13 days with Intrepid Travel Rating:
Day 1 Arusha
Jambo! Welcome to Tanzania. Today there are no activities planned until your important group meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Should you require a transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), Arusha Airport (ARK) or a shuttle to Nairobi at the end of the trip, this can be arranged locally. Please speak to your leader about this at the welcome meeting. Take a stroll to acquaint yourself with the town which, at 1,300 m above sea level, enjoys a temperate year-round climate.
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the group meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Day 2 Arusha National Park
Departing Arusha early, climb aboard your support vehicle and head east to Usa River before heading north. From here you'll jump onto your bike for the first time and cycle north (approximately 3 hours; 30 km), in the shadow of Mt Meru, through Arusha National Park. Today's ride is a tough introduction to riding in Africa as the Park roads are rough and at times hilly. All your hard work is worth it though as you enjoy the unique thrill of riding a bicycle through an African National Park - something few people ever experience.
Arrive at your overnight destination, the Mkuru Training Camp, located in the foothills of Mount Meru. This small, low-impact community 'camp' is dedicated to research, education and training for the promotion of good practices in natural resources management.
Tonight you will stay in a dorm room with shared facilities.
Riding distance - approx. 30kms
Day 3 Longido
Enjoy a fairly flat and level ride on unsealed road before hitting the tarmac and heading north (on the road that connects Kenya to Tanzania) to Longido (approximately 3.5 hours; 65 km). Once you meet the main road – which has surprisingly little traffic – you can enjoy a gentle mostly downhill ride for the remaining 40 km to Longido itself. Longido is located on the outskirts of the Mount Longido Forest Reserve. Here you will interact with the famous Maasai people for the first time. Any cultural experience with the Masaai is a colourful affair and one you will remember for a long time. Those with some energy left can take an optional short hike along one of the many walking trails on Mount Longido.
Riding distance - approx. 65kms
Day 4 Lake Natron & Ol Doinyo Lengai
Today is something unique – you'll brave the unpaved roads which cut west across from Longido to Lengai. These aren’t roads you’ll find on Google Maps, and they're often in poor condition, so you'll be praising your front suspension. The amazing views and car-free environment, however, make it worth the effort. The amount of cycling today will very much depend on the conditions – given the roads, there will be an estimated mix of cycling and driving. The aim is to cycle about 40 kilometres (approximately 3 hours) of this 95-kilometre journey. What won’t change is the scenery, as you travel across dry open plains with the Kerimasi, Gelai and Kitumbeine mountains in the distance and closer by seven remarkable volcanos, the jewel being the spectacular and active Ol Doinyo Lengai, (Mountain of God' in the Maasai language). Close to your remote campsite is the shallow, salty Lake Natron. Often coloured bright pink or deep red due to algae, it is a mecca for the breeding 'lesser' flamingo. Reaching temperatures above 40°C and with a similar acidity to ammonia, this is not a place to swim, but the view is certainly an interesting one.
Riding distance - approx. 40kms
Day 5 Lake Natron & Ol Doinyo Lengai
Get as active or as relaxed as you like today. Take the bike and ride to the nearby Saitoti River to cool off in the natural plunge pools. Visiting Lake Nartron is also a great option; it's located around 15 kilometres from your camp.
Serious adventures can opt to climb Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano (2,878 m), which means a very early start (midnight) and the aim is to enjoy sunrise views. While it requires no technical skills or equipment, the climb itself is long and steep, with large section of scree, and it does get cold in the early mornings. The key is to take the mountain slowly – you will hear the cries of 'pole pole' (slowly slowly) on a regular basis as your guide leads you up the mountain. While it is a hard climb, the sunrise views from the top are truly superb, and you'll be one of the only climbers there.
Note: This climb is not included as part of the itinerary and additional costs apply - these costs vary depending on the number of people participating in the climb. See our Packing List section for suggested equipment/clothing for this optional excursion.
Optional Activities available
- Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano hike - USD$100 per person plus jeep hire cost (jeep costs US$70 in total, split between participants) The jeep can carry up to 6 persons
- Visit to Lake Natron only – Community fee of US$20 per person plus jeep hire cost (jeep costs US$70 in total, split between participants) The jeep can carry up to 6 persons
- Waterfall visit only– Community fee is US$20 pp and a guide fee of US$10 regardless
- Village visit only – this is free but Justaz will need to organize this for them on the ground just in case they need to leave some tip behind.
Please note that visit to Lake Natron, the waterfall, the village and viewing the oldest footprints of homo sapiens (dating back about 120,000 years) can be combined as one activity (approx. 4hrs), meaning you only need to pay the community fee of US$20 per person (plus jeep cost) once.
Riding distance - None
Day 6 Wasso
Today is a long day as you leave Natron behind and climb the valley walls to the Rift Valley escarpment. First you will cycle a relatively flat section (approximately 40 km), with great views of Lake Natron itself. Here you'll climb aboard your vehicle and inch your way up the incline, gaining over a kilometre of elevation over this next section (approximately 50 km). There will of course be stops so you can take in the views and hopefully snap a picture of the unique Lake Natron one last time. The drive today follows the boundaries of the Serengeti National Park all the way up to Wasso, your destination for this evening.
Riding distance - approx. 40kms
Day 7 Serengeti
Leave Wasso behind and head to the Serengeti National Park (approximately 3 hours; 130 kilometres). Enter the park and swap from a two-wheeled machine to a four-wheeled one. Your afternoon game drive by overland vehicle puts you in the realm of some of Africa's mightiest predators. The rolling grasslands of the Serengeti, dotted with acacias, are perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. 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, you can expect to see four out of the 'Big Five' game during your stay (rhinos are elusive). Your campsite is basic, but it's within the park itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal creatures as you drift off to sleep.
Riding distance - None
Day 8 Serengeti
Rise early, around sunrise, for a game drive, followed by a second game drive in the afternoon. Between the two drives you can relax, just like the animals do, during this hotter part of the day. Enjoy a hearty meal during this break, and perhaps take a siesta. Depending on wildlife movements and opportunities for sightings, however, the drive may continue through lunch and last all day. In this case, you will return to the lodge in the late afternoon. For an unforgettable experience this morning, you might like to take an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Serengeti. Please enquire when booking your trip to secure this optional activity. It's up to you whether you would like to try for a better price locally on the ground, but this runs the risk of missing out, as places are limited.
Riding distance - None
Day 9 Ngorongoro Crater
In the morning, we head out of the Serengeti (perhaps visiting on the way Simba Kopjes, an outcrop of rocks favoured by lions and cheetahs who can often be seen basking in the morning sun) and make our way to the legendary Ngorongoro Crater (approximately 4 hours) to take in this amazing destination on a 4x4 game drive. This is one of Africa's real natural treasures, often touted as a vast Garden of Eden. Within this crater lies every type of ecosystem, including riverine forests, open plains, freshwater and alkaline lakes. The scenery is spectacular as you descend almost 600 metres down to the crater floor. You are bound to see a variety of incredible wildlife here, and it's your best chance to spot the endangered black rhinoceros.
We take lunch by the freshwater lake fed by the Ngoitokitok Spring, an area inhabited by hippopotamus, elephants, lions, and many others. After our game drive we head back up the crater walls to the National Park gate where we get back on our bikes for the undulating 15km (approx.1hr) ride to our campsite in the small town of Karatu, our home for the night.
Riding distance - approx. 15kms (undulating)
Day 10 Rift Valley escarpment
It's time to jump back on your bike for the hilly ride from Karatu to our accommodation that sits literally on the very edge of the Rift Valley escarpment, offering breathtaking views over the town of Mto wa Mbu and the massive Lake Manyara. While today’s ride seems short at only 25 km the constant uphill and downhill will definitely test your fitness and bike skills. There are several downhill sections over 3 km long where the only effort required will be in controlling your speed. If you'd rather not ride today, you are free to ride in the support vehicle instead.
While out of town the stunning view (both sunset and sunrise are pretty special) make this is a truly unique experience.
Ride distance - approx. 25kms
Day 11 Rift Valley & Lake Manyara
This morning you will ride the fast descent of the Rift Valley escarpment to the small town of Mto Wa Mbu, located on the northern shores of Lake Manyara, once described by Ernest Hemingway as the 'loveliest I have seen in Africa'.
Leaving the tarmac behind we ride through the small villages and plantations before emerging out onto the smooth lake flood plains where we continue our ride to the very edge of the lake. If we are lucky we will spot flamingos or even ride alongside wildebeests and gazelle.
Leaving the lake behind we ride back through Mto Wa Mbu and on to the dusty tracks that take us to a traditional Masaai village. Located between towering hills and with awesome view of the surrounding plains this is an ideal place to enjoy lunch with our local friends.
After lunch we drive (or cycle if you want to!) back up the escarpment to overnight at Panorama Safari Camp.
Total riding distance 30-35kms
Day 12 Lake Manyara/Arusha
Today is our last one on our bicycles. We first explore the Lake Manyara National Park on a final game drive (vehicle). Surrounded by the towering ridges of the Rift Valley escarpment, the lake is bordered by lush forest and, if you’re lucky, you may even spot the famous Lake Manyara tree-climbing lions, as well as elephants, baboons, and over 400 recorded species of birds.
After lunch we climb back onto our bikes and cycle the smooth and relatively traffic-free tarmac road to the Makuyuni junction then reboard our vehicle for the drive back towards Arusha. stopping along the way to enjoy a walking tour through the village of Tengeru. Here you will get a close look at local farm life. You'll also learn how to roast and grind that staple of all good cycling escapades – coffee. Once the roasting and grinding is done, taste the results of your hard work. After this unique coffee stop we continue to Arusha with plenty of time to get cleaned up before enjoying an optional final night dinner with our fellow cyclists.
Riding distance – approx. 40kms
Lake Manyara game drive
Day 13 Arusha
You are free to depart at any time on the final day of your trip. If you would like to pre-arrange a departure transfer from your hotel to Arusha Airport or Kilimanjaro Airport please speak with your booking agent and provide your flight details.
If you are travelling back to Nairobi we recommend taking a shuttle bus from Arusha. Buses depart twice daily (7am and 2pm) and the service runs via the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Tickets cost approximately USD$35 per person and must be purchased locally. Please speak to your leader at the welcome meeting if you'd like to arrange this service.
All This Included
Brimming with mighty predators and birds, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are must-visits for any Tanzania trip, but safaris are only the beginning. This unique cycling adventure has you cruising down the Great Rift Valley escarpment, strolling through farm villages, roasting and grinding your own coffee, drifting off to sleep among nocturnal creatures, experiencing the culture of the Maasai people, pedalling far off the beaten track to trails where no cars go, and of course sipping sundowners at sunset. With a support vehicle at every step of the journey, take your time to discover Tanzania on two wheels.
Camping (6 nights)
Hotel (2 nights)
African Igloo (2 Nights)
Dormitory with shared facilities (1 night)
Guesthouse (1 night)
Terms and Conditions
For Intrepid Travel terms and conditions, please click here.
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.