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An awesomely cheap African Camping Safari from the Tanzania's capital, Dar es Salaam, to beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.
The amazingly affordable Overland Camping Safari starts off with a quick hop over to the island of Zanzibar with its tropical beaches and rich Arabic-African influences. Travel south to relax on the shores of Lake Malawi and experience local culture, then it's off into Zambia to explore the untamed South Luangwa Park and overnight in Livingstone at Vic Falls.
Next we camp in game-rich Chobe before crossing into Zimbabwe where you visit the mighty Victoria Falls. Then we return to Botswana's Chobe National Park for game viewing, before camping in the pristine Okavango Delta.
Travel into the desert country of Namibia where we visit the Etosha National Park, Swakopmund and the Namib Desert, among other great highlights. Lastly, drive through the changing landscapes of South Africa to Cape Town.
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 Dar es Salaam to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari starts with an optional trip to Zanzibar Island. Departing from Dar es Salaam we take a ferry ride to Zanzibar Island, where we spend the next three nights.
Zanzibar has a colourful past, as one of the major departure points for most of the explorations into new territories of East Africa, in times gone by. The island was once an important link in the old trade route between east and west.
Accommodation and meal costs are for your own account in Zanzibar, allowing for flexibility and self-guided exploration on the island. Zanzibar Island hosts a wide selection of restaurants offering a variety of tasty meals. Your trip leader joins you and can help with arranging accommodation in Zanzibar.
For travellers choosing not to visit the island of Zanzibar, the next three days are spent at the beach campsite in Dar es Salaam. There are various optional activities available from the camp including diving, snorkelling and fishing trips. The driver and cook stay behind in Dar es Salaam during the Zanzibar Trip, off the coast of Tanzania.
Zanzibar Island has a great range of activities to offer visitors, from historical sightseeing to exciting water activities. Zanzibar is one of Africa's top beach destinations, featuring picture-perfect tropical beaches lapped by azure waters.
Explore the spice plantations, a colourful and aromatic experience on Zanzibar, known as the Spice Island given its exotic spices. The cobbled streets of the old Stone Town of Zanzibar reveal traces of the local Arabic history, from Medina-style shops to the impressive palaces that belonged to powerful Sultans.
Other interesting activities on Zanzibar Island include a day trip to the pristine beaches of Prison Island, to see its giant tortoises. A full day of scuba diving or snorkelling in Nungwe is well worth it, as is the experience of fishing in a traditional sailing dhow.
There are a variety of restaurants offering a fantastic array of fresh seafood straight from the ocean, with crayfish being a popular specialty. You can mingle with the locals at the seafront market of Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town, where tasty seafood can be bought at good prices.
Departing from the tropical beach paradise of Zanzibar Island in the afternoon our exciting optional trip comes to a close. We return to the shores of Tanzania by the early evening feeling rejuvenated, sun-kissed and relaxed.
Spend the night catching up with fellow travellers at our safari camp in Dar es Salaam town.
On the morning of day five we set off from coastal Dar es Salaam making our way further south.
En route we drive through the inland Mikumi National Park, home to a variety of wildlife. The wildlife in Mikumi is quite accustomed to the passing traffic, which makes sighting the animals easier as we drive through the game park.
We continue to the high-lying town of Iringa, our next overnight stop on this Dar es Salaam to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari. The night is spent at a charming campsite known for its Amarula hot chocolate and piping hot showers!
We follow the winding road through the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations admiring this beautiful region of Tanzania as we travel.
Next, we cross into Malawi entering ‘ The Warm Heart of Africa’ via the Songwe border post. Malawi is a long, landlocked country with 20% of its total area covered by the scenic, fresh-water Lake Malawi.
Over the next few days we skirt the full length of the western shores of Lake Malawi, visiting scenic bays along the way. Our days are spent relaxing on the unspoilt beaches, 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 lakeside campsites along Lake Malawi's shores include options such as water sports, horse riding and visits to the local school and village.
Leaving lovely Lake Malawi and its laid-back people behind, we drive to the urban capital of Malawi, Lilongwe. This small city, serves as the administrative capital of Malawi and consists of an old town that contrasts with the more modern zone.
We replenish our supplies before travelling into neighbouring Zambia and our next stop on this Dar es Salaam to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari. We make our way to a beautiful overnight campsite only 10 km from the border between Malawi and Zambia.
On day 10 we visit the untamed South Luangwa National Park of Zambia.
South Luangwa is Zambia's leading game park, known for its unspoilt 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 good numbers of 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. Here we are immersed in the wild bush, enjoying excellent game viewing.
Driving south from Luangwa National Park along the Great East Road we head to our overnight campsite, not far from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city.
On our drive we cross the impressive Luangwa River Bridge near the Zimbabwe-Malawi border and travel via some rural villages and towns in Zambia today. Zambia prospered during the copper boom in the 1960’s and established extensive infrastructure in its main mining and farming communities. After a subsequent decline in the copper industry, Zambia is once again starting to develop, due to foreign investment and a resurgence in the mining industry.
Some of the local wildlife such as hippos, crocodiles, vervet monkeys and monitor lizards can be seen at the safari campsite set along the Luangwa River.
Continuing our journey south through Zambia, we pass through farming and agricultural towns en route to Livingstone. The town is named after explorer David Livingstone who in turn named Vic Falls after his queen.
Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Vic Falls is the world's largest sheet of falling water at 1700 m wide and around 100 m high. Seeing Vic Falls is a highlight of any African Safari!
We can witness this spectacular natural wonder from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia - a great photographic opportunity. In the evening you can take an optional sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi River. The sunset cruises offer a relaxing and scenic journey along the mighty Zambezi River, visited by wildlife and birds.
Saying goodbye to truly African Zambia we head into one of Africa's top safari countries - Botswana. Crossing at the Kazangula Ferry on the Zambezi River we drive to the northern town of Kasane, located on the banks of the Chobe River. Chobe River forms a natural border between Botswana, Namibia and Zambia and serves as the major source of water in Chobe National Park.
From Kasane we make our way into this famous Botswana game reserve for our overnight camping trip in the wild. In the afternoon we explore Chobe Park on a game drive en route to our safari camp inside the scenic wilderness area. On the game viewing drive rare sable and roan antelope are often sighted, along with impalas, kudu, elephants, giraffes and more. We also see a variety of birds, from raptor and plover to lilac breasted roller, as we drive!
We spend the evening musing over our wild encounters in Chobe Park, taking in the quiet and listening to the night sounds of nearby wildlife.
Getting up early after our night in the Botswana bush, we set off on a morning game drive in search of Chobe's varied wildlife. After our rewarding game drive we pack up camp and travel back to our camp in Kasane.
Then we cross into Zimbabwe and drive to nearby Victoria Falls town, where the World Heritage Site of the same name is located. This afternoon we head into the Victoria Falls National Park to view the spectacular waterfall up close. Witnessing the natural wonder of Vic Falls is an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience!
After a short adventure activities brief you can unwind at the campsite’s swimming pool, enjoy optional adventure activities, or explore the highlights of Vic Falls town! Our safari campsite is conveniently situated in the centre of Victoria Falls town, within walking distance of the local restaurants, shops and booking agents for adventure activities.
For the next two days you are free to relax and explore the area as well as taking advantage of some of the thrilling optional adventure activities at Victoria Falls. Optional activities 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 some of the best in the world. In addition to the excitement of the Grade 5 rapids, there are more placid sections for admiring the towering cliffs and occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
Some of our fellow travellers may end their tour in Vic Falls and new passengers often join us for the next stretch of our affordable Dar es Salaam to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari.
This morning we enjoy breakfast before we make our way back across the Botswana border to the town of Kasane. Explore the town before lunch, then we prepare for another night of camping out in Chobe National Park, regarded as one of Africa's top safari destinations.
This afternoon we explore the park on a game drive as we head to our bush camp, looking out for the Big Five and other rare and interesting animals. Lion, buffalo, zebra, crocodile and hyena are commonly sighted along with the ubiquitous elephant, hippo and impala. We may also see leopard, cheetah, fox, serval, African wild dog and various antelope species, including puku, red lechwe, sable, roan and bushbuck.
We spend the night camping inside Chobe National Park surrounded by untamed nature. Chobe National Park is the premier national park in Botswana, renowned for its large herds of migratory elephants.
We continue exploring Chobe National Park in the morning, before returning to Kasane.
Then you have free time at camp to put your feet up, watch the birds and listen out for hippos in the river.
Later you have the chance to embark on a sunset boat cruise along the Chobe River. Keep an eye out for wildlife and the rich birdlife, while enjoying another spectacular sunset that only Africa can offer you.
Today we head south-west to the the town on Maun, gateway to the southern part of the Okavango Delta. This huge expanse of water is unique to Southern Africa being the largest inland delta in the world.
This evening we prepare for our overnight trip into the world-famous Okavango Delta of Botswana. Bring a smaller daypack along for this trip into the bush. Your safari guide will tell you a bit about the camping trip into the delta and advise you on what to pack. The next morning we will set off from Maun on our journey into the Okavango Delta.
This morning we drive north to the fringes of the Okavango Delta where we switch to traditional-style canoes. Local guides use long poles to move us through the tranquil channels standing in the mekoros like gondoliers. We glide along the reed-lined waterways for a couple of hours, before arriving at our mobile tented camp deep in the delta.
A local team of staff hosts you at the tented camp, showing you around the camp when you arrive. We stay in dome tents with twin beds and basic en-suite bathrooms (long drop toilet and a bucket shower).
Relax at the rustic camp where you can spot birds and soak up the peace, or head off on a gentle mokoro ride or nature walk to see the unique flora and fauna up close. The Okavango Delta is one of the last truly wild places left on earth, hosting an incredible diversity of life forms.
This evening we sit around the campfire chatting with the local guides and listening to the night sounds of the delta.
In the morning you can venture into the bush on foot, watching for birds and wildlife, before we pack up and leave the delta camp. Gliding through the delta channels we return to the vehicles for our drive back to Maun.
Back in Maun you have time to freshen up and rest, with the option of taking a scenic flight in the afternoon. The optional flight provides beautiful views over the network of waterways flowing across the plains, giving you a chance to sight animals from the sky and see just how big this unique natural wonder is.
On day 22 we drive southwest through Botswana, towards the border with Namibia. Our next stop is the small town of Ghanzi, located deep in the Kalahari Desert region of western Botswana.
This semi-arid region is home to descendants of the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa - the Kalahari San, also known as Bushmen. You have the option of taking a cultural excursion to meet the local San and discover how they have adapted and survived in this inhospitable desert terrain over tens of thousands of years.
Today we set off into the arid Kalahari, passing remote towns on our drive into Namibia. In the late afternoon we arrive in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia, situated in the middle of the country, on the central plateau of the Khomas Highlands.
Windhoek is a small city by international standards, but an interesting and pleasant place to visit, as the cultural, economic and political heart of the country. Walk around the city and do some sightseeing and shopping, before enjoying an optional dinner out at one of the many excellent restaurants here.
Today we drive north towards Etosha National Park, Namibia's premier game park.
This over 22 000 km² national park is set around the barren Etosha Pan, a flat expanse once covered by a huge inland lake. The game park is named after the salt pan with its shimmering mirages, hence the name Etosha, which means 'Great White Place'.
Teeming with a large variety of wild animals, insects and birds, Etosha offers superb game viewing in its dramatic landscapes. After lunch we take an afternoon game drive in the national park, going in search of lions, elephants, antelopes, giraffes, zebras and many others.
Back at camp you can visit the floodlit watering hole for some night-time game viewing in Etosha.
Enjoy a full day of game viewing in the African bush visiting waterholes that attract a variety of animals and birds. The sparsely vegetated environment lends itself to game spotting at the water sources where animals congregate.
Look out for desert antelopes, such as the striking-looking oryx and springbok on the plains, as well as the large prides of lions.
The extensive network of gravel roads enables visitors to access most areas of Etosha Park. Crossing some 150 km of the Etosha, we see different types of vegetation as we drive, as well as the changing animal and bird life that these varying habitats support.
Later we leave Etosha National Park via the Anderson gate and make our way to our safari campsite only 10kms away from Etosha. Arriving at camp you can take a refreshing swim in the pool before dinner. Spend the evening unwinding at the camp and having a drink in the novel bar.
We stay at a private game farm with camping facilities in a natural setting.
The farm is home to various antelopes, including wildebeest, damara dik-dik, gemsbok, eland, impala, springbok, steenbok and duiker, as well as zebra, ostriches and a variety of other birds. Today you can take an optional game drive and relax at the camp in the reserve.
Next up on our Dar es Salaam to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari is Brandberg, the tallest mountain in Namibia, where we camp under star-filled African skies.
If we arrive early enough you can explore the wilderness area around Brandberg on foot.
Onwards to Spitzkoppe, the ‘Matterhorn of Namibia’. We head to the dramatic Spitzkoppe, a giant granite outcrop in an otherwise flat part of Namibia. The highest geological formation is about 1728 m high and is recognized as one of the most distinctive natural landmarks in Namibia. Spitzkoppe is a sacred site of the ancient San people, housing important rock paintings. We stop briefly to explore Spitzkoppe on foot, visiting the San Rock Art in the area and taking in the impressive terrain and striking views.
Then it's on to Swakopmund, on the coast of Namibia, where we spend two nights taking it easy and having some fun. Arriving at coastal Swakopmund you will be briefed on the adventure activities on offer here.
Our Swakopmund accommodation is in dormitories, but you have the option of upgrading to private rooms through your safari guide (depending on availability).
Swakopmund is Namibia's prime holiday resort offering a fine selection of coffee shops, bars and restaurants to keep visitors entertained. Swakopmund has some lovely beaches for taking a pleasant stroll along the icy Atlantic Ocean. There is an interesting museum, an aquarium and various galleries to visit, as well as craft shops selling Namibian curios. Founded in 1892, Swakopmund still has a colonial German flavour, especially visible in its architecture.
Today on this Dar es Salaam to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari we spend the day chilling out, sightseeing or participating in a few of the numerous optional activities on offer in and around Swakopmund.
Optional activities or excursions include; sky diving, horse riding, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic flights over the desert, cruises with the dolphins, fishing trips, golfing and more.
At this stage there might be a change in fellow passengers with some leaving us and some joining us for the next leg of the African Camping Safari.
Leaving Swakopmund, we head south towards the coastal town of Walvis Bay.
Then we journey inland into the ancient Namib Desert and our next safari destination - the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Once in the Namib, one of the world's oldest deserts, we set up camp at Sesriem, where we stay for the next two nights. Arriving at our camp there is time to explore this dramatic desert area on foot.
From our base we can witness the changing faces of the mesmerizing Namib Desert. Nearby Sossusvlei features some of the highest sand dunes in the world, reaching over 300m tall. The towering Sossusvlei Dunes offer spectacular views over the sea of red-orange sands stretching out as far as the eye can see. We visit the striking Sossusvlei clay pan dotted with stark tree trunks that stand in sharp contrast with the dry, white earth and surrounding ochre dunes.
While in the Namib we climb the postcard-perfect Dune 45, enjoying open views over the stark terrain as the sun sets or rises. Dusk and dawn are ideal times for exploring the Namib Desert as the colours of the sand dunes become more vivid in the glow and the heat is less intense.
After watching the sunrise over Sesriem, savouring the tranquility of the barren Namib Dunes, we travel south to the Fish River Canyon.
Namibia's Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world. The outer sides of this canyon were formed by tectonic activity and the Fish River has over time eroded the landscape shaping the inner walls of the canyon. The Fish River Canyon measures 161 km in length, is 27 km across and approximately 550 m deep.
We follow the road that runs along the eastern rim of the canyon, stopping at various vantage points that offer spectacular views over the deep chasm, the river below and the surrounding bush.
We wake up early and keep heading south to the Orange River, a short drive away. The Gariep, formerly known as the Orange River, forms the natural border between Namibia and South Africa.
We set up camp at a great little campsite on the South African side of the border. Here you can swim in the river, laze around at camp or go on an included half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Orange River. The canoeing trip follows the currents at an easy pace, making for a laid-back paddle through the unspoilt scenery along the riverbanks where a variety of birds can be spotted. Tonight you can enjoy a few drinks in the camp bar, looking out over the peaceful river.
We leave early this morning and travel through an area known as the Richtersveld, passing through the small town of Springbok.
Then we drive into the Namaqualand region of South Africa, known for its dazzling display of wildflowers in spring. The Namaqua daisies and other brightly-coloured indigenous flowers bloom from about September to October every year.
Our campsite for the night is set in the Cederberg Mountains amid scenic wine farms and fertile valleys. You can stroll through the vineyards, taking in the mountain views, and then we do some wine tasting. After sampling some of South Africa's fine locally produced wines in the Cederberg Mountain range we retire for our final night of camping under the starry African skies!
We say goodbye to the lovely Cederberg area and continue south to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town.
On our way to Cape Town we travel through the lush countryside of Citrusdal where the hills are covered in orchards of fruit trees. Then we traverse the Piketberg Pass and make our way down into the Western Cape's famous wine growing region. Our final destination is revealed as Table Mountain emerges in the distance. From Table Bay we view this iconic landmark that dominates the city of Cape Town.
Arriving in Cape Town we check in at our accommodation and grab lunch, before setting off on a township tour to experience the vibrant local culture. The township tour visits a low income area, providing a glimpse into the lives of many working class South Africans. A visit to one of the lively townships offers insight into the economic divides that still exist in the country today.
After our township and city tour we return to our accommodation, staying in dormitories at a well-loved backpackers' hostel in Cape Town.
In the morning our Dar es Salaam to Cape Town Overland Camping Safari - the African trip of a lifetime, comes to an end in Cape Town!
This Budget African Safari begins in Dar es Salaam and travels to Zanzibar and south through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia before ending in Cape Town, South Africa. The Budget Camping Safari departs from Dar Es Salaam early on Saturday morning. Should you wish to explore Dar es Salaam, an earlier arrival is recommended. We recommend spending a few extra days in Cape Town after your safari. 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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