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This is an unforgettable Zanzibar, Masai Mara & Gorillas Overland Camping Safari combining top East African Safari destinations. Experience the ever changing faces of Africa on this camping trip that will leave you wanting more!
Explore the exotic island paradise of Zanzibar, the Spice Island, and its idyllic sandy beaches lapped by warm tropical waters.
Go mountain gorilla trekking in the rain forests of Uganda, where you come face-to-face with these gentle primates in their natural surroundings. The memory of the Gorilla Trek - of observing these gentle giants as they roam and feed in their ever-diminishing habitat - will remain with you forever.
Embark on exhilarating game viewing drives in search of Africa's Big 5 in the best game parks of Tanzania and Kenya, including the famous Masai Mara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater!
First our Zanzibar, Masai Mara & Gorillas Overland Safari travels to Zanzibar Island from the coastal city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
A ferry trip brings us to Stone Town on Zanzibar, where we spend three nights. This beautiful cluster of tropical island is one of Africa's most sought after beach destinations. Warm Indian Ocean waters and white sand beaches fringed with palms, make Zanzibar Island an appealing holiday spot. Also known as The Spice Islands, Zanzibar has a rich history and mix of cultures as it was once a major stopover on the trade route.
Your guide can help you arrange accommodation and meals, which are for your own expense in Zanzibar, so the choice is yours. If you decide not to go to Zanzibar, you stay at our campsite along the beach, near Dar es Salaam city. You can go scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing as optional extras.
There is plenty to do on Zanzibar Island, including spice tours, historical tours of Stone Town and various water activities. Walk through the cobbled streets of Stone Town to see churches, mosques, Arabic style architecture and old palace ruins. Snorkelling and scuba diving are popular on Zanzibar, with options such as day trips to Nungwe and Prison Island. Visit the Forodhani Gardens market and eat fresh seafood at one of the many local eateries.
Leaving Zanzibar Island on the afternoon of day four we return to the mainland of Tanzania and our camp near Dar es Salaam.
Today we head north along the coast of Tanzania, passing through rural landscapes and sisal plantations. We spend the night in Pangani, the mid-way point between Dar es Salaam and Arusha. If time allows, take a walk on the beach or visit the town, which has an interesting history.
Our next stop - Arusha, gateway to the famous Northern Safari Circuit incorporating Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park and the Serengeti National Park. We camp near Arusha at a lovely spot in Meserani, getting ready for the optional game viewing trip to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
This morning there is time to visit the market, shops, museum, Meserani Snake Park and art galleries with Tinga Tinga pictures, in and around Arusha. After lunch at camp we set off for Karatu in local 4x4 safari vehicles, driving via the village of Mtu Wa Mbu.
We drive up the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley into the highlands of the Ngorongoro Crater. Karatu has many well-established farms adding to its picturesque scenery. Our overnight stay is at a lovely campsite in Karatu, overlooking the scenic countryside.
If you stay behind at the camp in Arusha there are optional activities available, such as day trips to local villages, Lake Manyara and Tarangire Park.
Entering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area we descend into the Ngorongoro Crater to look for wildlife. A World Heritage Site and the world's largest unflooded volcano crater, Ngorongoro hosts one of the highest concentrations of game in Africa. Our game drive gives us a chance to see a variety of large mammals, including the Big Five of Africa (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant).
After game viewing in the crater we travel to the world-famous Serengeti National Park, via the 'Cradle of Mankind' as Olduvai Gorge is known. Continuing onto the Serengeti Plains we overnight at a rustic bush camp in the middle of this game-rich African wilderness.
Day nine starts with a game viewing drive in the famous Serengeti National Park. This is one of the finest wildlife destinations in the world, best known for the Great Migration and its spectacular savannah scenery.
We could encounter all of the Big Five of Africa, an abundance of other wildlife and if the timing is right we may catch the annual Wildebeest Migration in motion. After our exploration of the endless open plains we return to Arusha, driving along the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater along the way.
On day ten we cross into Kenya at the Namanga border post, heading north to Nairobi. Our camp lies just outside of the capital city, adjacent to Nairobi National Park, and near the giraffe sanctuary and elephant orphanage.
If time allows you can browse the local market, tour the elephant orphanage run by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, take a game drive in Nairobi National Park or visit the Giraffe Centre, ending the day off with dinner out. Visit lively markets and shop for souvenirs, or explore the city. Eat out at one of the excellent restaurants in Nairobi and enjoy the vibrant nightlife.
Today we head to world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve, stopping to admire the views over the Great Rift Valley en route. Our overnight camp offers views of a stream bordering on Masai Mara, and the Meguarra hills. Wild animals are often spotted along our route, near Narok town, and we may see the brightly coloured robes of the Maasai herders as we drive.
Sit around the campfire this evening and enjoy the sounds of nature and wildlife nearby.
Just after sunrise we set off into Masai Mara on a morning game drive. Like Serengeti this is quintessential African safari country with open plains and abundant wildlife.
The Annual Wildebeest Migration, also takes place in Masai Mara, with the massive herds moving between Serengeti and Mara every year. If our timing is right (usually July to October) we should get to see the hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras, along with the predators that follow the stampeding herbivores. Then we can visit the Maasai people living in a traditional Masai Manyatta (hamlet) near the game reserve.
Leaving the wildlife haven of Masai Mara National Reserve behind we make our way through plantations at Kericho, down the plateau of the Great Rift Valley to Eldoret, near Cherangani Hills.
From Kenya we travel into Uganda, the 'Pearl of Africa'. This truly African country is famous for its endangered gorilla population and beautiful scenery. We spend the night in Kampala, the capital city.
We hit the road early for our long drive southwest to Lake Bunyoni. From here we will go mountain gorilla trekking in either Magahinga or Bwindi National Park of Uganda. If permits for trekking in Uganda are not available we may trek in Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo), or Ruhengeri National Park (Rwanda).
The prices of the trekking permits change, sometimes without prior notice. The price is currently at about US$600 depending on which National Park we are gorilla trekking in. The gorilla permit fee is used to help conserve these endangered animals. A local transport and handling fee is charged, at about US$120 per person (this includes the return transfer and booking fee with the Wildlife Authority).
When gorilla trekking takes place in the DRC or Rwanda, we will also need to pay for the additional visa for either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa when we re-enter the country. The trip leader will advise at the pre-departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed. Please take these costs into account when budgeting for the gorilla trekking excursions. We also advise budgeting a little extra for tipping the local guides and game rangers. Please budget accordingly as payment for the trekking permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.
With only about 700 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 gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), one of our closest living relatives, in its natural habitat – a rare and unique wildlife experience! The gorillas are monitored on a daily basis giving the rangers a good idea of where to find these endangered primates at any given time. This said, 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 of age for trekking. The number of daily visitors allowed on the gorilla treks 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 group.
From Lake Bunyonyi we drive through some of the most beautiful scenery in Africa to Kisoro town, our next overnight base. The next morning, we pack a picnic lunch and transfer to a ranger’s station, the starting point for our trek. 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. The increase in daily gorilla trekking plays a vital role in the conservation of these endangered mountain gorillas. 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 snares, as well as to promote awareness of these great apes.
Today we depart from Lake Bunyonyi having experienced one of the most rare and unforgettable wildlife encounters on earth.
On our way back to Kampala we stop at the equator line for some fun two-hemisphere photos. This evening you can enjoy the nightlife of Kampala or rest after the long drive.
On day 20 you can tour the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or enjoy optional activities in Jinja. Activities include white water rafting on the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering in the community.
This morning we drive back into Kenya, making our way to Nakuru and our pleasant camp on the outskirts of town. You can visit the nearby orphanage to meet the children, or simply relax at camp.
Into Lake Nakuru National Park we go, looking out for wildlife and diverse birds. Animals often spotted include giraffes, hippos, baboons, rhinos, buffalos and zebras. Leopards and lions are sometimes seen, as well as warthogs, antelopes and monkeys. Lake Nakuru attracts a variety of waterbirds and when conditions are right huge flamingo flocks can be seen fringing its waters. We return to the campsite near Nakuru later in the afternoon.
On day 23 we head up to the highest lake of the Great Rift Valley - Lake Naivasha. Lake Naivasha National Park is a birding haven hosting over 400 species. Optional activities include visiting Elsamere, where Born Free authors Joy and George Adamson lived. You can also take a boat cruise to Crescent Island Game Sanctuary, or cycle in Hell’s Gate National Park.
Our Zanzibar, Masai Mara & Gorillas Overland Camping Safari ends back in Nairobi.
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 Zanzibar, Masai Mara & Gorillas Overland Camping Safari departs from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, ferrying to Zanzibar Island before exploring Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, and ending in Nairobi, Kenya.
Depart from Dar es Salaam early on Thursday mornings. Pre-safari accommodation can be booked through African Budget Safaris. This itinerary should be used as a guide only and all prices and Local Payments are subject to change. Due to Tourism Laws there may be truck and crew changes during the safari.
For up-to-date and confirmed pricing info for optional items, please drop us an enquiry.
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