My name is Shirin and I am an Iranian American living in the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to my journal where I share my travels throughout the PNW and beyond!
You will find travel itineraries, PNW bucket list hikes, and PNW weekend getaways, road trip ideas, and more! My aim is provide travel options for the working professional living in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of your free time and get out in this big wide world!
December 1, 2022
Looking for an exotic trip that will create endless memories? A beach vacation with bright blue ocean and white sand? A chance to see lions and giraffes in their natural habitat? Keep reading below for your next itinerary for a Zanzibar and Serengeti Safari Itinerary! With the right tools and guide, this Zanzibar and Serengeti Safari itinerary will be a seamless process.
Now, you may be thinking… Tanzania? I know. Definitely not what is on the top of most people’s travel list, however, I can assure you this will be worth it!
First things first, Pooja Travels & Tours helped us with the Safari (Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater) section and it was SUCH a seamless process. We were of course trying to “budget” which is why our itinerary is probably not the most convenient, however it was within our price range and worked for us! There are SO many options for the safari ranging from 3 day options to 12+ day options. You can choose to go just to the Serengeti, or if you have more time, I would highly suggest adding on the Arusha National Park and Tarangire National Park. There are of plenty of other options but don’t worry, you will be in good hands! Just tell them what you want, and they will take good care of you. Our driver was Rashid, and he was AMAZING!
First, we flew into Kilimanjaro Airport. This was the most convenient budget wise for us, however this ends up being the most drive time. The drive time can be a little uncomfortable if you get car sick. Other airport options would be Arusha airport or fly directly into the Serengeti airport. The cost will likely be more but you will thank yourself in the long run.
After arriving at Kilimanjaro Airport, we got our visa on site, which took about an hour and was a little chaotic, but you will need to check your visa requirements depending on the country you are coming from. As of recently they have options to apply for a visa before hand. Once we got our visa, we found our driver waiting for us outside the airport holding up our name and the tour sheet. We stayed the night at a hotel in Arusha and started our drive the next morning to the Serengeti National Park. This was also a private tour for the two of us!
From Arusha to Serengeti National Park, the drive was about 5 hours. In parts it was a bit bumpy, but overall manageable. Before arriving to our hotel, we spent almost half the day around the Serengeti. We saw so many animals in just a half day!
Once arriving in the Serengeti National Park, we stayed at the Serena Serengeti Safari Lodge. WOW, is all I can say about this hotel. We arrived at the hotel exhausted and were then greeted with a warm towel and fresh squeezed juice after a long day of traveling. SAY NO MORE! The property itself was absolutely stunning. I you time your season right, you can see the Wildebeest migrating from the hotel viewpoint! The hotel is completely in the open so employees escort you in the dusk/dawn as it can be dangerous if there are animals around.
Second day: We woke up and went to our driver and drove from dawn to dusk in order to maximize our game day since we had limited time. The driver packed our breakfast and lunch for us, which was quite delicious. We also brought snacks from the states to make sure we never got hungry (you will thank me for the pro tip!). After a full game day, we went back for dinner and drinks at the Serena Serengeti Safari Lodge.
Third day: We packed up and started driving towards Ngorogoro Crater. I honestly think this is a MUST and I enjoyed it more than the Serengeti. Here, we learned that zebras have a symbiotic relationship with the wildebeest so you often times saw them together.
Here are some of the animals we saw in our three full days game days: zebra, hyena, hippo, giraffe, bush baby, dig dig, leopard, elephants, antelope, ostrich, Jackel, eagle, lion, Topi, antelope, cheetah, buffalo, gazelle, crocodiles, wildebeest, velvet or black faced monkey, baboons, impala, and lots of different birds! I mean, pretty darn incredible if you ask me.
If you want to check out more photography from the safari look here!
After a spectacular time around the crater, we stayed in another fantastic and gorgeous hotel, the Lake Manyara Serena Lodge. Definitely to not be missed.
Fourth day: Breakfast and transfer back to the Arusha airport so we could fly from Arusha to Zanzibar. Once arriving in Zanzibar, we requested for transport (through the hotel) to pick us up at the airport and drive us towards the North part of the island as we were staying in Matemwe, at the Zanzibar Sunrise at Bandas. The night we arrived was a Tuesday, which worked perfectly as they have live music on Tuesdays… and the band was incredible.
Fifth day: We pretty much spent this entire day relaxing in the multiple pools and beach side after a long few days of traveling. You could also arrange for snorkeling or a few other activities they have. The food was superb so we ended up eating all meals there, but they do have local Zanzibari food in the neighborhood. We enjoyed our day of relaxation and continued to stay the night at Zanzibar Sunrise.
On this day we arranged for a spice tour. If you plan it right ahead of time you can schedule for a cooking class as part of your spice tour! Some people may not know the history of Zanzibar, but back in the day, Zanzibar was the world’s biggest exporter of cloves and was nicknamed, the spice island. Today, Zanzibar is still renowned for its clove, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon, chili, and black pepper. After the spice tour we stayed the night again at Zanzibar Sunrise.
This was our last day with the beach getaway as we then were planning on going to Stone Town. Before we left for town, we took a morning tide walk with a hotel escort to see the locals finding octopus and other sea food. This was beyond cool. During the walk they will give you water shoes due to tremendous amount of sea urchins that you will need to avoid stepping on!
We arranged for transportation from the hotel to take us from Zanzibar Sunrise to <a href="http://<a href='https://www.hotelscombined.com/hotels/236-Hurumzi,Tanzania-c1557-h190211-details?a_aid=244897' target='_blank' rel='nofollow'> Emerson on Hurumzi in Stone Town, which was about a 1 hour drive. Once we arrived and got settled in to our beautiful room, we were in much need of a coffee. We walked down the alley to Zanzibar Coffee House, where they had a killer rooftop and coffee.
Spent the day shopping and getting lost in the town. If you are wanting pool side, then get a day pass to hang at Tembo House Hotel. Stone Town is easy to get lost because each cobble stone alley looks the same, but most people can direct you back to a major location if you know what your hotel is by. We spent half the day walking and then got ready for the wedding! If you have a half day though, I would highly suggest a tour to the sand bar with Safari Blue. We stayed the night again at Emerson on Hurumzi. I forgot to mention they have a spectacular rooftop with some great lunch specials and food!
Unfortunately our time had come to an end. We spent the rest of the morning walking around town before our flight. If you have extra time you can adventure to the east part of the island or anywhere else!
Now that you read this post, I hope this helps you narrow down what to do for your next trip by considering this Zanzibar and Serengeti Safari itinerary! All things considered, you will have an amazing time whether you spend one week or a lifetime here.
Like what you read? Check my travel blog for more itineraries, PNW destinations, PNW hikes, PNW travel and vacation, road trip ideas and overseas travels!