Nairobi to Cape Town 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 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.
Day 2 Arusha (1B,1L,1D)
Approximate Distance: 286 km Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs (including border crossing) Today we will 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 3 Serengeti National Park (1B,1L,1D)
Approximate Distance: 320 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 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 Ngorongoro Conservation Area and on 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 4-5 Ngorongoro Crater/Marangu (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. Note: If you have pre-booked a Serengeti Balloon Safari Theme Pack, your flight will be early in the morning of Day 4. You will miss the morning game drive with the group, but you will have a much better view from above.
Day 6-9 Dar Es Salaam/Zanzibar (4B,1L,1D)
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.
Day 10-11 Ruaha River/Iringa (2B,2L,2D)
Approximate Distance: 680 km Estimated Travel Time: 14 hrs Depart Marangu, passing the majestic Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, and head towards, Dar Es Salaam. The city started as a fishing village in the mid 19th century before becoming a port and trading centre. Between independence and 1996 – Dar Es Salaam was the countries capital. Today, Dar remains the principal commercial city and the de facto seat of most government institutions in Tanzania. It is the major seaport for the country and its landlocked neighbours. 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. Please note that todays travel time will be influenced by traffic conditions in Dar es Salaam, road works and day of the week.
Day 12-14 Lake Malawi (3B,3L,3D)
Day 7 - Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (ferry ride) Day 9 - Estimated Travel Time: 2 hrs After arriving on Zanzibar, travel to Nungwi for two days/ two nights at one of Zanzibar's major highlights. Here you can either relax on the idyllic white-sand beaches, take an optional diving/snorkeling excursion, or take a wander through the village of Nungwi. On Day 9 transfer to 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. 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. No visit to Zanzibar would be complete without a visit to the spice plantations - an activity that is included during your visit. 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. 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 15-17 Senga Bay/Chipata/Lusaka (3B,3L,3D)
Approximate Distance: 200 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs (6 hr drive + 3 hr ferry ride) Catch the ferry back to Dar Es Salaam and continuing travelling west to our campsite in the Baobab Valley on the banks of the Ruaha River. Our camp is on the edge of the Udzwungwa Mountains National Park.
Day 18-21 Livingstone (4B,1L)
Approximate Distance: 180km Estimated Travel Time: 3/4 hrs Continue the journey south to Iringa, and spend the night just outside of town. Visit a crafts centre that supports the local community. 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 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 the Commonwealth War. Several graves are located just outside of town.
Day 22-23 Chobe River/Gweta (2B,2L,2D)
Day 12 - Approximate Distance: 534 km ; Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs Day 13 - Approximate Distance: 235 km ; Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs Today we will cross the border from Tanzania to Malawi. The name of the border posts are Songwe border post on the Malawian side and Kasumulu border post on the Tanzanian side. We have been experiencing a lot of problems with people that need visas for Malawi. Malawian visas is not available at the border, so please make very sure if you do need a visa before arrival. 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 Malawi. The currency in Malawi is Malawian Kwacha (MWK). You will be able to change your left over TZS at the border or only in Lilongwe. Most establishments for activities etc. do accept USD for payment. Malawi is known as 'the warm heart of Africa.' Spend three days relaxing on the shores of 'the Lake of Stars' taking long beach walks and swimming in the crystal clear water. Opt to snorkel or scuba dive among the tropical fish. As you snake down the shores of Lake Malawi, visit various lakeside camps to overnight. If you'd like to see how the locals live, consider taking a local village walk in Kande Beach and opt for a local lunch. 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.
Day 24-25 Maun/Okavango Delta (2B,2L,2D)
Approximate Distance: 200 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs Today we head to the sleepy capital of Lilongwe, a small village on the banks of the Lilongwe River. Check out the craft stalls and bustling markets in the Old Town or just sit back and relax, finding your groove in 'Malawi time'. Overnight at Senga Bay.
Day 26-28 Ghanzi/Windhoek/Waterberg Plateau (3B,3L,2D)
Approximate Distance: 200 km Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs Today we will cross the border from Malawi to Zambia. Then continue 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. The name of the border posts are Mwami border post on the Zambian side and Mchinji border post on the Malawian side. Some nationalities do require a visa for Zambia. 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 Zambia. The currency in Zambia is Zambian Kwacha (ZWK). You will be able to change your left over MWK in Chipata. Most establishments for activities etc. do accept USD for payment.
Day 29-31 Etosha National Park/Damaraland (3B,3L,3D)
Approximate Distance: 544 km Estimated Travel Time: 10 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, buffaloes, and the boks that roam the property, or relax by the pool or at the rest camp’s bar. 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. Please note that as today is a long driving day, we will not be able to spend time in Lusaka.
Day 32-33 Swakopmund (1B,1L)
Approximate Distance: 543km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs Please note that as this is a COMBO tour some of your fellow travellers might end their journey in Victoria Falls and you also might get some new travellers joing the tour. Livingstone a great base to see natural wonders and take part in exciting adventure activities. Get up close to the immense Victoria Falls while wondering the carefully laid out walkways designed for maximum viewing as you feel the powerful spray. Opt to raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi or bungee jump from a bridge that spans above the gorge, with the Victoria Falls in view. Please note that the entrance fee to the Victoria falls is not included in the tour. This will have to be paid by yourself. 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). Livingstone was one of the first Westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa. The purpose of his journey was to open the routes, while accumulating useful information about the African continent. In particular, Livingstone was a proponent of trade and Christian missions to be established in central Africa. His motto, inscribed in the base of the statue to him at Victoria Falls, was “Christianity, Commerce and Civilization.” The town of Livingstone is a regional transport center, being located near the borders of Botswana and Zimbabwe, and serves as a base for the many visitors to see this part of Africa, and the impressive Victoria Falls, a mere 12km from Livingstone. 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 occurs where the river is 1688 m 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 34-37 Namib Desert/Fish River Canyon/Gariep River (4B,4L,4D)
Approximate Distance: 120 km Estimate Travel Time: 4 hrs (depending on ferry crossing) Today we will cross the border from Zambia to Botswana. The name of the border posts are Kazungula border post on both sides. Botswana visas is not available at the border, so please make very sure if you do need a visa before arrival. 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 Botswana. The currency in Botswana is Botswana Pula (BWP.)You will be able to money in Kasane. To arrive to Chobe National Park in Botswana, you will cross the Zambezi River at a significant point, where Chobe and Zambezi rivers meet, creating a border area of four countries – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. You will stay over just outside of the park near the town of Kasane. This afternoon, take an optional game drive in the park, or an afternoon sunset boat cruise along the Chobe River - your best opportunity to view hippo, crocodiles and watch many elephants wallow in the water. Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park, and is situated along the Chobe River. It has one of the largest concentration of wildlife in all the Africa continent and one of the world's last remaining sizeable wilderness area. 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. The elephant population seems to have solidly built up since 1990, from the few initial thousands. By chance, they have not been affected by the massive illicit exploitation of the 1970's and 1980's. Elephants living here are Kalahari elephants, the largest in size of all known elephant species. Yet they are characterized by rather brittle ivory and short tusks. Damage caused by the high numbers of elephants is rife in some areas. In fact, concentration is so high throughout Chobe that culls have been considered, but are too controversial and have thus far been rejected. 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. Chobe National Park is also known for its lion population, who on occasion do hunt the elephants. The original inhabitants of this area were the San bushmen (also known as the Basarwa people). They were nomadic hunter-gatherers who were constantly moving from place to place to find food sources, namely fruits, water and wild animals. Nowadays one can find San paintings inside rocky hills of the park.
Day 38-39 Cederbeg/Cape Town (2B,2L,1D)
Approximate Distance: 350 km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs Today we head south from Chobe National Park travelling to Gweta. 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. What is known today as the Makgadikgadi Pans is only a relic of what used to be one of the biggest inland lakes Africa has ever seen-Lake Makgadikgadi. The Makgadikgadi pan consists of two main pans, Namely Ntwetwe and Sowa pan, both of which are surrounded by myriad smaller pans. The pans are situated between the Nata-Maun road and the Francistown-Orapa-Rakops road. The pans are about 12 000 square km. Makgadikgadi Pans National park is situated 162 km east of Maun and 143 km west of Nata (to the left of the Makgadikgadi pans). It 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 40 Cape Town (1B)
Approximate Distance: 250 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs Once we are in Maun, you can pick up any supplies and prepare for our excursion into the Okavango Delta. We recommend you buy a 5 litre bottle of water to take with you into the Delta, this should be sufficient to use as drinking water but also for cleaning purposes. Opt to take the optional flight over the Okavango Delta. Note: if you pre-booked the Okavango Delta Flight, you will be flying on Day 24. Maun is the gateway to the Okavango Delta and has for a long time enjoying the reputation of being Botswana’s own frontier town. Today it is one of the fastest growing towns in Africa. After leaving some of our luggage in Maun, we begin our exciting excursion into the delta for 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 tonight on Day 25, as our camp is very basic in the wild - you will be compensated by the incredible landscape and wildlife! On Day 25, enjoy mokoro a ride into the delta, birdlife and game viewing in the pristine wilderness area of the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta. In the evening, count the shooting stars, sing with the locals or just unwind and enjoy your sundowner and sit around the campfire. 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.