Day 1 - Arusha - Karama Lodge / BB
Day 2 - Car delivery, drive to Mto Wa Mbu (2h). Afternoon game drive - Manyara Green Camp / FB incl drinks
Day 3 - Optional morning activity Wayo. Drive to Karatu (1h) - Ngorongoro Farm House / FB
Day 4 - Ngorongoro Crater (2h) Full day game drive - Ngorongoro Farm House / FB
Day 5 - Drive to Eyasi (2h) - Ksima Ngeda / HB
Day 6 - Hunt with Hadze tribe. Breakfast at camp. Return to Usa (4.5h) - Rivertrees Country Inn / BB
Day 7 - Explore Usa/Mt Meru region (hike Arusha NP, coffee tour, relax lodge) - Rivertrees Country Inn / BB
Day 8 - Drive to Western Usumbaras (5.5h) - Swiss Farm Cottages / BB
Day 9 - Explore Usumbaras (driving, walking, cycling) - Swiss Farm Cottages / 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) - Emanyani Beach Lodge / BB
Day 15 - Enjoy the Ushongo beaches - Emanyani Beach Lodge / 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 - Slibway Hotel / BB
Day 19 - Enjoy Dar es Salaam - Slibway Hotel / 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 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 sites in and around Arusha.
You will be welcome 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 Mt Meru on the clearer days. The restaurant serves tasty food. The lodge has a peaceful garden and a small saltwater swimming pool. Your stay at Karama Lodge will on basis of Bed & Breakfast.
Day 2: Start of your road trip: Arusha - Mto wa Mbu - Lake Manyara NP
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 toward Mto wa Mbu. The road is tarred and in perfect condition and the journey takes around 3 hours. After lunch in the village or at camp you’ll have plenty of time to go on a game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. Please be aware that the entrance fee covers 24 hours in the park, so plan well!
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 in the park at Wayo Green Camp. Set up at the river bank, you are sure to see plenty of elephants in search for water during the dry season. As with all Wayo Green Camps, the quality of the food & service is of the highest standard. Proof that sustainability and luxury can be combined in the bush. Your stay at Tarangire Green Camp will be on the basis of full board including all drinks.
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 boasts 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 Ngorongoro Farm House, situated on a large coffee farm about halfway between Karatu and the Ngorongoro Crater.
This stylish lodge evokes the ambience of an old English farm house. You’ll sleep in a spacious, luxurious cottage. Make sure you arrive early, so you can enjoy their beautiful garden and other facilities of the estate. Your stay at Ngorongoro Farm House will be on the basis of full board.
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 of seeing the 'Big 5' in one day. Read more about the Ngorongoro Crater and how to organize 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 at Kisima Ngeda, a high-end lodge at a location that will wow you. It is set up on sprawling grounds at the shores of Lake Eyasi, a dry and hostile environment, but there is a natural hot spring at the heart of the property creating an lush oasis of doum palms. Your accommodation is in a luxury and tastefully decorated tented safari room, with en suite bathroom and lounge area. It is a very tranquil place where you would certainly love to spend some days relaxing at the pool and enjoying the views over the shore from the treehouse. Your stay at Kisima Ngeda 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 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.
Just like your first night, the next two nights you will stay at the Rivertrees Country Inn. Your stay will be on the basis of Bed & Breakfast.
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 from your accommodation.
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 Western Usambaras. Roads are in good condition, with hardly any traffic, but be alert for the many speedbumps. 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 Swiss Farm cottage, a peaceful retreat set on a working farm in Magamba Forest area. The family house is especially lovely with wooden furniture, kitchen and very Swiss design. Your accommodation is in a self contained cottage with an amazing view over the green rocky hills and the bright gardens. Your stay at Swiss Cottages Farm will be on the basis of Bed & Breakfast.
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, homegrown 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 no 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. The grassroots organization Friends of the Usumbaras and the Bradt Travel Guide that comes with the Roadtrip car also 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 basis of half board (Breakfast & Dinner). Tip: Get the best pizza in Tanzania for lunch at the neighbour (Capricorn).
Day 13: Enjoy the beaches of Pangani
Pangani used to be an important trading port during the slave 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 in one hour to Ushongo, your next destination on the Indian Ocean coastline.
The next two days you will stay at the Emanyani Beach Lodge located on the beautiful wide sandy beach of Ushongo. Situated amongst the coconut trees, the lodge blends in perfectly with its tropical surroundings. You will sleep in a spacious and airy beach bungalow made entirely from local materials. There is a small swimming pool and good seafood restaurant and lounge. There are also plenty of activities on offer, like windsurfing, diving, snorkeling or safari trips to Sadaani National Park. Your stay at Emanyani Beach Lodge will be on the 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 period 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 on to Dows and shipped to Zanzibar. Legendary explorers like Livingstone, Speke, Burton and Stanley started and ended several of their epic journeys in this historic 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 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. The beach resorts, like Travellers Lodge, can also 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 colourful 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 gives you a pretty good feel of what was going on back in the day. The place is not ideal for swimming though - especially at the busy stretches, you can expect an occasional encounter with a plastic bag while swimming. Although the people of Bagamoyo are friendly, women usually feel more comfortable wearing a sarong over their swimsuit when on the beach.
Day 18: Drive to Dar es Salaam
Today you’ll drive to Dar es Salaam. The drive is only 70km, but the notorious Dar traffic jams might delay you a little bit.
You wil stay at Hotel Slibway, located just 7 km from the Dar es Salaam city centre on the posh Msasani peninsula, the most upmarket neighbourhood of Dar es Salaam, right on the Indian Ocean overlooking Msasani Bay. The hotel is integrated into the Slipway complex, an outdoor shopping mall with various shops, supermarkets and nice restaurants. You will sleep in a comfortable room with aircon and wifi and you can use the gym and swimming pool of the complex. Your stay at Slipway Hotel will be on the basis of Bed & Breakfast.
Day 19: Discover Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam – it’s a real 'you love it or you hate it' place. It is Tanzania’s largest city and fundamentally a Swahili city. If it were only for that reason, we believe you should visit the city, as one could argue - if you have not visited a country’s largest city, then you have not visited the country at all… It’s a bustling, international port city, yet also very friendly and laid back. Dar is truly the cultural heart of Tanzania and definitely worth visiting. Though sticky and hot, there’s plenty to do, taste and discover...
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