ITINERARY IDEAS: 2 WEEKS IN TANZANIA

While Tanzania may not be your typical honeymoon destination, that’s where my husband and I decided to go!  I’ve always had a deep love for elephants, and the trip combined an African Safari with beach time on the spice island of Zanzibar.

We planned the trip independently, but our safari company helped! This itinerary was perfect, allowing us to get a true taste of the diversity that Tanzania offers. Here was our schedule:

All photos were taken by either myself or my husband


Day 1: Dar Es Salaam

Dar is a hot, dusty, bustling city that doesn’t have much of a tourism scene. However, leave your hotel and try the street food- not many visitors do! Walk by the water and visit the Tanzania National Museum, and check out the historic ocean-front churches.

Lodging: Tanzanite Executive Suites (a comfortable, cold, paradise in the heat of the city- we loved it!)



Day 2: Dar Es Salaam

Today, escape the oppressive Tanzania heat and visit the upscale Slipway Shopping Centre. Stroll its souvenir stalls along the waterfront walkway, and put your haggling skills to use!
Fly to the town of Moshi via Fastjet, arriving into the Kilimanjaro International Airport. Upon arriving, drive 45 minutes from airport in to the town (Arrange this through the hotel- the dirt roads are bumpy and have no lights at night).

Lodging: Hibiscus B&B (very hot, no fan in room, but a gorgeous property with a serene atmosphere)



Day 3: Moshi

Walk to the local markets and experience true small-town Tanzania. Stop for coffee at the popular Union Café, and dinner at one of many friendly local restaurants. Be aware that there are rolling blackouts however, so keep in mind before buying any perishable groceries.
The streets near Moshi’s market

Lodging: Hibiscus B&B (very hot, no fan in room, but a gorgeous property with a serene atmosphere)



Day 4: Arusha

Head to the local bus station, and be prepared for a long, hot, and cramped two-hour bus ride to the town of Arusha. If you don’t need to save money, find alternate transportation, the local bus ride was terrible!
Upon arrival, check in to your hotel, then visit the local markets of Arusha. One thing to keep in mind: Watch out for overly-friendly locals who tend to follow around mzungu (white people) for hours at a time, just wanting to chat and practice English. It can be unnerving. We had this happen several times.
Later, visit the Maasai Market for great souvenirs and handicrafts, and eat dinner at the New Safari Hotel.

Lodging: Green House Hostel (very affordable family-run place, but far from city center)



Day 5: Arusha

Leave your fancy, gated hotel (which sadly, most tourists do not do!) and venture out to the Nakumatt grocery store and explore nearby city life. The city is safe to walk on foot and explore. At the end of the day, chow down at an amazing burger place, Alpha Choice.

Lodging: Ziwadi House Hotel (very private, secure, and comfortable hotel in the city center)



Day 6: Arusha ⇒ Lake Manyara

Begin your Safari Itinerary (we booked ours through Regional Tours)!
Meet your safari driver, and ride for 2.5 hours to the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park. We had hired a private safari, so had the jeep all to ourselves, and honestly the price wasn’t bad! Once at Manyara, watch out for parking lot baboons!
In our jeep, we followed the paths, and saw our first Africa basics (giraffe, elk, wildebeest, etc) before visiting the Hippo Pond. We also saw elephants, ostrich, water buffalo, and impala during a 4.5 hour safari drive. I may or may not have cried when I saw my first wild baby elephant by the way…
Next up- leave the park, and head up in to the mountains. Once there, stop at an overlook of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ngorongoro Crater.
Afterwards, arrive at your rustic yet charming hotel.One thing I learned at the Rhino Lodge is that you cannot leave the marked trails due to potential late-night animal encounters! Also, note that most crater hotels run on generators so there is no hot water.
View from our room at the Rhino Lodge

Lodging: Rhino Lodge (highly recommend- great views, comfortable rooms, quality food)



Day 7: Safari ⇒ Ngorongoro Crater

Today, drive back towards the crater, and enjoy the misty overlook in the morning hours. Then, head down the long, windy road into the crater. Once there, it will feel like a living version of “The Lion King”: An absolute paradise teeming with nature.
As you drive, plan on eating the standard “safari boxed lunch” . Watch out for giant storks begging for food though, which is mildly terrifying! After a full day of safari you will leave the crater and back up the hills. You will then arrive at the entrance of the Serengeti National Park!
Begin your safari drive in this massive park, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the “Great Migration”, the mass movement of wildebeest and zebra that happens every winter.
The Great Migration in Action!
When your safari drive is over, arrive at your tented camp for the night. Staying in a tent in the middle of the Serengeti is easily one of the coolest things I have ever done! The camp rules include needing a guided escort if you leave your tent at all after dark (due to risk of animal attacks), and carrying an emergency whistle!
Kati-Kati Tented Camp
Daily Safari Highlights:
  • Seeing gazelle, wildebeest, zebras, flamingos, storks, vultures, warthogs, and impala.
  • Watching jackals and hyenas eating a dead water buffalo in a mud pit.
  • Seeing TWO RHINOS!
  • Our first lion spotting! Several cubs popped out, and we were so excited! One of the mother lions came over and was extremely close to the jeep.
  • Witnessing a herd of about twenty elephants walk by; a very awe-inspiring moment.

Lodging: Kati Kati Tented Camp (amazing staff, stunning views, and up-close wildlife encounters)



Day 8: Safari ⇒ Serengeti National Park

Head back out to the Safari trails. Be aware that jeeps often get stuck in mud, and you may have to wait a bit for another driver to help pull you out!
Daily Safari Highlights:
  • Witnessing a male lion eating a zebra, then seeing a hyena steal a leg
  • Spotting our first cheetah- that is later chased away by a baboon!
  • Seeing a leopard resting up in a tree
  • Having a rare sighting of African wild dogs
  • Watching a lioness eating a water buffalo
  • Happening upon seven lions sleeping in a big kitty pile!
  • Our jeep getting stuck at dusk, and then seeing a herd of 24 elephants right by us!!
  • Falling asleep to the sounds of an elephant walking by our tent, and hearing a lion roar in the distance

    View from our jeep breaking down!

Lodging: Kati Kati Tented Camp (amazing staff, stunning views, and up-close wildlife encounters)



Day 9: Safari ⇒ Serengeti National Park: South to Karatu

Head back out for safari, drive for about two hours. Try to spot any last minute animals to check off “The Mighty Five“, and then exit the park.
Daily safari highlights:
  • See a pride of lions with 6 babies
  • Stop by a lone male lion, five feet from the jeep!
  • See a cheetah family: Mom, Dad, and baby

 

If interested, you can pay $50 to enter a “traditional” Maasai Tribe’s village. We were matched up with a “guide” who showed us his hut, livestock, and chatted with us about his fascinating life story. While I question the authenticity of the experience, it seemed like an ethical visit and it was a unique experience and view into the life of the Maasai.
After a long day of safari and adventure, head towards the town of Karatu for the night.

Lodging: Endoro Lodge  (beautiful resort in Karatu with a gorgeous pool, surrounded by nature)



Day 10: Arusha ⇒ Zanzibar Island (Matemwe)

Drive one hour from Karatu back towards the Moshi town area, and see Mount Meru in the distance. Say goodbye to your trusted safari driver, then board a small plane with Tropical Air headed towards the spice island of Zanzibar!
Arrive to Zanzibar after a 2 hour flight, and ride with a guide to your selected hotel. Regional Tours allowed us to pick between several hotel options for what best matched our budget.
Settle in, and have dinner at the beachside Seles Bungalows (we preferred eating at Seles as it had good prices and a casual atmosphere).
Our hotel, Villa Kiva at Matemwe Beach

Lodging: Villa Kiva –A beautiful beachfront property with standard rooms & gorgeous views.



Day 11: Zanzibar (Forest & Stone Town)

Today, go on a “spice tour” (we arranged ours through Omar of Regional Tours), and drive across the island to a local farm. Once there, you can try many tropical fruits, learn about the harvests, and taste homegrown spices.
Next, drive 30 minutes to the main city of Stone Town. Visit the Anglican Cathedral, which was a former slave market and whipping post. You can descend in to the pits where the slaves were kept, but be forewarned that it is very heartbreaking to see.
While you stroll the character-filled, hot, crowded, and crazy streets of Stone Town, visit the Darajani market to witness a fish auction. Then be sure to explore the calmer, narrower side streets and admired all of its intricate doors!
Check out the oceanfront next, and visit the “House of Wonders”, named for being the tallest building on the island. Nearby, check out the Old Fort built in 1699. Finally, get some tasty Spanish tapas at The Post: Taperia, and then return to the hotel pool to get in some swimming!

Lodging: Villa Kiva – A beautiful beachfront property with standard rooms & gorgeous views.



Day 12: Zanzibar (Safari Blue)

Today, take a Safari Blue” tour! Board traditional dhow boats in the Indian Ocean and sail to gorgeous lagoons surrounded by rocks. Stop and snorkel at various coral reefs (where we saw sea salp, octopus, and starfish!).
From there, swim to a sand bar and enjoy some fresh fruit. Next, sail to an “uninhabited” island, where you’ll be greeted by steel drum musicians and dancers (which yes, felt very hoaky). Eat lunch, and explore the jungle trail on the island. Ride the dhow sail boat back for one hour, and be sure to look out for dolphins!
For dinner back in Matemwe, check out Bahari Villa; a very clean, new facility with a beautiful infinity pool.

Lodging: Villa Kiva – A beautiful beachfront property with standard rooms & gorgeous views.



Day 13: Zanzibar (Matemwe)

Check out the beach at Matemwe, where you’ll likely be pestered by the omnipresent “beach boys”. Stroll the beach until the sand stops, and see local village life along the way.
If you go out in to the ocean to swim, be sure to watch out for the mass amounts of sea urchins on this side of the island! Water shoes recommended!

Lodging: Villa Kiva – A beautiful beachfront property with standard rooms & gorgeous views.



Day 14: Zanzibar ⇒ Dar Es Salaam

Relax in the hotel lounge area, and be picked up by your driver from Regional Tours. Head towards Stone Town, and board the large ferry bound for Dar Es Salaam. Ride for 2 hours on the boat, and disembark at the capital city. Get dinner at the tasty Tsavorite Cafe, and enjoy the welcomed air-conditioning! Enjoy your last night in Africa, and head for the airport in the morning 🙂

Lodging: Transit Motel (basic but cheap accommodation near the airport)



For a visual of where we traveled, check out this interactive map I made:

 



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As always, all reviews and opinions are my own. However, I may receive a small commission should you choose to book any of the hotels or tours listed above.

12 Comments

  • Reply Amy May 21, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Okay, so Day 6-10 with a 12 and 13 thrown in are what I dream of! I am glad you were adventurous and went beyond the hotel gates for that authentic experience at the beginning, but wow, oh ow, your safari photos!! And that water! And that baby elephant! Dreamy-overload 🙂

  • Reply Carol Colborn May 22, 2017 at 1:55 am

    Wow, you had 2 weeks of deep African experience. You had everything!

  • Reply Kerri May 22, 2017 at 3:27 am

    I keep always putting Africa off because I think there are significant safety issues but then I think most of the world has security issues now don’t they. I just love these safaris and watch documentaries endlessly ! The Rhino Lodge sounds like just the place to stay and the lack of hot water for something like this wouldn’t worry me at all. I had a similar experience when we stayed in the Amazon. Great photos and great itinerary.

  • Reply Jing May 22, 2017 at 5:41 am

    I love to see everything in your itinerary, especially the Great Migration. I’ve never been to a Safari tour before and Africa is definitely the best place to experience one. I’m a collector of door photos as well. My heart has beaten fast at the sight of those door photos you’ve shared.

  • Reply Audrey May 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

    I’ve always wanted to go on an African safari! Nice photos

  • Reply Viktoria May 22, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I went to Ngorongoro too, and it was something that I’ll remember my entire life. It was just magical seeing all those animals so close.
    They also took me to one of those “traditional” villages and I didn’t like how they asked for money and more money all the time. They wanted me to pay 50€ for a small bracelet…

  • Reply Juliette | Snorkels to Snow May 22, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    What an awesome honeymoon adventure! I love that. That safari and national park sounds absolutely incredible and the photos are brilliant, what a true adventure you can cherish for the rest of your lives! Zanzibar looks like it was a great way to wrap everything up too. Just beautiful!

  • Reply melody pittman May 23, 2017 at 10:54 am

    What an amazing honeymoon destination! Definitely not the typical but one I would have loved to do. I’m with you on the elephants! Looks like a fabulous trip. Such amazing memories…and UNESCO sites!

  • Reply Vedante | The Lavish Nomad May 25, 2017 at 3:36 am

    I am a wildlife lover and have always wanted to visit Zanzibar and I will definitely make my way there soon. I love the view from your room and its amazing how you got to experience such wildlife and fabulous locations.

  • Reply Jane Buggle July 6, 2017 at 4:42 am

    I love your board! What an amazing holiday! Can you let me know roughly how much it all cost? We are looking into a trip like this around Christmas.
    Thanks!

    • Reply Michelle W. July 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      Hi Jane! What is your email address?

  • Reply Agness of eTramping July 20, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Excellent post on my bucket list destination! Very motivational post!

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