From game parks to beaches, culture to adventure - this magnificent trip covers 8 African countries including Swaziland and Lesotho. Tick off your bucket list items - from the Maasai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Garden Route, Zanzibar and the mighty Victoria Falls. This camping adventure tour is not to be missed!
Day 1. Nairobi to Maasai Mara ReserveOur adventure starts with a 2-night excursion to the Maasai Mara. We meet our local guides and board specialized vehicles, taking the road via the Great Rift Valley, pausing for a photo at this geographic phenomenon. From here we continue on through the Masai lands and on to the Masaai Mara National Reserve.
Day 2. Masai Mara National Reserve Highlights. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.Rising early, we board our game drive vehicles with our eagle-eyed guide at the wheel and enter the park to search for 'Big 5' game and numerous species of antelope, birds and reptiles. The Masaai Mara forms the northern end of the path of the Great Migration in which over 2 million wildebeest, zebra and antelope travel, following the rains throughout the year. These animals cross the border from Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and into the Masaai Mara between July - October each year.
Day 3. Masai Mara to NairobiLeaving Kenya's famous national park behind, we make our way back across the Great Rift Valley to our camp for the night in the heart of Nairobi's Karen district.
Day 4. Nairobi to Arusha, Tanzania Highlights. Maasai Culture Village Walk, Arusha, Tanzania.We leave the hustle and bustle of Nairobi behind and head south to the border where we will cross into Tanzania.
Day 5. Arusha to Serengeti National Park Highlights. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.Rising early, we meet our local safari guides and board 4x4 safari vehicles for our 2 night, 3-day excursion into the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. Known for its massive annual migration of wildebeest and zebra, the resident population of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds is also quite impressive.
Day 6. Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro CraterWe rise with the sun this morning and board 4x4 vehicles to game drive through this wondrous national park. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive leopard as this area is famous for sightings - we will most likely also see lion and numerous antelope species that roam the plains.
Day 7. Ngorongoro Crater to Arusha Highlights. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.This morning we are rewarded with a game drive into the crater itself, winding slowly down the steep crater walls to the crater floor. Home to Africa's 'Big 5' (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino), we spot a myriad of wildlife along the way on this game drive.
Day 8. Arusha to Bagamoyo Highlights. Bagamoyo, Tanzania.It's time to hit the coast! We pass through the quaint town of Moshi at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. Usually shrouded in low cloud, we may catch a glimpse of the snow-capped 'roof of Africa', should weather be clear.
Day 9. Bagamoyo to Dar es Salaam Highlights. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.Today's drive takes us past the coastal villages and on to the bustling port city of Dar es Salaam, also known as 'Haven of Peace'. Being Tanzania's industrial capital, the city is a large sprawling mass of apartment blocks, informal houses, businesses, office blocks and industry, which gives us insight into the cultural melting-pot that is 'Dar'.
Day 10. Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar Island Highlights. Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania.This morning we embark on a 3-night/4-day excursion on exotic Zanzibar island with its idyllic palm-fringed beaches, interesting Arabic influences, spice-filled air and scrumptious local cuisine.
Day 11 - 12. Zanzibar Highlights. Zanzibar, Northern Beaches, Tanzania.After our first night on Zanzibar, we wake to the sounds of the surrounding mosques - calling to prayer echoing throughout the city.
Day 13. Zanzibar to Dar es SalaamRelaxed from our island-break, we travel back to the Port of Zanzibar where we board the the return ferry to the mainland.
Day 14. Dar es Salaam to Mikumi Highlights. Mikumi National Park, Tanzania.Travelling west, we cross the northern part of Mikumi National Park and hope to see some wildlife along the roadside - elephants, lions, giraffes and numerous antelope species.
Day 15. Mikumi to IringaTraversing the Tanzanian highlands via the picturesque Boabab Valley, we arrive at our camp at Kisolanza Farm this afternoon. At an altitude of 1600m Kisolanza ensures a pleasant fresh climate in one of the most scenic areas of this region.
Day 16. Iringa to Chitimba Beach, Malawi Highlights. Lake Malawi, Malawi.We continue westward to the bustling town of Mbeya before heading south and crossing into Malawi and making our way Lake Malawi (formerly known as ‘Lake Nyasa’).
Day 17. Chitimba Beach Highlights. Livingstonia Day Hike, Malawi.Stretch your legs on a day-hike to the Livingstonia Mission and Manchewe waterfalls in the surrounding mountains, or enjoy the beach and warm waters of the lake on your first free-day in the area.
Day 18. Chitimba to Kande BeachHeading south, we briefly pause at Mzuzu to replenish supplies and then make our way to our camp for the next 2 nights at Kande Beach.
Day 19. Kande Beach Highlights. Kande Beach Activities, Malawi.Kick back and relax in a hammock, swim in the lake, or enjoy some down-time at the bar/ restaurant area.
Day 20. Kande Beach to Chipata, Zambia Highlights. Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.Leaving the tranquility of the lake behind, we make our way south and cross into Zambia en-route to Chipata.
Day 21. Chipata to Lusaka Highlights. Lusaka, Zambia.Heading out this morning, we take the Great Eastern Road through the Zambian countryside and over the South Luangwa river to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia and currently Southern Africa's fastest growing city - home to a population of just under 2 million.
Day 22. Lusaka to Livingstone Highlights. Victoria Falls - Mosi oa Tunya National Park, Zambia.Rising early we make our way to Livingstone, the tourist hub of Zambia and set up camp on the banks of the Zambezi River.
Day 23 - 25. Livingstone Highlights. Livingstone Activities, Zambia.Enjoy your time at leisure over the next few days in this majestic area. Sample some of the many optional activities on offer, explore the rich history of the town itself and feel the spray of the falls on your face.
Day 26. Livingstone to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Highlights. Bulawayo.This morning we cross the iconic Vic Falls bridge which also serves as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. After border formalities are completed, we drive through Victoria Falls town to Bulawayo, the country's second largest city (the capital Harare being the largest).
Day 27. Matobo National Park Highlights. Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe.Boarding our open safari vehicles this morning, we head to Matobo National Park. This area is well-known for the Matobo Hills (also called Matopos) - a range of balancing rock formations created by erosion of the granite plateau, and the numerous Bushman rock paintings.
Day 28. Bulawayo to Tshipise, South Africa Highlights. Tshipise, South Africa.We bid farewell to Zimbabwe and cross the busiest border post to South Africa - Beitbridge.
Day 29. Tshipise - Hazyview Highlights. Shangaan Cultural Evening.From Tshipise we head to South Africa's premier National Park and one of the largest game reserves in Africa - Kruger National Park! At over 19,400 sq km, this spectacular park is home to baobabs, fever trees, knob thorns, marula- and mopane trees underneath which lurk the Big Five - leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino and elephant.
Day 30. Hazyview – Kruger National Park Highlights. Kruger National Park, South Africa.This morning we meet our resident guides and board open 4x4 safari vehicles for our full-day game drive in the Kruger National Park.
Day 31. Kruger National Park – Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland Highlights. Swaziland (Eswatini).Leaving Hazyview, we travel south along the edge of the Kruger National Park crossing the Crocodile River and into the Kingdom of Swaziland.
Day 32. The Kingdom of Swaziland Highlights. Swaziland (Eswatini) Cultural Village, Ezulwini Valley.Waking to the sounds of wild exotic birds, we take a short drive through the sanctuary to the Royal Enclosure where we discover an abundance of history and culture with our local Swazi guide. See how the people of Eswatini traditionally live, learn their ways and join in on a traditional dance.
Day 33. Swaziland – St Lucia, South Africa Highlights. St Lucia River Cruise, South Africa.We re-enter South Africa today and head to the small town of St Lucia - set among wild beaches and an estuary - to the south of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. During the summer months, whale-sharks pass through while leather back- and loggerhead turtles lay their eggs on the beaches and it is not uncommon to spot dolphins and porpoises year round. The marine life is incredible and the rugged beaches stretch as far as the eye can see.
Day 34. St Lucia to DurbanBefore moving on, we have the morning at leisure to explore this quaint town and gateway to the wetlands.
Day 35. Durban Highlights. Durban City .Today is a day to explore the beauty and culture of Durban. Visit Ushaka Marine World, the worlds 5th largest aquarium, which is situated at the end of Durban's famed “Golden Mile” - a 6 kilometer beach that stretches from Ushaka to the Blue Lagoon.
Day 36. Durban – Underberg AreaWe travel inland and drive via lush mountainous countryside to our camp for the next two nights nestled at the foot of the southern Drakensberg, known as Underberg. This picturesque place is situated at the foot of the Sani Pass, the gateway to the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. This afternoon is yours to enjoy at leisure - spectacular views, amazing walking and hiking trails, bird watching, etc.
Day 37. Sani Pass Highlights. Sani Pass Excursion.After breakfast, we meet our local guides and join a tour of Lesotho via the dramatic Sani Pass. The Sani Pass is one of the most breathtaking drives in Southern Africa and winds in a zig-zag fashion up the steep mountain slopes.
Day 38. Underberg to Northern Drakensberg via Battlefields Highlights. Battlefields, South Africa.Today we submerse ourselves in the history of the KwaZulu Natal Battlefields with stories from the Anglo Boer War - the infamous war between the British, Boere and Zulus that took place in the Ladysmith area.
Day 39. Drakensberg Highlights. Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa.The Royal Natal National Park has some of the best mountain scenery in Africa and 'out doors' is by far the most popular activities in the area. The main features of the area are the world famous: Amphitheater - a rock wall that is approximately 5km in length and approximately 500m high, as well as the Tugela falls - which at over 9750 feet is the 2nd highest waterfall in the world!
Day 40. Drakensberg to Malealea, LesothoRising early, we drive through the Golden Gate National Park with its golden, ochre and orange-hued sandstone cliffs and outcrops, to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho - where we base ourselves for the next 2 nights. Located high in the mountains, our camp is an ideal base to explore the surrounds and mingle with the local Basotho culture.
Day 41. Malealea Highlights. Malealea Activities.Enjoy a free day today to explore the surrounding hill sides and mountains. Maybe venture out on a mountain bike, climbing and descending the narrow mountain pathways with their spectacular views, or enjoy a hike of the area, or just mingling with the local Basotho people as they tend to their day to day duties. No visit to Lesotho would be complete without a Basotho-pony trek, a 'must do' on a bucket list!
Day 42. Malealea to Mountain Zebra National Park Highlights. Mountain Zebra NP.Today, we get an early start and cross back into South Africa, where our next stop is the Mountain Zebra National Park. With over 700 mammal species, including lion, buffalo, the bat-eared fox and the herds of Mountain Zebra - for which the park is named. We game drive in our Acacia vehicle to our camp for this evening, whilst searching of these animals en-route.
Day 43. Mountain Zebra National Park – Addo Elephant National Park – Port Elizabeth Area Highlights. Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa.We wake in the wilderness once more and after striking camp, game drive out of the park, heading for our next adventure in the Addo Elephant National Park.
Day 44. Port Elizabeth area – Tsitsikamma Forest - Plettenberg Bay Highlights. Tsitsikamma National Park, South Africa.Today we venture to the Tsitsikamma National Park near the Storms River Village on the Garden Route. This area encompasses dramatic coastal scenery, reefs, rivers, lush forest, a marine reserve, deep gorges and local vegetation - fynbos, which we have the opportunity to explore in the National Park this afternoon.
Day 45. Plettenberg Bay - Oudtshoorn Highlights. Cango Caves, South Africa.After breakfast we’re off to Oudtshoorn - the ostrich capital of the world - hosting a number of these farms based in the dry Karoo. On arrival, we join a cave tour of the famous Cango Caves - featuring fine drip-stone caverns, vast halls and towering stalactite and stalagmite formations. This is Africa's largest show-cave system and extends far under the Swartberg mountains. After exploring the caves, we enjoy the night in the old settlers’ town.
Conveniently located on Nairobi's Harry Thuku Road and set in manicured gardens, this hotel offers a peaceful oasis in the centre of town. Walking distance to shops and craft markets. Rooms – single, twin, double en suite rooms with balcony and satellite TV. Facilities – restaurant, bar, swimming pool, internet, laundry. Transfers are available from the Airport by pre-arrangement
* Suggested pre and post tour accommodation can be booked together with your tour. Please enquire at the time of booking.
Situated at the foot of Table Mountain and in walking distances to the city centre, Ashanti Lodge Backpackers in Gardens is your gateway to Cape Town. This gorgeous Victorian Mansion offers backpacker dormitories to single, double and twin rooms with shared bathroom facilities. Chill next to the stunning pool, join the party in the legendary Kumasi Café/Bar with its cool cocktails, tasty food and fabulous mountain views or go explore the city's highlights close by.
* Suggested pre and post tour accommodation can be booked together with your tour. Please enquire at the time of booking.
PRE TOUR ACCOMMODATION:
This tour departs Nairobi early on day 1; we strongly recommend therefore that you plan to arrive the day before departure to overcome any jet-lag and to acclimatise to Africa. We would be happy to book pre-tour accommodation for you – please call or email us (or speak to your agent) with your arrival details and accommodation requirements. However please book early to avoid disappointment and the risk of having to find more expensive (or less convenient) lodgings.
If time allows, we also suggest planning a night or two extra (after your tour) to make the most of this part of Africa. Accommodation is usually available locally on arrival but you can pre-book this with Acacia or your agent. There is a variety of activities and excursions in the Cape Town area’s that can be arranged locally.
ACTIVITIES & EXCURSIONS:
These are optional activities that are booked during your holiday and paid directly to the provider while on tour. These options offer a variety of experiences and allow you the freedom to decide what activities you would like to do.
We use 2-person dome tents with fly sheets, sewn-in groundsheets, zip-up insect screens and foam mattresses. We mainly use campsites, which usually have reasonable wash and shower facilities, electricity points and sometimes even a small shop, bar or swimming pool. In Maasai Mara, we use multi-shared tented camp with en-suite facilities. In the Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater, there are basic facilities. On Zanzibar and in Durban we use basic tourist class local hotels.
24-seater, self-contained, custom-built safari vehicle with on-board tables, plug sockets, freezer, water tank, library, i-pod jack, safety features and 70-litre individual lockers, 4x4 safari vehicle and fast ferry.
GAME PARK VISITS:
In order to maximise the quality of game driving and to comply with local authority rulings, some of our National Park visits and game viewing is carried out using services provided by local African ground handlers. As well as enhancing our experience using local guides and smaller vehicles it also allows us to contribute at a ‘grassroots’ level to local economies from which local people benefit.
This is a participation tour and your help will be needed in assisting with the various day to day duties, such as shopping, cooking and keeping the vehicle tidy (usually on a rota basis). But don’t worry it’s not all hard work and it’s a great way to meet the local people and get to know your fellow travellers. Your contribution benefits the success of the tour - most people find the greater their involvement, the greater their enjoyment of the whole trip. Our accommodated tour option travels together with the camping counterpart.
46 Breakfasts, 37 Lunches, 36 Dinners
36 nights camping in 2-person dome tents, 2 nights tented camp, 2 nights huts with shared facilities, 5 nights tourist class hotel, 1 night dorm
Every adventure tour has an Adventure Pass which is paid to your tour leader in Africa at the beginning of the tour (or pre-paid by arrangement prior to your tour). This is separate and in addition to the Tour Price, and covers selected park entries, activities and excursions along the way where payment goes directly to the supplier to ensure local suppliers benefit directly from the income.
* This pass is a compulsory add-on for this tour.