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Journey from Kenya into Tanzania, embarking on a wildlife safari in Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, two of Africa's best game parks, home to the Big Five and more.
Travel from Dar es Salaam on the coast of Tanzania to the island of Zanzibar, with its golden beaches, exotic spices and colourful African-Arabic cultures.
After visiting Zanzibar, move south into Malawi and relax on the sandy shores of scenic Lake Malawi for a few days. Then this Nairobi to Johannesburg Overland Camping Safari sets off across Zambia to the unspoilt South Luangwa National Park and Livingstone, at Vic Falls.
Drive into neighbouring Botswana to camp in Chobe Park and back to the mighty Victoria Falls. Return to Chobe in Botswana for a sunset boat cruise, before exploring the beautiful Okavango Delta on a wild camping trip.
Head to South Africa's premier national park, Kruger, for world-class game viewing, before finishing this delightful African Camping Safari in Johannesburg.
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 budget Nairobi to Johannesburg Overland Camping Safari departs from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, heading down into Tanzania.
In Tanzania we make our way to Arusha, a popular stopover at the foot of Mount Meru. Our first overnight campsite is at Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha.
Tonight we have dinner together and prepare for our wildlife trip to the famous Northern Safari Circuit of Tanzania.
This morning you are free to visit Arusha and explore the local markets or do some shopping, before we head to Ngorongoro Crater this afternoon. You can go to the Masai Cultural Museum, Meserani Snake Park or a nearby art gallery showcasing Tanzanian Tinga Tinga paintings.
After lunch at Meserani we set off on our locally-operated 4x4 safari to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Leaving Arusha we drive to the dynamic town of Mtu Wa Mbu, enjoying spectacular scenery as we pass Lake Manyara and continue into the Crater Highlands.
Proceeding up the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley we reach our campsite in Karatu, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and rolling farmlands.
This morning we descend into the massive Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage Site, inhabited by an abundance of wild animals. This is the largest continuous caldera (volcanic crater) in the world, hosting some of Africa's highest concentrations of wildlife.
Ngorongoro Crater is known for its close wildlife encounters with free-roaming wildlife, including buffalo, black rhino, lion, hippo, zebra and wildebeest, amongst many antelope species. We spend the morning game viewing in our 4x4 safari vehicle, enjoying the diverse scenery and exciting wildlife sightings.
Leaving the crater, we journey on to the Serengeti National Park, travelling via the famous archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge, often called the 'Cradle of Mankind'. Driving across the open grasslands of the Serengeti Plains we scan for herds of grazers and prides of lions, or roaming cheetahs and other predators. In the southern and central parts of the vast Serengeti National Park we experience the iconic African scenes of famous wildlife documentaries.
We set up a basic camp, without ablution facilities, in the middle of the bush. Here we are immersed in the African wilderness, getting back to nature at the unfenced campsite.
On day four we begin with a thrilling 4x4 game drive in Serengeti Park, looking out for animals and birds on the expansive plains and in the gentle hills.
The Serengeti ecosystem is best known for the seasonal Great Migration when massive herds of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and other herbivores stampede to fresh grazing grounds. Yet, Serengeti National Park is one of Africa's best year-round game viewing destinations, world-famous for its wildlife-rich open plains. All of the Big Five are found here and often sighted, especially elephants, lions and buffalos.
After taking in the stunning wild landscapes dotted with acacia trees and watching the incredible wildlife of Serengeti, we return to Arusha via the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands and Great Rift Valley.
Our budget camping safari travels into Arusha this morning to stock up on supplies and explore the local markets a bit. Then we travel southeast to the coast of Tanzania and our next stop, Pangani. Keep an eye out for Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain, as we pass through Moshi.
Our drive takes us through sisal plantations, past the Usambara and Pare Mountains, to our scenic campsite nestled in the mountains near Pangani.
Today we continue south to the major port city of Dar es Salaam.
The pace of our drive to the warm Indian Ocean slows as we enter the outskirts of 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 pleasant seaside campsite and have time to prepare for our trip to Zanzibar Island the following morning.
On day 7 we hop over to Zanzibar on our island excursion. From the city of Dar es Salaam we take a ferry across to the Spice Island, as Zanzibar is known, 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 some travel companions might opt to end their tour of Africa back in Dar es Salaam after 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 in Zanzibar.
Zanzibar Island has a great range of activities to offer visitors, from historical sightseeing to exciting water activities. Zanzibar is one of Africa's top beach destinations, featuring picture-perfect tropical beaches lapped by azure waters.
Your 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 Zanzibar - the Spice Island and sailing in a traditional dhow 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 or snorkelling in Nungwe is well worth it, as is the experience of fishing in a traditional sailing dhow. There are a variety of restaurants offering a fantastic array of fresh seafood straight from the ocean, with crayfish being a popular speciality. You can mingle with the locals at the seafront market of Forodhani Gardens in Stone Town, enjoying affordable, tasty seafood.
The cobbled streets of the old Stone Town of Zanzibar reveal traces of the local Arabic history, from Medina-style shops to the impressive palaces that belonged to powerful Sultans.
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 at our safari camp in Dar es Salaam town.
On the morning of day 11 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 elevated town of Iringa, our next overnight stop on this Nairobi to Joburg Overland Camping Safari. The night is spent at a charming campsite known for its Amarula hot chocolate and piping hot showers.
We follow the winding road through the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations admiring this beautiful region of Tanzania as we travel.
Next, we cross into Malawi entering the Warm Heart of Africa, as the country is known, via the Songwe border post. Malawi is a 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 along the way. Our days are spent relaxing on the unspoilt beaches, learning to play the game of bao from 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 dugout 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 scenic Lake Malawi and its laid-back people behind, we cross into Zambia and head to the untamed South Luangwa National Park.
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.
Included Activity: Game Viewing in South Luangwa National Park in the tour vehicle
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.
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 on 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 on the banks of the Chobe River. Chobe River, home to hippos and other wildlife, forms a natural border between Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.
After lunch we prepare for our overnight camping trip and relax beside the Chobe River, the main source of water in Chobe National Park.
Then we make our way into this top Botswana game reserve for our overnight experience in the game-rich wilderness of Chobe National Park. Chobe Park is one of the premier game parks in Southern Africa, renowned for its large herds of migratory elephants.
In the afternoon 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!
We spend the evening 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 return to Kasane and our safari truck. Then we cross into Zimbabwe and drive to nearby Victoria Falls, one of Africa's most unforgettable highlights.
Here we visit the spectacular Vic Falls waterfall, located between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Victoria Falls, known by the local Kololo as Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), is truly an awe-inspiring sight!
A short adventure activities briefing is followed by free time to relax at camp, explore the town of Victoria Falls and do optional activities. 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 activities include trips to Livingstone Island, horseback safaris, sunset boat cruises and swimming in Devil's Pool. Adrenalin junkies can bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia, or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither for the faint-hearted!
All year round, flights in fixed-wing, 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 Nairobi to Johannesburg Overland Camping Safari.
This morning we enjoy breakfast before we make our way into Botswana and the town of Kasane, where we set up camp along the banks of the Chobe River, keeping an eye out for the resident hippos!
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 24 we drive south to our next stopover near the town of Nata. 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 west to the town of 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.
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 known for its incredibly rich variety of bird species and animals. Spending time in the Okavango Delta is a unique and remarkable wilderness experience!
This evening we prepare for our overnight trip into the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Bring a smaller daypack along for this short 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.
Day 26 presents the chance to explore one of the last truly wild places on earth.
The Okavango Delta Camping Trip 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. The guides stand in the dug-out canoes and steer us through the channels, ferrying us to the mobile tented camp where local staff await.
After settling in at camp, we venture into delta in our mekoros or on foot to get up close to the wilderness that is the Okavango Delta.
Gliding around in mekoros and walking in the delta are ideal ways 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. Tonight we sleep on twin beds in dome tents with rustic en-suite bathrooms (long drop and bucket shower).
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.
Our Nairobi to Johannesburg Safari sets out early today, for our long drive to the Botswana town of Palapye. This small town is located about midway between Francistown and Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.
Palapye is a popular town for stopping over on safari trips between Botswana and South Africa.
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, named for the shape of the traditional huts; 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 Park, we drive through the small town of Graskop.
Tonight's campsite, situated on a private concession area inside Kruger National Park, is home to hippo, giraffe, zebra and impala, among others. We set off on an exhilarating night game drive in search of nocturnal wildlife in the private reserve. Then we relax around the campfire back at our safari camp within Kruger Park, keeping an eye out for local wildlife and birds.
Today we explore South Africa's premier Kruger National Park on game viewing drives. 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.
Our African Budget Safari departs from the Kruger Park after breakfast. Travelling via the southern section of the picturesque Panorama Route to our final destination, Johannesburg.
We arrive in Johannesburg in the late afternoon where this unforgettable Nairobi to Johannesburg Safari finishes.
We recommend that you extend your stay by a few days to participate in some of the exciting activities available in Johannesburg. Post tour accommodation can be booked through African Budget Safaris.
This Budget African Safari starts in Nairobi, Kenya and travels south through Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, before ending in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Nairobi to Johannesburg 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.
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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