The Perfect 2-Week Kenya and Tanzania Itinerary

Here's my perfect 2-week Kenya and Tanzania itinerary to help you plan the trip of your dreams to Africa! Includes where to go, as well as things to do!

When you think of Africa, it’s probably Kenya and Tanzania that are the Africa of your dreams.

But how to choose between the two? I’m often asked which is better for safari, Kenya or Tanzania? In this post, I weigh both countries up! 

But if you have the time, why not visit both?

Between them, they pretty much have everything you could want from an African adventure and a lot of people want to see both countries… in a two-week vacation.

Kenya and Tanzania are both big countries and the distances between some of the main destinations are vast. To cover all of the main highlights in both Kenya and Tanzania, I’d say you need at least 4 weeks in total.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t go to both if you only have a couple of weeks. You’ll just have to pick and choose the places you go and flying between destinations will also save you some time.

For a 2-week trip, I’d suggest that you start your Kenya & Tanzania trip in Nairobi, working your way down to Zanzibar. I like to leave Zanzibar for last as it’s beautiful and a great place to relax at the end of your trip!

However, if you have longer, or you just want to stick with 1 country, take a look at my individual itineraries for Tanzania and Kenya, as they go into much more detail!

The Perfect 2-Week Kenya and Tanzania Itinerary

My perfect 2-week Kenya and Tanzania itinerary would go something like this (and this is the route we follow on the Rock My Kenya & Tanzania Adventure): 

  • Nairobi, Kenya: 2 Days
  • Masai Mara, Kenya: 3 – 4 Days
  • Arusha, Tanzania: 1 Day
  • Serengeti, Tanzania: 2 Days
  • Ngorongoro Crater: 1 Day
  • Moshi: 1 – 2 Days
  • Bagamoyo, Tanzania: 1 – 2 Days
  • Stone Town, Zanzibar: 2 Days
  • Paje, Zanzibar: 2 Days

There are so many amazing places to visit and things to do in Kenya and Tanzania! You’re going to love them!

The Nairobi Giraffe Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi may seem a bit intimidating for a first-timer to Africa, but it’s actually a great city. To be honest, the first time I visited I wasn’t that impressed. I was passing through on an overland tour and it just seemed crowded, busy and congested.

It’s still all of those things, but it is also vibrant, exciting and full of adventure, I just didn’t see it.

Nairobi is one of the most hectic of all the African cities I’ve been to (Kampala and Dar es Salaam are up there too), so if you can handle this, the rest of the continent will be a breeze! Just be patient and try and relax into it.

You can either head straight out of Nairobi and come back later or spend a few days there first before you go on safari.

Nairobi also has some amazing restaurants and is known for having excellent Ethiopian food (try Habesha or Abyssinia) and nyama choma (grilled meat – usually goat). One of the most famous places to get your meat fix is Carnivore and if you go, try the signature Kenyan ‘Dawa’ cocktail.

Things To Do in Nairobi:

  • Go on safari in Nairobi National Park.
  • Visit the Nairobi Giraffe Centre
  • See the baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
  • Visit the markets (there are plenty).
  • Take walking tour of the city. 
  • I’ll leave it there as I’ve written a very comprehensive guide on the best things to do in Nairobi here.

Time Needed: 1 – 2 Days. If you are flying in, I would spend 1 night here, then have the next day to explore Nairobi and then stay another night in Nairobi before heading to the Masai Mara. Or maybe a day after the Mara.

Kenya Group Tour - Rock My Adventure Tours

Masai Mara, Kenya

Only a 6 hour or so drive from Nairobi you’ll find land safari dreams are made of, the Masai Mara! With pretty much every animal you could wish to see on an African safari, including the Big 5. You can even take a balloon ride and see it all from above, especially cool if you time it when the Great Migration is passing through – this varies slightly from year to year.

But it’s not all about safari. Just outside the Masai Mara is the town of Sekenani, where you can find some cool places for dinner. I would also recommend spending some time with the Maasai tribe.

Want to experience the Masai Mara like I do – on a budget? Then have a read of this post

Things To Do in the Masai Mara:

  • Go on safari.
  • Go bush camping.
  • Spend time with the Maasai.
  • Take a hot-air balloon ride.
  • Go horse riding.
  • See the Great Migration.
  • Visit the Sekenani township.

Time Needed: 3 – 4 Days. It takes at least half a day to get to and from the Masai Mara by road, so I would suggest spending 2 – 3 nights here. You can save a bit of time by flying into Keekorok Airstrip and I believe they are considering making this an international airport… watch this space.

Serengeti safari in Tanzania

How to Travel from Kenya to Tanzania

The cheapest way to cross from Kenya into Tanzania overland is to get a bus to go from Nairobi to Arusha.

However, if you want comfort, I suggest getting a shuttle bus which takes around 6 or 7 hours. The Impala and Riverside Shuttle companies are the most popular. These cost around $15 – 20 and can be organised by most hotels, tour companies, travel agents or directly at their offices.

If you are self-driving or on a tour, you may be able to go from the Masai Mara to the Serengeti, via the Isibania border on the west side of the parks, without having to go back via Nairobi and Arusha. Unfortunately, you can’t go straight from one park to the other – which would be super convenient (despite how it appears on Google Maps – there is no border control inside the parks)! You might also be able to do this by public transport too, but as I’ve not done it before, I wouldn’t like to advise!

Alternatively, you could fly between the two. Flights from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Kilimanjaro International Airport are relatively frequent and take less than an hour, but again, expensive compared to buses. 

To save time at the borders, you can apply for your Tanzania visa in advance online through the link here, as the queues for visas can be long, especially at the airports! I’ve spent many hours queueing in both Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam airports and it’s a pain – especially if you’re last off the plane. But if you have your visa already, you’ll sail straight through!

Arusha Tanzania

Arusha, Tanzania

Arusha is the gateway for the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater, but it’s also a great place in itself to regroup before carrying on with your adventures. It’s pretty easy to get around and about as laid back as an African city can get, plus there are lots of nice cafes where you can get a good piece of cake and a decent cup of tea or coffee. It’s pretty too, with purple jacaranda trees lining many of the roads.

READ MORE: 22 Awesome Things To Do in Arusha, Tanzania

Things To Do in Arusha:

  • Climb Mount Meru.
  • Book a Northern Circuit safari, if you haven’t already.
  • Swim and chill at the Mount Meru Hotel.
  • Party at the bars and clubs.
  • Eat chips mayai (chip omelette) and chicken from one of the street vendors.
  • Get clothes made at one of the local tailors.
  • Go shopping at the Maasai Market.
  • Eat nyama choma at Khan’s BBQ.

Time Needed: 1 – 2 days. More if you plan to climb Mount Meru.

Kenya vs Tanzania

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

If you only have a short time, you can do a 2-night, 3-day safari to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. This is a short trip and involves quite a bit of driving, but you will still see a lot! 

Serengeti National Park is one of the best safaris you will ever go on and has been my luckiest place for lion spotting. It used to be my favourite place for leopard-spotting but my trips to Botswana have blown that out the window.

Where you stay will depend on your safari operator. Some will use the basic camping within the park and others will be super luxurious tented camps or lodges. The prices can vary wildly from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand for a 2 – 3 day safari.

I would suggest going on an organised safari, rather than self-driving (or hitchhiking as I saw one person trying to do). You’ll get a lot more out of it if you do.

Have a read of this post, which explains how to find a Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater tour to suit your budget.

Want to experience the Serengeti like I do? Then you can always join one of my awesome Rock My Adventure group tours! 😉

Things To Do in the Serengeti:

  • Go on safari.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride.
  • Camp out in the wild.

Time Needed: 2 – 5 days. 

The Ngorongoro Crater - Rock My Adventure

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

You can combine your trip to the Serengeti with a Ngorongoro Crater safari. It’s on the way, so it would be a massive shame not to see it and it is stunning, so the views alone make it worth it. This is the one place where I’ve seen an endangered black rhino. Make sure you start early to catch the animals being active in the morning!

Things To Do in the Ngorongoro Crater:

  • Go on safari.
  • See the wildebeest calving & migration.

Time Needed: 1 – 2 Days. If you spend the night at on the crater rim, you will usually do a game drive in the crater in the morning, then head back to Arusha around lunchtime, arriving in the early evening. So you only really need 1 night on the crater rim and half a day in the crater.

Materuni Waterfall, Moshi - Rock My Adventure

Moshi, Tanzania

Moshi usually serves as the starting point for any Kilimanjaro expedition and is a great place to spend a couple of days before and after your climb.

It’s a lovely town, a bit less hectic than Arusha and with Kilimanjaro as the backdrop, it’s beautiful too.

There are plenty of great day trips to take from Moshi (you can also do these from Arusha too, but they’re a bit closer to Moshi), including a trip to Materuni village for a coffee tour and see the Materuni Waterfalls (one of my favourite places in Tanzania)and experience the hospitality of the Chagga people.

Another favourite of mine is the Chemka Hot Springs (also known as Kikuletwa Hot Springs) a popular picnic and swimming spot for both locals and tourists. This is a great place to spend an afternoon.You’ll also be able to visit Maasai villages in the region between Moshi and Arusha. I prefer visiting the villages here to those in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

READ MORE: 24 Awesome Things To Do in Moshi, Tanzania

Things To Do in Moshi: 

  • Climb Kilimanjaro.
  • Visit the Maasai tribe.
  • Swim at the Kikuletwa Hot Springs.
  • Take a coffee and waterfall tour in Materuni village.
  • Eat pizza at IndoItaliano.
  • Visit a Women’s Co-Operative.

Time Needed: 1 – 2 days. More if you plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Bagamoyo Beach, Tanzania

Bagamoyo, Tanzania

If you’re looking to see a bit of the less touristy, off the beaten track Africa, then I definitely recommend heading to Bagamoyo.

Bagamoyo is full of history, as it was once the major port of Tanzania and played an important role in the slave trade. Bagamoyo also has a specialist arts college, so it’s a really cool place with a lot going on. There’s a chilled-out hippy vibe and lots of Rastafarians, however most people still live very traditionally and it is, above all else a fishing town.

Be sure to take a trip to the beach in the morning to watch the sunrise and see the fishermen bring in their catch, walk around the town admiring the (crumbling) architecture and shopping at the Bagamoyo Art Market. I recommend the food at Corner Bar or Poa Poa.

One of my favourite hostels in Tanzania is Firefly in Bagamoyo. This is a cute place, perfectly situated in the main part of town, near the beach and close to Poa Poa restaurant. 

Tourism is slowly coming to Bagamoyo, so go sooner rather than later. Now you can even get a direct ferry from Bagamoyo to Zanzibar. Book through Firefly hostel.

Things To Do in Bagamoyo: 

  • Visit the Bagamoyo Art Market.
  • Hang out at Firefly.
  • Help with a beach cleanup.
  • Do some yoga.
  • Taking a cycling tour of the old town and learn about the Slave Trade.
  • Visit the fish market (go very early in the morning or late afternoon).
  • Taking a Swahili cooking class.
  • Go to an event at the Bagamoyo College of Arts.
  • Visit the Kaole Ruins.
  • Chill on the beach.

Time Needed: 2 – 3 Days. Bagamoyo is a great place to stay and I much prefer it to Dar es Salaam. I’d give yourself at least 2 nights.

Zanzibar Travel Guide

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Finish your trip on the magical island of Zanzibar.

Actually, ‘Zanzibar’ is made up of lots and lots of islands, but the most famous one, which people usually mean when they refer to Zanzibar is Unguja. The capital of Unguja is Zanzibar City, and the most famous section of Zanzibar City is called Stone Town.

Stone Town is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating places in the world, a true melting pot of cultures. With winding alleyways, unusual buildings and a ton of things to do there. Spend time getting lost, taking a tour with my pal Farid, watching the local boys doing acrobatics on the beach and eating delicious foods (like a Zanzibar Pizza above) at Forodhani Gardens, or take a day trip to Prison Island or on the famous, Safari Blue boat.

If you only have 2 weeks for your Kenya & Tanzania itinerary, it will be difficult to get two Zanzibar beach destinations into your itinerary, so if I were to choose just one, I’d probably go to Paje as it’s pretty but lively.

Paje, famous for windsurfing and white sandy beaches. There’s plenty of good nightlife to be had too. From here, you’re in a good place to get to the Rock Zanzibar, as well as Jambiani, another beautiful village and beach.

But if you have time, I would definitely try and squeeze in Nungwi or Kendwa. These are two of Zanzibar’s loveliest beaches, up in the far north of Zanzibar. Whichever you go to, you will have a great time and the party tends to move around, with various bars holding the main party on different nights of the week. Saturdays at Kendwa Rocks are legendary.

Whilst you’re there, try the delicious fresh seafood and if you like being on the water, you can go snorkelling or diving around the Mnemba Atoll or take a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow.

Things To Do in Zanzibar:

  • Explore historical Stone Town.
  • Learn about the Slave Trade.
  • Relax on the beaches.
  • Go shopping.
  • Eat at the Forodhani Gardens food market.
  • Party at the beach bars.
  • Take a trip on a traditional dhow.
  • Swimming & snorkelling.
  • Scuba diving.
  • Kendwa Rocks Full Moon Party.
  • Take a village tour.
  • Visit the Rock Restaurant.
  • I’ll leave it there as I’ve written a very comprehensive guide on the best things to do in Zanzibar here and the best things to do in Stone Town here.

Time Needed: 4 – 7 Days. Although I love Zanzibar and you could easily spend more time here.

Read More About Kenya & Tanzania…

Kenya Travel Guide
Tanzania Travel Guide

Kenya & Tanzania Group Tours

Kenya & Tanzania Tours
Tanzania & Zanzibar Tours

Please Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which will earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate sales help with the running costs of this site, so thank you for your support!


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About Author

I'm a travel blogger and tour operator with a passion for Africa travel. I love the great outdoors, going on epic trips around the world and helping others travel!


  • Helen
    March 29, 2016 at 2:46 am

    From one Helen to another, thanks for including a link to my post about Ras Nungwi. 🙂 I love, love, LOVE Zanzibar. If it wasn’t for the mosquitoes, heat and humidity, I would’ve stayed much longer. It’s my favourite travel destination in the world.

    • Helen
      March 29, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Helen! I love your posts on Africa and your photography is amazing!

      You were there when I was weren’t you? It was so hot! I’ve been there 4 times and that was the hottest yet!

      Happy travels! x

      • Helen
        March 30, 2016 at 1:38 am

        I’m not sure if we were there at the same time but, yes, it was hot as hell. I’m Canadian, so it was overwhelming for me.

      • Helen
        March 30, 2016 at 1:38 am

        Aw, thank you. I’m not sure if we were there at the same time but, yes, it was hot as hell. I’m Canadian, so it was overwhelming for me, haha.

      • Bhaveen
        January 10, 2017 at 3:41 am

        I want to plan for Kenya Tanzania trip.
        Could you help me.
        [email protected]

        • Helen
          January 10, 2017 at 8:25 pm

          Hi Bhaveen,

          Have a read through my blog and I hope it helps you.

          I can’t plan individual trips I’m afraid, but if you have any questions, I can try to answer


  • Kate
    March 29, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Great itinerary! Thanks for sharing!

    • Helen
      March 29, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Thank you!!! 🙂

  • Linda
    March 31, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Great post! Tanzania and Kenya is still on my bucket list and you just gave me several reasons to go tehere asap.

    • Helen
      March 31, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks Linda! Hope you get to go real soon! 🙂

  • Ella
    April 2, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I really need to go back to that region at some point. There’s still so much of Kenya that I haven’t seen and I’ve heard so many great things about Tanzania from friends who have been. But I also just really miss the East African culture and its beautiful people. Maybe I can use this post as a reference for what to do on my next potential trip to East Africa 🙂

    • Helen
      April 3, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Tanzania is amazing. It’s very similar to Kenya to be fair but has it’s own special flavour too! 🙂 You’d love it. x

  • Jennifer Cooper
    April 3, 2016 at 8:16 am

    I visited Tanzania probably 8 years ago now, I flew into Dar Es Salaam, then headed to Selous Game Reserve, then onto Zanzibar. It was my first experience of Africa, and on a safari, and I would definately visit again – I think I just haven’t researched it alot in terms of independent travelling.

    • Helen
      April 3, 2016 at 11:48 am

      It’s hard to see everywhere when you’re on a limited time frame. I’ve spent a few months there and still not seen it all! Excuse to go back! 🙂 x

  • Nasir
    April 18, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Hi Helen.
    Great post, Thanks for your lovely experience you shared with us thru this post :). Surely, visit there within future.

  • Chayanika Malik
    May 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Hi Helen,

    Your blogs are a great source of information especially now when I am planning a trip to Tanzania. I and my husband are planning a trip for just a week during Christmas. We mainly plan to focus on wildlife and beaches and hence the obvious choice of Serengeti with Ngorongoro and Zanzibar.
    But to my disappointment, the safaris are too expensive. Can you please suggest a possible itinerary for us, if not Serengeti, can we look at other less popular reserves but with good viewing instead of Serengeti. We would be bagpacking and not looking for luxury stays and okay sharing safaris too. Our budget is maximum 200dollar pp for upto 3 days of safari and rest 3 days we would like to keep for Zanzibar.

    Please guide us.

    June 11, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Helen, really amazed to see such beautiful and informative blog! I am 30 plus male, doctor by profession and traveller by passion, from India. Planning a solo trip to Kenya and Tanzania covering Nairobi (entry point), naivasha, aberdare, masaimara, ngorongoro, Serengeti and mt Kilimanjaro (not climb). What can be a preferable route plan for a budget solo traveller? Also for the visa issues, if I obtain a single entry tourist visa for Kenya, do I need to obtain prior visa for Tanzania entry (I am willing to travel from Nairobi to arusha by shuttle bus)? Also, if both my inward and outward flights are from Nairobi then do I need to obtain a multiple entry visa for Kenya as I have to come back to Nairobi from arusha by the same route in that case it do I get my return flights from kili airport itself? Thanks in advance…happy travelling ?

      June 11, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      And by the way, I can spend maximum of 10-11 days in my whole trip (excluding my international flight durations)

    • Helen
      June 12, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Mansij, In terms of an itinerary, probably the easiest thing to do is to contact some companies and see if they have any joining safaris that go to the places you want to go. Some camps will do games drives and you could make your own way there and then organise safaris etc when you are there, but might be easier to join a safari that takes you place to place.

      There may be some that do Kenya and Tanzania, but if not, head to Arusha where you can easily get to Kilimanjaro and also take a safari into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

      Yes I would think you would need a multi-entry visa for Kenya as you don’t want to have to pay the full price twice. However you should check with your local Kenyan embassy. You can usually get Tanzania visa at the border – I could, but I am a British citizen, so it may be different for an Indian passport holder. If you are just transiting through Kenya on a flight from Kili, then you probably don’t need a double entry visa! But I’m not 100% sure.

    June 13, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Thank you again…actually I have dropped the idea of visiting both the countries at a single go due to time and budget constraints…so thinking of doing only Kenya this time visiting nairobi-masaimara-lake naivasha-lake nakuru-amboseli-hell’s gate and if possible aberdare as well…preferring mara Explorers as per your suggestions but unfortunately not being able to contact them since last 2 days…lets see how things go

    • Helen
      June 13, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Hi Mansij,

      Have you emailed them? I’m sure they will come back to you soon!

  • Mahmoud
    June 26, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Wow! What an amazing experience that you shared with us!
    Would love to visit both of Kenya and Tanzania one day! Thank you for sharing!

  • Venil
    July 27, 2016 at 6:57 am

    This is so so useful Helen! Me and my husband are planning a shirt trip to Kenya. Just about 6-8 days, we will be starting and ending in Nairobi, the safari is definitely on our itinerary, after your blog post I’ve thankfully gotten some cheap options to stay etc. Because we aren’t looking to spend more than 500$ per person for the week hopefully. Any suggestions beyond your blog on things we should do is definitely welcome! 🙂 Thanks once again.

    • Helen
      July 31, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Venil,

      $500 per person might be tight for 6 – 8 days if you are including a safari and other activities. Will you be using public transport? There’s tons of things to do but it would take me ages to list them all! Do you have an itinerary?

      • Venil
        August 6, 2016 at 11:14 am


        Yeah I am figuring that it is probably too tight. Will stretch it a little since doesn’t seem to be another option.
        I checked out the Mara Explorers site, do you think if I booked the car separately and not the package it would work cheaper? They had a lot of other interesting community activities that I would like to do as well.

        I currently don’t have an itinerary, am creating one. I have a conference in Nairobi for 5 days, so my husband and I are making an itinerary of his time in Nairobi for 5 days. Then we have a week together where we’d love to do a 2N/3D safari, ad a couple of other community activities as well, and probably spend the last 1-3 days together in Nairobi.

        • Helen
          August 7, 2016 at 7:21 pm

          Hi Venil,

          I’m not sure. Do you mean that you would book your own transport to the Mara and then did a game drive whilst there? To be honest, I’m not sure, you’d need to cost both options up I guess. You could contact them to ask how much it would be for game drives only. Yes they have some great community projects that I definitely recommend!

  • Elise
    August 8, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Hi, loved the post.
    I am looking at travelling for 3-4 weeks in March and having trouble deciding where to go! Also wondering if due to the weather some options may be better than others?
    I need to end up in Malawi and am interested in South or East Africa. Any recommendations? Love the outdoors, independent travel but also meeting others, and will hopefully squeeze a safari into the budget at some point…just!

    • Helen
      August 14, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Elise,

      The best thing to do would be to look up the rainy seasons in each place and then avoid them.

      March is ok in Kenya. But isn’t the best time for a lot of the other countries, but it would still be ok.

      South Africa in March is like Autumn so should also be nice.

      This website has some good info on what the weather is like per month.

      All my favourite places are in this post: – might give you some good ideas! 🙂

      • Martin Gonev
        September 23, 2016 at 1:05 am

        I agree to Helen,
        you have to look at the weather first. Rainy season is probably not what you expect from a holiday (yes if you are an adventures travel ;-))
        If you are looking for a classic Africa experience,
        You will find some of continent’s iconic landscapes in Tanzania.
        Kilimanjaro & the Spice Island Beckon are my favourites.

        …Elise tell us at the end, how it worked out! (or was it already to late 😉 for my information)

        • Elise
          September 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm

          Thanks both of you for the tips. Still a few months away so I’ll have to let you know how it goes!

          • Helen
            September 23, 2016 at 2:51 pm

            In March the Wildebeest Migration will usually pass through the Southern Serengeti, so might be a good idea to go there 🙂

  • holiday-zanzibar
    October 26, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    wonderful pictures Helen, brings back memories! thanks for sharing.

  • Judith
    November 28, 2016 at 5:11 am

    Hi Helen. I am thoroughly enjoying reading about your journeys in Africa. Hubby and I are going to Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya for six weeks from mid January next year. We will have 4 full days in Zanzibar, arriving 1am on a Tuesday and flying out mid morning on the Saturday. Do you think two days in Stone Town to start and two days up north would be the best way to go? Do you know how long it would take to drive from the north of the island back to the airport? Thanks for your help!

    • Helen
      November 28, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks Judith! 🙂

      Yes, I think 2 days in each place is good. I love Stone Town, so could easily spend 2 days there. If you’re more of a beachy person, you might want to spend 3 days there, but there are loads of day trips from Stone Town too, so my preference would be 2 days in each!

      I think it’s about an hour and a half back to the airport from Nungwi/Kendwa.

      Have an amazing trip! 🙂

  • Dianne
    December 18, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I’m going to Dar Es Salaam to work in a hospital for several weeks, but I would like extend my stay to travel to other places in Tanzania and possibly Kenya. The thing is, I will be a 21 year old woman travelling alone.. Is that a smart decision or will I be putting myself in danger? Have you ever felt unsafe during your trip?

    • Helen
      December 18, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      I have travelled alone in both Kenya and Tanzania and been fine. As long as you keep your wits about you, you should be fine. Have a read of my top Africa Travel Tips for some more info!

      Enjoy your trip!!!

  • Jason
    December 23, 2016 at 8:56 am

    I so so much loved my stay in Stone Town! It is such a beautiful and generous place with the perfect weather and some kick-ass architecture.

  • Mai
    January 9, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Hi, Helen.

    Thanks so much for your suggestion and sharing the experiences.
    My friends and I from Bangkok, Thailand, are planning to visit Tanzania this year during the migration period.
    I will come to digest on all these information again soon.

  • N M
    January 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Do you think this five week schedule would be doable for a 60 year old with her 18 year old twins? Would I get enough downtime?

    60 year old

  • Andrew
    January 20, 2017 at 12:43 am

    Hi Helen,

    Love your blog, thanks for all the great information you’ve shared here! My wife and I just spontaneously booked roundtrip flights to Nairobi for a two week trip. Was wondering how much we could do without squeezing too much in. Definitely want to see Serengeti and Zanzibar. If we could fit them in, Mombasa, Ambsoseli, and Masai Mara would be really cool too. Is that too much? We are on a budget so we’re taking that into consideration as well.

  • Sarah
    February 2, 2017 at 4:42 am

    Hi Helen,
    I love the details you’ve provided. I would love to do something along these lines in June this year. How long would you recommend to get through your main suggestions? I’m hoping 4 weeks will be enough, but I don’t like to rush.

    • Helen
      February 5, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      4 weeks probably would be a rush to do everything. But you could definitely get to most places. If you did two weeks in each country, I would say:

      Kenya – Nairobi, Masai Mara, Mombasa, Kilifi and maybe Diani.

      Tanzania – Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar (I also love Bagamoyo).

      I’m doing back to back Kenya and Tanzania trips in August this year… if you are interested? 🙂

      • Leonard kipngeno
        February 11, 2017 at 4:56 pm

        Hi helen,my name leonard saina and work as a guide in maasai mara kenia,i would realy like to meet u.

        • Leonard kipngeno
          February 11, 2017 at 5:05 pm

          Helen,this are ma number 0700616749 thanks.

  • Yvonne
    April 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Helen this is a super informative and fun post, being Kenyan I really enjoyed reading 🙂

  • Gerald
    May 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Im Kenyan and took my family to Mombasa over the Easter holiday. Ive never gotten used to the hot air in Mombasa and was gulping water like a camel. I wonder how people wear suits in that town.

    Masai Mara is OK though (for me) you get used to it after going there a couple of times (probably during the migration things are a bit more exciting)

    Great post either way

    • Helen
      May 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      Hey Gerald, yes it is hot in Mombasa, but a lot wear suits. I don’t know how they do it!!

      I love the Mara, migration time or not – to me it’s always exciting! 🙂

  • Caitlin Urquhart
    May 2, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Really great blog!!! Your info is amazing thank you!
    My partner & I are heading to Malawi, Tanzania & Kenya for 7 weeks in June, July & August. Is that manageable?
    How many weeks is your Kenya/ Tanzania route for?
    I know it’s peak season should we be booking accommodation prior to our trip?
    Your info is invaluable! Still feeling a bit overwhelmed with the though of independent travel & overland connections in Africa!

    • Helen
      May 3, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Thank you!!!

      I think that’s manageable definitely! My Kenya and Tanzania route could work over 5 weeks.

      I would book accommodation in advance where possible, but you will be able to find accommodation as you go if you don’t, usually, unless there’s an event on. I’m really fussy about where I stay, so I usually book in advance where possible.

      Try not to feel overwhelmed – it will make so much more sense when you are there. I am currently planning an independent trip to a country I’ve not been to, and I feel your pain! 🙂 Have a look at these two posts, they may help! and

      Hope it helps!!!

  • Loni
    May 12, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Your website is amazing!
    You have inspired me to plan my first trip to Africa. I have signed up for a tour in Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania and ending in Zanzibar. (Yours was full!!)

    I’m sure you have 1 million questions… My only question is where should I go after Zanzibar for about two weeks to chill and be around other travelers?

    • Helen
      May 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      Wow loni, that’s awesome! Sorry my tour was full though! 🙂

      After Zanzibar, maybe he’d to Malawi! Get the Tazara train to and then make your way down to Lake Malawi, maybe ending in either Blantyre or Lilongwe. From Lilongwe you can even pop over to South Luangwa National Park. When are you going???

      • Loni
        May 12, 2017 at 8:36 pm

        I can’t believe you answered! This made my day! Thank you so much for the advice.
        I am finishing in Zanzibar on July 31st. I have the opportunity on the tour I am taking to extend for another 12 days and go down to Johannesburg, Victoria Falls and some other places.
        I just don’t want to be on a tour for 40+ days. I want to have a little adventure of my own, but of course I am a little scared.
        I have about 2 weeks and really want to have some sort of a plan and a a least a departing flight.

        • Helen
          May 12, 2017 at 10:00 pm

          I would maybe suggest, getting the ferry/plane to Dar es Salaam, getting Tazara train to Mbeya, and then working your way down through Malawi! And maybe go down into Malawi or across to South Luangwa. Or you could stay on the train and go across to Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia. Then go Lusaka, Livingstone!

          So many possibilities!

          Don’t be scared! It will be amazing! 🙂

  • Loni
    May 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Amazing advice! My only concern is that I did some research on the train and it says it is insanely unrealiable and sometimes a day late! Lol

    • Helen
      May 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      It is very unreliable! 🙂 But you can also take the bus! The train is an experience though!

  • Esther
    May 22, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Hey, thanks so much for your blog, it’s great! I’m planning a trip to Tanzania in a few weeks and keen to summit Mount Meru. Do you have any particular companies that you would recommend? I’m finding it difficult to know which reviews to trust online and which companies might charge crazy amounts in total for tips etc. Any advice would be really appreciated – thank you 🙂

  • june doe
    May 23, 2017 at 11:36 am

    cool post

  • Rose
    May 25, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Helen,

    We’re planning an East Africa trip this summer and taking a ton of advice from this awesome blog (even doing the Tazara Train thanks to your suggestion). I’ve been reading about the Zanzibar ferry being really bad for seasickness but I’m wondering whether you know if this is only in bad weather. We’re not a strict schedule, so we could always wait for a clear day. Would it be smooth in this case, or is it pretty unpredictable? I do get motion sick and I’m trying to decide whether to alter that part of the itinerary…Any advice you have would be so appreciated!

    • Helen
      May 25, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Rose,

      I sometimes get seasick, but I haven’t been ill on the Zanzibar ferry. It is apparently worse on the way back to Dar from Stone Town, due to the wind, but I have done that journey 4 times and been fine. The weather has generally be fine though.

      To stop seasickness, I always sit outside at the front of the boat, with the wind n my face – usually helps. And I make sure I’ve eaten and drink lots of water.

      You can fly though and it’s only 15 minutes or so!

      Hope that helps!

      • Rose
        May 26, 2017 at 4:02 am

        Very much, thank you!

  • bidow
    May 29, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Hi Helen, thanks for the awesome post. You are such an adventurer. I would be flying from Nigeria to Nairobi on the 6th of June and planning to end in Paje,Zanzibar by road, are you saying Nairobi to Paje will take me two days? Also,can you recommend any reliable and cheap bus company,as I am on a budget. Thank You.

    • Helen
      May 29, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Hi Bidow,

      By road it will take you 3 days to get to Paje,unless you travel at night which I don’t recommend. Nairobi to Arusha/Moshi (7 hours, stay overnight), Moshi to Dar (11/12 hours), stay overnight then ferry to Zanzibar.

      There are a number of companies listed here that you can try! – hope that helps!


  • bidow
    May 29, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Helen,thanks for the awesome post. You are such an adventurer. I would be flying from Nigeria to Nairobi on the 6th of June and planning to end in Paje,Zanzibar by road, are you saying Nairobi to Paje will take me two days? Also,can you recommend any reliable and cheap bus company,as I am on a budget. And how long from Paje to kendwa rocks, hoping to go for the full moon party on the 10th of June. Thank You.

  • Jessamyn Weis
    June 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you so much for this website! We are traveling in Tanzania next month, and thanks to your blog we are considering a stop in the Usambara mountains to do some hiking either from Moshi or from Dar. But our guidebook makes the bus ride between Moshi and the Usambaras, as well as Dar and the Usambaras, sound really dangerous. Do you have a bus company that you would recommend as the safest either from Moshi or Dar to the mountains? Or is there some alternative like a shuttle? Any advice you have would be much appreciated!

    • Helen
      June 26, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      Hi Jessamyn,

      The journey is more uncomfortable, long and crappy than dangerous I’d say, but accidents can obviously happen. Maybe contact my friends at Shemeji Tours and Travel and they can help you arrange everything! 🙂

  • Julie Fox
    August 27, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Glad to see that the Dhow Palace is still going strong. I used to stay there when I was working in Dar es Salaam. I think the Usambara Mountains are probably my favourite spot in Tanzania although it’s a truly amazing country. I’d love to go back and see what has and hasn’t changed in the last 13 years.

  • Jim
    October 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    I was fortunate enough to visit Kenya and Tanzania last year for 10 days, and got to go back to Nairobi earlier this year. Your photos and stories totally make me want to go back again!

    You are spot on that Nairobi can seem overwhelming, intimidating, dirty and crowded to the first time visitor…but I learned to love it and to appreciate its beauty and its people. We also were able to visit the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire NP. Beautiful trip, and I can’t wait to go back!

  • Magda
    November 28, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Helen! I am planning a trip to Kenya and Tanzania, and I am using this blog post as inspiration. I am having struggles with finding some transport help online though. I really want to visit Kilifi, but it doesn’t seem that easy to get to from Mombasa; how could I get there via bus? Taxis seem far too expensive. And are there buses going from Mombasa to Arusha? Because I cannot seem to find anything online and I am trying to avoid having to go all the way back to Nairobi. Thank you!
    Love the blogs!

    • Helen
      November 28, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      Hi Magda,

      Yes there are mini buses (matatus) that go from Mombasa to Kilifi. It’s easiest to find a bus when there, you pick them up on the street – I’m sure your accommodation can help. Taxis are about $30 – $40.

      There is one bus that goes to Arusha that I know of and it’s with Tahmeed – I took it a few months ago. They have an office in town.

      Enjoy your trip!

  • Onono Zack
    December 3, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Great post here. I love every little bit of information that you have given here because it is true. Kenya is my home, and I look forward to driving to Tanzania soon, and I will refer to this post again. Nice pictures too!

  • Sabrina
    December 27, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Helen

    Your blog is awesome. Thank you for all the information you share with us. I have some questions regarding Kenya. I just have 2 weeks of vacation – do you think that is „enough“ for Kenya? I would fly to Nairobi and plan to do a safari and spending some time in Nairobi. Then I would go to the coast for a little relaxing time… Would you recommend anything special apart from that for these 2 weeks? Do you have experience with renting a car? Would you recommend that?

    Thank you for your help:)

    • Helen
      December 27, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Sabrina,

      I think 2 weeks is fine for Kenya! You won’t get to see it all obviously, but you can definitely get a good feel for the country!

      Sounds like your itinerary is exactly like the trips I run! 🙂

      If you are interested in coming on a trip, let me know and I can give you more info! If not, maybe use the itinerary as inspiration! I can’t let you into all my secrets :), but you get an idea!

      I’ve never rented a car, however you could rent one! The roads are crappy in some parts, so just make sure you get a really good vehicle and just be aware of some crazy driving, especially in the cities!

      Alternatively, you could mix it up, maybe go on an organised safari/rent a car to Mara (although I would suggest that you can get a tour for as cheap as renting) and I wouldn’t try and drive the Mara yourself – you could drive there and then take a tour once there.

      And then public transport is usually fine over on the coast, or over to the coast, it just really depends on how you like to travel and weighing up the costs.


  • Steph
    January 17, 2018 at 2:01 am

    Hi Helen! I am looking to travel to Tanzania sometime between June- August and am keen to hike Kilimanjaro, do a safari in the Serengeti, do a gorilla trek, and possibly tack Zanzibar on to the end. I’m happy to head to Zanzibar on my own but would like to do a Kili hike and safari in one tour combined, and perhaps a gorilla trek separately. Would you suggest this, and are there any companies in particular that you would recommend? Also, what order would make sense to do these in? Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much! Steph (NZ)

  • sean
    February 3, 2018 at 3:12 am

    Which tour operator did you use for this, any recommendations would be appreicated.

  • Daniel Maina
    March 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    Wow, It’s amazing to visit kenya, I am really impressed with these pictures….Thanks for sharing this awesome post…

  • Jackson
    April 2, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks for this post Helen! My wife and I are thinking about going somewhere in Africa for a 2 week vacation. Where would you recommend and how much money should we budget for lodging, excursions, tips (if they accept them there), and food?
    I don’t know when the next time we will have an Africa trip so given the time, where would you go? What would be the top 7 things you’d have to do?

    • Helen
      April 3, 2018 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Jackson,

      There are so many places and they are all great so it really depends on what you are looking for. Budget also can vary massively, depending on how you travel and where you stay. Tanzania is potentially a good one to start with, but everywhere is great.

      Have a look at some of my trips to give you inspiration.

      Without knowing where you want to go, or what type of travellers you are it’s hard to say. Are you backpackers or looking for nicer hotels/lodges – costs vary massively. I also just got quoted $750 and $1400 for the same 4-day Serengeti safari from 2 different companies, so you have to really do your homework.

      Let me know what you are looking for and i can give you a bit of guidance.

  • Becky Oddy
    April 12, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Hi Helen, my friend Lucia told me all about you and your amazing website and I’ve just come back from an amazing 12 days in Kenya and Tanzania-we we’re trying to do exactly what you described at the beginning of this blog!! Two types of holiday in one! I think it has to be one of the best holidays that we have ever been on and we’ve been on a lot! Your website is great and helped along the way so thought I’d let you know! We went to the rock for lunch on your recommendation so thanks! It was amazing! And I have just ordered Daaphne Sheldricks book and can’t wait to read it and reminisce about those gorgeous elephants.
    Thanks again. I think we’ll definitely be visiting Africa again so will definitely keep this website in mind for inspiration and share it with others! I know Lucia had a great trip in January with you so maybe we’ll try Mozambique next!!
    Oh and thanks for being honest about the mozzies-they don’t tell you that in the brochures!! I don’t think I’ve ever been bitten so much and my legs are horrific but hey all worth it!!
    Enjoy your future travels!

  • Carly
    May 26, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Hi Helen,

    Are both countries safe to travel alone or in a couple of two females? We are just trying to establish if we need an organised tour or if it possible to co-ordinate ourselves?



  • Lucy
    November 15, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Around what price range do you think a 3 weeks trip would cost excluding flights?
    Thanks in advance,

  • Pablo Pauli
    November 27, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Helen,

    Great post. Im planning on doing something similar next year. How were the trips between cities/towns? Do you remember how long it took you each?

    • Helen
      November 28, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Pablo,

      It depends how you travel however roughly:

      Nairobi to Mara – 6/7 hours by road
      Nairobi to Arusha – 7 hours by road
      Arusha to Serengeti – 6 hours by road
      Arusha to Bagamoyo – 11/12 hours by road
      Bagamoyo to Dar 1.5/2 hours by road
      Dar to Zanzibar – 1.75 hours by ferry

  • Meena
    December 24, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Helen, thanks for your post! My husband and I get limited time off so we’re planning a crazy trip for just 8 days in february (including travel) to Kenya. Originally we had planned to do Nairobi and Zanzibar but now I’m thinking should we only do Nairobi or only do Arusha/Serengeti in Tanzania. We want to do a safari, some hiking depending on weather, and are open to other activities. Can you suggest which are your top 2 cities and if we’d have time to do these activities? Thank you!

    • Helen
      December 27, 2018 at 10:51 am

      With 8 days, I would do Serengeti and Zanzibar.

      Nairobi and Arusha are great (Nairobi has lots to offer), Arusha is a busy city – I like it and have lots of friends there but I’d probs say that if you are short on time, just use it as a jumping off point to safari. There are a few nice things to do around Arusha/Moshi (Maasai village, hot springs, Materuni waterfall – but you could do those another time.

      You could (if you wanted) join part of my trip if the dates lined up?

  • Sana Najafi
    January 7, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Hi Hellen!

    Thanks for this! Was just wondering if you knew anything about buses from Nairobi to Dar directly? Currently working in NBO but want to take vacation to Dar and then Zanzibar. Have heard that buses might not be safe? Would love to hear your thoughts and if you could recommend any companies.



    • Helen
      January 7, 2019 at 11:38 am

      Hi Sana,

      I wouldn’t attempt it all in one go.

      Take the Impala or Riverside Shuttles to Arusha or Moshi and then take the Kiliamnajaro Express to Dar.

      Or maybe just fly – it’s not that expensive between Nairobi and Dar/Zanzibar and much quicker!

      Hope that helps.


  • Renée
    February 9, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    We love your itinerary and are currently trying to plan our trip loosely based on it. What form of transportation do you recommend? Are there buses or shuttles that you can take to get from point A to point B? Or will we have to take a private car or taxi? Just trying to consider our options. Any information can offer will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Helen
      February 9, 2019 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Renee,

      There are tons of small dala dalas/matatus (mini buses) between most locations, some bigger buses, ferry to Zanzibar. There’s info in the post about getting from Kenya to Tanzania too. You can get private transport too, however it’s a lot more expensive.

      Have a look at this post about getting around Tanzania. It’s pretty similar for Kenya.

      I also run a fab tour to Kenya and Tanzania, which is obviously the best way to travel! 😉

  • Robert Jackson
    May 27, 2019 at 9:35 am

    The blog is the best information and perfect kenya Tanzania is nice.
    Thank you for share us

  • Marline Noronha
    July 3, 2019 at 8:26 am

    My name is Marline…. we are planning to travel to Keny for a week… we would love to travel to Tanzania too…but we are informed that we have to take a vaccine for yellow fever which is not available at the country we are staying (Bahrain)
    I would like to know which one will be good to visit this time…..
    Moreover, i want to travel to Dar es Salam because my parents were there …till 1970…from there they settled in India.

    • Helen
      July 3, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      If you travel to Tanzania from Kenya, you will need a Yellow Fever certificate. If you go straight to Tanzania, you shouldn’t need a YF certificate.

      Hope that helps!


  • Marline
    July 4, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for your quick reply.
    Can you give a quote for 3 persons(adults) for Tanzania package.( traveling date with be 9th August, deptdep
    Also would like to know if we require to take YF vaccine as we will be traveling from Bahrain?
    Can i have you email ID where i can send you my requirements to quote pls.

    • Helen
      July 5, 2019 at 9:34 am

      Hi Marline,

      I’ve just emailed you! Please check your junk if you can’t see it!



  • Chris
    August 21, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Goodday Helen,

    CJ here, possible for you to share approx your total budget during your entire stay there.

    Thank you, ❤ from Malaysia.

  • Nicole
    January 2, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Hi Helen, great blog post! I was just wondering what kinds of vaccines I will need to take before my trip? Are there any you would strongly recommend? I’m from Canada.

  • Bobby
    January 20, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Hi !
    I have been reading your post a lot as me and my fiance are going to Kenya and Tanzania. I wanted to ask how would you suggest traveling from our Airbnb or Hotel to different excursions in Kenya? What would the safest route be.
    I also saw your comment on using The Impala and Riverside Shuttle companies to travel from Kenya to Tanzania. Wanted to know where we should have our drop of location as we wish to be close to Dar – E – Salaam to take the ferry to Zanzibar?
    Your help is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!

    • Helen
      February 1, 2020 at 11:51 am

      Hi Bobby,

      In Nairobi, taxis and Uber are a safe option. There are local mini busses (matatus) and piki pikis (motorbike taxis) but they are less safe.

      Then for everywhere else, there are big coaches, a train to Mombasa and the shuttle bus to Arusha/Moshi.

      The Impala/Riverside Shuttles should be taken to Moshi (which is 1.5/2 hours closer to Dar) and then you take a 12 hour bus to Dar. Kilimanjaro Express is good. Or you can get the ferry from Bagamoyo which is before Dar, book via Firefly Guesthouse.

      Hope that helps!


  • Giulia Russo
    February 29, 2020 at 8:36 pm

    Hi Helen,
    I read through your itinerary and it sounded just great. My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Kenya and Tanzania for July however we were very unsure whether we should go by ourselves and make a self made itinerary (which is what we normally do) or have it planned by a tour operator. To be honest, I never went on a organized tour and I’m very sceptical about those as I really enjoy to make my own trip and read through others’ experience. However, I read that it is not easy to travel through Africa without guidance. What would you recommend? Do you think it would be doable to organize it ourselves and, as you said, book the safaris on spot or do you think it’s better to go with guidance?
    I appreciated very much your comments and I think I will now become a regular guests of your blogs.

    Waiting for you reply, I wish you a great day.



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