|Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe|
Cape Town be our kick-off point, Nairobi be our goal. The game plan will see us camping in Spitzkoppe, seal-spying along Cape Cross, delta delving in the Okavango and savanna scanning in the Serengeti. Team huddles in Bagani, Harare, Lake Malawi and Zanzibar.
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.
Boasting vineyards, adventure activities, restaurants and attractions both in and around the city, Cape Town is a delight. It is also the perfect place to kick off the ultimate overland tour of Africa.
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.
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).This morning there's a chance for an optional canoe adventure on the stunning Orange River
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.
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 (360 km, approx 9 hrs drive)
You'll probably smell the seals of Cape Cross before you see them. Spitzkoppe Mountain is about 700 million years old, with no signs of slowing down.
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 (480 km, approx 9 hrs)
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 (315 km, approx 6 hrs)
Set up camp in Bagani for the night. 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.
Optional boat trip in Bagani
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Bulawayo is a fun word to say. Bulawayo, Bulawayo, Bulawayo. You've been on the road for 25 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.
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".
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.
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.
What's that? You want 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.
Stop in Lilongwe to replenish supplies
Head to camp on the shore of Lake Malawi
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?
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.
Travel through Mikumi National Park
The journey today is 560 km - approximately 13 hours of drive time
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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
We're slowly easing you back into civilisation, so get your shopping and bar-hopping fix in Arusha before heading to your campsite in the little village of Mto Wa Mbu. Ooh, flushing toilets and hot showers. The luxury!
Stroll through farming areas of Mto Wa Mbu
Perhaps visit a kindergarten, milling machine and some local homes
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 Namibia, and to wash off that "45 days with strangers" smell before you get home.
Spend time exploring Nairoibi
Perhaps enjoy a final meal with the group
**This trip is tun by our sister company Intrepid**
Cape Cross seal colony, Chobe - Boat Cruise, Chobe - Dawn game drive, Etosha - Game drive, Fish River Canyon, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park - Guided walking safari, Okavango Delta - Mokoro trips & bushwalks, San Bushman cultural experience, Serengeti - Game drive, Sesriem - Sand dunes visit, Sossusvlei 4x4 Tour, Usambara Village Education Project visit, village walk & lunch, Visit Victoria Falls, Zanzibar Spice tour
40 breakfasts, 34 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.
HOT AIR BALLOONING:
An optional sunrise balloon ride in the Serengeti National Park is possible on this itinerary. Please see Days 42-43 for full details of this activity. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and we recommend that you book in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to book this optional activity. COMBINATION TRIP: This is a combination trip and the composition of your group may change in Victoria Falls.
This trip finishes upon arrival in Nairobi 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.
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!
28 August 2014