Great African Expedition North - 57 days
An epic 57 day expedition travelling through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, Gorilla trek, spot the Big Five, slide down Sossusvlei dunes, enjoy exotic locales and much much more!
Welcome to South Africa. We will be there to meet you at Cape Town airport and transfer you to the backpackers in the gardens area of the city. Our first night will be in dormitory accommodation. A welcome meeting will take place tonight at 1700 where you will be able to meet your tour leader and other members of your group.
Overnight: Cape Town
Cape Town - Cederberg. On our way out of the city we take a Township tour (2018 departures only) before driving past the beautiful Table Bay area. Our destination today is the Cederberg Mountains where we stay at a beautiful campsite surrounded by wine farms. Arriving in the afternoon we sample some of the local wines before spending our first night under canvass.
Overnight: Cederberg | Lunch, Dinner
Cederberg - Gariep River. We depart Cederberg and head through the Namaqualand - famous for its wildflowers that appear every spring. We stop briefly in the mining town of Springbok before arriving at the Gariep (Orange) River which forms a natural border between South Africa and Namibia. We spend a second night under canvass.
Overnight: Gariep River | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Gariep River - Fish River Canyon (Namibia). Today we take a half day canoe trip on the Gariep River before an afternoon crossing into Namibia. We visit the Fish River Canyon - the world's second largest canyon (after the USA's Grand Canyon) before spending the night nearby.
Overnight: Fish River Canyon | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Sesriem - Solitaire. Entering the desert this morning we get the opportunity to climb the famous Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience. Depending on the time of year we aim to get up there for sunrise and watch the amazing changing colours of the dunes. Afterwards we further explore the area of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei.
Overnight: Sesriem | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Sesriem - Swakopmund. On day 7 we head off towards the Atlantic Ocean and the colonial German town of Swakopmund, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn for the obligatory photo stop en route. We spend the next 2 nights in this lovely town in dormitory accommodation. There are a number of exciting optional excursions to enjoy including sky diving, dolphin cruises and dune boarding.
Overnight: Swakopmund | Breakfast x 2
Swakopmund - Brandberg. Leaving Swakopmund behind we take a brief stop at Spitzkoppe - 'the Matterhorn of Namibia' - a well known ancient San sacred site. Our final destination is Brandberg.
Overnight: Brandberg | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Brandberg - Etosha National Park area. Continuing north we head towards Namibia's premier national park - Etosha and our campsite nearby. We start exploring the park on day 11 including the vast Etosha Pan - home to a large variety of both animal and bird life.
Overnight: Etosha National Park area | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Today we make our way 150 km across the park, keeping a look out for the many different mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in the various regions. After a full day of game viewing, we spend the evening relaxing at our camp in the north of the park, at Namutoni. After dinner why not head to the waterhole where you can sit and observe the animals may come to drink in the evenings.
Overnight: Etosha National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Windhoek & Ghanzi
Etosha - Windhoek - Ghanzi - Maun (Botswana). Leaving the park we head to Namibia's capital Windhoek for the night before departing on day 14 for neighbouring Botswana. Our first overnight in Botswana is in Ghanzi in the middle of the Kalahari Desert and home to San Bushmen. On day 15 we drive to Maun - our base for our included excursion into the Okavango Delta.
Overnight: Windhoek (1), Ghanzi (1) Maun (1) | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 2
Maun - Okavango Delta. Today we depart for the Okavango Delta - the world's largest inland delta. Our journey into the delta is mainly by mokoro (dugout canoe) safely guided by our trusty polers. Arriving at our mobile tented camp in the heart of the delta we meet the local staff who will host us during our stay. Whilst staying here we will have the opportunity to take guided wildlife walks and try our hand at poling out own mokoros!
Overnight: Okavango Delta | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Okovango Delta – Maun. We pack up this morning and return to our mokoros for our journey back to the mainland. We plan to get to the campsite in Maun around lunchtime. Those who want to see more of the delta can take an optional scenic flight over the delta (dependent on weather conditions & availability).
Overnight: Maun | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Maun - Nata Region. We leave this beautiful part of Botswana behind us this morning as we depart to the lush campsite called Elephant Sands. The drive will take you through a very unpopulated landscape where the donkeys roam freely. Once we have arrived at our campsite you will have the option of partaking in a game drive or a bushwalk.
Overnight: Nata Region | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Nata Region - Chobe. Travelling north we head to the town of Kasane on the banks of the Chobe River. On day 20 we pack up and head out on our overnight excursion to Chobe National Park.
Chobe is one of Botswana’s premier game parks, renowned for its large elephant herds. Spend the afternoon in search of wildlife while we game drive to our camp within the park where we spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife. Look out for the rare Sable and Roan Antelope on your game drive, with their majestic backward slanting horns, or try keep a count of the Lilac Breasted Roller’s that swoop by!
Overnight: Kasane (1), Chobe (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Chobe - Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). Leaving the park in the morning we return to Kasane to join our truck and continue onto our next destination - Victoria Falls into Zimbabwe. We spend the next 3 nights here in Victoria Falls which is the adrenaline capital of Africa. You can choose to either relax for a few days or take part in a whole host of exciting activities on offer including white water rafting, abseiling, microlight flights to name just a few.
Overnight: Victoria Falls | Breakfast x 3
Victoria Falls - Chobe (Botswana) - Livingstone (Zambia). After our few days at the falls we return to Botswana for another overnight excursion into Chobe National Park. Continuing on day 25 we head to the border with Zambia and return to the falls, this time from the Zambian side and the town of Livingstone.
Overnight: Chobe (1), Livingstone (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1, Dinner x 2
South Luangwa NP
Livingstone - Lusaka Area - Luangwa. We spend the next two days continuing through Zambia with an overnight in the Lusaka area before heading to South Luangwa National Park for game drives and a night in the park itself. Animals such as giraffe, buffalo and elephants can be found in abundance. The Luangwa river is home to many a hippo and croc.
Overnight: Lusaka Area (1), South Luangwa (2) | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Lake Malawi Beaches
South Luangwa - Lake Malawi (Malawi). Leaving Zambia behind we enter the 'Warm Heart of Africa' Malawi. Our first stop is the capital Lilongwe before we arrive at our first night by the beautiful lake. We spend 3 nights by Lake Malawi first night at the central lake and the next two in the north.
Overnight: Lake Malawi | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Lake Malawi - Iringa (Tanzania). Leaving Malawi we cross another border today - this time into Tanzania. Passing by Tukuyu tea and banana plantations we arrive into Iringa for the night.
Overnight: Iringa | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Iringa - Dar es Salaam. Our destination today is the busy city of Dar Es Salaam. On the way we will pass through Mikumi National Park where it is very possible to see wildlife roaming around the road. Our campsite tonight is a coastal campsite where we relax and prepare for our journey to Zanzibar tomorrow.
Overnight: Dar es Salaam | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar. We depart Dar Es Salaam this morning for the ferry over to Zanzibar. We spend three nights here - one in the capital Stone Town and two up at he northern beaches. Our stay here also includes a Spice Tour in Stone Town and a Dhow Sunset cruise whilst at the beach.
Overnight: Zanzibar | Breakfast x 1
Zanzibar - Dar es Salaam - Pangani - Arusha. Returning to Dar Es Salaam on the evening of day 37 we continue north the next morning and stop for the evening at Pengani - a coastal town. On day 39 we depart for Arusha - our base for visiting the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Overnight: Dar es Salaam (1), Pangani (1) Arusha (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 3
Meserani - Serengeti & Ngorongoro. This morning we visit the Meserani Reptiel Park and Masai Culture Museum before preparing for our exciting journey into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. Over the next couple of days we will game drive in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro whilst camping nearby. We hope to spot lots of exciting game including the famous Big Five.
On the morning of day 42 we depart on a final game drive and the start of our journey back to Arusha. This evening we compare our amazing wildlife stories.
Overnight: Karatu (1) Serengeti (1) Arusha (1) | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Arusha - Nairobi (Kenya). We set off early this morning and make our way to the Tanzania/ Kenyan border and the small border town of Namanga. After completing the border formalities, we continue on our journey to the Capital City Nairobi and our hotel in the city centre.
Overnight: Nairobi | Breakfast
Nairobi - Masai Mara. Departing the capital - we travel along the Great Rift Valley and begin to enter Masai land. Our campsite whilst exploring the Masai Mara is Acacia Camp and we game drive in the park on day 45.
After our game drive, we have the option to visit one of the nearby Masai Manyatta’s – this is a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way. This evening we sit around the camp fire, and watch the sun set over this “Garden of Eden”
Overnight: Masai Mara | Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Masai Mara - Eldoret - Kampala (Uganda). Leaving the Masai Mara we pass by pretty tea plantations before arriving at our campsite for the evening in Eldoret. The following morning we cross the border into Uganda and head to the capital Kampala for the night.
Overnight: Eldoret (1), Kampala (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Lake Bunyoni & Gorilla Trekking
Kampala - Lake Bunyoni. We depart Kampala and head towards beautiful Lake Bunyoni - the deepest crater lake in Africa. Lake Bunyoni is our base for the next few days as we journey into either Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in search of the magnificent mountain gorilla. For more information on Gorilla Trekking see our website or Trip Notes.
Overnight: Lake Bunyoni | Breakfast x 4, Lunch x 4, Dinner x 4
Lake Bunyoni - Kampala. After marvelling at the experience of our gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, we begin our drive back to Kampala. We cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. We overnight in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life!
Overnight: Kampala | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kampala - Jinja. Today we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or heading to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile or visiting a volunteer and community project. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area.
Overnight: Jinja | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lake Nakuru - Lake Naivasha. This morning we explore Lake Nakuru National Park searching for black and white rhino as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way. On day 56 we head to Lake Naivasha where we have the option of visiting Elsamere (former home to Joy & George Adamson of Born Free fame), a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park.
Overnight: Nakuru (1) Naivasha (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Lake Naivasha - Nairobi. After breakfast, we head back to Nairobi usually arriving by late morning, or early afternoon. On arrival to Nairobi, we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. Single travellers will be paired up in tents with another person of the same sex.
Local payment - 2018 - $2190, paid in USD. 2019 - $2600, paid in USD.
Please note that this is payable locally on day 1 of your trip in the currency specified.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Ashanti Lodge Gardens Backpackers, Cape Town
Situated in a Victorian mansion at the foot of Table Mountain, within walking distance of the city centre, Ashanti Lodge offers a range of 6 to 8 bed dormitories, in addition to private rooms with shared bathroom facilities. After a long day of sightseeing, travellers can unwind with a cocktail at the café-bar, take a dip in the outdoor pool, or relax in the landscaped garden. Kitchen/BBQ facilities and complimentary Wi-Fi are also available.
Highlanders Campsite & Lodge, Cederberg
Nestled among the wine farms at the foot of the Cederberg mountains, this campsite is a perfect stopover in the Namaqualand region. Highlanders is set on 3 levels, giving campers plenty of space between each of the 5 individual camp areas, and a 12-room ensuite lodge has recently been added to the site. Each camp has a 'braai' pit, sink unit & power. There are stunning mountain views from the solar-powered hot showers, and a locally-sourced wine bar by the scenic swimming pool.
Oasis Sossus, Sesriem
This luxury campsite at the gates of Sossusvlei features 12 individually shaded camps, each with its own bathroom facilities, kitchen basin, barbecue, and electricity points. The campsite has a sparkling pool, and is within walking distance of a fully stocked shop, Internet café, and service station. The adjacent Sossusvlei Lodge offers a restaurant and Adventure Centre, where exciting desert activities such as quad biking, sunset drives, and scenic flights over the dunes can be arranged.
Urban Camp, Windhoek
Centrally located in Windhoek (a short walk from the legendary Joe's Beerhouse restaurant), Urban Camp is a comfortable campground combining city convenience with a quiet getaway. Free Wi-Fi, a sparkling pool, and private bathrooms all contribute to an oasis of calm in campsites housing up to 18 people. Nearby is a small shopping centre for amenities, and for sightseers looking to explore the history and architecture of Windhoek, the city centre is less than 2km away.
Delta Rain Bushcamp, Okavango Delta
This unique campsite is located in the heart of the Okavango Delta, as part of the Delta Rain safari experience. Accommodation consists of dome tents with twin beds, and "bush en-suite" bathrooms with a long-drop toilet and bucket shower. After settling in, guests can relax in the mess tent, partake in game viewing trips, or go on guided walks, while admiring the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Shearwater Explorers Village, Victoria Falls
Situated in the bohemian town of Victoria Falls, and 400m from the Falls themselves, the affordable accommodation at the Shearwater Explorers Village consists of 5 campsites with modern bathroom facilities, and 16 private chalets with en-suite showers and A/C. Shearwater operates a range of activities at the Falls, from bungee jumping to river rafting - and when the day is over, guests can wind down with Wi-Fi in the lounge areas, a drink by the pool, or even a back rub in the massage tent.
Zambezi Waterfront, Livingstone
The Zambezi Waterfront is a comfortable lodge with 16 standard twin chalets, six units of which overlook the river. There are also three Executive rooms and four Family rooms.
Croc Valley Camp, South Luangwa National Park
Croc Valley Camp is located on the banks of the Luangwa River, and provides accommodation ranging from riverfront tents to ensuite chalets, built on stilts to avoid the off-season floods. Watch elephants roam across the campsite, experience a game drive through South Luangwa National Park, or relax with a gin & tonic at the bar. The camp also features a large outdoor pool, kitchen facilities, and daily laundry service.
Kipepeo Village , Dar es Salaam
The Tanzanian bush meets the blue waters of the Indian Ocean at Kipepeo Beach & Village, situated on the south coast of Dar Es Salaam. The campsite is right on the beach itself and is a popular destination for watersports adventures or simple relaxation. Facilities include a beach bar and restaurant.Upgrades are available to the twenty elevated ensuite chalets, built in the bush and decorated in traditional Swahili style, provide a stunning ocean views.
Kenya Comfort Hotel, Nairobi
Comfortable dormitory accommodation in central Nairobi (upgrades available on request). The Kenya Comfort Hotel also features an outdoor pool, restaurant serving a good array of local and international dishes as well as a fully stocked bar - perfect for relaxing before or after your epic overland adventure.
Naiberi River Campsite & Resort, Eldoret
Camp by the river Naiberi at this vintage resort 16km from Eldoret, which also offers spacious dorms, log cabins, and executive rooms built into the valley slopes. During the day, admire the wildlife, with a variety of local nature trails offering the chance to encounter over 250 bird species. At night, venture down to the famous cave restaurant and enjoy a meal within the stone walls, believed to have once housed members of the ancient Sirikwa tribe. Other amenities include an outdoor pool and extensive bar selection.
Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala
Located on a purpose-built, 5-acre site in a peaceful suburb, the Red Chilli Hideaway offers affordable accommodation ranging from a campsite which we use for our overland safaris to private ensuite rooms for upgrades. Settle down for the day at the Hideaway's saltwater pool, self-catering kitchen, or restaurant & bar. The camp supports sustainable tourism and operates the Steve Willis Memorial Fund, whose proceeds go to providing clean drinking water in the Murchison Falls region.