Tanzania 2023 Detailed Itinerary and FAQ

Detailed Itinerary ~ Tanzania August 9-18 2023

August 9

Arrive at Kilimanjaro airport (JRO) and private transport to the 5-star Gran Melia Arusha hotel. Details based on individual flight arrival times. Relax by the pool and enjoy the grounds in the shadow of Mt. Meru the 2nd largest mountain in Africa. The hotel features a rooftop restaurant that makes a great place for dinner!

August 10

Stretch your legs and recover from jet lag with our half-day guided walking safari in Arusha National Park. There is the potential to spot buffalo, giraffe, zebra, baboons, and more on the way to a lovely waterfall. Keep an eye out for the black-and-white colobus monkey; this is the only place on our trip to see them!

The terrain is mostly flat but on natural surfaces with the potential for mud, so hiking boots are recommended. Distance and time are dependent on group interest and wildlife spottings. A ranger will also accompany the group. You can also opt to spend the day relaxing at the hotel.         Overnight at Gran Melia Arusha. [B]

August 11

After breakfast we will depart Arusah for a scenic drive to Tarangire National Park .  The drive will be approximately 3 hours depending on wildlife spotting. Lunch and relaxation at Lolkisale luxury safari camp before an evening game drive and then optional star viewing. Overnight at Lolkisale (exclusive use). [FBA]

August 12

Enjoy a full day of game drives in Tarangire National Park AKA the "Home of Elephants". Expect to see huge herds of elephants, beautiful birds, and a unique landscape featuring the baobab tree. Tarangire is also home to lions, antelope, giraffes, zebras, and other wildlife.

We will have breakfast on the early side then head out for a morning game drive lasting until lunch. After lunch we will head out for another game drive (or you can opt to relax and watch for wildlife from camp).

Relax and watch the sunset while having drinks and snacks around the campfire. Then join us after dinner as we pull out the telescope to observe galaxies, clusters, and other stellar objects that can only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere. Look out for shooting stars all night long as the Perseid meteor shower puts on quite a show with over 50-100 meteors expected per hour!

Overnight at Lolkisale. [FBA]

August 13

Today offers a chance to sleep in after a wonderful night of stargazing and counting meteors. After breakfast we will depart Tarangire and enjoy a game drive on our way to Plantation Lodge, our home base for exploring Ngorongoro Crater. The weather will be a bit cooler here so the campfire will be a great place to relax after dinner and prepare for tomorrow's adventures.[FBA]

August 14

We will have a full day exploring the Ngorongoro Crater, the world's largest inactive and unfilled volcanic caldera. Over 30,000 animals fill this small area, from predators like leopards, lions, and cheetah to game like warthog, wildebeest, and zebra. Other highlights of this landscape include  viewing thousands of flamingos around the crater lake, and looking for the endangered black rhino. We will also enjoy a gourment picnic lunch overlooking a hippo filled river.  Return to overnight at Plantation Lodge. [FBA]

August 15

We will leave our safari vehicles behind and take our charter flight to Serengeti National Park. The view from the window is simply magnificient and a sneak peak of what is to come! Upon landing we will head straight from airstrip to our first game drive in the Serengeti, making our way to Osero Exclusive-Use Mobile Camp, our safari base for the next 3 nights. Expect to see the Great Migration in full swing! After dinner and a bonfire, the telescope will come out for another night of (optional) stargazing under amazingly dark skies. [FBA]

August 16 & 17

Our days in the Serengeti will be filled with witnessing the Great Migration. This includes visiting the river to see wildebeest attempt to evade predators as they cross to the other side! The vast numbers of both predators and prey make seeing a kill highly likely. After an exhililaring day we will return for snacks and drinks by the bonfire, followed by dinner and (optional) stargazing. Overnight at Osero camp. [FBA]

August 18:

Our last day will include breakfast and a final game drive on the way back to the airstrip for our charter flight to Arusha. Upon landing we will go to the Gran Melia hotel to relax and have the chance to eat, change, or shower before being transfer to Kilimanjaro airport for your return flight. [DR]

Optional Add-on Excursions

Not ready to return home quite yet? Contact us about arranging a post-safari excursion. Some popular ideas include:

  • Hiking and camping on Mt. Kilimanjaro. From a 1-2 night stay to a full week summit, Kilimanjaro is unique in its accessibility by most hikers. Mountain climbing experience and equipment is not needed.

  • Forest treks to see wild primates in their natural habitats. Look for chimpanzees in Tanzania or mountain gorillas in Uganda!

  • Swim, snorkel, scuba, or just relax at the beautiful beaches on Zanzibar or along the Tanzanian coast.

Ask for more details or ideas on how to spend your time post-safari!

Pricing and Related Details

Group Size: Maximum of 12 people (excluding guides, trip leaders, and staff).

Cost: Rates start at $8,700 per person for double occupancy, and $9,000 per person for single occupancy (2 single occupancy rooms available). Final cost depends on the 2023 Tanzania park entry fee schedule and final group size.

Cost Includes:

  • All luxury hotels and safari camp accommodations
  • All in-country transportation and flights
  • Private guides, park rangers, and staff
  • Park and conservation fees
  • Laundry service while at safari camps
  • Snacks and drinks during game drives
  • All safari activities in our private vehicles as outlined in the itinerary
  • Flying Doctors coverage for emergency evacuation to the nearest medical care while on safari
  • A custom photo album of the trip personalized for each registration
  • Meals and drinks as indicated each day:
    • [B]: Breakfast included
    • [FBA]: Full Board All-inclusive - breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and standard drinks including water, soda, juice, beer, house wine, and spirits
    • [DR]: Day room use only, no meals.

Not Included in Trip Cost:

  • International airfare to/from your home city
  • Tanzania entry visa
  • Wire transfer and/or processing fees
  • Personal travel, medical, and cancellation insurance coverage
  • Items of a personal nature such as souvenirs, gift shop purchases, and spa services
  • Meals and drinks not specified in the itinerary
  • Optional add-on excursions before or after the safari
  • Tips for safari staff, porters, guides, rangers, housekeeping and laundry staff, and other locals who tend to us. Tips are a mainstay of life for the locals. You have the option to include tips as a part of your trip cost, or to provide tips as you go. Tips average around $35 per person per day (distributed amongst the various staff as appropriate). Please note that only clean, crisp and new (2006 or newer) U.S. currency is accepted in Tanzania

Payment Schedule: Below is a brief outline of the payment schedule. While the deposit is required to guarantee and hold your space(s), you are welcome to pay in smaller interim amounts so long as they meet the payment due dates as stated below.

  •  20% of the safari cost is due no later than April 11, 2023 as a deposit to hold your space.

  • 50% of the safari cost is due by May 11, 2023 which is 90 days before the safari starts.

  • The remaining 30% balance is due  by June 10, 2023 which is 60 days before the safari.

Here are the cancellation policies:

  • The 20% deposit is not refundable unless your space is filled by someone else.

  • A penalty of 50% of the full amount due applies to cancellations made between May 22 and June 25. i.e. 45-90 days before the safari’s start date. 

  • There is a 100% penalty, i.e. no refunds apply for cancellations made after June 25th 2023. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  •  Q: Why is going on safari during the Great Migration so special?
  •  A: The Great Migration is the largest movement of land animals on earth. About 2 million wildebeest and 700,000 gazelles, zebras, and other antelope species will be passing through the Serengeti and our private special use camp will give us a front seat to all the action!

  •  Q: How physically demanding will the safari be?
  •  A: Going on a safari is not physically strenuous. You need only be able to walk short distances and get in and of out a high-entry vehicle with minimal help.  *Our optional hike in Arusha does require the ability to walk unassisted over uneven terrain for a few hours. You are welcome to skip the walk and instead enjoy the Gran Melia's gorgeous pool and grounds with views of Mt. Meru.

  •  Q: Can I have a window seat in the safari vehicle?
  •  A: YES!  Every guest will have a window seat. Furthermore, the vehicles feature full-sized windows that go all the way down/up (a rarity in the safari world). The roof pops up for even greater visibility and room to stand up and attach camera equipment. Charging ports for cameras and phones are also provided in each vehicle, as is a cooler with drinks and snacks. 

  •  Q: What is a safari "tent" camp?
  •  A: The camps are luxury tented accommodations furnished with normal beds, fine linens, and furniture. They feature full electricity, charging ports, lighting, side table(s) and seating area, and a private patio area in front of your tent for watching wildlife in the morning while you enjoy coffee/tea and biscuits brought to your tent by camp staff. The tents also feature full en-suite bathrooms with running water, regular flush toilets, sinks, vanity, mirror, robes, and hot showers (free flowing at Lolkisale, on-demand at Osero). All entrances and windowsare screened with flaps lowered at night (or on-demand) to block light. The walls are canvas tent material and the floor is a mix of area rug-covered canvas, and wood flooring.


     Here are pictures of camp:

  •   Q: Where is Tanzania?
  •   A: Tanzania is on eastern coast of Africa. We will be visiting what is known as the Northern Tourist Circuit. Here are are some maps to help you visualize where we will be:


  •  Q: Is visiting Tanzania safe?
  •  A: Africa is a huge continent - bigger than Canada, the United States and China put together! Tanzania is rated as one of the safest countries in Africa. You will be in a top-rated  hotel for the brief time we are in the small city of Arusha, and the bulk of our time will be in wilderness  areas seeing very few other people.

  •  Q: Are safaris safe?
  •  A: Yes! The wildlife view us as predators and see the jeep and its occupants as one big animal.Staying safe on safari is simple: follow all instructions given by your guides, who are professionals in animal behavior as well as spotting and identifying wildlife. They will decide how much time we spend watching animals and how close our vehicle can safely approach.  Clients are expected to use common sense and must comply with all instructionsgiven by guides, staff, and trip leaders.

  •  Q: Will there be bugs?
  •  A: While on safari, there will be bugs around. Some are unique and quite interesting like praying mantises, others are simply annoying like flies. Our tents are fitted with quality screens and serviced every day to help ensure that only humans are allowed inside. If a non-human should sneak in, staff will attend to it.

  •  Q: Am I going to see animal kills?
  •  A: The migration is a key time for predators to eat and sustain themselves. Given the vast array of wildlife during this time it is highly likely that we will witness a chase and/or kill. For many visitors seeing nature in action is an amazing experience. You are welcome to opt not to look,but please understand that the default will be to stay with the chase/kill as much as possible. Guides will position the vehicle to maximize our viewing experience while taking care not to disturb the wildlife.

  •  Q: What if I have to use the "facilities" while on safari?
  •  A: Tell your guide! They will look for a safe open area, and once they ensure it is clear of any wildlife you can exit the vehicle and proceed to the back of the vehicle to "visit the spare tire"


  • Q: Why was TopGuides Safari chosen to guide us?
  •  A: I always prefer boutique locale tour operators and guides over large conglomerates who sub out the actual provision of services. The Co-founder and Director of TopGuides, was born near  Serengeti. He was trained by East Africa’s best and has over 14 years of experience as a tour leader and professional guide. His knowledge extends beyond wildlife to human psychology and behavior, and his extensive travels and time spent living in New York have attuned him to an array of cultures from around the world. He hand picks all the members of his team, from fellow guides to camp staff.I have traveled with TopGuides several times, along with using them for clients; they have many years of experience in guiding and are fun, nice folks to be with as well!

  •  Q: Is stargazing and looking through the telescope required? What else can I do?
  •  A: Stargazing is an optional bonus and the scope will be brought out every night we are at camp. You will be amazed by what you can see under some of the darkest skies on earth! Of course, you are welcome to join the viewing for as long or as little as you like. Otherwise, you can spend time in the lounge tent reading, playing games, accessing Wi-Fi, and enjoying a custom cocktail or drink, or you may opt to return to your private tent.

  • Q: What type of telescope are you bringing?
  • A: It is a  12" Alkaid telescope we take on safari. We made some modifications to the scope, adding a mount for an iPhone running the Celestron StarSense app for push-to guidance using the phone's camera. For those of you who have never been to the Southern hemisphere, you get to see some of the most spectacular deep sky objects in the sky that are not visible from most of the Northern hemisphere, like Omega Centauri - a magnitude 3.9 globular cluster that is slightly larger than the full moon, over double the size and 6 times the brightness of M13, the largest and brightest northern hemisphere globular cluster! We will spend some time exploring the nebulas, galaxies, and clusters that are below our southern horizon from home. Here are some pictures of it and our astronomy guide:

  •  Q:What is the Perseid Meteor Shower?
  •  A: The Perseids feature 50-100 meteors (shooting stars) a night! 

  •  Q: How big is the included local flight? 
  •  A: There are a few airlines that service the various camps and airstrips across Tanzania. They are flown by fully qualified professional pilots.  They fly planes varying from a selection of Cessna, King Air, Pipers, and Beech. The size is based on the number of passengers with a max of 19 seats plus the pilots.  The views overlooking the wilderness (and on a clear day of Mt. Kilimanjaro) are fantastic!

  •  Q: Will there be internet access?
  •  A: All accommodations and camps have Wi-Fi access and plenty of places to charge your devices. There is very limited access to phone and Wi-Fi while on game drives.

  •  Q: Can diets and food preferences be accommodated?
  •  A: Yes! Most diets - gluten-free, vegetarian, etc.* along with allergies, likes, and dislikes will be accommodated.  Each camp has its own chef who prepares huge, multi-course meals featuring local produce and meats. *The only exception is strict Kosher diets as Kashrut rules can not be followed.  

  •  Q: Do I need travel insurance?
  •  A: Yes; you should purchase a travel protection plan matched to your needs and desires.  The included Flying Doctors evacuation coverage to local medical care is in case of a  medical emergency only. It does not cover transport to your home, delayed flights, lost baggage, etc. To make things easier, you will be given a link to a dedicated travel protection consolidators' website to review and choose what coverage you want. You are free to choose your own company and plan. 

  •  Q: Is the itinerary final and unchangeable?
  •  A: This is the full planned itinerary.  Great care and expertise went into picking the locations, camps, and activities. As with any safari, we can not predict what the weather, wildlife, or similar conditions will be.  Therefore we reserve the right to make changes or amendments as needed due to wildlife spottings, weather, or any other unforeseen circumstances. Your tour leader and guides are the final authority on any activity or itinerary. No price adjustment applies.  

Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.