This Nairobi to Cape Town overland tour is certainly the ultimate overland camping trip in Africa as it offers you a comprehensive insight into Eastern and Southern Africa's best attractions.
Our unique itinerary has been carefully designed to maximize your experiences in the time you have exploring this incredible continent with us. From gorilla trekking in Uganda to the undulating Masai Mara and flat plains of the Serengeti, the majestic Ngorongoro Crater to a glimpse of Mt Kilimanjaro and to the sun kissed beaches on the tropical island of Zanzibar, from the thunderous Victoria Falls, the serenity of the Chobe River and the Okavango Delta, the giant sand dunes in the ancient desert of Namibia and finally, the stunningly beautiful Cape Town.
Embrace the magic of Africa with this epic Nairobi to Cape Town overland 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.
Day 1: Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park (L / D)
Our Nairobi to Cape Town overland camping trip start in Kenya's capital city, Nairobi. We 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 near Lake Nakuru National Park, a relatively small park by African standards. However the park is prolific in wildlife, sited on the Great Rift Valley floor. The shallow soda lake attracts a huge variety of birdlife - especially flamingos, which may gather in such numbers that (when viewed from above) they form a strikingly pink 'fringe' around the lake-shore.
A delightful introduction to East Africa's wildlife diversity that we search for in an afternoon game drive making use of local guides and smaller safari vehicles for a more intimate experience.
Day 2: 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. The name 'Eldoret' is based on the Maasai word 'Eldore' meaning 'stony river' due to the stony bed of the nearby Sosiani River.
Day 3: Eldoret to Kampala (B / L /D)
We cross into Uganda, Winston Churchill's 'Pearl of Africa', 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 in Uganda we camp at the capital, Kampala which is an attractive hilly city.
Day 4: Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park (B / L / D)
From Kampala, we travel west towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, through the Equator again. 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 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park to 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'. With a depth of nearly 900m in parts this lake is the second deepest lake in Africa (the deepest being Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania). 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 6 to 8: Lake Bunyonyi / Gorilla Trek (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.
Pleae note: Depending on the availability of the chimpanzee and gorilla permits the tour itinerary may vary in day to day running order. 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 5 to 8 of this tour.
Day 9: Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala (B / L / D)
Leaving Lake Bunyonyi we make our way back across the Equator 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 10 to 12: Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Leaving the capital we drive a short distance to Jinja. It was in 1862 that the British explorer John Hanning Speke recognised Lake Victoria as the 'source of the Nile' settling a long running dispute about Africa's longest river.
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 rafting'. 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.
Other activities at Jinja include mountain biking, quad biking, village walks and even bungy jumping!
Day 13: 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 evening with your fellow travellers and exchange stories around the camp fire about your gorilla encounter.
Days 14 & 15: Eldoret to Nairobi (Bx2 / Lx1)
This morning we cross the Equator and make our way south to the capital Nairobi to our base just outside the Kenyan capital. The following day is free to explore the city and surrounding area and our Tour Leader can help you arrange these optional excursions locally.
Days 16 to 18: Nairobi to Masai Mara Reserve (Bx2 / Lx3 / Dx3)
We depart Nairobi early and make our way across the Great Rift Valley to the Masai Mara National Reserve, enjoying views of the vast vista en route. We travel in small specialized safari vehicles that enable us to have a more intimate view of wildlife. We spend two nights camping on the edge of the reserve with time to explore the park on morning and afternoon game drives.
On day 18 we return to Nairobi, where we usually overnight.
Day 19: Nairobi to Arusha (B / L / D)
After crossing the border into Tanzania at the busy Namanga frontier we arrive to our destination, Arusha, in the late afternoon.
After exploring the curio markets, we head to our camp just outside Arusha on the open plains to the west of the city. 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 20 to 22: Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater Excursion (OPTIONAL) (B / L / D)
On day 20 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 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 21 we drive out of the plains, game driving en route, and after lunch ascend the outer wall of the Ngorongoro Crater. We spend the night camping on the rim, where wildlife also runs free.
On day 22 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.
Please Note: There are a host of other Optional Activities and Excursions you can pursue 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 cafes and more! One of our crew members will be on hand to help over the next three days with activities. For those staying behiond at camp, only breakfast is included over these 3 days.
Day 23: Arusha to Pangani (B / L / D)
This morning we enjoy a walk to one of the local Masai villages to enjoy an insight into everyday life and traditions of this colourful culture before heading south via Moshi to Pangani Camp. If the weather is clear we will gain a view of the magnificent snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak (5895m). We camp on the banks of the Pangani River, set below verdant slopes of the spectacular Usambara and Pare Mountains in the Eastern Arc Mountain Range.
Day 24: Pangani to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
Leaving Pangani Camp we make our way south to Dar es Salaam and the Indian Ocean. To a majority of travellers, this city is the port of call to the more exotic island of Zanzibar and other Archipelago islands. We set up camp on the beach just outside of the city, take in the balmy Indian Ocean sea breeze, and prepare for our trip to Zanzibar.
Days 25 to 27: Zanzibar (B)
On day 25 we head to Zanzibar. Our time on the island is not structured and your time is at leisure.
As we leave the truck on the mainland, basic tourist class accommodation and breakfast on Zanzibar is included in the Local Payment but for the sake of flexibility lunches and dinners are left for your own account. Typically we spend one night in Stone Town and the next two nights in the north of the island at one of the beaches. Your tour leader will be available to assist if you experience any problems but there are no set activities - the time is entirely at your leisure.
Day 28: 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 29: Dar es Salaam to Mikumi National Park (B / L / D)
Leaving the bustling city and warm Atlantic coast we drive inland through the Mikumi National Park and we may, with luck, spot elephant or giraffe feeding near the side of the road. Our campsite is located a short throw from the park and we enjoy sundowners at the local bar / restaurant followed by the evening around the open fire under the blanket of stars. If time allows we can go on an optional game drive in the late afternoon.
Day 30: Mikumi to Iringa (B / L / D)
After breakfast we depart for Iringa and the Kisolanza Farm, our destination, which is at an altitude of 1600m ensuring a pleasant fresh climate in one of the most scenic areas in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
Kisolanza remains a working farm providing organic meat (beef, lamb and chicken) and vegetables to the surrounding markets as well as Dar es Salaam. This farm house is famous for their amazing hot showers, chocolate brownies and hot chocolate and Amarula drink that can be bought at their quaint candlelit bar.
Days 31 & 32: Iringa to Chitimba Beach (B / L / D)
After our last night in Tanzania, we head through lush mountain passes, rich grazing land, banana and tea plantations to the Songwe border post into Malawi. Our first night is spent at Chitimba Beach Campsite.
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.
Days 33 & 34: Kande Beach (B / L / D)
After a relaxing morning on day 33 we take a scenic drive 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 Kande Beach.
At Kande Beach you can try some of the optional water sports typically available, horse riding 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.
Day 35: Kande Beach to Chipata (B / L / D)
Today we head for the capital Lilongwe to gather supplies for our onward journey to Zambia. Here you have the opportunity to spend your remaining Malawi Kwacha money before crossing the border to Zambia. Chipata is a unique town with colorful fruit and vegetable markets and an unexpected amount of ornate mosques due to its large Indian community. If time allows, we will stop in Chipata before arriving to our campsite situated a short distance from the town centre.
Day 36: Chipata to Lusaka (B / L / D)
Today we leave early and take the Great Eastern Road through lush country and small villages, cross the Luangwa River to Lusaka, Zambia's capital. Our campsite for the evening is set in a tranquil and relaxing setting on a farm a short distance from the city.
Day 37: Lusaka to Livingstone (B / L)
We head south to Livingstone and set up camp at the Waterfront campsite on the banks of the Zambezi, just a few kilometres from the Victoria Falls. The campsite itself is fabulous and we enjoy a full briefing that provides information on all activities available in the region (typically these include rafting, canoeing, bungee, abseiling, gorge swinging, elephant and horse riding, scenic flights, river cruises), allowing you to plan your time accordingly over the next four nights.
Please Note: For the sake of practicality, meals in Livingstone 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 be back with the group at 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).
Days 38 to 40: Livingstone (Bx3)
The next three days are yours to explore the Victoria Falls area to the full. Our campsite is surrounded by the Mosi oa Tunya National Park so for those wanting more game drives these are available on your doorstep!
Day 41: Livingstone to Kasane (B / L / D)
Moving on from Livingstone, we travel a short distance to Botswana and the town of Kasane, the gateway to Chobe National Park. The Chobe River, which flows along the Northeast border of the park, is a major watering spot for large breeding herds of elephant. We enjoy an afternoon game viewing cruise on the Chobe River.
Day 42: Chobe National Park to Nata (B / L / D)
Following our morning breakfast, we drive south and if we are lucky we may encounter huge elephant and buffalo alongside the road. We arrive at the Elephant Sands Lodge during the afternoon. Since there are no fences all wildlife can roam freely from one waterhole to another and one can expect to see anything during your stay at Elephant Sands. It is one of the most unique and amazing experiences to watch wild elephants and their behavior at such close proximity.
Day 43: Nata to Maun (B / L / D)
We leave Elephant Sands and make our way to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta. Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana - it is an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts. If time allows, we have the opportunity to take an option scenic flight over the Delta afternoon.
Day 44: Okavango Delta (L / D)
Leaving the campsite in Maun we begin our excursion into the Okavango Delta by an open 4 x4 truck to the mokoro station. Here we will be introduced to the local Tswana Polers that will be guiding us on this expedition. We travel by mokoro (dugout canoe) amongst the giant lily pads, tall grasses and labyrinthine channels in search of hippo, crocodile and a variety of bird to our island tented camp and explore the area on a walking safari. The Okavango is a very unspoilt area and spending time out amidst the wilderness and the rivers listening to sounds of the African night is an unforgettable experience!
Day 45: Okavango Delta to Maun & Ghanzi (B / L / D)
We make our way out of the Okavango Delta via Maun to Ghanzi, which skirts the Kalahari Desert. Here, in this midst of (seemingly) barren terrain we meet the San Bushman and have a guided bush walk, a genuine cultural experience learning about this ancient people's way of life.
Day 46: Ghanzi to Windhoek (B / L)
Today we leave Botswana behind and travel to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Here we have the opportunity to enjoy a night out at one of the local restaurants or visit the famous Joe's Beer House.
Days 47 & 48: (B / L / D)
We make our way north to Etosha National Park, a vast reserve of over 20,000 sq km surrounding a central salt depression or 'pan'. We spend two nights here, usually making camp near a floodlit waterhole. Observers frequently see a range of night visitors including elephant, giraffe, zebra, even lion and hyena, making it one of the most memorable wildlife encounters in Namibia - a truly African experience and a highlight of any trip to Namibia. We have a short afternoon game drive upon arrival and a full day game drive the following day.
Day 49: Etosha to Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park (B / L / D)
We game drive out of Etosha National Park hoping to spot some animals not seen in the previous days, turn south making our way to Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park, home to a non-profit organization, aimed at conserving cheetahs in a natural environment. We go out for a game drive into the reserve to see some of the more than twenty wild cheetahs that are protected here. This is a unique experience and one that won't be forgotten.
Day 50: Otjitotongwe to Spitzkoppe (B / L / D)
We head south to the beautiful Damaraland region and stop at Spitzkoppe to admire ancient bushman paintings still visible on the peculiar rock formations. The Spitzkoppe Restcamp lies at the base of the mountain. It is owned and maintained by the local community and all proceeds from our visit go directly to the local community.
Days 51 & 52: Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund (Bx2)
Departing the granite infused Spitzkoppe, we make our way to the Atlantic coast and Swakopmund, which is a small town redolent of Namibia's colonial past but with modern adventure oriented attractions for the visitor. Swakopmund is Namibia's main seaside resort, sandwiched neatly between the desert and the ocean, and is a delightful coastal oasis. Here you can try some adventure desert based activities if you wish - quad biking, sand boarding, skydiving (weather permitting) and more! A full briefing of optional activities will take place then the choice is yours!
Please Note: For the sake of practicality, meals in Swakopmund are restricted to breakfasts. This allows you to take on half day or full day activities (some of which include lunch) without having to be back for meal times. Swakopmund town offers a variety of bakery's and cafes with a selection of reasonably priced meals (allow ZAR50 to ZAR100 per meal).
Day 53: Swakopmund to Sesriem (B / L / D)
Continuing south we reach the Namib Naukluft Park in the afternoon. This is the world's oldest desert and containing some of the highest sand dunes in the world - some over 300m high. Tonight we camp at the Sesriem campsite on the skirts of the national park entrance under the African starry skies.
Day 54: Sesriem to Bethanie (B / L / D)
This morning we wake early and drive into the Namib Naukluft National Park and stop at the base of Dune 45 - this is an ideal spot to clamber to the top of one of the most photographed sand dunes in the world and see the vastness of empty desert as the sun rises. After a well-deserved breakfast we continue deeper into the park for a self-nature walk in Sossusvlei, amidst the giant sand dunes - a real glimpse of Namibia's un-spoilt natural environment.
Departing from the dunes, we make our way to Bethanie, a small village in southern Namibia, and is ranked as one of the oldest settlements in the country.
Day 55: Bethanie to Fish River Canyon (B / L / D)
Today we drive south through barren and rocky landscapes dotted with quiver trees to the world's second largest canyon. Fish River Canyon is one of the natural wonders of Africa, some 500m deep and over 160km long. Again, there are plenty of opportunities for keen photographers as we spend time around this area.
Day 56: Fish River Canyon to Gariep River (B / L / D)
Leaving the mighty Fish River Canyon we travel south to the border of Namibia / South Africa to the Gariep (Orange) river. Our campsite lies on the banks of the river on the South African side. Here you have the opportunity to relax and unwind on the water's edge, swim or embark on an optional canoeing trip in sight of the abundance of birdlife in the area.
Day 57: Gariep River to Cederberg Area (B / L / D)
We continue south passing through Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of wildflowers that occur in spring (best seen between August & September). We camp at a picturesque campsite nestled near the Olifants River. Here we have the opportunity to sample some of the beautiful wines of the region.
Day 58: Cederberg Region to Cape Town (B / L)
We leave the scenic Cederberg area and travel south passing the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal and the spectacular views as we meander down the Picketberg Pass to the Western Cape Province. We continue to cosmopolitan Cape Town, without a doubt one of the world's most beautiful cities, where our overland camping tour ends. If time allows we recommend you spend a few days exploring the city and surroundings.
|START: Nairobi||END: Cape Town|
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).