Road to Zanzibar Trip Notes

  • Trip code : IYXOD
  • Trip length : 14 Days
  • Trip starts in : Nairobi, Kenya
  • Trip ends in : Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Maximum group size : 22
  • Ages : Min 18
  • Meals : 13 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 9 dinners
  • Accommodation : Bungalow (2 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (7 nts), Hotel (2 nts)
  • Transport : 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Ferry, Overland vehicle




Jambo! Welcome to Kenya.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your kitty, insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.

Nairobi - which takes its name from a Maasai phrase meaning 'place of cool waters' - has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, while markets and shops have most things you could want or need, as well as various arts and crafts from the region.

If you arrive early, you can head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)



Depart early for Arusha on our overland truck, a drive of about 8-9 hours (300 km). The trip includes a border crossing from Kenya into Tanzania so be sure to have your passport handy.

Arusha is the gateway to some of Tanzania's most popular tourist destinations including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Mt Kilimanjaro.

Our campsite is in Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha, and has flush toilets and showers.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)


Mto Wa Mbu

This morning we drive for 1.5hrs to reach the village of Mto wa Mbu where we participate in a local community village program.

A small village community, Mto Wa Mbu offers an excellent way to get a close-up look at life in an African town away from the main tourist trail.

Join the local community with a guided stroll around the farming areas - including visits to a kindergarten, milling machine, local homes and farmlands. This is a great way to have fun and find out more about the life of the locals. You'll also have the chance to look around the town and visit the local market. You may wish to indulge in a spot of shopping - wood carvings and local artworks are the specialities of this area.

Depending on the following day's schedule, we may stay here for the night or travel further west ( 40 minutes ) to the village of Karatu.

Stay at a campsite with flush toilets and showers.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)


Serengeti National Park

Rise early and leave the truck behind, putting our camping and personal gear into six-person jeeps and heading out for our excursion into the Serengeti.

The wide, open plains of the Serengeti - green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season, and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators - are perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses and dotted with acacia trees, the plains get their name from the Maasai word Siringitu - 'the place where the land moves on forever'.

Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your wildlife sightings from the day. In normal circumstances, we would expect to see the Big Five during our stay in the Serengeti.

Our campsite is within the Serengeti itself so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep. The bush camp is quite basic with drop toilets and cold showers.

For an unforgettable experience, you might like to do an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Serengeti. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and need to be arranged in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to secure this optional activity.

If you have pre-booked this activity, you'll be picked up and driven to the launch site where you receive a safety briefing from your pilot and help inflate the balloon. You'll then float over the Serengeti as the sun comes up gaining an overview of the immensity of the Serengeti, seeing the abundance of wildlife in their early morning activity and sometimes descending to tree height for amazing wildlife photography opportunities. Upon landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast before being returned to your accommodation.

Please note that we offer this activity as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a spot in a balloon. If you choose to wait and book this activity locally on the ground you may get a better price. However this is a popular activity and places are limited. It is at your own discretion if you wish to pre-book this service with us or try and book it locally while you are on your trip.

You'll notice many Maasai villages in the region of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. While it's of course fascinating to visit different cultures, past experience has shown that these villages exist primarily as tourism businesses offering somewhat contrived performances of their traditional ways. You'll be charged an entry fee of approx US$20-35 and the Maasai will try very hard to sell souvenirs to you. While many clients still enjoy the experience, others have found it artificial and uncomfortable. We recommend our travellers bypass this activity as our Kenyan colleagues observe that it negatively impacts the Maasai culture and travellers' perception of this culture.

Accommodation: Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nts)


Ngorongoro Crater

Rise with the sun as we make an early start, exiting the Serengeti and heading for the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater (approx 3 hrs drive). After a picnic lunch, we descend onto the floor of the crater.

Make the most of our safari in the crater, spending between four and five hours exploring this area.

A huge, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals including endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent game viewing all year round and the photographic opportunities here are unrivalled.

Departing the Crater late in the afternoon, we return to our campsite at Karatu for an evening relaxing at the campsite's bar reliving our safari experience.

Our campsite tonight has flush toilets and showers.

With red dirt streets, green hills in the distance and plenty of smiling children, Karatu is a small town near the gateway to the Ngorongoro Crater.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)



Back on board our truck, climb high onto the slopes of Kilimanjaro to the village of Marangu, via Moshi (270 km, approx 5-7 hrs).

We then drive on to the village of Marangu where we set up camp for the night. Our camp ground is basic with flush toilets and showers and situated on the lush green slopes of Kilimanjaro.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)


Usambara Mountains

Visit nearby waterfalls and stop to admire the view of the plains below. If the weather is clear, get a view of Kilimanjaro - the magnificent snow-capped mountain and Africa's highest peak at 5,895 m (19,340 ft).

It's time to get off the well-beaten track and head into the remote Tanzanian mountains (265 km, approx 7 hrs).

The Usambara Mountains are a lovely unspoilt area of Tanzania. Unlike the coast and the north, very few tourists visit this area so it has a freshness that can be hard to find elsewhere. The mountains are located in the north-east of Tanzania, between Kilimanjaro and the Indian Ocean, and overlook the vast Masai steppe. They are wonderfully lush and green and the area has been dubbed the Galapagos of the plant world. The forests stretch across the mountains and are ideal for easy hikes and guided walks. As beautiful as the place is, its real jewels are the local people and villages.

Explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains and experience this area's gentle hospitality on a visit to some of its small communities. From our base, we'll organise a walking trip out to the beautiful Irente viewpoint. We recommend you pack some water and snacks in a day pack for the trip. On our way back, visit a local cultural and ecological project based at Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Our base is the old German colony of Lushoto where we stay in the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa. Our campsite has flush toilets and showers.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)


Dar es Salaam

Leaving the mountains behind, a long travel day takes us further south towards the coastal city of Dar es Salaam (380 km, approx 9-11 hrs).

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's old capital, means 'Haven of Peace'. Many of its buildings display Arabian influence and the port area is fascinating to visit with its ocean-going dhows and inshore ngalawas (out-rigger fishing canoes).

The camp is on the grounds of a hotel and has flush toilets and showers. Feel free to jump in the ocean and have a swim.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)



Catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar (approx 90 mins).

Filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar's rich history involves everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast invokes images of what the island was like back in the days of Livingstone.

The old part of Zanzibar's main city is known as Stone Town. The best way to see this exotic port town is on foot, exploring the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and myriad intricate alleyways. When the sun is setting, why not enjoy a sundowner from a bar overlooking the seafront before trying one of the island's local seafood curries at one of the town's many restaurants.

Spend a night in Stone Town at a basic inn with double/twin-share rooms.

Drive to the spice plantations where you'll receive a guided tour and the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, as well as teas made with these spices. At the end of the day there will also be an opportunity to buy some of the locally grown spices.

On our second and third days here, we head to the northern beaches and enjoy white sand and sparkling blue sea - the Indian Ocean at its best.

Try snorkelling and diving, eat sumptuous seafood or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book.

Instead of the group catching the ferry back to the mainland together, this trip now finishes in Zanzibar at the Safari Lodge. Your leader can help you organise the return leg of the ferry if you wish which costs approximately 35USD

Ferries depart Zanzibar for Dar Es Salaam daily at 0730hrs, 0930hrs, 1230hrs and 1530hrs and take approx. 2hrs.

Please allow enough time to get back to the mainland if you need to catch your departing flight from Dar Es Salaam. Speak to your leader about the best way to do this.

There are no activities planned for the final day. Checkout time at our hotel in the Northern Beaches is 10:00am. After checkout we make our way back to Stonetown where this trip finishes. We should arrive back at Safari Lodge by around 12:00pm.

Accommodation: Bungalow (2 nts), Hotel (1 nt)



  • Mto Wa Mbu - Village Walk & market visit
  • Serengeti - Game drive
  • Ngorongoro Crater - Game drive
  • Irente - walk & local lunch
  • Zanzibar Spice tour



  • Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi - USD10.00
  • Karen Blixen museum, Nairobi - USD14.00
  • Langata Giraffe Sanctuary, Nairobi - KES1000.00
  • Nairobi National Park safari walk, Nairobi - USD20.00
  • Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi - KES2000.00
  • Balloon ride, Serengeti National Park - USD500.00
  • Dhow trip, Zanzibar - USD50.00
  • Scuba diving, Zanzibar - USD90.00
  • Snorkelling, Zanzibar - USD40.00
  • Prison island tour, Zanzibar - USD25.00


not-included1International flights, departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.




Overland journeys are all about freedom and discovery. By travelling in a purpose-built truck you’ll see all the must-see highlights but also get far off the beaten track. These are real adventures where itineraries are changeable and the number of nights in hotels or camping can vary. The tours are highly inclusive and very much hands on. Led by professional crew, groups consist of up to 22 adventurous passengers, sharing the cooking, food shopping and setting up camp.

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.


visa1A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.Please click here for more information.


medical-preparation1We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended. 


Money1Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later


travel-insuranceYou must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information.


responsible-travel1Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.For further information about responsible travel please click here.

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.


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