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Cycle Safari Tanzania TOP015 5

 

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Cycle Safari Tanzania

While centuries of explores have trodden the paths of East Africa on two feet, on this adventure, you’ll explore this amazing region on two wheels!

The Cycle Safari Tanzania starts in Arusha and over fourteen days takes you through some spectacular parts of Tanzania.  Crossing banana and coffee plantations, plains and grasslands you’ll explore the Great Rift Valley, the Ngorongoro Crater, and the famous Serengeti.

For tougher patches where bikes can’t reach you’ll swap two wheets for a 4WD.  But don’t worry, it’s back on the bike for the final days as you ride to Lake Natron and the hugely rewarding views of Ol Doinyo Lengai, an active volcano.

You’ll drive into Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a designated area managed for both the wildlife and the Masai who graze cattle there. On some of the days you’ll have a local Masai guide who will share information about his people, their history, and their way of life.  You’ll visit Masai home-stays and have the chance to get some insight into life in Tanzania.

Trip highlights

  • Amazing wildlife sightings on the bike like giraffe, ostrich, and even elephant
  • Cycling among the Masai
  • Star gazing at night as you camp in remote areas – including the rim of a volcanic crater
  • 90% off roading and rolling dirt tracks as well as some sandy sections and technical rides
  • Visiting the area where remains of human’s earliest ancestors have been discovered
  • Tasting authentic African cuisine while visiting home stays
  • Seeing all the big game while on safari:  elephants, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lions, and perhaps the elusive cheetah and leopard

This cycle tour is usually small in size, with an average of 12 people.  It’s the perfect way to cycle through this challenging and gorgeous area.  You’ll get close to your fellow cyclists as you see and experience more than you thought possible in such a short time.

Itinerary:

Day 1 – Start Arusha

Day 2 – Cycle west across the Monduli mountain range, dropping down to Mezerani.
Starting from our Arusha lodging, we cycle a route through banana and coffee plantations before heading west towards the Monduli mountain range. Open farmland leads us past the foothills of the mountains. The earth here is known as ‘Black cotton’ and is very prone to erosion. We weave through various small valleys and Maasai homesteads as we traverse the foothills. We will be carrying a packed lunch to re-energise at a convenient point on the way. We camp tonight at the ‘Snake Park’, where there is an excellent display of local reptiles.

Day 3 – Cycling towards the Rift Valley and Selelai.
Cycling straight from our camp, the route follows the old tarmac road, which weaves back and forth over the new road. It is broken up a lot, and at times goes some distance away from the main road. After lunch, depending on the distance covered, we either get a lift or keep cycling straight towards the Rift Valley wall, which is seen in the distance, with Lake Manyara glistening at its foot. After Manyuki we follow the main road to the village of Selelai . This is open country, and giraffe, ostrich, gazelles and occasionally elephant are seen. We camp tonight at an attractive campsite on the edge of a Rift Valley mountain.

Day 4 – Rift Valley Wall hike; visit to Masai homestead.
A morning hike up the mountain behind the campsite offers some spectacular views over the Rift Valley and across to Manyara NP. Our Masai guide takes the opportunity to introducing us to the various medicinal plants that his tribe uses. We head back to camp for lunch. In the afternoon we cycle out to a local Masai homestead to visit some of our Masai friends and gain some insight into their lives in the Rift Valley. We return to the camp late afternoon.

Day 5 – Cycle to Mto Wa Mbu.
Departing from the campsite we cycle across the rift to the village of Mto wa Mbu. The Rift Valley wall is in sight all day as we cycle through a number of Masai homesteads. Possible sightings of wildlife as we cross over the open plains. We have our packed lunch under an acacia tree during the heat of the day before cycling on and arriving into camp late afternoon.

Day 6 – Ngorongoro Crater game drive; camp on crater rim.
Today all the bikes are packed onto our vehicles and we drive to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Ngorongoro is a special place in that it is a Conservation Area, not a National Park; which means that the whole area is managed for both the animals and the local Masai people who graze their cattle alongside the indigenous wildlife. After stopping at the entrance gate, where there is a chance to learn about this fascinating volcanic landscape, we drive around the rim of the Crater itself, from where we can look down and see herds of wildebeeste and elephant. Then we descend into the crater. The crater walls provide a natural sanctuary for the animals, which means there is plenty to see, lions, elephants, buffalo, rhino and, if we are lucky, leopard. The only animal we won’t see in here is a giraffe whose long legs are unable to cope with the steep sides of the crater. We drive up the crater wall in the afternoon and camp on the rim at Simba campsite.

Day 7 – Full day in the Serengeti, enjoying the wildlife.
After an early breakfast we have a spectacular drive down the outside of the crater and come to Oldupai Gorge, where the Leakey family unearthed the remains of some of man’s earliest ancestors. We then drive on to Naabi Hill, which marks the boundary between Ngorongoro and Serengeti – the Masai’s ‘Endless Plains’. We have the rest of the day wildlife spotting in Serengeti. Where we go depends on the time of year; we can spend time at the Hippo pool watching these majestic animals laze about in the cool water happily living alongside the crocodiles, watch a big pride of lions, be in the middle of the migration, sometimes surrounded by wildebeeste and sometimes by zebras. We journey from the wide open plains to the kopjes: these volcanic rocky outcrops provide protection and shelter for a wide variety of animals and from the top we can look out across the vast grasslands of the Serengeti. This stunnining landscape will provide us with the ultimate in game viewing, and we will hopefully see all the plain games; elephants, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lions and maybe the elusive leopard and cheetah, as well as huge amounts of interesting birdlife, from the elegant Secretary birds to the flightless ostrich. We spend the night in the middle of the plains at Seronera campsite.

Day 8 – Full day wildlife viewing; camp at Lobo.
Our second day in the Serengeti: again we will rise early and have a full day in the park, heading north and enjoying the animals and scenery as we go. This is a long day driving but there is plenty to see on the way. We camp tonight at Lobo camp, in a beautiful setting.

Day 9 – Cycle down the eastern edge of the park through Masai villages.
We get back on the bikes today. It is a short drive to the national park gate from where we can start cycling. The next two days will be on dirt road with some sandy sections. The route is rolling, and you will be glad to be back in the saddle again. As we are on the edge of the game park we may see more wildlife en route, as well many colourfully-dressed Masai. We set up camp late afternoon at a local campsite in the little town of Wasso.

Day 10 – Spectacular ride down to Lake Natron and Ol Doinyo Lengai.
Today is potentially our longest day of cycling. We cycle southwards through the hills bordering the Serengeti and down through an area populated by the Songo tribe, dressed in their bright orange attire. Our route is along a rough dirt road with some sandy sections and the countryside is as the previous day. We need to stop for an early lunch, after which we pack the bikes on the vehicle and we all get a transfer to the top of the Rift Valley escarpment overlooking Lake Natron, a spectacular view. The descent is on a gravel road with switchbacks, so a steady handlebar is necessary! The road descends steeply to the side of Lake Natron and then follows the lakeshore to a village. The road surface changes, becoming stonier, and requires more concentration. It is a real challenge to reach camp on the bikes but we will go as far as possible. Camp at the Lake Natron campsite.

Day 11 – Free day for relaxation.
Today is a free day to relax at Lake Natron Camp; we can sit and enjoy the view of the lake from the camp, which appears almost mirage-like in the distance. If we can convince the manager to fill the fresh water pool we can relax there with a cold beer! A short drive or walk to the lake is well worth it: the flamingos, pelicans and egrets are great. It is however VERY hot. Lake Natron is known as one of the world’s largest breeding grounds for lesser flamingos. A late afternoon walk to the local waterfalls is a great way to finish the day. The water is cool and refreshing, and you can almost swim in places. Some people have taken the opportunity to climb Ol Doinyo Lengai but this is a tough climb. Camping back at Lake Natron campsite.

Day 12 – Transfer to Arusha.
Return to Arusha. It is a long, dusty drive, approximately 6hrs. We follow the foothills of the Rift Valley wall over open plains on which also live the plains animals, a familiar sight by now. Once we reach the tarmac road you will all probably go to sleep as we drive the final 2hrs back to civilisation. We return to our comfortable starting hotel.

Day 13 – Depart Arusha
A free day in Arusha: there is time to explore the town and pick up some last minute souvenirs. This is the last day of the trip.

More Details

Additional Trip Notes:
Start and Finish: Various Dates from 24 August 2014 to 9 January 2016. See Dates and Rates tab for dates.
Start point: Arusha
Finish point: Arusha

Group Size:
This cycle safari Tanzania is a small group adult holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.

Activity Level:
For the cycle safari Tanzania you are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

Accommodation:
Fully services Camping (10nts)
Hotel (2nts)

The campsites for this cycle safari Tanzania may vary in facilities but mess tents, toilet and shower tents are available, provided water supplies are sufficient. The tents are mostly 3-man dome style from South Africa. You will have a 2′ foam mattress to sleep on.
Single supplement available (£400)

Meals:

The food on this cycle safari Tanzania is excellent throughout whilst camping; it’s surprising what the cooks can produce under very simple conditions. The food in the hotel is quite simple, but if something more special is wanted, there is the option of eating out in Arusha. Please note we can cater for most special dietary requirements, but you must advise on booking.
Allow USD30 (equivalent to approx. GBP20) for meals not included in the itinerary

Vaccinations and Visa
For this cycle safari Tanzania, most nationalities require a tourist visa for Tanzania, including British nationals, most EC nationals, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Canadians. The visa is available at the border and the cost for British and most other European Nationals is USD 50 cash, whilst for US citizens it is USD 100 cash.

Please note that although Tanzania does not officially require proof of Yellow Fever vaccination, at most airports and other points of entry you may be required to show a certificate of vaccination or an exemption certificate, so be sure to get it done before you start this cycle safari Tanzania. This includes coming from Europe via, or transiting through an endemic country including the airports of Nairobi (Kenya) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). If visiting Zanzibar from mainland Tanzania border officials have been known to demand proof of Yellow Fever vaccination or an exemption certificate. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes.

Weather & seasonality:
Tanzania lies just south of the equator and therefore is hot most of the year. Traditionally there are two wet seasons, long rains in April and May and short rains in November. However, in recent years weather patterns have been changing, and some rain can occur between December and February. During the long dry season from June to October rain is unlikely.

Between December and February it can be very hot, up to 35 deg C or above during the day, and nights are warm. Between June and October it will still be hot during the day, but it can be considerably cooler at night, and the night camping on the rim of the Ngorongoro crater can be close to 0 in June, July and August, due to the altitude.

 

   

Dates

 

Sun 19 Nov 17 – Fri 01 Dec 17

Price

From £2,759 per person excluding flights (date dependent).

What’s included?

  • All breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Local bike hire

What’s not included?

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request from £380)
  • Visas or vaccinations

Operator

“If you’re looking for a company with experience you can’t beat these guys. This operator started life in February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

For the company, and people who work for them “it’s all about adventure” which is what they were founded on and what they are still about today. Their trips take place all around the world where they help travelers to delve into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to a country’ unique identity.

We love that their groups and guides travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise the impact, to ensure that every holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.”

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