the Big Overlander - 47 Days
From 2022-07-02 to 2022-12-17
Arrival transfer from Nairobi Airport on day 1.
1st night dormitory accommodation at Kenya Comfort Hotel and 42 nights camping.
Tents and sleeping mats provided.
A fully equipped overland truck for transportation and game drives.
Services of 3 person crew (leader, driver, cook).
All camping fees and appropriate equipment.
41 breakfasts, 37 lunches and 38 dinners.
3 night Zanzibar Excursion including ferry transfer, accommodation, Spice Tour and Dhow Sunset Cruise.
Mikumi National Park (transit only).
Park entry - Lake Naivasha NP and Victoria Falls NP.
Park entry and game drives - Lake Nakuru NP, Masai Mara, Ngorongoro NP, Serengeti NP,Chobe NP, South Luangwa NP and Kruger.
All road taxes and tolls.
Chobe River Boat Cruise.
Itinerary / more information
Day 1 - Nairobi Saturday. Welcome to Nairobi! We’ll be there to collect you at Nairobi Airport and transfer you to the Kenya Comfort Hotel. Tonight you will stay in shared dorms. There will be a pre departure meeting at 17.00.
Day 2-3 - Masai Mara Nairobi - Masai Mara. Heading west from Nairobi on day 2, we reach possibly Kenya’s most famous natural attraction - the Masai Mara National Reserve. The Kenyan section of the wildly beautiful Serengeti Plains teems with wildlife. The highlight of the Mara is no doubt the annual wildebeest migration, when literally millions of these beasts plus zebra and Thomson’s gazelle stray north from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania in search of lush grass on the savannah plains. Elephant, lion, cheetah, giraffe and a multitude of hooved herbivores also inhabit the reserve. A game drive through the Mara on day 3 gives us the chance to spot the Big Five. During our stay we can also opt to visit a local Masai tribe.
Day 4-5 - Eldoret & Kampala Masai Mara - Eldoret - Kampala (Uganda). Leaving the Masai Mara early on day 4, we head out of Masai Land and pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Eldoret - where we spend the night. The following morning, we cross the border into Uganda where we overnight it the capital city, Kampala.
Day 6-9 - Lake Bunyoni & Gorilla Trekking Kampala - Lake Bunyoni. From Kampala we drive to Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds, which is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda.
We depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in Kisoro en route. The following morning we trek with trained rangers in search of the mountain gorillas.
Please note: Gorilla permits need to be purchased in advance, please ask your reservations consultant or visit our Gorilla trekking travel guide.
Day 10-11 - Kampala & Jinja Lake Bunyoni - Kampala - Jinja. After marvelling at the experience of our gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, we begin our drive back to Kampala. We cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. We overnight in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life!
On day 11 we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or heading to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or visiting a volunteer and community project.
Day 12-13 - Lake Nakuru Jinja - Nakuru - Naivasha (Kenya). Departing early, we head back to Kenya, stopping for lunch and supplies en route. We overnight outside Nakuru at a lovely campsite. Nakuru is Kenya’s 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province and lies adjacent to the small but wildlife rich Lake Nakuru National Park.
On the morning of day 13 we begin our exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park. The park was established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are often seen. We spend the day searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way. After our game drive, we head to our campsite, arriving in the late afternoon.
Day 14-15 - Lake Naivasha Nakuru - Naivasha - Nairobi. Leaving Lake Nakuru we head to Lake Naivasha, home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. We spend the day enjoying optional excursions like Elsamere (former home to Joy & George Adamson of Born Free fame), a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park. The next morning we head back to Nairobi.
Day 16-19 - Ngorongoro Crater Nairobi - Arusha (Tanzania). Leaving Nairobi, we cross the border into Tanzania. Arusha is the starting point for the 3 day excursion to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
The Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion takes us via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park and up the Rift Valley Escarpment to the higher lying village of Karatu. Karatu offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas. We spend the evening at a pleasant campsite in Karatu. The following morning we depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa – including the elusive Black Rhino.
After our game drive in the Crater, we continue 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 bush camp (no ablutions) in the wild surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness. In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the landscape in search of the resident wildlife. With some luck, we may see some of Africa’s ‘Big 5’!
After our morning drive, we head back across the plains and the lush Crater rim to our truck at Arusha, where we spend the evening musing over our thrilling wildlife experience.
Day 20-21 - Dar es Salaam Arusha - Pangani - Dar es Salaam. We return to Arusha before continuing on towards Dar es Salaam. On the way we drive through the town of Moshi situated at the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. We may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed! We spend the night in Pangani midway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam before reaching our lovely seaside campsite in Dar es Salaam the following day.
Day 22-24 - Zanzibar Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar. A ferry from Dar Es Salaam takes us to ‘Spice Island’, where we spend the next three nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and offers a wealth of experiences. Wander the streets of Stone Town, take an excursion around a spice plantation or simply laze on one of the pristine white sandy beaches, the choice is yours!
Day 25-26 - Mikumi & Iringa Zanzibar - Mikumi - Iringa. Leaving Zanzibar in the morning, we return to the mainland and head west to Mikumi for an overnight stop. The next day we continue our journey west. Our destination today is Iringa where we spend the night in a beautiful rustic campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
Day 27-29 - Lake Malawi Iringa - Lake Malawi (Malawi). Winding our way through the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we travel into Malawi, a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. We travel the length of the western side of the lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets over the next 3 days. Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine beaches.
Day 30-31 - South Luangwa National Park Lake Malawi - South Luangwa (Zambia). We head away from Lake Malawi, and stop off in the capital, Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre, to stock up on supplies before crossing into Zambia, from here we head to South Luangwa National Park.
This breath taking park is situated on the Luangwa River in the Eastern part of Zambia, and it is the southernmost of three national parks in this region. South Luangwa was founded in 1938 as a game reserve, 1972 was the year it was declared as a national park, and today it covers over 9000 kilometres squared. Animals such as Giraffe, buffalo and Elephants can be found in abundance. The Luangwa river is home to many a hippo and croc.
Day 32-33 - Livingstone Luangwa - Livingstone. Today we depart this amazing National Park and make our way down south. As we drive, we pass through a few of the villages and towns of Zambia along the way. Prosperous during the copper boom in the 60’s, Zambia was able to build infrastructure at the main mining and farming communities. After the fall of the copper industry, the country was left virtually bankrupt and existing infrastructure was left to fall to ruin. Due to foreign investment and a rise in the mining industry, Zambia is today once again starting to prosper.
Heading further south, we journey to Livingstone. The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it’s not difficult to see why. At 1700 m wide and around 100 m high, this is the world's largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari! The Falls can be viewed from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia - a fantastic photo opportunity. Tonight we have the option of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi.
Day 34 - Chobe National Park Livingstone - Kasane (Botswana). Today we cross the border into Botswana and continue to the town of Kasane, on the banks of the Chobe River which forms a border between Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. Tonight we enjoy an exciting overnight experience in the wilds of the Chobe National park. Chobe is one of Botswana’s premier game parks, renowned for its large elephant herds. Spend the afternoon in search of wildlife while we game drive to our camp within the park where we spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife.
Day 35 - Victoria Falls Chobe - Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). After our night in the bush, we head out early to continue our search for wildlife, before packing up the camp and heading back to Kasane. Crossing the border into Zimbabwe, a short drive takes us to the nearby Victoria Falls. Named after the famous World Heritage site and Water Falls, the town of Victoria Falls is situated on the Zambezi River and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park. Victoria Falls is the adrenaline playground of Africa, and optional activities here include Zambezi white water rafting, bungy jumping from 111m and flights over the Falls in a variety of airborne machines!
Day 36-37 - Victoria Falls The next two days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of optional excursions. Optional excursions include horseback safaris, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither activity is for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an incredible aerial view of the falls and white water rafting on the Zambezi is world class!
Day 38-39 - Kasane Victoria Falls - Kasane (Botswana) - Nata Region. On day 38 we cross the border into Botswana and head to Kasane where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River. In the afternoon enjoy an optional boat cruise along the beautiful Chobe River. Elephant, hippo and many bird species can be viewed from the boat while we watch another glorious African sunset.
On day 39 we leave this beautiful part of Botswana behind us this morning as we depart to the lush campsite called Elephant Sands. The drive will take you through a very unpopulated landscape where the donkeys roam freely. Once we have arrived at our campsite you will have the option of partaking in a game drive or a bushwalk. Your crew will provide you with more information.
Day 40-41 - Okavango Delta Nata Region - Maun - Okavango Delta. Maun is the starting point for the trip into the Delta and it is from here that we can set off to explore the Okavango Delta. Tonight we prepare our provisions and packs for our overnight excursion. We suggest bringing along a smaller daypack on your trip which can be used to pack the supplies needed for this short excursion. Your trip leader will brief you fully on what is needed, and what to expect prior to your trip into the Delta.
On day 41 we head out for our overnight excursion into the Delta. After an early rise, we pack our expedition vehicle and from Maun we drive north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler’s station. The Delta region is studded with many local villages where many families live in a traditional way. Some of the villages are very remote and can only be reached by the traditional mode of transport – the Mokoro. Mokoros are dugout canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who “pole” them through the reeds. At the Mokoro station, we meet our ‘Polers’ and pack our supplies before heading out into the waterways. After a couple of hours along the waterways, we arrive at our mobile tented camp situated in the heart of the Okavango.
On arrival you will meet the local staff who will be your host during your stay. A brief introduction to the camp will show you your dome tent with twin beds and a bush en-suite bathroom – long drop toilet and a bucket shower. Relax in the tent with a cold drink or take a paddle in the Delta in a canoe. The activities at the camp include Mokoro trails and guided walking.
Day 42 - Maun Okavango Delta - Maun. After our Mokoro ride and vehicle transfer back to Maun, we arrive back in the afternoon and have the chance to complete our picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional scenic flight over the Delta (dependent on weather conditions & availability).
Day 43 - Palapye Maun - Palapye. Heading out early, we have a fairly long (450kms) drive today to the small town of Palapye, situated about halfway between Francistown and Gaborone (Botswana’s Capital). This popular ‘stopover’ town for those en route to South Africa, is well known for the Morupule Colliery coal mines which supplies Morupule Power Station, Botswana’s principal domestic source of electricity.
Day 44 - Blyde River Canyon Palapye - Polokwane (South Africa). This morning we cross into South Africa and continue across to our camp overlooking the impressive Blyde River Canyon. Named for the Blyde River that runs through it, the canyon is 26km long, and averages 800m deep and forms the northern edge of the impressive Drakensberg Mountain Range. The main viewpoints along the canyon are the 3 Rondavels, named for the shape of the traditional huts or houses the indigenous people of the area used to live in; and Gods Window that affords a breathtaking view across the canyon and surrounding area.
Please note that there is a small entry fee at each of these attractions that will need to be paid upon arrival. The money generated goes toward the support of the local communities. There are also many locals you sell their local crafts in this area.
Day 45-46 - Kruger National Park Blydepoort/Polokwane - Hazyview. Heading through the breathtaking Panorama Route, we stop off at various viewpoints today including scenic God’s Window. We pass through the small town of Graskop, and head toward the Kruger National Park and our campsite on the border of the park. Situated just 10km from Kruger’s Phabeni Gate, the camp is home to Giraffe, Zebra and Hippo to name but a few.
The next day we visit the amazing Kruger National Park in search of some of the 146 mammals, 500 bird, 114 reptile, 33 amphibian & 49 fish species that make this park their home. We travel in our truck along the main game viewing routes within the park and stop off at some of the camps along the way. For those who wish to upgrade to an open vehicle game drive, this can be arranged with the trip leader at an additional cost.
Day 47 - Johannesburg Wednesday. Hazyview - Johannesburg. After breakfast, we begin our journey to Johannesburg, our final destination. On arrival in Kempton Park, Johannesburg we unload the truck for the final time, exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
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