CAMPING SAFARI: Explore the highlights of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania on an incredible 28-day camping safari. Begin with a game drive through Lake Nakuru National Park. Discover chimpanzees in Queen Elizabeth National Park, hike through lush Bwindi National Park for a mountain gorilla encounter, and unwind by the Nile in Jinja. Go in search of the Big Five on game drives in the wildlife-rich Masai Mara game reserve, Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Ending your adventure with some rest and relaxation on the beautiful island of Zanzibar.
Nairobi - Lake Nakuru National Park. We leave Nairobi this morning and descend into the Great Rift Valley, home to some of Africa's most dramatic scenery. We stop at a lookout point to enjoy the view before arriving in Lake Nakuru National Park. Although small by African standards, this Kenyan reserve is home to all manner of wildlife, including lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard, not to mention the great flocks of flamingos which gather at the famous soda lake itself. We enjoy an included game drive in specialized safari vehicles in order to spot some of this wildlife for ourselves.
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: Lake Nakuru National Park | Lunch, Dinner
Crossing the Equator
Lake Nakuru National Park - Eldoret. Departing Nakuru this morning we journey to Eldoret, Kenya's fifth largest town and a region increasingly important to the country's economy. On our journey today we will cross the Equator, travelling from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere. We will stop to enjoy some time and photo opportunities at the Equator itself. Arriving at our campsite on the outskirts of Eldoret, there is time for you to admire the nearby Sirikwa holes, primitive dwellings believed to have belonged to an ancient tribe.
Overnight: Eldoret | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Eldoret - Kampala (Uganda). Wave goodbye to Kenya for now as we cross into Uganda, a country once described by Sir Winston Churchill as the 'Pearl of Africa'. On our drive to Kampala you will see lush rolling hills, tribal villages and growing towns and cities. Our campsite tonight is in the country's capital, Kampala.
Overnight: Kampala | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Kampala - Queen Elizabeth National Park. Departing Kampala, we cross the Equator again and pass through fertile green hills, tangled forests and rugged mountain ranges to the edge of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Originally Named Kazinga National Park on its inception in 1952, the reserve was renamed in 1954 after a visit by the newly crowned British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Our first evening here is free for you to take a walk in the lush surroundings, who knows what wildlife you may spot! The reserve is home to elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, chimpanzee and much more. Encouragingly, reports from the Uganda Wildlife Authority suggest that wildlife populations in the reserve are increasing, thanks to effective protection. This is largely down to your tourism money!
Overnight: Queen Elizabeth National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today we are heading into Queen Elizabeth National Park, admiring the mountain views and stopping whenever we see something of interest. As well as the charismatic larger animals, the reserve is home to more than 500 bird species. Reaching Kyambura Gorge we head out on foot in search of chimpanzees. The rangers will have a good idea of where they are and the trek can vary in length from less than an hour to several. Chimps tend to stay in the treetops so you may have to crane your neck for a view of our closest relatives.
Please note: Chimpanzee Trek permits are issued by the wildlife authority in groups of up to 8 people per group. Depending on our group size, we may trek on the afternoon of day 4, morning or afternoon of day 5, or morning of day 6.
Overnight: Queen Elizabeth National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mountain gorilla trekking
Queen Elizabeth National Park - Lake Bunyonyi. On day 6 we drive to Lake Bunyonyi, dotted with scenic islands and surrounded by lush forest and rolling hills. Over the next three days everyone in the group will enjoy their mountain gorilla trek, but we will split into smaller groups in order to avoid disturbing the gorillas. On the days when you are not trekking, you are free to take a boat trip to some of Lake Bunyonyi's islands, go bird-watching, visit a local village or hire canoes to paddle on the lake.
On the day of your trek, we will hike for anywhere between 30 minutes and 6 or 7 hours into Bwindi National Park (or occasionally Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, this will be made clear to you in advance), depending on the location of the gorillas. A decent level of fitness is required as we trek through the steamy jungle. Your guide will know the location of the nearest gorilla family.
Once we have located the gorillas, you will spend around an hour watching from a safe distance. Keep quiet, keep low to the ground and follow all the instructions of your guide - this is for your safety and for the welfare of the mountain gorillas. You are welcome to take photos, as long as there is no flash.
One of the world's most endangered creatures, mountain gorillas are heavily protected, with around 1,000 animals now living in the rainforests of central Africa. Numbers have increased remarkably due to effective protection in recent years - keep your eyes peeled for the giant silverback alpha male, and some of the adorable youngsters that represent the future of their species.
When it is time to leave the gorillas, we trek back to Lake Bunyonyi, where you can reflect on what is sure to be the highlight of your African adventure. The rest of your time here is at leisure, whilst the rest of our group completes their trek.
Overnight: Lake Bunyonyi | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Return to Kampala
Lake Bunyonyi - Kampala. Leaving the mountain gorillas and Lake Bunyonyi behind, we return to Kampala, skirting around the northern edge of Lake Victoria. There is time this evening for you to head into the city and explore, meet the locals or try some of the local cuisine if you wish.
Overnight: Kampala | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
To the Nile
Kampala - Jinja. It's a short drive today as we make our way to Jinja, a city in southern Uganda on the banks of Lake Victoria, source of the River Nile. From here, the river flows for 5,584km, through 11 countries. It enters the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt, having provided life to millions and millions of people and animals on its journey!
Our campsite is beside the Nile, and there are numerous optional activities you can enjoy. Quad biking, white water rafting, Nile cruises, fishing trips and mountain biking are some of the options. You also have the opportunity to visit a local school initiative. Lend a hand with some painting, plastering or other labour to help improve the local schools around Jinja.
Overnight: Jinja | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Free time by the Nile
The next two days are completely free for you to unwind by the Nile. Enjoy some of the optional activities available, go for a long walk beside the river or simply relax at the campsite with a good book - the choice is yours!
Overnight: Jinja | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Return to Kenya
Jinja - Eldoret (Kenya). Say goodbye to Jinja as we cross the border back into Kenya and return to Eldoret.
Overnight: Eldoret | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today offers you the freedom to explore both the city and its surrounding areas. Alternatively, the following optional excursions are available to book locally. Enjoy close encounters at the the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and the Giraffe Centre, or discover the Karen Blixen Museum in the nearby town of Karen. Alternatively, you can opt for a day of relaxation and pure leisure, making the most of some well-deserved 'downtime'.
Overnight: Nairobi | Breakfast
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.
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!
Overnight: Masai Mara | Breakfast, 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
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
Serengeti National Park
Arusha - Serengeti National Park. We leave our overland truck behind and transfer to designated safari vehicles to embark on an exciting two day Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater excursion. Entering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, we drive around the rim of the crater and onto the wildlife-rich plains of the Serengeti, one of the last great wildernesses in the world.
Millions of wildebeest, zebra, and antelope migrate across these plains throughout the year, followed by the predators, such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs. We game drive to our unfenced campsite, where we can listen to the sounds of the bush and hopefully see some wildlife roaming nearby.
Overnight: Serengeti National Park | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Serengeti National Park - Ngorongoro Crater - Arusha. Game driving out of the Serengeti on day 21, 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 22 we drive down a steep road into the crater itself for an unforgettable morning game drive. You will have the chance to spot every major African animal, except for giraffes. Interestingly, they cannot manage the steep climb down the crater rim!
Returning to camp for lunch, we pack up before making the journey back to Arusha.
Overnight: Ngorongoro Crater (1), Arusha (1) | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Onwards to the coast
Arusha - Bagamoyo. Today we have a long but scenic drive as we travel away from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and towards the Indian Ocean coast. We will pass Mount Kilimanjaro en route, and if the weather is clear we should be able to enjoy magnificent views of Africa's highest mountain.
The port town of Bagamoyo 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
Bagamoyo to Dar es Salaam
Bagamoyo - Dar es Salaam. It's only a relatively short drive south along the coast to Dar es Salaam today. The city is Tanzania’s main port and is a hub of commerce and industry - a hot, humid, and bustling seaport city of high rises, colourful markets, and Arab-influenced architecture on the coast. We set up camp on the beach just outside the city tonight, and you'll have time to go for a swim.
Overnight: Dar es Salaam | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
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.
Enjoy free time on the island. Independently explore historic Stone Town on day 25 before we drive to one of the beautiful beaches in the north of the island for two days of Indian Ocean relaxation. Perhaps 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. You can also enjoy a sunset dhow cruise. Please see the Trip Notes for more details about the optional activities available in Zanzibar.
In Zanzibar, we stay in simple hotels, with breakfast included. We typically spend day 25 in Stone Town and days 26 and 27 at one of the northern beaches, but this can be flexible.
Overnight: Zanzibar (3) | Breakfast x 3
Zanzibar - Dar es Salaam. Enjoy a final swim in the turquoise ocean or do some last-minute shopping before we board the ferry back to the mainland. Feeling refreshed after your three-day beach break, it is time for our tour to come to an end.
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.Read More
Local payment - US$1510pp, paid on arrival 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.
Red Chilli Hideaway, Kampala
Located on a purpose-built, 5-acre site in a peaceful suburb, the Red Chilli Hideaway offers a campsite which we use for our overland safaris. 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.
Simba Safari Camp , Queen Elizabeth National Park
Nestled atop a hill overlooking Lake Kikorongo on the edge of Uganda’s most popular Queen Elizabeth National Park this Safari Camp is the perfect base to explore this picturesque park. With views over the plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park and of the Rwenzori Mountains this campsite features panoramic views for its occupants. Meals and drinks are served in the restaurant and bar where guests can relax after a day of safari.
Bunyonyi Overland Resort (Camp), Lake Bunyonyi
Placed on the picturesque shores of Lake Bunyonyi this resort and campsite is the perfect hub for guests to explore the lake and all it has to offer. Its location also makes it the perfect stop off for guests who are continuing to Bwindi National Park. The campsite offers shared facilities and panoramic views over the lake and its islands. Featuring a bar and restaurant you can enjoy a drink whilst watching the sunset over the lake.
Nile River Explorers Camp, Jinja
Located on Lake Bujagali, where the Nile River comes out of Lake Victoria, this camp is only 8 kilometres from Jinja and is the perfect place to relax and explore the area. The campsite is secluded, has shared facilities, and has panoramic views of the river. There is both a river bar and a river spa for guests to enjoy. A jetty for swimming is also available so you can cool down during the hot days. Watch the sunset over the Nile with a drink and relax after a day exploring.
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.
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.
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.
Ikoma Bush Camp, Serengeti National Park
Sheltered by a grove of acacia trees, Ikoma is a comfortable, traditional style lodge. Each tent has its own en-suite bathroom, modern furnishings and a private verandah. The central restaurant and bar area boast a large fireplace - an ideal spot to unwind with a drink after a long days exciting game viewing. The camp is situated three kms from the Ikoma Gate of the Serengeti National Park, at its north-eastern border.
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.