73 days – Northern Trails

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73 days
Camping Group Tour
Cape Town - Nairobi
South-Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya
Min Age : 18+
Max People : 28
Tour Details

This international camping group tour starts in Cape Town and finishes in Nairobi. Beginning at the foot of Table Mountain and continuing along the Garden Route, one of the most beautiful stretches of coast line in the world, before heading north to journey to East Africa. You will have every opportunity to spot the big 5 in game park after game park on this overland tour. There is also the chance to trek the endangered mountain gorillas!

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Highlights

Addo Elephant National Park • Cape Agulhas • The Cango Caves • Ostrich Farm Tour • Winery tourMasai  Mara reserve • Masai village with bush walk • Grumeti Reserve • Ngorongoro CraterThe Serengeti National ParkSouth LuangwaHwange National ParkChobe National ParkNakuru National ParkKhama rhino reserveKruger parkQueen Elizabeth NP with Kazinga channel cruise • Ziwa rhino Sanctuary • Zanzibar Island (optional extra) • Bwindi • Optional Gorilla TrekkingKigali • Genocide Memorial • Lake Mutande • Coffee tour

Accommodation

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.

Restrictions

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!

Extras/Upgrades

There is also the occasional opportunity to upgrade to a dorm-style chalet or simple hut accommodation with a bed if you think you might need a break from camping. This usually costs about 20 USD a night. Availability is very limited though, and you need to be considerate of everyone else on the truck. Do budget accordingly if you might wish to upgrade once or twice on route. Please check Tour Information for Optional Extras.

Hotel Pickup

The meeting point for the Northern Trails Safari is at Ashanti Lodge, Hof Street, Gardens, Cape Town at 12.00pm, midday, on the departure date. If you arrive early, we can reserve accommodation for you prior to departure at Ashanti Lodge

Departure & Return Location

Cape Town – Nairobi

Departure Time

Around midday on day of departure

Price Includes

  • Breakfast & dinner whilst travelling on the truck
  • Some pre-prepared barbecues
  • Contribution to final group meal
  • Camping whilst travelling on the truck
  • Fully equipped expedition truck incl - fridge, gas, tents, sleep mats
  • Services of tour crew
  • Ongoing advice
  • All road tolls & taxes are paid
  • Addo Elephant Park • cape Agulhas • The Cango Caves • Ostrich Tour • Masai Mara (2 days) • Ngorongoro Crater • South Luangwa National Park (depending on season) • Serengeti • Hwange National Park • Chobe National Park • Nakuru National Park • Grumeti Reserve
  • Coverage by Guarantee Fund

Price Excludes

  • Local Tour Payment: US$1100. The local payment is a separate payment from the initial price you pay before you leave. If a local payment is required it will be shown with the trip price. This second payment is made in Africa at the start of your trip. It is payable in USD. The local payment provides us with the means for expenses that need to be paid in cash to local businesses en route to be arranged in the most cost effective manner possible, a saving we can then pass on to you. It also means we can operate in a way that directly supports local businesses and wildlife authorities as we travel. Local Payment will not be changed once you have booked your travel arrangements. We also offer tours without Local Payments. One fixed price for the tour and activities which you pay all at once to us. Contact us to point them out to you on our website!
  • Visa
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Airport transfers (available on request)
  • Optional extra's and excursions
  • Lunch and drinks throughout, as well as breakfast and dinner when the truck parks up at Dar es Salaam and Victoria Falls.
  • Meals when the truck is parked up at activity hubs - Victoria Falls and on Zanzibar Island
  • Sleeping Bag and Pillow
  • Alcoholic- and soft drinks
  • Pre- and post tour accommodation
  • Vaccinations and anti malarials as required
Itinerary

Days 1 - 3Cape Town

We spend our first three days in the vibrant city of Cape Town. Here you can take the cable car up Table Mountain for spectacular views of Cape Town; visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was a prisoner for 18 years; as well as take your time to visit the Waterfront including the Aquarium, one of the city’s main attractions. A day trip to Cape Point and the penguin colony can be also be organised. Shark diving can be arranged further down the coast at Hermanus too.

Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X3 Dinners

Optional excursions: Robben Island, Boulders Beach Penguin Colony, Table Mountain and cable car, Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Point, paragliding, kiteboarding, wine tour, shark dive.

Day 4Cape Town to Bonnievale

We leave Cape Town in the early morning and take in the scenic drive to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of the African continent. After a stop at the lighthouse we then travel on to Bonnievale to camp. South Africa is a New World wine region, but is no new comer to wine producing, with the first vines being planted in 1655. We enjoy a late afternoon wine tasting this afternoon.

Distance: 338 kms
Est. Drive Time: 7.5 hours incl. lunch stop and viewing time at lighthouse
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Day 5Bonnievale to Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn is the ostrich capital of the world. Handling tiny fluffy ostrich chicks is an absolute delight. For 10
the more adventurous, have a go at racing on the back of an adult ostrich!!

There is also a visit to the Cango Caves with their incredible geological caverns and grand limestone formations.

Distance: 262 kms
Est. Drive Time: 4 hours
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Included wildlife activity: Ostrich Farm Tour

Days 6 - 7Oudtshoorn to Stormsriver

This morning we head through the spectacular Montague Pass, passing through the plantations of hops, this area being home to Mitchells Brewery. Then on to Knysna, voted South Africa’s best seaside town. In particular the Garden Route coastline between June and December is an important nursery area for southern right whales.

Arriving at Tsitsikamma Forest, a canopy tour can be arranged to spend time high amongst ancient yellowwood trees. We then travel to Stormsriver, a village near to Bloukrans Bridge, where the highest commercially operated bungee jump in the world, located 216 meters above the Bloukrans River.
Blackwater tubing at Storms River is also a lot of fun, as well as the flying fox.

Distance, Day 6: 214 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 6: 5 hours including lunch stop
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional Excursions: Whale watching (season dependent), black water tubing (season dependent), Bloukrans Bungee, flying fox, Tsitsikamma Forest – tree top canopy walk

Days 8 - 9Stormsriver to Addo Elephant Park

Day 8 we travel on to Port Elizabeth, en route to The Homestead Lodge at Addo. We stop off at Port Elizabeth on the way where some clients leave, and others can join us.

Addo National Park is the perfect setting for some fabulous wildlife viewing, including night game drives. Addo also incorporates the largest coastal dune field in the southern hemisphere. This park boasts the Big Seven, (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard, southern right whale and great white shark) and also protects the world’s largest Cape gannet breeding population on Bird Island. The original elephant section of this park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area.
Today this finely tuned ecosystem is now sanctuary to over 450 elephants, Cape buffalo, black rhino, a variety of antelope species, as well as a unique flightless dung beetle that is almost exclusively found in Addo.

Distance, Day 8: 224 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 8: 5 hours including stops
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Included wildlife activity: Game drive in Addo National Park
Vehicle for game drive: Overland truck

Optional excursions: Addo National Park night drives, Addo National Park horse trails, Sundowner tours

Day 10Addo to Hogsback

Setting off early, we head to our camp in beautiful Hogsback which is set amongst forests, waterfalls and mountains. Following lunch here you can spend time enjoying the Auckland Nature reserve, the hike to the Mother and Child Waterfall, or explore the town for local arts and crafts, take a village tour, try horseriding, mountain biking or abseiling.

Distance: 239 kms
Est. Drive Time: 6 hours
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Optional excursions: Bushwalking, abseiling, horse riding, village tour

Days 11 - 12Hogsback to Malealea, Lesotho

Getting away very early we are on the road to Lesotho. We have lunch at Aliwal north, before crossing the border to a scenic land of tall mountains and narrow valleys.

Arriving at Malealea Lodge, nestled in the Makhomalong Valley and surrounded by the Maloti Mountains – also known as the blue mountains – you will be captivated by the quiet and stillness of this picturesque setting. Take time to enjoy the tranquility, as well as seizing the opportunity for some hiking, pony trekking and meeting the locals, their grazing animals and their beautiful homes. Visit the coffee shop and enjoy local cuisine in the restaurant. Local singers entertain us during our stay, and you may enjoy upgrading to one of the simple Basotho or Forest Huts whilst here.

Distance, Day 11: 398 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 11: 13 hours depending on the border and incl. lunch stop
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional excursions: Pony trek, village tour, hiking, mountain biking, farm (donga) visit, hiking

Days 13 - 14Malealea to The Drakensberg, South Africa

Next stop is “The Drak”; Drakensberg meaning “Dragon Mountains”. We continue our mountain journey returning into South Africa today via the Maseru border.

Here in the northern Drakensberg you can enjoy hiking, rock climbing or abseiling. Our campsite faces directly onto the Amphitheatre, one of the most impressive cliff faces on the planet, and the Tugela Falls can be seen plunging over this on a clear day after rain. Take a full day or half day hike to Tugela, or a guided hike to find out about the San rock art.

There is a fantastic amount of rock art here and much wonderful wildlife so this is a fantastic place again to get out amongst it! Forest cable tours, quad biking and mountain biking can also be arranged.

Distance, Day 13: 367 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 13: 10 hours incl. lunch and shopping stops
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional excursions: Hiking – half day and day hiking, abseiling, rock climbing, cable tours, mountain biking and quad biking

Day 15The Drakensberg to Johannesburg

We arrive in to Johannesburg, the “city of gold” early afternoon to park up at the Ritz Backpackers.

Most head out this afternoon to visit the Apartheid Museum, which chronicles the rise and fall of apartheid, the key events in the saga, as well as some human stories from this state sanctioned system of racial discrimination. The Museum opened in 2001.

Distance: 327 kms
Est. Drive Time: 6 hours incl. lunch
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Optional excursion: Apartheid Museum

Days 16 - 18Johannesburg, South Africa, to Kruger National Park

Leaving the Backpacker’s Ritz in Johannesburg we head northeast to Kruger National Park.

Kruger is one of the world’s greatest wildlife-watching destinations. All of Africa’s iconic safari species – elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, hippo and zebra – share the bushveld with over 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, nearly 150 mammals, multiple archaeological sites, and a stunningly diversity of trees and flowers. Kruger is the country’s flagship national park.

We also visit Blyde River Canyon, the largest green canyon on earth, nearly 30 kilometres long, is one of South Africa’s scenic highlights. Along the way there are many various sights to see, including the Three Rondavels which are huge cylinders of rock with hut-like pointed ‘roofs’ rising out of the far wall of the canyon. You can enjoy a walk and the views at God’s Window, which has amazing lookouts over the valley below.

Distance, Day 16: 570 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 16: 11 hours incl. stops for lunch & shopping
Meals: X3 Breakfasts, X3 Dinners

Included wildlife activity: Full day of game drives, Kruger National Park
Vehicle used for game drive: Overland truck

Days 19 – 20Kruger National Park to Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Botswana

Over two days we make our way to our next highlight in the second country of our trip, Botswana.

We arrive at Khama Rhino Sanctuary on day 20. The Khama Rhino Sanctuary (KRS) is a community based wildlife project, established in 1992 to assist in saving the vanishing rhinoceros, restore an area formerly teeming with wildlife to its previous natural state and provide economic benefits to the local Botswana community through tourism and the sustainable use
of natural resources.

Covering approximately 8585 hectares of Kalahari Sandveld, the sanctuary provides prime habitat for white and black rhino as well as over 30 other animal species and more than 230 species of birds.

Here you can opt for a rhino trek and night drives are also available.

Distance over two days: 739 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 19: +/- 10 hours (depending on the border). Incl. stops for lunch & shopping
Est. Drive Time, Day 20: 2 hours
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Included wildlife activity: Entry to Khama Rhino Sanctuary

Optional Excursions: Rhino trek, night game drive

Days 21 - 22Khama Rhino Sanctuary to Chobe National Park, Kasane

The following day we continue our journey north to Nata, travelling on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans. We stop for a night in Nata before continuing to the town of Kasane for shopping and then onto our campsite on the banks of the Chobe River.

Distance over two days: 700 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 21: 7 – 8 hours Incl. lunch stop
Est. Drive Time, Day 22: 5 – 6 hours
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Day 23Chobe National Park, Kasane

The gateway to Chobe is Kasane. A small town sandwiched between the Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibian borders and the Chobe National Park.

Here we take an afternoon cruise on the Chobe River You can get up close to large herds of elephants and other game that are abundant in the Chobe National Park. They tend to make their way to the river for a drink and onto the islands in the river to feast off the grass. Puku and lechwe antelopes are common on the Chobe floodplains. Herds of elephants cross the
Chobe River to the islands and hippos and crocodiles like to bask in the sun next to the water.

Birding is also excellent along with the river with frequent sightings of African darters, fish eagles, kingfishers and other waders and water birds. The African Skimmer is often seen. This bird is an almost threatened species and a nice one to tick off your birding list.

Time is also set aside for the option of an early morning game drive to travel deep into Chobe to maximize your chances of getting the most from this beautiful game park. Predator sightings are good, with leopard, cheetah, wild dog, and large prides of lion that hunt elephant. From servals to side-striped jackals, the list is endless.

All that said, Chobe is most famous for its elephant and buffalo populations, both of which can herd in mammoth proportions.

Distance: 0 kms
Est. Drive Time: 0 hours
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Included wildlife activity: Game cruise on the Chobe River, Chobe National Park
Conducted in open cruise vessel

Optional excursion: Morning game drive, Chobe National Park

Day 24Kasane to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Hwange National Park is the largest game reserve in Zimbabwe and is known for its herds of buffalo and elephant and a huge diversity of over 100 different mammal species. Black-backed jackal, painted dog, bat-eared fox, baboon, porcupine, aardwolf, spotted hyena, caracal, leopard, African wildcat, lion, southern giraffe, hippo, warthog and Burchell’s zebra are all found in Hwange to name just a few! The large numbers of plains game and antelope in the park provide a rich source of food for the predators. A number of white rhino have also recently been reintroduced to Hwange.

We head out on an afternoon game drive with an expert professional guide. There is also the option of an extra game drives, including evening game drives if you wish to see a little more.

We also visit the Painted Dog Conservation Centre based at the park. Fewer than 7,000 painted dogs are left across the entire continent. They may not be as famous as their trunked, horned, or maned neighbours, but these painted dogs —also known as African wild or hunting dogs—are beautiful, unique, and fascinating social animals. Painted dogs are native to Africa, and aren’t found in the wild anywhere else on the planet.

Distance: 260 kms
Est. Drive Time: +/- 7 hours (depending on the border)
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Included wildlife activity: Game drives in Hwange National Park
Vehicle for game drive: Open 4×4 safari vehicle

Optional excursion: Extra game drive, Hwange National Park.

Days 25 - 27Hwange National Park to Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. We stay at a campsite in Victoria Falls town within walking distance of “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, which translates to “The Smoke That Thunders”. It was given the name by the Kololo tribe that lived in the area in the 1800s.

This is the unrivalled Adventure Capital of Africa! There is something to do for everyone. For the adrenaline junkies there is the wildest one day white water rafting trip in the world, the 111 meter high bungee jump, river surfing, kayaking, heart stopping gorge swings, zip wires and many more.

You can also take it easier and explore this vibrant town, shops, local markets, craft markets and the many places to eat. Maybe take afternoon tea at the Vic Falls Hotel with the company of the roaming warthogs.

Distance, Day 25: 174 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 25: 5.5 hours incl. a stop for lunch
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Optional excursions: White water rafting, river boarding, bungee jumping, gorge swing, rap jump, ‘Flight of the Angels’, canoe trips, horse riding, sundowner cruise.

Day 28Victoria Falls to Lusaka

Crossing into Zambia, we head to the capital city of Lusaka. Here we have a chance to stop to catch up on emails, get to the bank and stock up on supplies in the supermarket.

Distance: 625 kms
Est. Drive Time: +/- 9 hours (depending on the border)
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Days 29 - 32Lusaka to South Luangwa National Park

We now head towards one of Zambia’s treasures, South Luangwa National Park – our fourth national park. On the way we stop off at a local textile shop to sample the wares and perhaps pick up a special piece, the special textile products showcasing a mix of traditional African art with contemporary design.

Much of the game is found near the river, with herds of elephant and buffalo descending the banks to drink. Large crocodiles laze on sandbanks and at dusk hundreds of hippo leave their pools and lumber up the banks to graze. Impala and puku are common and giraffe can be seen in the forests. Wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck and bushbuck, are also found. Predators abound with lion and spotted hyena.

A special feature of South Luangwa is the opportunity for an evening game drive with spotlights to see nocturnal wildlife such as leopard, bushbabies and genet, whose stealth makes them a rare treat to spot.

Travelling to such a remote destination this is also a wonderful chance to experience rural Zambia. A game of football with the local kids is always fun. There can be elephants through the campsite at night here as well.

Distance over two days: 560 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 29: +/- 6 hours
Est. Drive Time, Day 30: +/- 6 hours Incl. a stop for lunch and shopping
Meals: X4 Breakfasts, X4 Dinners

Included wildlife activity: Game drive, South Luangwa National Park
Vehicle for game drive: Open 4×4 safari vehicle

Optional excursion: Evening game drive, South Luangwa National Park

Days 33 - 34South Luangwa National Park to Kande, Malawi

Leaving Luangwa behind we travel to Malawi, heading for Kande beach to enjoy some down time by beautiful Lake Malawi. The long strip of soft white sand is perfect for sunbathing and volleyball, and the campsite has a lively bar. Trips on the lake can be arranged for fishing, snorkeling and diving. Horse riding is also popular. The riding trail leads through local forest and traditional villages. You then head to the beach and ride bareback into the lake and ride/swim with the horses – a magical experience. Village visits can be arranged to nearby Tonga village too.

Distance, Day 33: 600 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 33: +/- 11 hours depending on the border and incl. stops for shopping and lunch
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional excursions: Water sports, including snorkeling and scuba diving, canoeing and pedalo hire, horse riding, village walk.

Day 35Kande to Chitimba

We have one more beach stop at Chitimba. Chitimba, on the northern shore of Lake Malawi, is set on a beautiful golden sandy beach among banana palms and papaya trees with views of the Livingstonia and Nyika mountains. Here we can walk to the local village too, whose income and livelihood is centered around the lake, like so many other villages in the area. Time for more swimming, snorkeling and even a game of beach volleyball.

You can also browse the markets, Malawi being well known for its wooden crafts, from the massive Malawi chairs and tall wooden giraffes to intricately carved chess boards and globes.

Distance: 235 kms
Est. Drive Time: +/- 5 hours
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Day 36Chitimba to Iringa, Tanzania

Leaving Malawi behind, we cross the border into our sixth country, Tanzania.

Our journey takes us through the mountainous terrain of the southern end of the 40 million-year-old Great Rift Valley, a geological phenomena that stretches over 4,000 miles from the Middle East to Mozambique. We are at altitude tonight at a farmhouse camp. A hot chocolate with a brownie are a popular treat to keep us warm this evening.

Distance: 498 kms
Est. Drive Time: 11 hours (depending on the border & incl. lunch stop)
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Day 37Iringa to Morogoro

Today we travel through Baobab Valley, past the Ruaha River and through Mikumi National Park where we regularly see giraffe, elephant, zebra and impala. We camp in Morogoro for the night.

Distance: 188 kms
Est. Drive Time: 4 – 5 hours
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Day 38Morogoro to Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, is known as the ‘city of peace’. It is also the gateway over to Zanzibar Island. We camp tonight on the white sandy shores of the Indian Ocean and prepare for our optional trip to Zanzibar Island.

Distance: 321 kms
Est. Drive Time: +/- 10 hours incl. stop for lunch
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Days 39 – 42Optional stay on Zanzibar Island

This morning there is the option to head to the busy ferry port for the ferry crossing to Stone Town, the ancient capital of Zanzibar. The tour leader travels over to the island with the group to ensure that all runs smoothly during the island stay, and the core arrangements are booked well ahead of time so we are assured our groups will be comfortable in popular beach cottages on the island, as well as a lodge in Stone Town.

On arrival we make our way through the winding alleys and can check out the exquisitely carved doors. We enjoy lunch at a local café and spend the first night in the traditional capital, exploring the night food markets and enjoying views of dhows sailing into harbor.

The following day, we head up to the beach. Pristine white sand and turquoise seas offer a postcard perfect view from the bar at our beach bungalows. Massages, manicures, pedicures, henna tattoos and more are available on the beach, while the dive centre next to the bar has a wide variety of boats trips and dive trips and courses, both scuba and snorkeling including to the coral waters of Mnemba Atoll.

Trips too can be arranged to Prison Island. There is a small isolated group of the rare giant Aldabra tortoise here too which can be viewed. This group are separate from the main population of giant tortoise which are found on Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles.
Otherwise take a guided walk through the mangroves on the walkways in Jozani Forest, which is home to the rare red colobus monkey. A spice tour is arranged during our stay too to provide some background history to this fascinating island.

Distance: 0 kms
Est. Drive Time: 0 hours
Meals, Day 39: X1 Breakfast

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

Days 43 - 44Zanzibar Island to Arusha

We catch the ferry back to Dar, before staying the night in the historic seaside town of Bagamoyo north of Dar es Salaam. Bagamoyo was founded at the end of the 18th century. Half a century later it was one of the most important settlements along the East African coast trading in slaves, ivory, copra and salt.

Dawn sees us on the road to travel north, and then inland. Our drive takes us through lush surrounds and passes the stunning Usambara mountain range as we make our way towards the bustling town of Arusha. On a lucky day snow-clad Kilimanjaro might come into view towards the end of the day. At 5,895 metres it is Africa’s highest mountain.

Distance over two days: 665 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 43: 2 hours
Est. Drive Time, Day 44: 11 – 12 hours incl. lunch stop
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Day 45Arusha to Simba Camp, Ngorongoro Crater

This morning we travel in the overland truck through Maasai towns and villages to reach the gate of the Ngorongoro Crater. Here we transfer into open top 4×4 vehicles for our Tanzanian safari.

The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Forming a spectacular bowl of about 265 square kilometres, with sides up to 600 metres deep, it is home to approximately 30,000 animals at any one time. The Crater rim is over 2,200 metres high and experiences its own climate.

We stop for photos at the Lookout on the edge of the Crater for a wide panoramic view across the rim. From this high vantage point it is possible to make out the tiny shapes of animals making their way around the crater floor far below. Back in the 4×4’s we descend to the Crater floor.

The Ngorongoro Crater is home to the world’s highest density of lions. Buffalo and wildebeest are the most common animals. Look out for hyena, cheetah, zebra, jackal and warthog and the more rare sightings of hippo and black rhino.

We make our camp at altitude tonight, up on the Crater rim, so bundle up, as temperatures drop!

Distance: 195 kms
Est. Drive Time: 3 – 4 hours incl. photo stops
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Included wildlife activity: Afternoon game drive, Ngorongoro Crater
Vehicle for game drive: 4×4 land cruiser with pop up roof

Day 46Simba Camp to Ngiri Camp, Central Serengeti

Our journey this morning takes us towards the open plains of the vast Serengeti on a slow transit through Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Wildlife is well visible from the large windows of the truck on our approach to the game park and Maasai
villages are dotted around the countryside. The traditional farmers are easily spotted in their bright checked blanket attire, and can be seen walking their herds of goats and cows, their clanging bells providing a rustic soundtrack.

We enter the Serengeti in the overland truck at Naabi Gate. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – the great migration. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north in April, May and June after the long rains. So strong
is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.

The resident population of lion, cheetah, hyena, elephant, giraffe, and birds is also impressive.

We game drive through to the afternoon, before making our way to our campsite in the centre of the park. The park’s nearly 15,000 square kilometres stretches away in all directions from our camp. Zip up your tent and drift off to sleep listening to the sounds of the wild.

Distance: 161 kms
Est. Drive Time: 5 hours
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Included wildlife activities: Morning transit drive in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Afternoon game drives, Serengeti National Park Vehicle for game drives: Overland truck

Optional excursion: Maasai village visit

Day 47Ngiri Camp to Bunda

An early start and we are away for more game drives in the truck. We scan the grasslands for sightings of game, the Serengeti being home to all the African wildlife you might wish to see – giraffe, buffalo, topi, eland, hartebeest, dik dik, elephant, crocodile, baboon, caracal, serval, genet, bat-eared foxes plus much, much more. We pass hippo pools. With a little luck a leopard might be seen lounging in a tree and cheetah resting in the shade, recovering from their last high speed chase. For those who wish to balloon too, an early morning hot air balloon safari can be arranged.

Driving right across the park we exit on the west side at Ikoma Gate, entering a smaller sub area of the Serengeti Conservation Area, known as the Grumeti Reserve through which we transit on our way out. We arrive late in Bunda to camp at the base of the Balili Hills.

Distance: 160 kms
Est. Drive Time: 5 hours from Ikoma Gate incl. lunch stop
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Included wildlife activity: Morning game drives, Serengeti National Park
Vehicle for game drives: Overland truck

Optional excursions: Ballooning in the Serengeti, Hill walk

Days 48 - 49Bunda to Mwanza, Lake Victoria

Our drive today is to Mwanza, a bustling market town on the southern banks of Lake Victoria, where we can top up on supplies. Look out for the boats of local fishermen, fishing for perch and tilapia.

The next day is a free day to relax by the lake and explore the old town of Mwanza.

Distance, Day 48: 156 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 48: 3 – 4 hours
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Day 50Mwanza to Nyakanazi

Traveling further into rural Tanzania, we head to Nyakanazi where we stay in a very simple local guesthouse. The local children often enjoy providing us with an informal tour around this small African town.

Distance: 275 kms
Est. Drive Time: 9 hours incl. ferry journey and lunch stop
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Days 51- 52Nyakanazi to Kigali, Rwanda

Crossing into Rwanda, our first stop is the capital, Kigali, which sits across several hills, Rwanda being known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills”.

We spend time here at The Genocide Memorial. The Memorial has been and continues to be a place of remembrance and learning, to honor victims of genocide against the Tutsi and ensure it never happens again. The remains of over 250,000 people are interred there. There is a visitor centre for students and those wishing to understand the events leading up to the events of 1994. The rest of the time here is free to explore Kigali city and perhaps visit some other memorial sites.

Distance, Day 51: 260 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 51: +/- 10.5 hours (depending on the border) incl. lunch stop
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional excursions: Visit to the Genocide museum and other memorial sites

Days 53 - 54Kigali to Kisoro, Uganda

Heading off past tea plantations we are now on our way to the mountain region to our camp in Musanze. Musanze is a city nearest to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. The campsite is a community enterprise and local ladies visit to show off their wares and can teach us the basics of basket weaving and banana beer making.

There is also time in the afternoon to do a cycling or walking tour as well as time to visit Musanze town and the Dian Fossey museum.

Day 54 there is the option to head off on the steep trek to visit Dian Fossey’s grave, the American primatologist and conservationist who undertook an intensive study of the species and spent her life working for their survival. Her murder remains shrouded in mystery.

We move on to Kisoro, Uganda, to stay at a simple local hotel where we spend the next two nights, our base while we trek the endangered mountain gorilla. Arrangements are made for those who trekked to Dian Fosseys’ gravesite to catch up the group if required.

Distance, Day 53: 115 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 53: 3 hours
Distance, Day 54: 51kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 54: 3 hours (depending on the border)
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional excursions: Banana beer making, basket weaving, hike or cycling tour, visit to Dian Fossey’s grave. Coffee tour or Batwa (Pygmy) village visit or Lake Mutande.

Notes: If you wished to trek the gorillas in Rwanda please let us know at the earliest prior to booking. For those wishing to visit Dian Fossey’s grave please let us know with good notice before the tour. For this excursion you will transfer late on day 54 after the Fossey trek to catch the group up in Kisoro ready for your gorilla trek on day 55.

Days 55 - 56Kisoro to Kabale

Against all odds conservationists have recently upgraded the mountain gorillas’ conservation status from critically endangered to endangered, heartening news indeed, and due to the massive intense commitment to this subspecies. There is no cause to rest though as there are still only about 1,000 gorillas, all living in this small mountain area found in Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo.
Only 8 people are permitted to visit each family each day to limit contact with humans, and once found you have an hour to observe the gorillas in their natural habitat.

Other activities in the area include a trek to the golden monkeys in the lower reaches of Mgahinga forest, a coffee tour, a visit to a local preschool or an orphanage, or a visit with Batwa, an indigenous people who were relocated from their forest home.

The afternoon of day 56 we transfer to Kabale to overnight. A late afternoon visit to Lake Bunyoni – “the place of little birds” – can be arranged depending on our timing this day for the chance to swim or canoe in this beautiful destination.

Distance, Day 56: 75 kms
Est Drive Time, Day 56: 3 hours
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional excursions: Mountain gorilla trek Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda). Golden monkeys trek or orphanage visit. Batwa (Pygmy) village visit or coffee tour. Lake Mutande.

Day 57Kabale to Kalinzu Forest

This morning as the mist lifts and the sun rises we have a leisurely breakfast and stop for shopping before we make our way through to Kalinzu Forest and this rural campsite. This evening we learn about the plight of the chimpanzees that make this habitat their home. Watch out for baboons also coming to say hello!

Distance: 145 kms
Est. Drive Time: 4.5 hours
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Day 58Kalinzu Forest to Queen Elizabeth National Park

This morning those wishing to trek to see the habituated Chimpanzees that live in this forest head out early and hopefully see them in their natural environment along with the other animals that make the forest their home. 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 here as to whether they will be seen. Some trips we have some good viewing, other times no.

Once the chimp trekkers return, we travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a game drive as we enter the park followed by an afternoon game cruise on the Kazinga Channel to sit back and enjoy the company of hippo from the safety of a boat. Kazinga’s banks are lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants. There are Nile crocodile blending into the surroundings. Birding on the channel fantastic with over 600 species in the park including the rare shoebill stork.

After a game the game cruise we head to the shores of Lake Edward and our campsite for the night on the edge of the park. Although outside of the park boundaries the animals and especially the hippos like to graze on the surrounding fields nearby.

Distance: 40 kms
Est. Drive Time: 1 hour
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Included wildlife activities: Game cruise on the Kazinga Channel, Queen Elizabeth National Park. Slow transit afternoon drive, Queen Elizabeth.
Vehicle for game drive: Overland truck

Optional Excursion: Chimpanzee trek in Kalinzu Forest

Days 59 - 60Queen Elizabeth National Park to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

This morning we head again into the park for an early morning game drive. There is plenty of savannah wildlife and birds. This is a park where leopards and other mammals roam the savannah plains, so keep an eye out as we head up the Albertine Rift Escarpment with stunning views of the park.

As we make our way further into Uganda, extensive fruit stalls appear at the side of the road and vendors approach the truck selling cold bottle of water and soft drink, corn and skewers of fresh cooked meat. We stop at traditional craft markets and the Equator and stay overnight in the capital, Kampala. We leave the capital the next day and travel to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, the only place in Uganda to 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.

Distance over two days: 556 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 59: 9.5 hours incl. stops for lunch and Equator visit
Est. Drive Time, Day 60: 3.5 hours
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Included wildlife activities: Morning game drive, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Vehicle for game drive: Overland truck

Optional excursions: Rhino trek, boat ride

Days 61 - 63Ziwa to Jinja

We arrive at Jinja! The adventure capital of East Africa is at the source of the White Nile, and we camp on the banks of the river. Here we can take advantage of the wide range of activities on offer: white water rafting, quad biking, horse riding, bungee jumping, helping out in a local school plus a variety of boat and kayak trips on the Nile.

Distance, Day 61: 209 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 61: +/- 6 hours incl lunch stop
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

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.

Day 64Jinja to Eldoret, Kenya

Leaving Uganda behind us, we cross the border into the last country on our tour – Kenya! We make our way to our next camp. In Eldoret, look out for runners along the road as we drive through, as this is the training ground of many of Kenya’s famous athletes.

Distance: 268 kms
Est. Drive Time: +/- 7.5 hours (depending on the border) incl. stops for lunch and shopping
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Days 65 - 66Eldoret to Nakuru

From Eldoret we drive on to Nakuru, in the beautiful Kenyan Rift Valley, where we are based for two nights while we go out on safari in Nakuru National Park.

Nakuru is situated around Lake Nakuru which is regularly home to a myriad of greater and lesser flamingos, who can turn the edge of the water a pale pink as they feed on algae in the lake’s soda waters. The park is flanked on one side by the dramatic Baboon Cliffs, a popular viewing point, and euphorbia stands and acacia forests on the other. The park also is a stronghold for both rhino species, and boasts all the favorites you would want to see, including the rare Rothschild’s giraffe. Here we have a full day of guided game drives.

Distance, Day 65: 169 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 65: 5 hours incl. stops for lunch and shopping
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Included wildlife activity: Full day of game drives in Nakuru National Park.
Vehicle for game drives: 4×4 minivan with pop up roof

Days 67 - 68Nakuru to Naivasha

We arrive at Lake Naivasha, where we spend a couple of days chilling out on the banks of the lake. You can have afternoon tea at Elsamere, go on a hippo cruise, go for a guided walk to the Green Crater Lake Sanctuary or hire a bike and take a ride through Hell’s Gate National Park. The cycle in Hell’s Gate is a great way to stretch your legs whilst amongst zebra, eland, gazelle and giraffe. The scenery in this park is stunning due to past volcanic activity 35 million years ago. It can get hot in this park though, so take plenty of water.

Distance, Day 67: 70 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 67: 3 hours incl. stop for shopping
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Optional excursions: Elsamere for afternoon tea, hippo cruise, cycling in Hell’s Gate National Park, guided walk to Green Crater Lake.

Day 69Naivasha to Loita Hills

From Naivasha we make our way towards the Masai Mara reserve. We stop overnight at Loita Hills for a stay with the Masai.

This afternoon we will visit a women’s village and local hot springs, see traditional dancing and go for a walk with the warriors to learn about their time in the bush and life style.

In the evening we spend time with some of the warriors around the fire to find out more about their culture.

Distance: 154 kms
Est. Drive Time: 5 hours incl. stop for shopping
Meals: X1 Breakfast, X1 Dinner

Days 70 - 71Loita Hills to Masai Mara

Up early we have time for some “warrior training” this morning before we say goodbye to our Masai hosts.

Then we head on to our last game park on the tour, the Masai Mara, where we have two days of game drives. The Mara is one of the natural wonders of the world and is perhaps best known for being part of the setting for the famous wildebeest migration, a mass movement of over 2 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle. The migration moves between the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. Apart from the ever-watchful crocodiles found in and by the rivers, the other ever-vigilant predators, particularly lion, cheetah and hyena, closely follow the herds on their seasonal migrations as well
to add to the drama. The Mara is particularly famous for its lion population, as well as cheetah and leopard.

On the months when the migration arrives, any time from late June, the vast herds can be regularly found on the grassy plains. They tend to stay on through to October. Regardless of the season though there is always plenty to see here with resident elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, eland, giraffe, warthog and crocodile, as well as an immense amount of birdlife.

Distance, Day 70: 60 km
Est. Drive Time, Day 70: 2 hours
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners

Included wildlife activity: X1 morning and X2 afternoon game drives
Vehicle for game drives: 4×4 landcruiser with pop up roof

Optional excursion: Balloon safari

Days 72 - 73Masai Mara to Nairobi

The day starts with a final drive through the Masai Mara. Leaving the park, we travel to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, stopping off at the Rift Valley lookout on the way.

The last day is a free day in Nairobi with the option to visit the giraffe centre and elephant orphanage in the morning.

That evening we have a final group dinner to say farewell.

Distance, Day 72: 300 kms
Est. Drive Time, Day 72: Short morning game drive, then 6.5 hours to Nairobi incl. lunch stop and photo stops
Meals: X2 Breakfasts, X2 Dinners (incl. contribution to night out)

Included wildlife activity: Morning game drive, Masai Mara
Vehicle for game drive: 4×4 landcruiser with pop up roof

Optional excursions: Meal out at a restaurant, Giraffe Centre, Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage

Please note safari itineraries are given as a guide only. A safari is a journey and true journeys in Africa unfold and are of an adventurous nature, the unexpected can arise, so do allow for this.

Map

Photos
FAQ

I'm a solo traveller, is there a single supplement?

On request we can book you a single tent. Otherwise, you will be sharing a room with somone else from the same sexe if you are a single traveler.

Which currency is most widely accepted on this tour?

You can use USD and your Bank card should be accepted in most supermarkets, lodges and bars

Should I book pre/post tour accommodation?

We recommend you arrive the night before. We can book an extra night in the lodge from where the tour starts.

3 Reviews
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Kayla

Solo Traveller

I did the Northern Trails tour from Cape Town to Nairobi. This trip was absolutely incredible! We had Steve and Manache for the first half of the tour and Peter and Dave for the second half. All four of them were amazing! I don’t know how Dave and Steve managed to drive those trucks all through Africa with the crazy road conditions and never once be in a bad mood. Peter and Manache were very organized which kept things running smooth and they were full of information. I don’t think there was a question asked that they didn’t know the answer to, which was fantastic. We ate incredible meals (I was not expecting to eat like this on an overland tour) every night. The truck was also really good and spacious and worked well for game drives, as we were up nice and high. Camping was also nice and there was always the option to upgrade if you really wanted a bed for the night. I thought the tour was very well organized with great inclusions. There were also great optional activities available in most of the places we visited. I would definitely recommend travelling with Absolute Africa, it was great value for money and I would for sure do another tour with them in the future. Thank you for the incredible trip it will not be forgotten!

October 7, 2019

Tom

Couple Traveller

Our Absolute Africa tour was an incredible two months. Our guide Vailet was kind, accommodating, knowledgeable and, above all, fun. Everything about the tour was excellent: the food was better than anyone expected, the activities and itinerary were perfect, and over two months no one had a single thing to complain about. Highly recommended to anyone wanting to travel Africa and get value for money.

October 7, 2019

Ian

Solo Traveller

Had the time of my life reminded me that I was still young (in mind). V and Kanyo where out of this world made everything really easy for us all (even if I beat Kanyo in the chilli challenge) ok we will call it a draw as we both ate the hottest chilli Africa had to offer raw. I can’t recommend the 58 day trip from Cape Town to Nairobi highly enough everything you could wish to do is all there for you my personnel highlights where treaking to see the mountain gorillas, the gorongora crater, trying surfing, white water rafting on the grade 5 Rapids on the Zambize, winning 150 000 in the casino in Uganda ( don’t get excited was only enough for 20 beers) thanks V every game drive had something new to see. What really made the trip was the like minded people who all went to have great experiences and lots of fun. The 4 day stay on Zanzibar was another highlight sometimes you need a holiday from your holiday just to relax and recharge the batteries. All in all a great holiday with memories and friends I will remember all my life.
Absolute thanks for a great time, only one downside I had to go back to work after wished I could have stayed forever.
Hope to see you soon

October 17, 2016