Get down and dusty in the streets Nairobi, rhino-spotting in Lake Nakuru and chest-thumping with Rwanda’s gorillas. Big 5 you say? Queen Elizabeth National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Etosha National Park will sort you out. Wind down – and wine up – in uber-sassy Cape Town.
If you only take home one piece of African wisdom let it be this: 'The buttocks are like a married couple. Though there is constant friction between them they will still love and live together.'
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Nairobi
Get your game face on (pun intended) because there's 60 days of African animal-spotting ahead.
Nairobi National Park is where it's at.
- Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm
- Arriving early? Perhaps head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya
- Get acquainted with Nairobi's bars, restaurants, shops and markets
Day 2: Lake Nakuru
Hang with some hot birds at Lake Nakuru before a game drive to spot flamingos and rhinos.
- Drive north-west past views of the Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Elementaita to Lake Nakuru National Park
- Stop along the way in the town of Gilgil where and learn more about the Saidia Children's Home Project
- Perhaps spot many rhinos as well as members of the Big Five during a dame drive
- Arrive in time for a short evening game drive along the shore of the lake
Day 3-4: Eldoret/Kampala
If you request a toilet stop in Uganda you’ll be asked if it's a 'long call' or 'short call'. Ease up on the beans, guys.
- Enjoy a quick tea or coffee before an early morning game drive.
- Return to camp for brunch before driving to Eldoret (200 km, approx 5-6 hrs) - home to some of Kenya's most famous runners
- Camp on the outskirts of Eldoret
- Cross the border into Uganda and travel on to its capital city, Kampala (390 km, approx 8-9 hrs)
- Camp on the outskirts of the city
Day 5-6: Kibale Forest National Park
Go chimp spotting in Kibale National Park today. It's home to the highest concentration of primates in the world. What’s black and dangerous and lives in a tree? A monkey with a machine gun. Yeah it is.
- Drive to Kampala City after breakfast and perhaps wander around on foot, exploring its markets and shops
- Travel on to Kibale Forest National Park (350 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
- Enjoy a 2-4 chimpanzee hike and view these creatures in their natural habitat
- Perhaps enjoy walks to villages, tea plantations, rivers, lakes or simply relax around the campsite
Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park
Time for some wildlife lovin' at Queen Elizabeth National Park. Elephants, lions, buffaloes and antelopes are among the many critters you might spy on safari. No corgis though (Lizzie blames the lions).
- 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
- Take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel and spot pelicans, eagles and other birdlife - perhaps even a few hippos
Day 8: Lake Bunyonyi
Mokoros used to be made from tree trunks and carved by hand. But that's tricky and trees don't grow on, um... trees. So now they're mostly made from fibreglass. Doesn't change the fact that it's an awesome way to glide along the water.
Travel on to Lake Bunyonyi (250 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
If time allows, perhaps hire a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro)
Day 9-11: Gorilla Trek
Trek through Rwandan terrain to see rare mountain gorillas up close today. You might think yourself an enlightened being, but you share 98-99% of your genetic makeup with these beasts. That guy could be your brother.
Cross the border into Rwanda and travel toward Ruhengeri, via Kigali (200 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
Explore Kigali on foot - from its market areas to the infamous Hotel Rwanda
Visit Kigali's genocide memorial
Embark on two-day gorilla trek and enjoy an hour with the gorillas (once you've found them!)
Day 12: Lake Mburo
You might see a giant antelope today. There will be other animals too, but - GIANT ANTELOPE.
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
Day 13-14: Jinja
As the African Hema proverb goes, ‘Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others.’ Deep. Back to Nairobi today.
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
Day 15-16: Eldoret/Nairobi
You can't leave without trying a dawa cocktail. It's Kenya's signature drink. The name is Swahili for 'medicine' or 'magic potion' and it's promised to cure whatever ails you. The most common ailment it cures is sobriety.
Begin the journey back to Nairobi, making an overnight stop outside Eldoret along the way (300 km, approx 7-8 hrs)
Continue on to Nairobi early the next morning (370 km, approx 7-8 hrs).
Meet your group and leader for the next part of your trip
Day 17: Mto wa Mbu
Next stop is Arusha, before setting up camp in a Tanzanian village.
The trip includes a border crossing from Kenya into Tanzania so be sure to have your passport handy
Camp overnight in Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha
Day 18-19: Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti National Park
At the Ngorongoro Crater you might spot rhinos, elephants and zebra. Try saying Ngorongoro five times in a row after a six-pack of Tanzabeer.
From Mto Wa Mbu, descend to the floor of the famous Ngorongoro Crater and make the most of a safari here
Head for the gates of the Serengeti and arrive at camp in the early evening
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
Day 20: Mto wa Mbu
There are over 30 different varieties of banana in Mto Wa Mbu. Keep an eye out for apple bananas, green bananas that go perfectly with a side of meat and sweet, creamy red bananas. Oh, and that pink frothy drink everyone is sipping on? That's banana beer.
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 21: Marangu
What do you get when you combine a tropical rainforest, Mount Kilimanjaro and a tent? A foolproof way to get in touch with your adventurous side, that’s what.
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 22: Dar es Salaam
Sweet, happy beach times in Dar es Salaam tonight. The first person to crack out a ukulele wins*.
*There are no prizes.
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 23-25: Zanzibar
Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar. Scoff down a spicy seafood curry and sing Bohemian Rhapsody at top of your lungs in his honour.
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 26: Dar es Salaam
The paradise portion of this trip continues. Return by ferry to Dar es Salaam.
Reboard the ferry and return to the beach outside Dar es Salaam
Day 27-28: Iringa/Chitimba
On to Mikumi National Park for more animals. Sure, giraffes might be able to eat leaves from towering trees, but they can’t cough. You can't have it all, pal.
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 29-30: Lake Malawi
Chill out at Lake Malawi. This marks the half-way point of your trip. Refrain from dutch ovening your tent companion in all the excitement, there's still time for retribution.
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 31-32: Chipata/Lusaka
Peel off your budgie smugglers and put on your budgie-lovin’ travel pants, cos you’ll be hauling cross country to Zambia next. Spend the night in Lilongwe, recovering your will to live.
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 33: Harare
You can do whatever you want in Harare. Let loose. Live a little. Run wild. Visit the museum? Ok so that last one didn't really work.
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 34: Masvingo
Drive to Masvingo and explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins.
Explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Day 35-36: Bulawayo
Hang in the City of Kings and track black and white rhinos at Matobo National Park. As a side note, they are neither black or white. They are grey. Both of them. Misleading.
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 37: Hwange National Park
The Hwange National Park has been transformed from a royal hunting ground into a sanctuary for Africa’s most precious animals. When you're not watching they’re all lying around in robes having pedicures.
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 38-40: Victoria Falls
Vic Falls is impressive at the best of times, but during a full moon there’s an additional perk - a moonbow. Yes, a lunar rainbow. Keep an eye out for unicorns and drop bears.
- 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 41-42: Chobe National Park
Seek out wallowing hippos in Botswana's Chobe National Park. The collective noun for a group of hippos is a bloat, pod or siege. A bloat of hippos. Yesssssss.
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 43: Bagani
Go hang on a boat in Namibia. Wild birds, zebra and ostrich are common barbecue delicacies in Namibia. Safari barbecue. Awkward.
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 44-45: Okavango Delta
Take a dugout canoe through the Okavango Delta and camp on an island in the wilderness. Think of every American teen horror movie you’ve ever seen and enjoy that middle-of-nowhere silence.
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 46: Bagani
Travel a bit, travel a bit more, then meet your luscious campsite in Bagani.
Return to Bagani for the night
Day 48: Grootfontein/San Bushmen
Observe the genius of the San Bushmen of the Kalahari on a desert tracking and gathering trip. Feel grateful for Google maps.
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 4-50: Etosha National Park
Keep your eyes peeled for big cats while roaming the the dry plains of Etosha Park. Video them being weird and become a LOLcats hero.
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 51: Spitzkoppe
Watch spectacular rock formations change colour as the light changes at Spitzkoppe. RAVE!
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 52-54: Swakopmund
Seal colonies, quad biking, sandboarding – crushing the bucket list today.
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 55-56: Sesriem/River Camp
Scramble to the top of the dunes to watch an incredible sunrise. Resist the urge to tumble down the other side. Sand is not delicious.
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 57: Fish River Canyon
Take some jealousy-inducing photos at Fish River Canyon #nofilter #fromwhereyoudratherbe #everyonehatesaholidayshowoff
Heading further south in the desert lands of Namibia, drive towards Fish River Canyon (200 km, approx 3-4 hrs)
Day 58-59: Orange River/Western Cape
Holy &%#*, you’ve been travelling for 59 days. Gag your tent buddy and canoe down the Orange River or laze riverside to celebrate.
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 60: Cape Town
Cape Town and home time.
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**
Nuts and Bolts
- On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members - Group Leader, Cook and Driver.
- Included activities:
- Cape Cross seal colony, Chimpanzee Trekking Kibale National Park, Chobe - Boat Cruise, Chobe - Dawn game drive, Fish River Canyon, Game drives, 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, Okavango Delta - Mokoro trips & bushwalks, Queen Elizabeth National Park Game Drive, San Bushman cultural experience, Serengeti - Game drive, Sesriem - Sand dunes visit, Sossusvlei 4x4 Tour, Visit Victoria Falls, Zanzibar Spice tour
- 54 breakfasts, 50 lunches, 48 dinners
Summary of accommodation, transport & meals
- 4WD vehicle
- Overland vehicle
- 2 nights Bungalow
- 3 nights Chalet
- 3 nights Dormitory
- 3 nights Basic hotel
- 48 nights participatory camping
54 Breakfasts, 50 Lunches, 48 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
By travelling on a Geckos Overland trip you would now be aware that your trip is a participation camping tour. Participation camping means that you will be helping your cook or leader prepare meals for the group. You may also get the chance to help with the shopping in the local shopping centres and/or markets.
Your cook (East Africa only) will come up with meal ideas and quantities needed for large groups. Participating in the camp is usually done on a duty roster system with a group of 5 or 6 people (depending on the group size) having a different camp job each day. If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking, and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting.
A typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, cereal, something hot such as eggs or pancakes, as well as tea and coffee. Lunch is almost always a sandwich with healthy salad and assorted fillings, sometimes with fruit to follow. There may be a chance on occasion to buy your lunch. Dinner might be a BBQ, rice dish or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some African food such as ugali and stew. There will be times that your meals may be more basic due to the remote destinations you are travelling to. Your food and diet will be dependent on what is available locally as well as tinned and dry ingredients.
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 18-19 for full details of this activity. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and must be booked in advance. Please enquire when booking your trip to book this optional activity.
This is a combination trip and the composition of your group may change in Nairobi & Victoria Falls.
This trip finishes upon arrival in Cape Town on Day 60. Please do not book any flights until after 9pm this evening.
**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.
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.
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!
30 March 2014
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Geckos