CAMPING SAFARI: Discover the best of East Africa, from wildlife to beaches on this 24-day camping safari. Search for the Big Five in the Masai Mara, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy a relaxing beach break in Zanzibar and then travel south, driving through Mikumi National Park and unwinding beside Lake Malawi. Journey via the Zambian capital of Lusaka before arriving in Livingstone, where you'll visit cascading Victoria Falls.
Welcome to East Africa
Nairobi - Masai Mara. We leave Nairobi early this morning and make our way to the famous Masai Mara National Reserve. The Mara is adjacent to the Serengeti, forming one of the world's last surviving great wildernesses. We will be travelling in specialised safari vehicles for this part of the tour for a more intimate wildlife-viewing experience, and will join up with our main vehicle later. In the Masai Mara, we will be staying in twin-share pre-erected tents with ensuite facilities.
During our time in the Mara, we enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in search of the huge herds of wildebeest, zebra, and antelope which inhabit the plains and the predators that hunt them. Also keep your eyes peeled for other iconic species like rhino, elephant and giraffe. We camp on the edge of the reserve, close to the action!
Please note: The pre-departure meeting is held at 18:00 on the evening prior to departure. The tour departs at 08:00 on Day 1 so please arrive in Nairobi the day before your tour. Refer to the Joining Instructions in the Trip Notes for more information. We can book accommodation and transfers on request.
Overnight: Masai Mara | Lunch, Dinner
Today we continue exploring the Masai Mara with morning and afternoon game drives to different areas of the park. As well as the iconic Big Five, we will hopefully spot some of the less glamorous species, but creatures that are important to the ecosystem. Hyenas and vultures scavenge the remains of prey, warthogs scurry through the undergrowth and endangered African wild dogs hunt intelligently in packs. We break in the middle of the day for lunch before game driving back to our camp for the evening.
Overnight: Masai Mara | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Return to Nairobi
Masai Mara - Nairobi. Leaving the Mara, we travel back through the Great Rift Valley to Nairobi, where we spend the night at a campsite on the edge of the city.
Overnight: Nairobi | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Crossing into Tanzania
Nairobi - Arusha (Tanzania). We leave Kenya, crossing into neighbouring Tanzania at the Namanga frontier. We then drive to the country's safari capital, Arusha, arriving late afternoon. Situated in the shadow of Mount Meru and close to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, it is a great base for exploring the region. If time allows, we stop to browse the local markets and join a walk around a traditional Masai village before heading to our camp at the Meserani Snake Park.
Overnight: Arusha | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The mighty Serengeti
Arusha - Serengeti National Park. We leave our overland truck behind and transfer to designated safari vehicles this morning. Crossing the Great Rift Valley, we enter the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. We then drive around the rim of this spectacular UNESCO-listed crater and onto the wildlife-rich plains of the Serengeti. Serengeti derives from the Maasai word siringitu, which means "the place where the land moves on forever" and the scale of this wilderness is sure to impress as much as the wildlife you will inevitably see.
The Serengeti and neighbouring Masai Mara in Kenya play host to the annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebra and antelope. These prey animals follow the rains and the freshest grass, stalked every step of the way by the lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas which feed on them. You are sure to have some amazing wildlife experiences today as we enjoy a game drive en route to our camp. We spend tonight at an unfenced campsite, where we can listen to the sounds of the bush and hopefully see some wildlife from our camp!
Overnight: Serengeti National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Serengeti National Park - Ngorongoro Crater - Arusha. Game driving out of the Serengeti on day 6, we can search for any species we have not managed to spot so far. We travel back to the Ngorongoro Crater, camping on the rim of this UNESCO-listed natural caldera, one of Africa's most spectacular wildlife areas.
On day 7 we get our chance to head into the crater itself, following the steep, winding road into the reserve. On our game drive, you will have the chance to spot every major African animal, except for giraffes who can't manage the steep climb down the crater rim!
Returning to camp for lunch, we pack up before making the journey back to Arusha and our overland safari vehicle.
Overnight: Ngorongoro Crater (1), Arusha (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
To the coast!
Arusha - Bagamoyo. We begin our journey to Zanzibar today, heading towards the Indian Ocean coast. It's a long but scenic drive, and we pass Mount Kilimanjaro en route. If the weather is clear we should be able to enjoy magnificent views of the iconic snow-capped peak.
Our stop for tonight is the port town of Bagamoyo. It was founded towards the end of the 18th century and was an important trading port along the East African coast. Today it is a centre for dhow building, with many of the boats being sent to Zanzibar and nearby areas. We camp on the outskirts of the town, near the palm-fringed beaches of the Indian Ocean.
Overnight: Bagamoyo | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dar es Salaam
Bagamoyo - Dar es Salaam. Saying farewell to Bagamoyo we make the 2 - 3 hour drive along the coast to Dar es Salaam. This vibrant city is Tanzania's main port and a kaleidoscope of culture. Impressive Arab architecture and colourful markets give way to blissful beaches and turquoise ocean. We'll be camping on the beach tonight before our excursion to Zanzibar, and you'll have time to go for a swim or head into the city and explore.
Overnight: Dar es Salaam | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Paradise island of Zanzibar
Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar. On the morning of day 10, we take the ferry to Zanzibar, leaving our overland truck on the mainland. Evocative and exotic, Zanzibar conjures up images of idyllic, sandy, palm-fringed beaches, romantic winding cobbled alleys, and lush tropical forests.
Our time on Zanzibar is not too structured. There is plenty of free time to explore the old part of Zanzibar City - Stone Town. You'll also want to visit a spice plantation, spend some time on the tropical beaches and enjoy snorkelling at the coast, home to a wealth of marine life. Other optional excursions you can book include massages and yacht trips. Please see the Trip Notes for more details.
In Zanzibar, we will not be camping, but staying in standard hotels, with breakfast included. We typically spend day 10 in Stone Town and days 11 and 12 at one of the northern beaches, but this can be flexible.
Overnight: Zanzibar | Breakfast x 3
Return to Dar
Zanzibar - Dar es Salaam. Wake early for a final swim before breakfast, as we catch the ferry back to the mainland. The rest of today is free to further explore Dar es Salaam and we go back to camping by the coast tonight.
Overnight: Dar es Salaam | Breakfast, Dinner
Mikumi National Park
Dar es Salaam - Mikumi National Park. Making our way southwest, we head back inland and towards the border with Malawi. We'll be driving through Mikumi National Park for a large chunk of the day, and will hopefully see some of the wildlife that lives in Tanzania's fifth-largest game reserve.
Our campsite for the night is right on the edge of the park and, if time permits, there's an optional game drive to search for elephants, giraffes and other species that call Mikumi home. Later we relax with sun downers at the local bar, and enjoy an evening around the campfire.
Overnight: Mikumi National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mikumi National Park - Iringa. Continuing our journey south, we pass through Baobab Valley, home to many of these ancient, swollen baobab trees. Reaching the town of Iringa, we end our journey at the Kisolanza Farm. This family-run business supplies Dar es Salaam with organic meat and vegetables and is a well-known camping spot, located in the scenic Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
Overnight: Iringa | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Iringa - Chitimba Beach, Lake Malawi (Malawi). We wave farewell to Tanzania on day 16, crossing into neighbouring Malawi. We head straight to shimmering Lake Malawi, which covers around a fifth of the country and is the main source of income for a huge swathe of the country's population. Fishermen paddle their traditional Bwato canoes on the lake, which has a huge number of fish species found nowhere else in the world, making it a popular spot for scuba divers.
Arriving at our campsite by Chitimba Beach, the rest of today and tomorrow are at leisure. Relax by the beach, play volleyball or browse the local craft markets.
On day 17 there is an optional hike to Manchewe Falls. This 11km hike requires decent fitness, but the rewards are spectacular views of the waterfall and a dip in a natural bath. David Livingstone lived and worked in this area during his time in Malawi.
Overnight: Lake Malawi | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Free time at Lake Malawi
Chitimba Beach, Lake Malawi - Mzuzu - Kande Beach, Lake Malawi. Day 18 sees us driving through rubber plantations to the small town of Mzuzu, where we visit the local market and resupply the truck. Then it's onwards to Kande beach, another part of Lake Malawi around 240km down the shoreline.
The rest of today and day 19 are free to relax or join some of the optional activities on offer. You can go diving, canoeing, or snorkelling in the lake, or opt for a horse ride along the beach. You can also join a guided walk to a nearby village to meet the Malawian locals.
Overnight: Lake Malawi | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Crossing into Zambia
Kande Beach, Lake Malawi - Chipata (Zambia). Travelling via the Malawian capital of Lilongwe, we make the border crossing into Zambia. We arrive at the town of Chipata, formerly known as Fort Jamerson. We should have time to wander around the town, home to a large Indian community and a number of ornate mosques. Then we continue to our campsite a little way out of town.
Overnight: Chipata | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Chipata - Lusaka. Today we have a long drive through the picturesque scenery of Zambia. We'll travel along the Great Eastern Road and cross the Luangwa River before reaching the capital, Lusaka. This is southern Africa's fastest-growing city, but we'll enjoy a slice of tranquillity at our campsite on a rural farm.
Overnight: Lusaka | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Thundering Victoria Falls
Lusaka - Livingstone. On day 22 we drive to Livingstone, our final destination, and home to Victoria Falls. There is an included visit to see the Zambian side of this famous cascade before day 20 is completely free so that you can relax at our campsite and enjoy some of the numerous optional activities available. Activities range from a further visit to see the cascades (prepare to get wet!), canoeing and rafting on the Zambezi River, bungee jumping and fishing to a scenic flight over the falls, or an abseiling experience - the choice is yours!
Overnight: Livingstone | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 1
Today our tour comes to an end after a final breakfast in the hotel. If you'd like to stay a while longer in Livingstone then speak to our team about booking post-tour accommodation.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 6 persons. Prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a tent / room. Solo travellers will be matched up and share a tent / room with another solo traveller of the same gender.
Local payment - $1390pp, 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.
Enchoro Wildlife Camp (permanent tents), Masai Mara
Enchoro Wildlife Camp is a partly fenced campsite located within the Masai Mara National Reserve, set amongst lush trees. Accommodation is in permanent pre-erected tents complete with twin share beds and ensuite bathroom facilities. Each tent also has a verandah perfect for enjoying a sundowner and keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife. There is a thatched-roof restaurant onsite and additional excursions into the Mara can be booked at the tour desk.
Wildebeest Eco Camp (campsite), Nairobi
An oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, Wildebeest Eco Camp is set in tropical gardens home to hundreds of native birds. It is conveniently located near shops, banks, markets, restaurants and Nairobi National Park. The campsite is shaded and shared bathroom facilities with solar-powered hot showers and flush toilets are available. There's an outdoor swimming pool and sun terrace for guests to enjoy and the onsite restaurant serves a variety of African, European, and American dishes. Free Wi-Fi is also available.
Meserani Snake Park (campsite), Arusha
Founded in 1993 on the outskirts of Arusha, the Meserani Snake Park was once a barren wasteland, now it's a lush wildlife park, with hundreds of trees planted which are also home to native bird species. Travellers can visit a local Maasai village guided by a Maasai warrior and can explore the Snake Park zoo itself, home to 48 African snake species including the deadly Black spitting cobra and reptiles including crocodiles. The Snake Park hosts a monthly medical clinic for the local community too, serving more than 1,000 patients monthly. The campsite offers shared ablutions with hot water and you will camp amongst the birdsong-filled trees. The onsite Snake Park Bar is famous in the area for its array of memorabilia.
Simba Camp (campsite), Ngorongoro Crater
An unfenced campsite boasting stunning views of the Ngorongoro Crater and with wildlife free to roam around the campsite, Simba Camp is the perfect base for enjoying a wildlife safari in the Ngorongoro Crater. There are well-maintained shared bathroom facilities with hot water, and firewood can be purchased onsite. Take a short walk from camp for unrivalled views of the crater, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife as you go.
Firefly Camp (campsite), Bagamoyo
The campsite at Firefly is just a few metres from the beach in Bagamoyo. There are shared toilets and showers and the communal areas, outdoor swimming pool and Wi-Fi connection are free for campers to use too. Food is served all day at the camp's restaurant and bar, including free coffee in the morning. Guests can also browse the souvenir shop, relax in the spa, or hire bicycles to further explore Bagamoyo.
Kipepeo Beach Village (campsite), 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. There are shared bathroom facilities and electric hook-up is available.
All Seasons Hotel, Zanzibar
A great base for exploring Stone Town, the All Seasons Hotel is located in the heart of the old part of Zanzibar City and just a few hundred metres from the beach. Rooms are simple but comfortable, with ensuite bathrooms, air-conditioning, TV and a terrace. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the property. Guests can dine at the onsite restaurant, and the hotel is situated within easy distance of an array of other restaurants and attractions, including the Old Fort of Zanzibar and the Persian Baths.
Sunset Bungalows, Zanzibar
Sunset Bungalows hotel is located on the northern Kendwa Beaches of Zanzibar's main island. This tropical paradise is the perfect place to while away a few days before getting back on safari. Recently renovated rooms come with four-poster or twin share beds, air-conditioning, seating area and ensuite bathrooms. The onsite Sunset Restaurant serves a delicious variety of Swahili and international cuisine, as well as a selection of cocktails. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the property and a beachside swimming pool offering wonderful ocean views.
Tan-Swiss Lodge (campsite), Mikumi
This fenced campsite is conveniently located less than 3km from the boundary with Mikumi National Park. Facilities onsite include a gift shop, laundry services, outdoor swimming pool with sun terrace, and a restaurant. The campsite has shared bathroom facilities, electric hook-up and a BBQ area, and there is also free Wi-Fi connectivity.
Kisolanza Farm (campsite), Iringa
This working farm is nestled around 50km from Iringa, in Tanzania's rural Southern Highlands. The farm has been the home of the Ghaui family since the 1930s. Still planted with crops today, it is also home to livestock including cattle and sheep. Onsite facilities include a farm shop selling the farm's own organic produce, as well as a spa, restaurant and bar. The restaurant is housed in a traditional mud building and serves fresh, local ingredients. The spacious campsite offers shaded pitches and thatched huts with picnic benches and solar lighting for socializing. Bathroom facilities are shared, regularly cleaned, and offering hot showers.
Chitimba Beach Camp (campsite), Lake Malawi
Chitimba Beach campsite is found on the northern shore of Lake Malawi, surrounded by banana palms and papaya trees on a golden sandy beach. The property features a large thatched restaurant, bar and lounge area. Tents can be pitched either on the beach or the shaded lawn and there is an electric hook-up and Wi-Fi connection, plus shared bathroom facilities. There are good hiking trails around the lake and the surrounding area. Beach volleyball can also be enjoyed, and there is a communal firepit.
Kande Beach (campsite), Lake Malawi
A beachside resort on the western side of Lake Malawi, Kande Beach is a laid-back destination, perfect for unwinding in this part of Central Africa. The beach-side campsite is just metres from the lake, separated by a stretch of golden sand. There is a shared shower and toilet block as well as cooking areas and sinks for campers. Watersports equipment can be hired by the hour at the site. The onsite bar serves a selection of refreshing drinks, as well as boasting a pool table and table tennis. Nearby Tonga village is a short walk away for those looking to experience Malawian village life.
Mama Rula's (campsite), Chipata
Located 6km outside the border town of Chipata, Mama Rula's B&B and campsite is ideally located between Lusaka and South Luangwa National Park. Camping pitches are served by shared ablution facilities and the onsite restaurant serves vegetables grown in the campsite's own garden. There is an outdoor swimming pool that guests are free to use.
Eureka Camp (campsite), Lusaka
Eureka Camp campsite is situated on a private game farm and guests are treated to the sight of giraffes, zebra, and antelope wandering freely through the grounds. Located just a short drive from the Zambian capital, it is nevertheless a peaceful, rural place to stay. Travellers will camp amongst the shade of trees and facilities at the camp include an outdoor pool, volleyball pitch, BBQ area and bar complete with darts, pool and satellite TV.
The Victoria Falls Waterfront (campsite), Livingstone
Just a few kilometres from one of Africa's finest natural wonders and found within Mosi oa Tunya National Park, The Victoria Falls Waterfront is an excellent base for discovering the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. The campsite is located beside the Luangwa River, in the gardens of the Victoria Falls Waterfront. Guests can make use of shared sanitary blocks and braai BBQ facilities. And they are free to enjoy the lodge's free Wi-Fi, outdoor pool, restaurant, bar, and activity centre offering different experiences at the falls.