Discover the beauty and the (wilde)beests of East Africa

Spend 42 days travelling through the iconic vistas of East Africa on a Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid Travel. Seek out the rare mountain gorilla in Rwanda’s steamy jungle, enjoy thrill-packed safaris through lush forest and open savanna and finish in Victoria Falls. Be welcomed into small villages in Tanzania and Malawi, relax on sandy beaches in Zanzibar and track the Big Five in the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. This overland adventure is a mix of locally-guided excursions and free time to follow your heart (and your Lonely Planet app) to the stuff you want to see.


Start
Nairobi, Kenya
Finish
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Destinations
Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Style
Basix
Theme
Lonely Planet Experience, Overland, Wildlife
Code
YXOIC
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

  • Gorilla permits included! Seek out the rare mountain gorilla on a trek through Uganda’s steamy forests and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence.

  • Take two game drives through the Masai Mara National Reserve, looking for lions, zebras and wildebeest crossing the iconic plains.

  • Go looking for rare black rhinos on a safari in Ngorongoro Crater, a 20-kilometre-wide crater that around 25,000 wild animals call home.

  • Spend a night camping in Mto wa Mbu, a multicultural Tanzanian village where you can grab dinner with some locals and shop for crafts.

  • Discover the largest ruins in sub-Saharan Africa – Great Zimbabwe. A World Heritage site, the ruined city was first constructed in the 11th century.

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 and getting the best possible chance to spot 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. For more info on this style of travel, see our Africa overland page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/africa/overland

  • Conditions during the gorilla trek can be muddy and uncomfortable. But the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours – up and down hills. 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.

  • Camp in the Serengeti without fences between you and the animals. Your leader will brief you on the safety measures the group will need to take for the two nights spent in the park.

  • At Usambara Mountains the group will do a easy hike to the beautiful Irente viewpoint.

  • The overland vehicle is large enough to seat up to 22 passengers and carries all the camping equipment needed for the duration of this trip. 

  • 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

Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid, begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you arrive early, why not head out and soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Nairobi. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, and markets and shops for essentials as well as arts and crafts from the region. After the welcome meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions for an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nairobi - City Experience Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Nairobi - From Farm to Feast In Focus Urban Adventure - USD86
  • Nairobi - Giraffes & Elephants Urban Adventure - USD70
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.

Unfortunately, petty crime has become 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.
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 - 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.
Say goodbye to the open expanses of the African bush and return to the bustling metropolis of Nairobi (approximately 5–6 hours). Pass by the remote region of Loita Hills, home of the Maasai people, known for their vibrant red dress and elaborate jewellery. This is one of a few places where the Maasai still practice a fairly traditional way of life. Stop in at Tepesua Village, which is known for championing Maasai women’s health and education. You’ll be welcomed by Maasai Warriors by way of traditional song and dance. Meet your hosts and enjoy a chat about this remarkable and ancient culture. Take a walk to a community village where widows are welcomed and offered support, safety and economic freedom through the ‘Tepesua Widows Income Project’. Continue to Nairobi and arrive in the afternoon. As this is a combination trip, some of your group may depart today and new travellers may arrive for the next leg of your journey. You can meet the new folks during a welcome meeting this evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Loita Hills - Maasai Village Visit
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.
Depart early for Mto wa Mbu in your overland truck (approximately 10 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight, you'll stay at a campsite with flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades (subject to availability).
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 3–4 hours exploring this incredible, perfectly intact volcanic caldera. Watch for black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent game viewing all year round (some 30,000 animals live here) and the photo opportunities are unrivalled. Next, it's on to the wide-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
Tonight’s camp is basic with limited running water. No accommodation upgrades or wi-fi are available. 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.

You may notice some Maasai villages in the region of the Ngorongoro Crater offering a cultural experience. Intrepid recommends avoiding these villages, as they can impact negatively on the Maasai culture and travellers' perceptions of it by selling an artificial experience.
Awake at dawn and embark on a game drive. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head 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 of a balloon ride over the park this morning – in place of some of today’s game drives. If you have pre-booked this activity, you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, getting some 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, indulge in a five-star bush breakfast, then be returned to 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. 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 leave the Serengeti in your dust. Jump back into your overland vehicle and head for Mto wa Mbu. Once camp is set up, join the local community for a guided stroll around the farming areas, milling machine, and local homes and farmlands, before a local meal in town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Mto Wa Mbu - Village walk & local dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Prepare yourself for a long travel day heading for the Usambara Mountains (approximately 10 hours). Stretch your legs during a brief supply stop in Arusha, then jump back in the vehicle and watch the ever-changing scenery, read your favourite book or get to really know your fellow travellers. Your base will be Lushoto – an old German colony and home to the Wasambaa people. This highland town sits at approximately 1400 metres and this evening you'll camp in the grounds of one of the oldest hotels in Africa.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains today – 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 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 an Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Irente - Lushoto hike & local lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Leaving the mountains behind, travel further south to the coastal town of Kipepeo Beach in Dar es Salaam (380 km, approximately 8–9 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.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s camp is on the grounds of a hotel, so accommodation upgrades are usually possible (subject to availability).
Catch a ferry to Zanzibar and check into tonight’s accommodation in Zanzibar City’s Old Quarter – Stone Town. There will be an important meeting tonight where you can introduce yourself to any new folks joining your adventure and your new leader for the next part of your tour. Aside from that, your day is free! The best way to explore Stone Town is on foot. After settling in, maybe set out and have a wander through the narrow alleyways and past the market stalls, ornate doorways and stores overflowing with the city’s famous carved frames. Later, maybe head to a waterfront bar for a drink with an incredible view and a seafood curry – a must-try local specialty.
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 and your local leader may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary tonight, please confirm the exact time and place with the inn reception.

Please note the Zanzibar portion of your itinerary may have more than 22 travellers, as we have a number of trips that overlap 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
Enjoy a luxurious sleep in and maybe one last dip in the warm waters of the northern beaches. Head back to Stone Town for a chill afternoon of free time. Maybe grab an octopus curry or biryani for dinner with your crew. There’s long day of driving ahead tomorrow, so rest up while you can!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip the composition of your group may change at this location.
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

41 breakfasts, 29 lunches, 33 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Ferry, Minibus

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (32 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights), Bungalow (2 nights), Hotel (4 nights), Hotel with shared facilities (1 night)

Included activities

  • 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 - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Full Day 4x4 Game Drive
  • Loita Hills - Maasai Village Visit
  • Ngorongoro Crater - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Serengeti National Park - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Mto Wa Mbu - Village walk & local dinner
  • Irente - Lushoto hike & local lunch
  • 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.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 this trip. Please see your booking agent for further information.
3. This is a combination trip made up of three shorter trips. This means the composition of your group may change in Nairobi and Stone Town as some group members leave and new ones join you.
4. 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.
5. This trip finishes in Vic Falls after breakfast on Day 42. However, if you wish to enjoy some of the optional activities on offer perhaps consider an evening flight or an additional night here.

Essential trip information

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