This well-rounded Accommodated African Safari takes you to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, from Southern to East Africa.
Departing from Johannesburg in South Africa travel northwest into Botswana to experience San culture in the Kalahari Desert. Then, venture into the watery Okavango Delta on a mokoro trip and nature walk to soak up the untamed wilderness. From the delta, drive along the northern reaches of the Makgadikgadi Pans to Nata, enjoying sundowners out on the salt pans. Next, head up to Kasane and take a sunset boat cruise and 4x4 game drive in Chobe National Park.
In Zimbabwe, take the chance to witness the mighty Victoria Falls and enjoy optional adventure activities. Travel to Lusaka, Zambia, before heading to the wild South Luangwa National Park for superb game viewing. Relax on the sandy shores of Lake Malawi, exploring the local culture and participating in optional outdoor activities.
Cross into Tanzania, ascending the Great Rift Valley to Iringa, before embarking on an afternoon game drive in Mikumi National Park. Continue to Tanzania's Dar es Salaam, where this exciting South Africa to Tanzania Overland Safari comes to a close.
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 Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam Overland Safari leaves Johannesburg city in South Africa on the morning of day one, travelling through the North-West Province towards the Botswana border. Border crossing complete, we drive northwest along the Trans-Kalahari Highway.
We spend our first night staying in en-suite rooms at a lodge in the village of Kang, gateway to the Kalahari Desert region in Botswana.
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.
On day two we have breakfast and continue our journey into the Kalahari Desert which covers some 360 000 sq mi (930 000 km²) of inland plateau in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. A vast semi-arid region of sandy plains and low hills, the Kalahari is technically not a desert despite appearances.
Making our way into the Central Kalahari we pass through sparsely-populated and featureless dry landscapes en route to our lodge near Ghanzi. Sometimes called the capital of the Kalahari, Ghanzi is a popular stopover in this remote part of western Botswana.
In Ghanzi we encounter the San (also known as Bushmen) - the first inhabitants of Southern Africa. After lunch we meet with local San guides who take us on a walk in this inhospitable environment and tell us how the San have managed to survive as hunter-gatherers in such harsh conditions for tens of thousands of years. Discover the traditional value of various kinds of flora and fauna used for sustenance and medicinal purposes by the semi-nomadic San.
In the evening we find out more about the unique culture and customs of the San, watching a San dance performance.
Today we drive to Maun, passing through the arid Kalahari and the rural landscapes of northern Botswana.
Maun is well known as the gateway to the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta. The Okavango River has no outlet to the sea, emptying into the sands of the Kalahari Desert and irrigating some 15,000 km² of Botswana. The source of the beautiful Okavango Delta is found in the western highlands of Angola from where it flows through Namibia, before fanning out over the plains of Botswana. This labyrinth of waterways and lagoons flowing between secluded islands and floodplains boasts one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa
This afternoon you have the option of taking a scenic flight over the Okavango Delta. Viewing the intricate network of channels and estuaries from above gives you a chance to spot animals and take in the massive scale of the delta. We spend the night in Maun and prepare for our magical delta day trip or Upgraded Two-night Delta Trip.
Today those opting for the Upgraded Delta Trip will fly from Maun into the Okavango Delta to spend two nights at a remote tented camp in the wilderness.
For those not taking the upgrade, we get up early for our full day of exploring the Okavango Delta by dug-out canoe (mokoro). 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 switch to mekoros. Gliding along the reed-lined channels and tranquil lagoons dotted with lilypads is the ideal way to experience the watery Okavango Delta.
Sit back and soak up the wild scenery from your traditional 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 about viewing big game, 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.
On the Upgraded Delta Trip, guests stay at a bush camp in a 100 000 hectare private concession area, offering a unique delta experience. The secluded camp looks out over peaceful delta waterways and has a low impact on the environment, blending in with the wild African bush around it.
Stay in spacious, permanent Meru-style tents with en-suite bathrooms. These walk-in canvas tents feature comfortable twin beds, simple furnishings, mosquito netting and small outdoor areas with camping chairs. The tented lounge-dining area and outdoor boma are ideal for sitting back and taking in the sounds and sights of this untamed environment in comfort.
Activities offered at the Delta camp include game drives, bush walks, mokoro trips, sunset boat cruises and sundowners on one of the islands.
On day five the Activity Package includes a wildlife adventure in Moremi Game Reserve. Encompassing central and eastern parts of the Okavango Delta, Moremi Reserve is the only official protected area in the Delta.
This morning we drive to the southern gate of Moremi, setting off before sunrise. Moremi is renowned for its natural beauty and rich diversity of habitats, animals and plants. The game reserve is home to healthy populations of large mammals, including the Big Five of Africa (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) and African wild dogs. Our game drive reveals how diverse Moremi's ecosystem is, ranging from lagoons and savannahs to riverside forests and mopane woodlands. Your safari guide will select the best game drive routes in the bush, based on water levels, road conditions and animal sightings.
Those who chose not to join the Moremi Day Trip as part of the Activity Package, stay behind in Maun today. Those staying in Maun have free time to relax at the leafy camp, laze by the pool and take an optional flight over the Okavango Delta. The scenic flight offers sweeping views over the open plains and winding waterways, where wildlife can be spotted.
On the morning of day six, those who opted for the Upgraded Delta Trip get to wake up in the wild Okavango Delta, have breakfast at camp and fly back to Maun. Once the group is reunited we board our overland truck and drive east along the northern reaches of the massive Makgadikgadi Pans passing big baobab trees along the way.
This afternoon the Activity Package includes a sundowner excursion to the salt pans of Nata Sanctuary to experience the vastness of this harsh salt pan environment. The Makgadikgadi Pans complex is one of the largest salt pan systems in the world, covering 30 000 km² of Botswana.
This morning we make our way to Kasane, in northeastern Botswana. Kasane is ideally located near the meeting place of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers not far from neighbouring Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Reaching Kasane we head to our safari camp, located along the Chobe River a few kilometres from Chobe National Park. Lunch is served from the safari truck before we embark on an afternoon of game viewing in Chobe National Park, home to one of the highest concentrations of game in Africa. First, we enjoy a 4x4 game drive in the scenic national park, best known for its huge population of elephants. Chobe is the second largest national park in Botswana, encompassing diverse habitats from lush plains and wooded grasslands to dense forests and swamps.
Then we set off on a sunset boat cruise in Chobe National Park which is known for its superb boat-based game viewing. The boat cruise provides excellent opportunities for spotting wild animals and birds up close, including hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, antelope species and elephants.
We stay in en-suite rooms at the lodge, overlooking the Chobe River and surrounding bush, and featuring a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.
On day eight, we head for Victoria Falls, crossing into Zimbabwe. Today you have the chance to visit the mighty Vic Falls waterfall to experience the "Smoke that Thunders" or Mosi-oa-Tunya as the local Kololo call it. Witnessing the mighty falls is an awe-inspiring experience as the Zambezi plummets over 100 feet into the gorge below forming the largest curtain of falling water in the world at 1,7km wide. Be sure to go listen to the thundering of Victoria Falls and see the impressive smoke-like spray rising up to 400 metres above the Falls making it visible from as far as 50 km away!
In addition to viewing Victoria Falls waterfall, you can spend time relaxing at the hotel, exploring the town of Victoria Falls or embarking an optional adventure activity. Tonight you have the option of eating out in Victoria Falls and your guide tells you more about the optional activities available, assisting you with bookings for the following day.
Day nine is free for you to participate in optional activities at Victoria Falls.
There is plenty to do at Vic Falls, ranging from cultural tours to extreme sports and game viewing trips. Vic Falls is best known for its adventure activities, with favourite options including bungee jumping and gorge swinging. The Vic Falls area of the Zambezi River is famous for its world-class whitewater rafting, offering a mix of easy and challenging rapids. Some of the most popular activities entail taking to the skies to view the magnificent waterfall from above - by plane, helicopter or microlight.
You can also spend time exploring the town of Victoria Falls, doing some sightseeing in the historical town. The Victoria Falls Hotel also offers a delightful high tea in the afternoons, or you can take time out to simply relax at the hotel and take a dip in the pool.
On day 10 of this Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam Overland Safari, we say goodbye to the natural wonder of Victoria Falls, making our way into neighbouring Zambia. Crossing the Victoria Falls Bridge we get a final glimpse of mighty Vic Falls.
From Livingstone, on the Zambian side of Vic Falls, we journey towards the fast-growing capital of Lusaka. The economic and political capital of Zambia, Lusaka is a bustling African city where traditional and modern lifestyles meet. As we drive deeper into Zambia the vegetation becomes more sub-tropical, the settlements less western and the roads a little rougher. Along the way, we pass bustling markets, small villages and rural landscapes.
This evening we tuck into a hearty meal prepared by the safari crew and find out more about the next part of our overland trip.
Today we travel via Lusaka to Petauke, the main hub for safaris to South Luangwa National Park. This long drive takes us along the Great East Road through lush landscapes, crossing the Luangwa River as we head towards 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 in Chipata to view the fabric production (March to December) and browse the colourful African creations in the shop.
We spend the next two nights staying at a lodge right on the banks of the Luangwa River where hippos, other wild animals and various birds are often spotted. We end the day with sundowners and watch what is usually a beautiful sunset over the river.
This morning you have the opportunity to take a game drive in South Luangwa. Alternatively, you have the option of joining an optional walking safari in the dry season (April to December) - a thrilling way to get up close and personal with nature. Mornings are an excellent time for spotting a number of the animals roaming South Luangwa National Park. The opportunity to take a game walk is particularly special because South Luangwa is where African walking safaris originated.
Later today we set off on a sunset game drive in the national park, looking for the rich diversity of wildlife and birds found in the wild marshes, woods and grasslands. 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 Southern & 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 15, 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 16 of our Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam Overland Safari 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 the Chilumba area 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 17, 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 budget Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam Safari journeys out of the cool highland region of Tanzania to the Indian Ocean and the coastal city of Dar es Salaam.
Meaning ‘house of peace’ in Arabic, Dar es Salaam is the economic and trade capital of Tanzania, but inland Dodoma remains the official capital city. Today this terrific accommodated African Budget Safari comes to an end in Dar es Salaam - a humid, lush city bursting with lively markets, rich history and bright colours.
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