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.'
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 - 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 RwandaVisit Kigali's genocide memorialEmbark 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/NairobiYou 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 expectCamp out at night and perhaps hear lions off in the distanceAn optional sunrise balloon ride makes for an unforgettable memory
Day 20 - Mto wa MbuThere 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 - ZanzibarFreddie 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 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 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 farmhouseEnter 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 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 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 restaurantsAim 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 HararePerhaps 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 BushmenLearn 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 areaBush camp for the night in the midst of this remote regionPerhaps 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)
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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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
- 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.
BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
SEAT BELTS: 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 Kitty Payment Total Price 25 Oct 2014 - 23 Dec 2014 1 place left US $4,215 On Sale Sale: US $3,793 US $3,560 US $7,353 Book Now 15 Nov 2014 - 13 Jan 2015 1 place left US $4,215 On Sale Sale: US $3,793 US $3,560 US $7,353 Book Now 20 Dec 2014 - 17 Feb 2015 Fully Booked US $4,215 On Sale Sale: US $3,793 US $3,560 US $7,353 Contact us 10 Jan 2015 - 10 Mar 2015 Fully Booked US $4,340 US $3,560 US $7,900 Contact us 04 Apr 2015 - 02 Jun 2015 Available US $4,090 US $3,560 US $7,650 Book Now 25 Apr 2015 - 23 Jun 2015 Available US $4,090 US $3,560 US $7,650 Book Now 20 Jun 2015 - 18 Aug 2015 Available US $4,215 US $3,560 US $7,775 Book Now 18 Jul 2015 - 15 Sep 2015 Available US $4,470 US $3,560 US $8,030 Book Now 08 Aug 2015 - 06 Oct 2015 Available US $4,470 US $3,560 US $8,030 Book Now 22 Aug 2015 - 20 Oct 2015 Available US $4,345 US $3,560 US $7,905 Book Now 03 Oct 2015 - 01 Dec 2015 Available US $4,215 US $3,560 US $7,775 Book Now 31 Oct 2015 - 29 Dec 2015 Available US $4,215 US $3,560 US $7,775 Book Now
Kitty payment is required in cash. It needs to be paid before the end of your trip, in the local currency stated above. It is generally paid on Day 1, and covers most on-ground expenses. Kitty payments calculated using exchange rates valid on 1 Jan 2013.
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