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Departing from Johannesburg our first safari destination is South Africa's premier game reserve - Kruger National Park.
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 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 incredible 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.
We replenish our supplies and head north towards Zimbabwe. We have a long drive ahead of us but the ever-changing scenery is a lovely diversion. Our journey takes us to Musina, known for being one of the hottest towns in South Africa. Here we camp at Tshipise, a resort with hot water springs. After we have set up camp take a dip in the rejuvenating springs and explore the walking trails and other activities on offer here.
Today we cross the border into Zimbabwe, a country rich in tradition and culture. We head for the world-famous Great Zimbabwe ruins, a fascinating reminder of an ancient, highly-skilled civilisation that constructed this medieval city. Wander around the remains of these ancient 'great stone houses' which is a translation of the Shona word for Zimbabwe. One of the most interesting finds at these remains were eight soapstone carvings of birds. Tonight we camp at the foot of the hills.
On Day 6 we travel to Zimbabwe's second largest city, Bulawayo. Steeped in colonial history, many of the town's buildings are heritage sites, maintained by Bulawayo City Council. Places of interest include the Natural History Museum, the National Arts Gallery and the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, which employs over 70 people. The streets are exceptionally wide, designed to accommodate a span of oxen in times past.
Today we spend the day exploring the unique geological, ecological and historic area of the Matobo National Park. One of the few game reserves where the black and white rhino is prolific, it also home to a high concentration of the elusive leopard and the magnificent black eagle. The rock paintings found here are a legacy of the San people, evidence that they inhabited this area. Cecil John Rhodes is buried in these sacred hills, as he requested, although there is some controversy as to whether he will remain here.
We continue north-west to Zimbabwe’s oldest and largest reserve– the Hwange National Park. Hwange is well known for its abundance and variety of wildlife species including thousands of elephants, and rare antelope species such as the Sable and Roan Antelope. We enjoy a game drive to explore the wilderness in search of these, and the other resident wildlife species.
Today we spend the day wildlife viewing in Hwange National Park. Once the royal hunting grounds of the Ndebele warrior-king, Mzilikazi, it became a national park in 1929. Hwange boasts a large variety of wildlife, including the highest population of elephant in Africa and over 100 species of mammals as well as 400 bird species.
On day 10 we head to Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River. When we arrive your guide will brief you on the activities available and you can unwind by the pool. In the afternoon we visit Victoria Falls - the largest sheet of falling water in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the natural wonders of the world, surrounded by Victoria Falls National Park on the Zimbabwe side. The local name Mosi-oa-Tunya means the 'smoke that thunders' and upon visiting you will see and hear why it is so named.
Our overnight camp is in the middle of Victoria Falls town, an ideal base for walking to local restaurants, sights, shops and booking agents, as well as Vic Falls.
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. 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.
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 and 17 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.
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 a relaxing beach trip to Zanzibar Island.
On day 23 we travel to Zanzibar on our 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 after our trip to Zanzibar.
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 activities/meals in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Island has a wide 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 on the Spice Island and sailing in a traditional dhow is the ideal way to watch the sun go down.
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 great 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 speciality. 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 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 relaxing 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. Tomorrow we embark on 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 Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park Trip. This afternoon our 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 a 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.
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.
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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