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A 36-day African journey from the shores of Cape Town, South Africa, to the coastal city of Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania.
Travel north through South Africa into Namibia to experience the Fish River Canyon, Namib-Naukluft Park and Sossusvlei Dunes. Then we visit coastal Swakopmund, Brandberg and the wildlife haven of Etosha National Park.
Drive into Botswana to explore the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park, before going to Zimbabwe to visit the mighty Victoria Falls. Next, we return to game-rich Chobe Park in Botswana, before stopping in Livingstone, then travelling north into Zambia for game viewing in the untamed South Luangwa Park.
Visit Malawi to chill out on the shores of scenic Lake Malawi and get active. Crossing into Tanzania this Cape Town to Dar es Salaam Overland Camping Safari takes us to Zanzibar Island, with its white sand beaches and rich African-Arabic cultures.
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 Overland Camping Safari starts off in Cape Town, where we meet up and set off on a township tour.
We visit one of the informal settlements established during the Apartheid era, when non-white people were forced to move into these areas. Here we gain insight into the daily lives of many previously disadvantaged people, experiencing the distinctive and lively township culture of South Africa.
Next this Cape Town to Dar es Salaam Safari stops off on the northern side of Table Bay, to take in the famous postcard-perfect views of Table Mountain in the distance. We continue north into the Cederberg Mountains, driving through farmlands and traversing mountain passes, before descending into Olifant's River Valley. Our scenic camp for tonight looks out onto vineyards flanked by the Cederberg range.
Tonight we enjoy a wine tasting to sample the great wines of the Western Cape, before falling asleep under the stars.
Today we leave the Cederberg Mountains, travelling into the more arid and flat Namaqualand area of the Northern Cape. If it is spring we will probably see the famous Namaqualand wildflowers in bloom - a beautiful sight of multi-coloured flowers!
A quick pit stop in Springbok and on into the desert region of the Richtersveld. Our stop for today is the Gariep River, formerly the Orange River. The river is known for its excellent canoeing, its status as the longest river in South Africa and as the border between South Africa and Namibia. We camp on the quiet banks of the Orange River in South Africa, under starry skies.
Go canoeing on the Orange/Gariep River this morning, or relax at the camp. The half-day canoe trip takes an easy-paced paddle through the rugged terrain where birds and small animals can be spotted.
After lunch we drive into Namibia, reaching the Fish River Canyon this afternoon. Driving along the edge of the dramatic canyon we stop to take photos and enjoy the breathtaking views over this massive canyon, arguably the world's second largest.
This morning we get up early and drive into one of the oldest deserts in the world - the Namib Desert.
We camp at Sesriem, near the Namib-Naukluft National Park, hosting some of the world's tallest sand dunes in the Sossusvlei area. Here we will explore the most famous desert landscapes of Namibia. Climbing the dunes we look out over the massive desert, watching the colours and shadows as they change. Tonight we sleep under the countless stars of the desert skies.
We visit the Namib-Naukluft National Park in the morning, travelling through the desert as day breaks and the orange-red colours come to life. By sunrise we are at the peak of Dune 45, the quintessential desert dune, looking out over the endless sands.
Then we go to the renowned Sossusvlei Dunes, catching a shuttle bus before walking the last 5 km stretch into the desert. Sossusvlei is a photographer's dream - a stark and visually arresting desert landscape. In the pan the ground is white clay, dry and cracked. The trees are dead, black skeletons juxtaposed against the red-orange dunes, blue sky and white earth.
After breakfast we drive to Walvis Bay, on Atlantic Coast, crossing the latitudinal Tropic of Capricorn, or Southern Tropic.
Our destination today is Swakopmund, known as the Adventure Capital of Namibia and the most popular beach holiday resort in the country. Your guide fills you in on the things to do in Swakopmund when we arrive in this German influenced town.
We sleep in dormitories for the next two night, but you can upgrade to a room of your own (extra cost) when availability allows. This is your chance to catch up on creature comforts and nightlife, eating out and going to bars and clubs if you fancy.
Kickback and go wild with adventure activities. The most popular options include going sand boarding or quad biking in the desert, going skydiving and taking a scenic flight over the desert. You can also go on dolphin cruises, fishing trips, golfing and horse riding.
Swakopmund is a strange blend between African and European elements. Founded by a German colony in 1892, the city features colonial German architecture and hosts a large German-speaking population. You can walk around the city to see the old German buildings, and visit the museum, aquarium and art galleries. Spend some time at a coffee shop, browse local arts and crafts and stroll along the sea.
Some travellers may end their safari in Swakopmund, while new companions may be joining us.
On day eight we head out of Swakopmund making our way inland into the Kunene Region, previously Damaraland and Kaokoland.
We drive across the dramatic open plains to the well-known Spitzkoppe, a massive granite rock feature. At Spitzkoppe, we stop to walk up some of the 1728 m high granite formation and admire the expansive views over the north-west region of Namibia, as well as visiting the famous rock art sites here.
Then we drive to Brandberg Mountain, Namibia's tallest mountain. We camp at the base of the mountain, enjoying being back under the starry skies.
Today we travel to just outside of Etosha National Park, where we camp on a game farm. The family-owned guest house is set on the private game farm, where antelopes, zebra, wildebeest and birds can be sighted.
Let the game viewing begin, as we enter Etosha National Park this morning.
Etosha Park is 20 000 km² big and encompasses the arid Etosha Pan, a barren habitat where hardy animals can be spotted in the heat mirages. This is one of Africa's best game parks, known for its big elephant population and waterholes that attract an abundance of wildlife. After lunch, we set off on a game drive in the southern part of Etosha National Park, looking out for game and predators, as well as birds.
Tonight we return to Eldorado, where you can swim in the pool and relax with a drink at the bar, after dinner.
Today we take a 150 km game drive across Etosha National Park. Wildlife sightings include lions and other predators, rhinos, elephants, wildebeest, giraffes and plains game. We pass through different vegetation zones and terrains each offering unique scenery and different kinds of wildlife and bird sightings.
Tonight we camp at Namutoni Camp, in the eastern part of Etosha. The camp is built at the site of an old German Fort that you can climb for sunset views over the bush. Tonight you can watch wildlife at the floodlit waterhole.
Leaving the famous Etosha National Park after breakfast today we keep an eye out for game as we exit the wildlife-rich reserve.
Our destination for the day - Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. This afternoon you have time to walk around the charming capital and take in the sights. This is the cultural, economic and political heart of the country, a vibrant hub of activity with interesting attractions, shops and historical features. Tonight you can opt to eat out in Windhoek and sample the nightlife.
Today we depart from Windhoek, located at the geographic centre of Namibia, travelling east into the Kalahari Desert. Crossing into neighbouring Botswana we head for the remote, small town of Ghanzi.
Here you have the opportunity to spend some time with the Kalahari San, known as Bushmen. Meet the local San to learn how the original inhabitants of Southern Africa have survived in harsh conditions for tens of thousands of years.
This morning we travel to the town of Maun, located on the southern edge of the watery Okavango Delta - the crowning natural treasure of Botswana.
Maun is the gateway for trips into the Okavango Delta and serves as our base for exploring the untamed wetland system. Tonight we prepare for our overnight adventure in the wild Delta. We suggest that you bring a smaller daypack on your trip to use on this short excursion.
Your safari leader will brief you on what is needed, and what to expect on your trip into the Delta. The following morning we proceed from Maun into this incredible wilderness area.
On day 15 of this Cape Town to Dar es Salaam Safari we set off on our exciting Okavango Delta Camping Trip.
The Okavango Delta is famous for its rich variety of bird species, plants and wild animals. This huge expanse of water is unique to Southern Africa, being the largest inland delta in the world. The Delta runs down from the Angolan Highlands spreading out over the plains where it empties into the Kalahari Desert.
This delta excursion entails a drive from Maun up north for a few of hours, to reach a mokoro polers' station. The dug-out mekoros are traditional canoes that locals pole through the reeds and winding waterways. It takes us a couple of hours to reach our tented camp by mokoro. The friendly local staff welcomes you and shows you the lay of the camp. Tonight we camp in twin-bedded, dome tents with en-suite bush bathrooms featuring long drop toilets and bucket showers.
After settling in and having a refreshing drink you can head back out onto the winding waterways in a mokoro or take a guided walk in the untamed bush. Tonight we fall asleep in the heart of the Okavango Delta, falling asleep to the sounds of nature.
Last chance to take a game walk in the Okavango Delta, before we head back to Maun. Walking in the delta is an exhilarating way to experience truly wild Africa. We leave the Okavango by mokoro and then transfer to a safari vehicle for the rest of the journey back to Maun.
Arriving in the early afternoon we have time for an optional (extra cost) scenic flight over the Delta at sunset - a fantastic way to see more of this natural gem and it's roaming wildlife!
Today we drive further east through sparsely populated rural Botswana to Nata.
Arriving at our campsite near Nata you have the option of embarking on a game drive or bush walk in the lodge's private conservancy. The 16000 hectare wilderness area is home to elephants, buffalos, giraffes, various antelopes, wild dogs, lions and more. Alternatively, splash in the pool and enjoy a sundowner as you watch for wildlife visiting the waterhole at the camp.
We travel north to the Botswana town of Kasane, where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River.
The Chobe River is home to hippos, other wildlife and birds, and forms a natural border between Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. Elephant, hippo, antelopes and many bird species can be sighted from the camp, while we watch another spectacular African sunset over the bush.
Tonight we fall asleep to the sounds of Africa's wild inhabitants.
Enjoy a lie-in this morning or walk around the town of Kasane, located on the banks of the Chobe River. Watch for birds and hippos along Chobe River, the primary water source in world-famous Chobe National Park.
For the adventurous safari goers, there is the option of taking another Chobe National Park Camping Trip –
Then it is time for our overnight camping trip in Chobe National Park. Chobe National Park is one of the leading game parks in Botswana, renowned for its large elephant herds. In the afternoon we take a game drive en route to our safari camp inside the Chobe. On the game viewing drive rare sable and roan antelopes are often sighted, so look out for their distinctive horns.
We spend the evening musing over our wildlife encounters in Chobe Park and listening to the night sounds of nearby wildlife.
After our night in the Botswana bush, we are up early to embark on a morning game drive in search of Chobe's wildlife. After our rewarding game drive we pack up camp and travel back to Kasane and then on to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The famous World Heritage Site of Victoria Falls is our next stop.
We visit the Victoria Falls National Park to witness the spectacular Vic Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. The local Kololo people call Victoria Falls Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means 'the Smoke that Thunders'. Marvelling at the world's largest sheet of falling water, about 1700 m wide and about 100 m high, we get to see why it is known as Mosi-oa-Tunya.
A short briefing on the adventure activities available is followed by free time to relax at the camp pool, do optional activities or explore the town of Victoria Falls from our conveniently located camp.
For the next two days you are free to relax and explore the area as well as taking advantage of some of the fantastic optional adventure activities at Victoria Falls.
Some of our fellow travellers may end their budget safari in Vic Falls and new passengers often join us for the next stretch of our Cape Town to Dar es Salaam Overland Camping Safari.
Optional excursions include trips to Livingstone Island, horseback safaris, sunset boat cruises and swimming in Devil's Pool. Adrenalin junkies can bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia, or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi River is world class
After breakfast we cross back into Botswana and drive to Kasane, where we enjoy lunch and take a rest, before venturing back into Chobe National Park. After the boat cruise we return to Kasane and prepare for our Chobe National Park Overnight Trip into the wilds.
Arriving in Chobe Park we spend the afternoon in search of African wildlife on a game drive to our bush camp inside one of Africa's finest game parks. We spend the evening under the stars, soaking up the peace and listening out for animals in the bush around us.
On our return to the camp in Kasane, we get back on our safari truck and continue to the Zambian town of Livingstone.
This afternoon we have the opportunity to view Victoria Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia, or embark on a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River. The sunset cruises offer a relaxing and scenic journey along the mighty Zambezi River, visited by wildlife and birds.
Today we get an early start, driving northwards through villages and towns in southern Zambia en route to our next campsite.
Zambia is said to be a truly African country, fast becoming a top safari destination. Some of the local wildlife such as the eland, Africa's largest antelope, may visit us at the safari camp tonight! Tonight we camp on the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia's capital city.
On day 26 we explore the scenic South Luangwa National Park of Zambia in our safari truck.
South Luangwa is Zambia's top game viewing destination, known for its wildness and incredible beauty. Located along the Luangwa River this remote national park hosts about 60 animal species and 420 bird species. The game park is home to large elephant herds, as well as an abundance of buffalo, hippo, crocodile and various antelope species. The park is also home to zebra, giraffe and leopard, among others.
The most southern of three national parks in the Luangwa Valley, Luangwa Park covers some 9050 km² of the most fertile part of Luangwa Valley.
Travelling on the old East Road we drive in a northeasterly direction from South Luangwa Park, finding our way to a stunning campsite a mere 10 km from the border between Zambia and Malawi.
We travel the old Cape Town to Cairo route through Lusaka to Malawi, crossing the Luangwa River Bridge. We stop to stock up on fresh goods and supplies from the local sellers along the way. We camp in a nice spot, en route to Malawi tonight.
Malawi is known as the 'Warm Heart of Africa' and next our Overland Camping Safari takes us to find out why. We stop in the administrative centre and capital of Malawi, Lilongwe. Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area consisting of the beautiful, fresh-water Lake Malawi.
Over the next few days we travel the full length of the western side of Lake Malawi, stopping off at various bays and inlets. Days are spent relaxing on the unspoilt beaches, diving in the lake, learning to play the game of bao from locals or bargain hunting at the markets.
The temperate climate of Malawi is suited to swimming all year round, so you can always take a dip in the clear blue waters. Explore the picturesque shores of Lake Malawi meeting local fishermen as they sort the fresh catch of the day. The fishermen still bring in their catch using traditional fishing techniques. The ‘fairy’ lights of the fishermen's' boats twinkle out on the lake at night, which is why Lake Malawi is known as the Lake of Stars.
You can gain insight into the skill involved in handling one of the fishing boats by trying your hand at paddling a dug out canoe yourself. Excursions offered at the beachside campsites along Lake Malawi's shores include options such as water sports, horse riding and visits to the local schools and villages.
We leave Lake Malawi utterly relaxed after four days and enter Tanzania via the border post at Songwe. Take in the beauty of the Tukuyu banana and tea plantations of the area as we drive to our next night's stop, Iringa.
The rustic 'Farmhouse' campsite in Iringa is famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolate and piping hot showers - both worth savouring.
After a good night's rest in Iringa we continue to the seaside town of Dar es Salaam.
We pass through the Mikumi National Park of Tanzania seeing a wide range of wildlife along the road. These wild animals have largely become accustomed to passing traffic, providing close up sightings.
Upon our arrival in Dar es Salaam area, we drive to our lovely campsite, set at the seaside. We busy ourselves with preparations for the next stretch of our African journey - the optional beach trip to Zanzibar Island.
Today we ferry across to the main island of Zanzibar for an optional three night stay. This is one of Africa's top beach destinations offering a diversity of highlights and adventures, ranging from historic tours to sailing trips.
New travellers may join us for the Zanzibar Trip, and others might end their safari in Dar es Salaam. If you choose not to do the trip to Zanzibar you will stay at the camp near Dar es Salaam, where you can do optional activities.
Accommodation and meals in Zanzibar are for your own account, enabling you to explore as you please. There are plenty of restaurants and lodges to choose from on Zanzibar Island, and your guide can help you with bookings.
Zanzibar Island is a beach holiday paradise with tropical ocean, sandy beaches and a warm climate. To experience the idyllic beaches you can take a day tour to Prison Island where giant tortoises can be seen on the pristine shores. Alternatively go scuba diving at Nungwe, swim in the sea, go fishing and snorkelling or embark on a traditional dohw sailing trip.
Zanzibar is also known as the Spice Islands, with spice tours being another highlight - taking you on an aromatic and colourful journey into the spice plantations. The islands of Zanzibar also have an interesting history as an important stop on the old trade route, carrying spices, slaves and goods between Asia, Africa and Europe. Walking through the cobbled streets of old Stone Town you will encounter a mix of cultural and historical influences and buildings. Eat out at one of the many restaurants, known for fresh seafood, especially crayfish. Grab some affordable seafood and get to know the locals at Forodhani Gardens market in Stone Town.
We leave Zanzibar Island this afternoon, returning to Dar es Salaam on the mainland of Tanzania. Here our Cape Town to Dar es Salaam Overland Camping Safari ends, bringing the journey of a lifetime to a close.
This Budget African Safari starts in Cape Town, South Africa and travels north through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi before ending in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The Cape Town to Dar es Salaam Safari departs from Cape Town early on Sunday mornings. Should you wish to explore Dar es Salaam, an earlier arrival is recommended. Accommodation can be booked through African Budget Safaris.
This itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road & weather conditions, political situations and group decisions. All prices & Local Payments are subject to change. Due to Tourism Laws in some of the countries we visit, there may be a truck and crew change during the safari trip.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
An all inclusive Tour of South Africa's Garden Route offering a variety of adventure activities along the scenic way. Visit the Cango Caves, Storms River, Kysna, Hermanus, embark on a "Big 5" Game drive in Addo Elephant Park and explore the Tsitsikamma Forest.
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