LED BY DR. FERYAL SALEM
January 8-14, 2023
Have the adventure of a lifetime with game rides in the two natural world wonders of Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Center where thousands of animals live. Explore Stone Town’s rich history and fusion of African, Arab, Indian, and Persian cultures that merged over centuries through the traders who inhabited Zanzibar. Enjoy the clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean and sail on wooden dhows to Zanzibar’s offshore islands.
We would love to have you with us on this once in a life time experience and help you to register. Please send an email to
Day 1 January 8
Jambo and Karibu! Welcome to Stone Town, the oldest continually inhabited city in East Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its distinct cultural fusion of African, Arab, Indian, and Persian cultures.
Stone Town is called Mji Mkongwe in Swahili which means “ancient town” and was built on a triangular area on the western coast of the island of Zanzibar. Stone Town also played a major role in the resistance to slavery after having been a center of the East African slave trade from the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. Zanzibar was a center of trade between Africa and Asia, particularly Arabia, Iran, and India making its wooden dhows and seafaring culture a distinguishing feature of this island.
We will start at 10:00 am in the hotel lobby to begin our walking tour of a fascinating maze of narrow streets and alleyways strewn with bazaars, forts, historic buildings, and places of worship. We will visit Christian and Hindu centers as well as the Shia, Ismaili, and Sunni mosques that reveal a rich history of the diverse peoples who have traversed this ancient city. As Zanzibar is 90% Muslim we will focus on the history of Islam on the island and tentatively schedule a visit to a Muslim girl’s school to meet students and learn about their curriculum.
We will also visit the East Africa Slave Trade Museum that highlights the role that Zanzibar played as a center of the East African slave trade during the era of European colonialism from the fifteenth centuries through the nineteenth centuries.
We will learn more about the brutality of the legacy of slavery in this time and the various slave traders including the Omani Arabs, African tribal leaders, British, and Portuguese who were a part of this painful legacy in the region. The altar in the Anglican Cathedral that was built on top of the old slave market where slaves were auctioned as well as the powerful slave monument constructed outside of it will be essential stops in our tour of Stone Town.
After our walking tour of Stone Town, we will stop for a lunch break followed by a trip to a Spice Farm where we will have a hands-on experience of the smells and tastes of the spices that made Zanzibar a center of trade in the Oceanic Sea routes. We will observe various spices, herbs, fruits, and natural medicines as they grow in their natural elements before they are dried for sale.
After our trip to the Spice Farm, you will have the rest of the day free for dinner, rest, or further exploration of Stone Town on your own.
- Stone Town Walking Tour
- Zanzibar Religions Tour
- Slave Museum and Monument
- Spice Farm
Day 2 January 9
Zanzibar to Serengeti
Today we will take a local flight from Zanzibar to mainland Tanzania and begin our three-day Safari experience. It is approximately a one-hour flight from Zanzibar to Arusha Airport. All large luggage must be left at our hotel in Stone Town. We will need to only bring a duffle bag or small carry-on for our Safari trip since the game ride cars have limited space for bags.
Arusha National Park is located in the northwest part of Tanzania and is on the outside of the major Safari parks in the area. Once we arrive in Arusha, we will make our journey towards the world-famous natural wonder, Serengeti National Park.
We will have an approximate 5-hour drive to this natural wonder while we also have a game ride en-route where we will stop to view the zebras, elephants, giraffes, and countless other animals on our way to checking into our luxury tents in the heart of Serengeti National Park.
On the road, we will stop at a Maasai Village to learn about Maasai culture and peoples. They are a semi-nomadic peoples indigenous to this part of Africa. Members of the Maasai tribe live in the regions of northern Tanzania and Kenya. Maasai arrived in the Ngorongoro area about 200 years ago. Their strong insistence on traditional dress and customs interests many foreigners. As of today, there are approximately 42,000 Maasai pastoralists living in Ngorongoro with their cattle, goats, and sheep. Their presence is an important difference between Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the other national parks of Tanzania where humans are not allowed to live. Here we will have an opportunity to meet the Maasai people on their own terms and learn about their culture and social structure.
Lodging will tentatively be at Matawi Serengeti Camp (or similar) where we will sleep under stars in luxury tents in the heart of Serengeti. Special attention will be given to arrange halal meals by the cooks at the camps and throughout our Safari experience.
- Local flight from Zanzibar to Arusha.
- Visit to Maasai Village
- Game ride en-route to Serengeti National Park via Ngorongoro
Day 3 January 10
Serengeti National Park
Today is a full day for game viewing, with the morning and afternoon game-drives searching for great animal migrations, as two million animals move between Serengeti and Ngorongoro annually. Serengeti National Park is arguably the most famous region for Safari in the world with its thousands of annual visitors coming to observe its wildebeests, cheetahs, lions, zebras, and much more.
Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest park, and one of the world’s last great wildlife refuges, giving it a World Heritage Site status. Serengeti is unrivaled in its natural beauty and density of wildlife. Among its famous sites is the annual migration of over one million wildebeests and 200,000 zebras to Ngorongoro for breeding. The park covers 5,700 square miles of grassland plains and savannah as well as riverine forest and woodlands. It lies north of Tanzania and crosses into Kenya where it has contiguous land with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. While access to this rare nature preserve is difficult, having spent the day before traveling to the heart of Serengeti while also having two overnights there will allow for a once in a lifetime Safari experience.
We will return to our luxury tented camp in the evening for one more night under the stars in Serengeti and dinner. Be sure to have a light jacket in case it gets chilly at the camp in the evening!
- Full day of game viewing in Serengeti National Park
- Glamping under the stars in Serengeti National Park
Day 4 January 11
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
After breakfast, we will check out of our camps in Serengeti and start our morning game-drive while simultaneously making our way out of Serengeti and into the Ngorongoro Crater for a tour of yet another natural world wonder. The crater is located within the 3,200 square mile Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). NCA boasts the finest blend of landscapes and wildlife while being situated 180 km west of Arusha. The rich pasture and permanent water on the Crater floor support a significant resident population of wildlife of up to 25,000—predominantly grazing animals.
Ngorongoro Crater itself is a huge caldera (collapsed volcano), 250 square kilometers in size and 600 meters deep. The crater alone has over 20,000 large animals including Tanzania’s last remaining black rhino.
No fences or boundaries border the crater walls, animals are free to enter or leave the crater, but many of them stay for the plentiful water and grazing available on the crater floor throughout the year.
Makat Soda Lake, also located within the NCA, is a great attraction for flamingos and other water birds, while predators hide in the marsh to ambush animals that come to drink from the river that feeds the lake. Also on the crater floor are swamps, providing water and habitat for elephants and hippos as well as numerous small creatures such as serval cats. Game viewing around Lake Makat is especially rewarding—large antelope like zebra and gazelle come to drink, while herds of hippos sunbathe in the thick lakeshore mud.
The Lerai Forest on the crater floor gets its name from the Maasai word for the elegant yellow-barked acacia tree. Elephants often forage in the forest shade during midday, emerging into the open plains during the early hours of the morning and in the evening as the heat abates. The small forest patches on the crater floor are home to leopard, monkey, baboon, and antelope such as waterbuck and bushbuck.
At the end of the day of game viewing in Ngorongoro, we will head towards Mto wa Mbu to check into our Safari lodge accommodations at Motto Cottages (or similar) and prepare for a delicious halal dinner buffet for our group.
- Game viewing Serengeti en-route to Ngorongoro
- Game viewing in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Day 5 January 12
Arusha to Zanzibar
Today we check out of our lodges early to drive to the Arusha Airport which is about 2 hours away by vehicle. We take a one-hour flight from Arusha back to Zanzibar. Be sure to look out the window to see Mount Kilimanjaro piercing through the clouds as we depart Arusha!
It may be too early to check into our hotels when we arrive in Zanzibar. If so, we can change into our clothes for enjoying the Indian Ocean for the next two days. Zanzibar is a conservative Muslim country, and it is recommended to bring modest swim wear or clothes with the expectation of getting wet during the next two days. The centuries old culture of sea sailing on wooden dhows or small boats means that there is usually no port to board the boats. You will be wading through the Indian Ocean, sometimes waist deep, to climb into the wooden boat via its side ladders, so come prepared!
Today we will take a boat to Prison Island which is a small island off the shore of Zanzibar that is often visited for its tortoises and peacocks that strut the island as visitors enjoy the scenery. It was originally intended to be an island where slaves would be kept as they were waiting to be sold, but upon the abolition of slavery it was never used for this purpose. Rather, it was used for a period to quarantine visitors to Africa who were ill until they became healthy in the early twentieth century.
Afterwards, we will sail to Bawe Island where there will be an opportunity for snorkeling to see tropical fish under water or simply enjoy the warm Indian Ocean. We will break into groups on the boats for greater privacy with both male and female lifeguards on each of the boats.
We will return to Stone Town before the evening. You have the rest of the day to rest, walk around the city, and have dinner on your own.
- Local flight Arusha to Zanzibar
- Prison Island
- Bawe Island
Day 6 January 13
Indian Ocean Break
Today we will break out into separate groups of men and women to enjoy a private break in the Indian Ocean. We will take a boat to an offshore island where there will be options to do snorkeling, swimming, or simply enjoying the day on the pristine sands of the Indian Ocean. Zanzibar has some of the clearest and bluest waters in the world. Its corals and colorful fishes are rare examples of natural beauty that distinguishes the island of Zanzibar.
- Private ocean day with sea activities and lunch
Stone Town Departures
- Breakfast at hotel
- Fly home (individual arrangements from the hotel)
- Hotel, luxury tent, or Safari lodge accommodations based on either single or double reservations
- Matawi Serengeti Camp and Motto Cottage (on third Safari night) or similar are anticipated accommodations during Safari based upon availability. Tembo or Mizingani Hotel or similar are anticipated hotels in Stone Town based on availability. Early registration is important to reserve spots as January is high season for travel to Zanzibar.
- Local round-trip flights from Zanzibar to Arusha
- Transportation for excursions and local airports
- Boat rides for ocean activities
- English speaking local guides
- Entrance fees at sites
- Spice Farm Tour, Stone Town Walking Tour, Religious Sites Tour, East Africa Slave Exhibition
- Safari includes: transport in 4WD Land Cruiser or Land Rover with pop-up roof, services of a professional Safari guide, all park entry fees, all game drives mentioned, 1.5 liter water per person/day during game drives, accommodations and halal meals prepared by cooks, transport to and from Arusha Airport.
- 6 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
- International Flights to and from Zanzibar
- Tanzania visa fees/COVID tests/Vaccines
- Items of personal nature including extra luggage charges, room service, medical expenses etc.
- Beverages and meals not included in the itinerary
- Travel insurance (Required for this trip)
- $800 Deposit due October 5 is non-refundable
- 50% of the remainder of the trip cost after deposit is refundable 90-31 days before the scheduled travel date.
- 0% is refundable 30-0 days before the trip. All travelers must have COVID inclusive travel insurance to cover emergencies and disruptions.