On our honeymoon trip to Tanzania we knew we wanted to go on safari. We studied all the options and in the end we decided to go on a Safari of 5 days in Tanzania.

Differences between a 5-day and a 3-day safari?

During the 5 days on a safari, you have enough time to visit the most famous national park in Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park. Although some travel agencies offer the Serengeti on the 3-day safari, it does not make much sense to go to the Serengeti on a 3-day safari as you lose many hours of driving to get to the park. If you only have 3 days, it is better to do a safari in the parks closer to Arusha, such as Tarangire, Lake Manyara or Arusha National Park.

Which is the best agency to do a safari in Tanzania?

We saw that between agencies there were quite different prices, once there we realized that all the cars were more or less in the same place and all communicating with each other. It is true that hotels can change and some will be better than others, but in Tanzania there are about 3 categories of hotels. The cheapest are camping tents, the mid-range are quality hotels (what we did) and the premium ones (luxury and very expensive hotels).

We finally did it with a local agency and took the “mid-range” hotels, and it was fine. It was fine, although the first thing they told us when we arrived at the hotel in Arusha was that we had to pay tips to our guide. They even told us the amount per person, that surprised us a bit because you normally tip if the service was good but not before you start. So we had to add to the cost of the Safari (2.500 euros per person), about 150 US dollars in tips. In the end it came out to a little more than 2.650 euros per person with everything included (food, lodging, entrance fees to the parks…).

Our advice is to choose an agency that has an impact on the community and that does not keep all the money for the owners of the safari-company. If you are interested in doing a safari in a more sustainable way, please check it out all the following link:

What does the 5-day Safari in Tanzania consist of?

First day of Safari in Tanzania: Arusha Hotel – Tarangire National Park

We arrived in Arusha with Qatar Airways early in the morning. We took advantage of that day to rest at the hotel, visit Arusha (the truth is that there is not much to see) and buy a SIM card for internet.

The next day, we got up and left at 8am in a Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep 4×4.

The 4x4 car we had during the 5-day safari in Tanzania.
4×4 Safari Vehicle (Toyota Land Cruiser 70)

3 hours later we arrive at Tarangire National Park, the seventh largest in Tanzania and one of the most important in the country. At the entrance, our guide starts with the paperwork to enter but an internet problem delays us for 30 minutes. We take it well, we are in Tanzania on vacation. 30 minutes later, we are given the passes to enter the park and once inside, we see the first elephants, amazing!

To be so close to such large animals, to see how they eat, how they move, how they throw sand over themselves (they do it to cool off) and above all to see how they pass by your car without flinching. We got excited for the first time.

If you have seen elephants in other countries such as Thailand, we can assure you that seeing them in the wild like this has nothing to do with it.

We left the first elephants and continued on our route, we began to see other animals, zebras, wildebeests, gazelles and a lone lioness on top of a tree!

One of the first giraffes we saw during our 5-day safari in Tanzania.
Giraffe in the Tarangire National Park

The first day of safari is special, because everything is the first time, any animal is the first time, any landscape, any smell, everything is your first time.

We stop for lunch, Onesmo, our guide brings us food in tuppers. We enjoyed it very much and after about 45 minutes we continued with the safari.

The afternoon will be shorter because we have to get to the next hotel and the day in October is short, so we drive a few more laps and head back to the hotel. But not before seeing our first Leopard, on top of a tree.

The first leopard we saw during the safari was in Tarangire National Park and it was on top of a tree.
Leopard resting on a tree

As we leave the park, we come across several children who ask us for Chupa chupa (plastic bottles) while offering us Buyu, the fruit of the Baobab tree. We stopped the car and bought them a Buyu.

Two hours later we arrived at the hotel where we would spend the night.

Second day of Safari in Tanzania: Lake Manyara

The second day, we woke up at 7 am, had breakfast and set off towards Lake Manyara. That day, for us, was a day of formality to reach the famous Serengeti. Perhaps that is why our expectations were not very high, and you know that when you have low expectations, life surprises you, and it surprised us…. The second day was one of the best days of the 5 days we spent on safari in northern Tanzania.

Lake Manyara is denser in terms of trees than Tarangire or Serengeti Park, so visibility is lower, you have to follow the tracks and be patient.

We immediately found several elephants and giraffes, we were watching them, without any car around. The positive thing was that there were fewer tourists and therefore you could enjoy the animals more peacefully.

First Jurassic Park adventure

Following the track, we found a very large elephant, it was a male. He was alone, and he started to look at us. Basically, he surrounded us, us standing in the road, and him, walking around us. When he finished, he started to walk away from us but backwards, that is, he was walking away but with his eyes keeping eye contact with us. His behavior was a bit odd.

Onesmo, commented that this male was a bit “territorial”, and that’s why he was looking at us like that, and added, “if I start the car he will start following us”. And we said, “What? Okay, come on, let’s see if it’s true”. Onesmo starts the car and drives off, and we watch as the elephant begins to run after us. We couldn’t believe it, for a moment, we thought we were in the middle of the movie Jurassic Park when a Tinarosaurus Rex chases the tourists’ 4×4. Luckily, the elephant doesn’t eat humans, and seeing that Onesmo was having a great time, he had a mix between nervousness and excitement. Raquel, on the other hand, was 100% excitement.

You can watch the video on our IG.

But that was not the end of the surprises, a few minutes later, Onesmo was notified by walkie-talkie.

Sighting of lionesses eating

Onesmo did not tell us what was there, but warned us to be on the lookout. We went a little off the track and suddenly we saw two lionesses eating a buffalo. The lionesses looked at us, and when they saw that we were leaving a prudent distance, they continued eating their menu. We stayed 5 minutes, since it was a park ranger’s area and at first it was not possible to go there. The ranger was quietly cleaning his cottage less than 100 meters from the two lionesses.

Lioness eating a buffalo in Tarangire National Park

After so much excitement it was time for lunch, we stopped for a picnic inside the park and in an area set aside for this purpose.

We finished eating and headed towards the park exit. Raquel and I had already had the day done, we had seen lionesses eating, elephants up close, one of them had chased us, giraffes, in short, we were 100% satisfied when suddenly the magic appears again.

We were cut off by two elephants.

Two elephants, eating on the side of our road. Literally, super close, 2 meters away. Onesmo stops and we let them eat quietly while we observe their horns, trunk, skin, hairs, etc. Those were not aggressive/playful like the one that had chased us, those came closer to us, and started to eat next to us, it was as if they liked our presence, with our hand we could touch them because of how close they were.

The second day of the safari brought us many surprises, such as when two elephants blocked our way and we could not continue.
Our 4×4 with the two elephants cutting us off.

It is very difficult to convey what you feel at that moment, and as I write these lines I am getting goose bumps again.

After a few minutes they got right in front of the car and started eating in front of us, basically blocking the road and we couldn’t continue our journey until they decided to step aside and let us pass and go to our hotel.

As you can see, the Safaris are full of surprises, just the day we had less expectations, was one of the best days of our Safari.

Third day of Safari: We visit the Serengeti National Park.

That day we did many kilometers, as the Serengeti National Park is quite far from Arusha and Tarangire, that is why it is recommended to visit that park on a 5-day safari in Tanzania. Also, the roads are not like those in Europe, so we had to get up, again, quite early.

We leave towards Ngorongoro, Ngorongoro is a separate park from the Serengeti that you have to cross to get to the Serengeti.

That day we did not visit the Crater, but you do have to pay the entrance fee to the park as you cross it. At the entrance, while we were waiting for Onesmo to make the arrangements, some students asked us for some pictures, it seems that seeing Europeans made them laugh. Then Raquel asked the park ranger for a picture, a big guy with a lot of class who happily agreed.

Visiting a Maasai village: a regular experience

After crossing Ngorongoro, we reach the outskirts of the Serengeti Park. There we did some sightseeing and stopped for 1 hour in a nomadic Maasai village. I say touristy, because you have the whole town looking out for you, they show you a dance, then you buy handicrafts (they charged us a lot, by the way) and then you leave. I am convinced that everyone there commissioned, our driver, the village chief, the village guide who spoke to us in English.

It was a very quick visit, it is interesting because they tell you that they have 3 base camps and that they move around depending on the environment, if the animals have enough to eat or not. We enjoyed the visit, but it was nothing like the experience we had at the Original Masai Lodge. Masai Lodge where we did go among the Maasai and where we learned about the work of the NGO with which now we collaborate.

First impressions of the Serengeti

After the Masai village, we arrive at the park entrance and begin to see the first animals: ostriches, giraffes, rodents, hyenas (how ugly they are), and walking in the distance a solitary Leopard.

It is far away, you have to use binoculars, it is very imposing. His gait, his self-assurance, his expression. On the one hand you feel fascinated by it, it’s beautiful, but at the same time it inspires fear. The leopard walks slowly until it climbs a tree, where it will rest.

The Big Five: The Leopard in the Serengeti
A leopard during the 5 days Safari in Tanzania

That night we will sleep inside the park, in premium tents with bathroom and hot water.

This luxury campsite was the only place, that if you are not very brave, you can be a little scared/respectful. I’ll explain why. Basically the lodge is inside the park, and the animals live in the park, there is no natural barrier that prevents an animal from approaching your tent. We had no sense of danger, there was a worker watching the surroundings, we made a fire and at night a worker accompanies you to your tent. It was the most special night of the 5-day safari in Tanzania.

The next morning, Onesmo asked us if we had heard the male lion… We told him we had not. Fortunately or not, because he told us that he could hear quite a lot…..

Fourth Safari Day: Second day in the Serengeti National Park

Just outside the camp, a few meters away, a male buffalo challenging us with his gaze. Did you know that the buffalo is the animal that kills the second most humans ahead of the lion?

A bunch of hippopotamus in Serengeti.

We continued and a little further on, we came to a pool of water that smelled very bad, and there, all together and still, a group of 50 hippopotamus. The Hippopotamus is the most disgusting animal of the African savannah, they do everything there in the same space of dirty water, eat, relieve themselves, copulate etc, everything… disgusting.

After enjoying the hippos, we continue our safari in the Serengeti. Crossing the African savannah we came across a group of elephants lined up one after the other. We enjoy them, take some pictures and suddenly Onesmo is notified by walkie.

One of the best moments during the five days of safari

We move without knowing where we are going, it must be worth it…. Suddenly, we swerve, see a tree, stop the engine and see in front of us a family of lions! Two adult females, one adult male and three young. We are 10 meters away and the family is still unmoved by our presence, it can’t be, what’s wrong, we don’t exist? Why don’t they react? Do they know we are not a danger to them? We are incredulous, nature surprises us again.

We stay there for about 10-15 minutes, cars are arriving, and we see that the engine noise bothers them, but they are still there. Suddenly the cubs ask the mother lioness that they want to eat, they start to suckle. Here a very surprising thing happens, the other adult lioness starts to caress and cuddle the mother lioness who is nursing her cubs. We fell in love with how they take care of each other.

The precious moment ends when a driver starts the engine and when he makes a noise, the lion wakes up, gets up and passes through the middle of the cars and moves away from us.

We stayed a few more minutes, but the lions decided to move away. There are too many of us and the engine of a car has disturbed them.

Before leaving the park, we had time to see a couple of cheetahs resting in the shade.

We had the last day left of our 5-day safari in northern Tanzania and we already had the feeling that we had seen all the animals we wanted to :).

Safari Day 5: Ngorongoro Conservation Area

On the last day of the 5-day safari in Tanzania, it was time to visit the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the most impressive sites in Africa.

Ngorongoro is a protected nature reserve considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1979) and famous for being one of the places where you can see the famous Big five.

Of the Big Five, the only animal we had yet to see was the Rhinoceros. And it was to arrive below the crater and see several cars standing looking far away with binoculars at a crater wall. We could not see anything, Onesmo told us that he saw that there was a Rhinoceros, but even with binoculars we could not see it… After several attempts, we saw it, half hidden in a bush. It was a bit frustrating because it was the only animal we were missing and it was so far away that it was impossible to take pictures of it. We opted to continue our safari convinced that we would see it again at some other time and closer, but it was not the case.

The crater itself is a beautiful area, mixing savannah with forest on the walls of the volcano. It is very curious to see how such a large ecosystem has formed inside the volcanic walls.

We wandered around the crater seeing zebras, wildebeest, hippos, and hyenas running around looking for food. It was a curious moment, they were running and the rest of the animals were looking at them to see what they were doing. In the end they moved away and we were left without seeing if they found any animals to eat.

Before lunch, we started to drive back to Arusha, the Safari had come to an end.

Summary: 5 days of safari in Tanzania

The truth is that the safari we did is an unforgettable experience. From the first day we disconnected from the problems we brought from Barcelona, the feeling of traveling and being far away from home is given from the first minute.

For those who really want to disconnect, a safari in Tanzania is a highly recommended option. At all times you have impacts that do not allow you to return to your daily life at home.

Is a 5-day safari enough? Is it worth it if we only have 10 days to visit Tanzania?

We believe that a safari of 5 days is the ideal time since it allows you to visit the Serengeti with a minimum of time and tranquility. You also visit other smaller parks that surprised us a lot, such as Lake Manyara.

In case you don’t have time, a 3-day safari can be a very good option, and with a little luck you will see the same animals that you could see in 5 days.

How can I book a 5 day safari in Tanzania?

Whether you want to do a 5 days safari, a 3-day safari, or any other activity in northern Tanzania. In Trip to help we collaborate with an NGO that organizes private tours, experiences and safaris in Tanzania. It is a much more responsible way to travel as the money stays in the community and thanks to this the children of the poorest families can go to school, learn English and eat every day. We didn’t do the safari with them, we met them right after the safari ended. But we spent several days staying at the Masai Lodge and were able to see all the projects and even met the founder.

Every tourist that comes with us means work for the Maasai community and means that the profits go entirely to the NGO’s schools, orphanage and medical centers. So if you want to travel and at the same time, help, you have on the web several alternatives for safari or other highly recommended experiences.

It is a trip that can be done with children, and in fact, children pay less. An adult is considered to be 16 years old or older, but for example if your children are between 5 and 12 years old, the price of the safari is half that of an adult. If your son or daughter is between 13 and 16 years old, they pay 75% of the adult price.

  • Book a 5-day safari through Trip to Help and contribute directly to community development.
  • Do you want to extend your stay and, in addition to a safari, go on a Maasai dive? In this link you have other routes that include safaris + social immersion + solidarity tourism.
  • If you want to go on a 5-day safari, with Maasai immersion, see the NGO’s projects, and enjoy a few days on the beach in Zanzibar, take a look at this 15 days in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

Calculate the cost of travel insurance to Tanzania

With Chakpa, if you book through our link we give you a 7% discount:

Or with IATI, if you book through our link, you will have a 5% discount on any insurance.

iati insurance 5% discount

Booking through our links helps us to maintain our blog and our Trip to Help project. We will be very grateful 🙂

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