Caped Crusading - Reverse
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.
Day 1 - Cape Town
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.Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1Enjoy 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 Mountain
Day 2-3 - Western Cape/Orange River
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.Leaving Cape Town behind, travel up the Western Cape and spend the night on a working farm (290 km, approx 8 hrs)Head for Orange River the following day (540 km, approx 9 hrs)Pitch the tents on the scenic banks of the Gariep (Orange) River
Day 4 - 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).This morning there's a chance for an optional canoe adventure on the stunning Orange RiverHead further west into the desert lands of Namibia towards Fish River Canyon (270 km, approx 4-5 hrs)
Day 5-6 - Sesriem/Bush 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.This is a long driving day towards the dunes of Namibia (520 km, approx 10 hrs)Wake before dawn and scramble to the top of these dunes for a dramatic sunriseJump in the back of a pickup truck for a trip to Sossusvlei (approx 30 minutes each way)
Day 7-9 - Swakopmund
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)Plenty of time to go dune-bashing by quad bike or sand boarding in the surrounding desert.Spend lively evenings in the town's many good restaurants and bars
Day 10 - Spitzkoppe
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.Travel to Spitzkoppe (290 km, approx 6 hrs).Visit the olive-coloured seals on the shores of Cape Cross while travelling up the Atlantic CoastVisit the wild lands around the mountain of Spitzkoppe - 'the Matterhorn of Namibia'Bush camp for the night in the midst of this remote region and have the chance to witness the renowned sunsets and sunrises
Day 11-12 - 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 (480 km, approx 9 hrs)Set off on game drives through the park, staying at two different campsites - Namutoni and Okaukuejo
Day 13-14 - 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 (315 km, approx 6 hrs)Take the opportunity to go out tracking and gathering with the San BushmenSpend some time with the bushmen and listen to their stories and songs
Day 15 - Bagani
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.Head north on a straight drive to the town of Bagani (625 km, approx 10 hrs)Why not check out the Khemo open market, and it's Kavango woodcarvings
Optional boat trip in Bagani
Day 16-17 - 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, where you join your transport for the journey into the delta (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 civilisationContinue your trip around the delta and then return to Gao Island before heading to the relative civilisation of Umvuvu Camp
Day 18 - 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.Return to Bagani for the night, where there's time relaxPerhaps enjoy optional activities such as boat trips, fishing or hikes
Day 19-20 - 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).Drive from Bagani to Chobe National Park (430 km, approx 8 hrs)Enter Botswana at Goma border which is also the gateway to the parkTake a cruise down the Chobe River - one of the best ways to enjoy the park's animalsEnjoy an early morning game drive and get up close to the wildlife, hopefully spotting lions, buffaloes, birds and elephants
Day 21-23 - 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 24 - 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 (approx 3-4 hrs)Explore the park in open 4x4 vehicles.Stay within the park at one of its campgrounds with shared facilities
Day 25-26 - Bulawayo
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.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 27 - 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".Take a short drive to Masvingo (320 km, approx 5-6 hrs)Explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Day 28 - 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.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 29-30 - Lusaka/Chipata
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.Cross into Zambia and over 450Kms, approx 8hrsCamp just outside LusakaThe next day. head through the heartland of Zambia towards the border with Malawi, spending a final night in ZambiaTravel distance covered is 600Kms – approx 10hrs
Day 31-32 - Lake Malawi
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 MalawiEnjoy 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 33-34 - Chitimba/Iringa
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?Drive 235 km (approx 5-6 hours) to camp in ChitimbaSet up camp on the northern shores of Lake MalawiThe following day is a long travel day into Tanzania and its southern highlands (approx 9-10 hrs).Set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse
Day 35 - 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.
Travel through Mikumi National Park
The journey today is 560 km - approximately 13 hours of drive time
Day 36-38 - 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 39 - 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 40 - 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.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 41 - 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.Rise early and on a clear day you'll be greeted with views of KilimanjaroTake a walking tour of Mshiri Village, the base for the Village Education ProjectWalk around a Chagga shamba (farm) and have the chance to sample the local Chagga foodAfter an early lunch, head towards Mto Wa Mbu where you camp for the night (450 km, approx 8-9 hrs)
Day 42-43 - 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 44 - Arusha
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
Day 45 - Nairobi
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**
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, 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.
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
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