Spend the most incredible five weeks of your life travelling to East Africa's top wildlife areas, rainforests, beaches and lakes - embarking on this Vic Falls to Nairobi Gorilla Trekking Overland Safari!
Start off with game viewing in the untamed South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, followed by a few days of relaxation on the shores of Lake Malawi. Ferry off to the tropical beaches of Zanzibar Island to put your feet up or get active in the clear warm waters. Set off on an optional camping trip to the epic Serengeti Park or go game viewing in Ngorongoro Crater to see the plethora of wild animals found in this top Tanzanian game park.
Go game viewing in the world-famous Masai Mara, drive through the Great Rift Valley and explore Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya. Cross into Uganda for the magical experience of trekking African Mountain Gorillas in the rainforests of Bwindi and chimpanzees in Budongo Forest.
We wrap up this very reasonably priced accommodated East Africa & Gorilla Trekking Safari in Nairobi, Kenya.
This extraordinary East Africa & Gorilla Trekking Safari departs from Victoria Falls, crossing into neighbouring Zambia. From Livingstone, near Vic Falls, we journey to the fringes of the rapidly-developing Zambian capital of Lusaka, a vibrant African city where traditional and modern lifestyles meet.
Along the way, we pass bustling markets, small villages and rural landscapes. As we drive deeper into Zambia you will see the vegetation becoming more sub-tropical and the roads a little rougher. Zambia's wilderness areas remain wild and unspoilt, having undergone little development. The largely unexplored wild places of Zambia offer an uncrowded and authentic African wildlife adventure. This evening your guides make a hearty dinner and fill you in on the adventures ahead.
This safari comes with an optional Activity Package at an additional cost. The itinerary includes these highly-recommended activities. Contact African Budget Safaris for a detailed breakdown of what is included in the Activity Package and see the Full Pricing Information above for the cost of the Activity Package.
Today we take a long drive along the Great East Road linking Lusaka with Chipata at the border with Malawi. Our route takes us through the lush countryside dotted with villages and small farms.
Crossing Luangwa River we drive to Petauke, a popular gateway to the South Luangwa National Park. Zambia is truly African, making for a unique travel experience that calls for an adjustment from the more Western ways of several other Southern African countries.
Early this morning we leave Petauke and travel to the boundary of South Luangwa National Park. Along the way, we stop at a local textile initiative in Chipata where you can view the fabric production process (March to December) and browse the fabric products made by the community. For the next two nights, we base ourselves on the banks of the Luangwa River.
Sitting at the bar of our camp you can spot hippos, birds and various animals coming to the river to drink and cool off. Enjoy sundowners as the setting sun creates a beautiful scene along the river.
Wake up beside the Luangwa river in the unspoilt African bush today and prepare for an exciting day of wildlife viewing in South Luangwa National Park. You have the option of embarking on a morning game drive in South Luangwa this morning. Alternatively, you can join a walking safari in the game-rich bush during the dry season. South Luangwa is renowned for walking safaris, being one of the first places to offer game walks.
This wild game park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including buffalos, zebras, elephants, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles. Keep an eye out for leopards in South Luangwa which is known as a top destination for spotting leopards in Africa.
In the late afternoon, we enjoy a sunset game drive in South Luangwa Park as part of the Activity Package. We head out as the heat of day subsides and animals become more active, going in search of the rich variety of wildlife and birds found here. We stop for sundowners in the bush, before continuing our game drive into the night when we hope to spot the elusive nocturnal animals of South Luangwa, especially leopards.
Continuing our East African exploration we cross into Malawi, known as the Warm Heart of Africa. Entering Malawi we travel to Lake Malawi, the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa.
We make our way to the historical town of Ngala Beach in the Nkhotakota Region, on the shores of the incredibly scenic Lake Malawi. Our lodge is located right next to Lake Malawi, which enjoys a pleasant climate for swimming year-round. Time allowing you can go snorkelling straight away, or take a swim and a stroll on the sandy beach.
There are no planned activities for day six, leaving you free to relax on the sandy shores of Lake Malawi, explore the area and participate in optional activities.
Popular optional activities include paddle skiing, horse riding and snorkelling. The clear warm waters of this vast African Lake make it an ideal destination for snorkelling to spot the brightly coloured cichlid fish found here. Otherwise, you can embark on an optional motorboat trip, do some bird watching, take a guided village tour or visit the nearby forest reserve. You can also take a walk along the lake, passing fishing villages along the way for some laid-back exploration. Lake Malawi is known for its friendly locals and fresh fish, in addition to the excellent water activities at this scenic lake.
Day seven of our Vic Falls to Kenya & Gorillas Tour takes us a little further north along the shores of Lake Malawi to our base for the next two nights.
By late afternoon we arrive at the lakeside lodge in Maji Zuwa where you can recline in a hammock and watch the sun go down over the lake with a cold drink in hand. This evening your guide can help you to arrange activities for the following day.
On day eight, you're free to enjoy water activities and explore. Go snorkelling or kayaking, volunteer at one of the local community initiatives or laze on the sandy shores of the lake. You can also enjoy some walks in the area, including an optional full day hike up to the historic mission of Livingstonia on the plateau above Lake Malawi.
Today we leave Lake Malawi and cross into neighbouring Tanzania. Ascending out of the Great Rift Valley we drive over some spectacular mountain passes, travelling through rolling tea plantations in the Tanzanian highlands before arriving at our camp outside Iringa.
From Iringa, we drive north to the Mikumi National Park, part of the larger Selous Game Reserve ecosystem. Mikumi Park is home to lion, zebra, wildebeest, impala, buffalo and elephant, among other wildlife and over 400 species of birds.
Enjoy an afternoon game drive in Mikumi Park (included in the Activity Package), where the open Mkata Floodplains host an abundance of wild animals.
Our epic Vic Falls to Nairobi & Gorilla Trekking Safari journeys out of the cool highland region of Tanzania and down to the humid Indian Ocean coastline.
We pass the coastal city of Dar es Salaam, the capital of trade and commerce in Tanzania, making our way to the historical town of Bagamoyo. Founded in the late 1700's, dhow sailing boats are still built in Bagamoyo today. This vibrant town offers insight into the history of Tanzania, particularly the 19th century when it was a major trading post. The history of Bagamoyo includes interesting German colonial, Swahili, Arabic and Christian missionary influences.
Tonight we stay in Bagamoyo and prepare for our trip to Zanzibar Islands the following day.
On day 12 we make our way into the bustling city of Dar es Salaam to collect any new guests joining us on the trip to Zanzibar. Then we catch a local ferry across to Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar Island (included in Activity Package).
From Stone Town, we transfer to Nungwi Beach in the north, where we spend our time relaxing on the white sand beaches. On our way north we stop to visit the spice plantations of Kidichi. Experiencing the tastes, colours, flavours and smells of the exotic spices is a must in Zanzibar, known as the Spice Islands.
At Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar, there are various watersports and ocean activities available, from snorkelling and fishing to scuba diving and sailing. Explore the islands on guided trips or rent a scooter and set off on your own. Zanzibar is renowned as an idyllic tropical beach destination, so unwind in paradise and go swimming in the clear, Indian Ocean waters.
We spend our last night on Zanzibar Island in Stone Town, once a major port on the slave and spice trade routes.
This morning you have some free time to explore Stone Town, taking in the historical highlights and unique architecture of this culturally diverse town.
In the afternoon we leave the beach paradise of Zanzibar Islands and catch the ferry back to Dar es Salaam where our safari truck awaits us. Boarding our overland truck we drive back to Bagamoyo for another overnight stay. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to swim in the sea, walk along the beach and enjoy the ocean views as the sun sets.
Today we take a scenic drive to Arusha, the gateway to the Northern Safari Circuit in Tanzania. Located near the world-famous Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro Crater Area, this is the base for our next wildlife adventure.
We overnight in Arusha which is located in the cool foothills of Mount Meru, Africa's fifth highest peak. From here you have the option of taking a three-night Serengeti Camping Trip as an upgraded extra activity. This evening our local guide briefs those taking the Upgraded Serengeti Trip and there is time to pack for your upcoming wildlife adventure in Serengeti National Park.
Leaving Arusha today we drive to Karatu, in the Ngorongoro Highlands area. This busy small town lies between Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater serving as our base for exploring the Northern Safari Circuit.
Once in Karatu, your guide will tell you more about our full day trip to the renowned Ngorongoro Crater, planned for the following day.
Please note: Those taking the Upgraded Serengeti Trip will head off this morning from Arusha and rejoin the group on day 20.
Rise and shine early this morning for an action-packed day of 4x4 game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater. You are collected from the camp and set off for the Crater where most of your day is spent exploring. The Ngorongoro Crater hosts one of the densest large animal populations in Africa offering superb wildlife viewing. Members of most of Africa's large mammal species are found roaming freely in the crater so a wide range of wild animals is usually spotted on the day trip.
After a memorable day of wildlife viewing in the Crater, we ascend to the rim and return to Karatu.
Today is set aside for optional activities and free time to take it easy at camp. You can explore on your own, walking around the town or visiting nearby villages to experience rural life in Tanzania. A cultural tour of Karatu is included today for those wanting to join.
Day trips to the scenic Lake Manyara National Park are another popular option. Optional game viewing and cultural activities need to be booked at the camp directly when we arrive in Karatu.
On day 20 we return to Arusha. Here our group meets up again when those who did the Serengeti Trip Upgrade return. This evening we exchange stories of the various incredible wildlife adventures we enjoyed over the past few days on Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit.
We travel north, crossing into Kenya where we continue to dynamic Nairobi, our next exciting overnight stop. Enjoy an optional meal out at one of Nairobi’s excellent restaurants in the evening.
Today our Vic Falls to Nairobi Gorilla Trekking Overland Safari leaves Nairobi, the largest city in East Africa and the capital of Kenya. We drive southwest to the legendary Masai Mara Game Reserve. This is the game-rich landscape where wildlife documentaries and films of untamed Africa are made - the quintessential African safari destination.
Travelling into the Great Rift Valley of East Africa we pass through scenic landscapes dotted with rural villages. The semi-nomadic Maasai are found in this region of Kenya and are best known for their brightly-coloured robes and fierce warriors, as well as their traditional dancing.
You will need to pack an overnight bag with camping essentials for the Kenyan Parks Trip (included in Activity Package) as local safari vehicles are used, so space is limited.
An exciting day ahead, we explore the world-renowned Masai Mara Game Reserve, home to the highest concentration of wildlife in Kenya.
Located along the Kenya-Tanzania border the Masai Mara Reserve is best known for the great annual migration that takes place between its vast plains and the Serengeti Park in Tanzania. We spend the whole day game viewing in Masai Mara, one of the greatest game parks on earth praised for its spectacular scenery. The rolling grasslands inhabited by an abundance of wildlife make for excellent photographic opportunities and game sightings.
Our game drives take us in search of the Big Five, the big cats and the abundance of other interesting wild animals found in this beautiful 1500km² game reserve. We are almost guaranteed to see the Big Five of Africa – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo - in Masai Mara, as well as cheetah, hyena, giraffe and zebra. Masai Mara is also home to hippo, jackal, the bat-eared fox, wildebeest, baboon, warthog and numerous antelope species, such as impala and topi.
The Great Migration as the annual wildebeest migration is called is an awe-inspiring wildlife spectacle where thousands of wildebeest, zebra and Thompson’s gazelle stampede across the open plains dashing through the Mara River dodging the Nile crocodiles lying in waiting.
This morning we get up early for one more game drive in the magnificent Masai Mara National Reserve. Then we set off north from Masai Mara, one of the best game parks in Africa, making our way to Lake Nakuru. This Great Rift Valley soda lake is famous for the huge flamingo flocks that sometimes gather here. In the afternoon we head out into the savannah on a game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park.
This recently expanded 180km² game park is home to more than 25 black rhinos, one of the highest concentrations in Kenya, as well as about 70 white rhinos. Wild animals commonly sighted include impala, gazelle, warthog, waterbuck, resident hippos and large tree pythons. Lion, cheetah, buffalo, Rothschild giraffe, eland and leopard also inhabit Lake Nakuru Park. Originally established as a bird sanctuary this national park is home to a wide array of birds, with over 400 resident species as well as various migratory birds.
Next, we travel to Uganda, pausing to take photos at the equator.
Our first destination in Uganda is Jinja, well known for its variety of adventure activities, such as white water rafting. Jinja is located at the starting point of the Nile (officially called the Victoria Nile), where the river flows out of Lake Victoria. From here the famous river flows 6695 kilometres through Africa to Egypt and the Mediterranean in the north.
On day 26 of our Vic Falls to Nairobi Gorilla Trekking Safari, we head northwest to Murchison Falls National Park, making our way towards Lake Albert.
One of Uganda's oldest national parks, Murchison is also one of the top safari destinations in the country. The national park covers some 3 840 km² (1 480 mi²) of wilderness in the Albertine Rift Valley, part of the western section of Africa's Great Rift Valley. The Victoria Nile river runs through the national park, plummeting through a narrow gorge to form the spectacular Murchison Falls, after which the park is named. Also known as Kabaraga Falls, Murchison Falls, drops about 45m into the river after a series of rapids. Below the cascading falls the great Nile fans out into a broad and placid river flowing into Lake Albert.
This evening your guide will go over the program for the next day and you overnight in Masindi, near Murchison Falls.
This morning we go chimpanzee trekking in Budongo Forest, East Africa's biggest forest of Mahogany trees. Budongo is home to the largest population of chimpanzees in Uganda, hosting around 600 to 700 chimpanzees. The forest is also home to eight other primate species, along with an array of other species. This Mahogany forest is known for its incredible biodiversity, including 24 species of animals, over 360 bird species, 290 butterfly species, 130 species of moth, 465 tree species and numerous other plants and creatures.
This afternoon we take a boat cruise on the Nile River in the Murchison Falls National Park. In Murchison Falls Park wildlife encounters include four of the Big Five - lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo, along with other wild animals and birds.
For larger safari groups, your tour group may be split into smaller groups for chimpanzee trekking, thus you may end up taking the boat cruise in the morning and chimpanzee trekking in the afternoon, vice versa.
On the morning of day 28, you have the option of embarking on a game drive in Murchison Falls Park. Later this morning we head to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where we take a bush walk in search of highly endangered rhinos (included in Activity Package). This 7000-hectare sanctuary is part of the rhino conservation program run by a non-profit called Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU). Rhinos are bred here for release back into the national parks of Uganda.
After our Rhino Walk in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, we drive south to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. This afternoon you can explore the biggest city in Uganda, enjoying the leafy, upmarket neighbourhoods and jam-packed city centre of this interesting and modern African city.
Today we leave Kampala driving southwest to scenic Lake Bunyonyi, dotted with 29 islands. Picturesque Lake Bunyonyi serves as the base for gorilla trekking excursions in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park of Uganda.
This small steep-sided lake set in the Ugandan highlands hosts an abundance of birdlife, with the name Bunyoni meaning "place of many little birds". The crater lake is known for its scenic mountainous surroundings and numerous birds, as well as otters. The lake is safe for swimming and is a popular spot for watersports. We stay at a lovely resort on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi taking in the beautiful scenery, before our exciting trek to the mountain gorillas.
This evening you will be briefed on the gorilla trekking excursion taking place the following day.
From Lake Bunyonyi we set off on our thrilling gorilla trekking expedition, in groups of a maximum of 6 people. African Mountain Gorillas are critically endangered, with only around 800 wild mountain gorillas remaining in the world. By visiting the gorillas you will be directly supporting the efforts to protect these highly endangered primates. The money spent on trekking permits is used to help ensure the future of these rare mountain gorillas.
Gorilla Trekking permits are extremely limited, which calls for flexibility in our tour itinerary and the exact location that we trek in. The mountain gorillas' habitat spans across the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). The Bwindi National Park in Uganda, is our intended gorilla trekking destination, but this is subject to the availability of permits. If permits for Uganda's Bwindi Park are not available you will be informed beforehand and we will travel to neighbouring Rwanda or the DRC for mountain gorilla trekking.
On the day that you don't go gorilla trekking, we take a motorized boat to Nyombi Village. On our village visit, we encounter the Pygmy people of Uganda and gain insight into their culture and way of life. When you are not gorilla trekking you also have the chance to go hiking or mountain biking to explore the scenic area around Lake Bunyoni.
Please note: The Gorilla Trekking permit is not included in the tour price and costs between US$630 and US$730 per person. Only one day is spent trekking the gorillas, even though there are 2 days set aside. This allows time for obtaining permits and visiting the gorillas in smaller groups if there are more than 6 people on the tour.
On day 32 of this Vic Falls to Nairobi Overland Safari, we leave the peaceful shores of Lake Bunyonyi and travel the long road back to Kampala.
We spend the night relaxing in Kampala after our long drive from the Bwindi area to the capital. You have the option of eating out in Kampala and this evening your guide fills you in on the optional activities available in Jinja for tomorrow.
In the morning we drive from Kampala to Jinja, Uganda’s second largest city, arriving in time for lunch. This afternoon you are free to unwind at the resort in Jinja or embark on some optional adventure activities, including quad biking, horse riding and kayaking. The most popular activity in Jinja is white water rafting, which is available as a half-day activity.
We make our way back to Kenya visiting the city of Eldoret. Established by a post office on a local farm in 1910, today Eldoret is the 5th largest city in Kenya. Eldoret enjoys a cool climate as it lies 2100 m above sea level in a farming area of the Great Rift Valley.
On the last day of our Vic Falls to Nairobi Gorilla Trekking Tour, we drive south-east to Nairobi, where our journey of a lifetime concludes.
Most groups choose to meet for an optional dinner to share stories and exchange contact details with fellow travellers.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.