The Big Overlander Northbound 2019 - 47 days
Discover seven different countries, travelling from South Africa northbound to Kenya. Spot wildlife in some of Africa's most abundant game parks, trek for gorilla in Uganda, relax and unwind on Zanzibars beautiful beaches and soak up Africa’s incredible sights. Experience all that this majestic continent has to offer, up close and personal!
Tuesday. Welcome to South Africa. We'll be there ot meet you at Johannesburg Airport and we'll transfer you to the Dove's Nest Guesthouse for your first night in dorm accommodation. There will be a Welcome Meeting at 1700 where you will have the opportunuity to meet your tour guide and fellow travellers.
Johannesburg - Kruger. Departin Johannesburg we drive towards Kruger National Park - passing through the famous Panorama Route on our way. We spend 2 nights in the vicinity of the park and take a night time game drive on the evening of day 2. Day 3 is spent game driving in the park on the look out for the famous Big Five.
Overnight: Kruger National Park | Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Blyde River Canyon
Kruger NP - Polokwane. Departing the park today we travel up to Blyde River Canyon and God's Window before overnighting in Polokwane.
Overnight: Polokwane | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Polokwane - Tshipise. Today we continue our journey north toward the border with Zimbabwe. Sit back and enjoy the changing scenery on this long drive to the beautiful town of Tshipise. Located between rolling hills and well known for it’s natural hot water springs, Tshipise has various walking trails to enjoy or you can relax in the pools this evening.
Overnight: Palapye | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
Tshipise – Masvingo. We cross the border into Zimbabwe this morning, a truly beautiful country with incredible history and tradition. Arriving to the town of Masvingo, our stop for the night, we then head out to explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. According to legend these ruins were the capital of the Queen of Sheba and were inhabited by the Bantu civilization of the Shona between the 11th and 15th century. You’ll have an opportunity to explore these incredible ruins, including the 8 statues of stone birds carefully carved from soapstone, before we return to our campsite for the evening.
Overnight: Masvingo | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Masvingo – Bulawayo. Departing Masavingo we head north to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city. With wide sweeping roads and with several the buildings still retaining their British Colonial feel there is lots to see and do in Bulawayo. During your free time you might want to visit the Natural History Museum, the National Arts Gallery or the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre.
Overnight: Bulawayo | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Matobo National Park
This morning we head for Matobo National Park, one of the few remaining areas in the world inhabited with both Black and White Rhino. Within the park there is also a high concentration of the elusive leopard and impressive black eagle. The ancient San inhabitants of this area are also evidenced by some incredible rock paintings located within the national park. We’ll enjoy the day exploring this fascinating and often unique geological, ecological and historic area. Later we return to our campsite near Bulawayo.
Overnight: Bulawayo | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Bulawayo - Hwange National Park. We head northwest today to Zimbabwe’s largest and longest running reserve, Hwange National Park, on day 9. Well known for it’s abundance and variety of wildlife including thousands of elephants and rare antelope species such as Sable and Roan Antelope. Hopefully you’ll spot some of these stunning creatures on our game drive today.
On day 10 we’ll enjoy a full day exploring Hwange National Park. Covering an area of over 5,600 square miles, Hwange was founded in 1928 as a game reserve and became a National Park in 1961, it is home to 400 species of bird and 107 types of animal. On our game drives today we’ll hope to spot some of these animals, including lions, cheetahs, giraffe and hyenas.
Overnight: Hwange National Park | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Hwange National Park - Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe). This morning we continue to the border of Zimbabwe and our destination Victoria Falls.
A 20 minute walk from our campsite takes you to the entry point of the falls. Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), was named by David Livingstone on his explorations, and is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Later we relax at the campsite’s swimming pool, view the Victoria Falls, or explore the many sights and delights of this town!
Overnight: Victoria Falls | Breakfast, Lunch
We have 2 more days at Victoria Falls where we have the opportunity to partake in a plethora of optional activities from micro light flights to bungee jumping to white water rafting. There is a reason Victoria Falls is the adrenalin capital of Africa!
Overnight: Victoria Falls | Breakfast x 2
Victoria Falls - Chobe NP (Botswana). Today we return to Botswana and the town of Kasane. From here we take the included overnight excursion into Chobe National Park. 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.
Overnight: Chobe National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Chobe NP - Livingstone (Zambia). After our night in the bush, we head out early to continue our search for wildlife, before packing up the camp and heading back to Kasane. Once returning to the camp at Kasane, we get back on our truck and continue to the town of Livingstone. 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 Area - South Luangwa. We start early today as we head further north through Zambia. We spend the evening of day 16 in the Lusaka area before continuing to South Luangwa Natinal Park - one of Zambia's premier national parks.
Overnight: Lusaka Area (1), South Luangwa NP (2) | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
South Luangwa - Lake Malawi Beaches (Malawi). Leaving Zambia we cross into Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. We stop off in the capital, Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre. Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. 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 a relaxing 3 days, we leave Malawi, entering Tanzania through the border post at Songwe. Winding our way through the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we head towards Iringa where we spend the night in the beautiful rustic ‘Farmhouse’ campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
Overnight: Iringa | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Iringa - Dar es Salaam. Continuing north we pass through Mikumi National Park with the opportunity to see wildlife along the way. Today could be a long drive day as we get to one of Tanzania's busiest cities, DAr Es Salaam. We camp tonight at a seaside campsite and prepare for our departure to Zanzibar tomorrow.
Overnight: Dar es Salaam | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar. This morning we leave our campsite and board the public ferry to Zanzibar. We spend the next 3 days relaxing on the island and our stay here includes one night in Stone Town and two nights on the Northern beaches as well as a Spice Tour in Stone Town and a Sunset Dhow cruise.
Overnight: Zanzibar | Breakfast x 1
Dar es Salaam – Pangani - Arusha. Our travel over the next two days takes us up to Arusha via the coastal town of Pangani. We'll pass by vast sisal plantations and African bushveld along the way. If we are lucky we may even catch a glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Overnight: Pangani (1) Arusha (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Serengeti & Ngorongoro
Arusha - Serengeti & Ngorongoro. This morning we visit the Meserani Reptile Park and Masai Culture Museum before meeting our expert Tanzanian safari guides for our excursion 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 esxciting game including the famous Big Five.
On the morning of day 32 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
Nairobi - Masai Mara. Leaving the capital behind we travel through the Great Rift Valley on our way to the Masai Mara. Our campsite for the night is Acacia Camp on the edge of the reserve. On day 35 we have an early morning game drive in our truck and later on we can opt to visit a traditional Masai hamlet. This evening back at camp we discuss our wildlife sightings around the fire.
Overnight: Masai Mara | Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Masai Mara - Kisumu. Today we continue on along the Rift Valley as we head towards Africa's greatest lake - Lake Victoria and an overnight at Kisumu.
Overnight: Kisumu | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kisumu - Kampala (Uganda). Today we cross into neighbouring Uganda and the capital Kampala. Tonight we stay at the Red Chilli Hideaway for a night before we head towards Lake Bunyoni tomorrow.
Overnight: Kampala | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Optional Gorilla Trekking
Kampala - Lake Bunyoni. Departing the capital we drive up to Lake Bunyoni - Africa's deepest crater lake and also our base for our trek to see the gorillas in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks of Uganda. FGor more information on Gorilla Trekking - please see our Trip Notes for extensive information on Gorilla Trekking.
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
Lake Nakuru - Lake Naivasha. This morning we game drive within the park on the look out for the elusive leopard and black rhino as well as buffalo, giraffe and hippo. We spend another night at EAMO before transferring to Naivasha on day 46.
Lake Naivasha, is home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. We spend the next 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: 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 above are per person travelling. Single travellers will be paired up in tents with another person of the same sex.
Local payment - $2590, 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.
Dove's Nest Guest House, Johannesburg
Located a stone throw from OR Tambo Airport, the Doves Nest Guest House is conveniently located guests wanting to relax after a long day of exploring Johannesburg’s highlights. Each room features an electric blankets and TV. Breakfast and internet are available, as well as a free airport shuttle.
Wildebeest Eco Camp, Nairobi
Wildebeest Eco Camp is a distinctive starting point from which to explore Nairobi and beyond. The camp offers a shaded campsite for budget travellers, or luxury ensuite tents for those looking to splurge a little on their safari experience. Located in the vibrant Langata area, Nairobi National Park and the Galleria Shopping Centre are among the attractions just 10 minutes' drive away. After a long day of travelling, indulgences such as an infinity pool and guest library are available, as are free Wi-fi and laundry service.