Kenya & Tanzania Overland Adventure
Day 1 Nairobi
Arrive in Nairobi 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 before arriving. It is very important to read the Visa section in our trip details to make sure which visas you will need, if any.
Day 2 Lake Nakuru (1B,1L,1D)
Travel north from Nairobi through the Great Rift Valley stopping at Lake Nakuru National Park, home to a vast variety of birdlife, particularly hundreds of thousands of flamingoes. Search for white and black rhino, buffalo, impala, hyena, and even leopard on our afternoon game drive in this renowned game park. Kenya's fourth largest town and the capital of the Rift Valley province, Nakuru, meaning “dusty place” in the Masai language, is a cheerful and vibrant agricultural town with a variety of coulourful local markets. We camp outside of the town itself and within the Lake Nakuru National Park, the area’s principal highlight and best natural attraction. Lake Nakuru itself is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes. The alkaline lake's abundance of algae attracts the large quantity of flamingos, estimated into the millions, which 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 flamigo, 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. Approximate Distance: 156 km Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs
Day 3 Loita Hills (1B,1L,1D)
Approximate Distance: 250 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs including stops Travel to beautiful Lake Naivasha for an included flamingo and hippo spotting boat ride before lunch. Continue to the lands of the Masai people and be welcomed into a community by our local Masai guide and his villagers. Spend some time learning the ways of these semi-nomadic people on a guided tour of their land and village. Learn about their diet (the daring may even try it!), clothing, social and cultural traditions, as well as their belief systems. Our camp site allows us not to infringe upon the village, while still allowing for meaningful interaction with these wonderful people and their territory.
Days 4-5 Masai Mara Game Reserve (2B,2L,2D)
Approximate Distance: 80 km Estimated Travel Time: 2 hrs With its vast open plains and distinctive flat-topped acacia trees, no visit to Kenya would be complete without a visit here! Spend time game viewing in our overland truck, with excellent chances of seeing the "Big Five" - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino, and marvel at gazelles, impala, and ostrich from wonderful vistas along the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment. In addition, stop at a traditional Masai village for an optional visit to learn about the local Masai culture. The Masai Mara (also spelled Maasai Mara) is a game reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Named for the Masai tribes people, who are the traditional inhabitants of the area, and the Mara River, which divides it, the reserve is famous for its exceptional population of game and the annual migration of the wildebeest every September and October, a migration so immense to be called the Great Migration. Thousands of wildebeest die in the crossing due to crocodile attacks. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving an immensity of herbivores: some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 360,000 Thomson's gazelle, and 191,000 zebra. With an area of 1510 km sq., the Masai Mara is not the largest game park or reserve in Kenya, but it is probably the most famous. The entire area of the park is nestled within the enormous Great Rift Valley that extends from the Mediterranean Sea to Mozambique. The terrain of the reserve is primarily open grassland, with clusters of the distinctive acacia tree in the south-east region. The western border is the Esoit Oloololo Escarpment of the Rift Valley, and wildlife tends to be most concentrated here, as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good. The easternmost border is 224 km from Nairobi. The Masai Mara is perhaps most famous for its lions, though the other members of the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhinoceros) are as well found. This said, the population of black rhinoceros is severely threatened, with a population of only 37 recorded in 2000. Hippopotami are found in large groups in the Masai Mara and Talek Rivers, and many cheetah, zebra, impala, gazelles, hartebeest, warthog, ostrich, topi, the Masai giraffe, among other mammals, all consider the “Mara” their home territory. As well, the large Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders. Like in the Serengeti in Tanzania, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitant of the Masai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year these animals migrate in a vast ensemble north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. These numerous migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by a block of hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena. The Masai Mara is a also major research centre for the spotted hyena. Additionally, over 450 species of birdlife have been identified in the park, including vulture, marabou, secretary bird, hornbill, crowned crane, ostrich, long-crested eagle, and pygmy falcon.
Day 6 Nairobi (1B,1L)
Day 6 Approximate Distance: 320 km Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs Arrive back into Nairobi in the mid afternoon and enjoy a good shower and a cold drink at our centrally located hotel. This evening gives us a nice break from the wilderness and a chance to charge our batteries before continuing our adventure into Tanzania. Day 7 Approximate distance: 286 km Estimated travel time: 10 hrs (depending on border crossing) Today we will journey to low altitudes through African savannah into Tanzania via a shared shuttle transfer with a CEO. Spend some time exploring the town and its bustling markets, before settling down at our campsite for the night, located outside of Arusha. Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center 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, with markets, services, and fine location. Please note that this is a combination tour. Some of your fellow travellers might be finishing their tour in Nairobi and you may be joined by new travellers who will be beginning their journey in either Nairobi or Arusha.
Day 7 Arusha (1B,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 to the night's camp.
Day 8 Mto wa Mbu Village (1B,1L,1D)
Approximate Distance: 320 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including game drive into Serengeti) Enjoy a game drive from the overland truck en route to the central Serengeti. Set up camp at a basic bush camp and enjoy the starry African skies before the next day's full-day game drive. Opt for a morning hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti. 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 9-10 Serengeti (2B,2L,2D)
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.
Day 11 Ngorongoro Crater (1B,1L,1D)
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 back to Arusha, where we will set up camp for the night.
Day 12 Arusha (1B,1L,1D)
Skip a long day in the overland truck down to Dar es Salaam and arrive in style to Zanzibar. Fly to the beautiful island and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy free time for exploration. 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. 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. 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.
Day 13 Stone Town (1B)
Enjoy an included orientation walk around Stone Town with your CEO. Learn a bit about the major highlights, history and culture of this fascinating town. Afterwards, 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. In Nungwi, customs are a little more relaxed, but travellers are encouraged to be respectful of the island's culture and still cover up when walking around. Never try to take a photograph without asking permission.
Day 14-15 Nungwi Beach (2B)
Morning transfer to Stone Town. Depart any time after 11am.
Day 16 Stone Town (1B)