Best of Serengeti Safari & Zanzibar Beach Getaway

A 13 day trip to Tanzania 

Lions lie in wait for wildebeest on evocative grass plains while palm trees flutter from an Indian Ocean breeze. The Big Five roam before your eyes, before white sand silkily shifts beneath your feet. Tanzania's landscapes are absolutely untouched, whether you're on a Serengeti safari or lounging on the beaches of Zanzibar. This luxury itinerary connects the paradigms, connecting bush with beach using light aircraft. Surreal and sublime, the journey takes you through Tanzania's natural wonders.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, Grumeti River, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar, Stone Town, Kendwa Beach

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Kilimanjaro Region – Relaxed Evening After the Flight

The snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro guides your arrival into Tanzania, glistening in the fading sun as you touch down at Kilimanjaro International. Exiting the airport, you see another peak, the one of Mount Meru rising imposingly above the plains. Both mountains have lush, fertile slopes, a sharp contrast to the airport's surrounding grasslands that often crack in the dry season heat. You'll be greeted at the airport and transferred to a nearby lodge, where vervet monkeys jump through jackalberry trees, dik diks skip across the grounds, and the vast botanical-style gardens provide a peaceful sanctuary after the flight. Your accommodation is in a private cottage, surrounded by the chirping of exotic birds.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfer, dinner

Day 2: Northern Serengeti – Surrounded by the Drama of the Plains

Flying in to the Serengeti isn't merely about convenience. Vast panoramas extend beneath your eyes, mile after rolling mile of grassland dotted with migrating herds. From above you can sense scale, the landscape continuing untouched and unchanged. Descend into this wilderness and you're soon surrounded by the ungulates, great numbers of zebra and wildebeest covering the plains. They flicker past the airstrip, compelling figures as you touch down in the Serengeti. For the next two nights, you will be in the north of this national park, in a camp settled close to the famous Mara River. While the Serengeti is famous for the great wildebeest migration, there are vast numbers of animals to be seen here all year round. Not everything or everyone migrates. Throughout the year, there are always hundreds of thousands of animals in this part of the park.

Continue the day with a game drive, circling close to the river and seeking out the drama of the plains. Lion prides bask in the morning sunshine and you get closer. Two lionesses approach your vehicle, leisurely wandering around it before resting in the shade of the back wheel. The male stays in the grass, his mane flowing as if on a photo shoot. Thompson's gazelles watch the lions, the herd using teamwork to move away; some watch the pride while others skip away before their roles are reversed. Later in the day, you see the same characters, but this time, a bloodied carcass indicates a successful hunt. Predator versus prey is the atmosphere of the Serengeti and today's game drives are all about intimate portrayals of this drama.

After the game drive, you spend a couple of quiet hours at the camp before heading back out in the afternoon. Roam past huge elephant bulls, get close to giraffes as they feed on acacia branches, then hear the chaos of battling baboon troops. Then approach a kopje, a collection of rocks that overlook the grasslands and provide the iconic home for another lion pride. Your luxury camp is elegantly situated on the plains, providing elegant views as a burning African sun dips from the sky. As it descends, and the evening fire begins to crackle, the silhouette of a lone elephant creates the postcard image.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Northern Serengeti – Following the Scent of the Big Cats

Wake to the ambiance of the Serengeti. Buffalo can be heard grazing nearby, gazelle grace the panorama, and the odd swirl of dust hides a wildebeest herd. The ungulates are out and the predators are close by. Early morning provides the best chance to spot the big cats in predatory action. Spot a cheetah in the grass, admiring how it graciously dips into hiding and stalks a small gazelle herd. But the cat has not been careful enough. A sentinel raises the alarm and the gazelle quickly canter away, alerting a zebra herd that also depart the scene. Later in the day, you find a leopard, lurking menacingly without detection. This time, there's a chase, the spotted hunter clamping its jaws around an injured wildebeest that had been separated from its herd.

In the Serengeti, you're not just admiring the big cats. You're admiring them in action, following the drama through their eyes. Sometimes you witness it all through the eyes of the hunted, following the emotion of a frightened herd, or of playful zebra celebrating the escape from danger. Today's full-day game drive takes you across the far north of the Serengeti, following the Mara River and finding the big cats. Stop for food and coffee overlooking the water, watching hippos and crocodiles as you bite into a luxurious lunch. Then you can return to the camp at a time of your choosing, either staying out until sunset or going back earlier for a relaxed afternoon on the plains.

What's Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 4 – 5: Serengeti – On the Trail of the Great Wildebeest Migration

The great wildebeest migration never stops. It keeps moving, herds constantly seeking out fresh grazing grounds. In recent years, the movements have become less predictable, making a mobile tented camp even more important to the experience. You fly across the Serengeti in the morning, where you're picked up and transferred to a mobile camp that follows the migration. By packing up and changing location every few days, the camp ensures you're always surrounded by the drama of the great migration. Often, you don't need to drive more than a few miles to find hundreds of thousands of animals. Compared with safari lodges, the facilities are relatively basic (no swimming pool, wifi, etc. ). But there's a simple luxury to it all and the immersion in nature is absolute. It feels like you are a part of the migration.

Private game drives continue over these two days. Wildebeest rumble past, their galloping hooves heard from a distance. Zebras congregate in their thousands, inspiring black and white paintings that could be admired for hours. Hyenas snarl as they pass, eagerly following the herds on their annual march. Vultures and eagles provide more predatory sights; their size is only truly understood when you see a flock picking at a carcass. Even the jackals are scavenging around, annoying a pride, waiting for the lions to drop into sleep.

Following the great migration means an experience of both scale and intimacy. There are far too many animals to make sense of, those on four legs covering the panorama for miles and miles around. Yet every game drive brings a personalized moment. Perhaps the melancholy expression of a lone elephant; maybe a baby zebra sleeping with their eyes open; or tiny lion cubs pawing at their father's mane. The landscape's scale means that you almost always feel alone with nature's greatest spectacle. Even from the cam, it's impossible to avoid the sounds and smells of the migration, the soundtrack echoing beneath the night's stars.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Serengeti to Ngorongoro – Final Impressions of the Endless Grasslands

On a final Serengeti morning, you could enjoy breakfast at the camp and watch the ungulates rumble by. Or you could be out exploring, enjoying the final impressions of this vast untouched land. By late morning, you are cruising above the grasslands in a light aircraft, savoring final impressions of the Serengeti ecosystem. Towards the west of the park, the plains suddenly rise, tumbling uphill towards the volcano that created them. From the window, you admire Ngorongoro Crater, a pristine hole that is the safari focus for tomorrow. Touch down beside the crater and it's a short drive to your lodge, which is perfectly perched on the crater rim. On a clear day, you can make out the entire caldera from your bedroom balcony. You're not alone here: elephants and various antelope regularly roam past on the journey to the caldera floor.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Ngorongoro – Journeying Through Nature's Unrivaled Paradise

An early morning start is key at Ngorongoro Crater. By staying on the rim, you can be one of the very first to explore the caldera floor when the gate opens at sunrise. You descend into nature's playground, a dozen different mammals found in a single snapshot. Lions are hunting, buffalo are grazing, wildebeest are rutting, and elephants are merging into the woodland. A lake is colored pink by flamingo while a pool is dominated by the grunts of hippos. And then a black rhino marches past, horns pointed skyward in the soft morning light. It's only 7 am, there's still only a couple of other vehicles in the crater, and you've seen such a diversity of famous sights.

Ngorongoro is a baffling paradise. How can so many animals coexist in such a compact area? One answer is the diversity of the habitats, six of them combining on the caldera floor. Another answer is that they don't really coexist. Like the Serengeti, there's tension in this wildlife playground. Lionesses stalk a zebra herd; rhinos bashfully stay clear of everything else, and two elephants face each other down by the lake. And when all appears calm, a hyena emerges, scurrying past and keeping every mammal on its toes. You have six hours on the caldera floor, enough time to explore the whole landscape and stop for a picnic coffee beside the hippo pools. After ascending to the lodge, you have a late lunch before another relaxed afternoon on the crater rim.

What's Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 8: Zanzibar (Stone Town) – A Day Amidst the Charms of World Heritage Stone Town

Fly away from the wildlife, cruising across Tanzania before admiring the Indian Ocean colors that flicker beneath the plane. You land in Zanzibar in the early afternoon, where a boutique hotel is waiting in the heart of Stone Town. Sounds float through the town's maze, bounding off the walls and soaring onto your balcony: a samosa trader, the hypnotic call to prayer, octopus sizzling on a barbecue. This ancient labyrinthine town is a World Heritage site and the lanes barely wide enough for a passing donkey. Houses are uniquely constructed from coral, then whitewashed to create an architectural harmony. There are few more sensual places in Africa. A late afternoon walking tour reveals the important sites, like the houses of former slave traders, the vibrant fruit market, and the palace that stands longingly above the harbor. Then the evening is up to you, the maze an ideal place to explore without a map.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, tour, breakfast

Days 9 – 12: Zanzibar (Kendwa Beach) – Private Indian Ocean White Sand Bliss

From bush to beach, you complete the adventure, a transfer taking you to the far northern tip of Zanzibar island. White sand cascades, rolling beneath the branches of tropical palms. The warm turquoise waters seem to come from a postcard, completing the exotic image. And like all good beach escapes, Kendwa is mostly memorable for its space. There is no competing for where to drape the beach towel. Follow the beach and most of the sand is without footprints, a paradise that quickly encourages you to remove the shoes and take off the watch. There aren't private beaches here, but the emptiness of the sand makes if feels like you have one.

For these four days, you have a private villa on the sand, just a couple of steps required to move from balcony to beach. A green awning provides seclusion, and the villa has a variety of spaces to relax in. A local porter assists and ensures the beach reverie can be fully lived out. Book a lobster barbecue dinner to enjoy on the balcony, hire a wooden dhow for a sailing trip along the shore and enjoy a fresh coconut delivery every morning. Meals other than breakfast are not included. However, local chefs can create stunning menus of seafood and traditional Swahili cuisine. So rest, relax, bathe in the tropical colors, and complete the bush and beach safari.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, breakfast

Day 13: Zanzibar – Departure

It's a short drive across the island to Zanzibar's international airport and your departure flight. You have full use of the villa until your departure transfer.

What's Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$5,845
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.