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.
Day 1 - NairobiArrive 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 expectCamp out at night and perhaps hear lions off in the distanceAn optional sunrise balloon ride makes for an unforgettable memoryYou'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 - MaranguIf 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.
- Back on board the truck, climb high onto the slopes of Kilimanjaro to the village of Marangu, via Moshi (270 km, approx 5-7 hrs)Camp in the grounds of the Marangu Hotel
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 tourPerhaps buy some of the locally grown spicesExplore Stone Town on foot - taking in the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and myriad intricate alleywaysHead to the northern beaches and enjoy white sand and sparkling blue seaTry snorkelling and diving, eat sumptuous seafood or relax in a hammockWhy 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 farmhouseEnter 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 beachesRelax on the beach and participate in the many optional water activities on offerMake the time to meet some local Malawians, easily some of the friendliest people in AfricaCamp on Kande Beach,right on the shore of Lake MalawiPerhaps 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 restaurantsAim 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 HararePerhaps 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 cityGet up early and venture out to explore the Matobo National Park - home to a large population of black and white rhinocerosPerhaps 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.
- Visit Victoria Falls
- Perhaps enjoy a range of optional activities such as abseiling, canoeing, flying fox, gorge swing, helicopter flights, horseback safaris or rafting and river boarding.
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 FallsTravel to Chobe National Park in Botswana (100 km, approx 3 hrs)Take a cruise down the Chobe RiverEnjoy 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 DeltaOut in the middle of a wilderness area, on the first night you'll camp on an island away from civilisationContinue 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).Perhaps go out tracking and gathering with the San BushmenLearn 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 areaBush camp for the night in the midst of this remote regionPerhaps 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)
Go dune-bashing by quad bike or sand boarding in the surrounding desert, plus a host of other optional activitiesSpend an evening in one of the many good restaurants and fun bars
- Visit the Cape Cross seal colony
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 sandEnjoy brunch taking in the viewsJump 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 NoordoewerPitch the tents on the scenic banks of the Gariep (Orange) RiverDepart first thing the following morning to CitrusdalPerhaps 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 besidesPerhaps visit the Botanical Gardens, the District Six Museum, the national gallery or spend some time on Table MountainThere'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**
What to Know
On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members - Group Leader, Cook and Driver.
Cape Cross seal colony, Chobe - Boat Cruise, Chobe - Dawn game drive, Fish River Canyon, Game drives, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park - Guided walking safari, Mto Wa Mbu - Village Walk & market Visit, Ngorongoro Crater - Game drive, Okavango Delta - Mokoro trips & bushwalks, San Bushman cultural experience, Serengeti - Game drive, Sesriem - Sand dunes visit, Sossusvlei 4x4 Tour, Visit Victoria Falls, Zanzibar Spice tour
39 breakfasts, 35 lunches, 34 dinners
- 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.
It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.
Geckos strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Geckos makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
UNFENCED CAMP SITES: On some trips where you will be staying within a national park, please note that at times you will stay in unfenced camp sites. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules that must be adhered to. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 04 Jan 2015 - 17 Feb 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 08 Mar 2015 - 21 Apr 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 19 Apr 2015 - 02 Jun 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 10 May 2015 - 23 Jun 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 07 Jun 2015 - 21 Jul 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 14 Jun 2015 - 28 Jul 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 28 Jun 2015 - 11 Aug 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,675 Book Now 05 Jul 2015 - 18 Aug 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,675 Book Now 12 Jul 2015 - 25 Aug 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 02 Aug 2015 - 15 Sep 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,935 Book Now 23 Aug 2015 - 06 Oct 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,935 Book Now 06 Sep 2015 - 20 Oct 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,935 Book Now 20 Sep 2015 - 03 Nov 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 27 Sep 2015 - 10 Nov 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 11 Oct 2015 - 24 Nov 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 18 Oct 2015 - 01 Dec 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,675 Book Now 25 Oct 2015 - 08 Dec 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 15 Nov 2015 - 29 Dec 2015 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 06 Dec 2015 - 19 Jan 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 10 Jan 2016 - 23 Feb 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 24 Jan 2016 - 08 Mar 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 07 Feb 2016 - 22 Mar 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 06 Mar 2016 - 19 Apr 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 20 Mar 2016 - 03 May 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 24 Apr 2016 - 07 Jun 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 15 May 2016 - 28 Jun 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 05 Jun 2016 - 19 Jul 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 26 Jun 2016 - 09 Aug 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,675 Book Now 03 Jul 2016 - 16 Aug 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,935 Book Now 10 Jul 2016 - 23 Aug 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 07 Aug 2016 - 20 Sep 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,935 Book Now 28 Aug 2016 - 11 Oct 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,935 Book Now 11 Sep 2016 - 25 Oct 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,675 Book Now 18 Sep 2016 - 01 Nov 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,675 Book Now 02 Oct 2016 - 15 Nov 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 09 Oct 2016 - 22 Nov 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 23 Oct 2016 - 06 Dec 2016 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now 27 Nov 2016 - 10 Jan 2017 This trip has variations Available US $6,420 Book Now
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