Itinerary | London to Cairo Trans Africa
What’s it like?
As we will be camping and travelling for an extended period of time, you must be prepared for an adventurous challenge. It can be hot and dusty, and will sometimes be out of contact from the rest of the world. This means no telephones, shops or any other mod cons. We need you to participate and work with all members of the expedition. For the Trans we use sturdy purpose-built vehicles for these rugged off-road conditions.
London to Cairo
Due to the nature of the trip, Trans Africa tours do not have a specific day-to-day itinerary.
Week 1 – 4: Europe, Morocco We start the trip at Gibraltar. Crossing the straits of Gibraltar to Morocco, we visit the coastal capital city of Rabat and visit Casablanca. Meknes, on the high plains is of the many ancient walled cities with covered markets and a labyrinth of narrow winding streets. We visit the ancient Roman ruin of Volubilis, followed by Fes, Marrakech and the Atlas Mountains.
Week 5: Mauritania We pass into the Sahara Desert and follow the Atlantic Coast – it is never forgotten; oases with cool water surrounded by palms, stretches of sand as big as a small country, old forts, camel trains following centuries old trading routes, and a night sky undiluted by city lights. We go hundreds of miles off road, sometimes digging the truck out of the soft sands to get through.
Week 6 – 10: Senegal, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana We enter the Sahel; the vast semi arid desert that separates the Sahara from the forests of black Africa and cross the Senegal River into Senegal. We reach St Louis on the coast and the capital Dakar great night clubs. Into Guinea; spectacular scenery, thick jungle, rugged mountains, green as far as they eye can see, except for the red dirt roads, winch ferry spanning the rivers. Trek to chimpanzees, where they live wild in the forest. Ivory Coast and the magnificent Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, modeled on St Peters Basilica in the Vatican. Followed by Abidjan with an impressive skyline of high rise buildings, the ocean and a camp on the beach. In Ghana we cross the jungle to the beaches of the Gold Coast and visit the slaving forts.
Week 11 – 13: Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon Togo and Benin are only fifty miles wide. Here the religion is the African tradition of Voodoo. On Nakoue Lagoon you can take canoes to visit the fishing villages built high above the water on bamboo stilts. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with 100 million people. We visit Lagos, the commercial capital and largest city in West Africa and head on to Abuja the political capital, then time at Wikki Warm Springs to relax for a few days. Leaving the warm springs we head to Calabar, passing the outskirts of the Cross-River National Park.
Week 14: Cameroon Entering Cameroon, we stay on the beach at Limbe. For those that are adventurous, you can climb West Africa’s largest mountain, Mount Cameroon. From the coast we visit the capital Yaounde.
Week 15-17: Gabon, Republic of Congo, Cabinda (Angola) Leaving Yaounde, we cross into Gabon, a country which consists mostly of tropical rain forests. To the Republic of Congo. Driving through bamboo forest tunnels we make our way back to the coast reaching Pointe-Noire. Here you can visit the Jane Goodall Chimp sanctuary, or relax on the beach.
Week 18: We enter Cabinda the oil rich exclave of Angola with the Congo to the East and the Atlantic to the west; where you can watch the flames burning off from the offshore oil rigs.
Week 19-20: Angola only opened up to tourism in 2004, one of the largest and least visited countries in Africa. The people are friendly and the views astounding. Driving along the red mud roads we reach the coast and the capital Luanda, it’s very Portuguese in its buildings and Brazilian in its beach attire with a line of beach bars and restaurants in the bay. We follow the coast passing lots of waterfalls on the way to Lubango town 2000 meters high on a plateau. It is home to the third of the great statues of Jesus; the others being in Rio and Lisbon.
Week 21-22: Namibia Entering Namibia, we encounter a vast array of environments and cultures. Once occupied by Germany, Namibia produces a blend of German, African and Afrikaans influences. The Himba peoples of the North are most noted for their red ochre body paint and their traditional lifestyle.
Next stop is Etosha Pan National Park. Thousands of years ago this vast saltpan was a lake, until the Kunene River changed its course and deprived the lake of its water source. Now the pan and surrounding bush support large numbers and a wide range of wildlife. We spend a couple of day’s game viewing from the truck during the day and spend the evenings around 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 at Etosha.
From wild animals to tame ones, we spend a night at the Cheetah Farm where you can scratch the big cats behind the ears before watching them tuck in to their evening meal. Heading for the Atlantic Ocean Coast, Swakopmund is an old German colonial seaside resort with plenty of things to do for the energetic and plenty of beer cellars for those after a more relaxing time. The energetic can go horse-riding or sand boarding on the dunes, deep sea fishing in the Atlantic or scenic flights over the coastline. Heading inland, we enter the Namib Desert, famous for the 300m high sand dunes. We enjoy sunrise at the top of the most photographed dune, Dune 45 before taking a tour with local guides into the remote parts of Sossusvlei.
After an overnight stay in the desert we drive south to Fish River Canyon, at 85km long and 400m deep it’s second in size only to the Grand Canyon. You can trek down to the bottom of the canyon and, from the viewpoints at the top, watch the setting or rising of the sun. There are seasonal hot springs in the south at Ai Ais. Our last stop in Namibia is the Orange River, which forms the border with South Africa.
Week 23: South Africa Crossing the river we arrive in South Africa and travel south through Namaqualand, South Africa’s prime farming areas. We drive through the mountain valleys of the Cederberg and stony semi-deserts before arriving in Stellenbosch, the centre of one of the Cape’s many wine routes. A wine tour with plenty of tasting makes for a great day out.
Week 24 Cape Town – break It’s a beautiful city, nestled at the foot of Table Mountain; plenty of cafes, pubs, clubs, markets and sights. You can climb the mountain or take the cable car to the top for some wonderful views of the city and the Cape Peninsula and visit Robben Island
Week 25: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana Departing Cape Town we head north towards Namibia and its capitol city Windhoek and tradtioanl beer taverns and museums.
Botswana and the Kalahari Desert. We travel along the edge of the Kalahari Desert to Maun. A small town on the edge of the Okavango Delta, and the starting point for the Mokoro trip. 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 are also likely to come across hippos or elephants taking a drink from the shore. You can go on a walking safari to look for giraffe, buffalo and rare antelope such as the tsessebe. This overnight stay is a great wilderness experience.
We spend a night by the banks of the Chobe River, in Kasane. Here hippo, buffalo and crocodiles share the river bank and occasionally pay us a visit through the night. Here you can take a sunset cruise on the river or take an afternoon game drive through the park, and see some of Africa’s largest elephants and big cats.
Week 26-27: Zimbabawe, Zambia, Malawi Entering Zambia, we reach the Victoria Falls, where 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. 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.
We stay near Livingstone beside the Zambezi and above Victoria Falls, for a few days, as there is so much to see and do. Adventure activities abound – you can bungee jump, white water raft, take a Microlite flight above the falls, sky-dive and go game-viewing on horse back. More sedate excursions include canoeing, light aircraft or helicopter flights over the falls, and the sunset cruise on the Zambezi. Of course, the falls themselves are the main attraction and you can walk through the rain forest along the cliff opposite for an excellent view.
Crossing the border into Malawi, we soon reach the shores of its huge lake. The campsites and small resorts along Lake Malawi offer sandy beaches, swimming and snorkeling, water skiing and walking in the surrounding countryside. You will also find markets selling beautifully carved Malawi chairs, tables and other souvenirs.
Week 28 – 29: Tanzania Heading north through Tanzania, our route takes us through Mikumi National Park where we may well see giraffe or pygmy elephants grazing along the roadside. At Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast, we can cross to Zanzibar Island. Here is the old stone capital of the Omani Sultanate and away from the town are stunning beaches, and World Heritage Listed buildings, forests and ruins. You can take a spice tour of the island, go diving, swimming with dolphins or visit remote islands by the traditional dhow boats. Heading inland we pass Africa’s highest peak, that of Mt Kilimanjaro. From Arusha we hire Landrovers to visit the Ngorongoro Crater & Serengeti National Park, which has the heaviest concentration of plains game found all over East Africa.
Week 30: Kenya From Tanzania we cross in Kenya the Athi Plains, passing gazelle, giraffe and troops of baboons on our way to Nairobi. Leaving Nairobi we pass the dramatic landscape of the Rift Valley to the highlands of Kenya.
Week 31: Nairobi – break – take the express train to Mombassa and the beach.
Week 32: Uganda Crossing the border at Malaba we drive through rain forests and tea and sugar plantations to Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Crossing the equator we camp on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi, the deepest crater lake in Uganda. We climb through lush terraced hills to Kisoro, from here we trek the famed mountain gorillas or you could visit Mgahinga National Park for a day hike up a volcano or a guided nature trail. We meander back to Lake Bunyonyi to relax, canoe, mountain bike and swim.
In the modern bustling city of Kampala you may wish to visit the National Museum, the Kasubi Tombs of the Buganda people. Crossing the Owen Falls Dam we arrive at Jinja on the shores of Lake Victoria. Spend an action-filled day white water rafting down the Nile, 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.
Week 32-33: Kenya Returning to Kenya and Nakuru Town, the capital of the Rift Valley Province. You can visit Lake Nakuru, viewing game in a park famous for its soda lake surrounded by thousands, sometimes millions of pink flamingoes. We move on to camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha where hippos come to graze in the evenings.
Close by is Hell’s Gate National Park and Elsamere, once the home of Joy Adamson and Elsa the lion of ‘Born Free’ fame. From here we return to Nairobi with the chance to feast at the renowned Carnivores Game Restaurant.
Week 34: Kenya We visit the base of Mount Kenya and continue north through the Northern Frontier District of Kenya, a restricted area; semi arid with a spectacular diversity of people, wild game on the road side and a warm dry climate
Week 35: Mt Kenya and Northern Kenya
Week 36-38: Ethiopia We enter Ethiopia and we climb the mountains into the highlands and follow the Rift Valley Lakes to the capital; Addis Ababa. Take boats to visit Bahir Dar Monasteries on islands on Lake Tana the source of the Blue Nile, with hippos and crocs at the outflow of the river. Tissisat Falls is the source of the Blue Nile. We visit Gondar; a city of castles and churches. You can take a Landrover to visit the Simien Mountains where you can horse trek and see grazing Gelada Baboons.
Week 39: Sudan We enter Sudan following the Blue Nile to Gedaref then Khartoum where the Blue & White Nile join; watch dervish dancing or even join in the Nubian wrestling – safer just to watch. We visit the Pharonic Pyramids of Meroe in an un-spoilt seldom visited desert. We drive across the Bauda Desert sands through friendly villages on the Nile. From Wadi Halfa we take a ferry across Lake Nasser to Aswan in Egypt.
Week 40-41: Egypt – Cairo – Pyramids & Sphinx In Aswan we visit the High Dam & Philae Island Temple. Luxor, we visit Karnack Temple the Colossi of Memnon and the Valley of the Kings with Tutankhamen’s Tomb. We do a big day trip to the monuments on friendly happy donkeys. They tent to walk off home alone after we arrive at the Valley of the Kings leaving us free to do the rest of the day in a bus. From Luxor, we travel to Cairo where we spent a few days to look at the; markets, the best mosques in the Middle East, a fortress citadel, great pyramids in Giza and the immense collections of the Cairo Museum.
For an updated dossier and information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, optional excursions and other useful information please contact us.
Of all the trips we run this is the most likely to have a change of route due to local conditions and visa requirements.
Africa is an unpredictable continent. We do not have a fixed itinerary so please treat the information given as a guideline only. Although our information is written in good faith at the time of printing, our route may vary at any time due to weather, politics or road conditions.