Falls, Beaches & Serengeti Adventure (Southbound)
Day 1 Nairobi
Arrive at any time and expect a welcome briefing by your CEO in the early evening at approximately 6 or 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. 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 4 - 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 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: 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 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.
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. If you have booked the Zanzibar Express you will transfer this morning to the airport for a flight to Zanzibar. Arrive in Stone Town and spend the afternoon exploring on your own. Enjoy an extra night in Zanzibar and meet back up with the group the following afternoon. Included: transfers, flight and one night in Stone Town. Meals not included.
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 18-20 Livingstone (3B,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 21-22 Bulawayo (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. From Chitimba, enjoy a night out at the local pub and challenge the regulars to a game of pool; the first drink is on us! 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. We include a dinner here at a local friend's house—this is sure to be a highlight of Lake Malawi as our groups get to experience Malawian hospitality first hand and spend some time at a local home. 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 23-25 Greater Kruger Area/Kruger National Park (3B,3L,3D)
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 Johannesburg (1B,1L)
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 27 Johannesburg (1B)
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.