A combination of two of our most popular overland tours sees your experience the varying faces of Africa, from gorilla viewing in the rain forests to the island paradise beaches of Zanzibar. The memory of the Gorilla Trek and observing these amazing creatures as they meander and feed in their ever-diminishing habitat will remain with you forever.
The game parks of East Africa are renown for their unspoiled natural beauty and prolific game, while the island of Zanzibar will see you soak up its exotic traditions. You will be caught up in the way of life, which is hard to leave.
Day 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D)
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi we climb the escarpment to our first stop, a viewpoint overlooking 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, before arriving at our campsite, Acacia Camp. 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 2: Masai Mara (B / L / D)
We spend the day driving through nature as it was intended to be - huge plains, rolling hills and an abundance of game matched no where else on earth. We keep an eye open for the Big 5 - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard. If travelling between July and October, we may get to witness the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle in their Annual Migration. Sitting around the camp fire, watching the sun set is the perfect way to finish a day's game viewing in this 'Garden of Eden'.
Day 3: Masai Mara to Kericho (B / L / D)
Leaving the Masai Mara early in the morning, we travel to the scenic tea plantations of Kericho, situated on the edge of the Rift Valley Plateau. We spend the night at a campsite on the edge of a Tea Estate and time permitting, can partake in a tour.
Day 4: Kericho to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
Today, 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 semidesert 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 5 to 8: Kampala to Lake Bunyonyi (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 Bunyonyi.
Lake Bunyonyi, 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 depending on where we trek. There is a local transport & handling fee of US$65 to US$70 per person (this covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority's booking fee). For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Please budget accordingly.
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. Winding our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa, we head to the town of Kisoro where we spend the night (Should we be trekking in Rwanda our overnight will be in Ruhengeri). 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 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 Bunyonyi 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.
For those of us awaiting our day of gorilla trekking, the choice is yours, visit a local village or church, hike in the surrounding hills, canoe, go on a bird watching walk, visit the local markets of Kabale or just spend the days relaxing or swimming in this tranquil lake.
Day 9: Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala (B / L / D)
After marvelling at the experience of our gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyonyi, 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 10: Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Today we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or transferring to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering at a 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 11: Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D)
Today we head back to Kenya, stopping for lunch and supplies en route. We overnight in Nakuru, Kenya's 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province.
Day 12: Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning we head in to Nakuru Town to stock up on supplies before beginning 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. We overnight at a bush camp within the Park.
Day 13: Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D)
Moving further east, we head to Lake Naivasha, 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. Time permitting; we spend the afternoon 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. Tonight is spent in a lovely campsite overlooking the lake.
Day 14: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
After breakfast, we head back to Nairobi. On arrival, we head to the Hotel Boulevard, where we deliver the passengers who'll be ending their trip here, before heading to our campsite for the night.
Day 15: Nairobi to Arusha (Tanzania) (L / D)
This morning we collect the passengers who'll be joining us on the next leg of our trek. We travel south crossing the border into Tanzania at Namanga. Tonight we stay in a lovely campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on our Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Days 16 to 18: Arusha to Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater (OPTIONAL) (B / L / D)
Arusha is a pleasant town situated at the base of Mount Meru and is the starting point for the optional excursions to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. We conduct these excursions in locally operated 4WD vehicles, which are adapted for safari use.
For those not opting to visit the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park, the next 2 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 Optional Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion takes us via the Maasai town of Mto 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 head 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 camp in the bushveld 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 game. 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 19: Arusha to Pangani (B / L / D)
After a morning spent exploring Arusha and its vibrant craft markets, we head south towards Dar es Salaam. On the way we drive 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! We pass through vast sisal plantations surrounded by The Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges, before reaching our lovely campsite nestled between these mountains, midway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
Day 20: Pangani to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
Today we continue on to Dar es Salaam. Travelling through lush scenery and palm trees, we near the warm Indian Ocean. 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 21: 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.
Please 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. The Trip Leader joins you and can arrange your accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants.
* 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.
Days 22 & 23: 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 24: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (D)
Leaving Zanzibar, we return to the mainland in the late afternoon where we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced an overland tour of a lifetime!
|START: Nairobi||END: Dar es Salaam|
|12 July 2015||04 August 2015|
|26 July 2015||18 August 2015|
|09 August 2015||01 September 2015|
|23 August 2015||15 September 2015|
|06 September 2015||29 September 2015|
|20 September 2015||13 October 2015|
|04 October 2015||27 October 2015|
|18 October 2015||10 November 2015|
|01 November 2015||24 November 2015|
|15 November 2015||08 December 2015|
|29 November 2015||22 December 2015|
|13 December 2015||05 January 2016|
|27 December 2015||19 January 2016|
The following Optional Activities are available on this overland safari.
Please Note: Prices are approximate and can change at any given time. Please use as a guideline only.
|Nairobi National Park (half day tour)||USD 125|
|Giraffe Centre||USD 15|
|Masai Village Cultural Visit||USD 15|
|Masai Warrior Dancing||USD 10|
|Masai Mara Hot Air Balloon||USD 550|
|Naivash Horse Riding (per hour)||USD 25|
|Naivasha Boat Hire (max 7 pax)||USD 60|
|Elsamere Visit (Home of Joy Adamson)||USD 25|
|Hells Gate National Park||USD 65|
|Crescent Island||USD 40|
|White Water Rafting on the Nile||USD 160|
|Nile River Bungee||USD 120|
|Jinja Quad Biking (2 hours)||USD 100|
|Adrift / Softpower Community Project||USD 35|
|Horse Riding (excl. transfer)||from USD 60|
|Chimpanzee Sanctuary (excl. transfer)||from USD 80|
|Gorilla Trekking||from USD 600|
|Serengeti / Ngorongoro Excursion (2 nights)||from USD 500|
|Olduvai Gorge||USD 10|
|Zanzibar Accommodation (p/p/p/n)||USD 40-60|
|Zanzibar Spice Tour||USD 40|
|Stone Town Tour||USD 50|
|Prison Island Snorkelling Trip||USD 30|
|Dhow Sunset Cruise||USD 40|
|Dhow Fishing Trip||USD 40|
|Dolphin Trip||USD 40|
|Nungwe Snorkel Trip (half day)||USD 40|
|Scuba Diving||from USD 100|