42 Day Southern Explorer
(Trip Code: NC42)
Nairobi to Cape Town
This trip begins in Nairobi, Kenya and travels south through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia before ending in Cape Town, South Africa.
Meserani Snake Park & Masai Cultural Museum, Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar Ferry, Lake Malawi, South Luangwa National Park, Chobe National Park, Chobe Overnight Mobile excursion, Etosha National Park, Cheetah Park, Spitzkoppe, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, Namib Naukluft National Park, Fish River Canyon, Orange River & Township Tour.
DAY 1: Nairobi to Arusha (Tanzania) (L / D)
This morning we leave the hustle and bustle of Nairobi, travelling south and crossing the border into Tanzania at Namanga. Tonight we stay in a lovely campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on our Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater excursion tomorrow.
DAY 2: Arusha to Karatu (Optional) (B / L / D)
This morning we visit the Meserani Reptile Park and Masai Cultural Museum. A few minutes’ walk from the campsite is a gallery selling the bright and iconic Tinga Tinga paintings. Alternatively the town of Arusha is nearby to explore. After enjoying lunch at our camp against the backdrop of Mount Meru we meet our Tanzanian guides and transfer into locally operated 4WD vehicles. These vehicles have been adapted for safari use and allow excellent viewing and photographic opportunities through the opening roof hatches.
Leaving our camp we travel via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park and then up the Rift Valley Escarpment to the higher lying village of Karatu. Karatu offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas. Tonight we spend the evening at a very pleasant campsite in Karatu (campsite has ablution facilities).
DAY 3: Karatu to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park (B / L / D)
This morning we depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unbroken, unflooded caldera in the world. 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.
After our game drive in the Crater, we head down the Crater rim and past the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ on our way to the Serengeti National Park. We cross the vast plains as we game drive through the southern and central areas in the park. Tonight we camp (no ablution facilities) in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness. Without any fences surrounding our campsite we are truly in the midst of nature!
*If you choose not to do the optional Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater you will remain at the campsite. Please contact us for more information.
DAY 4: Serengeti National Park to Arusha (B / L / D)
In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the landscape in search of the resident game. With some luck, we may see some of Africa’s ‘Big 5’! Following our morning drive, we retrace our journey back across the plains and along the lush Crater rim to our truck at Arusha, where we spend the evening musing over our thrilling wildlife experience.
DAY 5: Arusha to Pangani* (B / L / D)
We head to Arusha this morning to stock up on supplies before continuing on towards Dar es Salaam. On the way we drive through the town of Moshi situated at the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. Moshi is the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions, and weather permitting; we may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit – a photo opportunity not to be missed! We pass through vast sisal plantations surrounded by The Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges, before reaching our lovely campsite nestled between these mountains, midway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
* Some trips may choose to forego this night at their own cost.
DAY 6: Pangani to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
Today we continue on to Dar es Salaam. Travelling through lush scenery and palm trees, we near the warm Indian Ocean. Today’s drive time is extended due to the heavier amount of traffic heading in to the city, but the sights and sounds of Dar’s vibrant outer suburbs are sure to keep you entertained. Look out for the 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.
DAY 7: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (Optional) (B)
A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes us to the “Spice Island,” where we have the option to spend the next 3 nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. New passengers may join us to replace those that’ll leave us at the end of our excursion to Zanzibar.
PLEASE NOTE: Accommodation and Meals are for your own account whilst on Zanzibar, as it is our experience that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own, and in accordance with their own budget. The Trip Leader joins you and can arrange your accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants. There are also a wide variety of optional excursions on offer – please see the price guide on the end of this document for more details.
For those not opting to visit the island of Zanzibar, the next 3 days are spent at leisure at the beach campsite in Dar es Salaam. There are various optional excursions available from the camp including diving, snorkelling and fishing trips. The driver and cook remain behind in Dar es Salaam during the excursion.
DAYS 8 & 9: Zanzibar
History aside, Zanzibar offers a wealth of experiences for the visitor. Today the quiet streets of the old Stone Town still retain their Arabic influence, from the Medina-like shops to the palaces of the Sultans, who founded their vast empires on the spoils of the slave and ivory trade. The island is famous for its spices and an excursion around a spice plantation is always a fascinating experience. Other options include a trip to the beautiful beaches and giant tortoises of Prison Island, a full day scuba dive in Nungwe or a fishing trip in a traditional dhow. Mopeds are available for hire if you’d like to explore the more remote areas of the island. Zanzibar is a seafood lover’s paradise. Numerous restaurants offer a great variety of the freshest catch from the ocean – crayfish being a popular speciality. Alternatively, mingle with the locals for dinner at the Forodhani Gardens seafront market, where delicious, inexpensive seafood is on offer.
DAY 10: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (NM)
Leaving Zanzibar in the afternoon, we return to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam. Arrival back to camp is usually in the late afternoon, or early evening. In Dar we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
DAY 11: Dar es Salaam to Iringa (B / L / D)
This morning we leave Dar es Salaam and head south. We pass through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to the passing traffic. We travel towards Iringa where we spend the night in a beautiful rustic campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
DAYS 12 to 14: Iringa to Lake Malawi (Malawi) (B / L / D)
Winding our way through the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we head towards Malawi entering the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ through the border post at Songwe. Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. We travel the length of the western side of the lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets over the next 3 days.
Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine beaches. Malawi’s temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue fresh-water lake all year round. Explore the beautiful shore where you’ll happen upon the local fishermen sorting their catch. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and to appreciate their boating skills, try to paddle a dugout canoe yourself! At night you’ll see the ‘fairy’ lights of the fishermen out on the lake. The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi’s shores offer many optional Excursions including a variety of water sports, horseback rides and a visit to the local village and school (see pricing guide at the end of this document).
DAY 15: Lake Malawi to Chipata (Zambia) (B / L / D)
We head away from Lake Malawi, and stop off in the capital, Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre, to stock up on supplies before crossing into Zambia where we spend the night in a beautiful little campsite just 10 km after the Malawi/Zambia border.
DAY 16: Chipata to Luangwa National Park (B / L / D)
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.
Day 17: Luangwa National Park to Eastern Zambia (B/L/D)
Today we depart this amazing National Park and make our way down south. As we drive, we pass through a few of the villages and towns of Zambia along the way. Prosperous during the copper boom in the 60’s, Zambia was able to build infrastructure at the main mining and farming communities. After the fall of the copper industry, the country was left virtually bankrupt and existing infrastructure was left to fall to ruin. Due to foreign investment and a rise in the mining industry, Zambia is today once again starting to prosper.
DAY 18: Eastern Zambia to Livingstone (B / L / D)
Heading further south, we journey through the southern Zambian towns mostly supporting local agriculture and farming on our way to Livingstone. The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it’s not difficult to see why. At 1700 m wide and around 100 m high, this is the world’s largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari! The Falls can be viewed from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia – a fantastic photo opportunity. Tonight we have the option of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi.
DAY 19: Livingstone to Chobe National Park (Botswana) (B / L / D)
We leave Zambia and cross the border into Botswana at the Kazangula Ferry. Once we’ve completed the border formalities, we continue to the town of Kasane, situated on the banks of the Chobe River. The Chobe River forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia and is the main water source to the Chobe National Park. We then continue on for our Chobe National Park Overnight Mobile excursion – an overnight experience in the wilds of the 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! 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.
DAY 20: Chobe National Park to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (Brunch)
Once returning to camp, we get back on our truck and continue to the border of Zimbabwe. Once we’ve completed border formalities, we have a short drive to the nearby Victoria Falls. Named after the famous World Heritage site and Water Falls, the town of Victoria Falls is situated on the Zambezi River and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park. Our campsite is conveniently situated in the centre of town, and within walking distance of the adventure booking agents, restaurants and shops. A 20 minute walk down the main road takes you to the entry point to view the falls, which are situated between Zimbabwe and Zambia. 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. At 1700 m wide and around 100 m high, this is the world’s largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari! After our adventure activities briefing (see price guide at the end of this document for options), the afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite’s swimming pool, viewing the Victoria Falls, or exploring the many sights and delights of this town!
DAYS 21 – 22: Victoria Falls (B)
The next 2 days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some of our fellow passengers will leave us in Vic Falls, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the next leg of our trek.
OPTIONAL Excursions include elephant back safaris, horseback safaris, walking with lions, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia or abseil down the Batoka Gorge – neither activity is for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi is world class. Beside the excitement of the Grade 5 rapids, there are the “floats,” where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and the occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
DAY 23: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park (Botswana) (B / L / D)
After breakfast we cross the border into Botswana and head to Kasane where we have a chance to explore the town of Kasane. After lunch, once we are packed and prepared, we leave for our Chobe National Park Overnight Mobile excursion – an overnight experience in the wilds of the 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! 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.
DAY 24: Chobe National Park (B / L / D)
Once returning to camp, we have a bit of free time to relax at leisure.
DAY 25: Chobe National Park to Maun (B / L / D)
Heading out early, we cross the western end of the Chobe National Park area along the main route in a south-westerly direction to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and our destination, Maun. On our route, we have routine stops to at Botswana’s ‘meat’ borders – check points that were set up to protect its thriving beef export industry from the spread of disease. Maun is the starting point for travel into the Delta and it is from here that we set off to explore the Okavango Delta. Tonight we prepare our provisions and packs for our 2 night excursion. We suggest bringing along a smaller daypack on your trip which can be used to pack the supplies needed for this short excursion. Your trip leader will brief you fully on what is needed, and what to expect prior to your trip into the Delta.
DAY 26: Maun to Okavango Delta (OPTIONAL) (B / L / D)
The Delta is a huge expanse of water, which has travelled from the Angolan highlands, spreading out to form the largest inland delta in the world. Studded with exotic islands, The Delta is renowned for its incredible variety of bird life and animals and is unique to Southern Africa.
Here we have the opportunity to take the optional 3 Day / 2 Night Drive in Mokoro Excursion into the Delta. After an early rise, we pack our expedition vehicle and from Maun we drive north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler’s station. The Delta region is studded with many local villages where many families live in a traditional way. Some of the villages are very remote and can only be reached by the traditional mode of transport – the Mokoro. Mokoros are dugout canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who “pole” them through the reeds. At the Mokoro station, we meet our ‘polers’ and pack our supplies before heading out into the waterways. After a couple of hours along the waterways, our guides find us a place to camp, and later in the afternoon we set off on an afternoon game walk, allowing us to experience The Delta wilderness. The camp is situated in an open wilderness area with no ablution facilities.
For those who’d prefer not to explore The Delta, spend the next 2 days at the lovely campsite relaxing by the swimming pool or challenging each other to a game of volleyball. There is also a crocodile farm nearby that has it’s feeding times open to campsite visitors. The driver and cook remain behind in Maun during the excursion.
DAY 27: Okavango Delta (B / L / D)
A day of rest, relaxation and Delta experiences await. Today we have the opportunity to partake in a number of activities including swimming, game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try our hands at poling our own mokoro! There is also ample time to relax and rest during the hotter hours of the day, so challenge your new friends to a game of cards, or chat with your guides about their culture and lifestyle, or simply lie back and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding wilderness…
DAY 28: Okavango Delta to Maun (B / L / D)
This morning affords us a final opportunity for a game walk before packing up and setting off back to Maun. After our Mokoro ride and vehicle transfer, we arrive back in the afternoon and have the chance to complete our picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional scenic flight over The Delta (dependent on weather conditions & availability).
DAY 29: Maun to Rundu (Namibia) (B / L / D)
Following the Kavango River, we enter Northern Namibia. We stop at Rundu for supplies before heading to our spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River.
DAY 30: Rundu to Etosha National Park (B / L / D)
From Rundu, we head to the Etosha National Park. Covering 20 000 km2, Etosha is Namibia’s premier nature and wildlife reserve. Situated around the Etosha Pan with a large variety of animal and bird life, the extensive network of gravel roads affords us the opportunity of accessing even the most remote areas of the park. After lunch, and once it has cooled off a bit, we spend the remainder of the day exploring the park’s northern area. Keep an eye out for the striking Oryx and Springbok as these are endemic to desert National Parks! After dinner why not head to the waterhole where you can sit and observe the animals may come to drink in the evenings.
DAY 31: Etosha National Park (B / L / D)
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. As the vegetation types change, so does the animal and bird life that relies on it, and so different sections of the Park offer a variety of different game options. After a full day of game viewing, we exit the park through Anderson gate and head to our campsite just 10kms away; perhaps the chance for a quick dip in the pool before dinner, followed by a relaxing evening in this very interesting bar.
DAY 32: Etosha National Park to Cheetah Park (B / L / D)
After stopping briefly in Outjo to get stock up on supplies, today’s drive is to the Cheetah Park – a private farm dedicated to conserving Namibia’s cheetah population. While Cheetah are endangered in Africa, Namibia has a high population of wild, free roaming cheetah who cause immense damage to some of the local farms by hunting their livestock. As such, there are many local farmers who have offered a sanctuary to those that have been trapped, or injured. We get to meet the resident cheetahs, a photo opportunity not to be missed!
DAY 33: Cheetah Park to Spitzkoppe (B / L / D)
Our departure from the Cheetah Park takes us south to the ‘Matterhorn of Namibia’ – Spitzkoppe. The 1728 m high rock formation, one of Namibia’s most recognised landmarks, is well known as an ancient San sacred site. The area we camp in is managed by the local community who offer local guides for guided walks to the San Rock Art at an additional cost. Explore the surrounding area and its San rock paintings or simply enjoy the magnificent views. Tonight we bush camp (no ablution facilities) under the African stars.
DAY 34: Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund (B)
Today we head for Swakopmund. Founded by the Germans in 1892, their colonial influence is still evident today. Swakopmund has a selection of excellent coffee shops, restaurants & bars as well as many arts and crafts shops selling Namibian curios. There are fine beaches to walk along as well as a great museum, aquarium and galleries to visit. Alternatively, the lovely beach and promenade make for a great relaxing walk – though bathing in the ocean waters may be somewhat chilly! Accommodation will be in dormitories for the next 2 nights, upgrades into private rooms are possible, but depend on availability and can be booked with your trip leader.
DAYS 35: Swakopmund (B on both days)
The next day can be spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some of our fellow passengers may leave us in Swakop, to be replaced by new passengers joining us for the final leg of our trip.
OPTIONAL excursions include sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, fishing trips, golf, horse riding and more. An activity briefing will be held on arrival in Swakopmund (see price guide at the end of this document).
DAY 36 – 37: Swakopmund to Sesriem (B / L / D)
Leaving Swakopmund, we head south to the industrial Walvis Bay before turning inland and toward the desert. Continuing our journey, we enter the Namib-Naukluft Park in one of the oldest deserts in the world. We base ourselves at Sesriem, a great place to experience the Namib and its many moods. A short distance away is Sossusvlei, surrounded by a dramatic sea of sand dunes reputed to be the highest in the world. Magnificent views of the desert can be seen from the top of the dunes, some over 300 m high. We spend the afternoon exploring this amazing area.
DAY 38: Sesriem to Fish River Canyon (B / L / D)
Heading out early, we see the sunrise over this beautiful area and we leave the serenity of the dunes to head south to the Fish River Canyon. At 161 km long, 27 km wide and about 550 m deep, it’s the second largest canyon in the world. The outer canyon was formed by tectonic activity, while the erosion of the Fish River formed the inner canyon. A road follows the eastern rim, giving us access to several viewing points from where we can take in the spectacular vistas.
DAY 39: Fish River Canyon to Gariep River (South Africa) (B / L / D)
This morning we continue south, where, after a short drive, we reach the Gariep River – the natural land border between Namibia and South Africa. We camp at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river. This afternoon we have the option of a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Gariep River, affording us the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle. Tonight there’s a chance for some fun at the awesome camp bar overlooking the river!
DAY 40: Orange River to Cederberg (B / L / D)
An early morning start see us travel south through the Richtersveld and the mining town of Springbok, before reaching the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occur each spring. We spend tonight in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms and have the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains. Tonight is our last night under the stars!
DAY 41: Cederberg to Cape Town (B)
We leave the scenic Cederberg area and travel south towards Cape Town. We travel through the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal before crossing the Piketberg Pass to the Cape’s wine growing regions. Our first sighting of the Mother’s City Table Mountain across Table Bay means we’ve reached our final destination. Tonight’s accommodation is in dormitories in one of Cape Town’s best loved hostels. After we have checked in and got ourselves lunch, we will depart on a township tour in and around Cape Town. We will be dropped back at our hostel once we have finished the township tour.
DAY 42: Cape Town (NM)
This morning we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
There are a wide range of activities available in Cape Town and the surrounding areas, including day trips, short tours and longer tours travelling up the picturesque coast of South Africa. We suggest you extend your stay by a few days to participate in some of the exciting activities available here. Post tour accommodation can be booked directly at: email@example.com or through your agent & the Africa Travel Co office