Discover the best of Africa, from Kenya to South Africa

Want Africa with the lot? That's exactly what you'll get on this epic adventure across ten countries. Get breathtakingly close to animals more often seen in zoos and nature documentaries, from endangered mountain gorillas and lumbering elephants to ferocious lions and tiny dik-dik antelope. Along the way, meet people from a range of cultures and communities: Zanzibar spice growers, friendly Lake Malawi fishermen and fascinating San Bushmen. This trip will leave you humbled and amazed by the breadth of life and culture, and the beauty of nature, on this ancient and spectacular continent.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
From 1st January 2017 this trip will visit Lake Nakuru for 1 night rather than Masai Mara for 2 nights. This shortens what was a long distance from Nairobi, and to Eldoret. There is also a night added at Kalinzu Forest to do an optional chimp trek and therefore not interrupt the game drive at Queen Elizabeth NP. Further the Kampala accommodation will change from camping to a basix hotel allowing passengers to relax on what are long driving days both before and afterwards. The amended section of the new itinerary is outlined below:

Day 1 - Nairobi
Day 2 - Lake Nakuru NP
Day 3 - Eldoret
Day 4 - Kampala
Day 5 - Kalinzu Forest
Day 6 - Queen Elizabeth NP
Day 7 - Queen Elizabeth NP

Start
Nairobi, Kenya
Finish
Cape Town, South Africa
Countries
Botswana,
Kenya,
Malawi,
Namibia,
Rwanda,
South Africa,
Tanzania,
Uganda,
Zambia,
Zimbabwe
Themes
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YXOEC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 22
Carbon offset
3 011kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • The Masai Mara National Reserve is filled with iconic vistas and animals – safari through it with an early morning and late afternoon game drive in our overland vehicle
  • The chance to spot and get close to all of the Big Five in Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Seek out the rare mountain gorilla on a trek through Rwanda's steamy forests and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence
  • Experience the two sides of Jinja, a riverside retreat at the source of the Nile but also the adventure capital of Uganda
  • Explore the stunning Serengeti and discover animals unlike any you have ever seen
  • Embark on a safari across the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in an open roof safari 4x4 for a chance to see a Black Rhino.
  • Chill out on the northern beaches of Zanzibar enjoying white sand and sparkling blue sea of the Indian Ocean
  • Discover the largest ruins in sub-Saharan Africa. A Unesco World Heritage site, the ruined city was first constructed in the 11th century and is thought to be a royal palace for the Zimbabwean monarch.
  • Feel the power of mighty Victoria Falls as view them from the Zimbabwe side
  • Camp out in the lush Okavango Delta and enjoy mokoro rides and bushwalks
  • Learn about the hunter-gatherer traditions of the San Bushmen outside of Grootfontein
  • Slide down a hot sand dune in Sesriem

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your Africa adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Have your insurance details and next of kin information available for collection at this meeting. If you have the time, soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Nairobi. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, while markets and shops have most things you could want or need, as well as various arts and crafts from the region. There's also the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), or Bomas of Kenya (displays of traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes) open for exploration.

Notes: Unfortunately petty crime has become fairly common in Nairobi and recently arrived visitors to the capital can often make for tempting targets. Your trip leader will verse you in a few worthwhile precautions at the welcome meeting. Some top tips are to get local advice on where to walk, keep valuables in a neck wallet or money belt or leave them secure in your hotel, and to not leave belongings unattended on chairs or the floor. Stay aware even when inside, as thieves and pickpockets have been known to operate indoors as well. There's no need to be paranoid, but appearing vigilant is a great deterrent to would-be thieves.
Today you will leave the city behind and head out into a quintessential image of Africa - the Masai Mara National Reserve (approximately 6 hours). The view of sparse open plains, dramatic skies and iconic animals grazing within the reserve's boundaries is unforgettable. The road is smooth for the first half of the drive, the rest dusty when dry and possibly slippery and soft when wet. This huge area of woodlands and open plains, backed by the striking Esoit Oloololo Escarpment, is home to all of the Big Five and in the rainy season is flooded by over a million wildebeest on their annual migration. Tonight's campground is located outside of the national reserve and has flush toilets and showers. There is an option to upgrade tonight (depending on availability) however there is no WiFi available.
Today we wake before dawn to start a morning game drive when the sun comes up. You’ll discover the reserve’s rich concentration of animal life, and hopefully catch them at their most active. Keep an eye out for prides of lions, herds of elephants and, if you are lucky, a stealthy cheetah or leopard. Beat the heat back at camp to relax and have lunch, then look out for animals like buffaloes, zebras, hyenas and giraffe as the sun sets over the grasslands. Depending on wildlife movements, you may on occasion do a full day's game drive and stop en-route for a picnic lunch. There’s also the chance to get an unforgettably different perspective with a sunrise balloon ride high over the park. If you have pre-booked this activity (please see 'Important Notes') you will be picked up and driven to the launch site and receive a safety briefing from your pilot. You then glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, providing amazing wildlife photography opportunities; sometimes ascending to get an overview of the enormity of the Masai Mara plains and the early morning movements of the teeming herds. Upon landing you'll be treated to a bush breakfast before being returned to your vehicle.

Notes: If you are taking a balloon ride over the Mara you will be taken to the launch place from our campsite before dawn and returned to the group when you have finished your ride. We offer this activity as a pre-booked service, which will guarantee you a spot in a balloon. If you choose to wait and book this activity locally on the ground you may get a better price. However this is a popular activity and places are limited.
This morning you will head north towards Eldoret. It's a scenic drive through tea plantations to one of Kenya's fastest growing towns (approximately 8 hours). Due to its high altitude, the town is an ideal training ground for middle and long distance athletes and is home to some of Kenya's most famous runners. Your campsite tonight has basic facilities with upgrades available.
Today you will leave Kenya behind and cross the border into landlocked Uganda, travelling on to its capital city, Kampala (approximately 8 hours, though it could take longer depending on border crossings). With a population of over 30 million, Uganda is one of the five countries that make up the East African Community. It's a country of great cultural diversity and in recent years has been one of the most progressive in the region in terms of health education relating to HIV. Your camp tonight is on the outskirts of the city and has flush toilets, showers and upgrades possible (subject to availability).
Travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park (380 km, approx 8-9 hrs). Queen Elizabeth National Park is beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Edward and George. You'll stay at a campsite with basic toilets and showers. However, upgrades are sometimes possible.
Perhaps wake up early to take an optional hike to see the chimps. More closely related to humans than any other living creature, the chimpanzees are a delight to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. If you take this option, you'll then meet back up with the rest of your group and join a game drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park. During your time in the park it's hoped you'll see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks. This afternoon there's an option to take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife, as well as its healthy population of hippos.
Today travel south to Lake Bunyonyi on the border with Rwanda (approximately 7 hours), with a stop along the way to stock up on supplies at a shop/market and ATM. Located in the south-west of Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi - meaning 'place of many little birds' - is home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the country. If time allows, explore the hilly, terraced shores of the lake. One of the best ways to admire the landscape is from the lake itself; hire a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro) and glide across the water, hopping between the little islands dotted around. They can be hard to master at first but great fun. Your campground has flush toilets, basic showers, WiFi access and upgrades possible.
Cross the boarder into Rwanda and set up camp at Ruhengeri, the gateway to the land of the gorillas (approximately 7 hours). You'll make a stop en route at Kigali and visit the very moving genocide memorial. There is also the option to hire an audio guide at the memorial to learn more about this dark part of recent history. Continue on to Ruhengeri, the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, the oldest national park in Africa, which was created to protect the habitat of the gorillas. There are two days allowed for gorilla visits as you are assigned a trekking group/time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day, or even over two days, depending on the time of permit issue and group size. There is a maximum group size of eight on each gorilla visit. Depending on availability, you will stay in dormitories at a local church mission. If the dormitories are not available you will camp for these 3 nights.
Joined by a local guide and trackers, climb through rugged mountain terrain to meet the eyes of these rare animals. This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than eight per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals. Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid, but the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours - up and down hill. You can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Be mesmerised as you watch them eat, sleep, groom and play – the giant silverback surveying the scene as the smaller ones laze in the trees or play like children. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.
When you are waiting for, or have completed, your gorilla visit, your leader will provide you with options and ideas on how you can spend your free day in the area around Ruhengeri. You can head out on more rainforest hikes to see monkeys, on nature walks, a hike up Mt Bisoke or a walk to the memorial for naturalist Dian Fossey. Please keep in mind that the prices of these optionals are not inclusive of transport costs to and from the activity. Your guide will organise transport for you to be paid locally.

Notes: You can also arrange to partake in an additional gorilla trek on your free day. If you wish to trek on both days, we highly recommend pre-purchasing the additional permit well in advance to avoid disappointment. Please speak to your booking agent about arranging this.The additional gorilla permit is offered as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a place. If you would rather wait and try to get a better price by booking this locally on the ground, you are welcome to, but keep in mind that gorilla permits often sell out.
Much of today will be spent travelling as you return to Uganda and complete border formalities. It's possible for most nationalities to purchase a re-entry visa at this land crossing but please check before travelling. Then it's on to the pit-stop town of Mbarara near the shores of Lake Victoria for the night (approximately 8 hours including border crossings).
Today you'll continue your journey inland, travelling to Jinja via Kampala. Stop at the equator and then at Kampala - a great place to wander around on foot, exploring its markets and shops (approx 7 hrs). Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda, a riverside retreat at the source of the Nile but also the adventure capital of Uganda. Camp at a scenic riverside site with showers, flush toilets, WiFi and ATM access, and upgrades possible.
Located at the source of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria, Jinja is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and the eco-traveller who wants to do something really worthwhile in a beautiful area. Maybe get active with some excellent white water rafting.
Today you'll begin the journey back to Nairobi, dropping by the town of Eldoret once again for an overnight stop along the way (approximately 8 hours). Tonight's camp has basic facilities with upgrades available.
Continue on to Nairobi for a night in a hotel with ensuite, bar, pool and WiFi (310kms, approx. 6-7hrs).
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and meet your new fellow travellers.
Depart early for Mto Wa Mbu in your overland truck (approximately 8–9 hours). The trip includes a border crossing from Kenya into Tanzania, so be sure to have your passport handy. While you're on the road, there will be a stop at an ATM and a market or shop to stock up on any supplies you might need for the coming days. Arrive in Mto Wa Mbu and acquaint yourself with this delightful small village – it's a fascinating snapshot of small-town African life, situated well off the tourist trail. Tonight you'll stay at a campsite with flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades (subject to availability).
Rise early and leave the truck behind, putting your camping and personal gear into a six-person jeep. Head out for an excursion into the marvellous Serengeti. These wide open plains – green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season – are home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators. Flat and rolling, with long grass and acacia trees, the plains get their name from the Maasai word Siringet – 'The place where the land moves on forever'. Your campsite is right in the action, within the park itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep. There are no upgrades or WiFi available here.
Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives, with a chance to relax at camp during the warmer part of the day. Your chances of seeing four of the Big Five game (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo and African leopard) are excellent. The endangered black rhino is much harder to come across. There's also the option of a balloon ride over the park today. If you have pre-booked this activity (please see the 'Important Notes' section) you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, which provides amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the enormity of the plains and the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast, then be returned to your camp.

Notes: The balloon ride is offered as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a place. If you would rather wait and try to get a better price by booking this locally on the ground, you are welcome to, but keep in mind that this is a popular activity and places are limited.
Rise with the sun and make an early start, exiting the Serengeti and heading for the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater (approximately 3 hours). After a picnic lunch, descend onto the floor of the crater. A huge, perfectly intact volcanic crater, Ngorongoro is home to some 30,000 animals, including endangered black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers top-notch game viewing all year round and the photo opportunities here are unrivalled. You'll have around four to five hours to explore the area. Departing the crater late in the afternoon, return to your camp at Mto Wa Mbu for a relaxing evening.
This morning you will join the local community for a guided stroll around the farming areas, visiting a kindergarten, milling machine, and local homes and farmlands. You'll also have the chance to look around the town and visit the local market. You may wish to indulge in a spot of shopping –wood carvings and local artworks are the specialities of the area. Continue your drive to the village of Marangu (approximately 4–5 hours) and set up camp for the night. The camp is basic, with flush toilets and showers, situated on the lush green slopes of Kilimanjaro.
Take a walking tour of Mshiri Village, the base for the Village Education Project, and witness the day-to-day life of the Chagga people, who are long established as crop-growers on the fertile slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. Walk around their shamba (farm) and perhaps sample the local Chagga food. Visit nearby waterfalls and stop to admire the view of the plains below. If the weather is clear, you can get a glimpse of the magnificent, snow-capped Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak (5,895 m). Then it's time to venture well off the beaten path and into the remote Tanzanian mountains (approximately 7 hours). Your base is the old German colony of Lushoto, and you'll stay in the grounds of one of the oldest hotels in Africa. The camp has flush toilets, showers, WiFi optional upgrades.
Explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains, a lovely unspoilt area of Tanzania. Unlike the coast and the north, very few tourists visit this part of the country, so it has a freshness that can be hard to find elsewhere. As beautiful as the surrounding mountains and rainforests are, however, the real jewels here are the local people and villages. You'll experience some gentle hospitality on a visit to some of the small local communities. From your base, you will take a walk out to the gorgeous Irente viewpoint. It's best to pack some water and snacks in a day pack for this trip. On your way back, visit a local cultural project based at Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Leaving the mountains behind, travel still further south to the coastal town of Kipepeo Beach in Dar es Salaam (380km, approximately 9-10 hours). Your camp at Kipepeo is by the beach, so make the most of it – perhaps take a stroll along the shore after you arrive and settle in. The camp is on the grounds of a hotel with upgrades usually possible
Drive into Dar es Salaam and then catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar.
Filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar has a colourful history – everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast evokes what the island must have been like in Livingstone's day. The old part of Zanzibar's main city is known as Stone Town. The best way to see this exotic port town is on foot, exploring the markets, shops, mosques, palaces and courtyards. When the sun is setting, perhaps enjoy a sundowner from a bar overlooking the seafront, and a seafood curry at a local restaurant. Spend a night in Stone Town at a basic inn with double/twin-share rooms and access to WiFi.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and meet your new fellow travellers. Please note the Zanzibar portion of your itinerary may have more passengers than the maximum group size of 22 as we have a crossover of trips starting and finishing in Zanzibar.
Check out of your Stone Town hotel and drive to the spice plantations. Here you will receive a guided tour, during which you can learn all about the history of this town's renowned spice trade. You will also have the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices, such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger. Sample some teas made with these spices too. After lunch you will head to the northern beaches, where white sands and sparkling blue seas await. This is the Indian Ocean at its best.
Enjoy free time in this beautiful archipelago today. There are many ways you can spend your day – perhaps talk to your leader for any recommendations they might have. Snorkelling in search of exotic fish is an excellent option. You might also like to feast on a sumptuous lunch of grilled local seafood, or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book.
After checking out this morning, you will make your way back to Stone Town, arriving at the Safari Lodge by 10am. Take the ferry to the mainland and make tracks for Morogoro (approximately 5 hours).
Special Information
As this is a combination trip the composition of your group may change at this location.
Drive to Iringa (approximately 7-8 hours). Pass by Mikumi National Park - home to large herds of elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lions and leopards. Though you won't explore the park in depth, many of the animals this area is known for can be seen on the way through to the southern Tanzanian highland town of Iringa. You will set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse on the outskirts of this pleasant settlement. After you arrive and settle in, perhaps go for a walk around the old farmhouse to welcome the evening. Make the most of this rural setting by perhaps doing some stargazing before you retire for the night. Camp facilities, WiFi and accommodation upgrades are available.

Enter Malawi and travel to your campsite at Chitimba (approximately 10–12 hours). Malawi, the 'warm heart of Africa,' is dominated by its lake, which covers almost a fifth of the country and provides a livelihood for many Malawian people. Fishermen, fish traders and canoe and net makers all ply their trade on Lake Malawi. A common sight is that of a fisherman in a bwato (a dugout canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk) fishing on the still lake at the break of day. Camp facilities, WiFi and upgrades are available tonight.
Travel from Chitimba to Kande Beach on the shore of Lake Malawi (approximately 6 hours). There will be a chance to stop at a shop or market for any supplies you might need along the way. Enjoy a relaxing getaway from the commercialism and crowds with a few days on the lake's more peaceful beaches. Your campsite at Kande Beach is right on the shore of Lake Malawi. Accommodation upgrades are again possible (subject to availability). There is no WiFi, however.
Enjoy free time to soak up your idyllic surrounds. You might like to participate in one of the many water-based activities on offer – ask your leader for a recommendation. As well as chilling out on the beach, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some local Malawians – easily some of the friendliest people in Africa.
Journey through southern Malawi and enter Zambia, continuing to South Luangwa National Park (approximately 9–10 hours). There will be border crossing formalities on the way, and a chance to stock up on goods at a shop or market and visit an ATM. The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River and its lagoons is some of the highest in Africa. Take in the beautiful scenery and the abundance of game, watching out for colourful birds and herds of elephants. Your camp tonight has flush toilets, showers and WiFi. Upgrades are also offered (subject to availability).
Enjoy some optional activities in your free time. You can choose to rise early for an exhilirating morning game drive in a 4X4, then head back to the camp for lunch (as this is the hottest part of the day), and then return to the park later for a game drive at night. A village walk, on the other hand, is a good option if you'd like a snapshot of daily life in the local community.

Notes: A one-off payment covering entrance to the park (USD25) is payable in addition to the prices of optional activities.
Head further south to Petauke (approximately 6 hours). The camp tonight has facilities, WiFi and upgrades (availability dependent).
Another long drive today as you head for your camp just south of Lusaka city (approximately 9 hours). Arrive, stretch your legs and take a stroll to discover this cosmopolitan yet traditional town. Though it's fast developing, Lusaka retains a strong African feel, and the locals are warm and friendly. Your camp tonight has facilities and upgrades available. WiFi is not available at this location.
Travel to Harare today (approximately 8–9 hours). The first part of your journey takes you to the border with Zimbabwe. After formalities, enjoy a nice scenic drive of 60 kilometres or so, then continue to Harare. There will be a chance to stock up on whatever you need at a market or shop and visit an ATM. On arrival in Zimbabwe's capital you will have the afternoon to explore the town as you please. Perhaps head to the botanical gardens or local Sunday markets. Upgrades are available at camp; there is no WiFi, however.
Drive the short stretch to Masvingo (approximately 5–6 hours). This colonial settlement – the oldest in Zimbabwe – makes for the perfect base to explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The ruined city, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, was first constructed in the 11th century. It's thought to be the former royal palace of the Zimbabwean monarch. Spend a few hours exploring this intriguing site before heading off to camp. Your campground in Masvingo has shared facilities, with upgrades and WiFi available.
Travel to Bulawayo (approximately 5–6 hours). Known locally as the 'City of Kings', Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city. There is some impeccable colonial architecture to take in here. Enjoy free time this afternoon to explore town. You might like to browse some local markets, chat with the locals or perhaps find a game of football or rugby to watch. The Natural History Museum and National Art Gallery are also worth checking out. Tonight you will stay in a campground with shared facilities. Upgrades and WiFi are available.
Perhaps get up early and take the option to visit Matobo National Park. Home to a significant population of black and white rhinos which can be tracked on foot, this impressive wildlife park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company. The Matopos area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people, and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place.
Depart Bulawayo and travel towards the stunning Victoria Falls (approximately 6 hours). Today your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. Visit the magnificent Victoria Falls. The Victoria Falls are an enormous curtain of water, about a mile wide, falling 108 m into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 m and the falls are an impressive raging torrent. The spray from the falls can sometimes be seen from kilometres away. It's no wonder that the local name Mosi oa Tunya means the 'smoke that thunders'. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and it's possible to see little islets in the river below.

Intrepid has not risk-assessed all activities. If you are unsure about any, please check with your leader. Note that it is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk-assessed or do not adhere to Intrepid's Responsible Travel ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in Intrepid vehicles.You may also hear about the Devil's Pool. Intrepid does not recommend this activity, due to the high risk involved. Our leaders cannot assist in organising this activity.
If you are interested in the Optional Helicopter flight ( 12 minutes or 25 minutes ) we endorse the following operator only: Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe. Your leader can help you arrange. Tonight's campground is an ideal base, centrally located in the town of Victoria Falls. Upgrades and WiFi are available.
Special Information
You may notice businesses offering an optional 'Walk with the Lions' experience. We ask all Intrepid travellers to avoid this activity as it is contrary to our Responsible Travel policy. While wildlife viewing is a big part of many of our itineraries, we strive to only view animals in their natural habitats and to do so with the greatest level of respect. The lion walking industry directly contributes to the captive breeding and canned hunting of lions. While activities like lion walking may appear fun and educational, or even claim to be working in the name of conservation, they are unnatural and stressful for the animals involved. Professional wildlife conservation organisations, including Born Free and the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), advise that habituating lions to humans often shortens their life and may result in lion-human conflict issues.

Read more about animal welfare and our ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge here:
http://www.intrepidtravel.com/animal-welfare


Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip the composition of your group may change at this location.
Visit the magnificent Victoria Falls. This staggering curtain of water is about a mile wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 metres and the falls become an impressive raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see little islets in the river below. Today your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight over the falls for an incredible bird's-eye view of it all. Tonight you'll enjoy a final dinner with your fellow travellers. Your camp has WiFi, flush toilets and showers. Upgrades are availabile (subject to availability).

Notes: We have not risk assessed all activities offered, and only those listed in our trip notes are recommended. If you are unsure about any, check with your leader. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been risk assessed or do not adhere to Intrepid's Responsible Travel ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities in our vehicles. If you are interested in the optional helicopter flight (12 minutes or 25 minutes), choose Zambezi Helicopter Company (CAA Zimbabwe), who we endorse exclusively. 
This morning is free for you to continue enjoying all that Victoria Falls has to offer. Afterwards, travel to Chobe National Park in Botswana (approximately 2–3 hours). Take an optional cruise down the Chobe River – one of the best ways to enjoy the park's animals. Botswana's first national park is famous for its high concentration of elephants, so keep an eye out for them. They can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. Your camp, located outside of the park, has flush toilets, showers, WiFi, ATM and optional upgrades.
Enjoy an early-morning game drive. Adventuring through the park, you will have the opportunity to get up close to the wildlife. With some luck you will spot a variety of beasts and any number of exotic birds. As well as the Chobe icon, the elephant, the river also attracts hippos and crocodiles; the latter like to sun themselves by the water's edge. Cheetahs also come down for a drink. The birdwatching is excellent here too – look out for eagles, kingfishers and marabou storks, among hundreds of other species.
Today you will enter Namibia, driving from Kasane to Ngoma Bridge, and on to your camp at Bagani (approximately 7 hours). Bagani is a small, friendly town with some good hiking trails along the river. There are also plenty of nice spots in which you can simply relax and soak up the ambience. This area is the homestead of the local Mbukushu kings. You will have the opportunity to stop at an ATM and a market or shop today. Your camp has flush toilets, showers and WiFi. Upgrades are also available (subject to availability).
Drive across the border into Botswana and head south along the Okavango Panhandle (the narrowest part of the delta) to Seronga. Here you'll leave your vehicle and join your transport for the journey into the delta (approximately 4 hours). Take a boat across the swamps to Gao Island to meet your mokoro team and start exploring the Okavango Delta with them. Each mokoro (small dugout canoe) takes two people and is poled along through the waterways by a local tribesman. Reeds and lily pads line the streams, and birds startled by the mokoros rise out of the long grasses. Punting along, you'll hear hippos occasionally piercing the peaceful atmosphere with their grunts. On the first night here you'll camp on an island well away from civilisation.
Continue your trip around the delta and then return to Gao Island before heading to the relative civilisation of Umvuvu Camp. This camp usually has hot showers, and there's a small bar at which you can relax and perhaps enjoy a refreshing sundowner. Today there is an option to take a nature walk with your guide. This is a great chance to discover the beautiful natural surrounds, gain some insight into the history of the local area and take some photos.
Return to Bagani to camp for the night. Various boat trips, fishing trips and guided hikes are possible from Bagani, so if you're feeling active, get out and make the most of it. Those who are feeling bold might even be able to challenge the local kids to a soccer match – don't expect to win though! Retire to your camp in the evening and enjoy this welcome break from the road.
Drive to your camp outside Grootfontein for the night (approximately 7 hours). The town of Grootfontein, part of the Otavi Triangle, tends to get very green in the warmer months but dries out markedly in the winter. If it's springtime, you'll likely see jacarandas in bloom. There is the possibility of an accommodation upgrade here, but WiFi will not be available. 
Embark on a 180-kilometre round-trip to visit the San Bushmen. You will go out walking with some of the tribe, listening to their stories and songs. You'll soon discover that they communicate in a unique and fascinating clicking language. The Bushmen are the oldest ethnic group in Namibia, having inhabited Southern Africa for an estimated 20,000 years. Around 30,000 of them live in Namibia, but only 2,000 of them still follow a traditional way of life. The San have a deep understanding of nature and ecology, living in harmony with their environment.
Travel to Etosha National Park (approximately 5 hours). Enjoy a game drive here in the evening. The park is home to a wide range of Southern Africa's wildlife, including all the big carnivores and five rare or endangered species: black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik. Game viewing in Etosha is relatively easy due to the man-made waterholes and the large, sparsely vegetated pans. The bushland surrounding the pans is difficult to see through, but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to usually allow for some sightings. You will spend the night at Namutoni. Accommodation upgrades are on offer here.
Enjoy a full-day game drive in Etosha National Park. Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, which means significant numbers of elephants, antelope and other herbivores reside here. The park is also home to some 340 species of birds – keep an eye to the sky where you might spot a soaring eagle. Tonight you will stay at the particularly spectacular Okaukuejo Camp. The camp overlooks a floodlit waterhole visited by many different species throughout the day and night. Upgrades are not available at this location tonight.
Travel to the mountain of Spitzkoppe, the 'Matterhorn of Namibia' (approximately 9 hours). The wild lands around this superb granite peak are some of Namibia's most stunning. The mountain itself is 700 million years old and 1,987 metres high. Although you shouldn't try to climb to the top, there are some excellent hikes to do in the area, which is rich in plant life and has some bush paintings to be found. Be sure to look out for the sunset from your bush camp this evening – the landscape is known to take on dazzling oranges and reds.
Continue to the town of Swakopmund (approximately 5–6 hours). Be dazzled by the sight, sound and smell of thousands of olive-coloured seals on the shores of Cape Cross while you're travelling up the eerie Atlantic Coast. At some stage today there will be access to an ATM and market or shop if you need some supplies. Your accommodation for these nights is a simple, cosy lodge. WiFi is not available at this location.
Surrounded by the massive dune fields of the Namib Desert on three sides, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, Swakopmund is an example of the extraordinary German culture that's found in all major settlements in Namibia. It's worth wandering around town to admire the beauty of the Germanic architecture and take advantage of some excellent souvenir shopping.
Today is another free day to enjoy this fun beachside town. If you're after a dose of history and culture, you can stop in at the lighthouse and visit the Swakopmund Museum. Active types and thrill-seekers might like to take advantage of the many outdoor activities on offer – this town is the adventure-sports mecca of Namibia.

Notes: It's important to check with your leader if you are unsure about the safety of any of these optional activities, as some may not be recommended by Intrepid.
Drive to Sesriem, your base for exploring the incredible Namib Desert region (approximately 6–7 hours). The most famous part of the Namib Desert is its vast dune fields, the most spectacular of which are found near the Sesriem Canyon. This canyon was formed when the Tsauchab River carved a gorge 30 metres into the gravel deposits about 15 million years ago. Now the river flows out to the dune fields that stretch for hundreds of miles up the coast, and dries up in a clay pan at Sossusvlei. The dunes are stunning, with magnificent burning tones created by the brightly coloured sands. These are the highest dunes in the world.
Wake up before dawn and scramble to the top of the dunes for a dramatic sunrise view across a vast sea of sand. The colour changes are simply incredible and provide a spectacular setting for your brunch. Afterwards you will jump in the back of a pickup truck for a trip to Sossusvlei, the incredible salt and clay pan just nearby (approximately 30 minutes each way). Enjoy some time to explore this incredible and mysterious desert oddity. Later, continue to the small town of Bethanie (approximately 6 hours), arriving in the afternoon. Your camp has basic facilities, with showers, flush toilets, WiFi and optional upgrades.
Heading further south, deeper into the vast desert lands of Namibia, drive towards Fish River Canyon (approximately 3–4 hours). At 500 metres deep and over 160 kilometres long, Fish River Canyon is one of the very largest canyons in the world. During the dry season, the river bed tends to dry out completely, leaving only a few puddles. In the wet season, after the summer rains, the river can turn into a spectacular raging torrent. At any time of year there are remarkable photographic opportunities here. Note that upgrades and WiFi are not available at your camp tonight.
Departing Fish River Canyon, travel to Noordoewer (approximately 5 hours). Pitch your tent on the scenic banks of the Gariep (Orange) River. Traditionally known as the Gariep River, the Orange River is the longest in South Africa, at 2,200 kilometres. Its source is high up in the Drakensberg mountain range in Lesotho, and it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay in South Africa. The Orange River is responsible for transporting diamonds and creating the deposits that can be found along the Namibian coast. Upgrades are possible tonight (subject to availability), though there is no WiFi available. 
Depart first thing in the morning, heading to Klawer – a town named after the Afrikaans word for a wild clover blooming after rainfall. The surrounding countryside is beautiful. If there's time, you will have the opportunity to explore some of it – take a delightful walk around the nearby mountains and farms before retiring for the evening.
Head to Cape Town (approximately 5 hours), where you trip ends. With its stunning coastline, modern cityscape, nearby mountains and a plethora of nearby vineyards, this is one of Africa's most exciting cities. There's no accommodation provided for tonight, but this can be arranged – please enquire at the time of booking this trip.

Notes: It's important not to book any outgoing international flights for earlier than 7 pm, to allow for possible delays.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
60 breakfasts, 54 lunches, 52 dinners
Transport
4x4 Safari Vehicle, Ferry, Mokoro, Overland vehicle, Taxi
Accommodation
Bungalow (2 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (4 nights), Camping (with facilities) (47 nights), Chalet (3 nights), Dormitory (3 nights), Hotel (3 nights)
Included activities
  • Masai Mara - Game drive
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park Game Drive
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial
  • Volcanoes National Park - Mountain gorilla trek & permit
  • Serengeti - 4x4 Game drive
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game drive
  • Mto Wa Mbu - Village Walk & market Visit
  • Village Education Project (Marangu) visit, village walk & lunch
  • Irente - walk & local lunch
  • Zanzibar Spice tour
  • Great Zimbabwe Ruins
  • Visit Victoria Falls
  • Chobe - Dawn game drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro trip
  • Nature Walk
  • San Bushman cultural experience
  • Full Day Game Drive
  • Cape Cross seal colony
  • Village Visit - Swakopmund ( Township tour)
  • Sossusvlei 4x4 Tour
  • Sesriem - Sand dunes visit
  • Fish River Canyon

Dates

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Important notes

1. This trip requires an additional non-refundable deposit ( AUD1000, USD1000, EUR650, NZD1000, GBP500, CAD1000, ZAR6500, CHF900 ) in order to secure a gorilla permit. We also require full passport details at time of booking. Please see trip notes (Important notes) for more details.
2. A single supplement is available on this trip. The Single Supplement doesn't apply to nights 9-11 spent in a dormitory. Please see trip notes for more information.
3. An optional sunrise balloon ride in the Serengeti National Park is possible on this itinerary. Please see the itinerary above for full details of this activity. As the balloon only holds 16 people, places are limited and we recommend you book in advance. Please inquire when booking your trip to book this optional activity.
4. This is a combination trip made up of 4 shorter trips. This means the composition of your group may change in Nairobi, Stone Town and Victoria Falls as some group members leave and new ones join you.
5. The Zanzibar portion of your itinerary may have a few more passengers than the maximum group size of 22 as we have a crossover of trips starting and finishing in Zanzibar.
6. This trip finishes upon arrival at our finish point hotel in Cape Town on Day 63. Please do not book any flights until after 7pm this evening.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Africa Encompassed Southbound trips score an average of 4.6 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

Africa Encompassed Southbound , May 2016

Africa Encompassed Southbound , April 2016