Itinerary | Nairobi to Cairo
Nairobi to Cairo 10 Weeks
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.
Week 1… We start Nairobi
Leaving Nairobi we pass the dramatic landscape of the Rift Valley to the highlands of Kenya.
Week …1-2: Uganda
From the border at Malaba we drive through rain forests
We pass through 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.
See 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 3-4: Kenya
Lake Nakuru & Nakuru Town, the capital of the Rift Valley Province
We 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.
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
Mt Kenya sits almost in the geographical centre of Kenya. It’s the highest mountain in Kenya, at just about 5,200 meters (so some two thirds the height of Mount Everest, but 400 meters higher than Mont Blanc) and the second highest in Africa; Kilimanjaro being slightly taller. To reach the two highest peaks is a technical climb, so most visitors are happy to get to Point Lenana at just under 5,000 meters.
A great mountain to walk, or scramble up. Two to three nights in the park, or three to four days trekking, are the minimum one needs to reach Point Lenana. The track passes clearly defined vegetation types which quickly change as you ascend.
Starting in the fertile farmland of the Kikuyu, walk through; jungle forest, bamboo, heath, alpine moorland, desert tundra and high mountain glaciers to the rocky peaks.
Trekking on the mountain for a week is a rewarding experience. From the peaks, on a clear day, you can see Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, on the horizon to the south.
Northern Kenya – the NFD Northern Frontier District
Coming off the slopes of Mount Kenya and heading north out of the East African highlands and cross the wide open dry hot rocky plains of the NFD – the frontier district between Kenya and Ethiopia. This savage and beautiful land, some 600 north to south, kept the peoples of the Kenyan and Ethiopian Highlands separated for millennia.
Before roads were pushed through this area, the only way travel here was by camel, and with the tribes of the region; the Turkana, Rendille, the Gabbra, the Samburu, the Borana and others. All these peoples are semi nomadic pastoralists who have survived in a harsh land herding their sheep, cattle, goats and camels. Their style of living, colour, form and traditions are strikingly beautiful.
In the middle of this dry barren landscape is an old shield volcano – Mount Marsabit it sits 1,000 metres above the surrounding desert. The hills have their own insulated eco-system. There is evidence or recent lava flow throughout the hills, with enormous crater lakes and old volcanic cones dotting the landscape.
Week 5-7: Ethiopia
In Ethiopia we climb the mountains into the highlands
We follow the Rift Valley Lakes to the capital; Addis Ababa. In Ethiopia the roads we travel on are often in mountainous areas, travel is slow. Ethiopia has a lot more visual & indigenous history than any other sub Saharan country.
Into the Omo Valley
This region is home to some of the most colourful ethnic groups in Ethiopia. The friendly Hamar people are noted for their ornate, interesting hairstyles and the Mursi people are famous for the clay lip plates and earlobe decorations. An optional day tour will take you into the Omo National Park.
We spend a few days in the capital Addis Ababa
Here we have the chance to indulge in some authentic Ethiopian coffee or explore ‘El Mercato’ – one of East Africa’s largest open air markets. We also spend the next few days organizing our Sudanese and Egyptian visas.
Visit Djibouti by train or see the Danakil Depression
While in Addis you could take a side trip by train to Djibouti. A rail journey on the new train from the Ethiopian capital to the Djibouti and coast through the desert, well off the tourist track.
Bahir Dar is based on the southern edge of Lake Tana – you can organise boat trips to some of the small islands which have Monasteries dating back up to 900 years, and which are still looked after by monks who live from subsistence farming, or take a trip to Blue Nile Falls. Lalibela, famous for its 11 monolithic rock-hewn churches is our next destination where you have the option of a guided tour of one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities.
Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia from 1632 until 1868. There are seven Emperor’s castles In Gondar. We spend a few days where we can organise overnight trips to the Simien Mountains National Park, the home to the Gelada Baboon; hikes are available in the area. You may also wish to arrange a trip to the holy city of Axum dating from the 12th Century have been kept alive by generations of dedicated priests who guard their precious religious icons. The border with Sudan is not far from Gondar and the first towns after the border are Gedaref & Wadi Medani.
Week 8: Sudan
Khartoum is our next stop and it has a fantastic setting on the confluence of the Blue and White Niles. Our stay here is on the banks of the Nile at the quirky but interesting Blue Nile Sailing Club. It houses one of General Kitcheners old Gunboats, a relic from the British military campaign against the Mahdi over a century ago. For such a large city, Khartoum feels quite laid back. Here you can visit the Hamed al Nil Tomb or take a trip to the daily camel market or viewing the confluence of the two Niles are also an interesting ways to pass the time.
The hospitality in Sudan can be surprising and very genuine. For such a country with so many recent problems the Sudanese are often too willing to invite you for a meal or a cup of ‘Sudanese whisky’ – better known as tea.
The pyramids are to the north of the capital Khartoum. Our drive across the Nubian Desert will see us either hugging the banks of Nile as it snakes its way north or possibly experiencing the vast open desert plains which is dissected by the main train line from Khartoum – making this our only real point of reference. Whether passing through sleepy Nubian villages, resting in tea rooms, pottering around the local souqs or experiencing total isolation in the middle of the desert – a unique experience awaits you along this not so travelled route to Wadi Halfa.
Week 9-10: Egypt – Abu Simbel
We enter Egypt and board the ferry to Abu Simbel – one of the ultimate destinations on our expedition. We arrive into the small village of Abu Simbel. The massive stone monuments built by the greatest of all pharaohs, Ramses ll, after spending the night we will travel in convoy to the city of Aswan.
You will notice one of the many cultural changes on this trip. The Nubian people lead a more relaxed and less hectic pace of life than their Egyptian countrymen, while more urban than their Sudanese counterparts.
Take an evening boat cruise to a Nubian village and a walk through the colourful souk, is a great way to spend your days here. Above Aswan between the Aswan Dam and the High Dam is a lake with an island and the The Ancient Egyptians built a beautiful and magnificent Temple on this island for the Goddess Isis. It was submerged after the first Aswan Dam was built in 1906. To save the temple they had to wait until 1971, and the completion of the High Dam, which stabilised the level of the water.
You can also take a 2 day felucca boat cruise to Edfu and Kom Ombo to Luxor.
Temple, Colossi of Memnon, Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamen’s Tomb
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 tend 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.
Visit the Valley of Kings and Queens. Here, the remarkably well preserved tombs of the ancient rulers -namely Ramses ll and Tutankhamun, with coloured paintings and hieroglyphics – fresh even after 3000 years. Karnak and Luxor Temples are both in easy walking distance from our camp – as is the local souq where you can pick up the last of your souvenirs.
The Red Sea Coast
The following day we drive out towards the Red Sea Coast. You will have time relax on the beach for a couple of days or try your hand at various watersports such as snorkelling, windsurfing or scuba diving in the cool clear blue waters.
Cairo, Pyramids & Sphinx, Mohamed Ali Mosque, Old Cairo
Cairo is only a day drive away. Visiting the great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx with an Egyptologist guide, Egyptian Museum, the best mosque in the Middle East, a fortress citadel and Old Cairo
Alexandria on the Nile Delta & the Mediterranean Sea
We cross the desert to Alexandria on the Delta of the Nile and the Mediterranean Sea, originally a Greek city founded by Alexander of Macedon. Not over visited by tourists, it has some great sites to visit; including its city beaches. Other must sees are; the rebuilt library of Alexandria, Fort Qaitbey, a Mamluk fortress on the harbour, Montaza Palace gardens and many museums.
Just one hundred kilometers west of the Alex is the railway halt of El Alamein. In the WW2 this was the site of two decisive battles between Commonwealth and Axis forces. It is considered to be the turning point of WW2.
We return to Cairo, the end of our trip.
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.