Today, Tanzania is a popular destination. Tanzania, a safari country par excellence, is one of the most popular destinations for travelers visiting the African continent. This territory on the east coast of Central Africa has the largest extension of protected national parks, the highest mountain in Africa (Kilimanjaro, with 5890 m), a great ethnic and linguistic richness and beautiful white sandy beaches where you can make the best dives. If you like adventure and contact with nature, this is an ideal destination. During 12 days in Tanzania, discover the touristic and emblematic places of the country through the Tarangire National Park, the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the beaches of Zanzibar.
When to travel in Tanzania and what is interesting to see?
July is a good month to visit Tanzania. Animals will be much more present at this time of the year, thanks to the scarcity of vegetation and the fact that they gather around the water to drink. Although we have to consider that the wildebeest migration takes place from April to June (when it rains) and that seeing it is a real spectacle of nature, if the mud does not bother you, this month is also a good opportunity to see the migrations. It is recommended to choose a specialized, experienced and animal-friendly agency. A trip to Tanzania with safari included, although it is usually not a cheap trip (due to the high price of tickets to national parks) will be an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
Prepare yourself to get used to the great animal spectacle of the savannah: thousands of wildebeest trotting in the plains of the Serengeti, large herds of elephants crossing the Tarangire National Park in their seasonal migrations, lions a few meters away from the 4×4, and even emotional moments of the animals with their young. To end your trip in a relaxed way, after dusty days of safari, nothing better than spending a day on the paradisiacal white sand beaches of Zanzibar, the island part of Tanzania. And if you like diving, you will have fun like a dwarf with the dives in its waters. If you want to spend 12 days in Tanzania and are sure to have passed the best places, follow this itinerary.
Day 1 : Airport – Nairobi (Kenya)
The capital of Kenya, is only 4 hours drive from the city of Arusha (Tanzania), the gateway to any safari in Kenya and Tanzania.
Day 2: Nairobi (Kenya) – Arusha (Tanzania)
To go from Nairobi to Arusha, you can take a shuttle (local bus) or a transport from the agency with which you booked the safari to the border of Namanga. On the first day of transfer you will sleep in the city of Arusha, with time to have your first contact with Tanzania and to rest in order to start your safari the next day.
Day 3: Arusha – Tarangire
For your first day of safari, head to Tarangire National Park, famous for having the largest elephant population in the whole country (over 3000) and for the many impressive baobabs you will meet on your way. On the way to the park, you will enter Masai territory and you will see its inhabitants wearing the typical reddish blankets so characteristic of the region.
Day 4: Tarangire – Serengeti
In the early morning, you will drive to the Serengeti National Park, passing for the first time through the protected area of Ngorongoro, which with its more than 8292 square kilometers is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Ideally, you will stop at the top of the crater on the way to admire the views and its blue-green color. It is breathtaking. Upon arrival in the Serengeti, you will go to one of the campsites set up to pitch the tent and spend the next few nights there.
Day 5 and 6: Serengeti, full day
In the most exceptional park in Africa, time seems to have stood still. You can see the fauna and flora all year round. It is recommended to spend at least two full days exploring the park, hiking its trails through the vast plains in search of Africa’s “Big Five”: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. You just have to be patient and wait for the right time in the right place. It is more than likely that some of these animals (or many) will cross your path, you may experience scenes of lion hunting or find a “family reunion” of these cats. But the best is to end the day with an impressive sunset on the savannah and sleep under the stars in a tent… listening to the roar of the lion.
Day 7 : Serengeti – Ngorongoro
The ideal is to get up early, if possible before sunrise, so as not to miss a single detail of animal life. You are going to enjoy the park for the last time and go in search of zebras, buffaloes or hyenas and in the best case you will find lions. Later, you will go to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area by visiting Olduvai Gorge on your way, where important prehistoric fossils have been discovered. Here you will find the Masai community, who live in “manyattas”, circular villages with mud and wooden houses. The cows are their most precious asset, since they pay with them the dowry for the wedding. Although the Masai usually ask for money to visit the village and teach their customs and dances, it is a good opportunity to see how their day goes. To visit the Ngorongoro Crater early the next morning, it is best to sleep in a nearby lodge.
Day 8: Ngorongoro Crater – Arusha
We will spend a full day at the Ngorongoro Crater, which is said to resemble “a landscape made by Noah’s Ark”. When we get there, we realize that there is something magical about it: it is one of the largest unspoiled lakeless calderas in the world, 19 km wide, where there is a natural habitat for more than 25,000 mammals: antelopes, wildebeest, buffalo, zebras, lions, ostriches… Including the black rhinoceros, for many the main attraction of the crater, as it is not easy to see because it is in danger of extinction and there are few specimens. Thus, going to this crater is to live the constant adventure of crossing with all kinds of wild animals in a very unique place. After spending the day in the crater, you will head to Arusha to finish your safari.
Day 9 and 10: Arusha – Zanzibar
From the small airport of Arusha, you will take a small plane to Zanzibar airport and from there, the ideal is to have an agreed transport that takes you to one of the beaches of the east of the island you have chosen. The best known are Matemwe, Kendwa, Pongwe or Jambiani, with white sand, palm trees and turquoise water. A paradise that is usually a perfect destination for a honeymoon, so the ideal is to get lost in one of the lesser known beaches nearby. But you don’t have to be satisfied with just sunbathing and swimming on the beach; if you like diving, you are at the right place to do so. Tanzania’s underwater wonders are as fascinating as those on land, with a magnificent variety of corals and a diversity of animals, such as rays, scales and green turtles, barracudas or sharks.
Day 11: Zanzibar Beaches – Stown Town
Enjoy another day of beach paradise in Zanzibar to relax and end up combining it with some diving and a good meal of fruit and fish on the barbecue to get your strength back. This is the last day of relaxation and you should enjoy it until the last minute. In the afternoon, it is time to go to Stone Town, one of the most touristy cities in Zanzibar, which is close to the airport.
Day 12: Stone Town – Dar es Salaam (place of origin)
It is the last day of transfers and flights to complete the trip. From Stone Town, you must take a cab to the Tanzania airport to catch the flight to Dar es Salaam (the former capital of Tanzania) and from there another flight to your place of origin. The journey is over, but the incredible landscapes of the savannah with its wild animals and heavenly beaches will remain engraved forever in your retina. It is recommended to put into practice the Masai’s motto: HAKUNA MATATA!