An epic northbound journey in search of Africa’s wildest wildlife

Africa’s all about the outdoors – rainforest, national parks, waterways, coastlines and a whole load of savanna. See the best of Africa’s natural attractions on a 52-day Lonely Planet Experience from Johannesburg to Nairobi. Witness the power of Victoria Falls and the sprawling plains of the Serengeti, have close encounters with mountain gorillas and be warmed by the welcoming hospitality of locals in Malawi. Camp on balmy beaches in Tanzania, trek through steamy rainforests and mokoro down the Okavango in search of unique wildlife. Whether you’re spotting the Big Five, lazing on Zanzibar’s idyllic shores or interacting with Maasai warriors, this all-encompassing African journey will immerse you into the wild lands of Africa.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Johannesburg, South Africa
Finish
Nairobi, Kenya
Destinations
Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Wildlife
Code
UBODC
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

  • Support local conservation efforts by visiting the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, the only place left in Botswana where both black and white rhinos reside.

  • Go wildlife-spotting with your small group and expert guides in Chobe National Park, South Luangwa National Park, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. The Big Five have never been so close!

  • Camping on a remote island in the heart of the Okavango wilderness is an experience you’ll never forget. As the sun sets and night falls, the sounds of Africa come alive.

  • Journey from the interior plains out to some idyllic Indian Ocean hotspots. Take a stroll along the shores in Dar es Salaam and consider strolling through spice plantations in Zanzibar.

  • With permits included in the price of the trip, take a trek through Uganda's steamy forests to seek out rare mountain gorillas and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence.

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, 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/africa/overland

  • 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. A top tip is to pack some gardening gloves to assist in any up-hill climbs. See https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/gorilla-trekking for more information.

  • We use mokoros (small dugout canoes) to pass through the shallow waterways of the Okavango Delta to get to our campsite for the night.

  • Camping out in the Okavango wilderness means digging a bush toilet and going without a shower. For most travellers this is a small price to pay for such a gorgeous remote island location.

  • The African wild comes alive at sunrise, so there will be some early starts. The thrill of spotting your first lion or rhino is well worth any loss of sleep.

  • At Usambara Mountains, you'll hike to the beautiful Irente viewpoint. It's not overly strenuous, but a reasonable level of fitness is required.

  • Camping in the Serengeti National Park with no barriers between you and the animals is amazing, but it's important to heed the safety advice of your leader. You will be briefed as a group on arrival.

Itinerary

Sawubona – welcome to South Africa! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, get out and explore Johannesburg; the country’s largest city. Perhaps visit the cultural hotspots of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. Otherwise, the sobering Apartheid Museum is well worth your time. After your important meeting this evening, why not head out for an optional group dinner and get to know your newfound travel crew – your local leader will point you in the right direction with bar and restaurant recommendations.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Please ensure that if you choose to explore Johannesburg on your own that you take local advice and consult your group leader as to where it is safe to walk, especially at night.
Leaving South Africa behind, cross the border into Botswana and travel towards the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8–10 hours). Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary has drastically changed from a former hunting area to a conservation project. Built to protect Botswana's only remaining populations of both black and white rhinos, the sanctuary is also home to other wildlife including zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which can be seen grazing the many waterholes. Visiting this project benefits local communities and directly contributes to protecting the endangered white rhinoceros. Later on, head out on a dusk game drive to see the rhinos when they are most active.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
At tonight’s camp, there may be the option to upgrade to a room for an additional cost (subject to availability).
Jump aboard your vehicle and head to Maun (approximately 8–9 hours). Here there will be an opportunity to stock up on any supplies you might need for your adventure ahead. Maun is the gateway to one of the world's most complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This place is unlike anything in the world – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of lush wetlands and waterways teeming with wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats, but it's the animals aren’t the only drawcard here – the waterscapes and shimmering horizons will have you gazing for days.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight, you'll stay on the outskirts of Maun at a simple campsite with shared facilities, wi-fi and optional upgrades.
Get right in the action today, jumping aboard a traditional mokoro – a dugout canoe steered by friendly local 'polers' – for an Okavango waterways experience. With some luck, you could spot some of the delta's unusual wildlife and exotic birdlife. Spend some time today exploring the maze of lagoons, lakes and streams on foot too, led by experienced local guides. Tonight, you’ll camp on a remote island right in the heart of the wilderness, falling asleep to the humming and buzzing of the African heartlands.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
In this far-out camping location, facilities are almost non-existent, so be ready to dig a bush toilet and go without a shower. This is the African wild in all its glory!
Wake up early and head out on a sunrise walk. Along the way, keep watch for elephants, and if the timing is right, you might also come across some Cape buffalo! These noble-looking beasts are more dangerous than they look, and their horns double as a kind of bone shield that's fittingly known as a 'boss'. Returning to camp for breakfast, you’ve got the rest of the day to relax. A refreshing swim, or perhaps a nap, could be on the cards – both good ideas in the warmer part of the day. Alternatively, take another mokoro trip to soak up that serene river atmosphere.
Accommodation
  • Bush camp (no facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Sunrise Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After taking down your camp, return to the ‘poler’ station by mokoro, before continuing your Lonely Planet Experience to Maun by vehicle (approximately 2–3 hours). Today you'll visit a rural village and interact with some of the locals, providing insight into daily life along the Okavango Delta. The waterways are the lifeblood of so many in this area, so learn more from locals about how important these fertile lands are. Tonight, settle in at camp on the outskirts of town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
Optional Activities
  • Okavango Delta - Plane Scenic Flight - From USD75 - USD390
  • Okavango Delta - Helicopter Scenic Flight - From USD150 - USD450
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight you will stay in a simple campsite which has shared facilities. Wi-fi and optional upgrades are available.

During the Okavango Delta dry season, you may not be able to visit a rural village, as your night campsite may be different.

The scenic flight prices are dependent on the number of passengers in the plane or helicopter. See your group leader for more details.
Get up early and hit the road for Nata (approximately 6–7 hours). This small town is situated near the stunning Makgadikgadi Salt Pans which are some of the largest on earth, covering around 12,000 square kilometres. This afternoon, take the opportunity to explore the salt pans in an open vehicle. They are naturally dry and salty for a large part of the year, and during this time, the arid landscape has an eerie feel to it as the shimmering mirages disorientate the senses. At other times they take on a layer of grass and, as soon as the rains hit, become a refuge for migratory birds and animals.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Nata - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campsite tonight is situated on the edge of the pans. It has a restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, ATM and bar/lounge area. Upgrades are also available (subject to availability).
Hit the road to Chobe National Park (approximately 6–7 hours). Botswana's first national park is perhaps best known for its high concentration of elephants, which can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. The river also attracts wallowing hippos, a variety of birdlife, crocodiles sunning themselves by the water's edge, and cheetahs and lions coming down to drink. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Chobe – an ideal way to spend the afternoon and toast to another day in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chobe National Park - River Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has wi-fi available and optional upgrades (subject to availability). It's also close to a supermarket, so you can stock up on supplies while you're here.
Why not wake up early and see Chobe National Park from a different perspective, booking yourself in on an optional morning game drive. Afterwards, travel on to Victoria Falls (approximately 2–3 hours), crossing the border into Zimbabwe just in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi River. Then it's free time to experience the sights and sounds of the mighty falls. This thundering curtain of water is about 1.7 kilometres wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise an incredible 400 metres as the falls become a raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see the little islets in the river below.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with shared facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Entrance Fee - USD30
  • Chobe National Park - Open Safari Vehicle Morning Game Drive - BWP410
  • Victoria Falls - Sunset Cruise - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Your campsite tonight has wi-fi, an ATM and optional upgrades.

The Victoria Falls entrance fee is not included in the price of the trip as it is mandatory for tour groups with pre-purchased tickets to have a local escort. We feel that seeing these waterfalls for the first time should be an uninterrupted experience.

Your leader may take you to a local activity centre. 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 anything that has not been risk-assessed or does not adhere to our company’s Responsible Travel policy and ethos. This includes organising transport to and from these activities.

We also ask travellers to avoid the Walk with the Lions experience as it is contrary to our Responsible Travel policy. While wildlife viewing is a big part of many itineraries, we strive to view animals in their natural habitats and with the greatest level of respect.
Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer in Vic Falls. 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 this at the local activity centre.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Canoe trail (full day) - USD185
  • Victoria Falls - Flying fox - USD50
  • 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 - Canoe trail wine route - USD55
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader will change today. There will be a welcome meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and to meet new travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information.
With another free day to explore Victoria Falls and the surrounding area, why not get up close to the water on a boat cruise? Instead, you could spend some time back at camp and relax in your surroundings. If you're looking for something else to do, be sure to check in with your local leader to hear their recommendations, or consult your Lonely Planet app.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls entrance - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Victoria Falls entrance fee is not included in the price of the trip as it is mandatory for tour groups with pre-purchased tickets to have a local guide escort. We feel that seeing these waterfalls for the first time should be an uninterrupted sensory experience.
Depart Victoria Falls and travel toward Bulawayo (approximately 7 hours) via the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust – one of The Intrepid Foundation’s projects. Here you can learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict and the trusts role in anti-poaching. There may also be a chance to meet any rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care. Onwards to Bulawayo – known locally as the 'City of Kings', Zimbabwe's second-largest city has an interesting history and some impeccable colonial architecture. You will have the late afternoon free to explore, so maybe take the opportunity to visit some shops and chat with locals.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
In Bulawayo you will stay in a campground with shared facilities and wi-fi. Upgrades are also available (subject to availability).
Perhaps get up early and take the option to go to Matobo National Park. Home to a significant population of black and white rhinoceros that can be tracked on foot, Matobo National 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. This optional activity is highly recommended, otherwise you could head into town to check out the local museums or take the opportunity for some down time.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Matobo National Park - Rhino Tracking, Park Visit & San Rock Paintings - USD100
  • Bulawayo - Railway Museum - USD5
  • Balawayo - Natural History Museum - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive the short stretch to Masvingo (approximately 5–6 hours). This colonial settlement – the oldest in Zimbabwe – makes for the perfect base from which to explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The ruined city, now a World Heritage-listed 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 for the evening.
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. Accommodation upgrades and wi-fi are available.
Travel to Harare today (approximately 5–6 hours). You will arrive at your destination in time for lunch. You only have an hour or two to explore Zimbabwe's capital city, so if you're feeling active and up for a stroll, get out and make the most of it. Perhaps head to the National Gallery, the museum, the botanical gardens or simply wander the city centre and visit the colourful markets.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Harare - National Archives - USD3
  • Harare - National Botanical Gardens - USD5
  • Harare - National Gallery - USD1
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight, accommodation upgrades are offered at your camp (subject to availability).
Today you will cross into Zambia and drive to your campsite just outside Lusaka, Zambia's capital (approximately 8 hours). Your journey begins with a nice scenic drive to the border. At some point during the day there will be an opportunity to stop at an ATM and stock up on any supplies you might need at a shop or market.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s camp has shared facilities. Accommodation upgrades are available (subject to availability).
Spend some time checking out Lusaka before a long day of travel. You'll see that it's a modern city but still retains a traditional African feel. Afterwards, travel on to Petauke (approximately 8 hours).
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s camp tonight has facilities, wi-fi and accommodation upgrades possible (subject to availability).
After breakfast, make 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. Afterwards, make your way through the heartland to South Luangwa National Park (approximately 6 hours). The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River and its lagoons is among the highest in Africa. Many elephants, buffaloes, leopards, Thornicroft’s giraffes and lions are known to roam here. There are also some 400 species of birds inhabiting the area. A great way to experience South Luangwa and its beautiful scenery is to take an optional river trip – ask your group leader for more details.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Petauke - Jewellery workshop project
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has basic facilities.
Rise early for an exhilarating morning game drive in a 4WD vehicle. Enjoy classic savanna scenery while keeping your eyes peeled the parks abundance of wildlife. There’s every chance you may spot a herd of zebra grazing on parched grass or a pride of lions passing by. Midday is the hottest part of the day here, so seek refuge from the sun and return to the camp for lunch. Afterwards, perhaps head out on a village walk for a snapshot of daily life in the local community. An optional game drive at night is also a good option to see wildlife when they are most active.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • South Luangwa National Park - 4x4 Dawn Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • South Luangwa National Park - Night Game Drive - USD50
  • South Luangwa National Park - Game Walk - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Cross the border into Malawi and continue straight to your camp on the shores of Lake Malawi (approximately 9–10 hours). Malawi is dominated by its lake, which covers almost a fifth of the country and provides a livelihood for many local people. Fishermen, fish traders and canoe and net makers all ply their trade on the lake. 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. Your campsite at Kande Beach is right on the shore, so take some time to rest and relax.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
There are upgrades available at tonight’s campsite, but there is no wi-fi available.
Enjoy free time to soak up your idyllic surrounds. If you're feeling active, your leader can recommend some thrilling water-based activities. Otherwise, enjoy the opportunity to chill out on the beach or perhaps get to know some local Malawians.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lake Malawi - Pedalos - USD25
  • Lake Malawi - Snorkelling - USD20
  • Lake Malawi - Guided village walks - USD10
  • Lake Malawi - Bike Hire - USD25
  • Lake Malawi - Canoe Hire - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive to your camp in Chitimba (approximately 8 hours). Chitimba lies along the coast of Lake Malawi and has lovely beaches, friendly locals and a laidback atmosphere. When you arrive, perhaps take a stroll and acquaint yourself with this different part of the lake. Enjoy the scenery of banana palms, papaya trees and the Livingstonia and Nyika mountains looming nearby.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s camp has facilities and wi-fi. Accommodation upgrades are available.
Today is a long travel day into Tanzania and its southern highlands (approximately 11 hours). Sit back, relax and watch as the countryside passes by. On arrival you will set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse situated on the outskirts of this pleasant settlement.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s camp has facilities and wi-fi. Accommodation upgrades are available.
Set out on a short drive to the edge of Mikumi National Park. Situated at the foot of the thickly wooded Uluguru Mountains, Mikumi is Tanzania's fourth-largest national park and an important educational and research centre. It’s grassy plains host elephants, zebras, wildebeests, impalas, giraffes and lions among other wildlife. You’re almost guaranteed to see a number of these incredible creatures on an optional afternoon 4WD game drive. Also notice the baobabs, unusual trees with exceptionally thick trunks commonly referred to as the 'Tree of Life' for its many useful properties.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mikumi National Park - Afternoon 4x4 Game Drive - From USD80 - USD230
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The optional 4WD game drive price will depend on the number of travellers joining in on the safari.
Settle in for a 7-hour drive to Kipepeo Beach, just south of Dar es Salaam. Be sure to make the most of it – perhaps take a stroll along the shore after you arrive and settle in. Your camp today is on the grounds of a hotel situated next to the beach.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
At tonight’s campsite, upgrades are usually possible (subject to availability).
Catch a ferry to Africa's 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar. Filled with pristine white-sand beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar has had 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 centuries ago. The old part of Zanzibar's main city is known as Stone Town, and the best way to see this is on foot, exploring the markets, shops, mosques, palaces and courtyards. When the sun is setting, why not grab a drink from a bar overlooking the seafront. A seafood curry at a local restaurant is also a great choice. You'll spend the night in Stone Town at a basic inn.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Stone Town Tour - Dharajani Market, Joseph's Cathederal, Palace Museum, Forodhani Food Market - USD20
  • Zanzibar - Prison Island Tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.
Once checked out of your Stone Town accommodation, consider booking in to an optional guided tour of the island's spice plantations, learning all about the history of this town's spice trade. You will have the opportunity to smell and taste various spices, such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, plus sample some teas made with these spices too. After lunch, head to the Northern Beaches, where white sands and sparkling blue seas await. This is the Indian Ocean at its best.
Accommodation
  • Bungalow (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Zanzibar - Spice tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you choose not to book in on the optional Zanzibar spice tour this morning, you will be transported directly to the island's Northern Beaches.
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, or you could take a traditional dhow boat on the water. You might also like to feast on a sumptuous lunch of grilled local seafood, or just relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book. It's totally up to you!
Accommodation
  • Bungalow (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Zanzibar - Dhow Trip - USD60
  • Zanzibar - Snorkelling - USD60
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Catch the midday (12 pm) ferry to Dar es Salaam with your leader and group. Then you will join the overland vehicle, meet your driver and cook, and take the short drive to Bagamoyo. Your camp at Bagamoyo is right by the beach.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and to meet new travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information.

Upgrades are available at your beach camp however there is no wi-fi and showers are cold-water only.
If you wake early, you can make an optional excursion to the historical slave trade markets that once operated in Bagamoyo. After that visiting that sombre but important site (if you choose) it’s time to travel into the remote Usambara Mountains (approximately 7 hours). This unspoilt area of Tanzania attracts very few tourists, making it the perfect place for a Lonely Planet Experience. The forests stretch across the mountains and are ideal for easy hikes and guided walks. You base is the old German colony of Lushoto, where you’ll stay on the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The campsite has flush toilets and showers, but wi-fi is rarely available. Upgrades are available, so please speak to an Intrepid representative for more detail.
Today, explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains and experience this area’s gentle hospitality on a visit to some of its small communities. From your base, hike 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Irente - Lushoto hike
  • Irente - Local lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Get ready for is a full day of travel as you board your truck once again and venture towards Tanzania’s national parks. Your destination is the sprawling gateway town of Arusha, approximately 10 hours’ drive. Arrive at your campsite on the outskirts of the town and settle in for the evening.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
This campsite has flush toilets and showers. It also has a bar – the perfect place to unwind with a drink after a long day in the truck.
Take a short drive to the small town of Kisongo, where you will learn how to prepare a Swahili dish and enjoy a crafting session with local women. Enjoy your food creations for lunch. After this illuminating day, drive to the small town of Karatu, the gateway to the Ngorongoro Crater.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kisongo - Cooking class, crafts & village walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
In addition to lunch being provided at the cooking class there will also be fruit, tea and coffee available prior.
Get up early, put your camping and personal gear into a six-person jeep and head out for an excursion into the Serengeti via the Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy a safari in the crater, spending between 3–4 hours exploring this perfectly intact volcanic crater. Watch for black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. Next, move on to the open plains of the Serengeti. Green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season, this is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa – the home of thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators. Your campsite is within the Serengeti itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The camp is basic with limited running water and no upgrades or wi-fi available.

You will notice some Masai villages in the region of the Ngorongoro Crater offering a cultural experience. Intrepid recommends avoiding these villages, as they can impact negatively on the Masai culture and travellers' perceptions of it by selling an artificial experience.

Our camp within the Serengeti National Park does not have a fence to separate the camp from the animals. This is quite the experience as animals such as buffalo and hyenas often come close to camp after sundown. On arrival at the camp your leader will give a detailed safety briefing on what is required to ensure the safety of the group.
Wake at dawn and embark on a game drive. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then go back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. After spending the middle of the day relaxing, just like the animals do, head out again as the day begins to cool. You'll return from this second game drive in time for dinner. There's also the option today of a balloon ride over the park (in place of a portion of the morning game drive). If you have pre-booked this activity 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. After landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast, then be returned to your camp.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - Balloon Ride (from price) - USD599
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The balloon ride is offered as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a place. Please speak to an Intrepid representative before your tour begins to secure a place. If you would rather wait and 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. If you participate in this activity you will miss the morning half of the included game drive.
Rise with the sun and enjoy another game drive as you exit the Serengeti and head for Mto wa Mbu. On arrival, take a stroll and acquaint yourself with this small village situated well off the tourist trail. Learn about the farmer and artisan co-op that operates at the local market.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your campsite has flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades (subject to availability).
Set off early heading to the border with Kenya and on to Nairobi (approximately 9–10 hours). After a long travel day, enjoy the comforts of the hotel and perhaps have a swim. Keep in mind that there is another group meeting planned at around 6 pm today to welcome new travellers joining you for the next stage of your adventure. After the welcome meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions and share a meal with them!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, the travellers in your group and your group leader are likely to change today. There will be a welcome meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and to meet new travellers joining you. It’s important that you attend the meeting as your new leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Your accommodation tonight has an ensuite, bar, pool and wi-fi.
Take in spectacular views of the Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Elementaita on the drive north-west to Lake Nakuru National Park, situated in the heart of the Great Rift Valley. The drive will take approximately 3–4 hours and you’ll arrive in time for a short evening game drive along the shore of the lake. Lake Nakuru National Park is a small and compact area based around a lake that makes a great location for spotting wildlife. Along with the other members of the Big Five, Lake Nakuru harbours many rhinos and will be the best chance to get a great picture of these magnificent beasts.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Nakuru - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight is located inside the park and has flush toilets and showers. Accommodation upgrades and wi-fi are not available.
Rise early this morning for tea or coffee before going back into the park for a morning game drive. Return to camp for brunch before driving north-west to Eldoret, one of Kenya's fastest growing towns (approximately 5-6 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. Tonight, enjoy a traditional dinner at your campsite located just outside of Eldoret town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Nakuru - Morning Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The camp has basic flush toilets and showers, with upgrades available. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent for more information.
Today you will leave Kenya behind and cross the border into landlocked Uganda, travelling on to its capital city, Kampala (approximately 10 hours, though it could take longer depending on border crossings). With a population of over 30 million, Uganda is a country of great cultural diversity and is one of the five countries that make up the East African Community. As today is a long travel day, take a break from setting up camp with a stay at a hotel. Shake off the long journey with the option to eat in Kampala town and experience this dynamic city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel with shared facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Travel to Kalinzu Forest National Park (approximately 9 hours). Some of its inhabitants include chimpanzees, black and white colobuses, baboons, red-tailed monkeys, both blue and red duikers, bushbucks, waterbucks, giant forest hogs, buffalo and elephants. On arrival, settle into your camp and perhaps stretch your legs and explore your surrounds with the rest of the group.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has basic facilities with no upgrades available.
Take the optional excursion of visiting the chimpanzees of Kalinzu Forest this morning or enjoy the sounds of the forest from the comfort of your tent. 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. Later, take the short drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Once camp is set up 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 a healthy population of hippos.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kalinzu Forest - Chimp trek - USD70
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Kazinga Channel boat cruise - USD30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today, drive out of the Queen Elizabeth National Park on your way to the southwest tip of Uganda (approximately 7-hour drive). On this short game drive, cross your fingers and look out for elephants, buffalo, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks. When you arrive at the corner of Uganda, where the border touches Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, you’ll be based in Kisoro, which provides access to seven different gorilla groups located in Mgahinga, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Nshongi.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Joined by a local guide and trackers, climb through the rugged mountain terrain of Bwindi National Park to encounter rare gorillas. No more than eight people per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise disturbance or the chances of 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 quite 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 four hours – up and down hills. 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bwindi National Park - Mountain Gorilla Permit & Trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 Kisoro. You can head out on more rainforest hikes to see monkeys, take some nature walks, join a hike up Mt Sabinyo – one of five volcanoes located in the Parc National des Volcans – or perhaps make a visit to the Batwa community, indigenous to the Great Lakes Region and found throughout Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the eastern region of the Congo.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kisoro - Virunga Hike - USD50
  • Kisoro - Trek With Golden Monkeys Permit & Guide (from price) - USD90
  • Kisoro - Sabinyo Trek / Mgahinga hiking - USD90
  • Kisoro - Lake & Famstead Bicycle Tour - USD50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Optional activities require additional transport costs of approximately USD 100 that can be shared between 5–8 travellers.

The Golden Monkeys Trek 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.
Farewell the lands of the gorilla and turn back towards the capital, Kampala. You’ll break up the journey at the pit-stop town of Mbarara for the night (approximately 5–6 hours driving). We’ll be honest – there’s not a great deal to do here, however it’s a great opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at the camp, or even to have a leisurely look around the town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you'll continue your journey inland, travelling towards Jinja (approximately 7 hrs). The Jinja region 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. Tonight, camp at a scenic riverside site and enjoy a good night’s rest ready for tomorrow's adventures.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s camp has showers, flush toilets, wi-fi and ATM access. Upgrades are possible (subject to availability) so speak to an Intrepid booking agent if you are interested.
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. You’ll enjoy two days here at your own pace, with a bunch of optional activities to choose from (at extra cost) if you want. Maybe get active with some whitewater rafting or kayaking. Alternatively take a boat cruise to the source of the Nile or to enjoy the river and quench a thirst.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Jinja - River Nile whitewater rafting (full day) - USD140
  • Jinja - Nile Boat Cruise - USD40
  • Jinja - Source of River Nile tour - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The Source of the Nile boat cruise requires a minimum of four travellers.
Farewell Uganda and begin the journey back to Kenya and Nairobi, stopping overnight at the town of Kericho (approximately 9 hours, including border crossings). Kericho sits at the edge of South-Western Mau National Reserve and is known for its vast tea estates. On arrival, visit a tea plantation and sample a delicious brew or two.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kericho - Tea plantation visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight's camp is on the grounds of a hotel with upgrades available (subject to availability). Speak to an Intrepid booking agent if you are interested in upgrades.
This morning, drive to the famous Masai Mara National Park (approximately 7 hours). The Masai Mara is the quintessential African experience, with sparse open plains, dramatic skies and the world's most iconic animals living within its boundaries. Explore this diverse environment and view a multitude of wildlife on an evening 4WD game drive.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - 4x4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve for a day-long 4WD game drive. You'll explore this diverse environment and most likely see a multitude of wildlife. An optional balloon ride over the Mara at sunrise is an unforgettable experience. If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing from your pilot. You’ll then glide through the dawn skies, sometimes at tree height, which provides amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the enormity of the plains and of the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a bush breakfast before returning to your campsite.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Full Day 4x4 Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Balloon ride (from price) - USD500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
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’re welcome to, but keep in mind that this is a popular activity and places are limited. If you participate in this activity you will miss the morning half of the included game drive. Please speak to an Intrepid booking agent if you are interested in booking a balloon ride.
Return to the bustling metropolis of Nairobi (approximately 5–6 hours). Stop en route in Loita Hills, home of the traditional Maasai people, and visit Tepesua Village. You’ll be welcomed by Maasai Warriors through traditional song and dance. Meet your Maasai hosts and enjoy a fascinating talk, full of insights into this remarkable and ancient culture. Take a walk to the community village which was founded for widows who had lost their cows due to drought and can never remarry. The village offers support, safety and economic growth through the Tepesua Widows Income Project. Here the women are engaged in making handicrafts and sewing eco-friendly handbags and backpacks to sell to visiting travellers and locals. On arrival in Nairobi you'll be dropped at your finishing point hotel, where your trip ends on arrival.
Included Activities
  • Loita Hills - Maasai Village Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Nairobi – please speak to an Intrepid booking agent.

Please don't book any international flights out of Nairobi until after 10 pm this evening.
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

51 breakfasts, 35 lunches, 42 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Mokoro, Ferry, Minibus

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (41 nights), Bungalow (2 nights), Hotel (4 nights), Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Khama Rhino Sanctuary - Open Safari Vehicle Game Drive
  • Okavango Delta - Mokoro safari
  • Okavango Delta - Sunrise Walk
  • Nata - Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
  • Chobe National Park - River Cruise
  • Victoria Falls - Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Visit
  • Masvingo - Great Zimbabwe Ruins guided visit
  • Petauke - Jewellery workshop project
  • South Luangwa National Park - 4x4 Dawn Game Drive
  • Irente - Lushoto hike
  • Irente - Local lunch
  • Kisongo - Cooking class, crafts & village walk
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Lake Nakuru - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Lake Nakuru - Morning Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Bwindi National Park - Mountain Gorilla Permit & Trek
  • Kericho - Tea plantation visit
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Full Day 4x4 Game Drive
  • Loita Hills - Maasai Village 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

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Johannesburg to Gorillas trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
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Important notes

1.This trip requires a higher non-refundable deposit (AUD 1000, USD 1000, EUR 800, NZD 1250, GBP 650, CAD 1000, ZAR 8000, CHF 900) in order to secure the included gorilla permit. Please note that we need to confirm availability of a gorilla permit if you are booking within 45 days of departure. The additional deposit paid at time of booking will be credited to the final balance of your booking.
2. A single supplement is available on all nights of this trip, subject to availability.
3. Optional sunrise balloon rides in the Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve are 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 four shorter trips. This means your crew and the composition of your group may change in Victoria Falls, Zanzibar & Nairobi.
5. 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.
6. This trip finishes upon arrival in Nairobi on Day 52. Please do not book any flights until after 10 pm this evening.

Essential trip information

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