An outstanding African adventure, from Zanzibar to Zimbabwe

Embrace the wilds of Eastern Africa on a 16-day Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid. Discover the winding alleyways of Stone Town, journey through epic landscapes in search of zebras and elephants, relax at a riverside campsites, explore ancient Zimbabwean ruins and gaze at the sweeping plains of the savanna – with a local leader and crew on hand to sweat all the small stuff so you can focus on exploring with a group of like-minded adventurers. This is your chance to spot the Big Five and escape the chaotic pace of the city for the quiet of villages Africa’s pride lands.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Stone Town, Tanzania
Finish
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Destinations
Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Wildlife
Code
YXOR
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

A powerful partnership

Lonely Planet and Intrepid Travel share the same philosophy: we help curious people explore the world.

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover the magic of South Luangwa National Park on a morning safari game drive. This park is a highly concentrated arena of noble African beasts and exotic wildflowers.

  • Get a chance to explore the largest ruins in sub-Saharan Africa – the World Heritage-listed Great Zimbabwe, thought to be the former palace of an ancient monarch.

  • Discover the history and heritage of local communities – including the San People – with guided cultural walks and a knowledgeable local leader to provide insights.

  • Eastern Africa isn’t just about animals and wide-open savannas. Get to know the colourful cities of the region, including Lusaka, Harare and Bulawayo.

  • Choose from a range of optional activities at Victoria Falls so you can see the cascades the way you want, and maybe treat yourself to a helicopter ride.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This is an overland trip. That means you’ll be travelling with a group in a purpose-built vehicle, visiting remote communities, setting up your own tent (unless you’re on an Original or Comfort style trip), occasionally roughing it in the bush with no facilities, and getting the best possible views of the ‘big five’. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The drive days can be long, but it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and half the fun is the camaraderie. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/africa/overland 

  • There are many excellent optional activities on this trip. We recommend taking this into consideration when budgeting for your adventure.

  • Some passengers on this trip will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip on a 'combo' journey. To see what you're missing out on check out our Zanzibar to Vic Falls trip (YXORC).

  • As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

Itinerary

Welcome to Zanzibar. Today is a free day until the important welcome meeting at 6 pm. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Stone Town - Handicraft & Music Urban Adventure - USD50
  • Stone Town - Culinary Urban Adventure - USD29
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
For an itinerary that includes time in Zanzibar, see the Zanzibar to Vic Falls (YXORC) 19-day trip.
Embrace an early start to catch a 7.30 am ferry to the mainland, then make tracks for Mikumi. It’s approximately an 8-hour drive to your first camp spot, but you’ll get a great look at all that renowned Tanzanian landscape on the way. Gaze out at vast plains dotted with baobab and tamarind trees and maybe catch a glimpse of some of the elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, lions and leopards that call the park home. Once you arrive at your camp spot, your leader will show you the ropes (literally) and help you set up and get comfortable for your night in the tent.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning there is a chance to wake up early to enjoy an optional 4WD game drive into Mikumi National Park. Then drive to Iringa (approximately 5 hours). You will set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse on the outskirts of this pleasant settlement. The area is filled with natural bush land which can make it a bird watchers paradise. Maybe make the most of this rural setting by doing some stargazing before you retire for the night.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mikumi National Park - Morning 4x4 Game Drive - From USD80 - USD230
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
For tonight’s camp, wi-fi and accommodation upgrades are available.

The price of the optional game drive will vary depending on the number of passengers.
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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
For tonight, camp facilities, wi-fi and accommodation upgrades are available.
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
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lake Malawi - Guided village walks - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
For tonight, accommodation upgrades are again possible (subject to availability). However, there is no wi-fi available.
Enjoy free time to soak up your idyllic surrounds. You might like to participate in one of the many water-based activities on offer, like snorkelling or pedal boating. Ask your leader for their recommendations. As well as chilling out on the lake’s sandy shores, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some local Malawians – easily some of the friendliest people in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lake Malawi - Snorkelling - USD20
  • Lake Malawi - Pedalos - USD25
  • Lake Malawi - Canoe Hire - USD10
  • Lake Malawi - Bike Hire - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 wildlife, watching out for colourful birds and herds of elephants.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has flush toilets, showers and wi-fi. Upgrades are also offered (subject to availability).
Rise early for an exhilarating morning game drive in a 4WD, then head back to the camp for lunch (as this is the hottest part of the day). If the conditions are right, perhaps return to the park for an optional game drive at night. A village walk is another good option, if you'd like a snapshot of daily life in the local community.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • South Luangwa National Park - 4x4 Dawn Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • South Luangwa National Park - Game Walk - USD50
  • South Luangwa National Park - Night Game Drive - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The game walk listed as an optional activity today is seasonal and cannot be offered all year round.
After breakfast, take a visit to a workshop where local craftswomen make all the jewellery by hand using natural materials from the South Luangwa valley. The project is set primarily to empower women and raise awareness against poaching. Then head further south to Petauke (approximately 6 hours).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Petauke - Jewellery workshop project
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The camp tonight has facilities, wi-fi and accommodation upgrades (subject to availability).
Head for your camp just south of Lusaka City (approximately 6 hours). Arrive, stretch your legs and take a stroll to discover the town. Though it's fast developing, Lusaka retains a strong African feel, and the locals are usually up for a chat.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has facilities, a pool and upgrades available. Wi-fi 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 crossing, continue to Harare. There will be a chance to explore the town, stock up on whatever you need at a market or shop and use an ATM.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
At your camp tonight, there is no wi-fi available. Accommodation upgrades are possible (subject to availability).

In winter months it may not be possible to explore Harare due to the limited day light hours.
Drive to Masvingo (approximately 5–6 hours). This colonial settlement – the oldest in Zimbabwe – makes the perfect base for exploring the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. The ancient city, now a World Heritage site, was first constructed in the 11th century and is believed to have been the seat of power for a monarch. Spend a few hours exploring this intriguing site before heading off to camp.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masvingo - Great Zimbabwe Ruins guided visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campground in Masvingo has shared facilities, with upgrades and wi-fi 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 or chat with the locals. The Natural History Museum and National Art Gallery are also worth checking out.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Balawayo - Natural History Museum - USD10
  • Bulawayo - Railway Museum - USD5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight you will stay in a campground with shared facilities. Upgrades and wi-fi 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, this optional activity gives you the unique experience to track these magnificent animals on foot. There will also be the chance to spot other game – klipspringers, leopards, warthogs and springhares, among others – while learning about local plant and tree species. 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 local San communities, and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place. Take a short hike to see San paintings and learn about local history and culture.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Matobo National Park - Rhino Tracking, Park Visit & San Rock Paintings - USD100
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Depart Bulawayo and make the 6-hour drive towards Victoria Falls. Stretching 1.6 kilometres wide and falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below, the falls for which the area is named are a sight to behold. Although a visit to the falls themselves is optional, it is highly recommended. The entrance fee to the falls is not included, as groups that book ahead are required to tour the site with a local guide, and we feel that seeing these waterfalls should be an uninterrupted sensory experience. In the wet season, the spray created from this feat of nature can rise 400 metres and can often be seen from kilometres away. It’s no wonder that the local name for Victoria Falls is Mosi oa Tunya, or the 'Smoke that Thunders'. Though dry season travellers should not despair! You’ll get an unobstructed view of the falls and the chance to see the islets in the river below. Your leader will take you to a local activity centre where a range of activities will be on offer.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls entrance - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Tonight's camp is located in the town of Victoria Falls. Upgrades and wi-fi are available.

Intrepid has not risk assessed all activities and only those listed in Optional Activities are recommended. It is against company policy for leaders to facilitate the booking of any activities that have not been assessed or do not adhere to our Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities. If you are interested in the Optional Helicopter flight (12 minutes or 25 minutes) we endorse Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe only.

You may notice businesses offering an '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 with the greatest level of respect. This industry directly contributes to the captive breeding and canned hunting of lions.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the camp at any time. That being said, you may like to try some of the optional activities on offer here, and so, we recommend that you schedule any flights for later in the day. If you would like to spend more time in Victoria Falls, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • Victoria Falls - Gorge swing - USD103
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (12 mins) - USD165
  • Victoria Falls - Helicopter flight (25 mins) - USD299
  • Victoria Falls - Rafting & river boarding (half day) - USD218
  • Victoria Falls - Village & township tour - USD61
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (full day) - USD130
  • Victoria Falls - Whitewater rafting (half day) - USD130
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This trip is a Lonely Planet Experience
Our Lonely Planet Experiences include plenty of free time so you can do the things that suit your budget and interests. Between your Intrepid Travel leader’s local knowledge and Lonely Planet’s trusted travel tips and recommendations, your trip will be more epic than ever.

Meals

15 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 13 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (1 night), Camping with facilities (14 nights)

Included activities

  • South Luangwa National Park - 4x4 Dawn Game Drive
  • Petauke - Jewellery workshop project
  • Masvingo - Great Zimbabwe Ruins guided visit

Lonely Planet extras

  • Free access to the Lonely Planet mobile app for one year
  • 25% discount on all items in the Lonely Planet Shop

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. For an itinerary that includes more time in Zanzibar, please see our Zanzibar to Vic Falls (YXORC) itinerary.
2. This trip finishes in Vic Falls after breakfast on Day 16. If you want more time in Vic Falls, speak to an Intrepid booking agent to secure extra accommodation (subject to availability).
3. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please see your booking agent for more information.

Essential trip information

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