The Ultimate 10 Day Tanzania Itinerary

If your planning your first trip to Africa, and wanting to see the very best that Tanzania has to offer we have put together what we believe to be the ultimate 10 day Tanzania itinerary.

We spent significant time researching our recent trip to Tanzania. This Itinerary is the very best of what we saw and recommend.

From its beautiful tropical coastline, bustling cities, sampling delicious foods and of course going on safari to the countries famous national parks.

This itinerary is full of great destinations packed with variety that allows you to experience the very best that the country has to offer.

10 Day Tanzania Itinerary

Dar Es Salaam (Day 1)

Dar es Salaam is a hustling bustling African city. It’s grungy, dirty but full of atmosphere. The streets are noisy, with the sounds of commercial life and African music.

If this is your first time in Africa be prepared for a little culture shock even for the most seasoned of travelers. That said we found it a great introduction to Africa and everyday Tanzanian life.

Things to do

Planning to spend a single day in Dar Es Salaam is probably enough to get a taste for what the city has to offer.  Other activities include visiting the Karikoo market, shopping for Kanga (African Garments) on Uhuru Street and checking out the fish market (next to the ferry terminal).

Where to eat

Be sure to checkout one of the many barbecue restaurants that line the streets after sundown. They serve delicious grilled Tandoori meats with freshly baked chapati flat bread.

Where to stay

If your looking for a place to stay. Check out the Chelsea Hotel located in the city centre close to the ferry terminal. The room was clean and tidy and included a great value buffet breakfast.

Barbecue restaurants that line the streets of Dar Es Salaam

One of the many Barbecue restaurants that line the streets of Dar Es Salaam – The Ultimate 10 day Tanzania Itinerary

Dar Es Salaam is the departing point for ferries to Stonetown and Zanzibar. Its international airport makes it a convenient place to enter Tanzania.

Stonetown, Zanzibar (Day 2 and 3)

Get up early and catch the ferry to Stonetown.

The capital of Zanzibar, Stonetown is the gateway to the island. Full of charm, rich in history and heaving with culture. Stonetown and Zanzibar are a must see for any travel Tanzania itinerary.

Stonetown is a maze of crumbing buildings, connected by narrow winding cobblestone streets, set against a palm lined shore promenade that frames the emerald blue waters of the Indian ocean. Famous as a spice trading town, its history has created a beautiful blend of cultures which express themselves through the mix of architectures, religions, garments and cuisines.

There’s plenty to do, see and eat so plan to spent a couple of days here to soak up all the atmosphere.

Stonetown Promenade

Stonetown Promenade – The Ultimate 10 day Tanzania Itinerary

Things to do

Wander the streets and just get lost in the maze of crumbling buildings and soak up the atmosphere.

Check out the beautifully carved wooden doors that typify Stonetowns architecture.

Visit the Old Fort, House of Wonders and the former slave market.

Catch the sunset either down on the promenade or if you’re feeling like splashing out head to the Africa House Hotel rooftop terrace for a drink.

Where to eat

After dark the Forodhani Gardens food market down on the promenade comes to life.

A little touristy and full of touts but among the hustle and bustle its possible to find locals cooking typical Zanzibar street food snacks and meals.

Try a Zanzibar Pizza or a Zanzibar mix, washed down with sugar cane juice.

A must visit is Lukmaan Restaurant. Very popular with travelers looking to get a taste of some cheap local food. Fortunately the restaurant maintains its local charm and serves delicious meals and drinks all day.

We ate there 3 or 4 times it was so good! The Chapatis are made fresh each morning. They have a big selection of fresh juices and there is a huge range of pastries and curries on offer. Don’t miss it!!!

Lukmaan Restaurant, Stonetown, Zanzibar

Lukmaan Restaurant, Stonetown, Zanzibar. Delicious and cheap local food – The Ultimate 10 day Tanzania Itinerary

Where to stay

We stayed at Swedzan House located just south from the heart of the city. A short walk to all the attractions and restaurants also close to transport connections to other parts of Zanzibar.

We recommend going for a room on the upper floors. Downstairs the rooms aren’t so great.

Paje, Zanzibar (Day 4 and 5)

Be sure to visit the beaches of Zanzibar. Plan to spend a minimum of 2 nights soaking up the beach vibe.

Many people head north for the beaches around Kendwa. We preferred the more relaxed feel of Paje on the east coast of the Island.

Located only 1 hours Dala Dala ride on the main road east of Stonetown. Paje is an easy going beach resort town with beautiful powdery white sands and milky azul waters.

Paje Beach at low tide with seaweed farmers in the background

Paje Beach at low tide with seaweed farmers in the background – Ultimate 10 day Tanzania Itinerary

Things to do

The main beach is great for swimming at high tide. Paje is also popular with kite surfers when the wind picks up in the afternoons. Several kite surfing shops along the beach offer lessons.

Paje is also a great place to see Zanzibars famous seaweed farmers. At low tide local women wade into the shallow waters to sew and harvest seaweed. The whole scene makes for some great photo opportunities.

Where to eat

For good quality meals and drinks be sure to check out Mr Kahawa right on the main beach. Its a very popular travelers hangout open for breakfast and lunch.

For budget friendly options checkout the Summer Dream Lodge (see below). We found the food to be the best value in Paje. They serve lots of local and traveler favorites. Be sure to try the banana and date smoothie with coconut milk!

Where to stay

If your on a budget a great place to stay is the Summer Dream Lodge. About 10 minutes walk north of the main beach this is a very well run lodge that ticks all the boxes those looking for a relaxing place to stay for a few days.

We’ve written the detailed post Best Place To Stay in Paje, Zanzibar On A Budget for more information.

Arusha (Day 6 and 7)

Arusha is a popular base for excursions to the Parks of the Northern Circuit and Mount Kilimanjaro. For the most part it serves as a base for organizing Safaris and Treks. The city itself has a lovely charm and some great places to eat. Its certainly worth spending a day exploring the city and its markets.

Flying direct from Zanzibar to Arusha is a great time saving option. There are some great value flights available on Skyscanner, especially if booking well in advance.

Tip: Kilimanjaro airport is notorious for taxi drivers seriously over charging unsuspecting tourists. Its not uncommon to be charged USD $50 for the relatively short trip to the city. To save the hassle we recommend organizing pickup with your accommodation before arrival.

Things to do

Arusha has a more relaxed vibe and cooler climate to the much larger Dar Es Salaam and is a great way to experience urban African life at a slower more comfortable pace.

The city lies at the base of Mount Meru and there’s some great views of the mountain on a clear day from the city streets. A nice way to experience the city is wandering through the Jacaranda lined streets to the east of the main city and drop into one of the popular expat hangout Georges Tavern for a cool drink on your way.

If your looking for some good value souvenirs be sure to check out the Masai Market located on Fire rd south east of the city centre. They have good value wood carvings and garments.

Be sure to check out a few of Arushas great eateries…

Where to eat

There are some great food options in Arusha. Our favorite was Hot Plate Indian restaurant. Which has one of the best Thali’s we’ve tasted out side of India. Its cheap, delicious and servings are generous.

Indian Thali at Hote Plate 2 in Arusha

Indian Thali at Hote Plate 2 in Arusha – Ultimate 10 day Tanzania Safari

Other favorites include khans BBQ which is run by the 3 Khan brothers. Their mechanic workshop by day, at night their convert it into a sizzling bbq of tandori meats and fresh salads and sauces. Its a popular place with tourists and locals. The brothers are all really friendly and the service is great!

Georges Tavern also offer some very tasty food options.

Where to stay

We recommend staying at the Wakawaka hostel or Wakawaka House in Arusha. Both have excellent locations within walking distance to the city. David who manages both properties is a great source of information. Especially if you’re looking to organise a safari or climb mount Kilimanjaro.

The room includes a cooked breakfast each morning. Other meals are available from the kitchen.

If your looking to organize a safari from Arusha be sure to check out our post ‘How To Plan A Tanzanian Safari On A Budget‘.

Another great place we stayed thats highly recommend in Mambo Arusha Hostel. This is a fantastic guest house with clean and tidy rooms and fantastic food! The only downside is its far from the city centre.

Safety Tip: Arusha streets get very dark by night. When out late be sure to organize taxis from your accommodation or restaurant to get around.

Mambo Arusha Hostel - A very well run guest house outside of Arusha

Mambo Arusha Hostel – A very well run guest house outside of Arusha -Ultimate 10 day Tanzania Itinerary

Learning to cook Tanzanian vegetable curry

Learning to cook Tanzanian vegetable curry in the kitchen of Mambo Arusha Hostel – Ultimate 10 day Tanzania Itinerary

Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater (Day 8, 9 and 10)

Any trip to Africa really needs to include a Safari of some sort. Africa is after all famous for its magnificent national parks and Tanzania is blessed with some of the continents finest. Among the best is the legendary Serengeti National park and equally magnificent Ngorongoro Crater.

Both these parks are full of Wildlife and there are almost guaranteed sightings of Lions, Buffalos, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos and if your lucky Rhinos, Leopards and Chettahs. Both parks are set in stunning surroundings. The Serengeti in quintessential African Savannah shaded by Acacia trees and the Ngorongoro crater conservation area is a huge ancient volcanic caldera.

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area Volcanic Caldera

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area Volcanic Caldera – Ultimate 10 Day Tanzania Itinerary

Elephant in Serengeti National Park

Elephant grazing on the Serengeti Savannah

Giraffe bending down by road side in Serengeti National Park

Giraffe bending down by road side in Serengeti National Park

There is huge variety of Safaris types available, mostly dependent on budget, the level of comfort and where is the park you want to go.

Prices for some Safaris can be can be extortionate so if looking to keep to a budget it can be a bit of a challenge.

There are however plenty of good quality affordable options available so don’t be put off. Like we discovered, it’s really achievable to go on Safari on any budget.

For more detailed information on how to organize a safari to the Northern Circuit on ANY budget see our post ‘How To Plan A Tanzanian Safari On A Budget‘.

Mount Kilimanjaro (Extra Time)

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a HUGE draw card for tourists to Tanzania. If you feel up for the challenge it is excellent way to experience a very unique part of the African Continent.

The climb usually takes between 6-10 days depending on the route you take and your budget.

Climbing Kilimanjaro takes time to prepare for and climb. If however you have an extra 10 days its certainly something worth considering. I know if I return to Tanzania it will be first on my list of things to do.