Northern Tanzania Nature Journal Adventure (Summer 2024)


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Join us for this nature journaling adventure in Tarangire National Park, Central Serengeti National Park, North Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater.

  • Date: August 1 to August 9 (or 10 if participating in the Amani extension)
  • Cost: $5690 per person (or $6240 if participating in the Amani extension)

This is the trip of a lifetime. We will explore amazing parks at a sketcher’s pace, taking time to draw and observe. Together we will search for critters from open-top Land Cruisers, observing and drawing everything we find. Lions, elephants, cheetahs, hippos, giraffes, rhinos, baboons, gazelles of all types, and amazing birds will fill your journal. During the safari, your leaders, John Muir Laws, and Billy Jo Reid, will explore journaling strategies, and drawing techniques that are relevant to what we are seeing. This trip is timed to try to catch the mass wildebeest river crossings on the Grumetti River.

Amani Children’s Center Extension

The full safari is nine days. Participants may join us for an additional day, teaching nature journaling at the Amani Children’s Center and bringing the children to Ngorongoro Crater to nature journal together and to share the most amazing spot on the planet with them.


Our safari will be coordinated by my favorite safari company, Face of Africa Adventures. The package includes Accommodation (HB) in Arusha before and after the safari. All meals and accommodation in lodges or tented camps as per itinerary. Transfer to and from the Airport. Transport and wildlife drives in modified 4WD Land Cruisers or Land Rovers with pop-up roof hatches. All park entry fees/ crater service fees. 1.5 liters of water per person per day during game drives.

Who should apply and group norms

This adventure is going to be fun, amazing, and packed with experiences that will blow your mind. The trip is for people who want to explore Africa at a sketcher’s pace within a community of joyful, playful, like-minded naturalists. The trip is open to all skill levels of nature journalers, you just have to authentically love it. If you are not interested in nature journaling, prefer to spend relaxing days beside a pool, or prefer to travel alone, this is not the trip for you. A big part of the success and your enjoyment of the trip will depend on how we work and play together. We want people who get along well with others and are flexible and kind, even when tired. Our guiding principles are respect and kindness, for each other, for our guides and drivers, for the staff and community people we meet, and for the places and animals we will encounter.

We will often rise with the sun to catch early morning animal activity.  Early morning and late evening are the best times to see animals and we will be out all day. For most of the trip, you will be observing and sketching from an 8-seat Toyota Land Cruiser with 7 other people and a driver. We stay inside the vehicle most of the day because Lions eat you. We need to cooperate with and accommodate everyone else in the vehicle. The safari vehicles have high clearance and require a big step up into the vehicle.

Day by Day Itinerary


Upon arrival at Kilimanjaro International Airport, you will be warmly greeted by your driver-guide, after a short introduction you will be offered bottles of mineral water and driven to the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha for an Overnight. Depending on your arrival time, you will have a good opportunity to explore the hotel`s surroundings.


After breakfast, we drive to Tarangire National Park for a full-day nature drive. Tarangire is Tanzania’s third-largest national park and sanctuary for an unusually large elephant population. Majestic baobab trees are also an interesting feature of the park, dwarfing the animals that feed beneath them. Your group may find lions, giraffes, wildebeest, elephants, Zebras, wildebeests, and much more. Lunchboxes shall be served to you by your driver-guide at the picnic site inside the park with some rest before proceeding with the nature drive. After amazing hours of exploration, you will exit the park and drive to the Maramboi Tented Lodge for dinner, and overnight.


After breakfast, we begin our drive to Serengeti National Park via the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Drive through the forest trails, and emerge at the crater viewpoint for crater viewing. On our way to the Serengeti, we will visit Olduvai Gorge where Dr. Louis and Mary Leakey made significant early hominin fossil discoveries. Lunch at Naabi gate; followed by a game drive en route to the Lahia Tented Lodge for dinner and overnight.


Rise early for breakfast and an early departure to explore the central to northern Serengeti. Serengeti National Park encompasses some of Africa`s most dramatic scenery and is one of the greatest of the world`s wildlife sanctuaries. In June-October, the wildebeest congregate in great numbers in the Western Corridor and Northern part before crossing the river full of Giant Crocodiles. Where there are herbivores, carnivores are just behind patrolling for their next kills, it`s not so uncommon to see prides or lions ambushing buffalo bulls or Leopard dragging their prey on a tree, or aerial hunters (Vultures) surveying the plains and Hyenas competing on Cheetah`s abandoned kill. Dinner and overnight at the Baobab Serengeti Camp.  


We are completely flexible with your preferences and these days will be organized according to your wishes. Your guide will discuss with you the best timing for you, including the game drives and the wake-up time. For example, you may opt to do a morning game drive, return to the camp for lunch and relaxation, and finish with an afternoon game drive, or you could do a full-day game drive with picnic lunches. The Serengeti Park derived its name from the Maasai Language meaning endless plain. This massive plain (14763sq km) is home to many animals including Lions, Elephants, Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, leopards, cheetahs, baboons, warthogs, Hyena, and lots of bird life. In many cases, migration is taking place around Serengeti and at that particular time millions of wildebeest and zebra are mingling together followed by predators. Dinner and overnight at the Baobab Serengeti Camp.


Today you can opt to embark on an early morning game drive to see animals waking up and predators coming from their hunts, and later return to the camp for a late breakfast. Thereafter, you will pack your belongings including your picnic lunches, and leave the camp for another authentic game drive en route to central Serengeti for Dinner and Overnight at the Lahia Tented Lodge.


Early in the morning and after breakfast, leave the lodge with your packed lunches ready for another exciting day. Today your expert safari guide will lead you into the Ngorongoro crater for a wonderful game drive. The Ngorongoro crater is the 8th wonder of the Natural World, spreading over 102 sq. miles and has 2.000 ft high walls, it is inhabited by almost every species of wildlife that is indigenous to East Africa including the rare and endangered black rhinos, other animals that can be revealed on your game drives are Elands, Lions, Waterbucks, Wildebeests, Hyenas, jackals, African Elephants, Buffaloes, Secretive leopards, Cheetahs, hippos and many more alongside hundreds of bird species eg. Maasai Ostrich, Kori bustard, Ibis, Starlings, etc. Lunchboxes shall be served to you at the picnic point inside the crater. Later ascend the crater walls and drive to the Kudu Lodge for dinner, and overnight. This being our last evening together as a full group we will gather and conclude our program together.

DAY 08 August 8

On this day our group divides. Those who have participated in the Full Safari will return to Arusha and may opt for activities as they return to Arusha. Those who have chosen to work with the Amani extension will drive to the children’s center to share journaling and teach journaling skills (we will visit Ngorongoro the next day with them).

FULL SAFARI – DRIVE TO ARUSHA Today at leisure, and after breakfast, the Full Safari will start their drive back to Arusha with optional activities on the way. Participants in this group can together decide the itinerary for this day. Depending on the activities chosen, there may be additional fees. Activities may include:

    • Visiting the snake park at Meserani. ($30 per person) The park is home to a variety of snakes common in Eastern and Southern Africa from the Black Mamba to the Black and Red spitting Cobras and the African Python. There are approximately 48 snakes they can view. Other reptiles at the park include Monitor Lizards, Tortoises, Crocodiles, and a few species of birds that have been orphaned or injured and would not survive if they were returned to the wild. Meserani Snake Park is a great place to learn about some of Africa’s less notorious, but most efficient predators.
    • Village tour in Mto wa Mbu. (70$ per person) Embark on an enriching cultural journey in Mto wa Mbu village, guided by a local guide who has deep roots in the community. Explore local farms, schools, a kindergarten, residences, and the vibrant market, and witness the workings of milling machines. To enhance your experience, you can opt to include a delightful local lunch served amidst the tranquillity of a picturesque banana plantation nestled deep within Mto Wa Mbu village. Immerse yourself in the authentic charm of the village, gaining insights into its rich cultural tapestry. People who don’t have time, energy, or the ability to walk in the village, can do a village tour in a Tuk Tuk. Being light, small, and easy to ride this vehicle is ideal to get between farms and local houses. A Tuk Tuk can carry up to 3 passengers on a bench seat behind a driver and a guide. The sides of the vehicle are open so you can still have a great feeling of being outside and connected with the people and places. The village tour takes you to farms, local houses, schools, milling machines, and churches.
    • Forest Hike Mto wa Mbu. ($50 per person) Hike down the Great Rift Valley, through a dense groundwater forest. View birds, monkeys, bushbuck, and other forest animals. Immerse yourself in the sounds of the forest while the fresh streams and waterfalls surround you.
    • Maasai Cultural tour. ($20 per person) On your way to Arusha, consider a stop for a Maasai cultural tour in Manyara/Mto wa Mbu. Immerse yourself in the vibrant traditions of the Maasai people, witnessing lively dances, exploring a local village adorned with colorful beadwork, and engaging in interactive sessions to learn about their pastoral lifestyle. This brief but insightful encounter offers a glimpse into the rich Maasai heritage, all while supporting the local community and creating memorable cultural connections amid the picturesque landscapes of Tanzania.

Dinner, and overnight at Mount Meru Hotel.

OR: AMANI EXTENSION – VISIT THE AMANI CHILDREN On this day, and after breakfast at the lodge, group B will drive to Mto wa Mbu for a visit to the Amani Children’s Center. The group will spend the day teaching the kids how to sketch, and other lessons. Then, the group will drive back to Kudu Lodge for dinner, and overnight. 

DAY 9 August 9

FULL SAFARI – AIRPORT TRANSFER You will be transferred to the airport for your departure back home. Participants will be transferred to the airport at different times depending on their flight schedules. Instead of returning home immediately, you may wish to travel further travel in Africa. FOAA can help you plan other exciting adventures in the region.

AMANI EXTENSION – NGORONGORO CRATER TOUR WITH AMANI KIDS On this day, we embark on the Ngorongoro crater tour with Amani Kids until 4 pm. Thereafter, will ascend the crater walls then drive back to Mto wa mbu to drop off the kids then proceed to Arusha for dinner, and overnight at Mount Meru Hotel. 


You will be transferred to the airport for your departure back home. Participants will be transferred to the airport at different times depending on their flight schedules. Instead of returning home immediately, you may wish to travel further travel in Africa. FOAA can help you plan other exciting adventures in the region.


Cost and Payment Schedule

Deposit to hold your place

  • $1000 to John Muir Laws, paid through this site
  • $ 2000 to Face of Africa Adventures (see payment details below)

Final Payment

Balance of payment to Face of Africa Adventures by June 15, 2024.

How to Pay Face of Africa Adventures

FOAA offers three convenient payment methods, allowing you to select the one that best suits your preferences. Face of Africa Adventures remains at your service to assist with any payment method you choose. Please do not hesitate to call them if you have any questions or require further assistance. You can also chat with them via WhatsApp at +255784162038.

Wire Transfer If you choose this method, please get in touch with FOAA via email at They will promptly provide you with an invoice containing our bank details. You have the flexibility to either present this invoice to your bank for a transfer on your behalf or make the transfer directly from your own device. It’s important to note that this method incurs a 3.9% bank charge.

Online Payment Method Opting for this approach involves reaching out to FOAA through Upon contact, they will generate a secure payment link specifically for your transaction. This link will remain valid for 3 days from the moment it is sent to you. Consequently, it is imperative to complete your payment within this timeframe to ensure a smooth transaction. The link’s expiration serves as a security measure. Please be aware that this method incurs a 5% bank charge.

Online Payment via Wise Transfer This method is also conducted online, and it eliminates the need for a payment link. To utilize this option, visit, register, and follow the provided procedures to facilitate your payment securely.

Additional Costs

Evacuation Insurance Each participant is responsible for the cost of their evacuation. We all must have evacuation insurance. I recommend getting it through the Divers Alert Network (DAN), a low-cost reliable provider. All you need to do is join DAN and your membership covers evacuation insurance anywhere in the world for a year. It is a great deal. Should you be incapacitated I will need your evacuation insurance information. Once you join, you can print copies of your DAN membership card from the website (click on the icon of your card). Bring two copies of your DAN membership card (or plan and access information if you have other evacuation insurance) I will keep one copy on file.

Travel insurance: I strongly recommend that each participant get fully comprehensive travel insurance. This will allow you to recover the costs of the trip if you need to change your plans. Make sure your coverage allows you to cancel for any reason including Covid-19. Buy your insurance the same day as you make your first trip-related expense as some insurance programs do not offer service if you wait. Here is a link to travel insurance plans recommended by Forbes. The policy should be valid from the date that the initial order is placed to provide cover for any cancellation before departure. Please make sure you at least know the insurance company, policy number, and 24-hour contact details. If you are unable to provide these then they reserve the right to refuse to take you on that portion of the trip and any alternative arrangements will be made at your expense.

To get an insurance plan that allows you to cancel for any reason, you will need to buy the insurance right after you make your first payment for the trip. These plans allow you to cancel without any conditions and usually reimburse up to 75% of unused, non-refundable, prepaid trip costs. For instance, the Diver’s Alert Network Insurance has cancel for any reason as an optional upgrade on the Elite plan if purchased within 24 hours of initial deposit.  Travelx Insurance also has a plan that can be purchased with the base plan within 15 days of initial payment or deposit. With Seven Corners RoundTrip Trip Cancelation Insurance, you have a 20-day window to apply.

Airfare: Air travel to Kilimanjaro International Airport and back is not included.

Visa  $100 to be paid in cash upon arrival (bring US dollars, the ATM at the airport is not reliable) Apply for your Visa here.

Tips. Our guides earn the majority of their income through tips, so each satisfied customer should give a tip to their driver at the end of the trip. Tipping is discretionary of course, but plan on tipping $200 for FOAA staff at the end of the trip. We will pool our money together and give our tips to the staff on the last night. Also, bring some small bills for tips for the lodge staff.

Vaccinations and COVID-19 Medical Tests All participants must be fully vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 and have the appropriate vaccinations for travel to Tanzania. See the CDC website for recommended and required vaccinations. All participants should visit a travel clinic at least two months before departure. If you feel sick in the days before departure, test yourself regularly for COVID-19. Do not travel if you test positive.

The package includes round-trip airport transfer and accommodation (HB) in Arusha before and after the safari. All meals and accommodation in lodges, and tented camps as per itinerary. Transport and wildlife drives in modified 4WD Land Cruisers with pop-up roofs. All park entry fees/ crater service fees. 1.5 liters of water per person per day during game drives, packed lunches, and English-speaking driver guides. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (lunch is not included at the Mount Meru Hotel).

The package Excludes Flights, Visas, evacuation and travel insurance, drinks, and beverages at the hotels, lodge, and camps, lunch at the Mount Meru Hotel, tips for FOAA staff (plan on $200), and purchases of souvenirs.

Cancelation Policy

If you need to cancel your reservation, let me know by e-mail as soon as possible. I will issue a full refund of your $1000 deposit to me.  Face of Africa Adventures will issue you a refund based on how close to the Safari you cancel your reservation and if we can fill your spot from the waiting list. The closer we get to the date of the safari, the more difficult it will be to add someone from the waiting list because people will have made other plans. If no one takes your spot from the waitlist, the following scale of cancellation charges will apply, depending on the day before the departure of the tour when the cancellation notice is received.

  • 100% refund if canceled 3 months before the Safari
  • 75% refund if canceled 60-45 days before the safari, but it is possible to receive a full refund if your spot is filled by another person
  • 50% refund if canceled 30-15 days before the safari date, but it is possible to receive a full refund if your spot is filled by another person
  • No refund if canceled within 14 days or if you do not show up for the safari. However, it is still possible to receive a full refund if your spot is filled by another person.

Other Logistics

You can find a suggested packing list here.

Here are some terrific ideas about how to prepare for a nature journaling adventure from my friend, the amazing Marley Peifer.

About Your Leaders

John (Jack) Muir Laws is a principal leader and innovator of the worldwide nature journaling movement. Jack is a scientist, educator, and author, who helps people forge a deeper and more personal connection with nature through keeping illustrated nature journals and understanding science. His work intersects science, art, and mindfulness. Trained as a wildlife biologist and an associate of the California Academy of Sciences, he observes the world with rigorous attention. He looks for mysteries, plays with ideas, and seeks connections in all he sees. Attention, observation, curiosity, and creative thinking are not gifts, but skills that grow with training and deliberate practice. As an educator and author, Jack teaches techniques and supports routines that develop these skills to make them a part of everyday life.

Billie Jo Reid began her career in Outdoor Education at the age of 16, becoming a canoe instructor. Since then, she has completed several canoe instructor levels and worked as a wilderness canoe tripping guide for over 20 years.  Over a decade ago she was fortunate to work for many Outdoor Education Centres furthering her learning of environmental education.  During COVID she found Nature Journaling, and this has become a huge part of her life, both professionally and personally.  Nature Journaling has taken her on Safari to Tanzania as a Co-Lead with John Muir Laws in 2023, as well as facilitating workshops and working with the Wild Wonder Foundation.  Billie Jo continues to teach students and adults and looks for any opportunity to connect it to Nature Journaling which she believes is pivotal in folks noticing the nature world and staying curious.


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