TYhis trip begins in Cape Town, South Africa and travels north through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda before ending in Nairobi, Kenya.
This trip departs from Cape Town early on Sunday morning. Should you wish to explore Cape Town, an earlier arrival should be planned and accommodation can be booked through us.
Day 1: Cape Town to Cederberg Area (L / D) Leaving Cape Town, we head around Table Bay and continue north through the wheat growing ‘bread basket’ of South Africa. We cross the Piketberg Pass into the rich fruit growing area along the Olifants River, named for the vast Elephant herds that used to roam in this fertile valley. Our first night is spent in a picturesque campsite with a view of the surrounding wine farms. This afternoon we have the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods after taking a short walk in the surrounding vineyards to explore the exquisite views of the Cederberg Mountains. Tonight we camp under a canvass of stars – the perfect way to begin our African adventure.
Day 2: Cederberg Area to the Gariep River (B / L / D) From the Cederberg we travel further north through the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occur each spring. After stopping for supplies in the small mining town of Springbok, we continue on through the desert area of the Richtersveld to the Gariep River, the natural land border between South Africa and Namibia, where we camp at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river.
Day 3: Gariep River to Fish River Canyon (Namibia) (B / L / D) This morning we have the option of a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Gariep River, affording us the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle. After lunch we cross into Namibia where, after a short drive, we reach the Fish River Canyon. At 161 km long, 27 km wide and about 550 m deep, it’s the second largest canyon in the world. The outer canyon was formed by tectonic activity, while the erosion of the Fish River formed the inner canyon. A road follows the eastern rim, giving us access to several viewing points from where we can take in the spectacular vistas.
Day 4: Fish River Canyon to Sesriem (B / L / D) An early start today, heading north we enter the area of the Namib-Naukluft desert, one of the oldest in the world. We base ourselves at Sesriem, a good place to experience the Namib and its many moods. A short distance away is Sossusvlei, surrounded by a dramatic sea of sand dunes reputed to be the highest in the world. Magnificent views of the desert can be seen from the top of the dunes, some over 300 m high. Make sure you look up at the stars tonight; the desert puts on a show like nowhere else in the world!
Day 5: Sesriem to Solitaire (B / L / D) This morning we enter the Namib-Naukluft National Park where we spend the morning exploring this amazing area. View the sunrise from the top of Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience. Following our sunrise experience you will have the option to take the desert shuttles a further 5kms into the desert where you can take a walk to Sossusvlei and explore the surrounding area. An optional guided walk is available at an additional cost. After our leisurely morning exploring the desert and its dunes, we exit the park and head to our next destination, the small settlement of Solitaire; a slice of Apple Crumble from the one and only store is a must for all cake lovers!
Day 6: Solitaire to Swakopmund (B) This morning after breakfast we head off in a north-westerly direction to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay. Our drive takes us across the Tropic of Capricorn – the ‘imaginary line’ that shows the southernmost point of direct sun, and signals the southern hemisphere’s mid-summers day. From Walvis Bay, we follow the coast for some 35 km to arrive at Namibia’s prime holiday resort - Swakopmund where we enjoy 3 nights of rest, relaxation and a little bit of adrenalin for those that are keen! Accommodation will be in dormitories for the next 3 nights, upgrades into private rooms are possible, but depend on availability and can be booked with your trip leader.
Days 7 & 8: Swakopmund (B on both days) Founded by the Germans in 1892, their colonial influence is still evident today. Swakopmund has a selection of excellent coffee shops, restaurants & bars as well as many arts and crafts shops selling Namibian curios. There are fine beaches to walk along as well as a great museum, aquarium and galleries to visit. Alternatively, the lovely beach and promenade make for a great relaxing walk – though bathing in the ocean waters may be somewhat chilly! Some of our fellow passengers may leave us in Swakop, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the rest of our trip. OPTIONAL excursions include sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, fishing trips, golf, horse riding and more. An activity briefing will be held on arrival in Swakopmund (see price guide at the end of this document).
Day 9: Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe (B / L / D) Our departure from Swakopmund takes us to the ‘Matterhorn of Namibia’ - Spitzkoppe. The 1728 m high rock formation, one of Namibia’s most recognised landmarks, is well known as an ancient San sacred site. The area we camp in is managed by the local community who offer local guides for guided walks to the San Rock Art at an additional cost. Explore the surrounding area and its San rock paintings or simply enjoy the magnificent views. Tonight we bush camp (no ablution facilities) under the African stars.
Day 10: Spitzkoppe to Cheetah Park (B / L / D) Today’s drive takes us further north through the Namibian countryside is to the Cheetah Park - a private farm dedicated to conserving Namibia’s cheetah population. While Cheetah are endangered in Africa, Namibia has a high population of wild, free roaming cheetah who cause immense damage to some of the local farms by hunting their livestock. As such, there are many local farmers who have offered a sanctuary to those that have been trapped, or injured. We get to meet the resident cheetahs, a photo opportunity not to be missed!
Day 11: Cheetah Park to the Etosha National Park (B / L / D) After stopping briefly in Outjo to get stock up on supplies, we head to Etosha National Park. Covering 20 000 km2, Etosha is Namibia’s premier nature and wildlife reserve. Situated around the Etosha Pan with a large variety of animal and bird life, the extensive network of gravel roads affords us the opportunity of accessing even the most remote areas of the park. After lunch, and once it has cooled off a bit, we spend the remainder of the day exploring the park’s southern area. Keep an eye out for the striking Oryx and Springbok as these are endemic to desert National Parks! Tonight’s camp is situated just outside the parks boundaries, only 10kms from Anderson Gate. Perhaps a quick dip in the pool or a sun downer on the deck before dinner, followed by a relaxing evening in this interesting bar.
Day 12: Etosha National Park (B / L / D) Today we make our way 150 km across the park, keeping a look out for the many different mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in the various regions. As the vegetation types change, so does the animal and bird life that relies on it, and so different sections of the Park offer a variety of different game options. After a full day of game viewing, we spend the evening relaxing at our camp in the north of the park, Namutoni. After dinner why not head to the waterhole where you can sit and observe the animals may come to drink in the evenings.
Day 13: Etosha National Park to Divundu (B / L / D) From Etosha, we head in a north-easterly direction toward Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, and the lush Kavango region of northern Namibia. We stop at the border town of Rundu for supplies before heading to our spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River – Watch the sun go down from the deck over the river, but keep a watch for the occasional hippo grazing on the lawn!
Day 14: Divundu to Maun (Botswana) (B / L / D) Following the Kavango River south, we enter Botswana and travel east along the course of the Okavango River to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and our destination, Maun. Maun is the starting point for travel into the Delta and it is from here that we set off to explore the Okavango Delta. Tonight we prepare our provisions and packs for our 2 night excursion. We suggest bringing along a smaller daypack on your trip as this can be used to pack the supplies needed for this short excursion. Your trip leader will brief you fully on what is needed, and what to expect prior to your trip to the Delta.
Day 15: Maun to Okavango Delta (OPTIONAL) (B / L / D) The Delta is a huge expanse of water, which has travelled from the Angolan highlands, spreading out to form the largest inland delta in the world. Studded with exotic islands, The Delta is renowned for its incredible variety of bird life and animals and is unique to Southern Africa.
Here we have the opportunity to take the optional 3 Day / 2 Night Drive In/Mokoro Excursion into the Delta. After an early rise, we pack our expedition vehicle and from Maun we drive north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler’s station. The Delta region is studded with many local villages where many families live in a traditional way. Some of the villages are very remote and can only be reached by the traditional mode of transport – the Mokoro. Mokoros are dugout canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who “pole” them through the reeds. At the Mokoro station, we meet our ‘Polers’ and pack our supplies before heading out into the waterways. After a couple of hours along the waterways, our guides find us a place to camp, and later in the afternoon we set off on an afternoon game walk, allowing us to experience The Delta wilderness. The camp is situated in an open wilderness area with no ablution facilities.
For those who’d prefer not to explore The Delta, spend the next 2 days at the lovely campsite relaxing by the swimming pool or challenging each other to a game of volleyball. There is also a crocodile farm nearby that has it’s feeding times open to campsite visitors. The driver and cook remain behind in Maun during the excursion.
Day 16: Okavango Delta (B / L / D) A day of rest, relaxation and Delta experiences await. Today we have the opportunity to partake in a number of activities including swimming, game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try our hands at poling our own mokoro! There is also ample time to relax and rest during the hotter hours of the day, so challenge your new friends to a game of cards, or chat with your guides about their culture and lifestyle, or simply lie back and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding wilderness...
Day 17: Okavango Delta to Maun (B / L / D) This morning affords us a final opportunity for a game walk before packing up and setting off back to Maun. After our Mokoro ride and vehicle transfer, we arrive back in the afternoon and have the chance to complete our picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional scenic flight over The Delta (dependent on weather conditions & availability).
Day 18: Maun to Chobe National Park (B / L / D) We travel east and then north to the town of Kasane where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River. The Chobe River forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia and is the main water source to the Chobe National Park. Elephant, hippo and many bird species can be viewed from the boat while we watch another glorious African sunset. Listen out for the resident hippos!
Day 19: Chobe National Park (B / L / D) This morning we have a chance to sleep in or explore the town of Kasane. After lunch, we take a boat cruise along the Chobe River. Once we return and are packed and prepared, we leave for our Chobe National Park Overnight Mobile excursion – an overnight experience in the wilds of the Chobe National park. Chobe is one of Botswana’s premier game parks, renowned for its large elephant herds. Spend the afternoon in search of wildlife while we game drive to our camp within the park where we spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife. Look out for the rare Sable and Roan Antelope on your game drive, with their majestic backward slanting horns, or try keep a count of the Lilac Breasted Roller’s that swoop by! After our night in the bush, we head out early to continue our search for wildlife, before packing up the camp and heading back to Kasane, and Victoria Falls.
Day 20: Chobe National Park to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (Brunch) Once returning to camp, we get back on our truck and continue to the border of Zimbabwe. Once we’ve completed border formalities, we have a short drive to the nearby Victoria Falls. Named after the famous World Heritage site and Water Falls, the town of Victoria Falls is situated on the Zambezi River and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park. Our campsite is conveniently situated in the centre of town, and within walking distance of the adventure booking agents, restaurants and shops. A 20 minute walk down the main road takes you to the entry point to view the falls, which are situated between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), was named by David Livingstone on his explorations, and is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. At 1700 m wide and around 100 m high, this is the world's largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari! After our adventure activities briefing (see price guide at the end of this document for options), the afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite’s swimming pool, viewing the Victoria Falls, or exploring the many sights and delights of this town!
Days 21 & 22: Victoria Falls (B on both days) The next 2 days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some of our fellow passengers will leave us in Vic Falls, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the next leg of our trek.
Optional Excursions include elephant back safaris, horseback safaris, walking with lions, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither activity is for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi is world class. Beside the excitement of the Grade 5 rapids, there are the "floats," where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and the occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
Day 23: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park, Botswana (B / L / D) We head out from Victoria Falls to the border crossing to Botswana. Once we’ve completed the border formalities, we continue to the town of Kasane, situated on the banks of the Chobe River. Here we have the opportunity again to take part in the Chobe Overnight Mobile Excursion. For those who’d prefer to stay behind at the campsite in Kasane, there is an option to do an early morning game drive on the morning of day 24 instead.
Day 24: Chobe National Park to Livingstone (Zambia) (Brunch / D) Once returning to the camp at Kasane, we get back on our truck and continue to the town of Livingstone. This afternoon we have the opportunity to view The Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia or partake in a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River. Another fantastic photo opportunity!
Day 25: Livingstone to Lusaka (B / L / D) An early morning start sees us head north through southern Zambia to our campsite on the outskirts of Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka. As we drive, we pass through a few of the villages and towns of Zambia along the way. Prosperous during the copper boom in the 60’s, Zambia was able to build infrastructure at the main mining and farming communities. After the fall of the copper industry, the country was left virtually bankrupt and existing infrastructure was left to fall to ruin. Due to foreign investment and a rise in the mining industry, Zambia is today once again starting to prosper. The difference is evident in the cities with the availability of foreign stores, banks and imported cars, while the villages and smaller towns are still to catch up. Our campsite is home to some local wildlife including the largest antelope – Eland.
Day 26: Lusaka to Chipata (B / L / D) From Lusaka we head north east on the old ‘East Road’ to a beautiful little campsite located just 10 km before the Zambia/Malawi border. In the days of old, the route from Cairo to Cape Town passed through Lusaka and it’s along this route to Malawi we travel today. While today is mostly spent driving, we do cross the impressive Luangwa River Bridge which is heavily guarded due to its close proximity to the Zimbabwean & Malawian borders. We’ll also stop off to purchase some fresh produce and coal from the local sellers along the way. Mamarula’s campsite is where we spend the night before heading into Malawi.
Days 27 to 30: Chipata to Lake Malawi Beaches (Malawi) (B / L / D) Leaving Zambia we cross into Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. We stop off in the capital, Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre. Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. We camp first at the central Lake, and then in the northern area over the next 4 days.
Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine beaches. Malawi’s temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue fresh-water lake all year round. Explore the beautiful shore where you’ll happen upon the local fishermen sorting their catch. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and to appreciate their boating skills, try to paddle a dugout canoe yourself! At night you’ll see the ‘fairy’ lights of the fishermen out on the lake. The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi’s shores offer many optional Excursions including a variety of water sports, horseback rides and a visit to the local village and school (see pricing guide at the end of this document).
Day 31: Lake Malawi to Iringa (Tanzania) (B / L / D) After a relaxing 4 days, we leave Malawi, entering Tanzania through the border post at Songwe. Winding our way through the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we head towards Iringa where we spend the night in the beautiful rustic ‘Farmhouse’ campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
Day 32: Iringa to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D) This morning we head off early and make our way to Dar es Salaam. We pass through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to the passing traffic. Today’s drive time is extended due to the heavier amount of traffic heading in to the city, but the sights and sounds of Dar’s vibrant outer suburbs are sure to keep you entertained. Look out for the colourful shop-fronts with their sometimes humorous ‘catch phrases’. On arrival in Dar es Salaam, we make our way to our lovely seaside campsite and prepare for our departure to Zanzibar the next morning.
Day 33: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (B) A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes us to the "Spice Island,” where we have the option to spend the next 3 nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. New passengers may join us to replace those that’ll leave us at the end of our excursion to Zanzibar.
Note Accommodation and Meals are for your own account whilst on Zanzibar, as it is our experience that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own, and in accordance with their own budget. The Trip Leader joins you and can arrange your accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants. There are also a wide variety of optional excursions on offer – please see the price guide on the end of this document for more details.
For those not opting to visit the island of Zanzibar, the next 3 days are spent at leisure at the beach campsite in Dar es Salaam. There are various optional excursions available from the camp including diving, snorkelling and fishing trips. The driver and cook remain behind in Dar es Salaam during the excursion.
Days 34 & 35: Zanzibar History aside, Zanzibar offers a wealth of experiences for the visitor. Today the quiet streets of the old Stone Town still retain their Arabic influence, from the Medina-like shops to the palaces of the Sultans, who founded their vast empires on the spoils of the slave and ivory trade. The island is famous for its spices and an excursion around a spice plantation is always a fascinating experience. Other options include a trip to the beautiful beaches and giant tortoises of Prison Island, a full day scuba dive in Nungwe or a fishing trip in a traditional dhow. Mopeds are available for hire if you’d like to explore the more remote areas of the island. Zanzibar is a seafood lover’s paradise. Numerous restaurants offer a great variety of the freshest catch from the ocean - crayfish being a popular speciality. Alternatively, mingle with the locals for dinner at the Forodhani Gardens seafront market, where delicious, inexpensive seafood is on offer.
Day 36: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (D) Leaving Zanzibar in the afternoon, we return to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam. Arrival back to camp is usually in the late afternoon, or early evening.
Day 37: Dar es Salaam to Arusha (B / L / D) From Dar es Salaam we have a long day’s drive through vast sisal plantations and African bushveld to Arusha. On the way, we pass The Pare and Usambara Mountain ranges before driving through the town of Moshi. Moshi is the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions and weather permitting; we may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed! Tonight we stay at a campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on our Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater tomorrow.
Days 38 - 40: Arusha / Optional Ngorongoro Crater & Serengeti Excursion (B / L / D) Arusha is a pleasant town situated at the base of Mount Meru, and is the starting point for safaris into the Serengeti, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This morning we have the opportunity to explore this thriving town while we stock up on provisions needed for our excursion. You may chose to wander the vibrant craft markets, stock up on supplies or perhaps catch up on the news back home at one of the small internet cafe available. Heading back to our base camp, Meserani Snake Park, those that are participating in the optional excursions to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park can start to prepare for their departure this afternoon. The excursion is offered by a local Tanzanian operator who conducts the trip into the Parks in 4WD vehicles (In peak season, there may be a minivan or bus transfer to Karatu), which are adapted for safari use.
For those not opting to visit the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park, the next days are spent at leisure enjoying the Meserani reptile park, Masai Cultural Museum and the surrounding villages and craft markets. Alternatively the town of Arusha is close by to explore. The driver and cook remain behind in Dar es Salaam during the excursion.
The Optional Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion takes us via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park and up the Rift Valley Escarpment to the higher lying village of Karatu. Karatu offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas. We spend the evening at a pleasant campsite in Karatu. The following morning we depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa – including the elusive Black Rhino.
After our game drive in the Crater, we continue down the Crater rim and past the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ on our way to the Serengeti National Park. We cross the vast plains as we game drive through the southern and central areas in the park. Tonight we bush camp (no ablutions) in the wild surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness. In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the landscape in search of the resident wildlife. With some luck, we may see some of Africa’s ‘Big 5’!
After our morning drive, we head back across the plains and the lush Crater rim to our truck at Arusha, where we spend the evening musing over our thrilling wildlife experience.
Day 41: Arusha to Nairobi (Kenya) (B / L / D) We set off early this morning and make our way to the Tanzania/ Kenyan border and the small border town of Namanga. After completing the border formalities, we continue on our journey to the Capital City Nairobi and our campsite on the outskirts of the city. Acacia Camp Nairobi is ideally situated right next to the Nairobi National Park, and is close to the giraffe sanctuary and elephant orphanage. The famous Carnivore Restaurant is also in close proximity.
Day 42: Nairobi (B) Today is yours at leisure to enjoy some of the many options available in this bustling city; visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where you can view the orphaned baby Elephants at feeding time, heading o to the Giraffe Centre in Langata, if you haven’t had your fill of game viewing, then Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if you haven’t quite got all those souvenirs you wanted, take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets close by the campsite. This evening why not try the fair on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.
Day 43: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D) Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi we climb the escarpment to our first stop, a viewpoint overlooking a section of the spectacular Great Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift Valley, we enter Masai land where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road. We pass through the town of Narok, and continue our drive possibly getting a glimpse of some wildlife along the way. We arrive at our campsite, Acacia Camp in the late afternoon. Acacia Camp looks on to the Meguarra hills and the stream that meanders by on the bottom end forms a natural border to the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Day 44: Masai Mara (B / L / D) We depart shortly after sunrise on our game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. The Masai Mara is well known as one of East Africa’s best National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Most famous for the Annual Migration, that consists of the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania; the Masai Mara is most popular between July and October when these vast herds feast on the fresh grazing here. Following these herbivores are Africa’s predators that are often seen at a kill during this period. We game drive through a section of the park in search of the ‘Big 5’- elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard; along with the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who make call this wilderness home.
After our game drive, we have the option to visit one of the nearby Masai Manyatta’s – this is a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way. This evening we sit around the camp fire, and watch the sun set over this “Garden of Eden”.
Day 45: Masai Mara to Kisumu (B / L / D) Leaving the Masai Mara early, we head out of Masai Land pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Kisumu - Kenya’s harbour town on the banks of Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria. We replenish our supplies and overnight here.
Day 46: Kisumu to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D) This morning, we cross the border into Uganda where we overnight it the capital city, Kampala. Uganda is a small country of striking physical beauty. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semi-desert region in the north. The political instability that has haunted Uganda in the past has actually had the positive effect of leaving the country free of the over commercialism so common in other parts of Africa. The current administration under President Museveni has devoted considerable effort and funds to return Uganda to its former status as one of Africa's most prosperous and, from a tourist’s point of view, one of the most appealing and interesting countries to visit.
Days 47-50: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D) After an early morning departure from Kampala we drive west into the depths of Uganda to our base at the tranquil Lake Bunyoni.
Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds, is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda. The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice – currently they are priced at US$500. There is a local transport & handling fee of US$65 to US$70 per person (this covers the return public transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee). For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (the trip leader will advise at the pre departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed), we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. We also advise budgeting a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers. Please budget accordingly as payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre departure meeting.
Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still only about 700 remaining, are one of our closest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience - one you’ll never forget. The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old.
Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, we depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours (not including transfer time) and it can be quite strenuous, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour. You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point where you will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.
You needn’t feel like you’re exploiting these animals. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day play a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. 100% of the gorilla permit cost is used to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.
Depending on where the trek takes place you may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC. The villagers in this area are mostly subsistence farmers, and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes. It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.
Day 51: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D) After marvelling at the experience of our gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, we begin our drive back to Kampala. We cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. We overnight in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life!
Day 52: Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D) Today we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or heading to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or visiting a volunteer and community project. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area.
Day 53: Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D) Departing early, we head back to Kenya, stopping for lunch and supplies en route. We overnight outside Nakuru at a lovely campsite on a local farm. Nakuru is Kenya’s 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province and lies adjacent to the small but wildlife rich Lake Nakuru National Park.
Day 54: Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D) This morning we begin our exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park - famous for the thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that flock to this soda lake’s edge. The numbers vary depending on the water level, and when it’s low, the lake almost turns pink. A truly spectacular sight! The park was established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are often seen. We spend the day searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way. After our game drive, we head to Lake Naivasha arriving in the late afternoon.
Day 55: Lake Naivasha (B / L / D) Lake Naivasha, is home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. We spend the day enjoying optional excursions like Elsamere (former home to Joy & George Adamson of Born Free fame), a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park.
Day 56: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B) After breakfast, we head back to Nairobi usually arriving by late morning, or early afternoon. On arrival to Acacia Camp, we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
The rest of the day is yours at leisure to enjoy some of the many options available in this bustling city; visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where you can view the orphaned baby Elephants at feeding time, or head to the Giraffe Centre in Langata, if you haven’t had your fill of game viewing, then Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if you haven’t quite got all those souvenirs you wanted, take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets close by the campsite. This evening why not try the fair on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.
Price: GB£ 1395 plus Local Payment US$ 1270
Special offer - get a Bonus Trip When you book this trip, you are entitled to receive a Bonus 3 Day Masai Mara Safari after your trip ends. The Local Payment of US$235 is still applicable for this trip and the trip only runs with a minimum of 2 persons. This fantastic offer must be taken up at the same time you book this trip. Conditions apply.
Optional Excursions Below is a selection of Optional Excursions available on this trip. - these prices are approximate and are subject to change - where activities occur away from your base, there may be an additional transfer cost.
South Africa, Orange River - Half Day Canoeing US$ 65 Namibia, Sesriem - Sossusvlei Guided Walk US$ 40 (temporarily suspended) Namibia, Swakopmund - Sand Boarding US$ 70 Namibia, Swakopmund - Sky Diving US$ 350 Botswana, Maun - 3 Day / 2 Night Drive-In/Mokoro Okavango Delta Excursion US$ 160 Botswana, Maun - Scenic Flight over the Okavango Delta US$ 85 Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls - White Water Rafting on the Zambezi US$ 130 Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls - Bungee Jump US$ 135 Zambia, Livingstone - Sunset Dinner Cruise US$ 80 Malawi, Lake Malawi - Water Skiing US$ 25 Malawi, Lake Malawi - Village Walk & Meal US$ 20 Tanzania, Zanzibar - Accommodation p/p/p/n From US$ 30 to US$50 Tanzania, Zanzibar - Stone Town - Spice Tour US$ 30 Tanzania, Arusha - 3 Day / 2 Night Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater Excursion *US$ 450
Kenya, Masai Mara - Masai Village Cultural Visit US$ 10 Uganda, DRC or Rwanda - Gorilla Trekking Permit Between US$ 600 & US$ 780 Uganda, Kampala - Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary US$ 85 Upwards Uganda, Jinja - White Water Rafting on The Nile US$ 130 Uganda, Jinja - Softpower Community Project US$ 35 Kenya, Lake Naivasha – Elsamere High Tea US$ 45 Kenya, Lake Naivasha - Crescent Island Sanctuary US$ 45 Upwards
**Please note that all accommodation & activities in Victoria Falls must be paid for in US$ cash (GBP & ZAR also accepted at a lower rate).
Please Note: This itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road & weather conditions, political situations and group decisions. All prices & Local Payments are subject to change. Due to Tourism Laws in some of the countries we visit, there may be a truck and crew change during the trip.
Your arrival transfer and pre-trip accommodation in a dorm bed is included in your trip price. Should you choose not to make use of these, or in the event that we are not updated with your arrival details, no refund will be paid for services not used.
For booking purposes please notify our office as soon as possible should you choose not to trek the Mountain Gorillas.
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I'd give me trip an easy 10/10. I absolutely loved the trip, everyone that I travelled with and got know, and all the activities we did. It was such a great combination of activities.
Of course there was a handful of animal game drives which was a major reason to do the trip, but there was also a great mix of other activites like the white water rafting, bike ride, and Zanzibar.
On any trip like this, the group you end up travelling with is always important in making the trip great, and fortunately I had a great group on both legs of the trip. It's such a great experience to interactive with others from all over the world and go through the various experiences together. I still communicate with many of them.
Everyone always asks me what my favorite part of the trip is, and I simply cannot answer. There was such a great mix and I loved everything we did.
In October 2012 my 3 sons and I did a 35 day overland safari. It had been a dream of mine to go to Africa since I was very young and finally after a lot of planning it was time to go aged 53.
I chose this operator from looking up trips on the Internet as they had a Safari that covered all of the things we wanted to do and see from the Gorillas in Uganda to the Masai Mara with an awesome balloon flight and game viewing to the Ngorongoro crater with 3 mock charges from a bull elephant and lions eating a wildebeest right by our vehicle to the Serengeti spotting leopards and having 2 cheetahs walk right up to the four wheel drive and much more all the way to Victoria Falls.
The scenery and country side we saw over the entire trip was just great. On a trip like this you have to able to just go with the flow and adapt if need be, as Kevin said at the start of the trip this is Africa, so I think we really enjoyed it because we all just took what each day bought and we were well satisfied.
Our travel guide Kevin and our truck crew were brilliant. We would travel with them again any day. The food was great from Jarred and Isa our driver took care of us on the roads to with driving very well. But it was their friendship at our campsites in the evenings that we really enjoyed. They made the trip for us. It was my birthday on the trip and the effort they made to get me a cake and celebrate with us was really appreciated.
To do this trip my 3 sons aged 26, 28 and 31 was very special and we definitely had expectations and they were well and truly met over and above. Kevin went to a lot of trouble to accommodate us all and our different wishes to make our trip special. The company of our group was excellent and we are still emailing today. We made some life long friends from different countries around the world.
It was an awesome trip and it was sad to leave our new friends our great travel team and the big green truck as we affectionately came to know it, but we left feeling well satisfied that we had done every thing that we went to Africa to do and see.
I was wondering how I would go on an overland trip of that length but it was no problems at all. Africa is an amazing place to visit still and I am not done yet. I will be back. If you are thinking of a trip like this go for it, it was awesome.
My 16 year old daughter and myself went on the Victoria falls, Chobe, Okavango Delta and Kruger National Park trip for 11 days in June. We had an amazing time and as it was a family trip the ages were varied so everybody got along.
The nights were quite cold but we had been prewarned and so we rugged up but the days were magical with the advantage of no bugs or flies or heat.
Do keep in mind that there is quite a few optional extras but they are not all to everyones tastes ie (we didn't do the bungy jump but did enjoy the village tours at Victoria Falls, and particuarly the horse riding at Maun and the Okavango camp out was not to be missed).
This type of tour is definitely for the more adventurous person and Gift (our tour guide) Tubby (our truck driver) and Florence (our cook) certainly looked after us. I strongly recommend this tour. We had a blast.
We travelled to South Africa and Africa with our 13 year old daughter and had an absolutely fantastic time.
This was our first time to Africa and the experience was amazing. The tour operator was a very professional company and we were very happy with the service, price and whole package deal. It all it was a good deal and enjoyable.
Our tour left Johannesburg and travelled through to Vic Falls. We had wonderful tour guides who were Gift, Tabby and Florence.
Our time in Africa was truly an amazing experience, we saw and learn't so much and the tour staff just added to that experience.
We have had a great taste to Africa and certainly want to return to see more.
We will recommend the operator to our family and friends and will use them again when we decide on our next African adventure.
We found the 11 day tour on the internet and compared to other tours we had priced the tour was by the far the best value for money.
Our email was answered by Liezl from reservations who could not have been more patient or helpful from start to finish, might I also add we were in Harare for a month prior and last minute from Harare I organised accommodation and transfers with Liezl also.
Moving on to the tour, our guide was Gift, our driver was tabis and our cook was Florence. The food was amazing and I will definately miss sitting around the fire talking stories with Tabis, Gift and Florence, three truly amazing individuals who are assets to the company
I will definately be recommending the operator and just want to thank everyone and keep up the good work and prices.
I took the Gorilla and Game parks tour from 3/13/11 to 3/26/11.
The tour itself. I won't go over everyday, but I highly recommend this company. I was very pleased with them and will be using them on my future trips to Africa.
The guide- Our guide, Mwangi, was hilarious! He was very friendly, gave LOTS of information about the animals we saw and the countries that we visited. He was highly approachable to ask questions or to just have a friendly chat by the fireside.
Our driver- Unfortunatly I didn't talk to our driver, Nicky, very much, but he was great. I know that if I had been trying to drive down some of those roads... well, we wouldn't have made it, Ill just put it that way lol. He always got into areas where we got the best shots of wildlife.
Our cook- Mwai (I think is how you spell it) was great. He was also funny and nice to talk to. I have NO complaints about the food. I eat a lot, and I never went hungry. Breakfast was usually the same (toast, eggs (cooked to order I might add, a luxury I'm not used to while camping) ceral, stuff like that) as was lunch (sandwiches that you made yourself). For dinner there was usually a soup followed by the main course. If you wanted to get seconds, no problem. We also stopped by many stores through out the trip and you could purchase snacks if you wanted to.
Camp life- I'm not gonna lie, driving for 7-8 hours most days was kinda rough. I\'m in pretty good shape, but at the end of two weeks I wanted nothing more than to have a nice shower and sleep on a really fluffy bed. Sleeping in tents was ok (I mean, how great do you expect that to be?), but again, after driving all day, setting up your tent, dinner, then sleep, wake up the next morning at 5am, pack your tent, breakfast, and it all starts over again (after we saw the gorillas our drive time dropped a lot which really helped). Everyone was expected to clean their own dishes and help around camp, which I think is a great idea, those 3 guys can't go everything by themselves.
Final thoughts- absolutely book a tour through this company... They are informative, friendly, and will make sure that your trip to Africa is nothing but amazing. I'm sure you can do more luxury safaris, but I have no regreats about 'roughing it'. You just have to keep an open mind, and be ready for the adventure of a lifetime :)