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Experience the best of East and Southern Africa over 37 epic days of real adventure.
On this wildlife adventure you explore several of Africa's best wilderness areas, both famous and lesser-known, as well as encountering the diverse people and unforgettable scenery of East and Southern Africa.
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 East to Southern Africa Overland Camping Safari departs from bustling Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, travelling southwest to the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve.
We travel into Maasai country where these habitual pastoralists are often seen in their red robes, herding their cattle on the roadside.
On the way to our overnight campsite we pass the town of Narok and hopefully spot some wildlife en route. Our safari camp overlooks the Meguarra hills and a meandering stream below that forms a natural border with the spectacular Masai Mara National Reserve.
The Mara Game Reserve is unfenced, so its wild animals are free to roam around in the surrounding wilderness areas, even entering our safari camp! The local ‘Askari’ keeps a look out for any unwelcome predators at camp, ensuring your safety.
Today we venture into the Masai Mara Reserve on our morning game drive just after sunrise. We spend the day driving through nature as it was intended to be - huge plains, rolling hills and an abundance of game matched nowhere else on earth.
We keep an eye open for the Big 5 of Africa - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard. If travelling between July and October, we may get to witness the impressive herds of over a million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle in their Annual Migration as they cross from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Following these herbivores are Africa’s predators that are often seen at a kill during this period.
The Masai Mara is well known as one of East Africa’s best game parks and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Our Masai Mara game drive takes us through a section of the vast park in search of the wild animals, reptiles and birds inhabiting this wilderness area.
After our Mara game drive, we can visit one of the local Masai Manyatta’s – traditional hamlets where the Masai people still follow old customs. At the end of the day we unwind around the campfire, admiring a beautiful African sun set over this wildlife haven.
On day three we drive northeast from Masai Mara towards the lovely Lake Nakuru National Park.
We overnight at a campsite run by a non-profit mission group that helps care for orphaned children. Here you can visit the orphanage to meet the local children and see what the organization is doing to help them. The orphanage provides orphaned children and teenagers with clothing, food, education and a home, giving them much needed support and care.
Today we head into Lake Nakuru National Park to explore this compact game reserve, best known for its impressive array of birdlife.
We spend the day looking for the frequently sighted black and white rhino. This wildlife-rich Kenyan Game Park was established as a sanctuary for the resident rhino species, as well as the birdlife. We search for the more elusive leopard, seeing giraffe, buffalo, antelope species and sometimes hippos too. This Great Rift Valley lake also hosts over 400 other bird species, including the Great White Pelican, Grey-crested Helmet-shrike, African Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Stork and Long-crested Eagle. At times a sea of pink flamingos fringes the shallow shores of the lake, along with the diversity of other birds.
This evening we return to our camp at the mission, near Lake Nakuru Park.
Rise and shine for breakfast before we journey to Kisii and Kericho via the scenic tea plantations of Kenya.
Cash crops such as tea and coffee thrive in this equatorial area and these towns serve as the main commercial hubs in the Gusii Highlands of Kenya. We stock up on supplies and get some rest, before travelling into Tanzania tomorrow.
We leave game-rich Kenya behind and drive south into Tanzania, another top safari destination. After border formalities, our journey takes us through the scenic granite landscapes surrounding Africa’s biggest lake – Lake Victoria. We spend the night at a campsite located on the banks of Lake Victoria in the fishing town of Musoma.
We make a quick pit stop for supplies to see us through the next couple of days out in the untamed bush before making our way to the Serengeti National Park. We drive into Serengeti Park entering through the less travelled western corridor. Upon entering the game park we enjoy a game drive en-route to our safari campsite and after lunch we experience more of the endless plains this Tanzanian game park is named after.
The Serengeti Park is famous for its enormous concentration of wild animals, especially the big cats of Africa. Like Masai Mara, Serengeti is also known for the spectacular annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelles.
The sheer abundance of plains game in this Tanzanian wildlife area is truly awe-inspiring!
Tonight we camp in the wild Tanzanian bush (no ablutions) surrounded by the sounds of Africa's bushveld, pierced only by the calls of the nocturnal wildlife. In the morning, we will drive into the Serengeti on another game drive exploring the rugged landscapes in search of the plentiful wildlife. The iconic Big Five of Africa (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) are often seen on game drives here.
We rise early to pack up our bush camp and continue our thrilling game drive through the Serengeti National Park.
Heading to the southern part of the vast game park we have the chance to look out over the endless open plains characterizing the Serengeti. We drive from Serengeti Park to Ngorongoro Conservation Area at lunch time and begin ascending the steep Crater's outer edge.
Tonight we camp (basic ablutions) on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater where temperatures drop lower than on the plains of Tanzania below - bring a warm jacket and beanie for the chill at night.
This morning we make our way into the Ngorongoro Crater, admiring the breathtaking views from the crater rim before dipping into this wildlife haven. This is the biggest unflooded volcanic crater in the world with 600 m high walls and a 20 km wide floor - an amazing natural wonder.
The great abundance of wild African animals found within the crater becomes apparent as you drive along the crater floor. Nearly every species of African animal is represented in Ngorongoro where you get the chance to see an incredible concentration of East African mammals, such as elephant, rhino, buffalo, hippo, lion and plain’s game.
After a morning game drive in Ngorongoro Crater we continue to our next Tanzanian campsite outside Arusha town, where we spend the evening recollecting our exhilarating wildlife experiences in East Africa's top game parks.
This morning we drive to the town of Arusha, where we stock up on supplies before traveling further south towards Dar es Salaam, on the coast of Tanzania.
We travel through Moshi, a town at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. Moshi serves as the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions, and we may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this magnificent mountain’s snow-dusted summit from the town. The views of towering Kilimanjaro from Moshi offer fantastic photo opportunities!
Passing through vast sisal plantations flanked by the Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges we continue south on our safari adventure. Our lovely overnight campsite tucked between the mountains, lies halfway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
On day 11 of our East to Southern Africa Overland Camping Safari we hit the road again continuing through lush green landscapes dotted with palm tree as we make our way to Dar es Salaam on the warm East Coast of Africa.
The pace of our drive to the warm Indian Ocean slows as we enter the outskirts of busy Dar es Salaam, taking in the interesting sights and sounds of Dar’s vibrant outer suburbs as we go. Keep an eye out for the brightly coloured shop-fronts decorated with humorous names and slogans.
Arriving in coastal Dar es Salaam we head to our pleasant seaside campsite and have time to prepare for our trip to Zanzibar Island the following morning.
A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes us across to the "Spice Island” of Zanzibar, for an optional three-night island trip. Zanzibar has a colourful past, as one of the major departure points for most of the European explorations into new territories of East Africa, in times gone by. The island was an important link in the old trade route between east and west.
Today Zanzibar Island is best known for its tropical beaches and is ranked as one of the best beach destinations in Africa.
New passengers may join us on our Zanzibar Trip, while some travel companions might opt to end their tour of Africa back in Dar es Salaam.
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 on mainland Tanzania, during the Zanzibar Trip.
Zanzibar Island has a great range of activities to offer visitors, from historical sightseeing to exciting water activities.
Explore one of the spice plantations, an interesting and aromatic experience on Zanzibar Island, which is famous for its exotic spices. Stroll through the cobbled streets of the old Stone Town of Zanzibar to see traces of the Arabic history, from Medina-style shops to the impressive palaces that once belonged to wealthy 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 in Nungwe is well worth it, as is the experience of fishing in a traditional sailing dhow. Island hopping and snorkelling in the clear warm waters, are also ideal ways to explore this beach paradise.
There are a variety of restaurants in Stone Town 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 inexpensive yet tasty seafood is available.
Departing from the tropical Zanzibar Island in the afternoon our exciting beach trip comes to a close. We return to the shores of Tanzania by the early evening feeling sun-kissed, rejuvenated and relaxed.
We spend the night catching up with fellow travellers at our safari camp in Dar es Salaam town.
On the morning of day 16 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 highlands town of Iringa, our next overnight stop on this African Safari Highlights & Vic Falls Trip. The night is spent at a scenic and rustic campsite famous for its Amarula hot chocolates 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 and narrow 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, visiting scenic bays and beaches along the way. Our days are spent relaxing on the unspoilt beaches, meeting the locals, or bargain hunting in 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 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 - the next stop on this African Budget Safari. We make our way to a beautiful little campsite just 10 km from the Malawi and Zambia border, where we stay overnight.
On day 21 we visit the untamed South Luangwa National Park of Zambia.
South Luangwa is Zambia's leading game park, 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 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 exceptional game viewing.
Driving south from Luangwa National Park along the Great East Road we head towards Lusaka and our overnight campsite in Eastern Zambia.
Zambia prospered during the copper boom in the 60’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 southern Zambian farming and agricultural towns en route to Livingstone.
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. Vic Falls is an awe-inspiring sight - a real highlight on any African Safari!
We can witness this spectacular natural wonder from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia - a superb photographic opportunity. In the late afternoon you can join a relaxing sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi River. The boat cruise is a fantastic way to end the day, giving you a chance to spot the wildlife and birds drawn to the river as the sun sets over the bush.
Saying goodbye to truly African Zambia we head into another one of Africa's top safari countries - Botswana. We cross over at the Kazangula Ferry border on the Zambezi River. Once in Botswana we drive to the northern town of Kasane, located on the banks of the Chobe River. Chobe River, home to hippos and other wildlife, forms a natural boundary between Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.
After lunch we take it easy and get ready for our camping trip in Chobe National Park. This afternoon we make our way into Botswana's leading national park for our overnight experience in the African wilderness. Chobe Park is one of the premier game parks in Southern Africa, renowned for its large herds of elephants.
We explore Chobe on a game drive en route to our safari camp inside the game park. 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!
The evening is spent musing over our wildlife encounters in Chobe Park and listening to the night sounds of nearby wildlife, interspersed by the silence of the African bush.
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 the town of Kasane. From our Kasane camp we drive into Zimbabwe and cover the last bit of ground to nearby Victoria Falls.
Victoria Falls, known as Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) by the local Kololo, is one of the 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. We visit the mighty Vic Falls this afternoon - an unforgettable highlight of any African Safari!
A short adventure activities briefing is followed by an afternoon of leisure for you to enjoy optional activities, unwind at the campsite’s pool or explore Victoria Falls town.
The next two days of this unforgettable East to Southern Africa Camping Safari are spent at Vic Falls, giving you time to take advantage of the fantastic 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. Gorge swinging and zip-line rides also offer an adrenalin rush!
All year round, flights in fixed-wing, micro light and ultralight aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi River is up there with the best in the world, combining grade 5 rapids with gentler stretches. There are also tram tours, game viewing activities, cultural excursions and riverboarding trips.
After breakfast we depart from Victoria Falls crossing back into Botswana and making our way to Kasane, where we set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River.
Listen out for the resident hippos enjoying the waters of Chobe River, the major water source in Chobe National Park. Chobe National Park, one of Africa's top wildlife destinations, is renowned for its boat-based game viewing, along with its large herds of elephants. We take a relaxing boat cruise along the Chobe River in the afternoon. From the river we look out for the abundant wildlife and birds of Chobe National Park and enjoy a spectacular African sunset over the bush.
On day 29 we drive south to our next stopover in the Nata area. We spend the night camping at a lodge in a private conservancy that hosts an array of wildlife and birds.
Arriving at the lodge you can take a swim or enjoy a sundowner while watching for wildlife at the active waterhole. Alternatively, you can set off on an optional game drive or bush walk in the conservancy.
Today we head to the bustling town on Maun, gateway to the southern part of the Okavango Delta. This huge estuarine system is the wilderness gem of Botswana and the largest inland delta in the world. The Okavango Delta boasts remote islands, and is famous for its incredibly rich variety of bird species and animals.
This evening we prepare for our overnight optional 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.
One of Africa's finest wildlife havens - the delta is a wild and pristine wilderness gem. Day 31 presents the chance to take an optional Okavango Delta Camping Trip.
This optional excursion entails a drive from Maun up north for a couple of hours, to reach a mokoro polers' station, where we switch to water-based travel. The dugout mekoros are traditional canoes that local guides pole through the reeds and winding waterways, much like gondoliers. Arriving at our tented camp in the heart of the delta, the local team of staff is there to welcome you and show you around. Tonight we sleep in dome tents fitted with twin beds and featuring rustic en-suite bathrooms (long drop toilets and bucket showers).
In the afternoon we venture into the bush on a mokoro ride or nature walk to get up close to the wilderness that is the Okavango Delta. Walking in the delta is a great way to discover the details of this intricate ecosystem, learning more about the flora and fauna. We look out for signs of animal activity and may even come across some of the delta animals that are not accustomed to seeing people.
The alternative to the optional Okavango Delta adventure is to stay at the campsite in Maun, lazing by the swimming pool, playing a fun game of volleyball or embarking on optional activities.
This morning you have one last chance to take a game walk in the unspoilt Delta bush before we head back to Maun. We make our way out of the pristine delta by mokoro, switching to safari vehicles back at the poling station.
Reaching Maun in the early afternoon we have time for a fantastic optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta. From the sky you can see just how enormous and wild the delta system is and marvel at its beauty, whilst spotting wildlife from above.
We set off early this morning on our long drive south through Botswana, making our way to Palapye. This small Botswana town is located around midway between Francistown and Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.
Palapye is a popular stopover for travellers driving between Botswana's game parks and South Africa on safari.
Today we cross into the last country on our overland camping safari - South Africa. We head straight to our overnight camp looking out over the deep Blyde River Canyon, on the scenic Panorama Route of South Africa.
The canyon is named after the Blyde River that cuts through it and is classed as a 'green canyon' given the unusually thick vegetation that occurs within it. Blyde River Canyon is around 26km long and an average of 800m deep. The canyon forms the northern edge of the towering Drakensberg Mountain Range, South Africa's highest mountains.
This canyon is dotted with impressive viewpoints including the Three Rondavels and God's Window, offering spectacular vistas over the canyon and surrounding hills.
Continuing along the scenic Panorama Route in South Africa, we pause at some of the main lookout points, including the Three Rondavels, shaped like the traditional local huts they are named after. We also stop to admire the panoramic views over the surrounding hills and canyon from God's Window.
Along the way to Kruger National Park we drive through the small town of Graskop. Tonight's campsite is situated inside Kruger National Park, offering eco-friendly accommodation. First we embark on a thrilling night game drive in the private concession area and then we spend the remainder of the evening relaxing around the campfire at our safari camp within Kruger Park, keeping an eye out for local wildlife and birds.
Today we embark on game viewing drives in the world-famous Kruger National Park, teeming with wildlife.
This leading African game park covers an area of 21 497 km2 (60 km wide and over 350 km long). Kruger Park in South Africa is ranked as one of Africa's best game viewing destinations, hosting an amazing variety of flora and fauna. The national park is lauded for its progressive environmental policies, and recognized as one of the pioneers in African wildlife conservation.
The vast Kruger Park conservation area is home to over 146 mammals, 500 bird, 114 reptile, 33 amphibian & 49 fish species. Around 23 000 different types of plants have also been recorded in this wilderness area. We spend the day driving through Kruger Park in South Africa in search of the abundance of wildlife inhabiting the game reserve, stopping off at view points as we explore.
You can upgrade to an open safari vehicle game drive if you prefer, arranging this with the trip leader at an additional cost.
After breakfast on day 37, we travel from Kruger to our final destination - Johannesburg. Known as Egoli (the place of gold), Johannesburg is the capital of the Gauteng Province of South Africa.
On arrival in Johannesburg this East to Southern Africa Overland Camping Safari comes to an end. We part ways having just experienced the African Safari Trip of a lifetime!
This East to Southern Africa Camping Safari starts in Nairobi, Kenya, and travels south through Tanzania to Zanzibar and on into Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls), before ending in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Budget Camping Safari departs from Nairobi early on Tuesday morning. Should you wish to explore Nairobi, 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.
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