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Gorillas Game Parks and Zanzibar 24 Day (Southbound)

Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam
£1,435 (plus local payment)

Ref: AT026

Travellers embarking on this combination of two popular trips will experience the varying faces of Africa, from gorilla viewing in the rain forests to the island paradise beaches of Zanzibar.  The memory of the Gorilla Trek and the opportunity to observe the gorillas in their ever-diminishing habitat is something that will never be forgotten as will travel through the game parks of east Africa which are renowned for their unspoiled natural beauty and prolific game - the predatory lion and cheetah and the magnificent African Elephant. The island of Zanzibar is steeped in tradition - full of places to be explored during the day whilst the nightlife in the restaurants and bars is something to be experienced. 

Who can join: 18 years and over
Accommodation: Camping
Transfer time: approx. 45 minutes
Pick up Point: Wildebeest Eco Camp, 151 Mokoyeti Road West, Langata
Meals: Meals Included as Indicated
Volunteer numbers: approx. 25

Duration & Fees

Price on Application

Prices valid from the 01 Jan 2018 until the 31 Dec 2018

24 days£1,435

USD 1535 - Local Payment

Start Dates

2017 Start Dates:

1 Oct | 15 Oct | 29 Oct | 12 Nov | 26 Nov | 10 Dec | 24 Dec

2018 Start Dates:

7 Jan | 21 Jan | 4 Feb | 18 Feb | 4 Mar | 18 Mar | 1 Apr | 15 Apr | 29 Apr | 13 May | 27 May | 10 Jun | 24 Jun | 8 Jul | 22 Jul | 5 Aug | 19 Aug | 2 Sep | 16 Sep | 30 Sep | 14 Oct | 28 Oct | 11 Nov | 25 Nov | 9 Dec | 23 Dec

Payment

£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Pre-trip night dorm room accommodation
  • Fully equipped expedition vehicle
  • Cooking and camping equipment (sleeping bag not provided)
  • Meals as indicated
  • Park fees and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Pre-departure pack and support and advice from Amanzi Travel staff and trip leaders

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Optional excursions
  • Gorilla Permit and transfer to gorilla trek
  • Restaurant meals and drinks unless otherwise stated
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Departure transfer
  • Laundry
  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Personal items and tips
  • Bottled water

Click here to enlargeStart and Finish Points:  Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam
Countries visited:  Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania
Departure Point Nairobi:  Wildebeest Eco Camp, 151 Mokoyeti Road West, Langata
Check-in time: 8.45 am
Departure:  9.30 am
Pre-Departure Meeting: 5 pm the day before at the departure point

The trip departs from Nairobi early on Sunday morning.  Passengers are recommended to arrive the day before their trip departs.  Airport pick up on arrival and one night's pre-trip accommodation in a dorm bed is included in the trip fee.  Anyone wishing to spend more time in Nairobi for sightseeing should arrange to arrive early.  Amanzi Travel can offer advice on accommodation and activities in this city. 

For booking purposes, any travellers choosing NOT to trek the Mountain Gorilla should notify Amanzi Travel as soon as possible.

Itinerary

Included Highlights

Great Rift Valley; Lake Nakuru National Park; Lake Naivasha; Kampala; Lake Bunyoni; Masai Mara National Reserve; Meserani Snake Park and Masai Cultural Museum and Zanzibar Ferry.

KENYA
Upon entering this beautiful east African country visitors may be greeted with the words "jambo" (hello) or "hakuna matata" (no problem) by the friendly locals.  With a population of nearly 42 million and land area of more than 580,000 sq km, Kenya is home to an abundance of wildlife and colourful tribespeople, making it the perfect getaway for a once in a lifetime safari.

DAY 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara (Lunch / Dinner)
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi the group will drive up the escarpment to the first stop, a viewpoint overlooking the spectacular Great Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift Valley, Masai land is entered where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road.  The town of Narok is passed before arriving at the campsite, Acacia Camp, in the late afternoon.  The camp site looks on to the Meguarra hills and the stream that meanders by on the bottom end forms a natural border to the Masai Mara National Reserve.

Included Activity:  Masai Mara Nature Reserve Excursion

DAY 2: Masai Mara (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)
To-day the group will depart shortly after sunrise for a game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. The Masai Mara is well known as one of East Africa's best National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Most famous for the Annual Migration that consists of the impressive herds of more than one million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania,  the Masai Mara is most popular between July and October when these vast herds feast on the fresh grazing there.  Eyes are kept open during the game drive for the Big 5 - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard as well as the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who call this wilderness home.  After the game drive there is the option of visiting one of the nearby Masai Manyattas - a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way.  Sitting around the camp fire, watching the sun set is the perfect way to finish a day’s game viewing in this “Garden of Eden.”

DAY 3: Masai Mara to Eldoret (B / L / D)
Leaving the Masai Mara early in the morning, the group will pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau on the way to Eldoret.

UGANDA
The "Pearl of Africa",  as it is referred to by its people, is home to some of Africa's major attractions.  This country contains four of Africa's seven great lakes, including Lake Victoria which is the second largest body of fresh water in the world.  Lake Bunyoni is one of these spectacular lakes with its mythical landscapes and hidden bays.  The source of the Nile at Jinja allows the opportunity to tame the mighty waters with some of the world's best white water rafting, and to top it all, this breath-taking country has the largest population of primates anywhere in Africa.

DAY 4: Eldoret to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
Today, the border into Uganda is crossed and an overnight stay is made in the capital city, Kampala.  Uganda is a small country of striking physical beauty. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semidesert region in the north.  The political instability that has haunted Uganda in the past has actually had the positive effect of leaving the country free of the over commercialism so common in other parts of Africa. The current administration under President Museveni has devoted considerable effort and funds to returning Uganda to its former status as one of Africa's most prosperous and, from a tourist’s point of view, one of the most appealing and interesting countries to visit.

DAYS 5 - 8:  Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D)
The group will depart early in the morning from Kampala and drive west into the depths of Uganda to the base in Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large number of beautiful birds, and from where the optional Gorilla trek takes place.  Dependant on where trekking permits are available, treks may be made to the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda. The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice.  They are currently priced at US$ 600. There is a local transport and handling fee of US$ 120 per person which covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority's booking fee.  For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, it will also be necessary to purchase an additional visa and the trip leader will advise at the pre-departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed.  It will also be necesary to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing the Ugandan visa upon re-entry. It is also helpful to allow a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers and please budget accordingly as payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are only about 700 remaining, is one of man's closest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience - one never to be forgotten.  The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are at any time.  However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed.   As the gorillas share much of man's DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek.  Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years of age.

Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors, small groups will depart from camp in the early mornings over 3-4 days, depending on the overall group size.  Each group will travel through some of the most beautiful scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park.  Dependent on where permits are available, the night will be spent either in Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing a picnic lunch,  the group will transfer to the rangers' station where the trek commences. The rangers will lead the group through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family.  Trekking can take anywhere from forty-five minutes to eight hours (not including transfer time)  and as it can be quite strenuous, a reasonable level of fitness is required.  To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of man's genes (and therefore able to catch his diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is one hour.  However this is plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide a background to the family being visited.  Once the hour is up, the group will trek back out of the rain forest to the meeting point and transfer back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.  

Participants do not need to feel that they are exploiting these animals in any way.  The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day plays a vital role in their survival.  For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades!  In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to protect their babies from the poachers who sell them to zoos, where they have never lived long.  One hundred percent of the gorilla permit cost is used to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.

Depending on where the trek takes place the group may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC.  The villagers in this area are mostly subsistence farmers, and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes and it is impressive to see how they ahve ploughed, planted and harvested their crops in such an unlikley landscape.

* Gorilla Trekking is Optional

DAY 9:  Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D)
After the fantastic experience of the gorilla encounter and time spent at Lake Bunyoni, today the group will drive back to Kampala, crossing the Equator for the second time and a stop for the "one foot in each hemisphere" photo opportunity.  Overnight is spent in Kampala with the opportunity to sample the night life.

DAY 10:  Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Today there is the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or heading to Jinja to enjoy adventure activities such as white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or helping out at a community project.  The afternoon is free to relax on the river bank or watching the many water birds to be found in the area. 

DAY 11:  Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D)
Today the group will head back to Kenya, stopping en route for lunch and supplies.  Overnight will be spent in Nakuru, Kenya's 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province.  It lies adjacent to the small but wildlife rich Lake Nakuru National Park. There is the option of visiting the EAMO Orphanage.

Optional Activity:  Spending time with the children at the orphanage.  Some passengers may like to take along pens, pencils, notepads etc for the children.  These are always appreciated.

DAY 12:  Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning the group will begin the exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park - famous for thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that flock to this soda lake's edge.  The numbers vary depending on the water level and when the water is low, the lake almost turns pink. A truly spectacular sight! This park was established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino and the day will be spent searching for these beasts as well as the elusive leopard.  Buffalo, giraffe, antelope and the occasional hippo may be seen along the way.  After the game drive the group will head to the campsite  arriving in the late afternoon.

Included Activity:  Game drives through Lake Nakuru National Park in tour vehicle

DAY 13:  Lake Nakuru to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D)
Lake Naivasha is home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry.  At 1880m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes.  The day will be spent enjoying optional excursions such as Elsamere (former home to Joy and 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.

Included Activity:  Lake Naivasha

DAY 14: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
After breakfast, the group will head back to Nairobi, arriving by late morning or early afternoon, where on arrival where some passengers will  be ending their trip.

TANZANIA
Tanzania's natural environment and geographical features have made it one of the best tourist destinations in Afirca.  Being the largest country in East Afria, Tanzania has loads to offer her visitors, including 13 game reserves and national parks.  Tanzania also hosts part of the world's largest animal movements, the Great Migration.  Inland are the vast Serengeti National Park nd the wildlife-packed Ngorongoro Conservation area, and thousands of people every year fulfil their lifetime ambition to climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.  On the coast, Zanzibar is exotic, intriguing and steeped in the unique Swahili culture.

DAY 15: Nairobi to Arusha (Tanzania) (L / D)
This morning the new passengers joining the next leg of our trek will come on board to travel south crossing the border into Tanzania at Namanga. The night is spent in a lovely campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater excursion tomorrow (optional).

DAY 16 - Arusha to Karatu (Optional) (B / L / D)
This morning the group will 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 lunch at the campsite against the backdrop of Mount Meru, the group will meet the Tanzanian guides and transfer into locally operated 4WD vehicles which have been adapted for safari use and allow excellent viewing and photographic opportunities through the opening roof hatches. 

Optional Activity:  Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater Excursion

Leaving the camp travel will be 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 which offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many established wheat farms that add to the picturesque parorama.  The night will be spent at a very pleasant campsite in Karatu (campsite has no ablution facilities).

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK AND NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA
The Serengeti National Park's claim to fame is not only the annual migration of white bearded wildebeest and zebra, but also it is regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey.  Ngorongoro Conservation Area consists of a large volcanic caldera, namely the Ngorongoro Crater.  This massive crater is home to over 250,000 large animals making it an attraction not to be missed.

DAY 17:  Karatu to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park  (Optional)* (B / L / D)
This morning there will be an early departure for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater, which is the largest unbroken, unflooded caldera in the world.  It is comprised of open savannahs, acacia forests and both soda and fresh water lakes and 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 the game drive in the Crater, the group will head down the Crater rim and past the "Cradle of Mankind" on the way to the Serengeti National Park.  Vast plains will be crossed during the game drive through the southern and central areas of the park.  Tonight;s camp is in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness - and with no fences (or ablutions) surrounding the campsite it is truly in the midst of nature!

* Anyone choosing not to do the optional Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti National Park trip will remain at the campsite.  Please contact Amanzi Travel for more information.

DAY 18:  Serengeti National Park to Arusha (B / L / D)
This morning the group will head off for another game drive to explore the landscape in search of the resident game.  With luck some of Africa's Big 5 may be seen.  The group will then return across the plains and along the lush Crater rim to the truck at Arusha where the evening will be spent musing over the thrilling wildife experience.

DAY 19: Arusha to Pangani * (B / L / D)
After a morning spent stocking up on supplies in Arusha, the tour will head south towards Dar es Salaam driving through the town of Moshi en route..  Moshi is the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions, and weather permitting it may be possible to catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed!  Vast sisal plantations are passed, surrounded by the Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges, before reaching the 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 20: Pangani to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
Today the group will continue on to Dar es Salaam, travelling through lush scenery and palm trees, nearing the warm Indian Ocean.  To-day'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 everyone entertained.  Keep a look out for the colourful shop fronts with their sometimes humorous catch phrases.  On arrival in Dar es Salaam the group will make its way to the lovely seaside campsite to prepare for departure to Zanzibar the next morning.

DAY 21: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (Optional)  (B)
A ferry ride is taken from Dar es Salaam to the "Spice Island,” where there is the option to spend the next three 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 the group to replace those that will leave at the end of the excursion to Zanzibar.  

Included Activity:  Zanzibar Ferry
Optional Activity:  Zanzibar Excursion

Please note: Accommodation and meals are not arranged whilst on Zanzibar, as it has been found that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own and in accordance with their own budget.   The Trip Leader can help to arrange accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants.  There is also a wide range of optional excursions on offer (see Extra Information).

For those passengers not opting to visit the island of Zanzibar, the next three days are spent at leisure at the beach campsite in Dar Es Salaam.  There are various optional excursions available from the camp site including diving, snorkelling and fishing trips.   The driver and cook remain behind in Dar during the excursion.

PLEASE NOTE:  New legislation prohibits the taking of photographs during the Zanzibar ferry ride.  Spot fines can be issued if legislation is not obeyed.

DAYS 22 - 23: Zanzibar
History aside, Zanzibar offers a wealth of experiences for the visitor.  To-day 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 for anyone who would 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 24: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (No meals)
Leaving Zanzibar in the afternoon  the group will return to the mainland and another night in the campsite in Dar. Arrival  back at camp is usually in the later afternoon or early evening.  On arrival addresses are exchanged and everyone parts ways. having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!

Please note that this itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road and weather conditions, political and group decisions as well as general changes that may be made from time to time.  All prices and local payments are subject to change with prior notice and due to tourism laws in some of the countries visited, there may be a truck and crew change during the trip.

Optional Excursions

Kenya:
Masai Mara Balloon Safari (when available) - $550
Masai Village Cultural Visit - $15
Masai Warrior Dancing - $10
Naivasha Boat Hire (maximum 7 passengers) - $60 per hour
Naivasha Horse Riding - $25 per hour

Uganda:
Gorilla Trek (excl. transfer and booking fee) - from $600
White Water Rafting on the Nile - $160
Nile River Bungee Jump - $120
Adrift/Softpower Project - $35
Quad Biking - 2 hours - $100
Horse Riding - 2 hours – excluding transfer - $65 (transfer approx. US$ 20)

Tanzania:
Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti Trip - From $590
Masai Village Visit - $10
Olduvai Gorge (if time available)  - $10

Zanzibar:
Zanzibar Accommodation per person per day - from $40 - $60
Spice Tour including lunch  - $40
Transfer to Nungwe - $20
Prison Island Snorkelling Trip - $30
Diving, Snorkelling and fishing - from $40
Dhow Sunset Cruise - $40
Moped Hire - $50 - $70 plus local drivers licence/insurance at $5

Please note that this is not a full list of available activities.  There are many more to choose from.  All prices are approximate and are in US dollars.  Prices are subject to change and should be used as a guideline only.  Where activities occur away from base, there may be an additional transfer cost.
For a comprehensive list of things to do before, during or after the trip, please contact Amanzi Travel.

Getting There

Flights should be arranged to arrive into Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.  Please make sure that you arrive in plenty of time for your trip departure. We recommend that you arrive the day before your start date and depart the day after your end date to allow for any delays.   An airport transfer and the pre-trip night's accommodation in a dorm bed are included in the project fee.  Amanzi Travel can assist you in arranging other airport transfers and other accommodation if required. Full details will be in provided in your pre-departure pack.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and we can arrange any flight requirements that you have upon request.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam, Gorillas Game Parks and Zanzibar 24 Day (Southbound)Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam, Gorillas Game Parks and Zanzibar 24 Day (Southbound)Meals on tour
Meals and menus vary as food is purchased en-route and is subject to what is available seasonally in the areas travelled through.  As the aim is to support the local communities along the way, fresh produce is mainly purchased directly from the local grower and sometimes has an organic appearance.  The safari cooks are able to offer a wide variety of menus with the ingredients available, even if the produce on offer is not the same as that at home.

Breakfast spread consists of bread (toast when time permits), spreads and cereals with a hot breakfast every few days.  Lunches are mainly prepared en-route with a supply of "build your own" sandwich ingredients available.  Dinners are cooked in the evenings on arrival at the campsite and a wide array of dinner menus is on offer during the safari including curries, stews, pastas, BBQs and even roasts!

Transport on tour
The overland vehicles are custom bult converted Mercedes Benz or MAN trucks that have seating space for all passengers and a storage area for luggage and all trip equipment.  The trucks seat between 27 - 30 passengers on the camping trips.  Most seats are forward facing, although some models have a combination of forward, backward and some inward facing seats with tables.  Vehicles have sliding glass windows and the seating area is raised giving great game viewing and photographic opportunities.  Seats are cushioned and there is storage space for personal items such as cameras, snacks and day packs in the seating area.

Participation on tour
These are participation tours and all passengers are expected to help out around the camp.  The crew members will set up a rota system and passengers will help with cleaning duties, cooking duties and so on.  This makes it easier for everyone and is a good chance for the passengers to get to know each other.

 

Click here to view the full interactive mapTanzania - Take a Gap Year or Holiday to Help Communities Grow

Why visit Tanzania

Tanzania is unsurpassed for its magnificent scenery: from the snow-capped heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, the "Crown of Africa", to the exquisite floor of the Ngorongoro Crater; the jewel-like coastal islands of Zanzibar to the awe-inspiring Great Rift Valley, the natural splendours set the stage for the astoundingly diverse wildlife. Within the space of several hours it is possible to go from lazing on idyllic beaches and diving on exquisite coral reefs to exploring the narrow alleys of Arabian influenced Stone Town, from climbing mist-covered slopes in the Southern Highlands to trekking through barren landscapes around Ol Doinyo Lengai, guided by spear-carrying Masai warriors. Turtle season is between December and May, and these prehistoric creatures can be seen laying their eggs on the beaches.

Yet, despite its attractions, Tanzania has predominantly managed to remain unassuming and low-key. It has also remained enviably untouched by the tribal rivalries and political upheavals, and this makes it an ideal choice for both first-time visitors and Africa old hands.

Tanzania's natural endowment as a wildlife safari destination is unrivalled. Wild animals roam in vast uncrowded and unspoilt areas. The magnificent collection of game sanctuaries to the north of the country, near the border with Kenya, is referred to as the Northern Circuit. This is the most popular and accessible wildlife safari route in Tanzania, and is considered as one of the finest game viewing areas anywhere in the world. Arusha, a city of northern Tanzania is surrounded by some of Africa's most famous landscapes and national parks. Beautifully situated below Mount Meru on the eastern edge of the Great Rift Valley, it has a pleasant climate and is close to Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and Mount Kilimanjaro, as well as having its own Arusha National Park on Mount Meru.

Highlights of Tanzania

  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain.
  • Bordered by Africa's three largest lakes - Lakes Malawi, Tanganyika and Victoria.
  • Zanzibar Island, exploring bustling Stone Town, a World Heritage Site, and idyllic beaches, snorkelling, and picturesque fishing villages on Mnemba Island.
  • Ngorongoro Crater - the largest intact caldera in the world, where wildlife are specifically protected.
  • Olduvai Gorge - said to be the birthplace of man.
  • The 20-million-year-old Great Rift Valley.
  • The vast game-filled plains of the Serengeti and hot air balloon safaris.
  • The annual Great Migration of millions of herbivores is a once-in-a-lifetime experience can be viewed between Tanzania and Kenya.
  • More than twenty-five percent of Tanzania is dedicated to conservation areas.
  • Possible to view the elusive "Big 10" in Tanzania - elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, hippo, zebra and giraffe - plus the famous chimpanzees on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
  • Tanzania boasts over 1,000 bird species, with Lake Manyara National Park alone being home to over 400.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer (November -May) 31 °C 20 °C
Winter (June – October) 22 °C 15 °C
Rainfall: March - May (Long Rains “Masika”), November - December (Short Rains  “Vuli”)

Tanzania has a generally comfortable, tropical climate year-round, where temperatures rarely fall lower than 20°C.  The coolest months countrywide are from June to October (15–20 °C), when it is also dry, and the warmest from December to March (25–31°C), although there are significant regional variations:-

  • Along the warmer and humid coast, the average daily temperatures hover in the 30°C range, and only go as low as 25°C due to sea breezes from June to September. The climate here is determined in large part by the monsoon winds, which bring rains in two major periods. During the “masika” (long rains), from mid-March to May, it rains heavily almost every day, although seldom for the whole day, and the air can get unpleasantly sticky. The lighter “vuli” (short rains) fall during November, December and sometimes into January. July and August have the lowest rainfall.
  • Inland, altitude is a major determinant of conditions. The central plateau is somewhat cooler and arid, while in the mountainous areas of the northeast and southwest, temperatures range between 10 and 20°C during cold and hot seasons respectively, and it can rain at any time of year. In the Kilimanjaro area, temperatures vary from 15°C in May-August period to 22°C over December - March. As one heads to the peaks of Kilimanjaro, temperatures can drop to below freezing, especially at night. The best climbing on Mount Kilimanjaro, which is surprisingly easy, is from August to October and from January to March.

Key Facts

Population – 43.7 million
Capital – Dodoma is the political capital, and Dar Es Salaam is the principal commercial city
Currency – Tanzanian shilling
Language  –  Swahili is the most widely spoken language, although English is the official language
“karibu tena” – welcome again

Peoples and Culture:  there are over 120 tribes in Tanzania.  However, the majority of people on Zanzibar follow the Muslim faith. Dress code to them is of particular importance and it is suggested that women try to dress fairly conservatively in order not to offend the local people. An Arabic influence is also evident in the people, who are a mix of Shirazia (from Persia), Arabs, Comorians (from the Comoros Islands) and Bantu from the mainland. The official language of Zanzibar is Kiswahili. Most residents have a good knowledge of English, Italian and various Arabic dialects.

Zanzibar's most world famous musician is Freddie Mercury! He was born Farrokh Bulsara on September 5th 1946 in Zanzibar, to parents Bomi and Jer Bulsara, who were Parsees - members of the Zoroastrian faith.

Time difference – GMT +3 hours
Telephone – country code 255

Click here to view the full interactive mapUganda - Explore National Park In The Pearl of Africa

Why visit Uganda

In 1907, pioneering tourist, Winston Churchill, called Uganda the Pearl of Africa. The country is small but the physical beauty is striking and the national parks are much quieter than other neighbouring countries. Its landscape varies from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria, to the snow-covered Ruwenzori Mountains in the west, the highest mountain range in Africa, to the white-water rafting mecca of Jinja, the source of the mighty Nile, and the semi-desert parts of the north. It has the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the majestic mountain gorillas, one of the rarest animals on the planet. This is a unique opportunity to encounter these contemplative creatures at close quarters, hidden among the bamboo and dense jungle of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Highlights of Uganda

  • Stunning, varied scenery of mountains, lakes and desert.
  • The Mount of the Moon, Ruwenzori Mountains, the highest range in Africa.
  • Endangered Mountain gorilla encountered at close quarters.
  • Source of the River Nile at Jinja.
  • Lake Bunyoni is the deepest crater lake in Africa, perfect for swimming, hiking, canoeing or simply sitting back and enjoying the tranquil surrounds.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer (December to May) 29 °C 16 °C
Winter (June to November) 26 °C 14 °C
Rainfall: March to May, October to November

The majority of the country has a tropical climate, where temperatures average 26°C during the day, and 16°C at night;  however this can vary according to altitude. The hottest months are December to February where temperatures can reach 29°C. The wettest months are April and May where rainfall is heavy. The dry season from mid-May to mid-October is easier for tracking mountain gorillas, but the endless hills are barren, a contrast to the verdant greens of the wet season. Peak season for gorilla tracking is July and August - travelling outside this time means it is easier to arrange a permit.

Key Facts

Population – 32.4 million
Capital – Kampala
Currency – Ugandan shilling (UGX)
Language – English, Swahili
Time difference – GMT +3 hours
Telephone – country code 256

Click here to view the full interactive mapRwanda with Amanzi Travel - The Best Gap Year Experience

Why visit Rwanda

Rwanda is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, as it is a lush country of endless mountains and stunning scenery, and nowhere are the mountains more majestic than the peaks of the Virunga volcanoes. In the Parc National des Vulcans, the volcanoes form a natural frontier with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Hidden among the bamboo and dense jungle of their forbidding slopes, are some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. Here there is a unique opportunity to encounter these contemplative creatures at close quarters.

Highlights of Rwanda

  • Stunning mountains and scenery.
  • Endangered Mountain gorilla encountered at close quarters.
  • Kigali is the first city in Africa to be awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honour Award in the recognition of its “cleanliness, security and urban conservation model”.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer (mid-October to mid-May) 25 °C 14 °C
Winter (mid-May to mid-October) 22 °C 10 °C
Rainfall: March to May, October to December

Rwanda has a temperate, tropical, highland climate, with lower temperatures than other equatorial countries due to its high altitude, ranging from 25°C during the day to 14°C at night. The average daytime temperature is around 24°C, except in the higher mountains, which take up a lot of the country, where the range is 10°C to 15°C, and which experiences twice as much rain. Expect frost in the high mountains.

Wet season is March to May, and October to December, particularly wet in April.
The dry season from mid-May to mid-October is easier for tracking mountain gorillas, but the endless hills are barren, a contrast to the verdant greens of the wet season. Peak season for gorilla tracking is July and August - travelling outside this time means it is easier to arrange a permit.

Key Facts

Population – 10.7 million
Capital – Kigali
Currency – Rwanda franc (Rfr)
Language – French, English, Kinyarwanda
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 250

Click here to view the full interactive mapKenya - Make Your Dreams Come True With Amanzi Travel

Why visit Kenya

For a country of its size, Kenya really does pack a lot in: mountains and deserts, colourful tribal culture, beaches and coral reefs and some of Africa’s best wildlife attractions. Stunning landscapes set the scene, from Kakamega’s rainforests to Indian Ocean beaches and idyllic islands such as Lamu, by way of Mount Kenya National Park, the rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara to searing deserts on the shores of the Jade Sea; with the Rift Valley, home to millions of breeding flamingos on Lake Nakuru and spectacular birdlife and hippo families on Lake Naivasha, cleaving a massive gash through it all.

Wildlife safaris have been hugely popular in Kenya for decades, with legendary personalities such Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen highlighting their appeal, and films such as Out of Africa and Born Free portraying the romance, thrill and excitement of the country. Kenya has over twelve national wildlife parks, being among the best places in Africa to see lions, elephants, leopards and the famous wildebeest migration. The Masai Mara is famous for its annual Great Migration of more than two million wildebeest and thousands of Thomson's gazelle, zebra and impala. Aside from the Migration, game-viewing is excellent throughout the year. Large herds of elephant are common sights in the dry, ancient lakebed of Amboseli National Park, as are buffalo, gazelle, giraffe and zebra. In addition to the wildlife in Tsavo National Park, the Mzima Springs are popular, where millions of litres of cool, crystal-clear water flow out of the ground through porous volcanic rocks. The Samburu Game Park is a narrow plain giving way to rocky hillsides which are home to leopard.  A highlight of these Parks is watching large numbers of elephant bathing in the Ewaso Nyiro River. The possibilities of trekking the glacial ridges of Mount Kenya, ballooning over the Masai Mara, snorkelling at the Marine National Park in Malindi on the Indian Ocean are all very real in Kenya.

Highlights of Kenya

  • Kenya immortalised the safari with legendary personalities such as Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen, and films such as Out of Africa and Born Free.
  • Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve is renowned for the annual Great Migration of millions of herbivores – one of the seven new wonders of the world.
  • Masai and Samburu tribes-people live and tend their livestock alongside the resident wildlife.
  • The country abounds in diverse landscapes, including the spectacular Great Rift Valley.
  • It is one of the best countries in Africa for seeing large concentrations of animals throughout the year.
  • Kenya is a birdwatcher's dream destination, with more than 1,000 species recorded.
  • Lake Nakuru is a breeding ground for flamingo - up to two million birds can be found, and greater and lesser flamingos also migrate along Lakes Magadi, Elmenteita, Bogoria and Turkana.
  • Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa and features a number of permanent glaciers. The best view of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro is from Kenya's Amboseli National Park.
  • The coastline is beautiful, particularly the Lamu Archipelago, featuring the islands of Lamu, Manda and Pate. Old Lamu Town is a World Heritage Site.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 34 °C 20 °C
Winter (May - August) 25 °C 11 °C
Rainfall: April - June (long rains), October - Mid December (short rains)

Kenya is divided by the Equator and its diverse geography means that temperature, rainfall and humidity vary widely. However, there are effectively four distinct zones:

The hot, rainy plateau of western Kenya has rainfall throughout the year, the heaviest usually during April when as much as 200mm may be recorded, and the lowest in January, with an average of 40mm.  Temperatures range from a minimum of 14°C to a maximum of 36°C throughout the year.

The temperate Rift Valley and Central Highlands have perhaps the most agreeable climate in the country. Average temperatures vary from a minimum of 10°C to a maximum of 28°C.  Rainfall varies from a minimum of 20mm in July to 200mm in April, falling in essentially two seasons – March to the beginning of June (the ‘long rains’) and October to the end of November (the ‘short rains’). Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range are the country’s main water catchments, with falls of up to 3000mm per year recorded in these places.

In the semi-arid bush-lands of northern and eastern Kenya temperatures vary from highs of up to 40°C during the day to less than 20°C at night.  Rainfall in this area is sparse and, when it does occur, is often in the form of violent storms. July is usually the driest month and November the wettest.

The consistently average temperatures of the humid coast region vary little during the year, ranging from 22°C to 30°C.  Rainfall is dependent on the monsoon, which blows from the north-east from October to April and from the south-west for the rest of the year.  Its rainfall averages from 20mm in February to around 300mm in May.

Depending on when the rains come, the Great Migration normally reaches Kenya around July. Hundreds of thousands of herbivores then disperse onto the plains of the Masai Mara for the next couple of months. 

Key Facts

Population – 39 million
Capital - Nairobi
Currency – Kenya shilling
Language – Kiswahili, English, tribal languages
Nairobi, from the Masaai "enkare nyarobi" means "Place of Cool Waters"
“jambo rafiki” – hello friend
Time difference – GMT +3 hours
Telephone – country code 254, international code 00

Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, 32 and 34

The overland trip was excellent - really well run. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ...   

Amanzi Travel are excellent - professional, informative but with a real personal service ...     The cheetah volunteer project was an absolutely fantastic experience, and the Overland trip was brilliant.

Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, 32 and 34 (Cheetah Volunteer Project and Overland Trip)

Gorillas Game Parks and Zanzibar 24 Day (Southbound)

Excellent - Long drives but made worth it by absolutely amazing experiences!!

Bethany, UK, aged 21

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