Gorillas to Cape Town - Itinerary
We leave Nairobi at 7 am on the first day of the trip. We recommend you arrive in Nairobi the day before the trip departs. If you're there with time to spare there's lots to see and do around the city. In Nairobi town is the National Museum and markets. Also Karen Blixen's house, Langata Giraffe Centre, Sheldrick's Elephant Orphanage and Nairobi National Park for a first glimpse of African wildlife.
Day 1 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.
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. Great game viewing is assured all year round. The Mara offers us everything, amazing scenery and abundant wildlife including the big five.
Day 2 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. Great game viewing is assured all year round. The Mara offers us everything, amazing scenery and abundant wildlife including the big five.
An early start, we cross the Ugandan border. The scenery changes to tropical rain forests and tea and sugar plantations. On route to Jinja or Kampala city, our overnights stop.
Day 3 We pass from the dramatic landscape of the Rift Valley to the highlands and spend our first night on the highland route to El Doret.
Day 4 We enter Uganda and head on via Jinja on Lake Victoria to Kampala. This capital city is bustling and friendly. A well run green fertile country.
Day 5 – 8 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; and the Virunga Mountains - Mountains of the Moon, the home of the rare Mountain Gorillas, an optional side trip.
As the groups going to the gorillas are small it takes a couple of days for everyone to do the trek. Whilst others are searching for the great apes, you can take in the local markets; walk to the nearby mountain lakes or go to Magahinga National park for a day hike up a volcano or a guided nature trail. We normally visit the gorillas in Uganda, but depending on conditions may see them in Rwanda.
Day 9 We return from the Mountain Gorillas to Kampala for the evening.
Day 10 From Kampala to Jinja - 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 11 Leaving Uganda, we head back into Kenya.
Day 12 You can take the side trip for the day to 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 cross the Rift Valley to camp on Lake Naivasha
Day 13 To Naivasha, we camp beside the lake. Close by is Hell's Gate National Park where you can hire bikes to take you around the park and 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 and the remains of ancient volcanoes. Also on the lake is Elsamere; once the home of Joy Adamson and Elsa the lion of 'Born Free' fame. Elsamere is now the centre of the Born Free Foundation and 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 14 We return to Nairobi
Day 15 We head south from Nairobi through the Masai plains and cross the border at Namanga into Tanzania; arriving in Arusha late in the day. The country we pass through is sparsely inhabited grassland savannah, inhabited by the Masai.
Day 16 Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater In Arusha you can take an optional side trip to the Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater. The trip is camping, away for three days and two nights. Either one or two 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
Day 17 - 18 Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater descent and return to Arusha.
Day 19 We head towards the coast past Moshi town the capital city of the Chugga tribe. Skirting the base of snowy Mount Kilimanjaro we camp on the way to Dar es Salaam.
Day 20 We arrive in Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast. If you decide not to go to Zanzibar, the campsite at the beach is an ideal place to have a few lazy days.
Day 21 Ferry to Zanzibar Island (optional) - From Dar es Salaam you can take the ferry to Zanzibar Island. Here is 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.
Day 22 & 23 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.
Day 24 Return to Dar es Salaam on the ferry.
Day 25 We head south through Tanzania; our route takes us through Mikumi National Park where we may well see giraffe or elephant grazing beside the road. The road from Mikumi National Park to Malawi takes us through the southern highlands passing Baobab Valley to Iringa.
Day 26 - 28 Crossing the border into Malawi, we reach the shores of its huge lake. We spend the night at Chitimba Beach Camp. The campsites and small resorts along Lake Malawi offer sandy beaches, swimming and snorkelling, water-skiing, horse riding or walking in the surrounding countryside. Markets sell carved Malawi chairs, tables and wood carvings
Day 29 Leaving the beach we go inland to spend the night in the capital Lilongwe or camp on route to Zambia after crossing the border. In Zambia we head along the Great North Road – a sparsely settled country side with few people or villages for hundreds of miles.
Day 30 South Luangwa National Park is well worth the visit. Recent trips have seen: - wild dogs, leopards, lions, and buffalo. We camp by the park and you can game drive into the park. Though the park is open all year, but during the rains; which are normally from Jan and Feb to March, the road in can be flooded and we can’t visit the park.
Day 31 We leave the park and continue to head west. Passing through the beautiful Luangwa Valley we arrive at the fastest expanding capital city on the continent, Lusaka. At camping Eureka you may have zebra or antelope grazing by your tents while you sleep.
Day 32 Victoria Falls - the Zambezi River plunges 100 metres down a mile wide chasm, creating one of the most incredible natural wonders of the world. The local name for the falls is 'Mosi- oa-Tunya' which means 'the smoke that thunders' and you'll soon find out why.
Day 33 After an early start and a stunning drive we cross the Zambezi River on the Kazangula Ferry into Botswana. The country becomes lush and forested as we approach Chobe River. In Chobe National Park you can take an optional overnight game drive; a wild experience - excellent game viewing is a must.
Day 34 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.
Day 35 & 36 We stay beside Victoria Falls in Victoria Falls town, there is lots 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 rain forest along the cliff opposite for an excellent view.
Day 37 Westwards, leaving Zimbabwe to Botswana to the small town of Kasane and Chobe National Park. In Chobe National Park you can take an optional overnight game drive; a wild experience - excellent game viewing is a must.
Day 38 Back in camp you can have a break after all the adventure
Day 39 We travel along the edge of the Kalahari Desert to Maun a small town on the edge of the Okavango Delta, the starting point for the Delta trip.
Day 40 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.
Day 41 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.
Day 42 Back to Maun and the end of your Delta trip. Try learning how to pole your mokoro, or try to catch a catfish; 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 Maun
Day 43 From the lush Delta we enter Namibia and spend the night on the Kavango River in the north western end on the Caprivi Strip
Day 44 -45 Heading west we pass through the arid Namibian landscape to our evening’s bushcamp. Fingers crossed for a classic Namibian sunset. 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. 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 water holes 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.
Day 46 We leave Etosha and head to the cheetahs. From wild animals to tame ones, we spend a night at the Kamanjab Cheetah Farm where you can scratch the big cats behind the ears before watching them catch their evening meal.
Day 47 Namibia is a land of wide open spaces and we pass few inhabited areas as we drive towards Spitzkoppe; a group of granite peaks. Here you can take an optional guided walk with San to their ancient rock art sites.
Days 48 - 49 To Swakopmund, an old German colonial seaside resort with plenty of things to do for the energetic and German beer halls for those after a more relaxing time. Horse-riding, quad biking or sand boarding on the dunes, deep sea fishing in the Atlantic, jump out of a plane or take a scenic flight over the coastline are just a few of the things you can do here.
Day 50 - 51 We leave Swokopmund for Walvis Bay and on to visit the Namib Naukluft Park in the Namibian Desert, famous for its massive thousand foot high sand dunes. It can be hard work climbing to the top but the view is worth all the effort as the dunes stretch before you into the distance and change colour with the sun.
Day 52 After overnighting in the desert we drive south to Fish River Canyon; 160km long and half a kilometre deep; second in length only to the Grand Canyon. You can trek along the rim and look into the canyon from the various viewpoints.
Day 53 We Cross into South Africa on the Gariep River or Orange River. Take a canoe trip down the river or relax by the pool enjoying the spectacular view.
We drive through mountain valleys and stony semi-desert following the farmland south through the sparsely populated areas of the Western Cape. Cederberg growing area of the centre of one of the Cape's many wine routes.
Day 54 - 56 Continuing south through to the fruit growing area of Citrusdal; we cross the mountains to Cape Town - a beautiful city, plenty of cafes, pubs, clubs and markets. We go and visit a township before finishing our trip
While in Cape Town; go and climb Table Mountain or take the cable car to the top for views of the city and visit Robben Island