For departures after 30 June 2015 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.
|Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe|
Nairobi packs a punch. Suss out Lake Nakuru’s wild things, chill with the chimps in Kibale Forest then upgrade to gorillas in Rwanda. Gaze up at Mt Kilimanjaro and celebrate your decision not to climb it with some long lazy days by Lake Malawi. Matobo National Park = rhinos. Hwange National Park = elephants.
There is literally nothing in the world better than meeting the gorillas. Except maybe meeting the gorillas, then getting invited backstage to a Rolling Stones gig, then winning the lottery and waking up to discover you live inside the Taj Mahal.
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.
If you're a smart cookie you'll fly into Nairobi early and partake in a little exploring. Did you know coffee is originally from Africa? Find a Nairobi Java House and fuel up, then shop til you flop at City Market on Muindi Mbingu Street.
Drop into Saidia Children's Home, a place where orphaned and abandoned kids are taken care of. They'll tug at your heartstrings while simultaneously tugging on your hand and leading you outside to whip your butt at soccer. Take your first game drive along the shore of Lake Nakuru (by 'game' we don't mean Scrabble).
Squeeze in another game drive before camping overnight at Eldoret and making your way to the Ugandan border. Border crossings are notoriously slow and boring so whack a smile on your face and make the best of it. Maybe bring a book.
Enjoy a quick tea or coffee before an early morning game drive
Chimps are just like us, well, except for all the poo-flinging. A walking safari through the jungle lets you see the world's highest concentration of primates in their natural habitat. BYO water bottle, waterproof coat and walking stick if you so desire.
Drive to Kampala City after breakfast and perhaps wander around on foot, exploring its markets and shops
Queen Elizabeth does not live here. You won't find her down at the watering hole or snoozing under a tree in the hottest part of the day. But you might see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks instead. We think that's a fair trade.
Travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park and take a game drive en route to the camp
Keep eyes peeled for elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks
Get on a mokoro and get out into Lake Bunyonyi. You won't regret it.
Travel on to Lake Bunyonyi (250 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
Basically everything you'll see and do in Rwanda will leave a ginormous imprint on your heart/soul/memory, from the Kigali Genocide Memorial to the gentle mountain giants. Trekking to find them can be a bit rough and you'll feel pain in spots you never knew existed (back of the knee will take you by surprise). But it's all worth it when you find yourself looking straight into the eyes of a gorilla. This is not a drill. Put down your camera and let it happen.
Cross the border into Rwanda and travel toward Ruhengeri, via Kigali (200 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
They don't call it the giant eland cos it's small. Keep your eyes peeled for this mighty beast and about 68 other species of mammals (that's one heck of a game of I-Spy) in Lake Mburo National Park.
Travel to the border with Uganda and complete border formalities, then head to Lake Mburo (420 km, approx 9-10 hrs)
Perhaps spot the eland antelope as well as zebras, impalas, buffalo, leopards, hyenas and jackals
Keep your eyes on the water for hippos, crocodiles and a variety of waterbirds
Get off your bum and onto your feet with a guided walking safari. Hit the road for Jinja, where you get to stay on the river at a peaceful little retreat.
Take a two-hour guided walking safari through the Lake Mburo National Park, viewing the animal and birdlife
Travel from Lake Mburo to Jinja via Kampala, stopping en route at the equator (340 km, approx 7-8 hrs)
Make the most of time in Jinja - a haven for adventurers, adrenaline junkies and eco-travellers
Stop in Eldoret overnight on the way back to Nairobi. This is a combo trip, so at this point some of your group might bugger off and a few more might join in. It's all part of the fun. Let phase two begin!
By this stage you should be a pro at border crossings. You're off to Arusha today, camping at a little village called Mto Wa Mbu (we'll give you a Freddo if you can pronounce it properly first time). Rub your hands together with glee at the prospect of a flushing toilet and hot shower.
Camp overnight in Mto wa Mbu
Jump out of the truck and into six-person jeeps for a two-day jaunt into the wilds of the Serengeti. Start with a game drive inside a perfectly intact volcanic crater, home to 30,000 animals including endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. Set up camp in the Serengeti and fall asleep to the sounds of chatty lions and talkative elephants. In the morning, there's an optional hot air balloon ride (which you cleverly pre-booked with us before the trip, didn't you?)
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
Back to civilisation, so brush those sticks out of your hair and wipe the dirt off your face. Wander through the farming areas of Mto Wa Mbu and pop into a kindergarten, milling machine and some local homes. Then grab a couple of wood carvings at the market.
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
To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question. After a long drive (about seven hours) onto the slopes of Kilimanjaro, we'll set up camp on the grounds of the Marangu Hotel. This is a big, gorgeous farmhouse on 12 acres of tropical gardens complete with bar and pool. You might be happy to stick with the camping theme, but if you've saved your pennies why not splurge on a room for the night?
The best part about a super long day of driving? Knowing that the final destination involves a beach, swimming and hot showers.
Engage four out of your five senses at the spice plantations today (we'll leave it up to you to figure out which one you won't need) and work up an appetite for seafood curry and cold beer. There's not much on the cards for the next few days. After all that safari-ing and truck driving we reckon you deserv a break. Snorkel, swim, shop, eat, sleep, repeat.
Get on the ferry and head back to the mainland. Last chance to get sand in all the wrong places.Reboard the ferry and return to the beach outside Dar es Salaam
Look for elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lions and leopards as you pass through Mikumi National Park on the way to Iringa. Camp overnight then head to Chitimba, Malawi. Outside of Denmark, Malawi is the only country in the world with a Carlsberg factory. Guess that takes care of the age old question, "What will I drink tonight?"
Lake Malawi covers about a fifth of the country. Guess you could say it's pretty big. Break out the boardies and bikinis for a few days on the beach. We don't want to play favourites, but Malawians are some of the friendliest people you'll meet in all of Africa. This is a great spot to make a couple of new mates.
We're not gonna lie to you. The next few days are going to involve some long, boring drives. Make your own fun. The good news is, only three countries in the whole world start with the letter 'z' and you're about to visit two of them.
You're on the home stretch. Nice work everyone. Cross the border to Zimbabwe and once you get to Harare there's free time to enjoy not being in the truck. Hit up the National Gallery, the museum, the gardens or simply kick back with a beer and enjoy some fresh air (those trucks can get a little whiffy).
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)
Masvingo is the oldest colonial settlement in Zimbabwe. Boring. It's also home to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Exciting. It's a swings and roundabouts kind of day.
In Matobo National Park you can track black and white rhino on foot. Then visit the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia and (more interestingly) De Beers diamond company. Thanks for the bling-bling Cecil. Pick a team and cheer your heart out at a local football or rugby match. Then again, maybe the markets are more your scene.
There's about 30,000 elephants in Hwange National Park. If you don't spot one perhaps you should get your eyes tested. Sorry, but... did you notice that big 'rock' over there was actually moving? Pay closer attention next time. Maybe you've been on the road for too long.
As far as 'last thing you'll see before the trip ends' goes, you could do worse than Victoria Falls. Stop stressing about whether the spray will make your hair go frizzy and just embrace the awesomeness. Then embrace your travelling pals. You've spent a fair whack of time together and every time you look at photos from this trip there's a chance they'll be in the background pulling silly faces. Ah, memories.
**This trip is run by our sister company Intrepid**
Chimpanzee Trekking Kibale National Park, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Hwange National Park, Kazinga Channel boat cruise, Kigali - Genocide Memorial, Lake Mburo Walking safari, Lake Nakuru - Game drive, Matobo National Park - Guided walking safari, Mountain gorilla trek & permit, Mto Wa Mbu - Village Walk & market Visit, Ngorongoro Crater - Game drive, Queen Elizabeth National Park Game Drive, Serengeti - Game drive, Visit Victoria Falls, Zanzibar Spice tour
37 breakfasts, 33 lunches, 32 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 over the Serengeti is possible on this itinerary. Please see Days 18-19 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.
This trip finishes in Victoria Falls on Day 39. We recommend that you do not book any flights out on the final day until late evening because it is likely we will visit the falls that day. You may also want to try some of the optional activities on offer here, before our adventure comes to an end.
**This trip is operated by our sister company Intrepid**
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 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.
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.
GORILLA PERMITS: Geckos Adventures pre-purchase gorilla permits. Your gorilla permit MUST be pre-paid for and will be confirmed in your name once your trip deposit and gorilla permit money has been received and the trip is guaranteed to depart. This is the only way permits can be guaranteed. Once purchased the permits are non-refundable and non-transferable.
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