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This camping adventure overland tour starts in Kampala and finishes on Zanzibar/Dar es Salaam. Safari across the plains of the Serengeti and into the ancient caldera, Ngorongoro Crater. Trek the endangered mountain gorillas on the slopes of the Virunga. White water raft on the rapids of the White Nile, camp out in the wilds of Queen Elizabeth National Park and help out in a local school, finishing on the barefoot paradise of Zanzibar Island for a perfect taste of Africa!
The Serengeti; Ziwa Rhino Sancturary; Jinja; Bujagali; Queen Elizabeth National Park; Kazinga Channel game cruise; Bwindi; Lake Mutanda; Ngorongoro Crater; Kigali; The Grumeti Game Reserve; Lake Victoria; Mountain Gorillas (Optional extra); Zanzibar (Optional extra)
MEALS: breakfast and dinner whilst traveling on truck ACCOMMODATION: Camping in dome tents. Tents and roll mattresses are provided and the tents have sewn in floors and mosquito netting. You will need to bring a sleeping bag & sleep sheet. Get a cheap mosquito net in Africa if you want to sleep outside of your tent. If you start your trip in Nairobi or South Africa you can buy camping gear at the local department stores. All campsites have good ablution facilities & bars, and some have restaurants, shops and internet facilities. About half the campsites have upgrades to hut or cabins for an extra charge.
Minimum age is 18. Average age of the passengers is between 18 – 39 but if you are an open minded person more at age and you don’t mind climbing daily in and out the overland truck you are more than welcome to join!
The 4 day Zanzibar excursion is an optional extra and not yet included in the tour price. Download Tour Dossier for more info and prices.
The Taste of Africa safari departs from the Red Chilli Hideaway at 7.30 am on the departure date. The meeting point for this trip is Red Chilli Hideaway at 8.45 pm on the day before departure. If at all possible, it is best to be at Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala, by 8.00 pm on the evening before the safari starts. We can reserve accommodation for you at the Red Chilli Hideaway. Just note that Kampala is some distance from the airport. In some circumstances it is preferable to spend the first night in Entebbe, particularly if you arrive on a late evening flight. We can arrange accommodation for you at the Entebbe Flight Motel in Entebbe, Uganda, if it is best that you stay here when you first arrive
Jinja – Dar Es Salaam/Zanzibar
Meet up in Jinja in the afternoon of day 1
We meet up at Jinja in the afternoon of Day One at our camp by the White Nile. Here you have the next two days free to enjoy the many activities on offer whilst getting to know your fellow travellers.
Hit grade 3 to 5 rapids white water rafting amidst lush tropical vegetation in the equatorial sunshine. Kayak, bungee jump, quad bike, swim, fish, horse ride and take a village walk. Many people enjoy volunteering at one of the community projects in the local villages.
Optional excursions: Whitewater rafting, bungee jump, kayaking, boat trips and cruises, incl. fishing trips, sups, voluntary work in a local school, quad biking, horse riding, mountain biking.
Leaving Jinja, we travel to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in Uganda where we can see rhinos. Here there is the option in the afternoon to go for a rhino trek on foot or do a boat trip in the park.
Included wildlife activity: Entry to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Optional excursions: Rhino trek, boat ride
Today we leave for Kampala, the capital of Uganda. We stop for shopping and there is time to explore a little in the city, we stay here overnight. The next day we head west into lush countryside. We stop off at a local drum and craft market on the way, and then at the Equator for a photo shoot.
We camp this afternoon near the hillside forest of Kalinzu on the edge of the Rift Valley and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
The option of an early morning chimpanzee trek is scheduled in the beautiful Kalinzu Forest. Be prepared for an energetic hike in the Ugandan jungle as the chimps can travel fast and are often high up in the forest. The vegetation is thick on the trails and the chimps can be elusive. The chimps here are wild and whilst these chimps are habituated to human contact, there is an element of luck as to whether the chimps will be seen. Some trips we have some good viewing, other times no.
Following our morning set aside for chimpanzee trekking, we travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park for an afternoon game cruise on the Kazinga Channel to sit back and enjoy the company of hippo from the safety of a boat. There is also buffalo for company and the occasional Nile crocodile lying disarmingly motionless nearby, blending into the surroundings. Watch kingfishers diving behind us to catch small fish disorientated by the slowly passing boat. There are also elephant, lion, hyena and leopard in the park.
Included wildlife activities: Game cruise on the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park. Slow
transit afternoon drive, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Optional Excursion: Chimpanzee trek in Kalinzu Forest
This morning we head back again into the park for an early morning game drive where hopefully we find some surprises in amongst the bushes, with great views from our overland truck.
The park is a haven for around 600 species of bird and the thousands of migratory Ugandan Kob. We then make our way to Kisoro, passing through Kabale to stock up with gorgeous views of the Virunga Mountains on our drive. Arriving in Kisoro we settle into our very simple rural guesthouse for the next three nights in the border town on the edge of the gorillas’ mountain home.
Included wildlife activity: Morning game drive, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Vehicle for game drive: Overland truck
We are now in the land of the endangered mountain gorilla, and on arrival we have an orientation meeting as to the activities available here and particularly a pre-trek meeting for the gorilla trek.
At altitudes of up to 3,500 feet, gorilla trekking through dense vegetation on the volcanic slopes of the Virungas is one of the trip’s high points. The gorillas are magic to visit. Herbivores, who munch the day away when they are not playing or sleeping,
they live in family groups under the charge of an older dominant male. Known as the silverback, this adult male can weigh up to 350 lbs. Despite their size, the gorillas are shy, gentle and sensitive creatures, in danger of extinction.
Our main highlight is the gorilla trek. There are several other excursions on offer here though apart from the trek. For another view of the gorilla forest, head out to trek a troop of golden monkeys in the lower reaches of the forest. The golden monkey is a sub species of the blue monkey and is named for its vibrant colouring. Or a tour to an indigenous group of Batwa or Pygmy can also be organised in Kisoro, this group of local peoples sadly having being relocated away from their traditional life in the forest. Alternatively a Pygmy dance troupe are invited to our camp to entertain with some traditional drumming.
Optional excursions: Mountain gorilla Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda). Golden monkeys trek or
orphanage visit. Batwa (Pygmy) village visit or coffee tour. Lake Mutande.
Today we leave the beautiful scenery of Uganda and head into Rwanda, the “land of a thousand hills”. Rolling pastures and thickets of trees predominate over deep valleys and steep slopes as we drive to our first camp. The camp endeavours to establish a very simple cultural centre where you can get involved in traditional basket weaving and banana beer making. There is time this afternoon to partake in these cultural activities. We spend the night here in Musanze, just across the Rwandan border.
Optional excursions: Banana beer making, Basket weaving, cycle tour, village tour
Today we head to the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. Those who wish head out on the steep trek to see Fossey’s grave spend time this morning in the Rwandan forest. On the trek you can also see Digit’s grave, one of her favourite gorillas, and the Karisoke Reseach Centre. Dian is world famous for her research work and passionate commitment to the mountain gorillas’ survival.
Transfers at the end are arranged to catch the group up in Kigali.
Rwanda is a country with a quite recent turbulent history culminating in the 1994 genocide during which ethnic differences between Hutu and Tutsis exploded in an unparalleled level of hatred and bloody violence.
We spend two nights in the capital which is a very European style city, with a visit to the Genocide Memorial the next day. This memorial is a sobering commemoration of the atrocities of 1994. The rest of the day is free so you can relax. Many like to explore a little including visiting the Nyamata memorial, Hotel des Mille Collines, the local markets and the Nyamirambo Womens Centre.
Optional excursions: Trek to Dian Fossey’s gravesite, Banana beer making, Basket weaving, cycle tour,
village tour, Genocide Memorial and Museum, Nyamata Memorial
We take the road to the Rusomo border today to cross into Tanzania heading off the beaten track for the next few days.
Arriving into the small town of Nyakanazi late in the afternoon, we check into a simple African guesthouse for the evening. This first night in Tanzania is the chance for a traditional rural African experience, and we receive a warm welcome from the village and owners of the guesthouse.
Next day’s adventure drive finds us on back roads heading for the south side of Lake Victoria to our camp in the city of Mwanza which we reach by ferry. Our camp is set by Lake Victoria.
Reaching Bunda we prepare for the next exciting part of the tour, our entry into the world famous Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, ecosystems boasting the Big Five. There is time this afternoon to stretch our legs on a hill walk near camp offering wonderful views.
Optional excursion: Hill walk
We pass through the Grumeti Reserve on our drive to Ikoma Gate where we enter the Serengeti in our overland truck for game drives. The famous migration often passes this area year in, year out in search of fresh grazing anytime from late April through to August.
The Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest national park. Home to The Big Five, it is famous for the annual migration when more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeests’ trek. Even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti is home to resident large herds of buffalo, elephant and giraffe, as well as thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle. Hippo pods can be found lazing in water pools, and the park is also home to the big cats – lion, leopard and cheetah and has fabulous birdlife including ostrich and secretary birds. On our slow game drive through the park this afternoon we regularly have wonderful viewing including of the big cats and much other wildlife.
Included wildlife activity: Afternoon game drive, Serengeti National Park
Vehicle for game drive: Overland truck
Up early this morning, we head out with the dawn chorus for our second day of game drives on the African
plains of Tanzania, early morning being the most active time in the park.
For the best vantage point though to see the sun rise, a balloon safari can be arranged in advance. A balloon safari allows you to drift in silence over the immense Serengeti plains offering this panoramic landscape from an entirely different perspective.
The semi-nomadic Maasai tribespeople can be found throughout this region too still living their traditional lifestyle. Often dressed in their distinctive red-checked fabric, they can be regularly seen on our drive today tending to their herds.
We stop to visit a traditional Maasai boma before leaving the park later today. During the visit the Maasai perform a march-past and the traditional adamu or ‘jumping dance’ for us.
Our landscape changes as we climb above the Ngorongoro Crater to make camp with sweeping views across the Crater. Our evening meal and overnight camp finds us at altitude tonight, and temperatures can drop. This is our second night camping in the wilds under African stars.
Included wildlife activities: Morning game drive, Serengeti in overland truck. Afternoon slow transit drive, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Vehicle for game drive: Overland truck
Optional excursions: Balloon safari, visit to a Maasai Boma. Olduvai Gorge Museum depending on road
conditions. Please note if you wish to visit Olduvai Museum you must let the office know prior to the tour
An early rise and we are on the road again, this time having transferred over to smaller 4x4s. We are up early for our 2,000 feet descent into the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest extinct volcano. The Crater floor has a diversity of ecosystems and here, with a little luck, we can view hippo lazing in hippo pools, as well as lion, elephant and rhino. Hyena, buffalo, zebra, impala, wildebeest, cheetah, monkey, secretary birds, crowned cranes and ostrich are also resident. The rim of Lake Magadi can be pink as flocks of flamingo feast on algae depending on the time of year. After our morning game drives in the Crater, we travel to our camp in Arusha glad to enjoy a welcome hot shower after our days in the bush.
Time permitting we stop at markets on the way to check out carving work, spears and beadwork. Tonight we enjoy a group barbecue.
Included wildlife activity: Morning game drive, Ngorongoro Crater
Vehicle for game drive: 4×4 landcruiser with pop up roof
We spend the morning in Arusha to shop and explore the town. After lunch we travel to Marangu at the foot of Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
The next day there is the option for a day hike in Kilimanjaro National park to Mandara hut along the start of the Marangu route. This is a beautiful walk through tropical forest and on clear days there are nice views of both the Kibo and Mawenzi peaks of the mountain.
Alternatively there is the option to do a day tour of the Marangu area to visit the village to learn more of local life, to visit a coffee plantation and a nearby waterfall.
Optional excursions: Kilimanjaro day hike, Marangu day tour
We head south today parking up on the coast. We retire to camp, lulled to sleep by the sound of the waters lapping nearby and the breeze in the coconut palms.
Alternatively for those who want to get to Zanzibar a day earlier there is the option of flying today straight on to Zanzibar where we can collect you from the airport and transfer you to your accommodation.
Optional excursion: For those who want to get to Zanzibar early there is the option of flying to Zanzibar today with an extra night at the beach. Note that this needs to be pre-booked , contact us for prices and more information.
Day 23 we leave camp for the ferry port in Dar es Salaam. We make final preparations this morning for our break from truck life to spend four days on the exotic spice island of Zanzibar.
These last days of the tour you have the option to visit the exotic spice island of Zanzibar. Core arrangements are made well ahead of time so we are assured our groups are comfortable in the popular beach cottages to the north of the island at Kendwa and for a night in a lodge in the traditional capital. The tour leader travels over to the island with the group as well to ensure that all runs smoothly.
Heading north to Kendwa we enjoy white sand beaches, and can swim and snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Fishing trips and cruises in traditional dhows can be organized. Scuba diving and snorkeling can also be arranged from the Dive Centre near our beach cottages to nearby reefs or further afield including to Mnemba Atoll.
There is a wide diversity of marine life off Zanzibar. The diving is some of the best in the world, with stunning coral gardens and more than 350 fish species recorded. Sightings of dolphins and turtles are quite regular occurrences, while humpback whales and whale sharks are occasionally spotted.
You can also explore Jozani Forest and see the red colobus monkeys and Prison Island with its giant tortoise. Snorkelling is also enjoyed off Prison Island.
On the last day we spend time in the traditional capital, Stone Town. Take a spice tour to find out a little about the spice trade that dominated the island’s history, as well as the slave trade. On our final night here we can explore the colorful night market.
Optional excursions: City tour, Snorkeling, Scuba diving, Mnemba Island, Turtle Sanctuary visit, Prison Island with a visit to the Aldabra tortoise, Jozani Forest to view the red colobus monkeys.
Zanzibar Island finish
You can fly out at any time from the island the day after the tour ends or spend extra days here. We can
also arrange the ferry back to Dar es Salaam for you should you fly out from there.
There is no single supplement for this tour. You will be sharing a tent with someone else from the same sexe. On request we can ask for your own tent, but this is based on availability.
You can use USD and your credit card should be accepted in most lodges, bars and activity centers.
We recommend you arrive the night before. We can book an extra night in the lodge from where the tour starts.
I am back and landed safely in fact my parents are happy that I am home! 😉
I want to heeeeeeel very much for all your help !! I’ve had the trip of my life! Life on the truck I loved and planning was adjusted extremely well (for example, travel days and days of interest). I got along well with the group and the tour guides were very knowledgeable! The additional days in Zanzibar were relaxing, but rather I had gone along with the rest to South Africa. Unfortunately I could with my budget right now (and already booked return flight ticket) do not realize, but I will definitely come back for the rest of the safari.