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.
Day 2 Kalinzu Forest Reserve (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 firs until you start trekking and long sleeves and long pants to protect you from Stinging Nettle 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, renting a mountain bike to explore the area, etc. The area of Lake Bunyonyi is extremely peaceful and is a nature lover's paradise. Often referred to as the Switzerland of Africa for its picturesque setting.
Day 6 Mbarara (1B,1L,1D)
Mbarara is situated in the Western region of Uganda, 295 Kilometers southwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Mbarara District is one of Uganda’s fastest growing districts something attributed to trade boom that has swept through the region over the last decades. Here you have the opportunity to visit local markets, go to the internet café or visit Safarilanda Park, built on the side of a hill overlooking the Rwizi. It is a wooden structure with restaurants, bars and balconies all decorated in African style. Approximate Distance: 140 km ?Estimated Travel Time: 3 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, was established in 1901. Lying in the south east of Uganda, 87 km north east of Kampala, it is located on the shores of Lake Victoria near to the source of the White Nile. The city is the chief town of Jinja District, and is considered the capital of the Kingdom of Busoga. 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 (also spelled Budhagali) 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: 285 km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs
Day 9-11 Eldoret/Nakuru/Lake Naivasha (3B,3L,3D)
Travel back into Kenya for a night in Eldoret. In the morning, continue to Lake Nakuru, one of the Rift Valley soda lakes. The alkaline lake's abundance of algae attracts the large quantity of flamingos, estimated into the millions, that famously line the shore. The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognizable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. There are two types of flamingo species: the Lesser flamingo can be distinguished by its deep red carmine bill and pink plumage unlike the greater flamingo, which has a bill with a black tip. But flamingos are not the only avian attraction, also present are two large fish-eating birds, pelicans and cormorants. The park is rich in other 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 12-13 Nairobi/Arusha (2B,2L,1D)
At the beautiful Lake Naivasha, spend your time enjoying various optional activities, such as a walking safari to view giraffes and antelope on Crescent Island, or a visit to the flamingo-filled Green Crater Lake, or simply viewing birds and wildlife around your camp - spotting ibis, lovebirds, fish eagles, hippo, and the black and white colobus monkey on the banks of this scenic lake. The name Naivasha comes from the Masai “Nai’posha”, which means “rough water”, though Lake Naivasha is general calm in the morning, the best time for spotting hippos, crocodiles, and birdlife. A freshwater lake, Lake Naivasha is currently about 20km long and 15km wide, but the lake levels have fluctuated enormously over the years. In the early 1880s during the time of Joseph Thompson’s travels, it was reduced to a swamp, while in the 1920s lake levels were about eight meters higher than at present. Surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the yellow fever tree, Lake Naivasha has a fairy-tale beauty to it which is rarely matched. Abound prolific birdlife from majestic fish eagles and waterfowl to tiny malachite kingfishers, is known as a world class birding destination, and is an international Ramsar site. Between 1937 and 1950 this beautiful, peaceful lake was used as a landing place for plane passengers destined for Nairobi. The flying boat from London would land on the lake where the Lake Naivasha Country Club now stands, and travellers would board a bus for Nairobi. Today the lovely lake, with its cool climate, has become a retreat for Nairobi residents and tourists looking for peace. Because the lake is fresh water and the surrounding soil fertile, this is a major production area for fruit and vegetables and, more recently, vineyards. Many animals call the area home; giraffes wander among the acacia, buffalo wallow in the swamps and colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lakes large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows. Approximate Distance: 75 km, Estimated Travel Time: 2 hrs
Day 14-15 Serengeti National Park/Ngorongoro Crater (2B,2L,2D)
Travel to Kenya's capital, Nairobi, before heading to Arusha the following day. Cross the border from Kenya to Tanzania. 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. The currency in Tanzania is Kenyan shilling (TZS.)You will be able to change your left over KES at the border, Arusha or in Zanzibar. Most establishments, activities etc. do accept USD for payment. Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center in northen 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. Arusha officially became a city on the 1st of July 2006. The primary industry of the region is agriculture with large vegetable producers sending high-quality produce to Europe. The city and its environs are also spotted with large coffee plantations, adding to the area’s charm. Though in recent years, due to the coffee crisis, many local farmers have been badly hit, and now subsistence farming is the most common source of livelihood. Arusha, who owes its name from the local Wa-arusha people who resided here for hundreds of years, is historically and politically significant city within East Africa. In 1961 the official documents ceding independence to Tanzania were signed by the United Kingdom in Arusha. Six years later the Arusha Declaration of Self Reliance in Tanzania was signed. On the 4th of August 1993 the Arusha Accords were signed by representatives of competing factions in the civil war in neighbouring Rwanda. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN Security Council decided by its Resolution 955 of 8 November 1994 that Arusha should host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The establishment of the tribunal with its employees has influenced the local economy of Arusha. Day 12: Approximate Distance: 90 km, Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs Day 13: Approximate Distance: 286 km, Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs (including border crossing)
Day 16-17 Marangu/Dar es Salaam (2B,2L,2D)
Approximate Distance: 320 km Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs (including game drive into Serengeti) After breakfast, we begin our 2 night/3 day excursion to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, two of Africa’s premier wildlife areas. Changing to specialized 4WD 7-seater safari vehicles, we are met by experienced safari driver/guides, who will ensure us wonderful wildlife encounters. Our safari vehicles each have sliding windows and a large pop-up roof, perfect for game viewing. They are smaller than our overland truck, and will allow us to maneuver easily through the wildlife areas. As the vehicles are smaller than our overland truck, our group will split up among several vehicles,. 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 7 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 through the Serengeti National Park you will begin to experience the sheer vastness of this territory, and 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 18-21 Zanzibar (4B)
Approximate Distance: 160 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including game drive out of Serengeti) 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. Note: If you have pre-booked a Serengeti Balloon Safari Theme Pack, your flight will be early in the morning of Day 15. You will miss the morning game drive with the group, but you will have a much better view from above.
Day 22 Zanzibar (1B)
Approximate distance: 250 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including game drive in the crater) 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 start heading towards Marangu, where we will set up camp for the night. Marangu is a popular starting point for people climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. Approximate Distance: 606 km, Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs