Tanzania Safari Itinerary + Zanzibar Island in 2 Weeks

While maybe not your typical honeymoon destination, that’s where we headed! We loved our Tanzania safari itinerary, and had beach time on the spice island of Zanzibar after.

We planned the trip independently, but our safari company helped! This schedule was perfect, allowing us to get a taste of a classic safari, plus a tropical beach vacation. Here is our Tanzania safari itinerary for 2 weeks:

⇒ All photos taken by myself or my husband! 🙂 ⇐

A visual of our Tanzania safari itinerary : 


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Day 1: Dar Es Salaam

Dar is a hot, dusty, bustling city without much of a tourism scene. However, leave your hotel and try the street food! Walk by the water and visit the Tanzania National Museum, and admire 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

Escape the 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, but a gorgeous property with a serene atmosphere)

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Day 3: Moshi

Walk to the local markets and experience true “small-town Tanzania”. Try coffee at the popular Union Café, and dinner at one of many friendly local restaurants. This is also where you may run into hikers preparing to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro!
The streets near Moshi’s market
Lodging: Hibiscus B&B (very hot, but a gorgeous property with a serene atmosphere)

Day 4: Arusha

Head to the local bus station, and be prepared for a cramped two-hour bus ride to Arusha. If you don’t need to save money, find alternate transportation. This local bus ride was terrible!
Upon arrival, check in to your hotel, then visit the local markets of Arusha. Watch out for overly-friendly locals who tend to follow around mzungu (white people/foreigners) for hours at a time. Sometimes they truly just want to chat and practice English. Other times, it could be a scam attempt. It can be unnerving.
Visit the Maasai Market for great souvenirs and handicrafts, and eat dinner at 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 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)

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Day 6: Arusha ⇒ Lake Manyara

Safari: Day 1- Meet your safari driver, and ride for 2.5 hours to the entrance of Lake Manyara National Park. We 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 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.
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, 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, quality food)

Day 7: Safari ⇒ Ngorongoro Crater

Safari: Day 2- 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.
Tanzania safari itinerary. View of Ngorongoro crater.
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 go 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.
great migration of wildebeest. serengeti. tanzania safari itinerary
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!
Tanzania safari itinerary. 4 day safari schedule.
Kati-Kati Tented Camp
Daily Safari Highlights:
  • Seeing gazelle, wildebeest, zebras, flamingos, storks, vultures, warthogs, and impala.
  • Jackals and hyenas eating a dead water buffalo in a mud pit.
  • Our first lion spotting! Several cubs popped out! One of the mother lions came over and was extremely close to the jeep.
  • A herd of about twenty elephants walk by; a very awe-inspiring moment.
Lodging: Kati Kati Tented Camp (stunning views, and up-close wildlife encounters)

Day 8: Safari ⇒ Serengeti National Park

Safari: Day 3- 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:
  • A lion eating a zebra, then seeing a hyena steal a leg
  • Our first cheetah- later chased away by a baboon!
  • A leopard resting up in a tree
  • A rare sighting of African wild dogs
  • A lioness eating a water buffalo
  • 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

    tanzania safari itinerary. elephants on safari. 4 day tanzania serengeti safari schedule
    View from our jeep breaking down!
Lodging: Kati Kati Tented Camp (stunning views, and up-close wildlife encounters)

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

Safari: Day 4- Head back out for safari, and drive about two hours. Spot any last minute animals to check off “The Mighty Five“, and then sadly exit the park.
Daily safari highlights:
  • A pride of lions with 6 babies
  • A lone male lion, five feet from the jeep!
  • A cheetah family: Mom, Dad, and baby
If interested, you can pay $50 to then 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 was a unique view into the life of the Maasai.
After a long day of adventure, head towards the town of Karatu for the night.
Lodging: Endoro Lodge  (beautiful resort with a gorgeous pool, surrounded by nature)

Day 10: Arusha ⇒ Zanzibar Island (Matemwe)

Drive one hour from Karatu towards the Moshi town area, and see Mount Meru in the distance. Say goodbye to your safari driver, then board a small plane with Tropical Air towards the spice island of Zanzibar!
Arrive to Zanzibar after a 2 hour flight, and ride to your hotel. Settle in, and have dinner at the beachside Seles Bungalows (we preferred eating at Seles as it has 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.

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Day 11: Zanzibar (Forest & Stone Town)

Today, go on a “spice tour”, and drive across the island to a local farm. Once there, you can try tropical fruits, learn about the harvests, and taste homegrown spices.
Drive 30 minutes to the main city of Stone Town. Visit the Anglican Cathedral, which was also a former slave market and whipping post. You can descend in to the pits where the slaves were kept, but be warned that it is very heartbreaking to see.
While you stroll the character-filled and crazy streets of Stone Town, visit the Darajani market to witness a Zanzibar fish auction.
You could also stop by Freddie Mercury (of Queen)’s childhood home! Then be sure to explore the narrow side streets and all the intricate Stone Town doors!
Check out the oceanfront next, and visit the “House of Wonders”- named for being the tallest building on the island.
Nearby, see the Old Fort built in 1699. Finally, get some tasty Spanish tapas at The Post: Taperia, and 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 coral reefs (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, and look out for dolphins!
For dinner back in Matemwe, check out Bahari Villa; a nice spot 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, 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

Head towards Stone Town, and then board the large ferry from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam. Ride for 2 hours on the boat, and disembark at the capital city. Enjoy your last night in Africa, and head for the airport in the morning 🙂
Lodging: Transit Motel (basic but cheap accommodation near the airport)

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

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

  • 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 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 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.

  • Reply Kajari December 18, 2018 at 12:50 am

    Hi there – beautiful photos! What time of year did you go? Thanks!

  • Reply Bea Adventurous September 28, 2022 at 4:40 am

    Wow, what a brilliant time you had, you explored so much!

    Rhino Lodge looked amazing, very jealous of that!

    We’ve not long come back to the UK after our trip and we miss it! We can’t wait to get back out there and explore more. So, thank you for your insight and advice!

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