Day 1 - Arusha - Karama Lodge / BB
Day 2 - Car delivery, drive to Mto Wa Mbu (2h). Afternoon game drive - Migunga Forest Camp / HB
Day 3 - Optional morning Wayo activity. Drive to Karatu (1h) - Octagon Logde / BB
Day 4 - Ngorongoro Crater (2h). Full day game drive - Octagon Logde / BB
Day 5 - Drive to Eyasi (2h). Recommended to enjoy lunch, pool and lake at Kisima Ngeda - Tindiga Tented Camp / HB
Day 6 - Hunt with Hadze tribe. Breakfast at camp. Return to Usa (4.5h) - Meru View Lodge / BB
Day 7 - Explore Usa/Mt Meru region (hike Arusha NP, coffee tour, relax lodge) - Meru View Lodge / BB
Day 8 - Drive to Western Usumbaras (5.5h) - Irente Farm / BB
Day 9 - Explore Usumbaras (driving, walking, cycling) - Irente Farm / BB
Day 10 - Drive to Northern Usumbaras (6h) - Mambo View Point / BB
Day 11 - Explore Northern Usumbaras - Mambo View Point / BB
Day 12 - Drive to Pangani (6-7h) - Peponi Holiday Resort / BB
Day 13 - Enjoy the Pangani beaches - Peponi Holiday Resort / BB
Day 14 - Drive to Ushongo (1h) - Beach Crab Resort / BB
Day 15 - Enjoy the Ushongo beaches - Beach Crab Resort / BB
Day 16 - Drive to Bagamoyo - Travellers Lodge / BB
Day 17 - Bagamoyo city tour & beach - Travellers Lodge / BB
Day 18 - Drive to Dar es Salaam - Kipepeo Beach Village / BB
Day 19 - Enjoy the Kipepeo beaches - Kipepeo Beach Village / BB
Day 20 - Depart
Day 1: Welcome to Arusha, Tanzania!
Today you’ll arrive in Arusha. Whether you come by bus, plane, bike or train, we’ll make sure you’ll get a transfer to your lodge in Arusha. For first time visitors to Africa, Arusha is an agreeable introduction to urban Africa. It is an organized, green town, with a skyline dominated by the imposing Mount Meru. Depending on the hour of your arrival, you may be able to explore the sights in and around Arusha.
You will be welcomed at Karama Lodge & Spa, a lovely eco-friendly lodge located just southeast of Arusha town. Your accommodation is in a wooden bungalow on poles on a mountain slope surrounded by peaceful forest. Your room has a private balcony with a great view of Kilimanjaro and Meru on the clearer days. The restaurant serves tasty food. The lodge has a lovely garden and a small saltwater swimming pool. Your stay at Karama Lodge will on the basis of Bed & Breakfast.
Day 2: Start of your road trip: Arusha - Mto wa Mbu
Today you’ll start your road trip through Tanzania. You’ll receive the car and a brief explanation in the morning and after breakfast you’ll be ready to hit the road towards Mto wa Mbu. The road is tarred and in perfect condition and the journey takes around 3 hours. After lunch at Migunga Forest Camp or in the village you’ll have plenty of time to go on a game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. You can also save this for tomorrow and use the afternoon to explore the village or do a Wayo activity.
Mto wa Mbu, the gateway to Lake Manyara National Park, is a lively village that sees a large volume of tourist traffic. It’s well stocked with various tourist paraphernalia and offers various tourist activities. It is said to be the only place in Tanzania where representatives of 120 Tanzanian tribes are resident and is well worth spending some time! The main entrance gate to Lake Manyara National Park is at the outskirts of the village.
Tonight your accommodation will be at Migunga Forest Camp underneath the canopy of an acacia forest, just off the Mto wa Mbu – Karatu main road and a five minute drive from the park entrance. You’ll sleep in a safari tent on a raised platform with private veranda and bathroom. Your stay at Migunga Forest Camp will be on the basis of half board (Breakfast & Dinner).
Day 3: Lake Manyara National Park & Drive to Karatu
In the morning you have plenty of time to do a game drive at Lake Manyara National Park. The shallow soda lake is set at the base of the Western Rift Valley Escarpment. The northwestern lakeshore and its hinterland are protected in a scenic national park. Manyara is one of Tanzania’s smallest parks, yet boosting a very diverse flora & fauna - savannah, acacia woodland, rocks, grassy floodplains and tropical rainforest. An exciting aspect of the Lake Manyara area is the opportunity to stretch your legs. The park offers suburb birding and guided walking safaris along the shore to the hot springs and flamingo lookout point. Best to go early in the morning. If you went on a game drive already on day two, you can also choose to visit the village or do a Wayo activity in the morning.
In the afternoon you’ll drive to Karatu, a convenient base for visiting Ngorongoro and the Crater Highlands (Lodware gate is 14 km ahead). Karatu town lies about 30 km from Mto wa Mbu on a smooth asphalt road.
The next two days you will stay at Octagon Lodge. This cozy lodge is located in leafy suburban area of Karatu town, the gateway to the Ngorongoro Crater & Highlands. Octagon Lodge is set in a beautiful garden with swimming pool, a cozy restaurant and an Irish pub. You’ll sleep in a spacious and stylish bungalow with en suite bathroom. Your stay at Octagon Lodge will be on the basis of half board (Breakfast & Dinner).
Day 4: Ngorongoro Crater self drive safari
Today you will visit the Ngorongoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the flagship of Tanzania's tourism industry and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The crater is the world's largest intact volcanic caldera and is the only place in the world where you have a very high chance to see the 'Big 5' in one day. Read more about the Ngorongoro Crater and how to organise and pay for your crater permits.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the main focal point of tourist attraction in the NCA, but the highlands boast other, less visited extinct volcanoes and calderas, such as Empakaai crater and Oldupai Gorge. Trekking in the crater highlands is an adventurous, off the beaten track activity. Read more here.
Day 5: Drive to Lake Eyasi
Today you drive to Lake Eyasi, a shallow soda lake at the remote southern border of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It’s a 2 hour drive from Karatu, mostly on rough, rocky roads, so drive careful and slow. The Lake Eyasi Cultural Tourism Programme regulates tourism in the area. You can find the office at the main road, when entering Mang’ola coming from Karatu. You need to stop here to pay the mandatory entrance fee of $20/vehicle and it is also where you arrange a guide for your Hunting experience with the Hadza tribe tomorrow. If you want to do some exploration of the area we recommend you do it today and reserve tomorrow for cultural activities as these start early in the morning.
You will stay in Tindiga Tented Camp, a small-scale yet comfortable and welcoming tented camp, set up amidst a bushy shrubland of the Eyasi Ecosystem and some 1.5 kilometers from Lake Eyasi. Your accommodation will be in tented rooms with en suite bathrooms. The camp has a basic restaurant built by local Datoga women and a nice open fireplace and lounge area. Your stay at Tindiga Tented Camp will be on the basis of half board (Breakfast & Dinner).
Day 6: Hunt with the Hadzabe & drive to Arusha
Joining the Hadza on a hunt means getting up at 5:00 AM and is quite a unique experience. The Hadza are Tanzania’s only remaining tribe of true hunter-gatherers. Their language is characterized by clicks, reminiscent of that of Southern Africa’s San. The Hadza live in nomadic family bands and they live on what nature provides. Hunting with poisoned arrows and honey gathering are generally male activities, while women and children collect roots, seeds and fruit. The hunting men are fast and will not wait for you, so some level of fitness is required. That this can still exist in the 21st century is unbelievable....
You return to your lodge around 10:30 AM for your breakfast. After breakfast it’s time to return to Arusha. Allow 5 hours for the drive to your accommodation near Arusha.
You’ll spend two nights in a cozy bungalow at Meru View Lodge. The comfortable bungalows are dotted around the flowering gardens and there is an inviting swimming pool. As the owners are German, a small beer garden can’t be missed, and the restaurant has the feel of a cozy modern mountain cabin, with the Bavarian decor replaced by Maasai blankets. Your stay at Meru View Lodge will be on the basis of Bed & Breakfast.
Meru View Lodge is located higher up the hills, off the main road, 40 minutes from Kilimanjaro International Airport, halfway to Arusha at 1 kilometer from the entrance to Arusha National Park.
Day 7: Enjoy Arusha town or National Park
Arusha National Park is the most accessible park of Tanzania’s Northern Circuit, yet the most neglected by the safari industry, largely because it does not contain much big game like elephants or predators like lions. What a pity to skip Arusha National Park, we think here at Roadtrip Tanzania, as the park offers plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs and get out of that car!
Arusha National Park is a perfect park for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to game drives, there is also the option to do hikes, canoeing, mountain biking and of course climbing Mount Meru. A highlight of any visit to Arusha National Park is the Mount Meru Crater Drive and Hike. The first part up to Kitoto at 2,500m is a scenic road trip, a climb through a beautiful stretch of forest. From the car park at Kitoto, it’s a 2 to 3 hour hike through the crater. You need to take an armed ranger from the entrance gate if you want to hike. Wayo Africa organizes cycling trips and canoeing at Lake Duluti. They have good bikes parked at Rivertrees Country Inn.
Day 8: Drive to the Western Usambaras
It’s a very scenic 6 hour drive from Meru View Lodge to Lushoto, the principal town of the Westerm Usambaras. Roads are in good condition, with hardly any traffic, but be alert for the many speed bumps. You will pass through extensive sisal plantations with the Pare Mountains towering on the left. From Mombo, the road starts climbing to Lushoto.
The next two nights, you will stay at Irente Farm around 5 km from Lushoto town. It doubles as an orphanage, organic farm, biodiversity reserve and retreat. They are known, far beyond Lushoto, for their scrumptious farm breakfast, consisting of home-made bread, jam, cheeses and muesli. Your accommodation is basic and clean. Your stay at Irente Farm will be on the basis of half board (Breakfast & Dinner).
Day 9: Explore the Western Usambaras
Lushoto resembles a Swiss Alpine village, yet set in an African context. The town peaked during colonial times and many of the buildings on the main street date back to the early 20th century when Lushoto, then known as Wilhelmstal, provided weekend relief for German settlers farming the dry, dusty Maasai Steppes below. The area is fantastic for (multiple) day hikes and biking, passing through villages, colourful markets, farmland and some scenic lookout points. Some farms, mostly still run by Germans and Swiss, cater to day visitors and provide delicious, home grown food.
Day 10: Drive to the Northern Usambaras
Be prepared for some off road driving. You’ll be heading to the Northern part of the Usambara Mountains. It’s a short drive but the road conditions can be a little challenging.
The far north is undoubtedly the most scenic part of the Usambaras, where the high escarpment offers breathtaking views over the Mkomazi Plains deep down (1.3 km!) below. There is hardly any tourism and chances are slim you'll find a local person who speaks English.
The next two nights you’ll stay in Mambo Viewpoint Eco Lodge situated on a cliff at an altitude of 1,900m on the outskirts of Mambo village.
Day 11: Explore the Northern Usambaras
The Dutch owners of Mambo Viewpoint Eco Lodge are a great source of information on culture, birding, hiking and biking possibilities in the region. They have developed a number of itineraries, which can be undertaken on your own with a GPS or with a guide. Also, the grassroots organization Friends of the Usumbaras, and the Bradt Travel Guide that comes with the Roadtrip car, provide detailed information about the region.
Day 12: Drive to the Indian Ocean - Pangani
We are going to the Indian Ocean! From African Alpine villages to Swahili coastal towns, what a change. It’s around a 3-4 hour drive from Lushoto to Pangani. The road from Lushoto to the tiny village of Pongwe is tarred and in good condition. From there, you turn off the main road onto a minor road which is dusty and rocky, so drive carefully.
The next two nights you will stay at the Peponi Holiday Resort nestled in a tropical garden overlooking the Indian Ocean. Peponi Holiday Resort is a very friendly, owner managed place, right on the beach. Peponi has a good seafood restaurant, beach bar and small swimming pool. You will sleep in a banda with en suite bathroom and veranda. Your stay at Peponi will be on the basis of half board (Breakfast & Dinner). Tip: Get the best pizza in Tanzania for lunch at the neighbours (Capricorn).
Day 13: Enjoy the beaches of Pangani
Pangani used to be an important trading port during the slavery days, noticeable from a number of crumbling colonial buildings, and it has a profound traditional Swahili culture. Whilst the town itself remains little developed, the surrounding coast has witnessed a strong growth in beach resorts in recent years. Zanzibar has become overcrowded, so people are increasingly looking at the unspoiled mainland coastline, with its endless white beaches, coconut palm trees and blue waters.
Day 14: Drive to the Ushongo
In the morning you will drive one hour to your next destination on the Indian Ocean coastline.
In Ushongo you will stay right at the beach at the Beach Crab Resort for 2 nights. Owned and managed by a lovely German couple, the Beach Crab is a laid back and low-key resort, perfect for friends and families, with many games on offer like beach volleyball, pool, several board games and even jeux de boule. There are also plenty of activitiesavailable, like wind surfing, diving, snorkeling or safari trips to Sadaani National Park. You will sleep in a coconut bungalow with en suite bathroom at a beautiful long deserted stretch of white beach. Your stay at the Beach Crab will be on basis of half board (Breakfast & Dinner).
Day 15: Enjoy Ushongo beaches
Plenty of things to do on the beach besides sipping on cocktails and relaxing.
- Dhow cruise
- Diving & Snorkel trips
- Game fishing
- Windsurfing, kite surfing and kayaking
- Sunset cruise up the Pangani River
- Community run walking tours
- Safari to Sadaani National Park
- More details on our Pangani/Ushongo page
Day 16: Drive to Bagamoyo
Today you’ll drive to Bagamoyo, your next destination on the Swahili coast. During the second half of the 19th century, Bagamoyo was one of the most important settlements on the East African coast. The town was the terminus for the slave trade caravan connecting Zanzibar all the way to Lake Tanganyika. After the long, challenging and dangerous journey, reaching Bagamoyo felt like coming home for the traders. The town marked the end of a severe time and was therefore worshipped. Songs still exist, telling the stories of excessive luxury, liters of wine and willing women giving Bagamoyo an almost divine status. The goods retrieved from the inlands like slaves, ivory and salt were loaded from the white beaches onto Dows and shipped to Zanzibar. Legendary explorers like Livingstone, Speke, Burton and Stanley started and ended several of their epic journeys in this historical town.
The next two nights you’ll stay at Traveller’s Lodge, a longstanding, German-owned lodge, set on large attractive grounds that sprawls to the beach. You will sleep in a comfortable beach cottage with en suite bathroom. Your stay at Traveller’s Lodge will be on the basis of Bed & Breakfast.
Day 17: Bagamoyo city tour & beach
The best way to explore and appreciate Bagamoyo’s rich history is through a guided city tour by foot and bajaj (tuk-tuk). The tourist office can arrange reliable guides to show you all the historic sights. Also, the beach resorts like Traveller's Lodge can sort you out with a guide. Expect to negotiate. Bagamoyo is a small town and the tour will not last more than an hour or two. Do not miss out on the colorful fish market with its daily fish auction!
The beaches in Bagamoyo are lively, and a great spot to enjoy the Swahili coastal culture. The mix of fish auctions, football, children, fishermen, hawkers and tourist are a lusty sight, and the busy Dow traffic in the port and along the shores still give you a pretty good feel of what was going on back in the days. The place is not ideal for swimming though - especially at the busy stretches, you can expect an occasional encounter with a plastic bag. Although the people of Bagamoyo are friendly, women usually feel more comfortable wearing a sarong over their swim suit when on the beach.
Day 18: Drive to Dar es Salaam
Today you’ll drive through Dar es Salaam to reach your next destination. You’ll drive to the shores on the southeast side of the city centre near the fish market. From there you’ll have to take the Kivukoni-Kigamboni ferry (goes every 15 minutes) to cross.
You will stay at Kipepeo Beach Village on the lovely Mjimwema beach, 7 km south of the ferry terminal in Dar. The place has become popular among expatriates working in Dar. At most times of the year, waves are quite substantial, providing great water fun. The place has a very laid back beach vibe going on and has a good restaurant & bar. You will sleep in a comfortable 2-story beach hut with ocean view balcony. Your stay at Kipepeo Beach Village will be on the basis of Bed & Breakfast.
Day 19: Enjoy Kipepeo beach
There are some secrets which are still well kept in Tanzania, and the South coast of Dar es Salaam is one of them. Enjoy the endless stretches of unspoiled and undeveloped white beaches and the tropical turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean.
Although close to Dar, the ocean water here is very clean, making it an ideal and safe beach for swimming even at low tide! Kipepeo Beach Village is the ideal place to unwind, relax and forget about time.
Day 20: Depart
Today is the end of your holiday. The Roadtrip Tanzania Driver will meet you at the airport to receive the car. Please make sure you leave in time since the ferry and the Dar traffic can seriously delay you.
Get inspired and read more about the One way roadtrip from Arusha to Dar