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Departing from Johannesburg this accommodated safari travels to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, before heading to Maun.
Then we fly to our bush camp in the pristine Okavango Delta to explore this watery wilderness on nature walks, boat cruises and mokoro rides, experiencing the truly wild African bush. Next, we drive along the northern fringes of Makgadikgadi Pans to Chobe National Park for a game viewing boat cruise and game drive.
Crossing into Zimbabwe we admire Victoria Falls and do optional adventure activities. In Zambia, we visit Lusaka and the South Luangwa National Park. Then we spend a few days relaxing on the shores of scenic Lake Malawi. Journeying to Dar es Salaam, we catch a ferry to Stone Town on Zanzibar Island. Discover the beaches, cultures and spices of Zanzibar, before exploring the world-famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater on an optional camping trip. Return to Arusha and drive to Nairobi in Kenya, where this Accommodated Budget Safari ends.
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 Nairobi Accommodated Budget 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 semi-arid Kalahari and rural 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.
In the afternoon you have the chance to take an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta, from Maun. Viewing the delta from above reveals the grand scale and beauty of this unique ecosystem, allowing you to spot wildlife from above. We spend the night in Maun to prepare for our magical delta trip. The guides will fill you in on what to expect in the delta and the activities lined up. Travellers who did not opt for the Activity Package stay behind at the camp in Maun, where optional activities are available.
Please note: Baggage restrictions apply for transfers into the delta, so a small day bag is recommended.
Leaving our safari truck in Maun this morning, we take a scenic flight into the Okavango Delta, one of the most unique wilderness areas in the world. Viewing the intricate network of channels and estuaries from above we look out for wildlife and enjoy the scenery.
After the exciting game flight, we take a game drive to our remote delta camp, from where we will spend the next two days exploring the waterways and islands of the Okavango. Much of our exploring is done by mekoros (traditional dug-out canoes), which are poled through the waters by local guides. Arriving at the exclusive camp we embark on a sunset game drive, going in search of the array of wild animals and birds found in the delta.
On day five we rise early and glide out onto the reed-lined channels, making our way through the pristine bush to one of the secluded delta islands. Then we embark on a thrilling nature walk with a local expert, learning about the plants and looking for signs of wildlife. The wild animals of the delta are unaccustomed to people, but we may see some of these shy inhabitants on our walk.
Returning from our nature walk, we spend time unwinding at camp, enjoying the quiet natural setting. Later in the afternoon, we take a cruise along the intricate waterways of the Okavango Delta.
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. The tranquil Delta offers a truly wild and unforgettable African bush experience.
Our intimate camp is located inside 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. What makes this exclusive camp particularly special is that it only caters for one group of travellers at a time, so you will only share your delta adventure with your fellow safari-goers. Exploring this private delta concession with our experienced guides you won't come across other groups, allowing you to escape the crowds.
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. At night roaring lions can be heard amid the other sounds of nature. This laid-back camp is located in the remote northern section of the delta, in a game-rich wilderness area attracting a wide array of birds. Your group will have the delta concession area to yourselves, enjoying sightings of buffalo herds and other wild animals. Activities offered at the Delta camp include bush walks, mokoro trips, sunset boat cruises and sundowners on one of the islands.
We leave the magical Okavango Delta returning to our safari truck in Maun. Driving east along the northern reaches of the massive Makgadikgadi Pans, we pass giant baobab trees along the way to Nata.
This afternoon you can join an optional excursion to the salt pans near Nata to experience the vastness of this harsh 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 north to the town of Kasane, near Chobe National Park. Reaching Kasane we head to our safari camp, located along the Chobe River a few kilometres from Chobe National Park. We stay in en-suite rooms at the lodge, overlooking the Chobe River and surrounding bush, featuring a restaurant, bar and swimming pool.
Next up, the famous Chobe National Park, home to one of the highest concentrations of game in Africa. Chobe is best known for its huge population of elephants and is the second largest national park in Botswana.
First, we take a 4x4 game drive in Chobe - hosting one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Driving through Chobe allows us to encounter a variety of animals and birds across the park's diverse habitats - from lush plains and wooded grasslands to dense forests and swamps. Later in the afternoon, we embark on a sunset boat cruise in Chobe Park which is known for its excellent boat-based game viewing. The boat cruise on Chobe River provides ideal opportunities for spotting wild animals up close, including hippos, crocodiles, buffaloes, antelope species and elephants.
On day eight we cross from Botswana into Zimbabwe, where we visit Victoria Falls.
Today we visit the mighty Vic Falls to experience the "Smoke that Thunders" or Mosi-oa-Tunya as the locals 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. Listen to the thundering of Victoria Falls and see the amazing smoke-like spray rising up to 400 meters above the Falls making it visible up to 50 km's away!
After visiting Victoria Falls, you can stop in at a local craft market, explore the historic town or enjoy an old-fashioned high tea at one of the hotels. Alternatively, you can tick an adventure activity off your bucket list. Tonight we go out for an optional dinner in Victoria Falls and your guide runs you through the adventure activities on offer, helping with arrangements for the next 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 excellent 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.
On day 10 of this Johannesburg to Nairobi Accommodated Overland Safari, we say goodbye to the natural wonder of Victoria Falls, making our way into neighbouring Zambia.
From Livingstone near Vic Falls, we journey towards the fast-growing Zambian capital of Lusaka. The economic and political capital of the country, 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.
Today we take a long drive through lush landscapes, crossing over rivers as we make our way to Petauke, a travel hub for safaris to South Luangwa National Park. Zambia is a truly African country, making for a unique travel experience that differs from the more modernized 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 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 a 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 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.
The historical town of Ngala Beach lies 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 as the sun sets.
Day 15 of our Johannesburg to Nairobi Overland Safari takes us a little further north along the shores of Lake Malawi to our base for the next three nights.
There is plenty of time for you to relax on the sandy shores of Lake Malawi, explore the area or participate in optional activities, such as 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. Another option is to take a ride in a dug-out canoe, testing your balance in the traditional vessel used by locals here.
Lake Malawi is known for its friendly locals and fresh fish, in addition to the excellent water activities at this scenic lake. You can also enjoy some walks here, including an optional full day hike up to the old mission of Livingstonia. Or you can volunteer at one of the local community initiatives in the area. On the morning of day 17 we go to the town of Karonga, once the centre of Malawi’s slave trade. Visiting the local museum we discover more about the fascinating history of humankind and the natural world.
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, where the open Mkata Floodplains host an abundance of wild animals.
Our Johannesburg to Nairobi Accommodated Overland Safari journeys out of the cool highland region of Tanzania and down to the Indian Ocean coastline, stopping in the city of Dar es Salaam. The Arabic for ‘house of peace’, Dar es Salaam is the commercial and trade capital of Tanzania, even though Dodoma is still the official capital city.
Dar es Salaam is a humid, lush city bursting with lively markets, rich history and vivid colours.
From Dar es Salaam we catch a local ferry across to Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar Island. Arriving in Zanzibar we take a Spice Tour to experience the tastes, aromas and colours of the exotic spices the islands are known for.
Then we transfer to the northern part of Zanzibar Island where we will spend our time relaxing on the white sand beaches and swimming in the turquoise Indian Ocean. At Nungwi Beach in Zanzibar, there are various activities available, as well as excursions to explore the tropical islands. Popular activities include snorkelling and scuba diving in the clear warm waters of the Indian Ocean to see the assortment of marine life and colourful reefs.
We spend our third night on Zanzibar Island in Stone Town, exploring the historical and unique architecture of this culturally diverse town. Walk along the cobbled lanes and take in the vibrant atmosphere of the town, visit local markets and sample the fresh seafood.
Please Note: If you opt not to take the Activity Package you spend three nights at the hotel in Dar es Salaam, where you can embark on optional activities (extra cost) and explore.
This morning there is time for a last bit of exploring before we catch the ferry back to Dar es Salaam where our safari truck awaits us.
Next on this Johannesburg to Nairobi Accommodated Overland Safari we drive to Bagamoyo, founded in the late 1700's. Today dhow sailing boats are built here and the town offers insight into the history of Tanzania, particularly the 19th century when it was a major trading post. The name Bagamoyo means “lay down your heart” and dates back to the slave trading days in East Africa. The history of Bagamoyo includes interesting German colonial, Swahili, Arabic and Christian missionary influences.
Arriving in the vibrant town we make our way to our next overnight stay, located along the beach.
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. From here we embark on our memorable African wildlife experience in these top Tanzanian Game Parks. Game viewing in the Serengeti is always an unforgettable adventure!
Greet the friendly locals with a "saitaa" in the lively town of Arusha - a good place to visit local markets and get a taste of Tanzanian life. Arusha is located at the base of Mount Meru, Africa's fifth highest peak. This growing town is set in an area of Tanzania that has a cool climate and features lush green hills.
The next four days are set aside for the optional camping trip into the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater (excluded from the Activity Package).
This area of Tanzania has one of the densest large animal populations in Africa. The Serengeti Park & Ngorongoro Crater excursion is conducted in open 4x4 safari vehicles to help navigate the rough roads in these top game parks. We spend our days on game drives on the plains of Serengeti, prime Big Five territory and home to the Great Migration. From Serengeti, we descend into the Ngorongoro Crater to see the high concentrations of wildlife found here.
For those not visiting the Serengeti Plains and Ngorongoro Crater, this is a great chance to experience some of the fascinating local cultures in this part of East Africa. There are also several activities and day trips available for those not taking the optional camping trip.
Today the safari group meets up again and we have the chance to exchange stories of the various incredible adventures that we participated in over the past few days in East Africa.
In the afternoon you have the option of visiting the local Masai Mara Museum to get a glimpse into local culture and history.
Travellers often choose to meet up for a group meal at one of Nairobi’s excellent restaurants after the safari.
You can do this fun-packed East African Safari in the reverse order - Nairobi to Johannesburg Accommodated Safari if you prefer to start in Nairobi and end in Johannesburg.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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