Big Five Explorer Safari Northbound - 36 days
Starting at Victoria Falls, Africa's adrenaline capital and finishing in Nairobi this trip goes into adventure overdrive! Go in search of the Big Five on safari, gorilla trek through the jungle, laze on the beach in Zanzibar and cross the Equator on this is the adventure of a lifetime!
The below itinerary is for all departures in 2018. For the 2017 itinerary please contact us for a set of up to date Trip Notes.
Today we have a free day relaxing and enjoying the myriad of activities available at Victoria Falls. The Falls themselves are 1700 metres wide and 100 metres high - a truly spectacular sight. It is possible to take part in micro flights over the falls or go white water rafting in the Bakota Gorge as well as trying your hand at bungee jumping.
Overnight: Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls - Chobe NP (Botswana). Today we depart Zimbabwe for Botswana and the town of Kasane. Kasane sits on the banks of the Chobe River This afternoon we head into Chobe National Park for our overnight excursion for lots of game driving and a night in the bush.
Overnight: Chobe National Park | Lunch, Dinner
Chobe NP - Livingstone (Zambia). After our night in the park we cross into Zambia and to the town of Livingstone - on the other side of Victoria Falls. This afternoon we have the opportunity to view The Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia or partake in a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River. Another fantastic photo opportunity!
Overnight: Livingstone | Breakfast, Dinner
Livingstone - Lusaka Region. We spend the day slowly travelling through southern Zambia and our campsite this evening is near the capital Lusaka.
Overnight: Lusaka Region | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
South Luangwa National Park
Lusaka Region - South Luangwa. Departing Lusaka we head to Zambia's premier game park - South Luangwa - home to lots of wildlife. We spend two nights in the park. This breath-taking park is situated on the Luangwa River in the Eastern part of Zambia, and it is the southernmost of three national parks in this region. South Luangwa was founded in 1938 as a game reserve, 1972 was the year it was declared as a national park, and today it covers over 9000 kilometres squared. Animals such as Giraffe, buffalo and Elephants can be found in abundance. The Luangwa river is home to many a hippo and croc.
Overnight: South Luangwa National Park | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Lake Malawi Beaches
South Luangwa - Lake Malawi Beaches (Malawi). Leaving Zambia we enter ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ better know as Malawi. We briefly stop off in the capital, Lilongwe before heading to the beaches at the famous lake.
Lake Malawi is also known as “the lake of stars”, offers an abundance of water activities. With the staggering amount of 500 species of fish, this lake makes for an excellent spot for fresh water diving after meeting and greeting all the welcoming locals. We camp first at the central Lake, and then in the northern area over the next 3 days.
Overnight: Lake Malawi Beaches (3) | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Lake Malawi Beaches - Iringa (Tanzania). After lots of beach time it is time to leave Malawi as we head through the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations and into Tanzania for our night camping by the beautiful rustic ‘Farmhouse’ campsite famous for its Amarula hot chocolates and its steamy showers!
Overnight: Iringa | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Iringa - Dar es Salaam. This morning we pass through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside. We'll also pass colourful shop-fronts with their sometimes humorous ‘catch phrases’. On arrival in Dar es Salaam, we make our way to our lovely seaside campsite and prepare for our departure to Zanzibar the next morning.
Overnight: Dar es Salaam | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar. This morning we take the ferry over to the Spice Island of Zanzibar for 3 nights. Spending our first night in the capital Stone Town before heading north to the beaches for some R&R.
Overnight: Zanzibar | Breakfast x 1
Dar es Salaam – Pangani - Arusha. Over the next couple of days we continue heading north for the town of Arusha. On the night of day 17 we stop in the coastal town of Pangani. Our campsite in Arusha is at the Maserani Snake Park and is our base for heading into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro tomorrow.
Overnight: Pangani (1) Arusha (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Arusha - Karatu. Today we head towards the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater on our included excursion using locally operated 4WD vehicles. These vehicles have been adapted for safari use and allow excellent viewing and photographic opportunities through the opening roof hatches.
Our Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion takes us via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) to Karatu where you will be met with magnificent views over the surrounding hills. Tonight we spend the evening at a campsite in Karatu.
The following morning we depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. Comprising of open savannahs, acacia forests and both soda and fresh water lakes, the Ngorongoro Crater is truly a miniature ‘Garden of Eden’. This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa – including the elusive Black Rhino.
Overnight: Karatu (1) Serengeti (1) Arusha (1) | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Nairobi - Masai Mara. Departing the capital we travel through the Great Rift Valley before arriving at our campsite Acacia Camp in the late afternoon. The campsite is on the border of the Masai Mara National Reserve.
The following morning we depart shortly after sunrise for a game drive into the Masai Mara. The Masai Mara is most famous for the Annual Migration, that consists of the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. We go in search of the ‘Big 5’- elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard; along with the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who make call this wilderness home.
After our game drive, we can visit one of the nearby Masai Manyatta’s – this is a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way.
Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Masai Mara - Eldoret. Leaving the Masai Mara early, we head out of Masai Land pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Eldoret.
Overnight: Eldoret | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Eldoret - Kampala (Uganda). This morning, we cross the border into Uganda for our night in the capital city - Kampala.
Overnight: Kampala | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lake Bunyoni & Gorilla Trekking
Kampala - Lake Bunyoni. This morning we travel to Lake Bunyoni - our base for trekking to see the mountain gorillas. Lake Bunyoni is the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda.
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, quad biking 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
Jinja - Lake Nakuru (Kenya). Today we return to Kenya travelling on to Lake Nakuru National Park. Tonight we stay at EAMO; the East African Mission Organization. We will have the chance to interact with the local children as well as a chance to learn more about this wonderful organization.
Overnight: Lake Nakuru | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lake Nakuru - Lake Naivasha. Today we game drive through Lake Nakuru National Park - an established sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are often seen. We spend the day searching for these and the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way. After our game drive, we head back to our campsite, arriving in the late afternoon.
On day 35 we travel on to Lake Naivasha, which is home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. We spend the day enjoying optional excursions like 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: Lake Nakuru (1) Lake 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.Read More
Local payment - 2018 - $1800, paid in USD. 2019 - $2050, 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.
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.