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Departing from Johannesburg our first safari destination is South Africa's premier game reserve - Kruger National Park.
Then we head north into Botswana for an optional Okavango Delta camping trip, overnight in a private conservancy near Nata and a boat cruise on Chobe River.
Visit the spectacular Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, then go camping in the game-rich Chobe Park of Botswana, before crossing into truly African Zambia, where we cruise on the Zambezi River and explore the untamed South Luangwa National Park.
Next, we travel to Lake Malawi and spend a few days relaxing on the sandy shores of this scenic lake, exploring the local culture. Visit Zanzibar Island with its tropical beaches and rich Arabic-African culture, before returning to Tanzania's mainland and Arusha, gateway to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Parks. Take an optional wildlife safari into these famous game parks, home to Africa's Big Five animals and more, then journey to Nairobi in Kenya.
An unforgettable Johannesburg to Nairobi Overland Camping Safari!
During this trip you are likely to come across activities that encourage tourists to participate in lion, elephant or other wildlife interaction. This includes walking with lions, riding elephants and any other tourist operation putting travellers in close contact with animals that would normally live wild and separate from human contact.
We absolutely do not encourage or endorse this type of wildlife interaction operation. For more information on why this is not good for Africa's wild animals, please see our detailed blog post on the subject.
This Johannesburg to Nairobi Overland Camping Safari departs from Johannesburg travelling into the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa to the world-renowned Kruger National Park. Our journey takes us through the southern part of the scenic Panorama Route – famous for its breathtaking views.
Tonight we embark on a night game drive in Kruger National Park, exploring the game-rich bush after dark in search of the nocturnal wildlife roaming this African game park. Then we relax around the campfire at our camp inside Kruger National Park, getting a good night's rest before our early morning game drive. Our African wildlife experience begins at the safari camp, which is home to hippo, giraffe, zebra and impala, among others.
Today we explore the private reserve within Kruger National Park on game viewing drives in our safari truck. This top African game park covers an area of 21 497 km2 (60 km wide and over 350 km long). 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 viewpoints as we explore. You have the option of upgrading to an open safari vehicle at extra cost.
We say goodbye to Kruger Park and leave the Lowveld of South Africa behind, heading to Polokwane.
Our drive takes us along one of South Africa's most scenic areas - the Panorama Route, including the impressive Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. We stop to admire the panoramic vistas at some of the viewpoints along the Blyde River Canyon, taking advantage of the superb photo opportunities.
Our next stop is Polokwane, capital of the Limpopo Province, and the largest metropolitan hub in the northern part of the country. The economic centre of Polokwane serves as a gateway stop over on safaris through Southern Africa.
The overnight camp is situated just outside Polokwane, and on arrival we set up our tents on the green lawns, before enjoying a swim in the refreshing swimming pool.
Today we set off northwards, crossing into the top safari country of Botswana, topping up on supplies en route. We overnight in the rapidly growing town of Palapye, located halfway between Francistown and Botswana's capital city - Gaborone.
Continue north to Maun, driving through largely uninhabited rural landscapes. The bustling town of Maun is the most popular base for safaris into the famous Okavango Delta.
Tonight we get ready for our optional camping trip in the magical Okavango Delta - an unforgettable bush experience. Your guide tells you more about what to expect in the delta, advising you on what to pack in your overnight bag.
Early this morning our Johannesburg to Dar es Salaam Overland Camping Safari sets off from Maun, heading into the pristine Okavango Delta.
First we drive north to a mokoro (canoe) station, where we switch to mekoros and proceed deeper into the delta. Local 'polers' ferry us through the labyrinth of narrow channels and reed-fringed lagoons in mekoros, traditionally used to move around the vast estuarine ecosystem. Arriving at the tented camp we are welcomed by the local team of staff, who show us around.
Get settled and have a cool drink, before taking a mokoro trip or guided walk in this unique wild environment. Moving slowly and quietly through the bush enables us to see the flora and fauna up close, possibly coming across large mammals, such as elephants, antelops and buffalos.
Tonight we fall asleep to the sounds of wildlife and smaller creatures in the bush around us. Our dome tents feature twin beds and basic en-suite bathrooms (long drop toilet and bucket shower).
This morning we wake up to the sound of birds, as the delta comes to life. Take one more walk in the Okavango Delta to encounter the diverse lifeforms found in this wild place.
After our walk it's time to pack up and climb back into our mekoros, gliding out of the delta. Reaching the mokoro station we transfer to safari vehicles and drive back to Maun.
This afternoon you can embark on an optional scenic flight over the Okavango Delta (extra cost). Flying over the delta in a small plane enables you to see the true size of this natural wonder, admiring its beauty and watching wildlife roaming below.
On day eight of our epic Overland Camping Safari, we drive east through sparsely inhabited rural Botswana en route to our camp near Nata.
The lodge is located on a 16000 hectare private conservancy that is home to various wild animals and birds. Arriving at the lodge you have the option of taking a game drive or a bush walk on the conservancy. Ask your guide about arranging this optional activity. Sightings include elephants, giraffes, buffalos, zebras, antelopes and predators such as jackals, lions and wild dogs.
Alternatively you can relax at the lodge, watching for wildlife at the waterhole right in front of the bar-lounge area and cooling off in the pool.
From Nata we travel north to Kasane town, close to Chobe National Park. We set up camp along the Chobe River - the major source of water in Chobe National Park, attracting a host of animals and birds.
We take a relaxing boat cruise on the Chobe River, famous for its excellent boat-based game viewing, admiring another beautiful African sunset from the river. Also, keep an eye out for hippos, elephants, birds and other animals that can be spotted from the camp.
Today this Overland Camping Safari travels to the Adventure Capital of Africa - Victoria Falls.
After a short adventure activities briefing we visit the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the most magnificent natural wonders in the world. Victoria Falls is known as Mosi-oa-Tunya by the local Kololo Tribe, which means 'the Smoke that Thunders'. Viewing the world's largest sheet of falling water, some 1700 m wide and about 100 m tall, up close is an unforgettable experience.
After marveling at the World Heritage Site of Vic Falls you are free to lounge at the camp's pool or participate in adventure activities and explore the sights 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 fantastic optional adventure activities at Victoria Falls.
Optional Excursions include day trips into the Zambezi or Hwange National Parks, 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. 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 African Camping Safari.
After breakfast we depart from Vic Falls crossing into Botswana and making our way to Kasane, 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. The Chobe River forms a natural border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia. Chobe National Park is one of Botswana’s premier game parks, renowned for its large herds of elephants.
From Kasane we set off on our Chobe Overnight Mobile Excursion - camping in the wilds of this top African game park for the night. In the afternoon we take a game drive en route to our bush camp in Chobe National 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!
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 the town of Kasane. 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 can go view Victoria Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia or enjoy a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River. More fantastic photo opportunities!
Today we get an early start and head northwards, passing through villages and towns in southern Zambia en route to our next campsite, in Eastern Zambia.
Zambia flourished during the copper boom in the 60’s and was able to establish extensive infrastructure in its main mining and farming communities. With the decline of the copper industry, the country was left virtually bankrupt and the infrastructure fell into ruin. But today Zambia is again starting to prosper, due to foreign investment and a resurgence in the mining industry. The rising prosperity can be seen in the cities of Zambia where foreign stores, banks and imported cars are increasing, but the villages and smaller towns are less developed.
Some of the local wildlife such as the eland, Africa's largest antelope, share the safari campsite with us!
On day 16 we visit the 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 in our tour vehicle.
Travelling on the old "East Road" we drive in a northeasterly direction from South Luangwa Park, finding our way to a stunning campsite near the border between Zambia and Malawi.
We follow what was once the route from Cape Town to Cairo that passes through Lusaka on its way to Malawi. While most of today is taken up by driving, we do cross the impressive Luangwa River Bridge which is closely guarded due to its close proximity to the Zimbabwean & Malawian borders.
We’ll also stop to stock up on some fresh produce and supplies from the local sellers along the way. We overnight at our lovely campsite, before heading into neighbouring Malawi.
Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa and over the next few days we explore this friendly nation.
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 trace the full length of the western shores of Lake Malawi, visiting scenic bays along the way. We start in the central area moving north along the fringes of the lake. 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.
We leave Lake Malawi utterly relaxed after four days and enter Tanzania via the border post at Songwe. Taking in the beauty of the Tukuyu banana and tea plantations of the area, we head for our next night's stop, the high-lying town of 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 our Johannesburg to Nairobi Overland Camping Safari to the seaside city of Dar es Salaam.
We pass through the Mikumi National Park of Tanzania seeing a wide range of wildlife from the roadside. The wildlife in Mikumi is quite accustomed to the passing traffic, which makes sighting the animals easier as we drive through the game park.
Upon our arrival in Dar es Salaam, we find our lovely campsite set at the seaside and busy ourselves with preparations for the next stretch of our African journey. The next morning we embark on an optional trip to Zanzibar Island.
On day 23 we travel to Zanzibar on our optional island excursion. From Dar es Salaam we take a ferry across to the Spice Island, where we spend three nights. Zanzibar Island is one of Africa's top beach getaways, boasting unspoilt tropical beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters.
Zanzibar has a colourful past once serving as one of the major departure points for European explorations into new territories of East Africa. The islands were also an important stop on the old trade route between Europe, Africa and the East. New passengers may join us on our Zanzibar Trip, while some travel companions might opt to end their tour 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 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. One of Africa's top beach destinations, relaxing on the picture-perfect tropical beaches lapped by azure waters is a must.
Explore one of the spice plantations, a colourful experience on Zanzibar, which is famous for its exotic spices. The quaint streets of the old Stone Town of Zanzibar reveal traces of the local Arabic history, from Medina-style shops to the impressive palaces that once belonged to powerful Sultans.
Other interesting activities on Zanzibar Island include snorkelling, island hopping and day trips 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. 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 bargain prices.
Departing from the tropical Zanzibar Island in the afternoon our African 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 catching up with fellow travellers at our safari camp near Dar es Salaam city.
From Dar es Salaam we travel through the Tanzanian countryside and expansive coconut and sisal plantations on our way to Pangani. We spend the night here, breaking our long journey to the Northern Safari Circuit of Tanzania.
Today we pass the Usambara and Pare Mountains, before driving through Moshi town. From Moshi we catch a glimpse of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro on clear days - a fantastic photo opportunity! The town of Moshi forms the base for climbing expeditions up Mount Kilimanjaro's slopes to its snowy summit. The night is spent camping in scenic Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha.
Arusha town is located at the foot of Mount Meru and serves as the gateway for excursions to the Northern Safari Circuit parks - Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara Park and the Serengeti Park. Next we have the option of taking a wildlife safari to the legendary Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro Crater. This game viewing trip is run in locally operated 4x4 safari vehicles that have been adapted for game drives.
Explore the thriving town of Arusha in the morning - browse the vibrant craft markets or visit the art gallery near our camp to view 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.
Heading back to our base camp at Meserani we have lunch and prepare for our departure, for those participating in the optional Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park Trip. If you choose not to visit the Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater there are various alternative activities available, such as village tours and day trips from Arusha to Lake Manyara and Tarangire Park.
This afternoon our optional Ngorongoro & Serengeti Trip takes us 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, located in the Crater Highlands, with spectacular views over the surrounding hills. Karatu has many well-established farms adding to its picturesque scenery. We stay at pleasant campsite in Karatu overnight, departing early the following morning for the Ngorongoro Crater.
Driving to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area we head down into 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.
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.
Driving north early this morning we head to the Tanzania-Kenyan border via the small border town of Namanga. Crossing into Kenya we journey north to the capital city, Nairobi, where our safari adventure comes to a close.
The remainder of the day (post-safari) is free for you to explore Nairobi and enjoy some of the numerous optional activities available in this vibrant city. You can visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, to see the orphaned baby elephants at feeding time, head to the Giraffe Centre in Langata for more game viewing, take a day trip to Nairobi National Park or take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets. In the evening you might like to eat out in Nairobi, trying one of the many excellent local restaurants.
If you prefer fixed accommodation to camping there is an accommodation upgrade available for this tour. Please see the Full Pricing information above for details.
This Budget African Safari begins in Johannesburg, South Africa and travels north through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and ending in Nairobi, Kenya. The Johannesburg to Nairobi Overland Camping Safari departs from Johannesburg in South Africa early on Wednesday morning. Should you wish to explore Johannesburg, 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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