Don't go Chasing Waterfalls

Diving and snorkelling in Lake Malawi
Game drives in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Serengeti
Hear the 'smoke that thunders' at Victoria Falls
Hwange National Park - home to the second largest population of elephants in the world
The 'Garden of Eden' of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ngorongoro Crater
The beaches, cultural diversity and slave history of the 'spice islands' of Zanzibar
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mosi-oa-Tunya - Victoria Falls
‘The smoke that thunders' - Victoria Falls
  • Meet Africa full-bore in Nairobi then trade it for the drifting ambience of Mto Wa Mbu. Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti and all their furry, toothy inhabitants are next on the bill. Spice things up in Zanzibar and wind things down by Lake Malawi. Hwange is big on elephants, Vic Falls is real watery.


    This trip is ironically named because the final days are spent at Victoria Falls, which pretty much means you’ve been “chasing waterfalls” the whole time. Boy, did we pull a number on you. 


    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

    Plenty to keep you entertained if you had an early flight. We suggest the Karen Blixen Museum (she's from that Meryl Streep movie your mum loves).

    Perhaps explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya

    Why not embark on a safari walk in Nairobi National Park or take a visit to the Langata Giraffe Sanctuary


    Day 2 - Mto wa Mbu

    Bring a fully charged iPod and pillow for your nanna-naps on the truck. Droolers beware, you will be exposed. Stop in Arusha for supplies before heading to the village of Mto Wa Mbu.

    Depart early for Arusha on our overland truck, a drive of about 8-9 hours (300 km)
    The trip includes a border crossing from Kenya into Tanzania so be sure to have your passport handy

    Camp overnight in Mto wa Mbu


    Day 3-4 - Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti National Park

    Get your first taste of African wildlife (not literally). Watch baboons go about their daily routines (lots of picking, scratching and plucking), while baby elephants play in a muddle of mud. It's not all about the big cats, you know.

    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

    Camp out at night and perhaps hear lions off in the distance
    An optional sunrise balloon ride makes for an unforgettable memory
    You'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 5 - Mto wa Mbu

    Mto Wa Mbu is swahili for 'river of mosquitoes', so keep your DEET close by. We'll camp on the grounds of Marangu Hotel but if you need a break from the tent, why not upgrade to a room and snore to your heart's content.

    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 6 - Marangu

    • Camp in the grounds of the Marangu Hotel. On the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. There are certainly less epic places to spend a night.
    • 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 7 - Dar es Salaam

    It's a long drive today (up to 12 hours), but your camp is right near the beach and there's bound to be a Kili baridi sana (very cold Kili beer) ready and waiting.

    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 8-10 - Zanzibar

    Ah, the joy of not having to set up your tent for a few days. Fun stuff: grab a latte at Zanzibar Coffee House, sip a sunset cocktail on the balcony of Africa House and practice getting gracefully out of a hammock.

    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 11 - Dar es Salaam

    Catch the ferry back to Dar for the night. Remember this place? You were only here a few days ago so it would be weird if you've forgotten it already, considering the awesome beach and all.

    Reboard the ferry and return to the beach outside Dar es Salaam

    Day 12-13 - Iringa/Chitimba

    Another long drive to Iringa and Mikumi National Park. Then it's onto your third country, Malawi. Your passport should be looking pretty interesting by now.

    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 14-15 - Lake Malawi

    Apparently Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other freshwater lake on earth. That's great, but we're more excited about the beaches, horse riding and a cold Chibuku beer.

    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 16-17 - Lilongwe/Lusaka

    You've got about 1100 kilometres to cover in the space of two days. That's like Sydney to Melbourne with fewer fast food stops along the way. Make sure your snack and water supplies are fully stocked.

    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 18 - Harare

    We're going to assume there's a bit of cabin fever setting in, so take some free time to zone out in a museum, hunt down a coffee, email your mum or just stare at the walls.

    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 19 - Masvingo

    They're great, they're ruins and they're in Zimbabwe; they're the Great ZImbabwe Ruins.
    Take a short drive to Masvingo (320 km, approx 5-6 hrs)
    Explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins

    Day 20-21 - Bulawayo

    There's always a rugby or soccer match on at one of the local pubs, so pull up a chair and get to know the locals (pick your side wisely). See rhinos and elephants on a game drive in Matobo National Park.

    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 22 - Hwange National Park

    Once the royal hunting grounds of the the Ndebele warrior king, Hwange is now home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa (up to 110,000 in peak season). That's a lot of trunks.

    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 23-24 - Victoria Falls

    You've earned a bit of luxury after all that travelling. For some, this means high tea at Victoria Falls Hotel. For others, it's a plate of crocodile Caesar salad. Taste kind of like chicken.


    • 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.


    **This trip is run by our sister company Intrepid**

  • What's Included

      • On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members - Group Leader, Cook and Driver.

      • Included activities:

      • Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park - Guided walking safari, Mto Wa Mbu - Village Walk & market Visit, Ngorongoro Crater - Game drive, Serengeti - Game drive, Visit Victoria Falls, Zanzibar Spice tour

      • 22 breakfasts, 18 lunches, 18 dinners

    Not Included

    • 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.

    Safety Information

    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.


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    04 Jan 2015 - 27 Jan 2015 Available US $3,745 Book Now
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    10 Jul 2016 - 02 Aug 2016 Available US $4,045 Book Now
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  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Don't go Chasing Waterfalls

    Beth - , 21 Nov, 2009
    Overall Rating

    Amazing experience, having a local guide and a seperate cook made a difference

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- 22
4WD vehicle, Ferry, Overland vehicle
2 nights Bungalow, 2 nights Basic hotel, 19 nights participatory camping
Victoria Falls

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