Get the best view of Tanzania’s landscapes from two-wheels – cycle in the shadow of Mount Meru in Arusha and ride alongside wildebeest in Lake Manyara.. Refuel for the ride with a cup of Tanzanian coffee. Roast, grind and taste your own in the village of Tengeru and get a closer look at local farm life.. Cycle where tourists rarely go, across the remote, barely charted plains of Lengai in the realm of vast grasslands and misty volcanic peaks.. The Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater are two of Africa’s very best wildlife arenas. Fall asleep to the sounds of the African night and take a safari in search of the rare black rhino.
Brimming with mighty predators and birds, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are must-visits for any Tanzania trip, but safaris are only the beginning. This unique cycling adventure has you cruising down Great Rift Valley escarpments, strolling through farm villages, roasting and grinding your own coffee, drifting off to sleep among nocturnal creatures, experiencing the culture of the Maasai people, pedalling far off the beaten track to trails where no cars go, and of course sipping sundowners at sunset. With a support vehicle at every step of the journey, take your time to discover Tanzania on two wheels.
Jambo! Welcome to Tanzania. Set in the foothills of Mount Meru, Arusha is the gateway to Tanzania’s incredible array of national parks, and at 1300 m above sea level, enjoys a temperate year-round climate. With no activities planned until your important group meeting at 6 pm, if you arrive early you might like to take a stroll to acquaint yourself with the town, or perhaps recover from your long flight with a cup of fair-trade coffee – Tanzania is renowned for its richly roasted beans. The Maasai Women Fair Trade Centre is a great spot to pick up some pretty handmade crafts to take back home, and the proceeds help the local women access education and healthcare. After the meeting, why not join your new cycling buddies for an optional dinner at one of Arusha’s many restaurants.
Arusha National Park
Departing Arusha early, climb aboard your support vehicle and head east to Usa River before heading north. From here you'll jump onto your bike for the first time and cycle north in the shadow of Mount Meru, through Arusha National Park. Today's ride is a tough introduction to riding in Africa as the roads are rough and at times hilly. All your hard work is worth it though as you enjoy the unique thrill of riding a bicycle through an African National Park – something few people ever experience. Arrive at your overnight destination, the Mkuru Training Camp, located in the foothills of Mount Meru. This small, low-impact community 'camp' is dedicated to research, education and training for the promotion of good practices in natural resources management.
Enjoy a relatively flat and level ride on unsealed road before hitting the tarmac and heading north (on the road that connects Kenya to Tanzania) to Longido. Once you meet the main road – which has surprisingly little traffic – you can enjoy a gentle mostly downhill ride for the remaining 40 kilometres to Longido itself. Longido is located on the outskirts of the Mount Longido Forest Reserve. Here you will interact with the famous Maasai people for the first time. Any cultural experience with the Masaai is a colourful affair and one you will remember for a long time. Those with some energy left can take an optional short hike along one of the many walking trails on Mount Longido.
Lake Natron & Ol Doinyo Lengai
Today is something unique – you'll brave the unpaved roads which cut west across from Longido to Lengai. These roads aren’t listed on internet maps and they're often in poor condition, so you'll be praising your front suspension. The amazing views and car-free environment, however, make it worth the effort. Travel across dry open plains with the Kerimasi, Gelai and Kitumbeine mountains in the distance as well as seven remarkable volcanos, the jewel being the spectacular ‘Ol Doinyo Lengai’, which means ‘Mountain of God' in the Maasai language. Close to your remote campsite is the shallow, salty Lake Natron. Often coloured bright pink or deep red due to algae, it is a mecca for the flamingo. Reaching temperatures above 40°C and with a similar acidity to ammonia, this is not a place to swim, but the view is certainly an interesting one.
Get as active or as relaxed as you like today. Take the bike and ride to the nearby Saitoti River to cool off in the natural plunge pools. Visiting Lake Natron is also a great option, it's located around 15 kilometres from your camp. Serious adventures can opt to climb Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano (2878 m), which means a very early start (midnight) in order to enjoy the epic sunrise views. While it requires no technical skills or equipment, the climb itself is challenging, long and steep, with large section of scree, and it does get cold in the early mornings. The key is to take the mountain slowly – you will hear the cries of 'pole pole' (slowly slowly) on a regular basis as your guide leads you up the mountain. While it is a sometimes technical, and always hard climb, the sunrise views from the top are truly superb, and you'll be one of the only climbers there.
Prepare for a long travel day as you leave Natron behind and climb the valley walls to the Rift Valley escarpment. First you will cycle a relatively flat section (approximately 40 km), with great views of Lake Natron itself. Here you'll climb aboard your vehicle and inch your way up the incline, gaining over a kilometre of elevation over this next section (approximately 50 km). There will of course be stops so you can take in the views and hopefully snap a picture of the unique Lake Natron one last time. The drive today follows the boundaries of the Serengeti National Park all the way up to Wasso, your destination for this evening.
You’ll be swapping two-wheels for four-wheels today as you leave Wasso behind and make the 3-hour drive to Serengeti National Park. Your afternoon game drive by overland vehicle puts you in the realm of some of Africa's mightiest predators. The rolling grasslands of the Serengeti, dotted with acacias, are perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don't be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your wildlife sightings from the day. In normal circumstances, you can expect to see four out of the Big Five game during your stay, however if you also spot the elusive rhino – count yourself incredible lucky. Your campsite tonight is basic but it's within the park itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal creatures as you drift off to sleep.
It’s an early start a you venture out for a sunrise game drive, followed by a second game drive in the afternoon. Between the two drives you can relax, just like the animals do, during this hotter part of the day. Enjoy a hearty meal during this break and perhaps take a siesta. Depending on wildlife movements and opportunities for sightings, however, the drive may continue through lunch and last all day. In this case, you will return to the lodge in the late afternoon. For an unforgettable experience this morning, you might like to take an optional sunrise balloon ride over the Serengeti.
Make tracks for the Ngorongoro Crater (approximately 4 hours), perhaps visiting Simba Kopjes along the way – an outcrop of rocks favoured by lions and cheetahs who can often be seen basking in the morning sun. On arrival, take in the amazing crater on a 4WD game drive. This is one of Africa's real natural treasures, often touted as a vast Garden of Eden. Within this crater lies every type of ecosystem, including riverine forests, open plains, freshwater and alkaline lakes. The scenery is spectacular as you descend almost 600 metres down to the crater floor. You are bound to see a variety of incredible wildlife here, and it's your best chance to spot the endangered black rhinoceros. Enjoy lunch by a lake – an area inhabited by hippopotamus, elephants, lions, and many others. Afterwards, head back up the crater walls to the National Park gate where you’ll get back on your bike and ride the undulating path to your campsite in Karatu.
Rift Valley escarpment
Jump back on your bike today and take on a hilly ride from your campsite in Karatu to your tented accommodation in the small trading town of Mto wa Mbu, next to the incredible Lake Manyara. While today’s ride seems short at only 35 kilometres, the constant uphill and downhill track will test your fitness and cycling skills. On arrival, rest your weary legs and perhaps reward yourself with a refreshing drink and celebrate today’s accomplishments with your fellow cyclists.
Ride distance - approx. 35kms
Rift Valley & Lake Manyara
This morning, ride to the northern shores of Lake Manyara, described by Ernest Hemingway as the 'loveliest I have seen in Africa'. Leaving the tarmac behind, you’ll cycle through small villages and plantations before emerging out onto the smooth lake flood plains where you’ll continue our ride to the lake’s edge. Keep your eyes peeled for the surrounding wildlife – if you’re travelling during the rainy season, you might see the abundance of birdlife flocking around the lake, including millions of flamingos, or if you’re lucky, even ride alongside wildebeest and gazelle. Leaving the lake behind, ride back through Mto Wa Mbu and on to the dusty tracks leading to a traditional Masaai village. Located between towering hills and with awesome views of the surrounding plains, this is an ideal place to enjoy lunch with the locals. After lunch, drive (or cycle if you want to!) back to Mto Wa Mbu.
Make the most of your last day on the bikes – but first, explore Lake Manyara National Park on a final game drive. Surrounded by the towering ridges of the Rift Valley escarpment, the lake is bordered by lush forest and, if you’re lucky, you may even spot the famous Lake Manyara tree-climbing lions, as well as elephants, baboons, and over 400 recorded species of birds. After lunch, get back on your bike and cycle the smooth and relatively traffic-free tarmac road to the Makuyuni junction before reboarding the vehicle and driving back towards Arusha. On the way, stop to enjoy a walking tour through the village of Tengeru and get a closer look at local farm life. You'll also learn how to roast and grind coffee before tasting the results of your hard work. Continue to Arusha with plenty of time to get cleaned up before enjoying an optional final night dinner with your fellow cyclists.