This very comprehensive Best of Africa Budget Safari ensures that you get to explore the best of Africa's game parks, wilderness areas, urban hubs and scenic highlights on one accommodated overland adventure of a lifetime!
During this trip you are likely to come across activities that encourage tourists to participate in lion, elephant or other wildlife interaction. This includes walking with lions, riding elephants and any other tourist operation putting travellers in close contact with animals that would normally live wild and separate from human contact.
We absolutely do not encourage or endorse this type of wildlife interaction operation. For more information on why this is not good for Africa's wild animals, please see our detailed blog post on the subject.
This Best of Africa Budget Safari is kicks off from the fantastic city of Cape Town, stopping at Table View to take photos and enjoy the panoramic views of the city and Table Mountain from afar.
From Cape Town, we drive northeast to the picturesque Cederberg Region of the Western Cape, passing quaint farmstalls en route. The Cederberg Mountain area is famous for its hiking trails and endemic rooibos plants, used to make a hugely popular, health tea. Arriving in the Cederberg we visit a rooibos tea farm to see these indigenous tea plants as well as buchu plants, also used to make herbal tea.
After visiting the rooibos farm we head to our first overnight lodge in the scenic Olifants River Valley, where we relax and enjoy dinner. After dinner, your guides will give you a full tour briefing. Our en-suite accommodation is in the town of Citrusdal, at a lodge with a pool.
This safari comes with a compulsory 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 travel north through the Namaqualand region of South Africa, famous for its colourful and abundant indigenous wildflowers in spring (August & September). Driving through this sparsely-populated Northern Cape region we make our way to to the Gariep River, formerly known as the Orange River. We stop in the remote town of Springbok in South Africa for last minute supplies, before crossing into Namibia.
The night is spent getting to know one another over a hearty meal. We sleep in comfortable, en-suite chalets that overlook the Orange River, forming the border between South Africa and Namibia. Our accommodation features a pool, internet and a bar.
In the morning we have the opportunity to experience South Africa's longest river, the Gariep/Orange River by canoe, or spend some time relaxing at the riverside camp.
After lunch, we travel north to the mighty Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. We make our way to the Ai-Ais Hot Springs and our overnight accommodation close to the Fish River Canyon. At our resort in Ai-Ais, we take a soak in the hot springs, swim in the pool and relax at the bar. We stay in twin share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
On day four we get up early to visit the Fish River Canyon. We stroll along the rim of this massive canyon admiring the spectacular views in the glowing morning light. After capturing photos of the incredible canyon and soaking up the dramatic scenery we proceed west to Keetmanshoop.
This afternoon we visit the Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground near Keetmanshoop. Some 250 quiver trees constitute this forest, declared a national monument in 1995. The quiver tree forest includes specimens between 200 and 300 years old making it an important ecological site. Giants playground is a bizarre landscape strewn with unusual stacks of large dolerite boulders about 160 to 180 million years old.
This morning we set off on our long drive north into the ancient Namib Desert area of Namibia. The following day we will be visiting the Namib National Park, one of Namibia’s geographic gems. The captivating Namib Desert is best known for the massive sand dunes of the Sossusvlei Desert area, with its remarkable landscapes.
We travel to the Namib and camp at a desert lodge just outside the national park. Stay in permanent tents with en-suite bathrooms at this lodge featuring a swimming pool and bar.
Today we visit the Namib-Naukluft National Park, home to Namibia’s most famous desert landscapes. The national park incorporates a large part of the Namib Desert, considered the world's oldest desert.
We transfer to Dune 45 where you have the chance to climb up the iconic dune for amazing views over the stark desert and great photo opportunities. Back at the foot of the dune, we enjoy a hearty breakfast before heading deeper into the desert. We then take a 4x4 transfer to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Explore the dry pans on foot, absorbing the dramatic scenes of skeletal trees on the pale pan floors, surrounded by orange-hued dunes.
Tonight we soak up the stars and stillness at our desert lodge after a full day of admiring the stark landscapes of the Namib.
On day seven we are joined by an expert local guide for a nature walk in the unique desert habitat. Exploring on foot, our local guide will share his detailed knowledge of the ancient Namib Desert area with us. On this walk, we discover how the San (Bushmen) have long survived in the arid deserts of Southern Africa.
After our desert walk, we cross the latitudinal line of the Tropic of Capricorn, pausing to take some photos. Heading back to the west coast of Africa, we stop at the lagoon in Walvis Bay, to see numerous waterbirds, including seasonal flocks of flamingos. Then it’s on to Swakopmund, the adventure capital of Namibia, where you will be briefed on the many optional activities available for the next day.
In the evening you can enjoy some excellent seafood at a local restaurant, as well as the local nightlife. We stay at a comfortable guesthouse in Swakopmund featuring a bar, laundry services and internet. Accommodation is in twin share rooms with en-suite bathrooms that have hot showers.
Day eight on this Best of Africa Accommodated Overland Safari is free for you to explore the quaint town of Swakopmund, where German colonial influences can still be seen in the architecture, cuisine and culture. Stroll along the sea, sip coffee at a sidewalk cafe, visit a market and enjoy sightseeing on foot.
You can also try some of the many adventure activities available at this popular coastal town, including quad biking on the dunes, sand boarding, skydiving and cruises to see dolphins.
Leaving the crisp Atlantic Ocean coastline we drive to Brandberg Mountain via Spitzkoppe. Our journey takes us along the rocky Skeleton Coast - a treacherous stretch of coastline littered with shipwrecks, into the former Damaraland region.
Along the way, we stop to explore Spitzkoppe, also called the Matterhorn of Namibia. The dramatic exposed granite peaks of Spitzkoppe form one of the most iconic landmarks of Namibia rising up to 700 metres above the surrounding plains. We join a local guide for a walk in the impressive Spitkoppe massif to view San rock art and find out more about the traditional San. After our guided walk, we proceed to Brandberg Mountain and our overnight lodge near Namibia's tallest mountain.
On the morning of day 10, we head out on a short hike to the famous White Lady rock painting of Brandberg. Our walk takes us through rugged terrain, along the typically dry Tsisab River gorge. After walking for about an hour we reach the well-known rock painting created by the San around 2000 years ago. This is one of over 45000 rock paintings scattered across the Brandberg area.
After our short hike, we leave Brandberg which translates as 'burning mountain', so-named for the way its granite face sometimes glows brightly at sunset. Driving north we make our way to Kamanjab in the remote and sparsely-populated Kunene Region.
Time for unforgettable game viewing - on day 11 we get up early and make our way to Etosha National Park. The 22 000 km² Etosha Park is dominated by the salt pan after which the park is named. The word Etosha means ‘Great White Place of Dry Water’ in the local Ovambo language.
Driving through the wild and rugged bush, we stop at various watering holes in search of the animals that come to drink at these sites while exploring as much of Etosha as possible. Our game drives are conducted in the safari truck, providing an elevated vantage for spotting animals and birds.
Etosha Park is home to a variety of animals, plants and birds and is known as one of Africa's top safari destinations. Etosha hosts some rare and endangered species, including unusual desert species. We will have plenty to see on our game drives in this vast park, inhabited by 144 mammal species such as elephant, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, Damara dik-dik, lion, cheetah, leopard, wildcat, hyena, and jackal. As well as being home to 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and even a species of fish.
We stay at the camps inside Etosha Park - Okaukuejo, Namutoni or Halali camps. All three rest camps boast floodlit waterholes where wild animals can be viewed at night. We stay two per en-suite room at two of the three overnight camps, each featuring a bar, swimming pool and shop.
In addition to watching for wildlife at the watering holes, you can embark on an exciting optional night game drive on either day.
Start day 13 with a final game drive on our way out of Etosha Park. Exiting the famous national park we travel south to Windhoek. Windhoek is situated almost at the geographic centre of Namibia and serves as the economic, cultural and political capital of the country.
Upon arrival, we take a short walking tour of Windhoek city to see some historical sights and highlights of the vibrant city centre, before checking into our lodge just outside the city. Tonight you have the option of eating out at Windhoek’s most famous eatery, Joe’s Beer House, which is known for its venison dishes and quirky setting.
Facilities at tonight's game lodge include a swimming pool, a restaurant, internet, laundry services and a bar. Accommodation is in twin share rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Departing from Windhoek we make our way out of Namibia and into western Botswana. From the border we drive into the Kalahari Desert, passing through the remote countryside of Botswana, dotted with rural villages and roaming livestock.
Later we arrive at our lodge in Ghanzi, and this evening we experience some traditional tribal dancing by the San community. The traditional San (Bushman) people are indigenous to Southern Africa having inhabited the area for over 30 000 years surviving in harsh conditions as nomadic hunter-gatherers.
Tonight we sleep two per en-suite room at a camp with a pool and bar, just north of Ghanzi. Clients who opted to take the Upgraded Fly-in Delta Trip will be travelling into the Okavango Delta tomorrow, preparing for the two-night trip tonight.
Please note: We recommend bringing a smaller daypack (overnight bag) along for the Fly-in Delta Trip due to luggage restrictions on the small plane transfers.
This morning we take a nature walk with the Kalahari San of the Ghanzi area. The guided walk with the local San is a rare and unusual cultural encounter, revealing the fascinating survival techniques and ancient stories of Southern Africa's oldest tribe.
This afternoon we drive north-east to Maun, the gateway to the pristine Okavango Delta of Botswana. The Okavango River has no outlet to the sea, emptying into the sands of the Kalahari Desert and irrigating some 15,000 km² of land, forming the largest inland delta in the world. Arriving in Maun, clients taking the Upgraded Fly-in Delta Trip are dropped at the airport for their flight into the Okavango Delta. The upgrade entails flying to a remote tented camp and staying in permanent, en-suite tents for the next two nights (inquire for more details). The transfer flight is conducted in small planes offering expansive aerial views of this unique natural wonder.
Those not taking the Upgraded Fly-in Delta Trip have the option of enjoying a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta this afternoon (time and weather permitting) at extra cost. Clients opting out of the upgrade spend the next two nights in Maun, embarking on a mokoro day trip in the Okavango Delta the next day.
On day 16, we are up early for our full day of exploring the Okavango Delta in dug-out canoes (mekoros). We set off for the delta early this morning in our safari vehicle, heading to a polers' station about an hour from the lodge. At the polers' station, we meet our local guides and board the traditional-style mekoros. Gliding along the reed-lined channels and tranquil lagoons dotted with lilypads is the ideal way to experience the tranquil Okavango Delta environment.
Sit back and soak up the wild scenery from your mekoros poled through the waters by local guides. Get a close-up look at the unique flora and fauna of the Okavango Delta as we move along slowly and quietly. Stopping at one of the delta islands, you can take a nature walk with your local guide. The bush walk gives you a chance to learn about the fascinating plants and creatures encountered, looking out for signs of wildlife. The mokoro excursion is not a big game viewing activity, it is all about experiencing the beauty of the wild delta. However, we may come across some wildlife including elephants, giraffes, zebras and antelopes like kudu and impala.
After the nature walk, your guide poles you back to the polers' station for the return road transfer to the lodge in Maun.
This morning those who opted for the Fly-in Delta Excursion Upgrade wake up at the remote delta camp and enjoy breakfast before flying back to Maun. Then we all board our safari truck, leaving Maun for Nata, on the fringes of the famous Makgadikgadi Salt Pans of Botswana. On our way east we see big old baobab trees and snippets of the massive salt pan system, passing through parts of Nxai Pans and Makgadigadi National Park where we may come across roaming wildlife.
This afternoon the Activity Package includes a game drive in Nata Sanctuary to experience the vast spaciousness and silence out on this flat expanse. The Nata Pans are part of the extensive network of Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, once covered by massive inland lakes. This salt pan complex is one of the largest in the world and in winter the pans are dry and stark, whilst in summer short grasses and shallow pools attract an array of animals and birds. Nata is a breeding ground for waterbirds including pelicans and flamingoes so we may see flocks of these in season.
Today we continue north to Kasane, where we stay on the banks of the Chobe River near the national park.
In the afternoon we set off on a 4x4 game drive in Chobe National Park, renowned for its huge population of migratory elephants and large buffalo herds. Chobe Park is the second largest national park in Botswana, encompassing diverse habitats from lush plains and wooded grasslands to dense forests and swamps.
After game viewing on land, we embark on a sunset boat cruise for water-based game viewing. From the water, we get up close to plenty of wild animals such as hippos, antelopes, buffalos, crocodiles and elephants. Our boat-based game viewing provides excellent photographic opportunities for capturing the birds and wildlife attracted to Chobe River in Chobe Park.
Our accommodation is in twin rooms with en suite bathrooms at a riverside lodge with a swimming pool, internet and bar.
Our final border crossing takes us into Zimbabwe this morning. Entering Zimbabwe we drive to Victoria Falls - the largest waterfall in the world.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls is one of the most unforgettable natural spectacles in Africa - an absolute must-see! Today you have free time to visit Vic Falls and experience the 'Smoke that Thunders' as translated from the local name - Mosi-oa-Tunya. In addition to visiting the spectacular Victoria Falls, you can jump straight into one of the thrilling adventure activities (optional extra) this afternoon or take it easy.
Our overnight accommodation is at a riverside lodge, located on the banks of the Zambezi River on the outskirts of the Zambezi National Park. We stay in twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms at the lodge in Victoria Falls, enjoying the facilities, including a swimming pool, internet, bar, laundry services and a restaurant.
Most people spend the day participating in a few of the exciting adventure activities available at Victoria Falls. This part of the Zambezi River is famous for offering some of the best whitewater rafting in the world, an unforgettable experience! Other optional adventures include helicopter and microlight flights over Vic Falls, zip-line rides, trips to Livingstone Island and bungee jumping off Victoria Falls bridge.
You can also walk around the historic Victoria Falls town to take in the sights and visit the local markets, or rest at the lodge and take a dip in the pool.
On day 21 of this epic Best of Africa Budget Safari, we say goodbye to the natural wonder of Victoria Falls, making our way into neighbouring Zambia.
From Livingstone near Vic Falls, we journey to the fringes of the fast-growing Zambian capital of Lusaka. The economic and political capital of the country, Lusaka is a vibrant African city where traditional and modern lifestyles meet. Along the way, we pass bustling markets, small villages and rural landscapes with increasingly sub-tropical vegetation. This evening your guides make a hearty dinner and fill you in on the adventures ahead.
Today we travel via Lusaka to Petauke, the main hub for safaris to South Luangwa National Park. This long drive takes us east through lush landscapes, crossing the Luangwa River as we head to South Luangwa. Zambia is a truly African country, making for a unique travel experience that differs from the more modernised ways of several other Southern African countries.
Early in the morning, we drive from Petauke to the border of the South Luangwa National Park, known for its outstanding game viewing. Along the way, we stop at a local textile initiative to view fabric production in the workshop (closed December to March) and browse the colourful creations made by the community.
We spend the next two nights staying at a lodge right on the banks of the Luangwa River. Keep an eye out for hippos and other wild animals often spotted from the camp bar. We end the day with sundowners and a beautiful sunset over the river.
In the morning you have the opportunity to take a game drive in South Luangwa. Alternatively, you have the option of joining a walking safari in the dry season (April to December). South Luangwa was one of the pioneers of African walking safaris, for which it is now famous.
In the late afternoon, we enjoy a sunset game drive in the untamed South Luangwa National Park of Zambia. South Luangwa is home to an abundance of wildlife, including buffalos, zebras, leopards, elephants, hippos, giraffes and crocodiles. 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.
Continuing our Best of Africa adventure 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.
The historical town of Ngala Beach lies in the Nkhotakota Region, on the shores of the incredibly scenic Lake Malawi. Our lodge for the next two nights 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 at sunset.
There are no planned activities for day 26, 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.
On day 27 we set off north, making our way to our next lakeside lodge in Maji Zuwa in the Chilumba area. By late afternoon we arrive at the lodge 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 select activities for the following day.
On day 28, 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 lodge 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 Activity Package), where the open Mkata Floodplains host an abundance of wild animals.
Our epic Best of Africa Budget Overland Tour journeys out of the cool highland region of Tanzania and down to the humid Indian Ocean.
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 32 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.
Please note: Those who opted not to take the Activity Package remain in Bagamoyo for the next three nights.
Spend the morning exploring historic Stone Town to see the unique architecture and diverse cultures of Zanzibar Island. This afternoon we leave the beach paradise of Zanzibar Islands and catch the ferry back to Dar es Salaam where our safari truck awaits.
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 warm waters of the Indian Ocean, walk along the beach and enjoy the sea views as the sun sets.
Today we take a scenic drive to Arusha, the gateway to the Northern Safari Circuit in Tanzania. The most famous game parks on the Northern Safari Circuit are Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area - two of Africa's best wildlife destinations.
We overnight in Arusha which is located at the base of Mount Meru, Africa's fifth highest peak. From here you have the option of taking a three-night Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater 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 40.
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 40 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 adventures we enjoyed over the past few days on Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit.
We travel north today crossing into Kenya where we continue to the capital city, Nairobi, for an overnight stay. Enjoy an optional meal out at one of Nairobi’s excellent restaurants in the evening.
Today our Best of Africa 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 local Maasai are the most famous indigenous tribe, found mostly in southern Kenya. The Maasai 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 up, we travel to Uganda, pausing to take photos at the equator crossing.
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 46 of our Best of Africa Accommodated Overland Tour, 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 48, you can embark on an optional 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 (The 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 52 of this Best of Africa 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 lies 2100 m above sea level in a farming area of the Great Rift Valley.
On the last day of our Accommodated Best of Africa Budget Safari, we drive southeast to Nairobi, where our journey of a lifetime comes to an end.
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.
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