Northern Circuit Driving Safari

Tanzania's northern safari circuit by road. Explore Arusha, Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. Connecting the dots by road helps keep a lid on costs without missing out on the best that Tanzania has to offer.
8 Days

Northern Circuit Driving Safari - 8 - $4,186

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Arrival into Kilimanjaro Airport, Meet & Greet, transfer to Arusha. Activities dependant on flight arrival time. 

Day 2: Transfer to Tarangire National Park. Afternoon safari in Tarangire.  

Day 3: Safari in Tarangire National Park. Optional night game drive and walking safari.  

Day 4: Visit Mto Wa Mbu village and local market. Game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. Transfer to Karatu.

Day 5: Transfer to the Serengeti National Park. Afternoon safari in the Serengeti. 

Day 6: Safari in the Serengeti National Park. 

Day 7: Transfer to the Ngorongoro Crater. Full day safari in the Ngorongoro. 

Day 8: Return to Kilimanjaro International Airport

Is this trip right for me? 

Every trip to Tanzania is different. At Brilliant Africa, our job is to help you find a trip that matches your dreams, budget, and appetite for luxury and adventure.

The trip below is one example of what's possible, but get in touch with our team, and we'll help you understand if it's right for you. We can use this trip as a starting point, or we can start with a blank sheet of paper and design a trip that's perfect for you. 

Landmarks potentially visited on Northern Circuit Driving Safari


The itinerary below is designed to give you an overview of the route. Get in touch with our team for a full travel itinerary, or to create a tailor-made trip. 

Day 1: The Adventure Begins!

Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro Airport, you will receive a Meet and Greet before being transferred to your hotel in Arusha. Here you can rest up after your international flight and and meet your guides who will talk you through the plan for the adventure to come.

Depending on your international flight arrival time, you could head straight to Tarangire on arrival. Alternatively, there are some wonderful local activities around Arusha and the Kilimanjaro area if you want to take the day to explore. 

Overnight at Katambuga House

Days 2-3: Tarangire National Park

After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel in Arusha, begin your journey through Northern Tanzania as you drive to Tarangire National Park with a private vehicle and guide.    

Tarangire is renowned for its elephant population, you'll find huge herds here. The Silale Swamp acts like a sponge during the rainy season, and slowly releases the water during the dry season, the result is a mass influx of wildlife to Tarangire over the dry season (June - September). The park has a really unique landscape, and an abundance of baobab trees (not easily found anywhere else in northern Tanzania). It's also the only park on the northern circuit where night drives are permitted, so you get the chance to see some of Tanzania's nocturnal animals (porcupines, genets, civets, bush babies, and much more).

Exploring the park with your own private vehicle and guide means you can control the pace and direction of your safari. Your expert guide can help you maximise your safari experience. 

Overnight at Acacia Tarangire Luxury Camp

Day 4: Lake Manyara National Park

After breakfast, jump back in the jeep and drive to Mto wa Mbu (1h30) for a quick stop at the local market. Continue to Lake Manyara National Park, located right at the bottom of Great Rift Valley escarpment. The park encompasses various ecosystems including forest and savannah, and the alkaline lake is teeming with wildlife. You will roam around most of the day in search of the famous tree-climbing lions!

In the late afternoon, continue to Karatu for overnight at your lodge. 

Overnight at Heart & Soul Lodge. 

Day 5-6: Serengeti National Park 

This morning you will drive west into the vast Serengeti National Park, game driving through the park towards the camp. Spend the next couple of days on safari in the Serengeti with your private vehicle and guide. 

Note: to track the herds of the Great Migration, where you stay in the Serengeti will depend on your travel dates. This itinerary includes Central Serengeti, but depending on your travel dates you might wants to visit the North or South. Our team can help you understand which option is right for you.    

Overnight at Hippo Trails Camp

Day 7: Ngorongoro Crater

After breakfast, complete your journey through northern Tanzania as you head into the Ngorongoro Crater. What once was a fiery, lava strewn, inhospitable area is now home to 25,000 large animals, including lion, black rhino, elephant, and giraffes. 

You'll want to leave the Serengeti early to maximise your time in the crater. After a day on safari in the Ngorongoro, transfer to Karatu for overnight at your lodge. 

Overnight at Baghayo Garden Suites.

Day 8: Return Home

As your adventure draws to a close, transfer to Kilimanjaro International Airport to connect with your international flight home. 

Day rooms can be arranged depending on your international flight times. 

Prices and Inclusions

Prices are per person based on two people travelling together. Travelling during peak season will incur higher rates. 

For a tailor-made itinerary built around your interests and budget, get in touch with our team

Prices are likely to increase by at least 10% for the 2024 season. Rates are confirmed mid-way through the year. Book now and we will not charge you more than this 10% increase. If the price is eventually confirmed as lower than a 10% increase, we will charge you this lower rate.

Small adjustments to accommodation choices, routes, and activities can make a big difference to the cost of a trip in East Africa. Our team can create a tailor-made trip to suit your budget. 

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  • Domestic flights.
  • All road transfers and airport pickups/drop-offs.
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary. Accommodation can be amended based on budget and preferences.
  • All camping equipment where necessary.
  • Fees for guides, scouts, drivers, and cooks.
  • All entrance fees as per the program.
  • Meal plan full board.
  • Fees for all activities as per the program.
  • Conservation charge. 


  • International flights and visa fees.
  • Activities not mentioned or stated as optional in the itinerary.
  • Other personal expenses, souvenirs, tips and gratuities, etc.

Questions about this Trip?