12 Days Cycle the North of Tanzania
- Amazing, different scenery
- Enjoy game drives by 4×4 in Serengeti National Park, Ngorongor Crater and Lake Manyara National Park
- Encounter the “Big Five”
- Visit a Maasai village and learn about their culture, traditions & lifestyle
- Circuit / Region
- Included Services
- Excluded Services
- Best Time To Travel
- Packing Tips
Truly an adventure! Discover the very best that Tanzania has to offer. This incredible tour includes Lake Natron, Ol’Doinyo Lengai volcano, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Rift Valley and Lake Manyara. Tour includes game drives, village visits and optional hot air balloon ride above the Serengeti.
- Day 1: Departing Arusha
Departing Arusha early, climb aboard your support vehicle and head east, 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, continue 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. 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.
Distance: 30 km
Accommodation: Dorm rooms with shared facilities
• Arusha National Park Entry
• Tengeru - Local family farm visit and community walk
- Day 2: 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.
Distances: 65 km
Accommodation: Guest House
- Day 3: Sanyaa Juu, 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.
Distances: 40 km
- Day 4: Lake Natron & Ol'DoinyoLengai
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 choose to climb OlDoinyoLengai volcano (2.878 m / 9,442 ft), 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.
Distances: No cycling
- Day 5: 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.
Distances: 40 km
Accommodation: Camping (basic)
- Day 6: 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.
Distances: 130 km
Accommodation: Camping (basic)
• Serengeti National Park - Game drive
- Day 7: 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.
Accommodation: Camping (basic)
Included Activities: Serengeti National Park - Game drive
Optional Activities: Serengeti National Park - Balloon Ride (from price $546)
- Day 8: 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.1 hr) ride to our campsite in the small town of Karatu, our home for the night.
Distances: 15 km
Included Activities: Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
- Day 9: Rift Valley Enscarpment
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 3km 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.
As well as the stunning view (both sunset and sunrise are pretty special) we stay in very unique accommodation, the beehive shaped bungalows called African Igloos.
Distances: 25 km
Accommodation: African Igloo
Included Activites: Mto wa Mbu - Village walk & market visit
- Day 10: 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 MtoWaMbu 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.
Distances: 30-35 km
Accommodation: African Igloo
• Lake Manyara - Game drive
• Maasai village visit
- Day 11: 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 as the traffic starts to get busy again we reboard our vehicle for the drive back to Arusha.
We arrive back into Arusha with plenty of time to get cleaned up before enjoying an optional final night dinner with our fellow cyclists.
Distances: 40 km
Included Activities: Lake Manyara - Game drive
- Day 12: Arusha
You are free to depart at any time on the final day of your trip. A transfer to Kilimanjaro or Arusha airport or a shuttle to Nairobi can be arranged locally. Please speak to your leader about this at the welcome meeting.
- Two or more class guides. Each of our trips has a minimum of two First class guides,y ou will have additional guides to ensure that you always enjoy superior Customer service
- Bike Mechanic. Who will perform a wide range of repairs on Bikes during the trip
- Trip accommodations. Each night you’ll retreat to the best hotels or Tents in the region
- Snacks and drinks Each day's Ride. Most of the meals, all breakfasts and most lunches and dinners are included in the price of your trip.
- Private Tours, tastings, entrance fees, park fees, rescue fees, crew salaries and all that kind of stuff
- Support vehicle. We support you both on and off the bike. We always have one guide in our support vehicle and the other cycling alongside you. They’ll fill up your water bottles, change your tire, call for a shuttle or shuttle you up the hill, provide you with local insight and make sure everyone is on the right track
- Transportation during the trip. The trips often take place off—the beaten track. So, on our trips we provide transportation both at the beginning and at the end of your trip.
- Luggage Transfers. We will ensure that your bags are safely delivered to your hotel room or Campsite.
- Airport pick up/Transfer to Airport. (NOTE: Only for Multi day trips)
- Mountain Bikes
- Camping gears like tents, chairs, tables ,sleeping, bag and mattress
- First Aid Kit
- Water 1.5 liters or 3 liters everyday
- Lodging before and after the trip (NOTE:Only for Multi day trips)
- International/national flights and visa fees
- Personal items purchased during the trip (souvenirs, Internet, laundry etc.)
- Soft and alcoholic Drinks
- Tips to the guides
- Travel, medical, injury and luggage insurance
- Flying doctor rescue services
- Government-imposed increases in taxes and/or park entrance fees
- Anything else not mentioned in the inclusions
- Optional activities not outlined on the itinerary
- An extension of the stay or an additional program is possible / or take a look at our other offers
- A hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti can be organized
- The dry season between June and October is considered the best time, but you can also expect good weather in the summer dry season between December and February.
- The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti takes place between July and October. In July, the animals first cross the Grumeti River, followed by the spectacular crossing of the Mara River.
- The weather at Lake Natron is primarily hot and mostly dry. The coolest months are June until August.
- Between July and October, up to two million Lesser Flamingos live and breed on Lake Natron (depending on the weather).
- Follow the list below to ensure your comfort. You will have a better vacation if you are prepared.
- Socks / enough for each day's ride
- Biking tights/equivalent / wool or polypropylene.
- Biking shorts for comfortable riding.
- Riding gloves / bring long fingered gloves for cooler weather.
- Riding jerseys/T-shirts.
- Windbreaker/light jacket for riding
- Warm Sleeping bag and Sleeping pad / may be rented.
- Pillow / not included in rental gear.
- Towel, biodegradable soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, personal medications,etc.
- Head lamp, small lamps like the Petzel brand work well, &/or flashlight & spare batteries.
- Daypack / if you don't have a hydration pack, for hiking and extra storage.
- Water bottles / at least 1 for around camp
- Lightweight, long sleeve shirt for riding, hiking and camp
- A larger riding pack may be necessary to carry extra clothing and rain gear each day
- Rain pants can be a good idea to supplement a rain coat that you can ride in
- Extra set of riding gloves in case one gets wet
- Wool socks and other clothing
- Down or puffy coat for cool evenings and mornings
- Extra pair of shoes for hiking &/or if others get wet, etc.
- Sandals / comfortable for around camp
- Rain Coat & Pants / should be waterproof. No ponchos
- Warm jacket for the camp
- Long pants/sweatpants
- Long underwear / great to sleep in cold nights!
- T-shirts / long and short sleeved
- Shorts for relaxing around camp
- Warm hat
- Long finger gloves/mittens
- Visor/wide brimmed hat for sun protection.
- Underwear, socks, & extra clothes as needed.
- Swimsuit optional, some trips have opportunities for swimming &/or for using the solar shower.
Please note that this list is not exhaustive!
The items you will want to pack no matter what time of year are warm clothes for cooler evenings, good rain gear that you can ride in, and sunscreen. Avoid cotton clothing while riding. To stay comfortable, layering different weights of polypropylene, fleece, or wool works well. We love our Ibex wool clothing for the wide range of temperatures you are comfortable in.
Standard Packing List
Items to bring no matter what tour you are on
Camping and Other Gear
For Desert Tours
The lack of shade makes sun protection more important!
For Mountain Tours
Higher elevations can mean cold temperatures so plenty of layers are important for riding and in camp
- There are many more one-day bike and multi-day bike tours available. Please contact us for further information.
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This itinerary is an example of tours we organize.
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