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We start with a wildlife adventure in one of Africa's top game parks - Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. Then we explore Uganda where you can trek for endangered Mountain Gorillas in the rainforests.
Back in Kenya, we visit Lake Nakuru and Naivasha national parks, before driving to Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit, where we go game viewing in the famous Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Next, head to Zanzibar Island to relax on white-sand beaches and experience the rich culture.
Leaving Tanzania we travel along the scenic shores of Lake Malawi for time to kick back and meet the locals. Then we drive into Zambia for exceptional game viewing in the untamed South Luangwa National Park, before stopping over in Livingstone at Vic Falls. Onwards to Chobe National Park in Botswana for an overnight camping trip, crossing into Zimbabwe to visit the mighty Victoria Falls where this memorable 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 Gorillas & Kenya to Vic Falls Overland Camping Safari departs from Kenya's capital in the morning.
Travelling up the escarpment from Nairobi we stop at a viewpoint to look out over part of the sweeping Great Rift Valley. We then descend to the floor of the Rift Valley in Kenya entering Maasai country. The striking-looking Maasai are often seen along the roadside in their brightly-coloured robes herding cattle.
Driving south through the town of Narok, we look out for wildlife en-route to our first overnight campsite. In the late afternoon we arrive at our safari camp overlooking the Meguarra Hills and a meandering stream that borders on the famous 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.
Departing just after sunrise we embark on our first exhilarating game drive in Masai Mara Game Reserve. Kenya's Masai Mara is considered one of the best game viewing destinations in the world and arguably East Africa's top safari destination.
Masai Mara is home to a wide variety of wildlife species including an array of predators and plains game. The reserve is known for its sizeable big cat populations, hosting plenty of lions, leopards and cheetahs. The Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo) are commonly seen on game drives in this 1510 km² wilderness area.
The Masai Mara Reserve is best known for the Annual Wildebeest Migration, also called the Great Migration. This wildlife spectacle sees massive herds of over a million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle stampede across the open plains between the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania and Masai Mara in southwestern Kenya. These huge herds of herbivores are usually seen on the move between July and October when they search for fresh grazing. The masses of grazers attract an abundance of Africa’s predators that are frequently spotted making dramatic kills during the Great Migration.
On our game drive through Masai Mara National Reserve we may see all of Africa's Big Five, along with many other species of animals and birds.
After game viewing in the classical African safari setting of Masai Mara, we have the chance to stop in at one of the nearby Maasai Manyattas – traditional settlements where the Masai Tribes still live in their customary way. In the evening we relax around the campfire, watching the sun set over this iconic African landscape. The Masai Mara Reserve covers incredible wide-open scenery and fertile riverine woodlands, following the looping meanders of the Mara and Talek rivers. Wherever you go in the Masai Mara you will see an abundance of wildlife!
In the early morning we leave the Masai Mara Game Reserve, having experienced incredible wildlife viewing.
From Mara we pass through the rolling tea plantations of Kericho, west of the Rift Valley. Leaving the green hillsides of the highlands we dip down to the Rift Valley Plateau. Then we travel to one of Kenya's fastest growing towns - Eldoret, located south of the Cherangani Hills in western Kenya.
Crossing the western border of Kenya we travel into the striking African country of Uganda.
We stay in the capital city, Kampala, for our first night in Uganda. Uganda is a small country, covering diverse terrains. Habitats vary from fertile areas of greenery in the northern area around the shores of Lake Victoria to the snow-sprinkled Ruwenzori Mountain peaks in the west and the captivating semi-desert region in the north of Uganda.
Over the past political instability in Uganda inadvertently sheltered the country from the negative impacts of rampant commercialization. The current administration has devoted considerable efforts and funds to restoring Uganda to its former position as one of Africa's most prosperous and alluring travel destinations. Uganda appeals to travellers because of its beauty, gorilla trekking and the fact that it is less affected by western development than other African countries, making it a unique country to visit.
On day five we depart from Kampala early in the morning heading southwest into the heart of beautiful Uganda.
Our next overnight base is located at the picturesque Lake Bunyonyi, meaning “place of many little birds”. Around 200 bird species have been recorded at this tranquil lake dotted with islands.
From Lake Bunyonyi we have the option of participating in Mountain Gorilla Trekking Expeditions in the rainforests of central Africa. We trek in Magahinga, or Bwindi National Parks (Uganda), Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo), or Ruhengeri National Park (Rwanda); depending on the availability of gorilla trekking permits.
The prices of the gorilla trekking permits change, sometimes without prior notice. The price is currently at about US$600 depending on which national park is visited. A local transport and handling fee is charged, at about US$120 per person (this includes the return transfer and booking fee with the Wildlife Authority).
When gorilla trekking takes place in the DRC or Rwanda, we will also need to pay for the additional visa for either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa when we re-enter the country. Your safari guide will brief you about the park to be visited, at a pre-departure meeting, and assist with online visa applications for Rwanda en-route, if required. It is customary to tip the local guides and rangers who take you gorilla trekking.
With only about 700 African mountain gorillas remaining, gorilla trekking is an extraordinary opportunity to encounter these gentle primates in the wild. On these unforgettable treks we get to watch the mountain gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei) in their natural habitat – a rare and unique wildlife experience! Although the gorillas are monitored on a daily basis, giving the rangers a good idea of where to find these primates, sightings of the mountain gorillas cannot be guaranteed, as they are still free roaming wild animals.
These mountain gorillas share much of our DNA, therefore anyone with even the mildest cold or any transferable disease will not be permitted on the gorilla treks. There is an age restriction of a minimum of 16 years for trekking. The number of daily visitors allowed on the gorilla trekking trips is limited, thus we depart from our Lake Bunyonyi base in small groups over the next 3 to 4 days, depending on the size of our entire group.
From Bunyonyi we wind our way through some of the most splendid scenery in Africa, travelling to Kisoro town, our next overnight base. The next morning, we pack a picnic lunch and transfer to a ranger’s station, serving as the starting point for our adventure. The rangers will lead you into the dense rainforest in search of a family of gorillas. Gorilla trekking can take anything from 45 minutes to 8 hours depending on how easy the gorillas are to locate. Trekking can be fairly strenuous; therefore it is necessary for participants to be reasonably fit.
We get to spend a maximum of one hour with the mountain gorillas, to ensure that the animals do not get too accustomed to humans and to protect them from any of our diseases. The visit allows for ample time to observe the gorillas from close range and take photographs of them. Your ranger will be able to give you the background on the particular gorilla family that you encounter. When your visit comes to an end you trek back through the rainforest to the meeting point, from where you are transferred to our Lake Bunyonyi base.
The rise in gorilla trekking plays a vital role in the conservation of these endangered mountain gorillas, with tourism helping to ensure the survival of this threatened species. The entire cost of the gorilla trekking permits is used by the national park authorities to protect the gorillas. The gorilla permit fee is used to fund patrolling, key to protecting the gorillas from poachers and deadly snares, as well as to promote awareness about the status of these unique animals.
Lake Bunyonyi, a nature lover’s delight, is the deepest Crater Lake in Africa. There are a number of activities for you to enjoy at Lake Bunyonyi, while you wait for your turn to go gorilla trekking. These activities include: hiking in the hills of this beautiful area, canoeing on the lake or going on a bird watching walk in this birding paradise.
Or you can experience the local culture by visiting a nearby village or church or exploring the local markets of Kabale. You could also choose to take it easy, simply relaxing on the tranquil shores of Lake Bunyonyi or taking a dip in its clean waters.
After the unforgettable gorilla trekking experience and soaking up the serenity of Lake Bunyonyi we return to Kampala.
Along the way we cross the Equator again, pausing to capture the must-have "one foot in each hemisphere" photo. We overnight in Uganda's largest city, Kampala, and have the option of enjoying the local nightlife.
Today you have a choice between visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or transferring to Jinja for activities.
Ngamba Island provides a haven for almost 50 orphaned chimpanzees rescued from across Uganda. Visiting this small island on Lake Victoria gives you the opportunity to get up close to these primates.
In Jinja the selection of adventure activities includes that of white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering at a local community project. In the afternoon you can relax on the riverbanks spotting the wide variety of waterbirds found in this area.
With Uganda, the 'Pearl of Africa', behind us we return to neighbouring Kenya, pausing along the way for supplies and lunch.
Back in Kenya we sleep at a lovely campsite on a farm just outside of Nakuru, one of the country's largest towns and the capital of the Rift Valley Province. In Nakuru you have the chance to visit a local orphanage run by a missionary organization.
The town of Nakuru is located next to the compact and wildlife-rich Lake Nakuru National Park.
This morning we head into the Lake Nakuru National Park on a game drive. This Kenyan game park is famous for the lesser and greater flamingos that flock to the edge of its soda lake. The size of the flamingo flocks at Nakuru vary, but when conditions are right the lake appears almost pink as a result of the flamingo flocks.
We spend the day looking for the frequently sighted black and white rhino. The Nakuru Park was established as a sanctuary for the resident rhino species. We also search for the more elusive leopard, seeing giraffe, buffalo, antelope species and sometimes hippos too.
After our game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park, we return to our campsite in the late afternoon.
On day 13 of our Gorillas & Kenya to Vic Falls Overland Camping Safari we travel to the highest of the Rift Valley lakes, Lake Naivasha, at 1880 m above sea level. Lake Naivasha is home to a multitude of birds, among them the African Fish Eagle with its regal cry.
Today we participate in optional activities near Lake Naivasha, such as visiting Elsamere (former home to Joy & George Adamson of Born Free fame), taking a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary, or a bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park.
On day 14 of this epic African Safari Adventure we enjoy breakfast and return to the camp in Nairobi, arriving in the capital of Kenya by the early afternoon.
We bid farewell to the friends and travel companions ending their budget safari trip in Nairobi and make our way to our overnight camp.
This morning we collect any new passengers joining the Gorillas & Kenya to Vic Falls Overland Camping Safari. Departing from Nairobi we travel south, crossing into Tanzania at Namanga border post.
We stay at a pleasant campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha for the night. Tomorrow we embark on our memorable Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro Crater trip in locally operated 4x4 safari vehicles that have been adapted for game drives.
Explore the thriving town of Arusha in the morning if you like - browse the vibrant craft markets, go shopping or stop in at the art gallery near our camp to see the brightly coloured Tinga Tinga paintings typical of Tanzania. Visit the interesting Masai Cultural Museum to learn about these tribal people and tour the Meserani Snake Park to see the snakes and other reptiles up close.
Heading back to our base camp at Meserani we have lunch and prepare for our Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park Trip. This afternoon we drive to Karatu via the Maasai town of Mtu Wa Mbu, located next to Lake Manyara National Park. We journey up the Great Rift Valley Escarpment to Karatu in the Crater Highlands, with spectacular views over the pretty hills and farms.
Tonight we stay at a lovely campsite in Karatu, departing early the following morning for the Ngorongoro Crater.
Driving to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area we head into the diverse habitats of the Ngorongoro Crater, teeming with wildlife. This crater is a World Heritage Site boasting one of the highest wildlife concentrations in Africa, which makes for some of best game viewing. Ngorongoro Crater game viewing opportunities include high concentrations of various wildlife species, from black rhinos to lions and wildebeest.
We explore the Crater floor on a game drive before ascending out of the crater and down the crater rim, passing the 'Cradle of Mankind' en route to the Serengeti National Park. We cross the open African plains on our game drive through the southern and central areas of the vast Serengeti Park. Then we camp in the heart of the untamed bushveld, in an unfenced area, surrounded by the sounds of Africa's wildlife at night.
In the morning we take an exhilarating game drive in Serengeti Park, admiring the surrounding landscape as we search for game in the area. The famous Big Five of Africa (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard) are often sighted on our Serengeti game drives.
Along with Masai Mara, Serengeti hosts the Great Migration - an unforgettable wildlife phenomenon! The endless plains dotted with acacia trees are the scenes that movies of wild Africa have been made of, presenting perfect photo opportunities.
After the rewarding morning game drive, we retrace our steps, crossing the vast plains and skirting the rim of lush Ngorongoro Crater. Back in Tanzania's Arusha, we spend the evening recounting our thrilling tales of the wildlife encounters experienced on the plains of Serengeti and in the Ngorongoro Crater.
The Gorillas & Kenya to Vic Falls Overland Camping Safari takes us into Arusha this morning to top up on supplies before driving south towards Dar es Salaam, on the coast of Tanzania.
We travel through Moshi, a small town at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. Moshi serves as the base for climbing expeditions up Mount Kilimanjaro and passing by we may catch sight of the towering peak, another fantastic photo opportunity!
Driving through expansive sisal plantations flanked by the Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges we continue south to our pleasant overnight campsite tucked away in the mountains, halfway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
Travelling via lush countryside landscapes and groves of palm trees, we reach our next safari destination, Dar es Salaam.
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 Dar es Salaam on the east coast of Africa we head to our nice seaside campsite and have time to prepare for our trip to Zanzibar Island the following morning.
On day 21 we travel to Zanzibar, taking a ferry from Dar es Salaam across to the Spice Island, where we spend the next three nights.
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.
New passengers may join us on our Zanzibar Trip, while others might end their tour of Africa back in Dar es Salaam after visiting Zanzibar.
Meal costs and most activities 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 activities in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Island has a great range of activities to offer visitors, from historical sightseeing to exciting water activities.
This safari includes a spice tour and a dhow cruise during your stay on Zanzibar. Exploring the spice plantations is a colourful and aromatic experience - a must on the Spice Island, and sailing in a traditional dhow vessel is the ideal way to watch the sun go down.
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 great ways to explore this beach paradise. There are a variety of restaurants offering a fantastic array of fresh seafood straight from the ocean, with crayfish being a popular speciality. 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. Strolling through the cobbled streets of old Stone Town will reveal traces of Zanzibar's Arabic history, from Medina-style shops to the impressive palaces that once belonged to wealthy Sultans.
Departing from the tropical Zanzibar Island in the afternoon our idyllic beach trip comes to a close. We return to the shores of Tanzania by the early evening feeling rejuvenated, sun-kissed and relaxed.
We spend the night at a safari camp in Dar es Salaam town.
On the morning of day 25 we set off from coastal Dar es Salaam making our way further south through Tanzania.
We drive inland via 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 elevated town of Iringa, our next overnight stop on this Gorillas & Kenya to Vic Falls 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, dubbed The Warm Heart of Africa, driving via the Songwe border post.
Malawi is a long, landlocked country with 20% of its total area covered by the beautiful, 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 cross into Zambia and head for the untamed South Luangwa National Park.
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 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.
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 southern Zambian 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.
Once in Botswana we drive to the northern town of Kasane, located along 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. From there we cross into Zimbabwe in our safari truck, making our way to nearby Victoria Falls.
Today we will visit one of the most memorable highlights of Africa - Victoria Falls waterfall. The local Kololo people call Vic Falls Mosi-oa-Tunya, meaning 'The Smoke that Thunders' - an apt name for the world's largest sheet of falling water, some 1700 m wide and 100 m tall.
Your guide provides a brief overview of the adventure activities available at Vic Falls and then you are free to relax at the camp's pool, explore the highlights of Victoria Falls town and do adventure activities!
On day 35 we have breakfast together and say goodbye to our fellow travellers, bringing this affordable Gorillas & Kenya to Vic Falls Overland Camping Safari to a close in Victoria Falls.
Optional activities for after your safari 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, microlight and ultralight aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. Whitewater 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.
This Budget African Safari starts in Nairobi, Kenya and travels through Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia, before ending in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The Gorillas & Kenya to Vic Falls Overland Camping Safari departs from Nairobi in Kenya early on Sunday mornings. 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 booking purposes please notify African Budget Safaris as soon as possible should you choose not to go Mountain Gorilla Trekking.
Please note this tour or a portion of this tour may coincide with a family departure, in which case, children from 6 years old may be included in the tour. Please contact African Budget Safaris to confirm.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
Please note this tour or a portion of this tour may coincide with a family departure, in which case, children from 6 years old may be included in the tour. Please contact African Budget Safaris to confirm.
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