14-Day Tanzania Wildlife & Zanzibar island
this classic safari and beach combination has been created for couples looking to celebrate. Featuring superb accommodation from start to finish, this is also a journey that takes its time: you have nearly two weeks to explore three of Tanzania’s most celebrated game reserves and a sumptuous tropical island retreat.
Begin with a luxurious tree-house suite and the magnificent diversity of Lake Manyara National Park before enjoying Africa’s easiest Big 5 game viewing at the Ngorongoro Crater. Your breathtaking accommodation sits right on the edge of the crater itself. The safari theme continues in the legendary Serengeti National Park where you will transfer to a Hemingway-style mobile tented camp and track Nature’s most spectacular show: the great wildebeest migration.
After all those early morning starts and dramatic game viewing, what better way to finish your journey than to slow down the pace, kick off your shoes and settle into a beach chair? On Mnemba, a private Indian Ocean Island and your last destination, you can do exactly that. A pristine haven of biodiversity lying off Zanzibar’s north-east coast, Mnemba Island offers the post-safari traveller a wealth of activities from diving to turtle watching, a fittingly eclectic ending to this diverse, well-balanced adventure.
What to Expert
Day 1: Arusha: A Warm Welcome
A warm welcome awaits you on arrival at Mount Kilimanjaro International Airport, the gateway to Tanzania’s famous northern safari highlights. You will be met and transferred by road to Arusha Coffee Lodge, tucked away on a coffee plantation on the outskirts of Arusha, the small frontier town with a big reputation as the safari capital of Tanzania.
There are many attractions to lure you away from the Lodge’s delightful gardens and charming, personal service. A day trip to Arusha National Park, with its majestic views of Mount Kilimanjaro, is highly recommended as are a stroll around the Natural History Museum and a visit to the 3.5-million-year-old Leatoli Footprints. There are colourful markets to scour and beautiful coffee plantations to admire before settling in for a comfortable night at the Lodge.
Days 2-3: Lake Manyara: Utterly Charming
After breakfast, your flight departs from Arusha Airport for Lake Manyara National Park. A road transfer from the local airstrip takes you to Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, the only accommodation located in the park itself, and provides an introductory game drive to an area Hemingway described as, “the loveliest I had seen in Africa”.
Lake Manyara National Park is a naturalist’s delight thanks to its diverse environments. Ranging from wetlands and woodlands to grasslands and hot springs, the park is simply packed with wildlife. Over 400 species of bird have been recorded including large flocks of flamingos and migratory water birds. Manyara’s forests ring with the call of monkeys and birds while its acacia woodlands are home to Manyara’s infamous tree-climbing lions and slow-strolling elephants.
Explore this extraordinary park with a two-night stay in one of the lodge’s delightful tree-house suites. Elegantly furnished and very comfortable, the tree-houses are cradled in the boughs of an ancient mahogany forest. Colourful birds flit through camp and set the scene for what lies ahead: morning and afternoon game viewing expeditions led by expert guides, as well as night drives that offer fascinating insights into the rich nocturnal life of the park.
Finish your stay at Lake Manyara with a cold drink and the African sunset. Huge views unfold in front of you. Where the forest gives way to picturesque plains, the eye is drawn past clouds of flamingos on the lakeshore to a line of pale purple peaks – jagged towers standing guard over the Maasai Steppes, the great East African grasslands and your next destination.
Days 4-5: The Ngorongoro Crater: Truly Original
An early morning road transfer carries you from Lake Manyara to the dramatic Ngorongoro Crater. This is a place of rare wonders as its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site confers. Formed by a massive volcanic eruption, the world’s largest intact and un-flooded caldera provides a year-round home to an astonishing 25,000 large mammals including black rhino, wildebeest and zebra along with Africa’s densest concentrations of lion. The Crater’s forests shelter elephant and buffalo, its wetlands are home to hippos and flamingos while hyena, wild dog, leopard and cheetah make up the full range of predators.
Overlooking it all from its position right on the edge of the crater lies your spectacular accommodation: Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Glamorous opulence rules this Lodge, from the chandelier-lit bathrooms to the personal butler service and very fine dining. Every suite offers impressive views and you may find it difficult to tear yourself away from your favourite viewing spot but expert guides in game viewing 4X4s await your attention.
Your route descends through the lush rainforests of the rim, 610 metres down to the grasslands of the crater floor, an area of about 260 square kilometres. Despite its small size, the Crater is Big 5 country and the openness of the terrain means easy and rewarding game viewing. You will spend the day exploring the crater floor, stopping to picnic on the grasslands amidst the grazing herds. Return to the Lodge for sundowners on the crater’s rim and sumptuous feasts in the domed dining area.
Days 6-8: The Serengeti: Legendary
After breakfast overlooking the Crater, a short flight takes you to the rolling grasslands known to the local Maasai as Siringitu – the place where the land moves on forever – and Tanzania’s first game reserve, the Serengeti National Park. One of the oldest ecosystems on earth, the Serengeti is home to Africa’s greatest concentrations of large mammals.
An excellent all-year round game viewing destination, the Serengeti is of course the setting for the great wildebeest migration. Sweeping across the Serengeti grasslands between November and July, the wildebeest herds create a spectacle that attracts predators from near and far. You are guaranteed heart-in-mouth game viewing, not least during the notorious June and July river crossings.
Your accommodation has been carefully chosen to deliver on expectations: set in remote locations that move with the rhythm of the migrating herds, Serengeti Under Canvas offers exclusive tented accommodation with exceptional game viewing opportunities.
Spend three nights at Serengeti Under Canvas and immerse yourself in the drama of Africa’s greatest reserve. The emphasis is on simple luxury and a romantic, close-to-nature ambience while activities focus on witnessing the migration spectacle on daily game drives or on much-celebrated early morning hot-air balloon rides. Guided nature walks and Maasai village visits add to the experience.
Days 9-12: Mnemba Island: A Barefoot Paradise
After a last morning game drive, you depart for Zanzibar International Airport where a boat transfer delivers you to a private marine conservation area, Mnemba Island. Surrounded by an astonishing variety of marine life and magnificent coral reefs, Mnemba is a picture-perfect tropical idyll. Spend your days scuba diving or snorkelling in the crystal clear waters or lounging on the pristine beaches. For more active travellers, Mnemba offers windsurfing, kayaking, fly-fishing and diving courses.
Warm hospitality, pampering massages and thoughtful touches make Mnemba a charming ‘paradise found’. The chalets possess all the charm of rustic, Robinson Crusoe-style architecture without losing any of the comforts of a luxury hotel.
Day 13: End the Adventure on Zanzibar
After a last tropical breakfast, transfer by boat to the Muyuni Crossing Point on Zanzibar for the final leg of your journey to Zanzibar International Airport. Take a moment to reflect on the unforgettable memories your journey has given you – the warmth of the African sun on your skin, the scent of wild sage, the sound of lions greeting the dusk – and relive the extraordinary places, gentle people and thrilling wildlife spectacles you have witnessed.