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Caped Crusading

Trip Length

Trip Code

45 days GACR

Maximum Passengers

22 people
Minimum Age
18

Countries Visited

Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Start City

End City

Nairobi Cape Town
Caped Crusading

The party gets started in Nairobi, moves into Tanzania and doesn’t let up ‘til South Africa. Meet the cast of The Lion King in Ngorongoro, the Serengeti, Chobe and the Okavango. Beach your bum in Zanzibar and Lake Malawi. Get your cultural fixes in Harare, Grootfontein and Cape Town.

Game drive tips:

- Repress your inner fashionista and stick to neutral colours. Neon might be in this year but the animals hate it.

- Remember your truck etiquette, and try not to leap into someone's lap every time you want to take a photo from their side of the vehicle.

- Ask questions. Your local leader knows heaps of interesting stuff and they love getting a chance to show off.

 

TRIP CHANGE FOR 2015:
In 2015 this trip will no longer visit Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe and as a result, you will now be visiting South Luangwa National Park in Zambia for 2 nights. South Luangwa National Park is famously known as it was the first park in Africa to offer 'walking safari's'. Also, by adding in South Luangwa we can also break up the long drive days to Lusaka and Chipata.

Caped Crusading


Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Nairobi

Arrive early because there's heaps of things to do. Shop at markets on Kenyatta Avenue or pick one of two dozen shopping malls spread across the city. Get your bearings at the top of Kenyatta International Conference Centre then kick back with a localled brewed Tusker beer at Gipsy Bar on Ring Road.

Perhaps explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya

Why not embark on a safari walk in Nairobi National Park or take a visit to the Langata Giraffe Sanctuary

 

Day 2: Mto wa Mbu

Up early for the border crossing into Tanzania. We're slowly easing you out of civilisation, so get your shopping and bar-hopping fix in Arusha before heading to your campsite in the little village of Mto Wa Mbu. Don't stress, there's still flushing toilets and hot showers... for now.

Depart early for Arusha on our overland truck, a drive of about 8-9 hours (300 km)
The trip includes a border crossing from Kenya into Tanzania so be sure to have your passport handy

Camp overnight in Mto wa Mbu

Day 3-4: Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti National Park

It's a good thing the Ngorongoro Crater is 610 metres deep and covers 260 square kilometres because you'll be sharing it with about 30,000 animals. Then it's onto the Serengeti. If you close your eyes and think of Africa, it's probably this place that comes to mind. The name comes from the Masai word 'Siringitu' meaning 'where the land moves on forever'. We think that about sums it up.

Rise early and leave the truck behind to head out for your excursion into the Serengeti

View plenty of animals and birdlife, from members the Big Five to perhaps some creatures you don't expect

Camp out at night and perhaps hear lions off in the distance
An optional sunrise balloon ride makes for an unforgettable memory
 
You'll notice many Maasai villages in the region of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. While it's of course fascinating to visit different cultures, past experience has shown that these villages exist primarily as tourism businesses offering somewhat contrived performances of their traditional ways. You'll be charged an entry fee of approx US$20-35 and the Maasai will try very hard to sell souvenirs to you. While many clients still enjoy the experience, others have found it artificial and uncomfortable. We recommend our travellers bypass this activity as our Kenyan colleagues observe that it negatively impacts the Maasai culture and travellers' perception of this culture.
 

Rise with the sun and leave the Serengeti for Ngorongoro Crater, home to some 30,000 animals (approx 3 hrs drive)

After a picnic lunch, descend onto the floor of the crater for a safari lasting four-five hours

Depart the crater in the afternoon and relive the safari experience at the bar

Day 5: Mto wa Mbu

Head back to Mto Wa Mbu, handy if you accidentally left anything behind the first time. Go for a wander through the village and check out the kindergarten, milling machine, local homes and farmlands.

Participate in a local community village program and gain a close-up look at life in an African town

Join the local community with a guided stroll around the farming areas - including visits to a kindergarten, milling machine, local homes and farmlands

Perhaps visit the markets for some wood carvings or local artwork

Day 6: Marangu

If you've got spare cash burning a hole in your pocket, now's the perfect time to use it. Say goodbye to your tent buddy for the night and upgrade to a room in the gorgeous farmhouse set on 12 acres of tropical gardens, complete with bar and pool. But hey, maybe you'd just prefer to stay in the tent. Your choice.

Day 7: Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam is Arabic for "The abode of peace". So no yelling, fighting, farting or generally disrupting the serenity. We'll allow a few shrieks of delight when you hit the water though, it's been a long week.

Long travel day heading further south towards the coastal city of Dar es Salaam (560 km, approx 10-13 hrs)
Set up camp on a balmy beach outside of the city.
Perhaps take a dip in the ocean

Day 8-10: Zanzibar

There's something in the air in Zanzibar. Spices, most likely. But there's something else, too. It's all a bit perfect really. Your first night is spent at a little inn and then it's off to the northern beaches for seafood, swimming, snorkelling, snoozing and swearing (to come back and visit again, not yelling randome curse words).

Catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar (approx 90 mins)
Drive to the spice plantations for a guided tour
Perhaps buy some of the locally grown spices
Explore Stone Town on foot - taking in the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and myriad intricate alleyways
Head to the northern beaches and enjoy white sand and sparkling blue sea
Try snorkelling and diving, eat sumptuous seafood or relax in a hammock
Why not head out to Prison Island for a tour

Day 11: Dar es Salaam

Back to the beaches of Dar es Salaam today. Stock up on kangas (sarongs), carvings and Tinga-Tinga paintings.

Reboard the ferry and return to the beach outside Dar es Salaam

Day 12-13: Iringa/Chitimba

Welcome to the travelling part of the trip. You'll be putting in a few long hours on the truck for this bit, so if you know any good card games, magic tricks, jokes or brainteasers now is the time to dig deep. Africa is a bloody big continent, surely you expected this?

Travel further south through Mikumi National Park (550 km, approx 10-11 hrs)
Set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse
Enter Malawi, the 'warm heart of Africa', on the way to your campsite at Chitimba (510 km, approx 10-12 hrs)

Day 14-15: Lake Malawi

What's that? You want more beaches? Well, we're nothing if not accommodating. How does a few days on the beaches of Lake Malawi sound? We'll even throw in the chance to go scuba diving, horse riding and meet some of Africa's friendliest people.

Travel from Chitimba to Kande Beach on the shore of Lake Malawi (230 km, approx 6 hrs)
Enjoy a few days on the lake's more peaceful beaches
Relax on the beach and participate in the many optional water activities on offer
Make the time to meet some local Malawians, easily some of the friendliest people in Africa
Camp on Kande Beach,right on the shore of Lake Malawi
Perhaps head out scuba diving or horse riding

Day 16-17: Chipata/Lusaka

Break up a couple of long travel days by stopping in Lilongwe for supplies and getting your fix at the bars, cafes and restaurants scattered around Malawi's capital.

Travel across into Zambia ( Day 32 ), stopping in Lilongwe, to replenish supplies (490Kms – approx 8hrs travel time)
Soak up some Malawian culture in the coffee shops, bars and restaurants
Aim for Lusaka the following day (approx 10hrs)

Day 18: Harare

We love this city. You will too. Hungry? Head to KwaMereki, a legendary spot among locals. Give your order to one of the smiling ladies cooking up a storm behind their braais (barbecues) and sip on a tasy Bohlinger’s while you wait. You could also go for a swim at a retro bathing complex that hasn't changed since the '50s or check out the gallery, museum, gardens and shops.

Drive for approx 3 hours to the border with Zimbabwe

After formalities, enjoy a 60Km scenic drive before covering the rest of the distance to Harare (approx 8hrs)

Enjoy free time to explore Harare
Perhaps head to the National Gallery, the museum, the botanical gardens or simply wander through the many shops and markets

Day 19: Masvingo

Here's what the guide books say: "Construction on the monument began in the 11th century and continued until the 14th century, spanning an area of 1,780 acres which, at its peak, could have housed up to 18,000 people." Here's what we say: "These ruins are probably the coolest things you'll see on this trip that don't have four legs".

Explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins

Day 20-21: Bulawayo

Bulawayo is a fun word to say. Bulawayo, Bulawayo, Bulawayo. You've been on the road for 20 days, a bit of madness is bound to creep in. Head out into Matobo National Park and see if the rhinos think it's funny.

Travel to Bulawayo (360 km, approx 5-6 hrs)
The afternoon is free to explore the city
Get up early and venture out to explore the Matobo National Park - home to a large population of black and white rhinoceros
Perhaps visit the Natural History Museum or the Railway Museum

Day 22: Hwange National Park

After being used as the royal hunting grounds of a 19th century warrior-king, this became a national park in 1929. Now it's got one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. That's relief you see on their faces.

Head to Hwange National Park (360 km, approx 5-6 hrs)
Explore the park in open 4x4 vehicles.
Stay within the park at one of its campgrounds with shared facilities


 

Day 23-25: Victoria Falls

It's not thunder. It's not rain. It's Victoria Falls. With spray rising about 400 metres, the frizzy-haired among you might want to consider wearing a headscarf or hat today. This is a combo trip so some members of your group will bugger off today, and you'll get a few new ones. It's good to mix things up.

Day 26-27: Chobe National park

Fish eagles are birds, not fish. They're huge and like to hang around the Chobe River looking for lunch. As do the hippos and crocs. You'll take a cruise on the river today but don't worry, they don't like the taste of people meat (well, not for lunch anyway).

Spend a free morning continuing to explore Vic Falls
Travel to Chobe National Park in Botswana (100 km, approx 3 hrs)
Take a cruise down the Chobe River
Enjoy an early morning game drive and get up close to the wildlife, hopefully spotting lions, buffaloes, birds and of course elephants

Day 28: Bagani

Another day, another country. Your passport must look pretty snazzy by now. If you need to stretch the ol' legs why not challenge the locals to a soccer match. You won't win, but we'll have fun watching you try.

Drive from Kasane to Ngoma Bridge and our camp at Bagani in Namibia (470km, approx 7 hrs)

Perhaps make the most of boat trips, fishing or hikes in Bagani, as well as the chance to play soccer with the locals

Day 29-30: Okavango Delta

With no outlet from the desert, the delta is a 16,000 kilometre maze of waterways, islands and streams that feeds a whole bunch of animals. Spend the first night camping in the middle of nowhere and then head back to civilisation at Umvuvu Camp with its (usually) hot showers and small bar.

Drive across the border into Botswana and head south to Seronga (140 km, approx 4 hrs)
Boarding boats out into the swamps, travel to Gao Island to meet your mokoro team and to begin exploring the Okavango Delta
Out in the middle of a wilderness area, on the first night you'll camp on an island away from civilisation
Continue your trip around the delta and return to Gao Island before heading to the relative civilisation of Umvuvu Camp

Day 31: Bagani

Set up camp in Bagani tonight. Couple of optional activities planned, including sunset cruise, traditional dancing (watching, not participating) or tuck into some mahangu, ground nuts, stewed meats, and fish from the Okavango River at a local restaurant.

Day 32-33: Grootfontein/San Bushmen

No, you're not hearing things. That clicking sound is the native tongue of the San Bushmen (remember The Gods Mut Be Crazy?) who will take you out tracking and gathering using techniques that have been around for 20,000 years (so, don't expect to see a spotlight).

 

Travel to Grootfontein and spend the night near a Bushmen homestead (400 km, approx 6 hrs)
Perhaps go out tracking and gathering with the San Bushmen
Learn the stories and songs of these fascinating people, presented in their unique "clicking language"

 

Day 34-35: Etosha National Park

Game viewing is made super easy here thanks to man-made waterholes and wide open pans. There's a few endangered species here so if your leader points out black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik you better pay attention.

Travel to Etosha National Park (290km, approx 6 hrs)
Set off on game drives through the park whilst staying at two different campsites - Namutoni and Okaukuejo.
 
 
 

Day 36: Spitzkoppe

Spitzkoppe Mountain is about 700 million years old, with no signs of slowing down. It looks a bit like the Matterhorn but that European wonder has got nothin' on the changing colours of this mighty beast at sunset. Sorry Europe.

Travel to Spitzkoppe (490km, approx 9 hours)
Maybe make the most of some of the hikes and guided walks throughout the area
Bush camp for the night in the midst of this remote region
Perhaps witness the renowned sunsets and sunrises

Day 37-39: Swakopmund

You'll probably smell the seals of Cape Cross before you see them. Once you get to Swakopmund, part with some of your hard-earned cash on optional activities like a hot air balloon ride, camel ride, fishing trip, flying fox, horse riding, quad biking or sandboarding. You won't regret it.

Continue on to the town of Swakopmund (320 km, approx 5-6 hrs)

  • Visit the Cape Cross seal colony
Go dune-bashing by quad bike or sand boarding in the surrounding desert, plus a host of other optional activities
Spend an evening in one of the many good restaurants and fun bars

 

Day 40-41: Sesriem/River Camp

Normally the term "dramatic sunrise" would make us choke on our Corn Flakes, but we'll make an exception here. Any more dramatic and we'd have to rename it Miley Cyrus Desert. Jump in the back of a 4x4 to explore Sossusvlei.

It's an all-day drive from Swakopmund to Sesriem (350 km, approx 6-7 hrs)

Wake before dawn and scramble to the top of the dunes for a sunrise view across a sea of sand
Enjoy brunch taking in the views
Jump in the back of a pickup truck for a trip to Sossusvlei (approx 30 minutes each way)
Make the most of a 4x4 Tour in Sossusvlei

Day 42: Fish River Canyon

Yep, this is indeed the longest interior river in Namibia that you've been waiting for. Ladies and gents we present Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world (no prizes for guessing which whopper took out the top spot).

Heading further south in the desert lands of Namibia, drive towards Fish River Canyon (200 km, approx 3-4 hrs)

Day 43-44: Orange River/Western Cape

Considering the Orange River was responsible for washing diamonds down to the Namib coast you'd think "Diamond River" would've been a more fitting name. Oh well, too late now. Pitch tents on the bank and keep your eyes peeled for some new bling floating past.

Departing Fish River Canyon, it's a 5 hour transit (275 km) to Noordoewer
Pitch the tents on the scenic banks of the Gariep (Orange) River
Depart first thing the following morning to Citrusdal
Perhaps enjoy mountain walks around the surrounding countryside and farms, time allowing

Optional canoe trip

Day 45: Cape Town

You made it. 45 days with a bunch of strangers who will now (hopefully) be your buds for life. Definitely book a few extra nights to hang around and explore Cape Town, and to wash off that "45 days with strangers" smell before you get home.

Your safari comes to an end in Cape Town (330 km, approx 7 hrs)
Enjoy a host of optional activities in Cape Town such as abseiling, kloofing, scuba diving, a harbour cruise and much more besides
Perhaps visit the Botanical Gardens, the District Six Museum, the national gallery or spend some time on Table Mountain
 
There's no accommodation provided for tonight but we are able to organise additional nights. Please request at the time of booking. We recommend you do stay longer as there is plenty to see and do in Cape Town.Please don't book international departure flights until after 9pm on departure day.

 

**This tour is run by our sister company Intrepid**


Your Trip

Nuts and Bolts

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

Accommodation

Not Included

International flights, airport transfers, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals not listed, any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.


Important Information

HOT AIR BALLOONING

An optional sunrise balloon ride over the Serengeti is possible on this itinerary. Please see Days 4-5 for full details of this activity. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and we recommend you book in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to book this optional activity.

FINISH TIME:

This trip finishes upon arrival in Cape Town on Day 45. Please do not book any flights until after 9pm this evening.

**This trip is run by our experienced sister company Intrepid Travel. Your group is therefore likely to be  a mixture of Gecko’s passengers and other like-minded international travellers.

 

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER:

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements deriving from past travellers' and local operator feedback. The information given in this itinerary may differ slightly to that in the brochure. It's imperative that you print and review a final copy of your itinerary a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

For the latest updated itinerary please visit our website: www.geckosadventures.com

Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some of the changes that may occur in our itineraries could be due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transportation. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for the chance of possible modifications to the trip en-route.

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES:

Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, and all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the activities that are included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded to you.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

There are a selection of optional activities listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This is not an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices listed are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless otherwise indicated. Please also be aware that it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.

Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Geckos nor included in the price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Geckos.

You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form for some of the optional activities you choose to participate in.

 

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

28 August 2014


General Contact Details

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