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This Zanzibar, Vic Falls & Kruger Camping Safari takes you on an affordable African adventure through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Highlights on this budget camping trip include game viewing in South Africa's flagship Kruger National Park, as well as exploring Zanzibar Island with its sandy beaches, rich history and intriguing cultures. Top Southern African travel destinations featured on the itinerary include the world famous Victoria Falls, the fascinating and beautiful Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe and vast Lake Malawi, one of the most scenic lakes in the world.
An exciting exploration of Southern Africa's landscapes, natural wonders and cultures - this memorable camping tour offers an ideal mix of wildlife and beaches!
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 African camping safari starts off in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city located on the East Coast of Africa.
We depart from Dar es Salaam in the morning with the tour guide giving a tour briefing on the ferry across to Zanzibar Island, also known as The Spice Island.
Our first destination, the Zanzibar Archipelago, is a cluster of lush tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, lying about 40 km’s off the coast of Tanzania. The main island is Unguja, also called Zanzibar Island, and the other main island is Pemba. The Zanzibar Islands are an alluring tourist destination, offering white sand beaches, exotic spices and a rich cultural heritage. Visitors are drawn to Zanzibar for its idyllic beaches and interesting history that can be seen in the architecture of places like Stone Town, as well as its’ diverse cultures.
We stay in Zanzibar for three nights, giving you plenty of time to explore this rustic and exotic island paradise. This tour does not follow an itinerary on Zanzibar, so you are free to choose your own activities and enjoy the islands at leisure.
Explore the palm-fringed beaches up north, choosing from the array of activities available. Activities include snorkelling and scuba diving in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, taking excursions to the smaller off-lying islands and sampling the delicious fresh seafood on offer. Or you could simply relax on one of the beautiful beaches; sipping on a cocktail and taking a refreshing swim in the sea. Go on a romantic sunset cruise in a traditional Dhow sailing boat or hike one of the trails on the lush forested island of Zanzibar.
Browse the bustling local markets and visit the intriguing mosques, palaces and courtyards of Stone Town, or stroll through the winding lanes of the historic quarter stopping at Arabic-style shops. Treat your senses to a Spice day tour to one of the spice plantations in the area where spices including cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper are grown - a feast of tastes, scents and colours.
Zanzibar displays a unique blend of Arabic and African cultures having once been a major centre for the trading of slaves and spices. Even today the population of Zanzibar is mostly Sunni Muslim with the strong Arabic influence being evident in Zanzibar’s culture as well as its architecture and town design. Some of the 19th century’s great European explorers, such as Richard Burton and David Livingstone, used Zanzibar as a base, with the islands gaining independence from Britain in 1963.
After our Zanzibar Island adventure we take the ferry back to Dar es Salaam, on the mainland.
Basic tourist class accommodation on Zanzibar is included, but meals other than breakfasts are left for your own account for the sake of flexibility. We spend one night in Stone Town and two nights in the north of the island at one of the beaches. Your tour leader will be able to assist if you experience any problems but there are no set activities - the time is entirely at your leisure.
Day four - spend the morning doing a last bit of sightseeing or curio shopping, before we catch the ferry back to Dar es Salaam. Returning to the Tanzanian mainland we camp on the coast before travelling inland the following day.
Next, we drive through Mikumi National Park looking out for elephants, giraffes and other wildlife along the way. If time allows you can embark on an optional game drive in the late afternoon. Arriving at our campsite near Mikumi Park we go for sundowners at the local bar and relax around the campfire under starry skies.
On day six, we travel into the beautiful Southern Highlands of Tanzania, making our way to Iringa and our camp on Kisolanza Farm. At 1600m above sea level, Kisolanza enjoys a mild climate compared to hotter lowlying areas. The farm produces vegetables and meats for the local markets and Dar es Salaam, and has been owned by the same family for over 70 years.
On day seven we travel south through the lush mountains and plantations of the Tanzanian Highlands and cross into Malawi.
Once in northern Malawi we soon reach the vast expanse of Lake Malawi, one of the most scenic lakes in the world. We usually camp at beaches along the shores of the lake near local villages, giving us time to relax and explore the lakeside.
Our itinerary in Malawi is subject to change and only serves as a guideline. We typically spend some time at Chitimba Beach first, visiting craft markets and the local village, and enjoying the lake. You can hike up into the hills, taking a dip in the natural pool at Manchewe Falls, seeing the old Livingstonia Mission and soaking up the beautiful views. Kande Beach is usually our second stop along Lake Malawi. Here you are free to do optional water sports, go horse riding and simply relax on the sandy shores, swimming in the clear, warm waters.
There are a variety of activities available at Lake Malawi, including water sports such as snorkeling and diving. We also have the opportunity of visiting some of the local communities to meet the Malawian people, among the friendliest people in Africa.
Lake Malawi, also known as Lake Nyasa, is the southernmost lake in the Great Rift Valley and the third largest lake in Africa. This African Great Lake covers nearly one fifth of Malawi and is the highlight of any trip to Malawi. The vast freshwater lake is surrounded by high mountains in an idyllically setting and is famous for its clear, warm waters and welcoming local people.
Lake Malawi is also known for its endemic fish, sandy beaches, excellent diving and resident fish eagles. The lake serves as a major food source for Malawians, as well as providing many with a source of livelihood trading fish and making canoes and fishing nets.
We leave the shores of Lake Malawi on day 11, continuing our journey to Chipata, near the border in Zambia. We spend a bit of time exploring Chipata, the capital of the Eastern Province of Zambia, if time allows. The city hosts interesting mosques and lively markets where fresh produce is sold.
After camping near Chipata we get an early morning start, following the Great East Road which runs from Malawi to central Zambia. We drive though lush rural landscapes dotted with villages, crossing Luangwa River en route to Lusaka. Lusaka is the rapidly expanding capital city of Zambia, the commercial and geographical heart of the country with a mix of modern developments, bustling markets and informal settlements. We overnight at a quiet camp on a farm near Lusaka on night 12.
Next up - Livingstone, at Victoria Falls in Zambia.
Our next campsite is located on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, a few kilometers from the famous Victoria Falls waterfall. Vic Falls is considered the largest sheet of falling water in the world, at 1708 m’s wide and 108m’s high - an unforgettable sight!
We spend four nights camping near Livingstone and get to view the natural wonder up close. When you witness the impressive spray rising from Victoria Falls as it plummets over 100 m's, you will understand why it is called the “Smoke that Thunders” or “Mosi oa Tunya”, as Vic Falls is called locally. When the Zambezi is flowing strongly the spray at Vic Falls can be seen from as far as 20 km’s away.
Over the next few days there are no planned activities, leaving you free to explore Livingstone town, participate in some of the thrilling adventure activities or simply relax beside the Zambezi River, keeping an eye out for hippos and crocodiles. During our stay at Victoria Falls there are plenty of exciting activities to choose from, including white water rafting, scenic flights, bungee jumping, canoeing, game viewing, Zambezi River cruises and more. Spend time in Livingstone, browsing markets, meeting locals and sampling the nightlife. Take a day trip to Zimbabwe and unwind at the lodge bar and pool.
During our stay in Livingstone only breakfast is included in the tour price, allowing for flexibility with your other meals while you are on the move. Our overnight camp in Livingstone features a reasonably priced restaurant overlooking the Zambezi River and many of the full and half-day activities include lunch. A budget of between US$30 and $40 per day is recommended for your other meals.
We depart from Livingstone after breakfast today. Passing through Victoria Falls town on the Zimbabwean side of the mighty Zambezi, we take a scenic drive to Bulawayo.
Bulawayo is a pleasant city, known for its cultural richness and historic highlights. If time allows you can walk along the wide streets lined with trees and admire the old colonial buildings of the city. Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe, hosting art galleries and museums, parks and other attractions.
Our overnight campsite is located just outside of Bulawayo on leafy grounds with a swimming pool.
We get up early and make our way into the nearby Matobo National Park with local guides. Driving through the boulder scattered hills and wooded valleys of Matobo we take in the dramatic and rugged scenery from our open safari vehicle. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is of cultural, historical and geological significance, as well as being an important wildlife haven.
We look out for rhinos on our game drive, as Matobo is home to a successful rhino breeding program and intensive protection zone for black and white rhino. If conditions allow our guide may take us in search of rhinos on foot. Other wildlife sightings include giraffe, wildebeest, various other antelopes and sometimes the elusive leopard. The Matobo National Park also hosts one of the highest concentrations of black eagles in the world.
A number of ancient San (bushmen) paintings are found in Matopos Hills, dating back as far as 2000 years ago. The contested burial site of British imperialist and mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes is located at World’s View. The location of Rhodes's grave is controversial because these hills are sacred grounds of the Ndebele.
You have the option of upgrading (extra cost) to a full day tour of Matobo Park, which includes a village tour and historical highlights.
We move into South Africa today, crossing the border at Beit Bridge, over the Limpopo River. The Limpopo is a valuable asset to this arid region and also acts as a natural boundary between Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.
We travel into Limpopo Province to our campsite in Tshipise, adjacent to Honnet Nature Reserve at the foot of one of the many koppies (hills) in this wooded area.
From Tshipise we make our way to the world-renowned Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga Province.
We spend two nights camping within the Greater Kruger area, which covers over 24 000 km² of wild savannah and bushveld. Greater Kruger consists of the national park and surrounding private game reserves - where fences have been dropped to allow wildlife to roam freely. Kruger Park is South Africa’s flagship game park and top travel destination, boasting an unrivaled diversity of plants and animals, ranging from the warthog and dwarf mongoose to Africa’s Big Five - elephant, rhino, leopard, lion and buffalo.
The whole of day 21 is spent game viewing in a 4x4 safari vehicle. Our game drives in Kruger Park take us in search of the Big Five of Africa and a variety of other wildlife, such as giraffe, zebra, cheetah, hyena and various antelope species. With around 507 bird species, 147 mammal species and 114 reptiles game drives in Kruger Park offer excellent photographic opportunities. In addition to its abundance of wildlife, the untamed Kruger Park is also rich in archeological and historical sites.
On the first evening in Greater Kruger we are treated to traditional Shangaan singing and dancing. Our last evening camping under the stars is spent celebrating our exciting African adventure together.
On the final day of our camping safari through Southern Africa we depart from Kruger Park, driving west through one of the most scenic parts of South Africa to our last stop, Johannesburg.
This evening we arrive in the bustling city of Johannesburg, the economic powerhouse of Southern Africa, bringing our African adventure to an end.
Please note that this tour comes with a highly recommended Adventure Pass. The Adventure Pass is optional and costs extra, but it is strongly recommended, because it includes major tour highlights and activities. This local payment can be purchased when booking your tour, or at the start of your trip, payable directly to your tour guide. Contact African Budget Safaris for the detailed itinerary listing what is included in the Adventure Pass and see the Full Pricing above for rates.
Transport on this tour is in a 24-seater, custom-built safari truck. The self-contained truck is fitted with onboard tables, individual lockers (70-litre) and a freezer, as well as safety features. The safari truck also features plug sockets, a library and an i-pod jack. Game drives in 4x4 safari vehicles and ferry crossings.
The group prepares the included meals in camp and help with preparation is invited. Most dietary requirements can be catered for on the road, upon request at the time of booking. Please note that meals in Zanzibar are not included in the tour price.
Some of our National Park visits and game viewing drives are conducted using local services, to ensure the best quality game driving and to comply with local authority rulings. Using local African guides and service providers also adds to our safari experience and allows us to contribute to the local communities. These local services are included in the Local Payment of the tour.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
Mikumi National Park:
Matobo National Park:
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