A route for the die-hard cyclists amongst you, as it involves a 17km stretch where you have to push the bicycle through fine dust. But as so often it is those bad roads that lead to the most beautiful places. A fantastic ride along the Rift valley and then across wide grassland with volcanos in the background, lots of animals to observe and many Maasai encounters. A true highlight.
The road from Arusha to Mto wa Mbu was under construction in 2013. Once it is finished it will likely be one of the best roads you will find in Africa: perfect smooth surface, wide and hardly any traffic. After Mto wa Mbu the dirt road starts. It is mostly a hard gravel road that is quite bumpy. After Engaruka there is a 3km section of fine dust but the road than gets better again. The 17km after you leave the dirt road to Gelai Bomba is more or less cross country through grassland. At the time I was there this meant pushing the bike through 20cm deep fine dust - extremely exhausting. After Gelai Bomba the road is again hard and bumpy.
There are lodges and campsites in Mto wa Mbo. All along the route, but especially after Engaruka, bush camping is no problem at all.
You will find water in Mto wa Mbu, Engaruka, Gelai Bomba, Kitumbeine and Longido. Carry enough water. In Mto wa Mbu there are good shops. Engaruka and Kitumbeine have simple shops.