East Africa Overland
Day 1 Kampala
Arrive in Kampala and make your way to the hotel. Attend a pre-departure group meeting with your CEO scheduled for the evening. Please make sure you have all of the necessary visas for this tour by the time of the welcome meeting. It is very important to read the Visa section in our trip details to make sure which visas you will need, if any. Please note that not all nationalities are able to obtain a visa on arrival. *Please note: if you have pre-booked the Serengeti Balloon Safari, your CEO will inform you when you will do the activity throughout your tour, days are subject to change: Serengeti Balloon Safari (Day 15 - Serengeti). You will miss the included morning game drive with the group, but you will have a much better view from above! For more information on the Extra see the Optional Activities section.
Day 2 Kalinzu Forest Reserve/Chimp Tracking (1B,1L,1D)
Enjoy an included chimpanzee tracking excursion through the scenic Kalinzu Forest Reserve. Trek along the ridges and valleys of the Rift Valley escarpment to visit chimpanzees in their natural habitat. The forest trails offer amazing views over the Rwenzori Mountains, Lake Edward, the Kazinga Channel and the Congo. The Kalinzu Forest Reserve is steeped in mysteries and rich with local legends. Learn about the folklore and uses of the forest from a local guide. Approximate Distance: 345 km; Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs
Day 3-5 Gorilla Tracking/Lake Bunyoni (3B,3L,3D)
We travel through gorgeous countryside to Lake Bunyoni, our base for several days in the area. Our time in this lush, magical, mountainous region of Uganda is spent between enjoying the area of Lake Bunyoni and many activities that it has to offer, and an unforgettable guided trek deep into the forest-sloped volcanoes for a wild encounter of a family of mountain gorillas (gorilla permits included). Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the home to approximately half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, the world's most endangered ape. One of Africa's major highlights, a close encounter with these amazing animals is simply breathtaking. Ugandan authorities are fiercely protective of this natural treasure and currently permit only a maximum of 8 people per day to visit a given gorilla family. As such, the group will be split into different sub-groups for the trek, and depending on the amount of travellers there are total, different sub-groups may do their trek on different days. In the morning of your trek, you will drive in smaller vehicles to park office and meet with your local mountain guides and porters, who can carry your personal items and assist you during the trek. The guides will brief you on the etiquette of gorilla trekking, after which, you set off into the forest. The trek can take from one to six hours and can exceed altitudes of 2500m. The terrain is rough and at times muddy and slippery. It is very important to bring along plenty of water. It can rain in a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is essential along with protective bags for your camera and film. We also suggest dressing in 'layers' as often it's chilly at first until you start trekking and long sleeves and long pants to protect you from stinging nettles found in the forests. Approximately 98% of the gorilla treks are successful but there is no guarantee that you will see the gorillas as they are constantly on the move. For the rest of your time in the area, you will have the chance of several options of activities to choose from such as fishing, canoeing on the lake, visiting the local community, and renting a mountain bike to explore the area. The area of Lake Bunyonyi is extremely peaceful and is a nature lover's paradise. It is often referred to as the Switzerland of Africa for its picturesque setting.
Day 6 Kampala (1B,1L,1D)
Return to Uganda's capital after a day on the road. Relax at our comfortable campground. Approximate Distance: 450 km ?Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs
Day 7-8 Jinja (2B,2L,2D)
Head south to the shores of Lake Victoria and renowned as the “Source of the Nile”, Jinja is fast becoming the thrill-seeker's capital of Africa. Spend a full day rafting or kayaking down the Nile River, mountain biking in the Mabira Forest, volunteering with a local project, or just enjoying the relaxed vibe of Jinja. Jinja, the second largest commercial centre in Uganda, is located on the shores of Lake Victoria near to the source of the White Nile. The resident population of Jinja is approximately 106,000 with the majority being Bantu in origin. Lusoga and Luganda are the main local languages. Bujagali Falls was a waterfall near Jinja where the Nile River flows out of Lake Victoria. Some consider it the source of the Nile, but now the once beautiful falls and world-class kayaking spot have become submerged by the recently built Bujagali Dam. Approximate Distance: 90 km Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs
Day 9-10 Eldoret/Lake Nakuru (2B,2L,2D)
Travel back into Kenya for a night in Eldoret. In the morning, continue to Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes. The park is rich in birdlife, including grebes, white winged black, stilts, avocets, ducks, and in the European winter, the migrant waders. The park has recently been enlarged partly to provide the sanctuary for the black rhino. This undertaking has necessitated a fence - to keep out poachers rather than to restrict the movement of wildlife. The park now has more than 25 rhinos, one of the largest concentrations in the country, so the chances of spotting these survivors are better than in other parks. There are also a number of Rothschild's giraffe, again translocated for safety from western Kenya beginning in 1977. Numerous other mammals can be seen, including zebra, impala, gazelle, waterbuck, lion, warthog, bushbuck, many buffalo, and even at times leopard. Day 9 - Approximate Distance: 169 km, Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs Day 10 - Approximate Distance: 169 km, Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs
Day 11-12 Nairobi/Arusha (2B,1L,1D)
Travel to Kenya's capital, Nairobi, before heading to Arusha the following day. Cross the border from Kenya to Tanzania via a shared shuttle transfer with a CEO. The name of the border posts are Namanga border post on both sides. Some nationalities do require a visa for Tanzania. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility; please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for Tanzania. Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important centre in northern Tanzania. With many protected national parks, reserves, and mountains nearby (on a clear day, you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance), Arusha is a modern town, and with its markets, services, and fine location, it is a great base for your safari trip. Day 11: Approximate Distance: 90 km, Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs Day 12: Approximate Distance: 286 km, Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs (including border crossing)
Day 13 Mto wa Mbu (1B,1L,1D)
Visit a Masai village to learn about the Masai people and the Planeterra-supported Clean Cookstove project. Meet the local women engineers who have installed clean cookstoves throughout these communities. Continue on to Mto wa Mbu village to enjoy a local lunch and cultural experience with the city's villagers. Opt for a cycling tour around the village before continuing on to the night's camp.
Day 14-15 Serengeti National Park (2B,2L,2D)
Approximate Distance: 320 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including game drive into Serengeti) After breakfast, we begin our 3-night/4-day excursion to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, two of Africa’s premier wildlife areas. The Serengeti is to Tanzania what the Masai Mara Game Reserve is to Kenya, though with an area of 14,763 sq km, it is actually over seven times as large! The area where you will be staying and game viewing is in the central Serengeti 'Seronera' area, which lies in the southeast of the national park. Because of the sheer size of the national park, other areas will not be accessible during your stay. As we drive to the Serengeti National Park, en route you will begin to experience the sheer vastness of this territory, and you will marvel at the multitude of animal and bird life while cruising through this acacia-spotted savannah. The next day, we continue your search for the Big Five - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino - while taking in the vastness of the Serengeti plains with a game drives through out the day. There is no bad time to visit the Serengeti as every season has its own special highlight – even the rainy season has the daily thunder and lightening to look forward to. Changing seasons and light patterns form the most beautiful backdrop to view Africa’s majestic and incredible wildlife. It has more than 1.6 million herbivores and thousands of predators. Blue wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and buffaloes are the animals most commonly found in the region.
Day 16-17 Ngorongoro Crater/Arusha (2B,2L,2D)
Before leaving the Serengeti, enjoy one last morning game drive to see the animal kingdom come to life in this incredible expanse of grassland savannah. You will return and break camp, and journey to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, famous for Africa's best game viewing. The views from the Ngorongoro Crater rim are stunning, and there is an ever-present abundance of wildlife, due to the permanent water supply on the crater floor. You will arrive at your campsite at the crater rim in the late afternoon. The 8,300 km² Ngorongoro Conservation Area is named after its central feature, the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, and arguably its most spectacular natural arena. Ngorongoro Crater has often been described as one of the wonders of the world, not only because of its inherent geological significance, but also because it serves a quite extraordinary natural sanctuary for some of Africa’s most dense population of large mammals. The Ngorongoro was part of the original Serengeti National Park proclaimed in 1951, but it was made a separate conservation area in 1956 so that the Masai could graze their cattle there. The Ngorongoro Crater became a World Heritage Site in 1978. Land in the conservation area is unique to Tanzania as it provides protection for the wildlife whilst allowing human habitation. The landscape is made up of a blend of volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests, where the wildlife is extensive. The southern and eastern boundaries are approximately defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley, which also prevents animal migration in these directions. The annual ungulate migration passes through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with wildebeest and zebra moving south into the area in December and moving north in June. The area has healthy resident populations of most species of wildlife. The following day, after breakfast we embark on a half-day crater tour. The rich pasture and permanent water of the crater floor supports a resident population of more than 20,000 to 25,000 large mammals. They are not confined by the crater walls, and can leave freely; they stay because conditions are favourable. Since most of the crater floor is grassland, grazing animals predominate: zebra, gazelles, buffalo, eland, and warthogs. The swamp and forest provide additional resources for hippos, some of Tanzania's last remaining black rhinos, giant-tusked elephants, waterbucks, reedbucks and bushbucks, baboons and vervet monkeys. All these animals in turn support large predators such as lion and leopard, and scavengers such as hyena and jackals. After this fabulous experience within the crater, we have to leave the wildlife behind us and return to Arusha for the night. Day 16 - Approximate Distance: 160 km; Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including game drive out of Serengeti) Day 17 - Approximate distance: 250 km; Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including game drive in the crater)
Day 18-20 Zanzibar (3B)
Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs (transfer, flight) Skip a long day in the overland truck down to Dar es Salaam and arrive in style to Zanzibar with a quick flight. After arriving on Zanzibar, spend the remainder of the day exploring Stone Town, the heart of the island. It has an intriguing maze of narrow, cobbled lanes hemmed in by Arabic buildings. The best way to see the Stone Town is, literally, to get lost. You can spend hours just wandering the alleys and squares, drinking potent coffee from pavement vendors, or buying sweetmeats from scores of tiny cafes. Enjoy an orientation walk around town with your CEO. Zanzibar Island, 'the spice island,' has an extremely interesting history and culture as it was the centre of the slave and spice trade in the 1800s. Zanzibar is one of the most fascinating places in East Africa, despite a heavy increase in tourism since the early 1990s. Thanks to an ambitious and far-reaching preservation programme funded by UNESCO and the Aga Khan, many famous old buildings have been restored, or are in the process of being renovated. The following morning we head north to Nungwi for two days and two nights at one of Zanzibar's major highlights. Here you can either relax on the idyllic white-sandy beaches, take an optional diving/snorkeling excursion, or take a wander through the village of Nungwi. Remember that Zanzibar is a Muslim society, and immodestly dressed women, or men in shorts, will get harassed and cause great offence in Stone Town. In Nungwi, customs are a little more relaxed, but passengers are encouraged to be respectful of the islands culture and still cover up when walking around. Never try to take a photograph without asking permission. The polite way to ask is “Tafadhali (pronounced tougher-thaarli) naomba ruhusu kwa kupiga picha yako.” Many guidebooks say the correct phrase is “nataka kupiga picha yako”, but this is incredibly rude, the equivalent of saying “give me your picture”.
Day 21 Stone Town (1B)
Morning, group transfer scheduled for Stone Town departs Beach 10am, arrival to Stone Town 11:30am. Depart at any time after this. Private (later) transfers can be arranged at extra cost through your CEO.