Tour in Tanzania

Tour in Tanzania to add to the northern circuit safari

The best tours in Tanzania to combine with safaris in the north of the country

Tanzania is famous for its national parks where you can go on wonderful safaris , the paradisiacal coasts of Zanzibar and Pemba, exceptional diving on Mafia Island and the large concentration of Maasai villages and other tribal groups.

If a classic trip to Tanzania combines safari and sea , those who have more time or want to live alternative experiences, which can combine very well with the safari, are spoiled for choice. 

In particular, the northern regions of Tanzania, Manyara, Karatu and Natron, have begun to develop community tourism over the years , that is, tours and travel experiences trying to create a relationship and a possibility of contact between tourists and the population local which, thanks to these programs, can become an integral part of the trip.

When we plan safaris in Tanzania, I like to propose some of these activities because they fully fall within the idea of ​​responsible tourism that I like to promote, the profits from the tour are distributed among the community that has decided to open the doors of their homes.

I have therefore selected some of the activities and tours, which generally require a couple of hours, which can be added to safaris to make this adventure a journey that is not only naturalistic but also cultural and is not limited solely to game drives in national parks .

If you are planning a trip to Tanzania, also read: What to see in Zanzibar and the post where to stay in Zanzibar

Have you found plane tickets? See also on Traveljourn
Read also: Documents for going to Tanzania – Guide 2024

Tour da Mto Wa Mbu, Karatu e Ngorongoro

Karatu is the last village you will come across on the way to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park.

During a safari in Tanzania you will certainly make a stop here, where among other things there are wonderful lodges. On the way to and from Serengeti and Ngorongoro, a night in this village is guaranteed.

If the flight to Zanzibar is in the late afternoon or evening, one of the following activities would fit in well with the times and would allow you to add a different touch to the game drives done up to that moment.

Furthermore, the tours are managed by the community , so the other positive note is that the proceeds earned are used to put the local population to work.

Mto Wa Mbu bike tour and lunch cooked by a Mama 

Often I like to end safaris with this bike tour which is not particularly long , takes about 3 hours, and will allow you to eat some local dishes cooked directly by a local mama.
During safaris, meals are usually designed for an international audience. On this tour you can discover what people eat in Tanzania.

With a mountain bike you will cycle through the banana plantations of the area, meet some local families and end with a lunch cooked by a village mama . If you don’t want to cycle, you can take a tuk tuk or walk.

Tour duration: 3/4 hours

Tour in Tanzania

Walking tour of Karatu

Near the Lake Manyara national park is the village of Karatu where you have the opportunity to savor the culture of Tanzania as well as go on game drives among the country’s safari parks.

During this tour you will visit the local market , where you can purchase special souvenirs from beautiful stalls and small shops, buy locally grown vegetables and spices, or get lost among the numerous handmade objects such as paintings, wood carvings and jewellery. Thanks to the local guide you could enter the heart of the community and feel part of it.

Tour duration: 3 hours

Guided tour of a coffee plantation

Tanzania has many coffee plantations and much of the local coffee is grown and processed in this area. During a guided tour of a coffee plantation you will see (depending on the season) how coffee beans are grown and harvested and how they are finally transformed into real coffee. After learning more about the cultivation and production of the famous coffee you can of course enjoy a delicious cup of hot coffee.

Tour duration: half day

Tour in Tanzania

Canoa a Lago Manyara 

Lake Manyara is home to an incredible variety of birds, including thousands of pink flamingos. A very nice activity to combine with the game drive by car is the canoe tour which will allow you to get close to giraffes, elephants, buffaloes and other animals that graze on the shore. Remember that to be able to canoe on Lake Manyara it is mandatory to pay the entrance fee to the national park in addition to the cost of the activity.

Duration of the canoe ride: 2.5 hours

Maasai village in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is not a National Park because the Maasai are allowed to live there. And it is right here that if you want you can enter an authentic Maasai village where you can see how the Maasai live surrounded by the wild nature of Tanzania.

During this excursion you will learn from the Maasai how they manage life in nature and how their daily life goes. You can also learn about Maasai traditions and take a look at their huts.

Duration of visit: 1 or 2 hours is usually combined with a day of game drive in the Ngorongoro crater.

man riding on gray car during sunset

Olduvai Gorge (Ngorongoro Conservation Area)

Olduvai Gorge, 100 meters deep and 50 km wide, is a steep gorge located between the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. It is one of the most famous archaeological sites in East Africa , where the remains of early humans have been found.

The hundreds of fossils (bones) discovered here date back millions of years. The Olduvai Gorge makes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area an important place in the world for the study of human origins and evolution. Here you can also visit a small museum.

Duration of the visit: approximately 1 hour (can be visited along the road to the Serengeti)

Tours and travel experiences in Lake Natron

Known for breeding millions of flamingos, Natron Salt Lake is a unique place in Tanzania. Here is in fact the famous Oldonyo Lengai (which in the Maasai language means “the mountain of God”), the Gregory Rift, the eastern branch of the East African Rift, waterfalls, authentic Maasai villages and the beautiful lake which is the site of reproduction of thousands of flamingos in Africa which is home to 75% of the world’s population.

Lake Natron is located in northern Tanzania , bordering the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Kenya and covers an area of ​​1,040 square kilometers.

In this region you can do many activities other than game drives. The base for the visits that follow is the Engaserero village.

Natron Lake waterfalls 

The waterfall tour starts from the village of Engaresero and will take you towards the Rift Valley escarpment, where you will leave your cars to begin the walk. The route is 3 km and follows along the gorges of the Engaresero river towards the waterfalls. The walking tour to and from the falls takes two hours (but depends on the time spent enjoying the falls and water at your destination)

Tour duration: 2 hours

Hot Springs a Lago Natron 

The tour starts from the village of Engaresero, before arriving at the lake you will visit the baboon caves, and then arrive at the lake shore to observe the birds.
Continue downhill through acacia forests and up the side of the rift valley escarpment to the last point of a main hot spring , passing numerous other small hot springs.

Tour duration: 3 hours

Flamingos Lake Natron in Tanzania

Trekking a Natron Ol’ Doinyo Lengai

Ol’Doinyo Lengai – the “Mountain of God” as the Maasai call it – is 3,000 meters high. It is the only active carbonate volcano in the world. The Ol’Doinyo Lengai trek is done only at night and is a tiring walk due to the numerous loose grains present on the mountain and is suitable for experienced trekkers. It is important to know that daily mountain conditions change so it is not always confirmed and could be canceled even last minute.

Duration: 12 hours .

Trekking in Tanzania – Kilimanjaro ma non solo

Tanzania is famous for safaris, islands in the Indian Ocean and trekking. Trekking on Kilimanjaro is certainly the most famous, and also expensive, but many do not know that other treks of different difficulty can be done in Tanzania. I have listed the most famous ones, Kilimanjaro included!

mount kilimanjaro

Trekking a Ngorongoro – Crater Empaakai

Hidden in the highland region of the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, there are some hidden gems that most visitors to Tanzania overlook. One of these special places, Empakaai Crater , is located 40 kilometers north of the famous Ngorongoro Crater .

The best way to explore it is to trek to the lake, where you can encounter wildlife such as baboons, buffaloes, elephants and flamingos.

Hike Duration: The hike can be completed in about two hours , depending on how much you enjoy the lakeside views on the crater rim.

Difficulty of the excursion: This route is rather simple as it extends for only 5 kilometers. Keep in mind that the trail is quite steep along the crater rim, with 300 meters of elevation gain.

Generally, to do this trek it is recommended to sleep in the Ngorongoro conservation area, perhaps the day after the game drive in the crater, and then go to sleep in the Serengeti national park and continue the safari.

Trekking to Mount Meru (cheap alternative to Kilimanjaro) 

Mount Meru is often overlooked due to its proximity to Kilimanjaro, but it has a lot to offer those looking for a challenging climb and want to spend a little less than Kilimanjaro.

Mount Meru is a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1910, it is the second highest mountain in Tanzania at 4566 metres.

Its climb, which takes 3 or 4 days , is perfect for those who want to try high altitude trekking without going too high before or after a safari, or to aid acclimatization if undertaken before climbing Kilimanjaro.

It is ideal for those looking for a quieter trekking experience and should absolutely not be underestimated, as climbers still need to acclimatise adequately to be able to reach the summit.

During the trek you may spot baboons, giraffes, zebras, dove monkeys and a variety of birds. The climb crosses different vegetation zones of the Meru, from mountain forest to moorland, from semi-desert to alpine desert, until reaching the magnificent crater. Crossing the rim of the crater you reach its summit, Socialist Peak at 4566 m, from where you can explore the cinder cone that formed in the crater during the 1910 eruption.

Trekking sul Kilimanjaro

Trekking Kilimanjaro (also known as the Roof of Africa ) is probably the most popular high-altitude trek in the world that can be simply climbed on foot and requires no ropes, special climbing equipment, or previous experience. This doesn’t mean it’s simple. Trekking on Kilimanjaro is still a challenging climb even if it does not require particular mountaineering skills.

What are the routes to climb Kilimanjaro?

There are 7 main routes of Mount Kilimanjaro that lead to the summit, Uhuru Peak, one starts from the north side of the mountain, the others from the south side.

The first thing to do is choose the route:

  1. Marangu Route: “The Coca-Cola Route” is the oldest and most popular. It takes 5-6 days , the route is simple and along the way there are huts to sleep in. However, it has a relatively lower success rate due to the short acclimatization period.
  2. Machame Route: Known as “The Whiskey Route”, it is more challenging than Marangu but boasts better acclimatization and scenic variety. The 6-7 day hike and the ability to sleep in a campsite makes it a popular choice for experienced mountaineers.
  3. Lemosho Route: This is a less crowded route that offers great acclimatization and spectacular panoramic views. Lemosho lasts 7-8 days and starts at a lower altitude, passing through lush rainforest and moorland before reaching the summit.
  4. Shira Route: Starting from the west, this route is similar to Lemosho but with a higher starting point, which may pose acclimatization risks . Shira takes 6-8 days for the journey with immense natural beauty.
  5. Rongai Route: The only route that approaches Kilimanjaro from the north, Rongai, is less crowded, has a gentle slope perfect for beginners. It takes 6-7 days . It is the driest route, making it a safe choice during the rainy season.
  6. Umbwe Route: This is the least traveled and most challenging route on Kilimanjaro, suitable only for experienced climbers. Umbwe is a steep and direct route offering an intense 5-7 day climb .
  7. Northern Circuit: The newest and longest route, the Northern Circuit, offers the best acclimatization, taking 8-9 days . This route offers remote, pristine landscapes and high summit success rates.
Kilimanjaro and Amboseli

How many days does it take to climb Kilimanjaro?

It typically takes five to nine days to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Remember that the more days you spend on Kilimanjaro, the safer and more comfortable your hiking experiences will be. Climbing tours with shorter Mt Kilimanjaro travel times (5/6 day adventures) are not recommended for inexperienced hikers .

The 7/8/9 day trekking circuits via Lemosho, Machame and Rongai routes are the best choice for all trekkers of all levels for many reasons. Particularly the fact that a longer trek means more time for the body to get used to Kilimanjaro’s abnormal altitudes.

Longer loops offer better camping conditions. The campsites are located at slightly lower altitudes than the faster, day trekking routes.

Taking these elements into account, unless you are an expert in high altitude trekking, I recommend planning the longest Kilimanjaro climb.

Which route has the highest success rate to get to the summit of Kilimanjaro

If you want to have the best chance of reaching the summit, the best route to climb Kilimanjaro is the Lemosho route and the Machame route which finish in 7 or 8 days. Better acclimatization and a night at the summit make these routes easier. Since reaching the summit is the most important thing for most trekkers these are the most popular and recommended routes to increase the chances of arrival.

That is the most scenic route to climb Kilimanjaro

Certainly the most scenic route is the Lemosho route , which approaches from the west.

What is the quietest and least crowded route to climb Kilimanjaro

If your priority is to stay away from the crowds, the Rongai route is the best choice. But be careful, the success rate is lower.

What is the most challenging route to climb Kilimanjaro

If you are looking for a truly unique wilderness experience and adventure, the crater camp option is the best route to climb Kilimanjaro. Remember that the success of the undertaking is rather low if you are not an expert climber.

Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

Living in Maasai village in Tanga region 

In the heart of Tanzania , in the Tanga region, you can reach Kiberashi where for a few days you can live in contact with some tribal groups who live their lives without any artifice.

Don’t expect dancing and dancing or maasai dressed up to welcome you, they will dance and sing if they want to do so and have a reason to do so.

Willy and Cristina live there, Willy is a Maasai and it is his family who decided to open the doors of their house. On site you will have assistance in Italian and an exceptional welcome to experience typical village life in a genuine way. During the days in the village you will visit many markets, take nature walks or you could relax in the savannah away from everything.

I wrote about this place in the post: Living with the Maasai in Tanzania

Pros: on-site assistance in Italian. Genuine and real Maasai village. The guesthouse built is comfortable and was designed for tourists who have the ability to adapt but do not live in an extremely Spartan way. Economic 

Cons: The village is in the heart of Tanzania and takes about 8 hours to reach from Arusha or Dar Es Salaam. For this reason, at least 6 days are recommended. It is difficult to include this experience if you have two weeks and don’t want to give up the safari and the sea.

Read also: Maasai Experience – Experience the Maasai village in Tanzania

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