Great African Expedition - 57 Days
From 2020-04-25 to 2021-12-04
Arrival transfer from Nairobi Airport on day 1.
1st night dormitory accommodation at Kenya Comfort Hotel, 2 nights twin share accommodation in Swakopmund and 50 nights camping.
Tents and sleeping mats provided.
A fully equipped overland truck for transportation and game drives.
Services of 3 person crew (leader, driver, cook).
All camping fees and appropriate equipment.
50 breakfasts, 44 lunches and 43 dinners.
Mikumi National Park (transit only).
Park entry - Lake Naivasha NP and Victoria Falls NP.
Park entry & game drive - Chobe NP, Etosha NP, South Luangwa NP, Lake Nakuru NP and Masai Mara, Ngorongoro NP, Serengeti NP.
Sossusvlei transfer for Desert Walk.
All road taxes and tolls.
3 night Zanzibar Excursion including ferry transfer, accommodation, Spice Tour and Dhow Sunset Cruise.
2 day/1 night Okavango Delta Excursion (camping).
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Nairobi Welcome to Nairobi! We’ll be there to collect you at Nairobi Airport and transfer you to the Kenya Comfort Hotel. Tonight you will stay in shared dorms. There will be a pre departure meeting at 17.00.
Day 2-3 - Masai Mara Nairobi - Masai Mara. Heading west from Nairobi on day 2, we reach possibly Kenya’s most famous natural attraction - the Masai Mara National Reserve. The Kenyan section of the wildly beautiful Serengeti Plains teems with wildlife. The highlight of the Mara is no doubt the annual wildebeest migration, when literally millions of these beasts plus zebra and Thomson’s gazelle stray north from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania in search of lush grass on the savannah plains. Elephant, lion, cheetah, giraffe and a multitude of hooved herbivores also inhabit the reserve. A game drive through the Mara on day 3 gives us the chance to spot the Big Five. During our stay we can also opt to visit a local Masai tribe.
Day 4-5 - Eldoret & Kampala Masai Mara - Eldoret - Kampala (Uganda). Leaving the Masai Mara early on day 4, we head out of Masai Land and pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Eldoret - where we spend the night. The following morning, we cross the border into Uganda where we overnight in the capital city, Kampala.
Day 6-9 - Lake Bunyoni & Gorilla Trekking Kampala - Lake Bunyoni. From Kampala we drive to Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds, which 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.
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 Kisoro en route. The following morning we trek with trained rangers in search of the mountain gorillas.
Please note: Gorilla permits need to be purchased in advance, please ask your reservations consultant or visit our Gorilla trekking travel guide.
Day 10-11 - Kampala & Jinja Lake Bunyoni - Kampala - Jinja. 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!
On day 11 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.
Day 12-13 - Lake Nakuru Jinja - Nakuru (Kenya). Departing early, we head back to Kenya and spend the night 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.
Lake Nakuru National Park is home to a veritable array of wildlife. The park supports a population of black rhino, lion, leopard, zebra, antelope and giraffe not to mention millions of pink flamingos. The lake itself is a shallow soda lake. The following morning we enjoy a game drive through the park.
Day 14-15 - Lake Naivasha Nakuru - Naivasha - Nairobi. Leaving Nakuru we drive 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. 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. The next morning we head back to Nairobi.
Day 16-19 - Serengeti National Park Nairobi - Arusha (Tanzania). Leaving Nairobi, we cross the border into Tanzania. Arusha is the starting point for our 3 day excursion to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. The following morning we have some free time to visit the Meserani reptile park, Masai Cultural Museum or the surrounding villages and craft markets. After lunch, we transfer to locally operated 4WD vehicles for our Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion.
The 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 20-21 - Dar es Salaam Arusha - Pangani - Dar es Salaam. We return to Arusha before continuing on towards Dar es Salaam. On the way we drive through the town of Moshi situated at the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. We may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed! We spend the night in Pangani midway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam before reaching our lovely seaside campsite in Dar es Salaam the following day.
Day 22-24 - Zanzibar Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar. A ferry from Dar Es Salaam takes us to ‘Spice Island’, where we spend the next three nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and offers a wealth of experiences. Wander the streets of Stone Town, take an excursion around a spice plantation or simply laze on one of the pristine white sandy beaches, the choice is yours!
Day 25-26 - Mikumi Zanzibar - Mikumi - Iringa. Leaving Zanzibar in the morning, we return to the mainland and head west to Mikumi for an overnight stop. The next day we continue our journey west. Our destination today is Iringa where we spend the night in a beautiful rustic campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
Day 27-29 - Lake Malawi Iringa - Lake Malawi (Malawi). Winding our way through the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we travel into Malawi, 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 3 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.
Day 30-31 - South Luangwa National Park Lake Malawi - South Luangwa (Zambia). We head away from Lake Malawi, and stop off to stock up on supplies before crossing into Zambia. From here we head south-west via the Great East Road to our campsite near South Luangwa National Park.
This breath taking park is situated on the Luangwa River in the Eastern part of Zambia, and it is the southernmost of three national parks in this region. South Luangwa was founded in 1938 as a game reserve, 1972 was the year it was declared as a national park, and today it covers over 9000 kilometres squared. Animals such as Giraffe, buffalo and Elephants can be found in abundance. The Luangwa river is home to many a hippo and croc.
Day 32-33 - Livingstone South Luangwa - Lusaka Area - Livingstone. Today we depart this amazing National Park and make our way down south. 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 60s, 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.
Heading further south on day 33, we journey to Livingstone. The 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 34 - Chobe National Park Livingstone - Chobe (Botswana). We leave Zambia and cross the border into Botswana at the Kazangula Ferry. Once we’ve completed the border formalities, we continue to the town of Kasane, situated 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. We then continue on 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 game driving through the park in search of wildlife, including the rare Sable and Roan Antelope, with their majestic backward slanting horns. Try to keep a count of the Lilac Breasted Roller’s that swoop by! We reach our camp within the park and spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife.
Day 35 - Victoria Falls Chobe - Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). 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. Crossing the border into Zimbabwe, a short drive takes us 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. There's free time to join optional activities including Zambezi white water rafting, bungy jumping from 111m and flights over the Falls in a variety of airborne machines!
Day 36-37 - Victoria Falls The next 2 days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of optional excursions. Optional excursions include horseback 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 incredible aerial view of the falls and white water rafting on the Zambezi is world class!
Day 38-39 - Kasane Victoria Falls - Kasane. Leaving Vic Falls on this morning we cross back into Botswana and back to the town of Kasane, situated on the banks of the Chobe River. The remainder of the afternoon and following day are at leisure to explore the town or perghaps enjoy a cruise down the the Chobe River, or soak up the sun at the pool.
Day 40 - Maun Kasane - Maun. Heading out early, we cross the western end of the Chobe National Park area along the main route in a south-westerly direction to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and our destination, Maun. Maun is the starting point for travel into the Delta.
Day 41-42 - Okavango Delta Maun - Okavango Delta - Maun. On day 41 we take the included overnight 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, we arrive at our mobile tented camp situated in the heart of the Okavango.
On arrival you will meet the local staff who will be your host during your stay. A brief introduction to the camp will show you your dome tent with twin beds and a bush en-suite bathroom – long drop toilet and a bucket shower. Relax in the tent with a cold drink or take a paddle in the Delta in a canoe. The activities at the camp include Mokoro trails and guided walking.
The following 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 around lunch time 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 43-44 - Windhoek Maun - Ghanzi - Windhoek (Namibia). On day 43 we head towards the small village of Ghanzi which will be our last night in Botswana. Ghanzi is home to the San / Bushman and you can learn more about them by partaking in the Bushman experience offered by the campsite.
On day 44 our drive will take us through small rural towns and scenic landscapes. Nestled between the hills, Windhoek is a rather small capital city but has many places of historical interest. This afternoon is spent at your leisure with time to visit the local museum or haggling at the street side markets. There are also many shops for those in need of a bit of retail therapy.
Day 45 - Etosha National Park Windhoek - Etosha. From Windhoek, we head to Etosha National Park, 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, we spend the remainder of the day exploring the park’s northern area. Keep an eye out for the striking Oryx and Springbok as these are endemic to desert National Parks! After dinner why not head to the waterhole where you can sit and observe the animals may come to drink in the evenings.
Day 46-47 - Etosha National Park On day 46 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. After a full day of game viewing, we exit the park through Anderson gate and head to our campsite just 10kms away. The following day takes us further south through the Namibian countryside to a campsite, located in the vicinity of Etosha National Park.
Day 48 - Brandberg Etosha National Park area - Brandberg. Today we head down south to the area of the Brandberg. All depending on the time of arrival we will have the opportunity to explore the area.
Day 49-50 - Swakopmund Brandberg - Swakopmund. Our next stop is Swakopmund, via Spitzkoppe. 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. The following day is spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of optional excursions which include sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, horse riding and more!
Day 51-52 - Sesriem Swakopmund - Sesriem. 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 which are 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 guided excursion is available to walk around the area, learning about the amazing history, geology, flora and fauna from the specialised local guides. View the sunset from the top of Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience!
Day 53 - Fish River Canyon Sesriem - Fish River Canyon. Heading out early, we see the sunrise over this beautiful area before we leave the serenity of the dunes to 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 54 - Orange River Fish River Canyon - Gariep River (South Africa). This morning we continue south, where, after a short drive, we reach the Gariep 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 chance to take 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.
Day 55 - Cederberg Gariep River - Cederberg. This morning we travel south through the Richtersveld and the mining town of Springbok, 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 and have the opportunity sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains. Tonight is our last night under the stars!
Day 56 - Cape Town Cederberg - Cape Town. 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.
Day 57 - Cape Town This morning we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
There are a wide range of activities available in Cape Town and the surrounding areas, including day trips, short tours and longer tours travelling up the picturesque coast of South Africa. We suggest you extend your stay by a few days to participate in some of the exciting activities available here.
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