42 Day Southern Explorer - Nairobi to Cape Town Overland Tour

This Nairobi to Cape Town overland tour offers culture, wildlife and some of the most spectacular scenery to be found in Africa.

We travel from the bustling capital of Nairobi to the mother city of Cape Town. In between we search for the 'big five' in world renowned game parks, relax on white-sand beaches and snorkel the magnificent reefs on Zanzibar, and enjoy the tranquil setting along Lake Malawi.

Southern Africa doesn't disappoint with the majestic Victoria Falls, the highest sand dunes in the world in Namibia and impressive Table Mountain.

Southern Explorer Overland Safari
Southern Explorer Overland Safari
Southern Explorer Overland Safari

Tour Info

Starts: Nairobi, Kenya
Ends: Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 42 days
Group size: Maximum 30 passengers
Safari vehicle: Overland truck

Brief Itinerary

Days 1 to 4: Arusha, Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater (optional), Arusha
Days 5 to 9: Pangani, Dar Es Salaam, Ferry to Zanzibar
Days 10 to 17: Dar Es Salaam, Mikuni National Park, Lake Malawi Beaches, Lusaka
Days 18 to 22: Livingstone, Zambezi Sunset Dinner Cruise (optional), Victoria Falls
Days 23 to 27: Chobe National Park, Game Drive (optional), Boat Cruise, Okavango Delta (optional)
Days 28 to 32: Maun, Kavango River, Etosha National Park, Game Drives, Cheetah Park
Days 33 to 36: Spitzkoppe, Swakopmund
Days 37 to 42: Sossusvlei, Namib Naukluft National Park, Fish River Canyon, Orange River, Cape Town


Day 1: 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 2 to 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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 8 & 9: 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 10: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (D)

Leaving Zanzibar, we return to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam.

Day 11: Dar es Salaam to Iringa (B / L / D)

This morning we leave Dar es Salaam and head south. 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. We travel towards Iringa where we spend the night in a beautiful rustic campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!

Days 12 to 16: Iringa to Lake Malawi (Malawi) (B / L / D)

Taking in the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we head towards Malawi entering the 'Warm Heart of Africa' through the border post at Songwe.

Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. We travel the length of the western side of the lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets over the next 5 days.

Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine white beaches. Malawi's temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue freshwater 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 dug out canoe yourself! The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi's shores offer many optional Excursions including a variety of water sports, horse back rides and a visit to the local village and school.

Day 17: Lake Malawi to Chipata (Zambia) (B / L / D)

From Lake Malawi, we cross into Zambia where we spend the night in a beautiful little campsite just 10 km after the Malawi/Zambia border.

Day 18: Chipata to Lusaka (B / L / D)

From Chipata, we head south to Lusaka to our campsite on the outskirts of Zambia's capital city, Lusaka. The campsite is home to some local wildlife including Africa's largest antelope - Eland.

Day 19: Lusaka to Livingstone (B / L / D)

An early morning start sees us head south to Livingstone. Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it's not difficult to see why. 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! The Falls can be viewed from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia - a fantastic photo opportunity. Tonight we have the OPTION of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi.

Day 20: Livingstone to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (B)

We leave Zambia and cross the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Zambezi River, entering into Zimbabwe at the town of Victoria Falls. Here in Africa's adventure capital, we set up camp in the town's centrally located campsite. The Falls can be viewed from the Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe - a fantastic photo opportunity. The afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite's swimming pool 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 trips into the Zambezi or Hwange National Parks, elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, 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)

After breakfast we cross the border into Botswana and head to Kasane where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River. Listen out for the resident hippos! The Chobe River forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia. This National Park is one of Botswana's premier game parks, renowned for its large elephant herds.

For the adventurous spirits, there is the option for the Chobe National Park Sleep-out - an overnight experience in the Chobe National park. Spend the afternoon in search of wildlife en-route to the set camp within the park where we spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife. In the morning we continue our exploration and after stopping off at the camp for lunch, we meet the rest of the group for the sunset boat cruise.

Day 24: Chobe National Park (B / L / D)

For those not on the Sleep-out, today offers the option of an early morning game drive in the Chobe National Park. An early start sees us spend the morning observing the large herds of wildlife. After our game drive we return to camp for lunch. The late afternoon sees us take a boat cruise along the Chobe River. Elephant, hippo and many bird species can be viewed from the boat while we watch another glorious African sunset.

Day 25: Chobe National Park to Maun (B / L / D)

Today we travel in a south-westerly direction to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and our destination, Maun. It is from here that we set off to explore the Okavango Delta.

Day 26: 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. From Maun we drive north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler's station. Mokoros are traditional dug out canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who 'pole' them through the reeds. After our guides find us a place to camp, we set off on an afternoon game walk, allowing us to experience The Delta wilderness.

For those who'd prefer not to explore The Delta, you can stay 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.

Day 27: 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 (dependant on area & water levels), game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try our hands at poling our own mokoro!

Day 28: 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. We arrive back in the early afternoon and have the chance to complete our picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional sunset scenic flight over The Delta.

Day 29: Maun to Rundu (Namibia) (B / L / D)

Following the Kavango River, we enter Northern Namibia. We stop at Rundu for supplies before heading to our spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River - complete with 'open air' facilities and the occasional hippo grazing on the lawn!

Day 30: Rundu to Etosha National Park (B / L / D)

From Rundu, we head towards Etosha National Park. Covering 20 000 km2, Etosha is Namibia's premier nature reserve. Situated around the Etosha Pan with a wide 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.

Day 31: Etosha National Park (B / L / D)

Today we make our way 150 km across the park, keeping a look out for Etosha's large herds of desert antelope such as Springbok and the famed Oryx. After a full day of game viewing, we spend the evening relaxing at our camp.

Day 32: Etosha National Park to Cheetah Park (B / L / D)

Today's drive is to the Cheetah Park - a private farm dedicated to conserving Namibia's cheetah population. We get to meet the resident cheetahs, a photo opportunity not to be missed!

Day 33: Cheetah Park to Spitzkoppe (B / L / D)

Our departure from the Cheetah Park 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. Explore the surrounding area and its San rock paintings. Tonight we bush camp under the African stars.

Day 34: Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund (B / L)

Today we head for Swakopmund. 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. Accommodation will be in dormitories. Upgrades are possible, but depend on room availability.

Days 35 & 36: Swakopmund (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 Swakop, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the final leg of our trek.

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.

Day 37: Swakopmund to Sesriem (B / L / D)

Leaving Swakopmund, we head south to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay. Continuing our journey, we enter the Namib-Naukluft Park in one of the oldest deserts in the world. We base ourselves at Sesriem, a great 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. We spend the afternoon exploring this amazing area. An optional (and must do) excursion is to walk around the area, learning about the amazing history, geology, flora and fauna from the specialised local guides of Sossus on Foot. They also give us a glimpse into the cultural legacy of the San people. View the sunset from the top of Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience.

Day 38: Sesriem to Fish River Canyon (B / L / D)

After watching the sunrise across this beautiful area we leave the serenity of the dunes and head south to 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 39: Fish River Canyon to Orange River (South Africa) (B / L / D)

This morning we continue south, where, after a short drive, we reach the Orange River - the natural land border between Namibia and South Africa. We camp at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river. This afternoon we have the option of a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Orange River, affording us the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle.

Day 40: Orange River to Cederberg (B / L / D)

An early morning start see us travel south through the Richtersveld before reaching the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occur each spring. We spend tonight in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms. We have the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains.

Day 41: Cederberg to Cape Town (B / L)

We leave the scenic Cederberg area and travel south towards Cape Town. We travel through the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal before crossing the Piketberg Pass to the Cape's wine growing regions. Our first sighting of the Mother's City Table Mountain across Table Bay means we've reached our final destination. Tonight's accommodation is in dormitories in one of Cape Town's best loved hostels.

Day 42: Cape Town (B)

After breakfast, we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced an African overland safari of a lifetime!

We suggest you extend your stay by a few days to participate in some of the exciting activities available here.

Dates & Rates

2015 Tour Price: ZAR 17 190
+ Local Payment: USD 1 015
2016 Tour Price: ZAR 22 320
+ Local Payment: USD 1 210

Please Note:

  • All rates are per person and subject to availability, change / increase without notice and seasonabilty.
  • Some overland tours charge a Local Payment rate. This amount is payable directly to your tour leader upon the day of departure. This is an addition to the tour price.
  • Contact us for an accurate, market-best rate.
START: Nairobi END: Cape Town
18 October 2015 28 November 2015
01 November 2015 12 December 2015
15 November 2015 26 December 2015
29 November 2015 09 January 2016
13 December 2015 23 January 2016
27 December 2015 06 February 2016
24 January 2016 20 February 2016
07 February 2016 05 March 2016
21 February 2016 19 March 2016
06 March 2016 02 April 2016
03 April 2016 16 April 2016
01 May 2016 14 May 2016
29 May 2016 11 June 2016
12 June 2016 09 July 2016
26 June 2016 23 July 2016
10 July 2016 06 August 2016
24 July 2016 20 August 2016
07 August 2016 03 September 2016
21 August 2016 17 September 2016
04 September 2016 01 October 2016
18 September 2016 15 October 2016
02 October 2016 29 October 2016
16 October 2016 12 November 2016
30 October 2016 26 November 2016
13 November 2016 10 December 2016
27 November 2016 24 December 2016
11 December 2016 07 January 2017
25 December 2016 21 January 2017
Optional Activities

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


    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


    Fresh Water Diving (Kande Beach) from USD 55
    Snorkelling (full day) USD 30
    Village Walk and Meal USD 20
    Traditional Healer Visit USD 10
    Livingstonia Mission Hike (30km return) USD 10


    Zambezi Sunset Dinner Cruise USD 80


    Entry to Vic Falls National Park USD 35
    Microlight over the Falls (15 mins) USD 170
    Helicopter over the Falls (15 mins) USD 155
    Zambezi River Rafting (full day) USD 140
    Full Day Adrenaline (min 10 pax) USD 160
    Rafting and Boarding Combo USD 180
    Bungee Jumping (111m) USD 150
    Elephant Back Safari USD 150


    Chobe National Park Game Drive USD 70
    Okavango Delta Mokoro Excursion (2 nights) USD 170
    Scenic Flight over the Okavango Delta USD 100


    Sandboarding USD 55-70
    Quadbiking USD 100
    Skydiving USD 350
    Township Tour USD 80


    Gariep River Canoeing (min 4) USD 50
    Wine Tasting (Cederberg) USD 15
    Shark Cage Diving from USD 200
    Whale Viewing (seasonal) USD 90
    Township Tour (half day) USD 65
    Cape Point (day trip) USD 100
    Winelands (day trip) USD 90