from $3799.00

Joburg to Nairobi Overland

Tour Map

Tour style - Wildlife & Nature, Culture & History

27 days

Connecting two major hubs, this overland journey will take you from Johannesburg to Nairobi and into the stunning wilderness of the six countries that lie in between. Track Africa’s Big Five on game drives in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro and head to the Okavango Delta for a game walk and mokoro canoe excursion. Inhale the mists of Victoria Falls and the fragrant air of spice plantations in Zanzibar. You'll make your discoveries from a rugged overland truck, ready to take on Africa. Combine this with bush camping, a social atmosphere and a comprehensive itinerary and you have one hell of an adventure.
  • Day 1 Johannesburg

    Arrive in Johannesburg any time and make your way to the joining point hotel. A brief departure meeting will be held in the hotel reception area in evening on Day 1 of your tour. Upon arrival look for information from your CEO on the hotel bulletin board regarding the meeting time (approx 6-7pm). 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 at the border. Our starting hotel is located outside of the city of Johannesburg, but take some time on an optional excursion to Soweto or to the famous Apartheid Museum, if you arrive a day earlier or two. *Please note: if you have pre-booked the Okavango Delta Flight, the Chobe Photo River Safari OR the Photo Game Drive your CEO will inform you when you will do the activity throughout your tour, days are subject to change: Okavango Delta Flight (Day 3 - Okavango Delta), Photo Safari (Day 6 - Chobe National Park). Important to note that you only have enough time for one Chobe Photo safari option. For more information on the Extra see the Optional Activities section. George Harrison discovered gold near present-day Johannesburg in March 1886 on the Witwatersrand. Surveyors were instructed by the government to lay this farm out as a future town. They completed their work on 03 Dec 1886. The name Johannesburg was written for the first time on their plans of streets and stands. Only five days after the completion of the survey the first 986 stands were auctioned, and the first building to be erected was a corrugated iron hut. Within 12 months, Johannesburg was the second largest town in Transvaal, and by the middle 1890s there were 20 separate mining companies working from headquarters in Johannesburg. The Transvaal government granted Johannesburg municipal status in 1897. Later, the city became almost deserted with the advent of the Anglo-Boer war on 11 Oct 1899, as trainloads of refugees fled. Johannesburg was placed under martial law, to protect the existing claims. After the war, the labour shortage led to a proposed suggestion to import Chinese labour. The first load of 1055 Chinese labourers arrived in 1904. By 1905 they numbered 46,895. In December of 1905 the British liberal party ( who just won the national elections) suspended the Chinese recruitment. Between 1903 and 1997, 55,877 miners had been killed in mine accidents. In the same period 47,229 tons of gold had been produced. Johannesburg officially became a city in 1928, and by 1960 it had more than 1 million inhabitants. Today, Johannesburg is fondly known as eGoli, or place of gold.

  • Day 2-3 Serowe/Maun (2B,2L,2D)

    Approximate Distance: 524 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs Today's travel takes us through a very desolate part of central-eastern Botswana. We cross into Botswana and finish the day at the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, a unique community-based initiative in wildlife conservation. Opt to go on a rhino game drive in an open vehicle barring any delays on the road or at the border. If there are delays, we will arrive at dusk or after dark and a game drive will not be possible. The Khama Rhino Sanctuary is centred around the Serowe Pan, a large grass-covered depression with several natural water holes and covering about 4,3000 hectares of Kalahari sandveld. It was established to safe-guard both the white and black rhino population, which had been severely depleted by indiscriminate poaching. In 1995, a 28 km electric fence was completed, and all the rhinos were released and now roam freely within the sanctuary. Our campsite is located within the sanctuary. Maun, although officially still a village, is the fifth largest town in Botswana. It is an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts. Maun is the "tourism capital" of Botswana and the administrative centre of Ngamiland district. It still retains a rural atmosphere and local tribesmen continue to bring their cattle to Maun to sell.

  • Day 4 Okavango Delta (1B,1L,1D)

    After one night in Maun and leaving some of our luggage in Maun, we begin our exciting 2 day/1 night excursion into the delta as we drive about 1-2 hours (depending on which dock we go to) to the "dock" where we hop into a mokoro, a traditional dug-out canoe, that'll take us deep into the delta. After a couple hours in mokoro, we arrive to our basic “bush camp”. Please note that there will be no shower for those two days but you will be compensated by the incredible landscape (we recommend you bring a 5l bottle of water into the Delta, for drinking and cleaning purposes). For 1 1/2 days, enjoy game walks, mokoros (occasionally unavailable due to seasonality), birdlife and game viewing in the pristine wilderness area of the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta. Don't forget to bring a book with you as there is plenty of time in between the early morning and afternoon game drive where you relax at your camp, read a book or have a nap. In the evenings count the shooting stars, sing with the locals or just unwind and enjoy your sundowner and sit around the campfire. "Where all this water goes is a mystery", Aurel Schultz, 1897 The area of the delta was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that dried up some 10,000 years ago. Today, the Okavango River has no outlet to the sea. Instead, it empties onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating 15,000 km_ of the desert. Each year some 11 cubic kilometers of water reach the delta. Some of this water reaches further south to create Lake Ngami. The water entering the delta is unusually pure, due to the lack of agriculture and industry along the Okavango River. It passes through the sand aquifers of the numerous delta islands and evaporates/transpirates by leaving enormous quantities of salt behind. This precipitation processes are so strong that the vegetation disappears in the center of the islands and thick salt crusts are formed. The waters of the Okavango Delta are subject to seasonal flooding, which begins about mid-summer in the north and six months later in the south (May/June). The water from the delta is evaporated relatively rapidly by the high temperatures, resulting in a cycle of cresting and dropping water in the south. Islands can disappear completely during the peak flood, then reappear at the end of the season.

  • Day 5-6 Gweta/Chobe River (2B,2L,2D)

    Approximate Distance: 200 km Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs from Maun. Enjoy one last sunrise over the Delta, get up early for your last game walk, set out on foot to explore the delta area in search of game. Cruise back down the crystal clear channels of the Okavango Delta. We return to Maun to and continue our journey to Gweta, an ideal base for an optional sunset trip into the Makgadikgadi Pans (Nxasini pan - one of the smaller pan). When the rain comes, it brings life to the pans, as it fills just a few centimetres awaking the dormant fish and aquatic shrimps from the mud. The surrounding grasslands also team with life and are home to an impressive number of antelope that attract a wide variety of predators. Makgadikgadi Pans National park was declared a game reserve in 1970, but in December 1992 it was enlarged and declared a national park. Today it comprises 4900 square km. It was initially state land. Although it is totally devoid of any water, people used to live there before it was declared state land. Villagers where allowed to graze their livestock inside the boundaries during dry season. Day 6 Approximate Distance: 420 km Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs Today we journey to the area of Chobe National Park, home to the largest elephant population in Southern Africa. The best way to appreciate one of Botswana's national parks and its thousands of resident elephants, crocodiles, and hippos, is on an optional sunset boat cruise on the Chobe River. You may also choose to embark on a game drive in search of lions, antelope, and of course elephants. We camp on banks of the Chobe River, near its mouth. This is where the Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet, creating a border area of four countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park, and is situated along the Chobe River. It has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa and one of the world's last remaining sizeable wilderness areas. By size, this is the third largest park (11,000 sq km) of the country, though it is definitely the most diverse and spectacular. The park is probably best known for its spectacular elephant population: with over 120,000 it has the highest elephant concentration of Africa. Moreover, most of them are probably part of the largest continuous surviving elephant population on Earth. During the dry season, these elephants sojourn in Chobe River and the Linyanti River areas. During the rain season, they make a 200 km migration to the south-east region of the park. Their distribution zone however outreaches the park and spreads to north-western Zimbabwe.

  • Day 7-9 Livingstone (3B,1L)

    Approximate Distance: 100 km Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs (depending on ferry crossing) Please note that as this is a combo tour some of your fellow travellers might be ending their journey in Livingstone and you might also get some new people joining your tour. Cross the Zambezi River by ferry to enter into Zambia and continue to Livingstone. We will spend the last days of our tour here, a great base to see both natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (and wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, and for the more adventurous, bungee jump with the Victoria Falls in view. David Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813 in the village of Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, Scotland. He first studied Greek, medicine, and theology at the University of Glasgow and while working in London, joined the London Missionary Society became a minister. He originally planned to gain access to China through his medical knowledge. The Opium Wars, which were raging at this stage with no signs of peace on the horizon, forced Livingstone to consider other options. From 1840 he worked in Bechuanaland (present-day Botswana), and in the period 1852–56, he explored the African interior, and was the first European to see the Mosi-oa-Tunya waterfall, which he renamed Victoria Falls after his monarch, Queen Victoria. The Victoria Falls waterfalls occur in a country that is perfectly flat. From its source on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Zambezi River meanders for 1300 km across the wooded plateau of Zambia, eroding for itself a shallow valley on its mild descent to the site of the falls. The river eventually found a weak spot on the lower lip of the surface over which it passed, and forced a passage which was steadily deepened into an exit gorge. During the last half million years the river has scoured out eight of these cracks across its bed. The Victoria falls occur where the river is 1688m wide, presents the spectacle of an average maximum of 550 million liters of water a minute tumbling over the lip of the trench in five main falls, the Devil’s Cataract, Main falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow falls and the Eastern Cataract. The highest of these is Rainbow falls, on an average 108 m high. A peak flood sees 750 million liters of water in one minute hurtling over the falls. The name Zambezi comes from the Tonka tribe, also meaning Great River, but the Sotho-speaking Kololo people of the upper reaches of the river gave it the well-known name of Mosi o a Thunya (smoke that rises). The Lozi people call it by the same name but translated it into smoke that sounds. The Ndebele call it aManza Thunqayo (the water that rises like smoke). The Namibian people call it Chinotimba (a noise-making place like the distant sound of digging).

  • Day 10-15 Lusaka/Lake Malawi (6B,6L,6D)

    Day 10 Lusaka (B,L,D) Approximate Distance: 543km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs Today’s long journey across rough and bumpy roads takes us to a private game farm just outside of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. Here you can marvel at the Zebras, Buffalos, and the Boks that roam the property, or relax by the pool or at the rest camp’s bar. Day 12 Chipata (B,L,D) Approximate Distance: 544 km Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs Travel north east up through the Zambian country-side, we head to the capital of the Eastern Province, Chipata. Previously known as Fort Jameson, Chipata is a popular refueling station for overlanders heading to South Luangwa National Park. Take the opportunity to change some money for your time in Malawi, or visit the Down Shops - traditional Zambian shops owned by the small Indian population who call Chipata home. Lusaka, like many African capitals, is a bustling metropolis developing around its colonial roots, its socialist history, and nowadays its drive for independence. It’s an example of how many African cities are trying to find their “independent” way in a world that’s surging ahead. Situated in the southern part of the country, Lusaka is considered one of the fastest growing populations in Africa, and is the governmental and administrative centre of Zambia. As today is a long drive we will not be able to visit the city of Lusaka. Day 13-16 Lake Malawi (4B,4L,4D) Day 13 - Approximate Distance: 400 km ; Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs Day 15 - Approximate Distance: 235 km ; Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs Spend 4 nights relaxing on the shores of “the Lake of Stars”. Beach walks, swimming in the crystal clear water and snorkelling among the tropical fish are all part and parcel of your stay. Visit various lakeside camps as we travel north along the shores of Lake Malawi. This is Malawi’s main attraction and covers one fifth of the country. It is the third largest lake in Africa and is about 500km long. The lake has more fish species than any other lake in the world with around 600 different species. The largest family is the chichlids, which are exported all over the world to pet shops etc. The lake is also known for its good snorkelling and diving. The locals depend on the lake for fishing and survival and use dug out canoes to fish from and set out long nets. There are many different ethnic groups all speaking their own language, most are Christians and the rest have traditional beliefs as do most African countries Up in the hills above Chitimba Beach is a mission station named after David Livingstone. In 1859 Livingstone reached Lake Malawi when he was trying to put an end to the slave trade. He then returned in 1861 accompanied by seven missionaries. They opened a mission station in the south lake area, but suffered from malaria, illness and conflict with slavers. In 1864 the surviving missionaries withdrew to Zanzibar. Livingstone then returned to the region in 1866 as part of an expedition to find the source of the Nile. In 1869 he pushed north and was out of contact for two years. He was found by journalist Henry Stanley on the banks of Lake Tanganyika in 1871 and Stanley uttered the words “Dr Livingstone I presume.” Livingstone continued on his mission and died at a village called Chitombo in Zambia in 1873. His death rekindled a desire in missionaries to come to Malawi and eventually after setting up missions in various bad malaria areas, they set up a mission called Livingstonia in the high-lands of the eastern escarpment (with no malaria) It is still in operation today. The mission station is described as a small piece of Scotland transported into the heart of Africa.

  • Day 16-17 Iringa/Dar es Salaam (2B,2L,2D)

    Approximate Distance: 534 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs Begin the day by making the border crossing out of Malawi and into Tanzania. Climbing out of the Great Rift Valley through some spectacular mountain passes, view the vast tea plantations in the highlands along the way as you make camp outside Iringa. Historically, Iringa was a centre of colonial administration. During German occupation, the German military constructed the town as a fortified defence against marauding Hehe tribal warriors intent on driving them out of the region. Gangilonga Rock, a site just outside of the town, is a legendary spot where the Hehe chief at that time, Chief Mkwawa, met with his people and decided how to fight the Germans. Iringa was also the site of several battles during the First and Second World Wars, and Commonwealth War Graves are located just outside of town.

  • Day 18-21 Zanzibar (4B)

    Approximate Distance: 632 km Estimated Travel Time: 12 hrs Transit to Dar Es Salaam. The city started as a fishing village in the mid 19th century before becoming a port and trading centre. Dar Es Salaam - Arabic for “Abode of Peace” (a word closely related to the familiar “Yer u-salem” in Israel) - is the largest city in Tanzania. With a population estimated around 2,500,000, it is also the country’s richest city and an important economic centre. Life in Dar es Salaam revolves around the huge harbour, with the business district fanning out from here in a series of fascinating side and main streets. The cruise liners, cargo ships, and traditional dhows dot the habour while the bustling fish market of Kivukoni Front comes alive in the morning as the dhows offload the night’s catch.

  • Day 22-26 Korogwe/Arusha/Serengeti National Park/Ngorongoro Crater (5B,5L,5D)

    Day 18 - Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs (ferry ride) Day 19 - Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs (including 2 hr Spice Tour) Day 21 - Estimated Travel Time: 2 hrs Please note that as this is a combo tour some of your fellow travellers might be ending their journey in Zanzibar you might also be getting new travellers joining the tour. 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. At this point you may be joined by other G Adventures travellers who are starting their tour here on Zanzibar. A group meeting with your tour leader for this portion of your trip is scheduled for the early evening. Please look for information from your tour leader on the hotel bulletin board regarding the time of this meeting. 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/ 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. No visit to Zanzibar would be complete without a visit to the spice plantations - an activity that is included on our way north to Nungwi on Day 20. Your senses will be aroused as you will receive a detailed description on the assortment of spices (black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, breadfruit, jackfruit, vanilla, lemon grass) and their various uses. It was the wonderful spice plantations that brought the beginnings of Zanzibar’s infamous slave trade dating back to the 1840’s. On our fourth day on the island, we head back south to Stone Town, for our final night on this enchanting island. It's your last chance to shop and/or enjoy all that Stone Town has to offer. This maybe the last night for some of your travel companions as some will be finishing their G Adventures tour here on Zanzibar. 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 27 Nairobi (1B,1L)

    Approximate Distance: 309km Estimated Travel Time: 6hrs (excl. 3hr ferry ride) Our campsite is adjaecent to the Motel White Parrot and is a perfect spot to stop after the days journey. With views of the Usambara Mountain slopes and plenty of space in the sun and/or the shade, you can grab a chair or an area of grass and just lay out and relax, reading a book, or enjoy a nice "cool" drink.

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