Tanzania Northern Circuit | 12 Days

ARUSHA | TENGERU | NGARE NANYUKI | MOMELLA LAKES | TARANGIRE | NGORONGORO CRATER | SERENGETI

Adumu is proud to offer this once-in-a-lifetime epic journey into Tanzania, home of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the great Serengeti, and the magical “Spice Island” of Zanzibar! This 12-day all-inclusive adventure led by our team of wildlife experts and local guides takes you on a wildlife safari through the iconic Northern Circuit. It includes a variety of activities that explore the natural environment, as well as the history and culture of the people in this magnificent region—particularly the Maasai people who live in and near the parks. Feel good knowing that this trip strictly abides by socially responsible ecotourism practices and supports Adumu Safaris’ social impact mission of Maasai empowerment.

Your safari begins in a tranquil forest setting at a lodge designed with relaxation in mind. From here, you will get to explore the natural landscape, shade-grown coffee plantation, food, and culture of the Mt. Meru region on foot, led by a local guide. You will move on to spend a few days in Maasailand to the west of Mount Kilimanjaro for some immersive cultural experiences. The next several days will be spent touring the world's most iconic parks and also venturing into some remarkable off-the-beaten-track experiences. You will see the lauded “Big 5” and a variety of other majestic fauna up close in their natural habitats. Feel like an adventurer as you encounter a myriad of breathtaking landscapes deep in the African bush. View the world-famous Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra (and the predators that follow them) in the Serengeti from your spacious and comfortable hatch-top Land Cruiser and perhaps even while enjoying a beverage at camp! Explore the unique Ngorongoro Crater, photogenic Tarangire, alkaline Momela Lakes, and other natural wonders on foot, accompanied by your guides and Maasai warrior guards. Retreat to your luxurious accommodations where you’ll experience Tanzania’s warm hospitality and impeccable service. Savor delicious African-inspired continental cuisine prepared with a bounty of fresh, local ingredients. Learn about the culture of the Maasai, as well as other vibrant local cultures, through memorable and authentic exchanges.

Experience this incredible Tanzanian voyage while making lasting memories with your travel companions that you will cherish forever. Karibu Tanzania!

*Combine with our signature Zanzibar extension and our signature Rwanda or Uganda gorilla extension for a truly epic East African adventure (links below the itinerary)

Itinerary

Destination: Arrival at Kilimanjaro National Airport (JRO); Transfer to Arusha
Accommodations: Tumbili Lodge
Activities: International Arrival and check-in
Transfer time: 45 minutes

International Arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport at 7:55pm. After clearing customs, you will be met by an Adumu Safaris representative and transferred to the lovely Tumbili Lodge, a small boutique hotel situated in a beautiful lush garden with a stunning view of Mount Meru. This peaceful and romantic getaway is a perfect place to start your safari in Tanzania. After settling into one of your comfortable stand alone bandas situated throughout the lushly landscaped grounds, enjoy a peaceful night’s rest in preparation for the adventure ahead of you!

*Note that most flights from the U.S. arrive in the evening. If your flight arrives early, you will be met accordingly and transferred to Tumbili, with meals available at the hotel.

Destination: Arusha; Tengeru
Accommodations: Ilboru Safari Lodge
Activities: Organic fair trade coffee farm tour and local lunch; Custom African clothing fitting (optional)
Transfer Time: 25 minutes to and from Tengeru

After breakfast at the lodge, depart with your guide for a half-day excursion on a fair trade coffee walk led by one of our social impact partners, Tengeru Cultural Tourism Programme, where you will walk through the village of Tengeru on the slopes of Mt. Meru, home of the Wameru people, and see how shade-grown coffee is grown and prepared. After the tour, enjoy a delicious local lunch prepared by Mama Gladness followed by a tree-planting to offset your carbon footprint. Return to the lodge after lunch where you can relax, take a dip in the pool, socialize with friends over drinks, or get a massage. We can also arranged for a local mshonaji (clothing designer) to take your measurements and prepare a custom-designed African outfit that will be ready for you later in the trip. If you are feeling energetic, there is a selection of half-day tours in Arusha that we can arrange for you. Enjoy dinner, some evening entertainment, and a good night’s sleep.

Destination: Ngare Nanyuke, West Kilimanjaro
Accommodations: Osiligilai Maasai Lodge
Activities: Maasai welcome ceremony; Massage (Optional); Traditional storytelling
Transfer Time: 1.5 hours to Ngare Nanyuki

After breakfast, depart Tumbili for Osiligilai Maasai Lodge, a scenic eco-lodge where you immediately will come to rest and reflect on the essentials while enjoying an immersive cultural experience with the Maasai. In the middle of the wilderness of the Maasai steppe are 18 exclusive bungalows built with locally available natural materials sustainably produced by local craftspeople. Just outside your door is a great view of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. It’s all about being together, traditions, stories, and learning from each other at Osiligilai. Upon arrival, you will be warmly welcomed with a traditional Maasai dance and song. Then, you will be served a traditional Maasai welcome drink before being guided to your private bungalow. While you are here, relax, unwind, and enjoy the “Warm Your Heart” meditation room, the natural sauna, pool, and you can even treat yourself to a massage. In the evening, gather for some group activities followed by dinner and traditional Maasai storytelling around the fire. After a long day, nothing will feel more restful than falling asleep to the sounds of passing wildlife and chirping insects.

Destination: Osiligilai; Ngare Nanyuke Ranch
Accommodations: Osiligilai Maasai Lodge
Activities: Maasai ethnobotanical walk; Boma visit; Bush picnic; Spear throwing competition; Sunset performance
Transfer Time: 1 hour to and from Ngare Nanyuki Ranch

Today is an exciting day full of immersive cultural experiences with the Maasai. After breakfast, depart on foot on an ethnobotanical walk led by one of the Osiligilai community guides where you will learn about local plants and their medicinal and spiritual uses. This walk ends in a Maasai boma, or homestead where extended families live together and keep their livestock. The family welcomes you to experience the traditional way of life, which is very different than our own. You will then depart by car to Ngare Nanyuki Ranch for a picnic lunch in the bush. This conservation area is protected by the Tanzanian government, although it is not an official National Park. Nonetheless, here is where we are likely to glimpse some of the first incredible fauna on the trip while enjoying lunch amidst the acacia forest. In the late afternoon, return back to relax at the lodge. Close to sunset, the lodge hosts will take you into the surrounding hills for a spear-throwing competition followed by a sunset dance performance featuring the famous Adumu! Afterward, return to the dining room for dinner and retire for a good night’s rest.

Destination: Arusha National Park; Tinga Tinga village
Accommodations: Osiligilai Maasai Lodge
Activities: Game Drive; Local women’s beading project visit; Walking safari (optional); Community recognition ceremony
Transfer Time: 1 hour to and from park gate

Today begins the incredible African wildlife portion of your safari, full of amazing encounters with wildlife, breathtaking natural scenes, as well as some life-changing cultural excursions and cross-cultural exchanges! After breakfast, your expert naturalist guide leads you on a game drive through Arusha National Park. On the way to the park, we you can stop at the local women’s beading project and see how women make traditional Maasai beaded jewelry. This is a great spot to buy some souvenirs which supports the community. Arusha National Park is among the smallest parks in Tanzania, covering only 137 square kilometers. The park has several completely different micro-habitats within its confines, from a soda lake which outfits a large number of flamingo, to dense forest habitat for black and white colobus monkeys, a plain (or small Serengeti), a crater, and the hikeable Mount Meru. While in the park, you have the option of exploring the park on foot led by your guides and an armed ranger. This park does not have big cats or elephants, but you will see great animals like cape buffalo, giraffe, zebra, and warthogs, not to mention beautiful views of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru towering on either side of the park. Depending on your fitness level, you can opt to hike to a beautiful waterfall. In the early evening, return to Osiligilai for a dinner Maasai “Bush TV”.

Destination: Tarangire National Park
Accommodations: Tarangire Tortilis Camp
Activities: Game Drive
Transfer Time: 3 hours from Osiligilai to the Park; leisurely game drive to camp

After an early breakfast, bid farewell to your friends at Osiligilai and head out at sunrise to Tarangire National Park for a late-morning gave drive. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the park and continue with afternoon game viewing—identify different species of mammals such as lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, python, zebra, oryx, impala, and more. Over 450 species of birds have been observed in this park, so get out your binoculars! This park is also known as the park of elephants and baobabs, both of which are scattered everywhere. The Tarangire River is a vital source of water for animals in the park where you are likely to find many major species behaving and interacting naturally. At lunch, check into Nyikani Tarangire Camp, a classic safari “glamping” experience in the heart of Tarangire. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature from the warmth of the fire pit area while you enjoy a drink and watch the sunset.

Destination: Tarangire; Mto wa Mbu; Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Accommodations: Hhando Coffee Lodge
Activities: Morning game drive; African Galleria
Transit Times: 2 hours to Mto wa Mbu; 30 mins to Lodge

Wake before sunrise to enjoy an early morning game drive in Tarangire, an incredible experience when animals are very active and the morning dew lifts with the magical sunrise! Return to camp for a late breakfast. Check out of camp and enjoy a short game drive as you exit the park. Head toward the Ngorongoro Conservation Area stopping at the Mto wa Mbu. Bustling with a variety of cultures from around Tanzania, the little town of Mto Wa Mbu is where you will find the African Galleria, a center of African and Tanzanian art and culture where you can meet the artists and see them at work. While here, you can go on a complimentary tour and have lunch or a snack at the Ol Mesera restaurant. You can also learn about the endemic precious gem Tanzanite and even purchase some fine jewelry. From here, continue on to Hhando Coffee Lodge, a new property located on 15 acres of coffee farm sailing like an ark along with the primeval of the Ngorongoro Crater conservation area which is a world heritage site in the volcanic highland of Tanzania. Check into your cozy cottage with a fireplace and a verandah offering clear forest air and superb forest viewing over the farmland. Enjoy a delicious dinner and drinks around the lodge fireplace or in the comfort of your room.

Destination: Ngorongoro Crater; Serengeti National Park
Accommodations: Nyikani Central Serengeti Camp
Activities: Crater game drive; Serengeti game drive
Transit Times: 15 mins to the Crater rim; 1 hour to Oldupai Gorge; 2+ hour game drive to camp

After an early breakfast, take off for a morning game drive in the world-famous Ngorongoro Conservation area. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a rare protected area where people (the Maasai) and wild animals coexist in harmony. A large permanent concentration of wild animals can be found in the huge and perfect Crater. Ngorongoro Crater is technically a caldera, the largest sunken ancient caldera in the world. Estimated three million years old, the once-volcanic Ngorongoro is now considered one of “Africa’s eighty wonders”. Also known as the “Garden of Eden”, the crater floor is a natural safe haven for thousands of animals such as wildebeest, more than two hundred lion prides, zebras, elephants, hippos, hyenas, Thomson gazelles, African buffalo, crocodiles, ostriches, and many species of birds, not to mention that this is one of the best places to spot an endangered rhinoceros. After lunch near the hippo pools, start heading towards Serengeti National Park. En route, stop and visit Oldupai Gorge, commonly referred to as the “Cradle of mankind”. This site is where the Leakeys made some of the world’s most important archaeological discoveries, including discovering the remains of several early hominids estimated to be around 3.7 million years old. Oldupai is the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant (Sansevieria ehrenbergii), which grows in the gorge. Make your way through Serengeti National Park to arrive at Nyikani Serengeti Camp, a luxury tented camp in the Seronera area, the heart of the Serengeti. Settle in and enjoy dinner from the mess tent with views of the open savannah. Sleep to the sounds of nature outside your comfortable tent.

Destination: Serengeti National Park
Accommodations: Nyikani Central Serengeti Camp
Activities: Game drive
Transit Times: Leisurely game drive around the park departing from camp

After breakfast, continue with both morning and afternoon game drives in Serengeti National Park. Totaling 14,763 km2 in area, the park is appropriately named after the Maasai word for “endless plains”. Here you are certain to get up close and personal with the “Big Five” (Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards, and Cape Buffalo), if you haven’t already, and hosts of other iconic and lesser-known species. Given the vast terrain, weather patterns, and migratory patterns of the innumerable species, many animals of the Serengeti are constantly on the move. This makes for an adventurous game drive! Your drives will depend on the move of the migrants; your expert naturalist guide knows very well how to locate the herds. Opt for a picnic lunch in the park or back at camp. Return to camp for an evening shower, delicious dinner, and sundowners around the fire pit.

Destination: Serengeti National Park
Accommodations: Nyikani Central Serengeti
Activities: Game Drive
Transit time: leisurely game drive with stops around the park from morning until late afternoon

Enjoy another full day in Serengeti National Park!

Balloon Safari Add-on

Overview: A truly magnificent luxury adventure is our balloon safari! Ascend above the Serengeti in a hot air balloon to get an absolutely unique bird’s-eye view of the savannah plain. Witness millions of wildebeest and zebra migrating under the shadow of your balloon. Touch down in the middle of the bush to enjoy the full English breakfast and champagne toast prepared for you. Balloon safaris are truly a special treat, perfect for celebrating those extra special occasions! Simply request this to be added on to your northern circuit itinerary at any point 30 days or more before departure. Individuals can select this add-on even if fellow travelers opt not to join.

DETAILED ITINERARY
Wake before sunrise to depart for your incredible balloon safari! Your adventure starts early in the morning after departing the camp. Drive to the launch site in the dark, during which you may be fortunate enough to see nocturnal animals. Upon arrival, you will meet your pilot and witness your balloon being inflated and prepared for launch. After a thorough safety briefing and demonstration of boarding and landing position, board your balloon and lift off! Rising as the sun rises, your balloon floats in whatever direction the winds of the day are heading over this magnificent landscape. This is a unique way to experience the Great Migration and an adventure in its own right. You will soar above the plains for about one hour, after which you will land and celebrate in the traditional way with a champagne toast before heading off to a special ‘Out of Africa’ bush breakfast. After breakfast, you are taken to the rendezvous point to meet with your driver-guide and continue with morning and afternoon game drives in Serengeti National Park.

BALLOON SAFARI COST

600 USD pp

Destination: Serengeti National Park; Arusha (or connection to Southern Circuit, Western Circuit, Zanzibar, Rwanda, Uganda, or Kenya*)
Accommodations: Tumbili Lodge
Activities: Morning and/or afternoon game drives; Flight to Arusha (or next destination in East Africa)
Transit times: 15 minutes to airstrip; 1 hour, 35 min flight to Arusha; 10 minutes to lodge

Wake early for another magical early morning game drive in the Serengeti, or opt to relax over breakfast at camp. Enjoy a few more hours in the park and lunch at camp. Board your flight from Serona airstrip at 16:45 and arrive at ARK airport at 18:20. Check back into Tumbili in time for dinner and a good night’s rest.

*Note that this day can be modified according to your plans. If you are extending your holiday with an extension elsewhere in East Africa, we will change your flight accordingly. You can also abbreviate your safari by one day and fly from Serengeti to JRO, if you have a late departure.

Destination: Departure to Arusha or connection to Southern Circuit, Western Circuit, Kenya, Uganda, or Zanzibar
Activities: Optional Maasai Market and Arusha City Center Tour
Transit Times: 1 hour to JRO airport

Today, you say “Kwaheri” (goodbye) to Tanzania. Your guide will bring you to JRO airport to board your international flight. Depending on your international departure time, you may have time for souvenir shopping at Maasai Market and other activities in Arusha city center.

Alternatively, you can connect to the next leg of your wildlife safari in the Southern Circuit, chimp trekking in Mahale National Park or Gombe Stream or, gorilla trekking in Uganda, or to the magical island of Zanzibar, which lies just off the coast of Tanzania. See our complimentary itineraries for these locations.

Safari Includes:

  • Pick up/drop off at Arusha or Kilimanjaro airport before and after the trip and/or transfer to the next leg of your holiday
  • Park entrance fees into the game parks/reserves
  • Crater service fee
  • Government Taxation
  • Professional naturalist guide
  • Transport and wildlife viewing in 4×4 Land cruiser with open roof hatches and unlimited mileage
  • Flight from Serengeti to Arusha
  • All game drives and activities
  • All cultural excursions mentioned in the itinerary
  • Full board accommodations and additional meals, per itinerary
  • All-inclusive alcoholic beverages and sodas at the lodges/camps
  • Plentiful drinking water (mineral water)
  • Flying Doctor services in Tanzania
  • Service charges
  • Adumu Impact Fund (see adumuimpact.org)
  • Bespoke concierge service before, during, and after your trip

Safari Excludes:

  • International airfare & flights
  • Passport & visa fees
  • Personal health insurance
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended and offered upon making your deposit)
  • Laundry services, unless provided by the lodges
  • Additional alcoholic beverages & sodas, except as stated as included above
  • Laundry services, unless offered by the lodges
  • Optional massages and spa services
  • All items of personal nature
  • Gratuities to safari guides and lodge/camp staff

Please note: Adumu Safaris makes every effort to customize your safari itinerary in order to cover areas where wildlife habitats are known to be plentiful during the season and precise time of year that you are traveling. However, since wild animals move freely in their environment, we cannot absolutely guarantee sightings of every species. We also use our best effort to provide the lodging set out in this itinerary, but occasionally there are circumstances that occur which require lodging substitutions. We reserve the right to make comparable lodging substitutions or upgrades whenever necessary or in your best interest to do so. Fortunately, we have vetted all of our lodges and stand by their ability to provide an amazing accommodation experience.

Cost:

HIGH SEASON
1 pax2 pax3 – 4 pax5 – 6 pax
Single9620807075207100
Double714065906160
Teen 13 – 15 yrs644059005470
Child 5 – 12 yrs492043903960
3-4 per tent (any age)61505720
LOW SEASON
1 pax2 pax3 – 4 pax5 – 6 pax
Single9200768071606730
Double687063505920
Teen 13 – 15 yrs608055605130
Child 5 – 12 yrs480042803850
3-4 per tent (any age)59105480

Pay Trip Deposit

To reserve this trip we require $500 per person. The remainder is due 59 days before departure. All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted. Affirm and Klarna financing options are also available. We will send a secure payment link when you are ready to confirm this trip.

For last-minute bookings, payment is due in full at booking.

Please note that we offer these variations to demonstrate some of the ways that we can modify an itinerary to suit your preferences (destinations, activities, level of luxury, type of accommodations, length of stay, budget, etc.). If none of these options looks best for your group, we are more than happy to gather more information from you and customize the perfect trip. You can call us at +1 530 574 9519 or email us at to discuss this itinerary or others on our website.

Karibu Africa!
The Adumu Safaris Team