Sample Itinerary #1: "Jewels of Northern Tanzania" with Gombe Stream Extension 2023

"Jewels of Northern Tanzania"
Private safari with a
Gombe Stream Extension 

I have always believed that with every adventure you take and, especially with a safari, there are 3 trips in one. The safari you experience while planning, the safari you actually experience, and the one you keep in your memory.

Our aim is to make all three exciting, fun and memorable. This sample itinerary serves as a template to start your perfect custom safari plan in Tanzania.

Day 1: Arrive in Tanzania

Morning/evening arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). After going through immigration, customs, and the obtaining of your visa, you will be met in the luggage area by a driver who will be holding a sign with your last name. Time permitting, an afternoon tour of Arusha town, the bustling safari capital of Tanzania. 

Overnight at Private Home/ Ngare Sero/ Legendary Lodge/ Onsea Lodge/ Kaibu  Heritage/ Katambuga Lodge

Day 2: Tarangire National Park

After breakfast, you will depart today for Tarangire National Park and your first day in the bush! The scenic drive from Arusha to the park gate will take about 2 hours. Tarangire Lodge is perfectly situated to have access to the Tarangire River which is one of main features of the park and always draws wildlife to drink. The view from the lodge deck is awesome and we will stop here for a hot lunch before proceeding to an afternoon game drive.

Overnight at Oliver's Camp/ Nimali/ Tarangire Safari Lodge/ Tarangire Honeyguide Camp/ Private Campsite Options 

Day 3: Tarangire National Park

Full day to explore Tarangire. During the dry season the river and the huge Silali swamp will definitely be areas to explore. I have seen more elephants in one herd moving through the swamp than anywhere in Africa! Tarangire National Park offers a wonderful opportunity to observe elephant behavior in general and this is the ideal season for it.

Overnight at Oliver's Camp/ Nimali/ Tarangire Safari Lodge/ Tarangire Honeyguide Camp/ Private Campsite Options

Day 4: Karatu Region

Your destination today will be one of the beautiful farm lodges located in the Karatu area. This scenic drive is one of my favorite drives in your itinerary. The main road has greatly improved so this is an easy drive. The landscape change is dramatic and very interesting. Karatu is one of Tanzania’s most productive agricultural areas where coffee, rice, and maize are important crops. On our way, we will pass through the lush and lively village of Mto Wa Mbu where the best bananas in the area can be found. Seriously, the bananas here are delicious!

Shortly after passing this village, the road starts ascending as you near the Great Rift Valley Escarpment and you will have a chance to appreciate a view of this awesome geological feature as well as one of the famous soda lakes, Lake Manyara.

Arrival at your lodge for lunch and relaxing afternoon with plenty of activity options.

Overnight at Gibb's Farm/ Acacia Retreat/ Plantation Lodge/ Kitela Lodge / Ngorongoro Farm House

Day 5: Crater Highlands

The gorgeous drive to your lodge or camp will take about 3 hours from Karatu. As you make your way to the camp, you drive around Ngorongoro Crater, stopping along the way to enjoy the outstanding views. Your stay is located in a remote area of the Highland region and will provide access to Olmoti and Empakai Crater hikes. This area is also the home of the Masai and a visit to one of the villages can be arranged. Your guide will brief you on the many options you have this full day to explore the area that is still off-the -beaten track to most safari goers!

Overnight at Lion’s Paw Camp/ Asilia Highlands Lodge/ Private Campsite Options

Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater

Depart with a packed breakfast and lunch for the floor of Ngorongoro Crater. It takes about 1 hour to reach the descent road from the camp. Picnic lunch and full day in one of the most photogenic places on earth. Your hotel the next two nights is positioned right on the crater rim and affords you not only a spectacular view of the crater but also efficient access to and from the access road.

Overnight at Serena Lodge/ Ngorongoro Crater Lodge/ Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp/ Plantation Lodge

 Day 7: Ngorongoro Crater

Early morning descent to the crater floor with picnic breakfast and lunch. Today you will be one of the first cars down into the crater. The morning is a magical time in this magnificent natural wonder and the best opportunity to see lions active within the pride-- an unforgettable experience.

You will return to the hotel later this afternoon and have a private walk with our favorite local naturalist who will surely impress you with his knowledge of this incredible region’s history flora, and fauna.

Overnight at Serena Lodge/ Ngorongoro Crater Lodge/ Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp/ Plantation Lodge

Day 8: Central/East Serengeti

Another beautiful drive today as you leave the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and enter the vast Serengeti National Park. There are a few ways to design this day’s schedule and your guide will have briefed you the night before. Length of drive is quite variable depending on your design but generally this is an all-day drive. But, whatever the plan, this is an exciting drive with an incredible landscape transition that one can never forget! We have recommended that you have one night in this particular camp in Central Serengeti so that we can easily access one the most incredible environments in all of Serengeti. The Moru area is dotted with large and particularly beautiful kopjes (rocky outcrops) that seem like designed rock gardens but, are the result of millions of years of environmental conditions. A must see!

Overnight Singing Grass/ Embalakai Tented Camp/ Dunia Camp/ Nimali/ Seasonal Camp Options

 Day 9: Northern Serengeti

The precise schedule of your day can be determined on location but you will be traveling north. The landscape changes as you make your way. Part of the drive will detour out of the park where you can see the small towns and villages that border Serengeti and get their lifeblood from it. It is also the area where most of the food to the northern camps and lodges comes from and you will pass many farms that supply the lodges and camps in the park. Reach your camp today is in time for sundowners and dinner. Today is a full day scenic drive.

Overnight at Sayari/ Kuria Camp/ Nimali/ Seasonal Camp Options/ Private Campsite Options

 Day 10 and 11: Northern Serengeti

These 2 full days afford you time to explore parts of the northern region of the park as you are positioned to explore many interesting areas adjacent to your base. The Mara River is very close to your camp and this is the place where the famous wildebeest crossings occur and if your are there during this season, you may be just in time for a front row seat! On a personal note, I have seen the most incredible things in the north regardless of the season. Your guide will be familiar with the area and will advise you of the various options you have the flexibility to enjoy.

Overnight at Sayari/ Kuria Camp/ Nimali/ Seasonal Camp Options/ Private Campsite


Day 12: Central Serengeti

Long and exciting drive back to central Serengeti today and your guide will advise of the options you have based on conditions at the time. I can tell you that I always find retracing my route very interesting as I notice the small and, sometimes dramatic, shifts in the environment. You eventually arrive back in Central Serengeti after this full day drive.

Overnight Singing Grass/ Nimali/ Embalakai Tented Camp/ Dunia Camp/ Seasonal Camp Options

Day 13: Mwanza/ Lake Victoria

Early morning departure from camp to the park gate. You will be passing lots of different villages and the landscape will become increasingly more industrial and modern as you make your way to the second biggest city in Tanzania located on the shores of Lake Victoria. This is an all-day road trip on good tarmac roads. The hotel is comfortable and will be a welcome respite after this long day in the car.

Overnight at Malaika Beach Hotel

 Day 14: Kigoma/ Gombe Stream National Park

 Today’s drive has a feeling of going back in time; the villages become more and more traditional as Lake Tanganika nears. If time allows, your guide will bring you to the Livingstone Museum and enjoy lunch at a hilltop resort with a fabulous view. You will then be transported by boat to your destination for the next 3 three nights. What a day, what an adventure! You’ll arrive at the comfortable rustic camp on the shore of the lake and enjoy a great dinner cooked just for you with local ingredients.Your guide will brief you this evening regarding the next day’s schedule and procedures.

 Overnight at Gombe Camp/ Gombe Forest Lodge

Day 15 and 16: Gombe Stream National Park

Two full days to enjoy another remote and magical place that definitely is off the beaten path. Each day at an appointed time, you will depart with your guide and a Ranger who is familiar with the area and where the chimps are located that morning. After lunch and free time, you will once again have another chance to go chimmping and enjoy the other activities around the lake. Enjoy the evening and dinner either in your tented room or the nearby lounge and enjoy the sounds of the waves while you sleep!

Overnight at Gombe Camp/ Gombe Forest Lodge

Day 17: Departure Day

You will make your way back to Kigoma by boat. Your guide will make sure you get to the regional flight for your homebound flight from Kilimanjaro or Dar es Salaam International Airport.