From Kenya's bustling capital of Nairobi to Table
Mountain, this epic 56-day safari covers all the
highlights of nine countries in east and southern Africa.
Cost £1,195 - 56 days
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi we climb the escarpment to our first stop, a viewpoint overlooking the spectacular Great Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift Valley, we enter Masai land where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road. We pass through the town of Narok, before arriving at our campsite, Acacia Camp. Acacia Camp looks on to the Meguarra hills and the stream that meanders by on the bottom end forms a natural border to the Masai Mara National Reserve.
We spend the day driving through nature as it was intended to be - huge plains, rolling hills and an abundance of game matched no where else on earth. We keep an eye open for the Big 5 - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. If travelling between July and October, we may get to witness the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle in their Annual Migration. Sitting around the camp fire, watching the sun set is the perfect way to finish a day's game viewing in this "Garden of Eden."
Icludes: Masai Mara
Leaving the Masai Mara early in the morning, we pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Kisumu - Kenya's harbour town on the banks of Africa's largest lake, Lake Victoria. We replenish our supplies and overnight here.
Today, we cross the border into Uganda where we overnight in the capital city, Kampala. Uganda is a small country of striking physical beauty. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semi desert region in the north. The political instability that has haunted Uganda in the past has actually had the positive effect of leaving the country free of the over commercialism so common in other parts of Africa. The current administration under President Museveni has devoted considerable effort and funds to return Uganda to its former status as one of Africa's most prosperous and, from a tourist's point of view, one of the most appealing and interesting countries to visit.
After an early morning departure from Kampala we drive west into the depths of Uganda to our base in Kisoro.
Kisoro is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependent on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda. The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still only about 700 remaining, are one of our closest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience - one you'll never forget.
Optional Activities: Gorilla Trekking Permit, between US$375.00 & US$ 500. Canoe trips, village visits, hikes.
After enjoying the peaceful surrounds of Lake Bunyoni we drive to Kampala and perhaps the chance to sample the nightlife. Today we will cross the equator for the second time and there will be ample opportunity for photos at the Equator crossing.
Today we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or transferring to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering at a community project. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area.
Optional Acitivites: Visit Softpower Community Project, White Water Rafting on The Nile, Quad Bike Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
This morning we begin our exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park - famous for the thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that flock to this soda lake's edge. The numbers vary depending on the water level, and when it's low, the lake almost turns pink. A truly spectacular sight! The park was established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are often seen. We spend the day searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way. We overnight at a bush camp within the Park.
Includes: Lake Nakuru
This morning we have the option to take a game drive in the Lake Nakuru National Park or head into Nakuru town. In the afternoon, we drive to Lake Naivasha where we make camp in peaceful surroundings beside the lake.
Included: Lake Nakuru
Optional Acitivites: Lake Nakuru National Park Game Drive, Lake Naivasha - Crescent Island Sanctuary, Elsamere High Tea.
After breakfast, we head back to Nairobi. On arrival, we head to the Hotel Boulevard, where we deliver the passengers who'll be ending their trip here, before heading to our campsite for the night.
This morning we collect the passengers who'll be joining us on the next leg of our trek. We travel south crossing the border into Tanzania at Namanga. Tonight we stay in a lovely campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on our Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Arusha is a pleasant town situated at the base of Mount Meru and is the starting point for the optional excursions to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. We conduct these excursions in locally operated 4WD vehicles, which are adapted for safari use. Depending on which option you choose, you will be away from the Arusha campsite for either one or two nights.
For those not opting to visit the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park, the next 2 days are spent at leisure enjoying the Meserani reptile park, Masai Cultural Museum and the surrounding villages and craft markets. Alternatively the town of Arusha is close by to explore.
The Optional Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion takes us via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park and up the Rift Valley Escarpment to the higher lying village of Karatu. Karatu offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas. We spend the evening at a pleasant campsite in Karatu. The following morning we depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa - including the elusive Black Rhino. Those on the 1 night option will transfer back to Meserani after the game drive.
After our game drive in the Crater, we head down the Crater rim and past the 'Cradle of Mankind' on our way to the Serengeti National Park. We cross the vast plains as we game drive through the southern and central areas in the park. Tonight we camp in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness. In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the landscape in search of the resident game. With some luck, we may see some of Africa's 'Big 5'!
After our morning drive, we head back across the plains and the lush Crater rim to our truck at Arusha, where we spend the evening musing over our thrilling wildlife experience.
Optional Activities: Masai Cultural Museum visits to the surrounding villages, craft markets.
1 Day Ngorongoro Crater Excursion (Min 2 People) - US$ 200
3 Day / 2 Night Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater Excursion - US$ 380
After a morning spent exploring Arusha and its vibrant craft markets, we head south towards Dar es Salaam. On the way we drive through the town of Moshi. Moshi is the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions, and weather permitting; we may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain's snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed! We pass through vast sisal plantations surrounded by The Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges, before reaching our lovely campsite nestled between these mountains, midway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
Today we continue on to Dar es Salaam. Travelling through lush scenery and palm trees, we near the warm Indian Ocean. On arrival in Dar es Salaam we make our way to our lovely seaside campsite and prepare for our departure to Zanzibar the next morning.
A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes us to the "Spice Island," where we have the option to spend the next 3 nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. New passengers may join us to replace those that'll leave us at the end of our excursion to Zanzibar.
Please note: Accommodation and Meals are for your own account whilst on Zanzibar, as it is our experience that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own. The Trip Leader joins you and can arrange your accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants. Accommodation per person per night is from US$ 20.
Overnight: Own arrangements
History aside, Zanzibar offers a wealth of experiences for the visitor. Today the quiet streets of the old Stone Town still retain their Arabic influence, from the Medina-like shops to the palaces of the Sultans, who founded their vast empires on the spoils of the slave and ivory trade. The island is famous for its spices and an excursion around a spice plantation is always a fascinating experience. Other options include a trip to the beautiful beaches and giant tortoises of Prison Island, a full day scuba dive in Nungwe or a fishing trip in a traditional dhow. Mopeds are available for hire if you'd like to explore the more remote areas of the island. Zanzibar is a seafood lover's paradise. Numerous restaurants offer a great variety of the freshest catch from the ocean - crayfish being a popular speciality. Alternatively, mingle with the locals for dinner at the Forodhani Gardens seafront market, where delicious, inexpensive seafood is on offer.
Overnight: Own arrangements
Leaving Zanzibar, we return to the mainland where we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
This morning we leave Dar es Salaam and head south. We pass through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to the passing traffic. We travel towards Iringa where we spend the night in a beautiful rustic campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
Includes: Entrance fees to
Addo Elephant National park, afternoon & morning game
Overnight: Chalets - twin room, with en-suite facilities, restaurant & floodlit waterhole.
Optional Activities: Night game drives in National Park open game viewing vehicles
Taking in the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we head towards Malawi entering the 'Warm Heart of Africa' through the border post at Songwe.
Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. We travel the length of the western side of the lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets over the next 5 days. Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine white beaches. Malawi's temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue freshwater lake all year round. Explore the beautiful shore where you'll happen upon the local fishermen sorting their catch. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and to appreciate their boating skills, try to paddle a dug out canoe yourself! The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi's shores offer many optional Excursions including a variety of water sports, horse back rides and a visit to the local village and school.
From Lake Malawi, we cross into Zambia where we spend the night in a beautiful little campsite just 10 km after the Malawi/Zambia border.
From Chipata, we head south to Lusaka to our campsite on the outskirts of Zambia's capital city, Lusaka. The campsite is home to some local wildlife including Africa's largest antelope - Eland.
An early morning start sees us head south to Livingstone. Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it's not difficult to see why. At 1700 m wide and around 100 m high, this is the world's largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari! The Falls can be viewed from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia - a fantastic photo opportunity. Tonight we have the OPTION of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi.
Optional Activities: Sunset cruise
We make our way into the more arid regions and upon entering Namibia, we stay at a lodge on the Gariep River.
Namibia's southern border river flows quietly and peacefully and the river valley is hardly affected by tourism. The riverbed is sandy, the water clean and clear. Time free for swimming and relaxing or you can adventure down the river in canoes (own expense).
We leave Zambia and cross the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Zambezi River, entering into Zimbabwe at the town of Victoria Falls. Here in Africa's adventure capital, we set up camp in the town's centrally located campsite. The Falls can be viewed from the Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe - a fantastic photo opportunity. The afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite's swimming pool or exploring the many sights and delights of this town!
Optional Activities: There are many optional excursions possible here including trips into the Zambezi or Hwange National Parks, elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither activity is for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi is world class. Beside the excitement of the Grade 5 rapids, there are the "floats," where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and the occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
The next 2 days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some of our fellow passengers will leave us in Vic Falls, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the next leg of our trek.
Overnight: There are many optional excursions possible here including trips into the Zambezi or Hwange National Parks, elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither activity is for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi is world class. Beside the excitement of the Grade 5 rapids, there are the "floats," where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and the occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
After breakfast we cross the border into Botswana and head to Kasane where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River. Listen out for the resident hippos! The Chobe River forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia. This National Park is one of Botswana's premier game parks, renowned for its large elephant herds.
For the adventurous spirits, there is the option for the Chobe National Park Sleep-out - an overnight experience in the Chobe National park. Spend the afternoon in search of wildlife en-route to the set camp within the park where we spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife. In the morning we continue our exploration and after stopping off at the camp for lunch, we meet the rest of the group for the sunset boat cruise.
Optional Acitvities: Sleep out in Chobe National Park
For those not on the Sleep-out, today offers the option of an early morning game drive in the Chobe National Park. An early start sees us spend the morning observing the large herds of wildlife. After our game drive we return to camp for lunch. The late afternoon sees us take a boat cruise along the Chobe River. Elephant, hippo and many bird species can be viewed from the boat while we watch another glorious African sunset.
Included: Chobe National
Today we travel in a south-westerly direction to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and our destination, Maun. It is from here that we set off to explore the Okavango Delta.
The Delta is a huge expanse of water, which has travelled from the Angolan highlands, spreading out to form the largest inland delta in the world. Studded with exotic islands, The Delta is renowned for its incredible variety of bird life and animals and is unique to Southern Africa.
Here we have the opportunity to take the optional 3 Day / 2 Night Drive In/Mokoro Excursion into the Delta. From Maun we drive north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler's station. Mokoros are traditional dug out canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who "pole" them through the reeds. After our guides find us a place to camp, we set off on an afternoon game walk, allowing us to experience The Delta wilderness.
For those who'd prefer not to explore The Delta, you can stay at the lovely campsite relaxing by the swimming pool or challenging each other to a game of volleyball. There is also a crocodile farm nearby that has it's feeding times open to campsite visitors.
Optional activities: Okavango Delta trip, crocodile farm visit.
A day of rest, relaxation and Delta experiences await. Today we have the opportunity to partake in a number of activities including swimming (dependent on area and water levels), game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try our hands at poling our own mokoro!
Optional activities: Game walks, Mokoro cruises, swimming.
This morning affords us a final opportunity for a game walk before packing up and setting off back to Maun. We arrive back in the early afternoon and have the chance to complete our picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional sunset scenic flight over The Delta.
Optional activities: Sunset scenic flight over the Okavango Delta
Following the Kavango River, we enter Northern Namibia. We stop at Rundu for supplies before heading to our spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River - complete with "open air" facilities and the occasional hippo grazing on the lawn!
From Rundu, we head towards Etosha National Park. Covering 20 000 km2, Etosha is Namibia's premier nature reserve. Situated around the Etosha Pan with a wide variety of animal and bird life, the extensive network of gravel roads affords us the opportunity of accessing even the most remote areas of the park.
Includes: Etosha National
Today we make our way 150 km across the park, keeping a look out for Etosha's large herds of desert antelope such as Springbok and the famed Oryx. After a full day of game viewing, we spend the evening relaxing at our camp.
Includes: Etosha National
Today's drive is to the Cheetah Park - a private farm dedicated to conserving Namibia's cheetah population. We get to meet the resident cheetahs, a photo opportunity not to be missed!
Our departure from the Cheetah Park takes us to the 'Matterhorn of Namibia' - Spitzkoppe. The 1728 m high rock formation, one of Namibia's most recognised landmarks, is well known as an ancient San sacred site. Explore the surrounding area and its San rock paintings. Tonight we bush camp under the African stars.
Today we head for Swakopmund. Founded by the Germans in 1892, their colonial influence is still evident today. Swakopmund has a selection of excellent coffee shops, restaurants and bars as well as many arts and crafts shops selling Namibian curios. There are fine beaches to walk along as well as a great museum, aquarium and galleries to visit. Accommodation will be in dormitories. Upgrades are possible, but depend on room availability.
The next two days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some of our fellow passengers will leave us in Swakop, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the final leg of our trek.
Optional Activities: Sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, fishing trips, golf, horse riding and more. An activity briefing will be held on arrival in Swakopmund.
Leaving Swakopmund, we head south to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay. Continuing our journey, we enter the Namib-Naukluft Park in one of the oldest deserts in the world. We base ourselves at Sesriem, a great place to experience the Namib and its many moods. A short distance away is Sossusvlei, surrounded by a dramatic sea of sand dunes reputed to be the highest in the world. Magnificent views of the desert can be seen from the top of the dunes, some over 300 m high. We spend the afternoon exploring this amazing area. An optional (and must do) excursion is to walk around the area, learning about the amazing history, geology, flora and fauna from the specialised local guides of Sossus on Foot. They also give us a glimpse into the cultural legacy of the San people. View the sunset from the top of Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience.
Optional Activities: Walks around the area with specialised local guides of Sossus on Foot. View the sunset from the top of Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience.
After watching the sunrise across this beautiful area we leave the serenity of the dunes and head south to the Fish River Canyon. At 161 km long, 27 km wide and about 550 m deep, it's the second largest canyon in the world. The outer canyon was formed by tectonic activity, while the erosion of the Fish River formed the inner canyon. A road follows the eastern rim, giving us access to several viewing points from where we can take in the spectacular vistas.
This morning we continue south, where, after a short drive, we reach the Orange River - the natural land border between Namibia and South Africa. We camp at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river. This afternoon we have the option of a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Orange River, affording us the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle.
Optional Activities: Canoe trip on the Orange River
An early morning start see us travel south through the Richtersveld before reaching the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occur each spring. We spend tonight in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms. We have the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains.
Optional Activities: Wine tasting, walks around the area
We leave the scenic Cederberg area and travel south towards Cape Town. We travel through the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal before crossing the Piketberg Pass to the Cape's wine growing regions.
Our first sighting of the Mother's City Table Mountain across Table Bay means we've reached our final destination. Tonight's accommodation is in dormitories in one of Cape Town's best loved hostels.
After breakfast, we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime! We suggest you extend your stay by a few days to participate in some of the exciting activities available here
The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice - currently they are priced between US$375 and US$500 depending on where we trek. There is a local transport fee of US$20 to US$25 per person. For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Please budget accordingly.
Trekking Procedures: The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting can not be guaranteed. In the unlikely event of these creatures managing to completely elude us, the authorities usually allow us a second opportunity to trek them. However, this is purely at their discretion and subject to the availability of permits, and they will not confirm this in writing. We have had a high success rate of procuring gorilla permits and then of actually seeing these beautiful animals.
As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old.
We depart from our camp in the early morning and after border formalities are transferred to a ranger's station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family.
Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours and it can be quite strenuous, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour.
You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point.
You needn't feel like you're exploiting these animals. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day play a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long.
100% of the gorilla permit cost is used to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.
Vehicle - we use custom-built Safari trucks. These are designed for the African roads and good for game viewing. There are some long days of travelling but the vehicles have a comfortable cruising speed. The emphasis of the trip is "getting out and doing things".
A local payment is required on this safari and this will be collected by the tour leader on departure. This covers a portion of the local operational costs including entrance and park fees. This ensures that a major portion of your tour price goes directly into the country you are visiting, benefiting local communities and contributing to the conservation of the area. A large part of this tours local payment is used for the National Park entrance fees.
An essential part of your OzBus African Safari is participation - from putting up your tent (while camping) or packing away in the morning to helping with meal preparation and cleaning up - it's all part of your adventure and when everyone puts in a little effort the trip will run smoothly. Your tour leaders will do all the meal preparation but we do ask the clients to help with the washing up. Team spirit is part of the fun!