrets of the Serengeti

The Serengeti is Tanzania’s most famous national park and game reserve; known not only known for its depiction in The Lion King but also for it’s incredible beauty. Notable for its endless plains, even if the beauty of the Serengeti is not a secret, let the world of these eternal plains open to you. Pack a picnic lunch in order to spend as much time wandering through the bush as possible, searching for jackal, lions, buffalo, serval, storks, cranes, and so much more.

Depart for one of your Serengeti adventures after a delicious and full breakfast. The smell of hot chocolate disappears as you make your way from the open space of Kati Kati and into the plains. The cool morning, before the sun rises high and hot into the air, is one of the best times to see cats meandering through the field. Servals are considered medium sized cats, resembling a miniature cheetah with large, pointed ears. Although they are nocturnal, oftentimes you can see them skulking in the brush, their normal activity disrupted by the presence of lions or leopards. In the cooler morning they can still be seen roaming in the grass close to the road, lifting their paws excessively high if the ground is wet from recent rain. The smell of wet grass lifts off the road. The serval lingers, their body hidden in the bush’s color, their head barely higher than the grass. As it struts back into the brush you take one last look at the yellow fur, the black dots, the large, pointed ears, before it disappears in the gilded brush.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 13 – The Mysterious Big Five

Wake up early to the sounds of elephants walking through Kati Kati, grazing on the vegetation and making their way to the closest watering hole. Follow the elephants’ lead by waking up and dining on a spectacular breakfast as Kati Kati fills with the scent of frying meat and eggs. Jump into the vehicle and continue your adventurous game drive, full of adrenaline in the search for the Big Five. Known as the five most dangerous animals to hunt in Africa, the Big Five refers to lions, leopards, Cape buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephants.

These animals all call the Serengeti their home and many are easy to discover grazing on the side of the road, while others tend to be more elusive. Your guide is a wealth of knowledge during any game drive, able to name the variety of animals that bask in the sunlight, along with those that hide from the sun by diving into any shaded area they can find. Various species of birds, such as the Crowned crane, spread their impressive wingspan and shallowly soar through the air, gliding along the breeze to find a new space to graze. Look to the canopy of the sparse trees, branches spreading out and reaching into the sky, the bark often a faded brown mixed with dark spots. Leopards hang along these branches, their paws or tails drooping from the branch, dangling in the shade. Often times the leopard’s pendulous appendage is what gives its position away. The sweet smell of acacia drifts through the Serengeti. The soft whoop of the Crowned crane surrounds the vehicle. The excitement of the leopard spotting fills the vehicle as you make your way back to Kati Kati, the secret of the leopard’s home fresh in your mind.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 14 – The Secret Flavors of Arusha

Your journey through the endless plains comes to an end after breakfast, but gives way to your journey over the vast fields. Transfer to Seronera Airstrip for your flight from the Serengeti plains to Arusha. Lift high over the Serengeti where you might be able to uncover the secret of where the plains actually come to an end. The sky is void of clouds. The amber grass of the plains sparkles in the midmorning sun. Elephants can be seen grazing along the water’s edge but look more like mice as you lift higher into the air and wave goodbye to the golden waves.

Arrive in Arusha and be taken back to the lavish Mountain Village. Settle into the familiar luxuries. Enjoy a sunset along the lake. The lake ripples from the life underneath the water and shines in the sunlight. Tonight, make your way to one of the incredible restaurants that Arusha offers and uncover the delicate and delicious flavors of Tanzania. If you don’t want to ask the locals their favorite restaurant in the area, try The Station. Boasting a mixture of traditional Tanzanian fare, along with rich coffee and luscious wine, their samosas are flakey, buttery and delectable, while their stew is hardy with a subtle spice and meat that melts in your mouth.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, transfer

Day 15 –Welcome to Zanzibar

Wake up to the incredible breakfast buffet at Mountain Village and have your fill of your favorites, from sausage and bacon, to pineapple and oranges. After breakfast you will be taken to the Arusha airport for your flight to Zanzibar. Wave goodbye to the Mountain Lodge and the adventurous game drives, the unbelievable wildlife that you experienced, and the unparalleled secretes of Tanzania’s beauty. The flight to Zanzibar is swift and elegant.

Once on the ground in Zanzibar you will be picked up and transferred to the gorgeous Ras Nungwi Beach Resort located on the north shore of the island. The salty scent of the ocean sits on the sweet breeze. The pool is pearl blue and reflects the thatched roof of reception. The restaurant overlooks the Indian Ocean as it laps against the shore. The water looks cool and clear, the sand white beneath the water’s surface. The sky shifts to a deep orange and dark red as the sun sets over Zanzibar. Enjoy a tasty glass of wine or a sweet pineapple Fanta as the sun fades, the sky darkens and the soft sound of the  ocean rises from beneath your feet.  

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer

Day 16 – Unraveling the Secrets of Zanzibar

Zanzibar is an eclectic island filled with the beauty of lush forests, opulent beaches, historical sites, and the ability to encourage its visitors to sit and be happy doing absolutely nothing. Whether it is more adventure, more animals, some culture, or some relaxation Zanzibar contains every possible luxury wrapped up in its 2,650 square kilometers.  The adventurous life can be a bit taxing. Why not spend the day relaxing around Ras Nungwi Beach? Feel the soft grainy sand beneath your feet. Indulge in the lavish Peponi Spa set in the hotel’s tropical gardens. After coming face to face with elephants, leopards, lions, and more, take a day off to receive a soothing massage, revitalize with the smell of coconut oil emanating from your skin and opening up your lungs; your body rejuvenating, your mind settling. Spend the latter part of your day on a sunset cruise, drifting along the crisp water as the breeze carries the boat around the northern part of the island. The sunset fades and turns the horizon into a source of gold. Once the boat anchors you know that the ride is over but the secrets of Tanzania continue.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 17 – The History and Mystery of Zanzibar

Fed and rejuvenated, today is a great day to step out of the seclusion of the beach and into the rich history of Stone Town, a place where remnants of the past are mixed and utilized in the present. A journey through Stone Town is a journey through the essence of Zanzibar. The architecture is consistent with the island’s Arabic history, full of thin alleys, ornate doors, and beautifully carved windows. Alleyways wind through the center of the city to the point of confusion, with a labyrinth of shops, hidden restaurants, hotels, and homes. It is a maze that the locals know, that visitors lose themselves in, and that residents are happy to help you find your way out of. The market place is a relic; remains of the original market from the 19th century are still in use and incredibly popular.

An early morning visit to the fish market brings the vibrant noise of the daily fish auction, fisherman and stall owners arguing over the price of the morning’s catch. The pungent scent of fresh seafood mixes with the passionate sounds of the local men. The mystery of Stone Town continues hidden in the history of what is now a church. The area originally housed Zanzibar’s slave market, where traders would showcase and auction their slaves. Slavery in Zanzibar was ended in 1873 due to threat of force from the British. Stone Town is filled with friendly people, gorgeous architecture, delicious food, and a complicated past that makes the city more colorful and the island an unforgettable secret to know.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 18 – Explore the Secret Forest

A Journey to the Jozani Natural Forest Reserve will bring you deep into the dense forest of Zanzibar. Located in the central-east region of the island, it is home to an array of tree dwelling wildlife and vibrant flora. Your incredibly informative guide will have you knowing the names of the pink flowers blossoming from tree trunks, and pointing out Red Colobus monkeys that live within the canopy. The monkeys’ howl moves through the trees. The smell of misty leaves is heavy under the canopy. The Red Colobus monkey’s bright white stomach and black arms stand out against its dark red back. They somehow resemble an old man with spiked hair. They can be seen grooming one another in the branches, flying from tree to tree, or even examining visitors from close range, wondering what kind of weird animal this non-furry, two legged, creature is before them.

As darkness settles over the forest, rangers urge all visitors out of the park so that they can close the gates before dark. The Jozani Forest is the last area known to house the Zanzibar leopard, which was, and in some communities is, thought to be extinct. However, the local people believe that sorcerers keep this animal as their pet, making the leopard appear and disappear like a spirit. Whether the legend is true or not, the rangers would rather not take any chances.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast

Day 19 – The Secret Riches of Dar es Salaam

Indulge in your final breakfast in Zanzibar before heading to the airport for your transfer to Dar es Salaam. Dar is much more than Tanzania’s largest, and richest city. Water wraps around part of the city making ferries as much of a likely transport to the city center as cars, or buses. The streets are crowded with color from the local women, their clothes sporting bright blues and rich reds.

Pay a visit to the National Museum; formerly the King George V Museum, now a fantastic place to engage in and learn about a broad range of African culture and heritage. You will even have the opportunity to meet actual Makonde Carvers. Known for impressive woodcarvings that imitate their everyday lives, Makonde carvers dig into the wood to create faces, renderings of ancient spirits, wildlife, or even a collection of peoples that wind in and out of one another to make a polished wooden spiral of connected individuals. Their art is impressive, rich in history, inspiring, and carries the light sent of crisp wood everywhere it goes. After a long day of exploration you can settle into the wonders of the New Africa Hotel. Look through the window and watch the ferries float to and fro as the drifting sun sets the water ablaze until night rolls in.

What’s Included: accommodation, breakfast, lunch

Day 20 – The Secret Society of Tanzania

In your last moments before departing Dar es Salaam it is hard not be reminded of the decadent memories that you have collected along your journey, the memories that people will find hard to believe are true; memories that you would never have believed if they were being told by someone else. This is the secret society of Tanzania, the unbelievable becomes believable because you have seen it with your own eyes and heard it with your own ears. It is the only price of induction, that ineffable experience. As the plane’s engine roars, don’t forget to welcome yourself into the secret society, if you can even believe it yourself.

What’s Included: transfer

Price

Price 

Zicasso recommends the following guidelines for customized Tanzania safari tour packages, excluding international flights:

  • 5-star: USD $600 - $1,000+ per person per day
  • 4-star: Minimum USD $500 per person per day
  • 3-star: Minimum USD $400 per person per day

The customized package will include hotels, airport transfers and other transportation within Tanzania, guided tours or activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.
Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final hotel choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.

You may want to read the safari reviews of Tanzania to learn about travelers' experiences on a customized tour.