This Johannesburg to Nairobi overland camping tour offers you a comprehensive insight into Southern and East Africa's best adventure and wildlife attractions.
Our unique itinerary has been carefully designed to maximize your experiences in the time you have exploring this incredible continent with us. From the famed Kruger & Hwange National Parks to the thunder of the Victoria Falls to the serenity of the Chobe River in Botswana, from the majesty of the Ngorongoro Crater to the vast Serengeti plains.
We continue through the Great Rift Valley to the flamingo enriched Lake Nukuru National Park, crossing the Equator for game viewing at the Queen Elizabeth National Park including chimpanzee trekking at Kyambura Gorge, the serenity of Lake Bunyonyi to adrenalin pumping activities at Jinja - the source of the Nile.
The highlight of this overland camping tour being a very special wildlife encounter with the magnificent mountain gorillas in Uganda; a truly unforgettable experience!
Embrace the magic of Africa with this epic Johannesburg to Nairobi overland camping tour - it will certainly leave you with an everlasting desire to discover more of this dynamic and diverse continent.
Please Note: An age range of 18 to 39 is applicable on this tour.
Days 1 & 2: Johannesburg to Hazyview & Kruger National Park (Bx1 / Lx2 / Dx2)
Our Johannesburg to Nairobi overland tour kick off on day 1 as we travel via the panoramic region of Mpumalanga, with its beautiful scenery and dramatic escarpment views, towards South Africa's most famed national park - Kruger. We spend two nights within the Kruger area, enjoy Shangaan tribal dancing and singing on our first night and take a full day game drive in the National Park itself to spot as many animals as possible the next day!
Day 3: Greater Kruger Area to Tshipise (B / L / D)
Leaving the Greater Kruger we travel north through South Africa's lush countryside to Tshipise, a town situated in the northern Limpopo province. Our campsite is located at Forever Resorts at the foot of one of Limpopo's rolling koppies set adjacent the Honnet Nature Reserve. There is hot springs in the area which are surrounded by dense woodland comprising of Mopani, Red Bushwillow, Jakkalsbessie trees - and the third largest Baobab tree in South Africa.
Day 4: Tshipise to Antelope Park (B / L / D)
Leaving Tshipise, we cross the Limpopo River, the second largest in South Africa and an important water source for this arid region. We complete formalities at the Beitbridge border and drive through stunning landscapes and the town of Gweru to make camp at the Antelope Park. This is one the most successful private game reserves in southern Africa and home to numerous antelope, zebra and giraffe. There is the opportunity to try various (optional) activities including game drives and walks, river cruise or horse riding.
Day 5: Antelope Park to Hwange National Park (B / L / D)
From Antelope Park we make our way to the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's largest and best known game reserve. If time allows this afternoon, we head out for a game drive and hope to glimpse the area's wildlife before returning to our camp at dusk.
Please Note: Due to the optional activities at Antelope Park and driving times, the game drive in Hwange National Park may be moved to the morning of day 6 before departing to Livingstone, Zambia.
Days 6 to 8: Hwange to Livingstone (B / L / D)
Moving on from Hwange we continue north, pass through the town of Victoria Falls, cross into Zambia and travel the short distance to the Waterfront Resort campsite a few kilometres from Livingstone. Situated on the banks of the Zambezi River, the Waterfront has a restaurant and small deck/terrace overlooking the river, and is a base and booking point for the numerous optional activities available in the area. Staff will give a full briefing on what can be booked (typically including rafting, canoeing, bungee, abseiling, gorge swinging and horse riding, scenic flights, river cruises).
Please Note: For the sake of practicality, meals in Livingstone/Victoria Falls area are restricted to breakfasts. This allows you to take on half day or full day activities (some of which include lunch) without having to back with the group mealtimes. The Waterfront camp restaurant overlooks the Zambezi River and offers a good selection of reasonably priced meals and snacks throughout the day (allow USD15 to USD30 per meal).
Day 9: Livingstone to Lusaka (B / L / D)
This morning we visit the Victoria Falls themselves. At over a mile wide and some 100 metres deep in high water, it forms the largest curtain of falling water in the world with spray visible from 20 kilometres away - hence their local name Mosi au Tunya (meaning 'smoke that thunders'). We leave Livingstone and head through lush country and small villages to Lusaka, Zambia's capital. Our campsite for the evening is set in a tranquil and relaxing farm setting.
Day 10: Lusaka to Chipata (B / L / D)
We leave early and take the Great Eastern Road through lush countryside and small villages, crossing the Luangwa River to Chipata. If time allows, we will stop in Chipata before arriving at our campsite to overnight.
Days 11 & 12: South Luangwa National Park (B / L / D)
Today we head to the South Luangwa National park, which is known to be one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, for 2 nights. On arrival we set up camp and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to enjoy the many optional activities from walking safaris and village walks. The next morning is at leisure where you can enjoy the swimming pool, which is the best place to be in the hot hours of the day. Later that afternoon we embark on a game drive along the river's edge to see the abundance of animal and birdlife inhabiting the area.
Day 13: South Luangwa to Kande Beach (B / L / D)
Leaving Zambia behind, we cross the border to Malawi stopping at the capital, Lilongwe, before taking the eastern road to Lake Malawi. We arrive at camp on the lake's shore in the afternoon and have the rest of the day to swim and explore the beach and surrounding area.
Please Note: Although it is our intention to adhere to the campsites described, a certain amount of flexibility is built into our time in Malawi and the crew may make alterations to the published itinerary.
Day 14: Kande Beach (B / L / D)
Try some of the water sports typically available including diving and snorkeling, take a horse ride along the beach and surf or else simply relax and enjoy the warm fresh waters of Lake Malawi. There is the opportunity to meet the local people, generally known as amongst the friendliest in Africa to gain insight into their way of life.
Days 15 & 16: Kande Beach to Chitimba Beach (B / L / D)
Taking a nice scenic drive through rubber plantations to Mzuzu - the capital of the northern region and the third largest town in Malawi, where we stop for a short while to grab supplies and check out the markets before arriving to Chitimba Beach for the next two nights. Enjoy time on the beach, take a leisurely village walk or do the full day trip to Manchewe Falls where after 11km of hiking you can cool off in a natural bath.
Day 17: Chitimba to Iringa (B / L / D)
Leaving Chitimba Beach, we travel the short distance north to cross the border into Tanzania. We steadily climb in altitude through Tanzania's Southern Highlands all the way to Kisolanza Farm House. Home to the Ghaui family for over 70 years, Kisolanza remains a working farm providing organic meat (beef, lamb and chicken) and vegetables to the surrounding markets as well as further afield in Dar es Salaam. This farm house is famous for their hot showers, chocolate brownies and hot chocolate that can be bought at their quaint candlelit bar.
Day 18: Iringa to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
We continue towards the Indian Ocean coast and the port city of Dar es Salaam. This route runs through the Mikumi National Park and we may, with luck, spot forest elephant or giraffe feeding near the side of the road. To a majority of travellers, Dar es Salaam is the port of call to the more exotic Zanzibar and the remaining of the Archipelago islands. We set up camp at our campsite on the beach just outside of the city centre, usually having time to browse curio markets and prepare for our trip to Zanzibar the following day.
Days 19 to 22: Zanzibar (B)
Our time on the island is not structured and your time is at leisure. Perhaps the best way to see Stone Town is on foot: explore the bazaars for old maritime trinkets, cloths, wooden carvings, visit mosques, palaces, courtyards and alleyways of the old town. Spices are grown in plantations nearby and you can take day tours to visit some and have your senses dazzled by the tastes and scents experienced; If it's white sand, sparkling ocean and hot sun you prefer - head to the northern beaches and enjoy the Indian Ocean at its best. Try snorkeling and diving, indulge in some sumptuous seafood, or simply relax beneath a coconut palm with a cocktail and a good book.
Please Note: As we leave the truck on the mainland, basic tourist class accommodation and breakfasts on Zanzibar is included in the Local Payment but for the sake of flexibility other meals are left for your own account. Typically we spend one night in Stone Town and the next three nights in the north of the island at one of the beaches. Your tour leader will be available to assist if you if you have any questions or need activities arranged.
Day 23: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (B / D)
We have the morning to do any last minute shopping or enjoy one last swim before catching the ferry back to the African mainland and Dar es Salaam and onwards to our campsite on coast for the evening.
Day 24: Dar es Salaam to Pangani River (B / L / D)
Departing early from Dar es Salaam, we head north to the Usambara and Pare Mountains in the Eastern Arc Mountain Range and camp near the Pangani River. The Pangani River basin is one of the most important rivers in the country sustaining the source of hydropower generation and smaller irrigation projects of vital importance to the economy.
Day 25: Pangani to Arusha (B / L / D)
Today on our drive, if weather is clear we will gain a view of the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain (5895m). We drive past the town of Moshi and eventually reach Arusha; a city situated exactly mid way between Cape Town and Cairo. With time to explore town we head out to our camp just outside the city at the edge of the Masai plains.
This afternoon we enjoy a walk to one of the local Masai villages, a local school and clinic, a small but highly interesting Masai museum, and the snake enclosure at the Mererani Snake Park. It is from here that we prepare for our two night / three day excursion to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. This is an Optional Activity and Excursion which can be opted into a few days before the excursion is underway. Your tour leader will offer this to all on the tour and take payment for it also. For those not wanting to take up this option there are other shorter activities available.
Days 26 to 28: Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha (B / L / D)
On day 38 we switch to smaller more 'game park friendly' vehicles and drive west across the Great Rift Valley, passing through Mto Wa Mbo (meaning 'mosquito creek') and enter the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. We pass into the park and drive around the Crater's rim and down onto the Serengeti plains. We game drive to our designated (but unfenced) campsite for the evening where lion and hyena roam nearby for an unforgettable experience.
On day 39 we drive out of the plains, game driving en route, and after lunch ascend the outer wall of the Ngorogoro Crater. We spend the night camping on the Crater rim.
On day 40 we descend the steep dirt road of the Ngorongoro Crater for a morning of game driving. All of the major mammals are present except giraffe (which cannot manage the steep slopes leading down onto the Crater floor). After our game drive we ascend to our campsite on the rim for a final view over the Ngorongoro Crater, pack up our camp and have lunch before retracing our steps to Arusha and our campsite at the Meserani Snake Park where we will overnight.
There are a host of other Optional Activities and Excursions you can pursue if not taking the 3 day / 2 night Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater option. Some of these options include day trips to Lake Manyara National Park and Arusha National Park or simply catch a taxi into Arusha and mix with locals in the Central Market, check out Tanzanite at the Cultural Heritage Centre, shop for souvenirs, check your emails at an internet cafe and more! One of our crew members will be on hand to help over the next three days with activities.
Day 29: Arusha to Nairobi (B / L)
After a last night in Tanzania, we make our way across the Masai Steppe to the Kenyan frontier. Completing formalities at Namanga border post, we drive the last stretch of road to Nairobi, Kenya's capital and to our camp for the evening.
Day 30: Nairobi (B)
Today is free to explore the city and surrounding area and our Tour Leader can help you arrange these optional excursions locally. Popular excursions include catching a taxi into town to check out the shopping, markets, bars and restaurants; visit the National Museum of Kenya; go on safari at Nairobi National Park; or check out the Karen Blixen Museum in the nearby town of Karen. Or simply relax and enjoy some 'downtime'.
Day 31: Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
We depart Nairobi early and descend into the Great Rift Valley, an enormous cleft in the Earth's surface stretching from the Red Sea to Madagascar but with particularly marked escarpments here in Kenya. We stop at a lookout point to take in the magnificent views. Our overnight stop is Lake Nakuru National Park, a relatively small park (by African standards) however prolific in wildlife, sited on the Great Rift Valley floor. A delightful introduction to East Africa's wildlife diversity awaits as we search for game on our afternoon game drive. We make use of local guides and smaller safari vehicles for a more intimate experience.
Day 32: Lake Nakuru to Eldoret (B / L / D)
From Nakuru we continue northwest and climb in altitude towards the town of Eldoret en route to the Ugandan frontier. We cross from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere today over the Equator, enjoy some time here learning a little about its significance and taking photos before moving onwards to Eldoret.
Day 33: Eldoret to Kampala (B / L / D)
We cross into Uganda, a country with beautiful natural scenery and a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures. Travelling through Uganda you will be captivated by its sheer overwhelming beauty and friendly people. Our first night we camp at the capital, Kampala which is an attractive hilly city, bustling with roadside traders, markets and busy matatu (minibus taxi) stands.
Day 34: Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park (B / L / D)
From Kampala, we travel west towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, through the Equator again, through fertile green terraced hillsides, lush banana plantations, steep mountains and tangled forests with herds of Ankole cattle with their incredible long curving horns roaming the roads and paddocks. We camp a short distance from the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here you will have the opportunity to relax and unwind, take a walk in the surrounding areas and mingle with the local community.
Day 35: Queen Elizabeth National Park & Lake Bunyonyi (B / L / D)
This morning we enter the Queen Elizabeth National Park and take in the magnificent views of the mountains that separate Uganda from central Africa as well as Lake Edwards and Lake George. We leave the national park and make our way to the lush and stunning Lake Bunyonyi (meaning 'Place of many little birds'). With twenty nine islands that can be visited by local boats, the lake is a great place to unwind, relax and explore on the days that we don't trek to see the mountain gorillas.
Days 36 to 38: Lake Bunyonyi & Gorilla Trekking (B / L / D)
Over the next three days the group will be split with one group trekking to the mountain gorillas while the others relax at Lake Bunyonyi to enjoy the many activities on offer.
On the day of our trek we gather in the early morning to meet our local guide and tracker. Walking in small groups we trek into the thick rainforest. The trek can be demanding at times with uneven terrain and hilly rainforest but the privilege of spending time with a family of these gentle primates makes the effort well worthwhile. To many people the day's trek and time with the gorillas remains their most exciting wildlife encounter in Africa.
Your permit allows you one trek and gorilla viewing (time limited to one hour). However because the authorities maintain strict limits on the number of visitors allowed to view the gorillas each day we may spend several days in the area while all passengers in our group complete the trek and viewing.
Please note: Depending on the availability of the chimpanzee and gorilla permits the tour itinerary may vary in day to day running order which is based on the brochure itinerary. From time to time we may have to trek on different days. If at any chance our Gorilla trek should be in another neighbouring country, eg Rwanda (instead of Uganda) this may entail extra visa fees although we shall endeavour to advise you before departure of any significant changes to the tour itinerary. Please take the above itinerary as a guide line only. This applies to days 35 to 38 of this tour.
Day 39: Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala (B / L / D)
Leaving Lake Bunyonyi we make our way back across the Equator (stopping for a photo opportunity if we did not stop on route to Queen Elizabeth National Park) through lush pasture lands and the northern reaches of Lake Victoria (largest lake in Africa) to Kampala where we will overnight. Kampala is a hotspot for great food and entertainment. If time allows, take the night out and try the local cuisines and enjoy the hospitality and friendliness of the local Ugandan's.
Days 40 to 42: (B / L / D)
Leaving the capital we drive a short distance to Jinja. Our camp is situated on the grassy banks overlooking the Nile River. It is here that we usually have the option to try rafting - an exciting day out for those enjoying the thrill of 'white water'. There is also the opportunity to make some difference to local children at a local school project. 'Softpower' is a locally run voluntary programme aimed at building and improving schools in the Jinja area to which your contribution of a few hours of painting or plastering is always most welcome. Other activities at Jinja include mountain biking, quad biking, village walks and even bungy jumping!
Day 43: Jinja to Eldoret (B / L / D)
After our refreshing stop at Jinja, we retrace our steps across the border to the Kenya's frontier and onwards to Eldoret, where we will camp for the evening. Tonight you can celebrate the last evening of your Gorilla Encounter with your fellow travellers and exchange stories, emails and laughter around the camp fire one last time.
Day 44: Eldoret to Nairobi (B / L)
This morning we make our way south to the capital city where our Johannesburg to Nairobi overland tour ends.
|START: Johannesburg||END: Nairobi|
Items listed below are covered in the Basic Tour Price which is made up of the tour price paid in your local currency (ZAR) plus the Gorilla and Chimp trek permits (paid at the time of booking) plus Local Payment (paid at the pre-departure meeting in USD cash unless otherwise specified).