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7 Days Backpackers Northern Circuit Safari in Tanzania

Mvuli Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania

Exhilarating Tanzania Wildlife Safari

Northern Tanzania safari is an essential destination on everyone's travel list. The Serengeti's great migration is one of the most amazing wildlife spectacles, whilst being on safari on the crater floor of the extinct volcano at Ngorongoro is a game-viewing environment that has no equal. Away from the tourist hotspots, quieter parks such as Tarangire are superb for game viewing yet often overlooked to their more famous neighbors.

Key information

  • Group safari with a min of 2 and max 6 people in a 4x4 safari vehicle.
  • Starting point and ending point: Arusha
  • Children from the age of 12 years are allowed to participate under the supervision of a parent or guardian.
  • English speaking guide
  • All park entrance, crater, and camping fees are included


  • One full day game drive in Arusha, one in Tarangire, and one in Lake Manyara
  • Two en-route game drives in Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • One descent for full day game drive to Ngorongoro Crater with picnic lunch en-route
  • Chance to spot giraffes, elephants, hippos, buffaloes, lions
  • Transports on 4WD vehicle with pop-up roof
  • 6 nights camping accommodation
  • Daily meals and drinking water
  • Airport transfers


6 activity days
Airport transfer included: Kilimanjaro International Airport
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For the first night, accommodation is at Mvuli Hotel, Arusha. For the rest of the nights, accommodation is mostly in modern, large, two-man tents with a sewn-in ground sheet and a comfortable foam mattress spread on the ground sheet. Guests should bring their own sleeping bags. The accommodation can be upgraded to lodge accommodation. Please contact Lights on Africa Destinations and Safaris for the upgrade.


Day 1 - Arrival to Arusha

Upon your arrival, you will meet your guide at Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer to your hotel in Arusha for bed and breakfast at Mvuli Hotel.

Day 2 - Arusha National Park

In the morning, you will drive to Arusha National Park with your packed lunch for game viewing. You will do a quick stop for picnic lunch followed by a game view at Arusha National Park. End your day with a nice dinner and an overnight stay at Outpost Lodge.

Day 3 - Tarangire National Park

After breakfast, get ready to transfer to Tarangire National Park with your packed lunch for game viewing. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Tarangire then continue with your game viewing until late evening. End your day with a nice dinner and an overnight stay at Kigongoni Campasite.

Day 4 - Lake Manyara National Park

After breakfast, get ready to transfer to Lake Manyara National Park for game viewing. Get ready to drive to the park again after lunch for your second half game viewing. End your day with a nice dinner and an overnight stay at Twiga Campsite.

Day 5 - Serengeti National Park

After breakfast, you will drive to Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with your lunch box and game en-route. End your day with a nice dinner and an overnight stay at Seronera Campsite.

Day 6 - Serengeti to Ngorongoro

After breakfast, you will bring your packed lunch for a game en route to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. You will pass by Olduvai Gorge, a historical site whereby the early man lived. You have the option to pass by Maasai boma, if you are interested in the real African life tradition and culture for extra costs. After lunch, en-route to the crater rim for your dinner and overnight at Ngorongoro Simba Campsite.

Day 7 - Ngorongoro Crater to Arusha

After breakfast, you will bring your packed lunch and descend into the crater for a full day game viewing. Have your picnic lunch in the crater at hippo pool or Lerai forest. Get ready for an evening drive back to Arusha for dinner and overnight at your hotel, or transfer to the airport for your flight back home.


Arusha National Park

The compact Arusha National Park is remarkable for its range of habitats. It encompasses three varied zones: the highland montane forest of Mount Meru (3.820 meters) to the west, where black and white colobus and blue monkeys can be spotted; Ngurdoto Crater, a small volcanic crater inhabited by a variety of mammals in the southeast of the park; and, in northeastern, Momela Lakes, a series of seven alkaline crater lakes, home to a large number of water birds.

On a clear day it is possible to see the summits of both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru from Ngurdoto Crater rim. There are numerous hides and picnic sites throughout the park, giving travelers an opportunity to leave their vehicles. The park has actually changed its name a number of times from Ngurdoto Crater National Park to Mount Meru National Park.

Arusha National Park contains many animals including giraffes, elephants, hippos, buffalos, rhinos (if you are lucky), colobus monkeys, bush bucks, red forest duikers, reedbucks, waterbucks, and warthogs. In fact, Arusha is supposed to contain the highest density of giraffes in the world. There are no lions in the park although you may see leopard. Birds found in the National Park include cormorants, pelicans, ibises, flamingos and grebes.

Tarangire National Park

One of the most noticeable things on entering the park are the baobab trees that rise up form the grass. With their massive trunks, they are instantly recognizable. There are animals that usually move northwards of the park during the wet season including the wildebeests, zebras, Thompson's gazelles, buffalos, elands, and hartebeests.

The elephant population in this park was estimated to be around 6000 in 1987, but numbers are believed to have fallen since then due to poaching. The number of birds recorded in Tarangire National Park has been estimated at approximately 300.

These include migrants that fly south to spend October - April away from the winter of the northern hemisphere. Here, you may spot various species of herons, storks and ducks, vultures, buzzards, sparrow hawks, eagles, kites and falcons, as well as ostriches. Other areas of interest within the park include the Lake Burungi circuit, the Lemiyon area, the Kitibong Hill circuit, and the Gursi and Lamarkau circuit.

Lake Manyara National Park

A major attraction of the Lake Manyara National Park is the tree-climbing lions. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will spot them. However, there are other things to see, such as elephants, hippos, zebras, impalas, buffalos, baboons, plains animals as well as huge variety of birdlife, both resident and migratory.

At certain times of the year, Lake Manyara is home to thousands of flamingos (attracted by the Lake itself), which form a shimmering pink zone around the lakeshore. Other birds found here include ostriches, egrets, herons, pelicans, and storks. Also seen are African spoonbills, various species of ibises, ducks, and the rare pygmy geese. The most noticeable of the landscape within this park are the very impressive baobab trees with their huge trunks.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti is perhaps most well known for the annual migration that takes place across the great Savannah plains. This is a phenomenal sight: thousands upon thousands of animals, particularly wildebeests, as far as the eye can see. During the rainy season (from November to May), the wildebeests, whose population has been estimated at around 1.500.000, are found in the eastern section of the Serengeti and also the Masai Mara in Kenya to the north.

When the dry season begins at the end of June, the annual migration commences as the animals move in search of food pasture. The Serengeti is also famous for cheetahs, leopards, and lions, some of which migrate with the wildebeests while others remain in the central plain.

The elephant population in Serengeti was decimated by poaching, estimated to have fallen fivefold during the 1970 to 1980s, since then, the numbers have slowly increased. Birdlife is prolific in the National Park and includes various species of kingfishers, sunbirds and rollers, ostriches, egrets, herons, storks, ibises, spoonbills and ducks. Birds of prey include Ruppell's vulture and the hooded vulture, several varieties of kestrels, eagles, goshawks, and harriers. There is also a hippo pool by the name of Retina where you can have clear views of the hippopotamuses and even crocodiles.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The conversation area encompasses Ngorongoro Crater, Embagai Crater, and Olduvai Gorge. They are famous for its palaeontological relics and Lake Masek. The crater is a home to small number of black rhinoceroses, sustains a huge population of ungulates, and has the most concentrated numbers of lions.

However, there are an estimated 30.000 animals living in the crater. Encounters with animals are frequent and there is a wide variety of game in the crater. These include lions, elephants and rhinos as well as buffaloes, Thompson's gazelles, wildebeests, and zebras. You are also likely to see ostriches and Lake Magadi, the soda lake at the floor of the crater, is home to thousands of flamingos. There are also dive-bombing kites, which are recognized for their skills of snatching visitors' foods at the Lerai forest, which is a good place for a picnic lunch.


During this safari, you will be served daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lights on Africa Destinations and Safaris will also provide you with drinking water that is available on all days.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

On day 6, if you are interested in the real African life tradition and culture, you can visit Maasai boma for extra costs.

What's included

  • One full day game drive in Arusha, one in Tarangire, and one in Lake Manyara
  • Two en-route game drives in Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • One descent for full day game drive to Ngorongoro Crater with picnic lunch en-route
  • 1.5-liter mineral water per person per day
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Camping mattress
  • All park entrance, crater, and camping fees
  • Daily meals
  • English speaking driver and guide
  • Transport on 4WD vehicle with pop-up roof

What's not included

  • Accommodation on the last night after safari
  • Airfare
  • All not mentioned in the itinerary above
  • Cigarettes
  • Flying doctors insurance
  • Hot air balloon ride over Serengeti
  • Hot and cold drinks
  • Olduvai Gorge fees
  • Personal expenses
  • Sleeping bags
  • Tips
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Lights on Africa Destinations and Safaris will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Kilimanjaro International Airport Airport transfer included: Kilimanjaro International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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