Itinerary | Cape Town to Mt Gorillas
Cape Town to Mt Gorillas
The arrival day. Take advantage of your free airport pick/drop off to the departure hotel and dorm bed for the night. On the arrival day you can; just relax after your flight, or get a look at our departure city we depart before getting on the road next morning. No meals are included on the arrival day. In the evening we have a pre departure meeting at the departure hotel to prep you for the trip.
DAY 1: Cape Town to Cederberg (L/D)
Cape Town – a beautiful city, with plenty of cafes, pubs, clubs and markets Visit a township.
We leave the farmland of the Western Cape and the Mediterranean climate, following the road north through mountain valleys and stony semi-desert, past Citrusdal a centre of the Cape’s many wine routes. A wine tasting makes for a great afternoon. Then on to Cederberg; the growing area and centre of one of the Cape’s many wine routes.
Optional Activity: Wine tasting
DAY 2: Cederberg to the Orange or Gariep River (B/L/D)
We drive through mountain valleys and stony semi-desert, following the farmland north through the sparsely populated areas of the Western Cape. We camp on the South African bank of the Gariep River after taking a canoe trip down the river, or relax by the pool enjoying the spectacular view.
Optional Activity: Canoeing on the Gariep River
DAY 3: South Africa to Fish River Canyon, Namibia (B/L/D)
After crossing the border into Namibia, we drive north to Fish River Canyon; 160km long and 550m deep; second in length only to the Grand Canyon. You can trek along the rim, to look over the canyon from the viewpoints.
Included Activity: Fish River Canyon
DAY 4: Fish River Canyon to Sesriem (B/L/D)
An early start; heading north, we enter the area of the Namib-Naukluft desert, one of the oldest in the world. We base ourselves at Sesriem, a good place to experience the starkness of the desert. Nearby is Sossusvlei and the highest sand dunes in the world. Great views of the desert can be seen from the top of these 300 metre high dunes. The stars at night are like diamonds on black silk.
Included Activity: Namib Naukluft National Park
DAY 5: Sesriem (B/L/D)
At dawn into Namib-Naukluft National Park, to roam around the sands. We take some time to climb the famous Dune 45. We then take a desert shuttle a further five kilometres into the desert, where you can take a walk to Sossusvlei; a river which ends is a salt and clay pan, surrounded by high red dunes.
Included Activity: Climbing Dune 45 & Sossusvlei
DAY 6-7: Sesriem to Swakopmund (B)
We cross the Tropic of Capricorn towards the Atlantic Ocean, via Walvis Bay, to Swakopmund; an old German colonial seaside resort, with a lot of things to do for the energetic and German beer halls for those after a more relaxing time. Horse-riding or sand boarding on the dunes, deep sea fishing in the Atlantic or scenic flights over the coastline.
Optional Activities: Skydiving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, fishing trips, golf, horse riding etc
DAY 8: Swakopmund to Brandberg (B/L/D)
Namibia is a land of wide open spaces and we pass few inhabited areas as we drive towards Spitzkoppe; a group of massive granite peaks. Here you can take a guided walk with the San to their ancient rock art sites. To Brandberg Mountain [fire mountain] a massive mountain outcrop rising above the gravel plains, uninhabited and isolated, it’s the tallest mountain in Namibia.
DAY 9-11: Brandberg to Etosha (B/L/D)
Etosha Pan National Park. Thousands of years ago this vast saltpan was a lake, till Kunene River changed course and deprived the lake of water. Now the pan and surrounding bush support large numbers and a wide range of wildlife. We view game from the truck and spend the evenings by the floodlit water holes at the park’s campsites. These waterholes provide an excellent opportunity to observe animals that are hard to find during the day, particularly rhino and also smaller animals such as the genet. Elephant, lion, giraffe, zebra, oryx, ostrich, springbok, jackals, hyenas and meercats are also likely to be seen here.
Included Activity: Game drives
Optional Activities: Night game drive
DAY 12: Etosha National Park to Windhoek (B/L)
We leave the park; game driving all the way to the gate. Windhoek is a rather small capital city but has many places of historical interest. This afternoon is spent at your leisure with time to visit the local museum or haggling at the street side markets. There are also many shops for those in need of a bit of retail therapy. And if you like take a meal out at a German beer house.
Optional: Dinner at a beer house
DAY 13: Windhoek, Namibia to Ghanzi, Botswana (B/L/D)
From Windhoek to Botswana and Ghanzi. Here you can go with the San Bushmen to learn about their life and how they live in this harsh land.
Optional Activity: Bushman Experience
DAY 14: Ghanzi to Maun (B/L/D)
Through the Kalahari Desert to Maun a small town on the edge of the Okavango Delta, the starting point for a Mokoro trip into the Delta.
DAY 15-16: Maun to Okavango Delta (B/L/D)
A Mokoro is a traditional dugout canoe and your transport into the Delta. As you glide through the waterways, you will see a fantastic array of wetland wildlife, birds in particular, and you will come across hippos in the water and elephants drinking on the shore. You can go on a walking safari to look for giraffe, buffalo and rare antelope – the overnight stay is a great wilderness experience.
Up early and it’s off walking with the guide, a unique chance to see game on foot; elephants, herds of grazing zebra and pods of hippos. Try learning how to pole your mokoro, or try to catch a catfish, which the guides make it look so easy. A last swim in the clear delta water before heading back to the truck and campsite for a shower and cold drinks. Time permitting you can take a scenic flight over the Delta from Mau.
Included Activity: Overnight Delta excursion
DAY 17: Maun to Nata (B/L/D)
We head to Elephant Sands. The drive will take you through the sparsely populated country, where the donkeys roam freely. Once we have arrived at our campsite you will have the option of a game drive or a bushwalk.
Optional Activity: Game Drive, Bush Walk
DAY 18: Nata to Kasane (B/L/D)
After an early start and a stunning drive to the town of Kasane where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River, where elephant and hippo can be seen from the campsite.
DAY 19: Chobe National Park (B/L/D)
We visit Chobe National Park at Kasane town; sandwiched between the Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibian borders. In the park you can take an overnight game drive; a wild experience – excellent game viewing is a must. With large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, all coming to eat and drink along the Chobe Riverfront, especially in the dry months. Lions, antelopes and hippos inhabit live in the surrounding forests and shallow lakes in the Linyanti Marsh. The seasonal flooding grasslands at Savuti Marsh have worldclass bird watching
Included Activity: Chobe National Park overnight game trip
DAY 20: Chobe to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (B)
After returning to camp we head to Zimbabwe and over the border to Victoria Falls. When the river is in full flow, the falling water causes a huge roar and sends a cloud of spray up to 500 metres into the air.
Included Activity: Entrance to Victoria Falls
DAYS 21-22: Victoria Falls (B)
We stay beside Victoria Falls in Victoria Falls town, there is a lot to see and do. Adventure activities abound – you can bungee jump, white water raft, and go game-viewing on horseback or walking with lions. More sedate excursions include canoeing, light aircraft or helicopter flights over the Falls and the sunset cruise on the Zambezi. Though the Falls themselves are the main attraction, you can walk in the rainforest along the cliff opposite for an excellent view.
Optional Activities – Bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge, abseil down the Gorge. Fly over the Falls. Whitewater raft down the Zambezi. You can float serenely down the river deep below the cliff topped gorge.
DAY 23: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park, Botswana (B/L/D)
In the midmorning we leave Zimbabwe for Botswana and Kasane, where we have a chance to explore the town of Kasane. Wander around town for the day or have a break on the banks of the Chobe River.
DAY 24: Chobe, Botswana to Livingstone, Zambia (B/D)
We cross the Zambezi River by ferry into Zambia to Livingstone where we arrive at Victoria Falls
Optional Activity: Sunset Boat Cruise
DAY 25: Livingstone to Lusaka (B/L/D)
We head north through sugar plantations to the capital Lusaka.
DAY 26: Lusaka to South Luangwa National Park (B/L/D)
Along the Great East Road to Chipata, a full day’s drive and South Luangwa National Park on the Luangwa River is well worth the visit. Recent trips have seen:- elephants, giraffe, wild dogs, leopards, lions, and buffalo. We camp just beside the park and we game drive into the park.
Included Activity: South Luangwa National Park
DAY 27: South Luangwa to Chipata (B/L/D)
After game driving in South Luangwa Valley Park, we head back to Chipata and our camp before heading into Malawi.
DAYS 28-30: Chipata to Lake Malawi Beaches, Malawi (B/L/D)
We cross into Malawi with a stunning drive to Lake Malawi, past the lake shore to Kande Beach Resort. Kande Beach Resort A full day on the beach to do as little or as much as you want. Loads of things to do – scuba diving, horse riding, canoeing, sailing, snorkelling. A short drive up the lakeshore to Chitimba Beach, on the base of Livingstonia Escarpment.
At night, you’ll see the lights of the fishermen out on the lake. The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi’s shores offer many optional excursions including a variety of water sports, horseback rides and a visit to the local village and school.
DAY 31: Lake Malawi to Iringa, Tanzania (B/L/D)
An early start in order to get to the border with Tanzania and head up to Iringa and the Farmhouse Campsite.
DAY 32: Iringa to the Indian Ocean Coast and Dar es Salaam (B/L/D)
The highway takes us through Mikumi National Park, famous for its pygmy elephants, and buffalo beside the main road. The day ends at either Mikumi or Dar es Salaam, on a beach with the Indian Ocean lapping the shore.
DAY 33: Dar es Salaam to Ferry to Zanzibar (B)
From Dar es Salaam we take the ferry to Zanzibar and the old stone capital of the Omani Sultanate. Sandy beaches, spice tours, snorkelling, diving and trips to other nearby islands. Zanzibar is a fascinating place to visit and to take it all in. Over a thousand years trade between Africa and Arabia has resulted in the blending of Arabs and Africans into a beautiful Swahili coastal culture with; wooden sailing dhows crossing the ocean, coconut plantations and fishing villages with mosques on the beaches. Nungwe beach resort on the north of the island has the most beautiful beaches.
Included Activity: Zanzibar Excursion, Spice Tour & Dhow Excursion
DAYS 34-35: Zanzibar (No Meals)
You get your own meals while in Zanzibar, as people like to experience here on their own or in small groups and in accordance with their own budget. Our tour leader joins you and will arrange your activities, while meals can be taken from a wide selection of restaurants to suit any budget. There are also a wide variety of optional excursions.
Stone Town in Zanzibar Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old slave market, the spice growing areas, Jozani Forest with Red Colobus Monkeys and in the evening the seafood cafes on the wharf side.
DAY 36: Zanzibar by ferry to Dar es Salaam (No Meals)
Return by ferry to Dar es Salaam on the mainland for another on our beach campsite; late in the day.
Included Activity: Zanzibar ferry to Dar
Day 37: Dar es Salaam towards Arusha (B/L/D)
We travel north towards Arusha and camp on route, on Pangani River. Skirting the base of snowy Mount Kilimanjaro to Arusha, Tanzania’s safari capital.
DAY 38: to Arusha, Tanzania (B/L/D)
We arriving in Arusha late in the day. The country we pass through is sparsely inhabited grassland savannah, inhabited by the Masai. Tonight, we stay in a lovely campsite in Meserani, 20 km to the west of Arusha. Visit the Reptile Rescue Park and Masai Cultural Museum by the campsite, and an art gallery selling the strongly coloured Tingatinga paintings.
DAY 39: Arusha to Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater (B/L/D)
100 km to the west, we visit the Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater. We meet our Tanzanian guides with their locally operated 4WD vehicles adapted for safari use. They allow excellent viewing through their pop up roof. The trip is camping, away for three days and two nights. One of these nights will be inside the park in the parks amidst the animals. If you choose not to visit the park you can wander the markets in Arusha town.
In our 4×4’s we cross the Rift Valley to Mtu wa Mbu (Mosquito River) and then up the Rift Valley Escarpment to spend the evening at a campsite.
Included Activity: Serengeti & Ngorongoro Excursion
Day 40: Ngorongoro Crater & Serengeti (B/L/D)
An early start to Ngorongoro Crater the largest unbroken caldera (collapsed volcano) in the world. Inside is open grassland and a lot of animals. 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 wild, with no fences between us and the animals, who live as they have for millennia.
DAY 41: Serengeti National Park to Arusha (B/L/D)
In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the park. After our morning drive, we return via the Crater rim to our safari truck near Arusha. Then drinks at the bar, to talk about the big 5.
DAY 42: Arusha, Tanzania to Nairobi, Kenya (B)
From Arusha, we head north across Masai country to Namanga; the border of Kenya, and across the plains to Nairobi and our campsite on the outskirts of the city. The rest of the day is yours at leisure to visit the Langata Giraffe Centre and see the baby elephants at Sheldrick’s Elephant sanctuary, watch the orphaned baby elephants at feeding time.
DAY 43-44: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L/D) (B/L/D)
Leaving Nairobi we stop at the Rift Valley scenic lookout its 8,000 feet high and overlooks Mount Longonot and Lake Naivasha. We head south to Narok and on to Masai Mara National Reserve; camping on the edge of the park.
The sweeping plains evoke a picture of East Africa that most people hold in their minds and are rarely disappointed when confronted with the real thing. The Masai Mara offers us everything, amazing scenery and abundant wildlife; including the big five.
Included Activity: Masai Mara Nature Reserve and game drives
DAY 45: Masai Mara to Eldoret (B/L/D)
We pass from the dramatic landscape of the Rift Valley to the highlands and spend our first night on the highland route to Eldoret.
DAY 46: Eldoret to Kampala, Uganda (B/L/D)
We enter Uganda; a green fertile country, and head on via Jinja on Lake Victoria to Kampala. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow-capped Ruwenzori Mountains. Kampala, the capital city is bustling and friendly.
DAYS 47-50: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B/L/D)
Stopping for photos as we cross the equator, we continue southwest to Kabale town; gateway to the Mountain Gorilla Reserves. Climbing through lush terraced hills to Kisoro, there are panoramic views of the Ugandan hills on every turn. From the road, we have outlooks over three countries – Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda; Virunga Mountains; Mountains of the Moon, the home of the rare Mountain Gorillas.
Trekking to the mountain gorillas
The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and know pretty much where they are each day. As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with cold or flu cannot trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old. Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors, we depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over a few days. Whilst others are searching for the great apes you can; see the local markets, walk to the nearby mountain lakes, go to Magahinga National Park to hike up a volcano, or take a guided nature trail.
Dependant on where permits are available
We may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and villagers of subsistence farmers, into the dense rainforest and on to find a gorilla family.
It can take from one to eight 8 hours walking past the terraced farms into the forests and the hills with the guides sometimes cutting a path through the forest undergrowth. On finding a gorilla family visiting time is just one hour. Watch them, while the ranger guides give you the background of the family you are visiting.
The prices of trekking permits
This fluctuates. There is a local transport & handling fee which covers the return public transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee. We normally visit the gorillas in Uganda, but depending on conditions, we may see them in Rwanda.
Optional excursion Gorilla Trekking
Day 51: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B/L/D)
We return from the Mountain Gorillas to cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic – one foot in each hemisphere photo opportunity. We spend the night in Kampala and have the opportunity to try its nightlife.
Day 52: Kampala to Jinja (B/L/D)
Crossing the Owen Falls dam we arrive at Jinja on the shores of Lake Victoria. Our campsite for the next few days above Bujagali Falls is a welcome break from travelling; we can have a lazy afternoon to put up our tents on the grassy terraces overlooking the Nile River. You can spend an action-filled day white water rafting down the Nile. As well as grade 5 rapids this river has a lot of bird and wildlife to view while drifting between the rapids. The rafting is rounded off with a sunset BBQ and drinks, then back to camp to re-live it on video. There are no shortages of other activities in Jinja; quad biking, bungee jump, fish on Lake Victoria, take a guided village walk or give up a day of your holiday to volunteer for the local community education project.
Day 53: Jinja, Uganda to Nakuru, Kenya (B/L/D)
Leaving Uganda, we head back into Kenya, stopping for lunch and stocking up with supplies on the way. We camp near Nakuru at a campsite on a local farm. Nakuru is Kenya’s fourth largest town and sits in the Rift Valley, beside Lake Nakuru National Park.
Day 54: Lake Nakuru National Park (B/L/D)
At Lake Nakuru, viewing game in a park; famous for its soda lake surrounded by thousands, sometimes millions of pink flamingos. The park is home to over 400 species of bird, and we should spot leopard or black and white rhino among the zebra, waterbuck, impala, giraffe and tree climbing lions. Leaving the park we return to our camp.
Included Activity: Lake Nakuru National Park
Day 55: Lake Nakuru to Lake Naivasha (B/L/D)
To Naivasha, we camp beside the lake. Close by is Hell’s Gate National Park where you can hire bikes to cycle around the park to see the herds of zebra, buffalo and antelope. You can also wander in the predator-free reserve amongst African game. There is spectacular scenery here; red cliffs, grassy plains and rock towers made of hardened lava, the remnants of ancient volcanoes.
By the lake is Elsamere; home of Joy Adamson and Elsa the lion of ‘Born Free’ fame. Elsamere is now the centre of the Born Free Foundation. You can find out more about their work and take afternoon tea in the gardens. Lake Naivasha, camping under the fever trees on the shore of Lake Naivasha, with hippos grazing on the shore in the evening.
Day 56: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
We climb out of the Rift Valley, hopefully with a mist-free view of the valley below from the escarpment and return to Nairobi, arriving around noon.