Tanzania Cycle Safari Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Tanzania
Programmes:
Cycling Adventures
Trip Code:
MYB
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

15 Days Flight Inclusive
13 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

For centuries people have explored the lakes and plains of East Africa on two feet. We explore this incredible region on two wheels. Starting from Arusha we cycle out across banana and coffee plantations before entering the Great Rift Valley and the grasslands where Masai cattle graze. After spending time at a homestead we swap our bikes for 4WDs and go on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. The final days of mountain biking are hugely rewarding as we ride to Lake Natron and the awe-inspiring active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai, passing only Masai with their cattle and the wildlife they live alongside.

At a Glance

10 nights full-service camping and 2 nights hotel Campsites vary in services The hotel in Arusha is comfortable with en suite facilities

Trip Highlights

An exciting and challenging ride to remote and wild parts of Tanzania. Great wildlife viewing in the natural sanctuary of Ngorongoro Crater. Leave the safari groups behind, and cycle into the landscape of volcanoes and crater lakes. Explore the shores of Lake Natron, a vast soda lake at the bottom of the Rift Valley.

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions This trip is classified off-road and graded B/C. Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure for more important information on classification and grading. Av. daily distance: 50km (35m) Terrain and Route: 90% off-road. A remote cross-country trip which mostly follows dirt roads/tracks, mainly on rolling hills; some sections will be sandy and dusty. The descent down to Lake Natron is more technical with spectacular views. For off-road cycling trips of grade 3 and above, we strongly recommend that you have some off-road cycling experience: this should include some (gentle) ascents and descents over loose or rutted surfaces.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Arusha.

    Start Arusha; morning briefing, the afternoon is free to relax after your flight, lie by the pool or explore the town.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Dinner
  • Day 2

    Cycle west across the Monduli mountain range, dropping down to Meserani.

    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.

    Cycle approx. 40-60km
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • Day 3

    Cycle 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 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.

    Cycle approx. 60-80km
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 70 km / 43 miles
  • Day 4

    Rift Valley Wall hike; visit Maasai homestead.

    A morning hike up the mountain behind the campsite offers some spectacular views over the Rift Valley and across to Manyara National Park. 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 Maasai homestead to visit some of our Maasai friends and gain some insight into their lives in the Rift Valley. We return to the camp late afternoon.

    Cycle approx. 20-30kms
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • 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 Maasai 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.

    Cycle approx. 50km
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • 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 Maasai 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 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.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • 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 (site visit is an optional extra). We then drive on to Naabi Hill, which marks the boundary between Ngorongoro and Serengeti - the Maasai'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.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • 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. Lobo camp is close to Lobo Wildlife Lodge and if time allows it is possible to stop in there for a drink at their bar.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 9

    Cycle down the eastern edge of the park through Maasai villages.

    We get back on the bikes today. It is about an hour’s drive to the national park gate and on to the point where we start cycling. The next two days will be on dirt road with some sandy, rocky and corrugated sections. The route today is rolling, with two moderate climbs, one of which is quite rocky. You will be glad to be back in the saddle again as today’s ride is on the edge of the game park we may see more wildlife en route, as well many colourfully-dressed Maasai. We set up camp late afternoon at a local campsite in the little town of Wasso. The campsite is basic but comfortable and has a bar.

    Cycle approx. 40-50km
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 45 km / 27 miles
  • Day 10

    Spectacular ride down to Lake Natron and Ol Doinyo Lengai.

    Today is a 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 a number of rocky and corrugated sections. We need to do as much of the riding before our lunch stop at 1pm as possible, before the heat sets in. After lunch for those who would prefer not to ride further, we’ll pack the bikes on the vehicle and transfer to Lake Natron, stopping on the way at the top of the Rift Valley escarpment to admire the spectacular view. For those who continue on the bikes, the riding is tough – very rough roads and very hot. There is more up and down before coming to the top of the Rift Valley escarpment. The descent is on a rocky, 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.

    Cycle apporx. 50-100km depending on the group
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 70 km / 43 miles
  • 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. 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, very steep climb. Anyone considering the climb must have proper hiking boots, warm all-weather gear, gloves, good headlamp and poles. Camping back at Lake Natron campsite.
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 12

    Transfer to Arusha.

    Return to Arusha. It is a long drive of approximately 5-6hrs, and is also quite dusty! 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 many want to sleep whilst we drive the final 2hrs back to civilisation. We return to our comfortable starting hotel.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 13

    Free day in Arusha to explore the city; end Arusha

    A free morning in Arusha: there is time to explore the town and pick up some last minute souvenirs or just spend the day relaxing by the pool and recalling your wonderful adventure over the last few days.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Camping & Hotel

This trip features 10 nights of fully serviced camping and 2 nights in a hotel. The campsites 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 from GBP350

Single supplement from £475.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

all breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners.

The food is excellent throughout the safari 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.

Transportation

We travel in 4X4's that comfortably carry 5 to 8 passengers. There is a roof hatch, which greatly enhances game viewing. A support vehicle carries the camping equipment. There is 95% vehicle support while cycling. Airport transfers and other transfers are by private minibuses and mostly on tarmac roads.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

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.

Weather Information

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 35ºC 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 zero in June, July and August, due to the altitude.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start:
Arusha
Location end:
Arusha

What to Take

Essential Equipment

We recommend you bring the following items: Normal daily clothes Padded cycling shorts Cycling gloves Breathable cycling top Cycling helmet (compulsory on this trip) A couple of warm layers Sunglasses, sun cream and sunhat Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling Cleated shoes and pedals if you use them We would strongly recommend a Camelbak or other bladder style water systems for this trip, but you are welcome to bring a water bottle instead if you prefer Sleeping bag for camping (any bag is adequate for December - February; 3 seasons bag for June - October), wet wipes, sun-cream, warm clothes for the cold nights and a head torch.

A quality local hire bike is now included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.

2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.

3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment

4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

 

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

Cyclists and local settlement near Arusha

Practical Information

Passport

Tanzania

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

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 USD50 cash, whilst for US citizens it is USD100 cash.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Tanzania

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. 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. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Malaria prophylaxis is essential on this trip, and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Tanzania's Timezone:
Africa/Dar_es_Salaam EAT (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Tanzania's Electricity:

230V, 50Hz. They use three flat pronged sockets.

Tanzania uses a mixture of round and square three pinned plug sockets.

Money

Tanzania's Currency

The national currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian Shilling (TZS), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 2675 to the UK£ and 2188 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

We recommend that you take most of your money in US dollars issued from 2009 or newer with the big head design.


Tanzanian shillings may not be imported or exported. There is no restriction on the import of foreign currency provided it is declared on arrival. On leaving Tanzania you may convert any amount of TZS into hard currency provided that you have a currency exchange receipt.

ATM Availability

Traveller's Cheques can also be changed in Arusha, but the rates are substantially lower than for cash and they are harder to change. If you do opt for Travellers Cheques these should either be from Thomas Cook or American Express, as cheques from lesser-known banks may not be accepted.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend that you take most of your money in Sterling, Euros or US Dollars cash. US dollar bills should be no older than 2003 issue. These currencies can be changed easily in Arusha or at Kilimanjaro airport. Bring a sensible mix of denominations, and it is useful to bring a small amount in cash US Dollars. After leaving Arusha at the start of the trip there are very few opportunities to change money.

Tipping

We recommend about US$150-200 (£100-130) to cover the drivers, guides, cook and camp assistants. Although the amount might sound relatively high, there will be a considerable number of staff looking after you and working hard to ensure that you fully enjoy the trip and don't have to lift a finger when you are not cycling. This is of course only a recommendation and totally at your own discretion.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.