Itinerary | J’burg to Uganda Gorillas & Nairobi
J’burg to Vic Falls, Zimbabwe,
Uganda, Gorillas to Nairobi
Kruger National Park, Night Game Drive, Great Zimbabwe Ruins, Matobo National Park, Hwange National Park, Entrance to Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, South Luangwa National Park, Lake Malawi, Zanzibar Island, Spice Tour, Sunset Cruise, Serengeti, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kampala, Lake Bunyoyni, Lake Nakuru National Park, Great Rift Valley & Lake Naivasha
DAY 1: Johannesburg to Nkambeni Camp (L/D)
We leave Johannesburg and head through the Panorama Route, with its breathtaking vistas, towards the Kruger National Park. We camp near the park for two nights
Kruger National Park is one of the largest parks in Africa; you should see the big 5 here. On the border of Mozambique. It’s great for day and night game drives, with lots of; elephants, lions, hippos, buffalo and still rhino.
Included Activity: Kruger National Park – Night Game Drive
DAY 2: Nkambeni Camp (B/L/D)
Kruger National Park. We spend the day looking for the game in the park. If you like, you can take an optional evening game drive.
Included Activity: Game Drives
DAY 3: Nkambeni Camp to Polokwane (B/L/D)
We leave Nkambeni and go north to the Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window, a long deep canyon on the northern edge of the Drakensberg Mountains. We spend the night in Polokwane, capital of Limpopo. We set up our tents on the lush green grass of our campsite located outside of the city with a swimming pool.
Optional Activity: Blyde River Canyon
DAY 4: Polokwane to Musina (B/L/D)
On to Tshipise and to nearby Musina, with its natural hot water springs resort with warm pools, walking trails and other activities here. The town is beside the border of Zimbabwe; tomorrows destination.
DAY 5: Musina, South Africa to Masvingo, Zimbabwe (B/L/D)
Over the border to Zimbabwe, to the town of Masvingo, which is beside Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The finding of these monuments by European explores caused quite a consternation at the time, as they are the only area of old stone buildings or ruins in southern Africa, bar of those built on the coast by Arabs. It was supposed originally, that the ruins were even built by Phoenician’s, till it was worked out to the palaces of the ancestors of the local Shona tribe. Visit the ruins for great sunset view.
Included Activity: Great Zimbabwe Ruins
DAY 6: Masvingo to Bulawayo (B/L/D)
From Masvingo to Bulawayo; the big towns wide streets and old buildings reflecting its colonial past. It’s Zimbabwe’s second largest city, with wide streets to turn full span ox wagon around. The city also still retains much of its British Colonial character, evident by the many buildings maintained as heritage sites by the Bulawayo City Council. Interesting places to visit are the; Natural History Museum, National Arts Gallery and arts and crafts centres.
DAY 7: Bulawayo (B/L/D)
Here we visit Matobo National Park, (originally Rhodes Matopos). Just outside of Bulawayo town, it’s a series of granite hills; like islands surrounded by wooded valleys. The park has an unusual air about it with distant views combined with the closed valley. Many religious activities and rituals were held here in pre-colonial times. Cecil Rhodes is buried in a granite hill in the park is a place known as World View.
Included: Matobo National Park
Day 8: Bulawayo to Hwange National Park (B/L/D)
To Hwange National Park. Hwange; loads of wildlife including thousands of elephants, Sable and Roan Antelope. We take a late afternoon game drive.
Day 9: Hwange National Park (B/L/D)
We have a day in Hwange, game driving through the park.
Included: Game drive in Hwange National Park
DAY 10: Hwange to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (B/L)
Leaving Bulawayo, we arrive in Victoria Fall in the morning. At the Falls there is plenty to do, with grade 5 rapids to raft over and the spectacular sight of the massive wall of water spilling over the falls, the mist rising 100’s of feet high into the air above. Our campsite is in the centre of town, within walking distance of the adventure booking agents, restaurants and shops. A pleasant walk takes you to the entry point to view the falls, between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria Falls – Mosi-oa-Tunya – Smoke that Thunders. So named by Dr Livingstone on his explorations, is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. At 1,700 metres wide and 100 metres high, it is the largest sheet of falling water in the world. After our adventure activities, relax at the camps swimming pool, and looking at the Falls.
Included: Entry to Victoria Falls
DAYS 11: Victoria Falls (B)
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 12: 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 13: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park, Botswana (B/L/D)
Westwards, leaving Zimbabwe to Botswana to Kasane and Chobe National Park. In Chobe National Park you can take an overnight game drive; a wild experience – excellent game viewing.
Included Activity: Chobe National Park overnight game trip
DAY 14: 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 15: Livingstone to Lusaka (B/L/D)
We head north through sugar plantations to the capital Lusaka.
DAY 16: 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 17: 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 18-20: 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 21: 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 22: 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 23: 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 24-25: 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 26: 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 27: 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 28: 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 29: 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 30: 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 31: 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 32: 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 33-34: 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 MasaiMara offers us everything, amazing scenery and abundant wildlife; including the big five.
Included Activity: Masai Mara Nature Reserve and game drives
DAY 35: 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 36: 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 37-40: 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 go on 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 41: 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 42: 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 43: 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 44: 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 45: 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 46: 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.