Itinerary | Trans Africa – London to Nairobi
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.
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 in Gibraltar, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar to Morroco
Visit the coastal capital city of Rabat and visit Casablanca. Meknes, on the high plains is of the many ancient walled cities. Spend time in the covered markets and the 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. Visit 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 – 8: Senegal, The Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone
We enter the Sahel Region
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 with its great night clubs. The Gambia – We cross the Gambia River by ferry to the capital city Banjul on an island where the Gambia River meets the Atlantic Ocean, you can visit the open air lively street market, wander the streets passing colonial buildings, visit nearby beaches or take a river boat trip. Re-entering Senegal, we will cross into the southern Casamance region and the beaches of Senegal – swim, take a bike ride, fish or wandering through the nearby villages.
Guinea-Bissau – Portuguese Guinea, the main language is Portuguese. And onto Guinean border and bad roads. Our route passes south; down the road less travelled to the mountainous Guinea, or
Guinea Conakry – as it is called, was the first colony to gain Independence from France they stated they preferred ‘freedom in poverty, than prosperity in chains’. We can appreciate Guinea’s spectacular tropical forests and waterfalls as we cross Fouta Djalon Plateau
Sierra Leone and on the coast south of Freetown – palm fringed beaches and remote, with markets and museums. Visit Tacugama Chimpanzee Reserve by boat.
Week 9 – 10: Liberia, Ivory Coast
In Liberia visit the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary home to monkeys and the pygmy hippo. You can explore the island by foot or dugout canoe. Through the jungle to Monrovia to Kpatawee Waterfalls. Crossing back into Guinea we make our way towards Bossou to visit the chimpanzees. Ivory Coast and the magnificent Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, modeled on St Peters Basilica in the Vatican. Then to Abidjan, with an impressive skyline of high rise buildings, and oceans where we can camp on the beach.
Week 11: Ghana
Ghana, after Liberia, is the first English-speaking country Ghana, is a particular favourite, the people are so warm and hospitable – lots of fantastic seafood too! The tree-top canopy walks of the Kakum Forest Reserve and widely available drumming lessons are now a firmly established. We cross the jungle to the beaches of the Gold Coast and visit the slaving forts.
Week 12 – 14: Togo, Benin, Nigeria
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. we spend time at Wikki Warm Springs relaxing for a few days. Leaving the warm springs we head to Calabar, passing the outskirts of the Cross-River National Park.
Week 15: Cameroon
Entering Cameroon, we stay on Limbe Beach below Mount Cameroon
For those that are adventurous, you can climb West Africa’s largest mountain, Mount Cameroon. From the coast we visit the capital Yaounde.
Week 16-17: Gabon, Republic of Congo
Gabon 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: Cabinda Province, Angola exclave
This narrow strip of territory belonging to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Tiny Oil-Rich Corner of Africa, with the Congo to the East and the Atlantic to the west. In the night you can watch the flames burning off from the offshore oil rigs.
Week 19-20: Angola
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Orange 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
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.
The coastal region running from Cape Town towards Durban. Bay after bay along the coast with other sites along the Wild Coast. Watch whales, visit the animals close up at Oudtshoorn, cross the Swartberg Pass, explore the Cango Caves, take a boat cruise in Knysna, stopover in Tsitsikamma National Park, see elephants in Addo National Park.
Week 25: South Africa…
In a 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.
Week 26: …Namibia…
Cederberg to the Orange or Gariep River
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; taking a canoe trip down the river or relax by the pool enjoying the spectacular view.
We drive north to Fish River Canyon; 160km long and 550m deep; second in length only to the Grand Canyon. Trek along the rim to look over the canyon from the viewpoints.
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.
We roam around the sands, taking time to summit the famous Dune 45. Then deeper in the desert walk to Sossusvlei River. It ends is a salt and clay pan, surrounded by high red dunes.
We cross the Tropic of Capricorn towards the Atlantic Ocean, via Walvis Bay, to Swakopmund; an old German colonial seaside resort, with lots of things to do for the energetic and German beer halls for those after a more relaxing time. Horse-riding or sandboarding 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.
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.
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.
Week 27: …Botswana
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 camp by the Chobe River
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.
A feature of the Chobe National Park is its huge concentration of Elephants. This Park supports the largest surviving Elephant populations in the world, estimates at over 120,000.
Week 28-30: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi
Here 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.
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.
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 31 – 32: Tanzania
Through Mikumi National Park
We may well see giraffe or pygmy elephants grazing along the roadside.
Dar es Salaam take the ferry to Zanzibar
We arrive in Dar to our campsite on the beach of the Indian Ocean. If you decide not to go to Zanzibar, the campsite at the beach is an ideal place to have a few lazy days.
From Dar es Salaam 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.
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.
Heading inland we pass Africa’s highest peak; 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 33: Kenya
Cross the Athi Plains to Nairobi
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.
Take a fast daytime SGR – standard-gauge railway newly built, by Chinese, from Nairobi to Mombasa. Leave just after 8am and arrive in Mombasa at 1.30pm, just 4 1/2 hours to cover the 500 kilometres to Mombasa on the coast. You’ll arrive at the right time for a late lunch by the Indian Ocean. Look out for big game while you ride the rails through Kapiti plains and Tsavo National Park. Find out more about this side trip – railway journey with The Man in seat 61
Mombasa island connected to the mainland by a causeway
On the island is Mombasa old town and Fort Jesus overlooking the bay; first built by the Portuguese who were the first Europeans to invade the Indian Ocean coast in the late 16th century. North and south of Mombasa town are beaches with low key resorts, they are perfect to hang out at for a few days.
On the Indian Ocean Coast of Africa. It dates back to 18th century, when the Portuguese and the Arabs came to the East African Indian ocean shore for the spice and slave trade.
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.