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Great African Trek 56 Day (Northbound)

Cape Town to Nairobi
£2,155 (plus local payment)

Ref: AT044

From Table Mountain to Kenya's bustling capital of Nairobi, this epic 56 day safari covers all the highlights of nine countries in southern and east Africa. Beginning in dynamic Cape Town, easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the tour visits the giant sand dunes in Namibia's Namib-Naukluft Park, the vast wilderness of the Okavango Delta and the thundering Victoria Falls. Idle away sunny days on Lake Malawi, bask on palm-backed beaches on Zanzibar, watch thousands of animals trample the plains of the Masai Mara and the Serengeti, and stare into the soft brown eyes of a gorilla.

Who can join: 18 years and over
Accommodation: Camping
Transfer time: approx 30 mins
Pick up Point: Ashanti Lodge and Travel Centre, 11 Hof Street Gardens, Cape Town
Meals: Meals Included as Indicated
Volunteer numbers: approx. 25

Duration & Fees

56 days£2,155

USD 1390 - Local Payment

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Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Start Dates

2017 Start Dates:

5 Feb | 5 Mar | 2 Apr | 30 Apr | 28 May | 11 Jun | 25 Jun | 9 Jul | 23 Jul | 6 Aug | 20 Aug | 3 Sep | 17 Sep | 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

Please note that a portion of this trip on some dates may co-incide with a family departure.

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 bags/matts 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
  • International Flights
  • Airport Departure Taxes
  • Departure Transfer
  • Optional excursions
  • Gorilla Trekking permit
  • Transfer to Gorilla Trek
  • Visas
  • Restaurant meals and drinks
  • Laundry
  • Sleeping Bag and pillows
  • Personal items
  • Tips

Click here to enlargeCountries Visited: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
Start and Finish Points: Cape Town to Nairobi
Departure Point Cape Town: Ashanti Lodge and Travel Centre, 11 Hof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
Check-in time: 7.30 am  (departure 8.00 am)
Pre-departure Meeting: 5.00 pm the day before at the departure point

This trip departs from Cape Town early on Sunday morning.  Anyone wishing to explore Cape Town should arrive in plenty of time.  Amanzi Travel can recommend accommodation and give ideas on what to see and do.  Please contact Amanzi Travel for information.

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. 

This itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road and weather conditions, political situations and group decisions. All prices and local payments are subject to change.  Due to Tourism Laws in some of the countries visited there may be a truck and crew change during the tour. 

For booking purposes would anyone choosing NOT to trek the gorillas advise Amanzi Travel as soon as possible, and preferably when making their booking.

INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS

Township Tour and Wine Tasting in Cape Town; Half-day canoeing on the Gariep (Orange) River; Fish River Canyon; Namib-Naukluft National Park; Transfer to Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe (day trip); Etosha National Park; Okavango Delta Excursion; Chobe Overnight Excursion; Victoria Falls Entry; South Luangwa National Park; Lake Malawi; Zanzibar Ferry; Dar-es-Salaam and Meserani Snake Park and Cultural Museum; Kampala and Lake Bunyoni; Lake Naivasha; Lake Nakuru; Great Rift Valley and Masai Mara National Reserve.

SOUTH AFRICA
With nine provinces, 11 official languages and 3 capital cities, South Africa will stop all travellers in their tracks - such is the WOW factor.

Cape Area
Starting in the mother city, Cape Town has much to offer, such as the flat topped Table Mountain which is awesome for hiking and gives a fantastic aerial view of the city.  Long Street - the pulse of the city - is the place for food and entertainment and not to be missed is a Winelands Tour for breathtaking view and great wine tasting.

Itinerary

DAY 1: Cape Town to Cederberg Area (L / D)
Before leaving Cape Town the group will join an included township tour in and around this beautiful city to allow everyone to enjoy this experience.  The tour will then head around Table Bay and then north through the wheat growing 'bread basket' of South Africa before crossing the Piekenierskloof Pass into the rich fruit growing area along the Olifants River, named for the vast elephant herds that used to roam in this fertile valley.

Included Activity: Cape Town Township Tour
Included Activity: Wine tasting at campsite

DAY 2: Cederberg Area to Gariep River (B / L / D)
From the Cederberg the tour will travel north through the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occurs each spring. After stopping for supplies in the small mining town of Springbok, the group will continue on through the desert area of the Richtersveld to the Gariep River, the natural land border between South Africa and Namibia, where the night will be spent at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river.

NAMIBIA
This sandy yet spectacular country gained its independence from South Africa in 1990 and its largest city, Windhoek, is also the capital.  This is a country of great beauty and wide horizons dominated by the brooding and desolate Namib Desert, which has the highest sand dunes in the world.

DAY 3: Gariep River to Fish River Canyon (Namibia) (B / L / D)
This morning there will a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Gariep River, affording the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle. After lunch the crossing into Namibia will be made where, after a short drive, the Fish River Canyon will be reached.  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 access to several viewing points from where the spectacular vistas can beviewed.

Included Activity:  Canoeing on the Gariep River
Included Activity:  Visit to the Fish River Canyon

DAY 4: Fish River Canyon to Sesriem (B / L / D)
After an early start the tour will head north to enter the area of the Namib--Naukluft desert, one of the oldest in the world.  The tour will base itself at Sesriem - a good place to experience the Namib and its many moods.  From there it is a short distance to Sossusvlei, which is 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 of which are more than 300 m high.  Viewing the stars at night is a must - the desert puts on a show like nowhere else in the world!

Included Activity:  Namib Naukluft National Park

DAY 5: Sesriem (B / L / D)
The tour will head north this morning and enter the Namib-Naukluft Park where the morning will be spent exploring this amazing area. Some time will be taken to clim to the top of Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience following which there will be the option to take the desert shuttles a further 5 km into the desert to walk to Sossusvlei and explore the surrounding area.  

Sossusvlei - Sesriem Canyon
The salt and clay pan is surrounded by never ending sand dunes which form part of some of the highest dunes in the world.  Dune 45 offers a stunning view of the sunrises and sunsets.  Sesriem Canyon is full of character, the name Sesriem being Afrikaans and translated as "six belts".  After returning from their treks the settlers would have to tie six belts together, attached to the bucket, to scoop water from the canyon.

Included Activity:  Climing Dune 45
Included Activity:  A Visit to Sossusvlei

DAY 6: Sesriem to Swakopmund (B)
This morning after breakfast the tour will head off in a north-westerly direction to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay. During the drive the Tropic of Capricorn will be crossed - the imaginary line that shows the southernmost point of direct sun, and signals the southern hemisphere's mid-summers day.  From Walvis Baythe drive will follow the coast for some 35 km before arriving at Namibia’s prime holiday resort - Swakopmund where  2 nights of rest and relaxation will be enjoyed.  Accommodation will be in dormitories. Upgrades into private rooms are possible, but depend on room availability and can be booked with the tour leader.

DAY 7: Swakopmund (B)
Founded by the Germans in 1892, their colonial influence is still evident today. Swakopmund has a selection of excellent coffee shops, restaurants and 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 may be somewhat chilly!  Some fellow passengers may leave the tour at Swakopmund to be replaced by new passengers joining for the rest of the 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 and prices for these optional activities will be found later in this document.

DAY 8: Swakopmund to Brandberg (UIS)   (L / D)
On departure from Swakopmund the tour will travel to the "Matterhorn of Namibia‟ - Spitzkoppe (day trip). The 1728 m high rock formation, one of Namibia’s most recognised landmarks, is well known as an ancient San sacred site.  Explore the surrounding area and its San rock paintings or simply enjoy the magnificent views. After the visit to Spitzkoppe the tour will head to the next destination - Brandberg.

DAY 9: Brandberg (UIS) to Etosha National Park Area (B / L / D)
Today’s drive is north through the Namibian countryside to the campsite for the night, located in the vicinity of the Etosha National Park.

DAY 10: Etosha National Park Area  (B / L / D)
To-day the tour will head to the area of 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 the opportunity of accessing even the most remote areas of the park. After lunch, and once it has cooled off a bit, the remainder of the day will be spent exploring the park's southern area keeping an eye out for the striking Oryx and Springbok as these are endemic to desert National Parks. Tonight's camp is situated just outside the park's boundaries, only 10 km from the Anderson Gate.  Perhaps a quick dip in the pool or a sundowner on the deck before dinner, followed by a relaxing evening in the interesting bar.

Optional Activity:  Game Drive

DAY 11: Etosha National Park (B / L / D)
Today will take the group across the park, keeping a look out for the many different mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in the various regions.  As vegetarion types change, so does the animal and bird life that relies on it and so different sections of the Park offer different game options.  After a full day of game viewing the evening will be spent relaxing at the camp in the north of the Park, Namutoni.  After dinner head to the waterhole and sit and observe the animals that come to drink in the evening.

Included Activity:  Game Drive
Optional Activity:  Night Drive

DAY 12: Etosha National Park to Grootfontein  (B / L / D)
After breakfast the tour will head out of the park while doing a game drive.  To-day is a short driving day to the next destination where camp will be set up for the night - which has a thatched dining area, swimming pool and curio shop.

DAY 13: Grootfontein to Divundu (B / L / D)
From Grootfontein the tour will head in a north-easterly direction toward Namibia's Caprivi Strip, and the lush Kavango region of northern Namibia,  before heading to the spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River.  Watch the sun do down from the deck over the river, but keep a watch out for the occasional hippo grazing on the lawn!

BOTSWANA
The size of this successful country can be compared to countries such as Kenya or France, but smaller than Texas.  Botswana is a land-locked country with borders with South African, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe all of which can be crossed overland.  For such a small country it boasts an array of spectacular game viewing opportunities including hundreds of elephants splashing in the Chobe River, and the Okavango Delta and its maze of lagoons.

DAY 14: Divundu to Maun (Botswana)  (B / L / D)
Following the Kavango River south, the group will enter Botswana and travel east along the course of the Okavango River to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and the destination, Maun which is the starting point for travel into the Delta and from where the exploration of the Delta will commence.  This evenng provisions will be prepared and packed for the two night excursion.  A smaller daypack wil be useful to pack the supplies needed for this short excursion and the trip leader will give a full briefing on what is needed and what to expect, prior to the trip to the Delta.

 DAY 15;  Maun to Okavango Delta  (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.

Included Activity:  3 Day/2 Night Drive in/Mokoro Excursion

The Delta is a bird lover's paradise and will be enjoyed by all.  With over 400 species of birds, 70 species of fish and an abundance of wildlife, this will be a fantastic experience for all passengers.  After an early rise the expedition vehicle will be packed and driven north for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler’s station. The Delta region is studded with many local villages where the 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 traditional dug out canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who “pole” them through the reeds. At the mokoro station the polers will be met and supplies packed before heading out into the waterways.  After a couple of hours along the waterways the guides find a place to camp for the night and later in the afternoon the group will set off on an afternoon game walk, allowing them to experience the Delta wilderness. Tonight the group will camp in an open wilderness area with no ablution facilities.

DAY 16: Okavango Delta (B / L / D)
A day of rest, relaxation and Delta experiences awaits. Today there is the opportunity to partake in a number of activities including swimming, game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try poling your own mokoro!  There is plenty of time to relax and rest during the hotter hours of the day - perhaps playing a game of cards, or chatting with the guides about their culture and lifestyle.  Alternatively, just lie back and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding wilderness.

DAY 17: Okavango Delta to Maun (B / L / D)
This morning affords a final opportunity for a game walk before packing up and setting off back to Maun, arriving back in the early afternoon to have the chance to complete the picture of the Okavango Delta by taking an optional sunset scenic flight over the Delta (dependent on weather conditions and availability).

DAY 18: Maun to Chobe National Park (B / L / D)
To-day the tour will travel east and then north to the town of Kasane where  camp will be set up 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 for the Chobe National Park. Elephant, hippo and many bird species can be viewed from the campsite while watching another glorious African sunset while listening out for the resident hippos. 

DAY 19: Chobe National Park (B / L / D)
This morning there is a chance to sleep in or explore the town of Kasane.  When everyone is packed up and prepared the tour will leave for the 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. The afternoon will be spent in search of wildlife while game driving to the campsite within the park where the evening will be spent surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife.  Look out for the rare Sable and Roan Antelope on the game drive, with their majestic backward slanting horns, or try to keep count of the Lilac Breasted Rollers that swoop by.  After the night in the bush an early start will be made to head out to continue the search for wildlife before packing up camp and heading back to Kasane, and on to Victoria Falls.

Included Activity:  Chobe Overnight Mobile Excursion

DAY 20: Chobe National Park to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (Brunch)
Once the group has returned to camp it will continue to the border with Zimbabwe and once border formalities have been completed there is 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 Rier and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park.  The campsite is conveniently situated in the centre of the town and within walking distance of the adventure booking agents, restaurants and shops.  A 20 minute walk down the main road leads to the entry point to view the Falls, which lie between Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) was named by David Livingstone on his explorations 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 Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe - a fantastic photo opportunity. After the adventure activities briefing (see price guide at the end of this document) the afternoon is spent relaxing at campsite’s swimming pool, viewing the Falls or exploring the many sights and delights of this town!

Included Activity:  Entrance to Victoria Falls

ZIMBABWE
This landlocked country is situated in the southern part of Africa, between the mighty Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers.  The word Zimbabwe is believed to have two meanings:  1) it is believed the word Zimbabwe is derived from dzimba-dza-mabwe, which means `'large house of stone" in the Shona (Karanga Dialect) language; 2) it is also believed to be derived from the word dzimba-hwe which means  "venerated houses" in the Zezuru dialect of Shona.

Victoria Falls
This is an exciting town that offers a huge range of adventure actiivities as well as the Victoria Falls themselves and makes a visit an absolute must.  Hwange National Park offers spectacular game viewing, while the Great Zimbabwe Ruins offer a chapter from Zimbabwe's history.

DAYS 21 & 22: Victoria Falls (B on both days)
The next two days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some fellow passengers will leave the tour in Vic Falls, to be replaced by new passengers joining for the next leg of the trek.

Optional excursions include elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, working 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)
To-day the tour will head out from Victoria Falls to the border crossing with Botswana and once border formalities have been completed will continue to the town of Kasane, situated on the banks of the Chobe River.  Here there will be a second opportunity to take part in the Chobe Overnight Mobile Excursion.  After the night in the bush the group will head out early to continue the search for wildlife, before packing up the camp and heading back to Kasane.

Included Activity:  Chobe Overnight Mobile Excursion

DAY 24: Chobe National Park to Livingstone, Zambia (B / L / D
On returning to the camp at Kasane, everyone will get back onto the truck and continue to the town of Livingstone where there will be the opportunity in the afternoon to view the Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park or take a sunset boat cruise on the Zambezi River - another wonderful photo opportunity.

Optional Activity:  Sunset Boat Cruise

DAY 25: Livingstone to Eastern Zambia  (B / L / D)
An early morning start sees the tour head north through southern Zambia, passing through many towns and villages on the way.  Prosperous during the copper boom in the 60s, Zambia was able to create infrastructure at the main mining and farming communities.  After the decline of the copper industry, the country was left virtually bankrupt and existing infrastructure was left to fall into ruin.  With foreign investment and a rise in the mining industry Zambia is to-day once again starting to prosper and the differences are evident in the cities with their foreign stores, banks and iimported cars, while the villages and smaller towns are still to catch up.  The campsite this evening is home to some local wildlife including the largest antelope, the Eland.

DAYS 26:  Eastern Zambia to South Luangwa National Park  (B / L / D)
This breath-taking park is situated on the Luangwa River in the eastern part of Zambia and is the southernmost of the three national parks in this region.  South Luangwa was founded in 1938 as a game reserve and in 1972 was declared a National Park and covers over 9000 sq. km.  Animals such as giraffe, buffalo and elephant can be found in abundance and the Luangwa River is home to many a hippo and a croc.

Included Activity`;  South Luangwa National Park

Day 27:  South Luangwa to Chipata (B / L / D)
From Luangwa the tour heads north-east on the old "East Road" to a beautiful little campsite located just 10 mk before the border between Zambia and Malawi.  In olden days the route from Cairo to Cape Town passed through Lusaka and it is along this route to Malawi that the group will travel to-day.  Although the day is spent mainly driving the impressive Luangwa River Bridge will be crossed which is heavily guarded due to its close proximity to the Zimbabwean and Malawi borders.  There will be a stop on the way to purchase fresh produce and coal from the local sellers along the way.  The night will be spent at the campsite at Mamarula before heading into Malawi.

Days 28 to 30:  Chipata to Lake Malawi Beaches (Malawi) (B / L / D)
Leaving Zambia the crossing into Malawi will be made, the „Warm Heart of Africa‟.  Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. Camps will be made first at the central lake and then in the more northern area over the next three days.  The days will be spent learning the game of bao from the locals, scouring the local market for bargains or simply relaxing 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 and see the local fishermen sorting their catch. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and to appreciate their boating skills, try to paddle a dug out canoe yourself!  At night the fairy lights of the fishermen out o the lake can be seen. The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi’s shores offer many Optional Excursions including a variety of water sports, horse back rides and a visit to the local village and school.

MALAWI
A variety of attractions can be found in this exquisite country including forests, mountains and many a rural village, but there is one major attraction - Lake Malawi.  There are many small rustic resorts along this fresh water lake where perfect sunsets over the lake can be enjoyed.  Malawi has a sub-tropical climate and there will be ample time to soak up the sun and work on that tan!  Lilonge is the largest city in Malawi as well as being the capital.  Malawi has over 12 million inhabitants with English and Chicewa being the main languages.

Lake Malawi
Most of the time will be spent enjoying the white beaches and warm waters of the Lake which is know as the "lake of the stars" with an abundance of water activities.  There are 500 species of fish in the lake which makes it an excellent spot for fresh water diving, after meeting and greeting the welcoming locals.

DAY 31: Lake Malawi to Iringa (Tanzania) (B / L / D)
After a relaxing 3 days, the group will  leave Malawi, entering Tanzania through the border post at Songwe. Taking in the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, the tour will head towards Iringa where the night will  be spent the beautiful rustic "Farmhouse" campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!

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

DAY 32: Iringa to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
The next morning the tour will head off to make its way to Dar es Salaam  passing  through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to the passing traffic. To-day's drive time is extended due to the heavier amount of traffic heading into the city but the sights and sounds of Dar's vibrant outer suburbs is sure to keep everyone entertained as they keep an eye out for the colourful shop fronts and sometimes humorous catch phrases.  The lovely campsite in Dar es Salaam is at the seaside and on arrival everyone will prepare for the departure to Zanzibar the next morning.

DAY 33: Dar Es Salaam to Zanzibar (Optional) (B)
A ferry from Dar Es Salaam takes the group to the "Spice Island,” where there is 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 the tour here to replace those that’ll leave us at the end of the excursion to Zanzibar.

Please note: Accommodation and meals are for passengers' own account whilst on Zanzibar, as experience has shown that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own and in accordance with their own budget.   The Trip Leader joins the group and can arrange accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants.  There is a wide range of optional excursions on offer -details of which can be found later in this document.

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 optional excursion to Zanzibar.

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

ZANZIBAR
With its perfect beaches, hustle and bustle, local markets and a huge variety of spice, Zanzibar makes a perfect tropical holiday destination.  It provides a cultural as well as relaxing experience and spice tours, prison island tours, snorkelling, scube diving and sipping cocktails are just a few of its many activities.

Optional Activity:  Zanzibar Excursion

DAYS 34 & 35: 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 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 36:  Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (D)
The group will leave Zanzibar in the afternoon, returning to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam.  Arrival back at the camp is usually late afternoon or early evening.

DAY 37: Dar Es Salaam to Arusha (B / L / D) *
This morning the group will depart early for a long day's drive through vast sisal plantations and African bushveld to Arusha.  On the way the Pare and Usambara Mountains will be passed before driving through the town of Moshi.  Moshi is the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions and weather permitting a glimpse of the magical mountain's snowy summit may be espied - a photo opportunity not to be missed.  Tonight camp will be in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha before heading out on the Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater tomorrow

Day 38:  Arusha to Karatu (Optional) (B / L / D)
Optional Activity:  Serengeti Excursion
This morning there will be a visit to the Meserani Reptile Park and Masai Cultural Museum.  There is also a gallery selling the bright and iconic Tinga Tinga paintings just a few minutes' walk from the campsite.  Alternatively the town of Arusha is nearby to explore.  After enjoying lunch at the camp against the background of Mount Meru the Tanzanian Guides will arrive and passengers will 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. 

Leaving the camp the group will 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 which offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas.  Tonight will be spent at a very pleasant campsite in Karatu (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 wildebeestand 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, which is home to voer 250,000 large animals making it an attraction not to be missed.

DAY 39: 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 the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater which is the largest unbroken and unflooded caldera in the world.  Comprising of open savannahs, acacia forests and both soda and fresh water lakes, the Ngorongoro Crater is a miniature 'Garden of Eden'.  This World Heritate Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa, including the elusivve Black Rhino.

After a 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, crossing vast plains while game driving through the southern and central areas of the park.  Tonight's camp - unfenced with no ablution facilities - will be in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African Wilderness. 

Anyone not choosing to do the optional Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater trip will remain in the campsite.

DAY 40: Serengeti National Park to Arusha  (B / L / D)
The morning will see the group head off for another game drive to explore the landscape in search of the resident game.  With some luck some of Africa's 'Big 5' will be seen.  Following this morning drive the group will retrace their steps back across the plains and along the lush Crater rim to the truck at Arusha where the evening will be spent mulling over the thrilling wildlife experience.

DAY 41: Arusha to Nairobi (Kenya) (B)
Another early start to travel to the Tanzania/Kenya border and the small border town of Namanga.  After border formalities have been completed the journey will continue to the capital city Nairobi and the campsite on the outskirts of the city. 

Day 42:  Nairobi (B)
The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy some of the many options available in this bustling city;  perhaps visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where orphaned baby elephants can be viewed at feeding time or the Giraffe Centre in Langata,  For anyone who has not had their fill of game viewing, then Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if there are more souvenirs to buy take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets close by the campsite. This evening why not try the fare on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.

DAY 43: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D)
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi the escarpment will be climbed 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 group will pass through the town of Narok, before arriving at the campsite, Acacia Camp, in the late afternoon.   Acacia Camp 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.

DAY 44: Masai Mara (B / L / D)
To-day the tour will depart shortly after sunrise on a game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve which is well known as one of East Africa's best National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. It is most famous for the Annual Migration that consists of the impressive herds of over 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 here.  Following these herbivores are Africa's predators that are often seen at a kill during this period.  The game drive will be through a section of the Park in search of the 'Big 5' - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard - along with the many other species of animal, reptile and bird who call this wilderness home. 

Following the game drive there may be the option to visit one of the nearby Masai Manyattas - a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way.  This evening will be spent sitting around the camp fire and watching the sun set over this ' Garden of Eden'.

Included Activity:  Masai Mara National Reserve

DAY 45: Masai Mara to Eldoret (B / L / D)
Leaving the Masai Mara early in the morning, the group will head out of Masai land and 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 offer some of the world's best white water raafting and to top it all, this country has the largest population of primates anywhere in Africa.

DAY 46: Eldoret to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
This morning the border into Uganda is crossed and an overnight stop in the capital city, Kampala made. 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 semi-desert 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 return 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 47 - 50: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D)
After an early morning departure from Kampala the drive will be west into the depths of Uganda to the base at the tranquil Lake Bunyoni.

Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds, is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, the trek could be in 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 – currently they are priced at US$600. There is a local transport & handling fee of US$120 per person (this covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee).

For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (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 appliication for Rwanda en-route if needed) it is also necessary to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing the Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Trekkers are advised to  budget accordingly and also add a little for tips for the local guides and rangers.  Payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.  Please note:  Gorilla Treking is OPTIONAL.

Mountain Gorillas
The Mountain Gorillas are highly sociable animals, living in fairly stable groups, which are held together by long term bonds between males and females.  These creatures come across as strong and powerful, yet they remain the shy and gentle giants of Africa.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still 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 forgetten. The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. 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 to these incredible animals, departure from the base in Bunyoni will be in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. The first part of the journey will be through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependent on where permits are available a night may be spent in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing a picnic lunch, trekkers will  be transferred to a ranger’s 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 45 minutes to 8 hours (not including transfer time) and it can be quite strenuous, so 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 man's diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour.  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 where they will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.

No-one need feel that they are exploiting these animals.  The every-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 while trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos - where they have never lived long.  One hundred percent of the gorilla permit cost is used by th 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 the location of the trek it may also be possible to pass through some of the local vilages that have grown up 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 mainly subsistence farmers and famillies that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes.  It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.

DAY 51: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D)
After marvelling at the experience of the gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, the group begins its drive back to Kampala, crossing the Equator for the second time and stopping for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. An overnight stop in Kampala is made with the opportunity to sample its night life!

DAY 52: Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Today there is the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or transferring to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering at a community project. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area.

Jinja and the Nile River
Jinja was established in 1907 and is Uganda's second largest city after Kampala and is located near the source of the Nile River, Lake Victoria.  There are many activities on offer here such as white water rafting, jet boating and even bungee jumping.

DAY 53: Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D)
An early departure today to head back to Kenya, stopping for lunch and supplies en route. An overnight stop is made in Nakuru, Kenya’s 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province and lies adjacent to the small but wildlife rich Lake Nakuru National Park.

Day 54:  Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning will see an exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park - famous for the thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that flock to this soda lake's edge.  The numbers vary depending on the water level, and when it's low, the lake almost turns pink.  A truly spectacular sight!  The park was established as a sanctuary for black and white fhino which are often seen.  The day will be spent searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way.  After the game drive the group will head to the campsite, arriving in the late afternoon.

DAY 55: Lake Nakuru National Park 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 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. The day will be spent enjoying optional excursions like 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.

DAY 56: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
After breakfast, the tour will head back to Nairobi, usually arriving by late morning or early afternoon.  The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy some of the many options available in this bustling city;  perhaps visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where orphaned baby elephants can be viewed at feeding time, or head to the Giraffe Centre in Langata.  For anyone wanting more game viewing then the Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if hunting for souvenirs or presents then take a Matatu to the local markets close to the campsite.  This evening perhaps try the fare on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.

 

Optional excursions

South Africa:
Various activities in Cape Town - prices depending on choice of activity

Swakopmund:
Quad Biking - $100
Sand Boarding  - $55 - $70
Township Tour - $80
Tandem Skydiving (weather permitting) - $350
Horse Riding (2 hours) - $100
Fishing - $145
Dolphin Cruise - $80
Kayaking - $95
Paragliding (weather permitting) - $150
Scenic Flight (weather permitting) - As per operator
Hot Air Ballooning (weather permitting) - $450

Botswana:
Scenic Flight over the Okavango Delta  (5 persons per plane $300 - $350) - $100
Chobe National Park - Game Drive - $70

Zimbabwe:
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi (full day) - $140
Canoeing on the Zambezi - Half or Full Day - $140
Bungee Jumping  (111 m) - $150
Tandem  Bungee Jump - $180
Rafting and Boarding Combo  - $180
Half Day Adrenalin  - Gorge Swng, Zipline and Flying Fox -  $165
Micro Light over the Falls - 15 mins - $170
Helicoptor Flight over the Falls - 12 mins - $155
Helicoptor Flight over the Falls - 19-25 mins - $265
Zambezi River boat cruise - From $50
Please note that all accommodation and activities in Victoria Falls must be paid for in US dollars cash

Malawi
:
Freshwater Diving at Kande Beach - from $55 (additional dives $30 each)
Horse Riding at Kande Beach 2 - 3 hours (Bush, Beach and Swim) - $70 - $100
Village Walk and meal at Kande Beach - $20
Traditional Healer Visit - $10
Livingstonia Mission Hike 30 Km Return - $10
Carving lessons and local fishing - price to be negotiated on arrival

Tanzania:
3 Day Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater Excursion - From $590
Olduvai Gorge - $10
Masai Village Visit - from $15

Zanzibar:
Transfer to Nungwe - $20
Zanzibar Accommodation per person per night  - from $40 - $60 per day
Spice Tour including lunch - $40
Prison Island Snorkelling Trip - $30
Diving, Snorkelling and Fishing - from $40
Dhow Sunset Cruise - $40
Motorbike/Car Hire - from $60 - $80 - plus local driver's licence and insurance at $5

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

Uganda:
Gorilla Trek (excluding 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 + $20 transfer approx.

All prices are in US dollars and are approximate and are subject to change, and where activities occur away the base, there may be a transfer cost of about $120.
For a comprehensive list of things to do before, during or after the trip, please contact us

Getting There

Flights should be arranged to arrive into Cape Town International Airport. Please make sure to arrive in plenty of time for the trip departure. All passengers are recommended to arrive the day before the trip start date and depart the day after the end date to allow for any delays.  Airport transfer on arrival and one night's pre-trip accommodation in a dorm bed are included.   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.

Cape Town to Nairobi, Great African Trek 56 Day (Northbound)Cape Town to Nairobi, Great African Trek 56 Day (Northbound)Trips take place in overland vehicles that are custom-built 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 with most seats facing forwards although some models have a combination of forward, backward and some inward facing seats with tables.  There are sliding glass windows and the seating area is raised to give a great advantae for game viewing and photography.  Seats are cushioned and there is storage space for personal items such as cameras, snacks and day packs in the seating area.

These are camping trips, and spacious 2-person tents with sewn in ground sheets and a separate fly sheet are provided.  Some  nights will be spent in organised campsites which usually have hot water showers and extra facilities such as a bar or swimming pool.  Increasingly these places have simple roomed accommodation, so on occasion there may be the choice, at extra cost, to upgrade to a bed if so wished.  Occasionally, when it is not possible to drive any further or when there is no local campsite available, it may be necessary to bush camp.  The vehicles are completely self-sufficient for this and camping out in the middle of the African bush can be a memorable experience.

All passengers are expected to help out around camp.  A rota system will be set up that will include cleaning duties, cooking duties and so on.  This makes life easier for all involved and is a great way to get to know fellow passengers while on the tour.

The safari cook does all the cooking on the trip, although it may be necessary to participate in the preparation of the meals on a rota basis.  Meals and menus vary as food is purchased en-route and is dependent on what is available seasonally in the areas of travel.  Local communities are supported where possible with fresh produce purchased direct from the producer or local grower and therefore having an organic appearance.  The safari cooks are able to offer a wide variety of meals with the ingredients available, even if the selection on offer is not the same as at home.

Breakfast is usually bread (toast when time allows), 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 available including curries, stews, pasta, BBQs and even roasts!





Click here to view the full interactive mapMalawi With Amanzi Travel - Explore Africa

Why visit Malawi ?

Malawi, “the warm heart of Africa” is a landlocked country whose landscape is stunning and surprisingly diverse. Head for the misty heights of Mount Mulanje or to the Nyika National Park where one will find sheer escarpments, dramatic peaks, endless rolling grassland and some of the most enjoyable hiking routes in the whole of Africa.

However, the huge draw for most visitors is “the lake of stars”, Lake Malawi, a peaceful inland freshwater sea with sandy beaches. This magnificent lake stretches 500km along Malawi’s eastern border, covering over 20% of Malawi’s total area, separating it from the wild and mountainous coast of Mozambique and Tanzania. Isolated villages pepper the northern lakeshore and beautiful Liwonde National Park rests at its southern tip. Around 500 species of fish inhabit the lake and the freshwater diving and snorkelling here are excellent. Malawi’s temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue freshwater lake all year round. Also popular are a multitude of water sports, horse-back rides and visits to local villages and schools. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and boating skills will be appreciated by anyone who tries to paddle a dug-out canoe themselves!

Highlights of Malawi

  • Magnificent and peaceful clear blue freshwater lake with sandy beaches – the second largest in the world.
  • Temperate climate for year round swimming.
  • Stunning , varied scenery of  mountains, lakes and endless rolling grasslands.
  • Fabulous freshwater diving and snorkelling.
  • Great fishing, with around 500 species of fish in the lake.
  • Lilongwe is a small city distinctly divided into the old town and the new administrative centre.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer (dry): May – mid-November 23 °C 10 °C
Winter (wet): mid-November - April 29 °C 18 °C
Rainfall: mid-November to April, with the peak rain late March

Although Malawi has an equatorial climate, it is generally hot in the low-lying areas of the south, and temperate in the northern highlands.

The best time to visit Malawi is during the dry season. From May to July the landscape is attractive and the vegetation is green and lush and the temperature is cooler. October and November, at the end of the dry season, is the best time for wildlife viewing, although temperatures can be uncomfortably hot. The wettest months are March and April where rainfall is heavy.

Key Facts

Population – 15 million
Capital – Lilongwe
Currency – Malawi Kwacha (MWK)
Language – English, Chichewa
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 265, international access code 101

Click here to view the full interactive mapZambia - Take A Working Holiday & Support Local Communities

Why visit Zambia?

For anyone out to experience the ‘real’ Africa, Zambia is that diamond in the rough. The country boasts some of Africa’s best game parks and shares (with Zimbabwe) some of the region’s major highlights, such as Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, Lower Zambezi National Park and South Luangwa National Park. South Luangwa National Park is one of the best parks in Africa for night game-drives. More than 60 mammal species and over 400 bird species are found in this Park, which is also renowned for thousands of hippo and crocodiles. Luangwa is the birthplace of the Walking Safari and there is no better way to explore this wilderness. Featuring leafy woodlands, slow-moving river channels and lily-bedecked lagoons, South Luangwa is renowned for the expertise of its guides. It is also excellent for spotting leopards and is home to about 15,000 elephants and the same number of hippo. The Thornicroft's giraffe and Cookson's wildebeest are unique to the region.

The mighty Zambezi River is tamed by the Lower Zambezi valley, becoming gentle as it spreads languidly across the Valley.  Islands and floodplains create a densely vegetated habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, elephant in particular. This area is seasonal and many of the lodges and camps are closed from November to March. It is also an angler’s dream as fishermen try their luck on the mighty Zambezi, with the hopes of landing a tiger fish or rare, giant vundu. Avid birdwatchers also flock to Zambia to glimpse its fabulous diversity of birds.

Game viewing along the upper Zambezi River by canoe or cruise boat is rewarding and relaxing. Adrenaline junkies may want to experience the spectacular view while bouncing upside down from the end of a bungee cord off the Victoria Falls Bridge. Intrepid travellers will also be attracted by the white-water rafting excursions on the swirling waters of the Zambezi Gorge. Helicopter or micro-light trips over the Falls, game-drives in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, horse trails along the Zambezi River and a visit to Maramba Market are also available. Most activities are accessible from the quaint colonial outback frontier town of Livingstone.

Highlights of Zambia

  • Renowned for its pristine National Parks, including Kafue, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi.
  • It is named after the mighty Zambezi River flowing along its southern border, which is fed by the Kafue and Luangwa tributaries.
  • Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River are accessible from nearby Livingstone Town.
  • Livingstone is home to numerous activities for adventure seekers, including bungee jumping, white-water rafting and abseiling down the gorge.
  • It boasts one of the largest areas of land under the protection of national parks in Africa, featuring abundant wildlife.
  • Canoeing, rafting and fishing safaris, upstream from the Falls on the Zambezi River, are possible, as are canoeing trips on the Lower Zambezi.
  • Kafue National Park is about the size of Wales or Massachusetts, with exceptional bird watching.
  • The country, shaped by three great rivers, is characterised by water, including a trio of massive lakes -  Lake Tanganyika, Lake Kariba and Lake Bangweulu.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer (November - April) 30 ° 26 °
Winter (May - October) 23 ° 20 °
Rainfall: April - May (Long rains) November - Mid December (short rains)

Zambia's elevation on a plateau gives it a moderate climate, despite the fact that it is within tropical latitudes, and the average monthly temperature remains above 20 °C most months.

There are three seasons:

  • cool and dry from May to August, when temperatures drop at night but the landscape is green and lush;
  • hot and dry from September to November, the best time to see wildlife as flora is sparse;
  • warm and wet from December to April, ideal for bird-watching.

The Victoria Falls are spectacular in April and May after the rainy season.

Key Facts

Population – 12.9 million
Capital - Lusaka
Currency – Zambian kwacha (ZMK)
Language – English is the official language, with Nyanja, Bemba, Lunda, Tonga, Lozi, Luvale and Kaonde being recognised regional languages.

Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 260, international access code 00

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

Click here to view the full interactive mapZimbabwe - From Mana Pools National Park to Victoria Falls

Why visit Zimbabwe?

The beautiful country of Zimbabwe offers something for everyone; from the absolute wilderness of Mana Pools National Park, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and the mountains overlooking Mozambique, to fine dining in Harare or bunjee jumping over Victoria Falls.  It is rich in culture and colour and the Zimbabweans have not lost their humour and resolve.

Victoria Falls is one of the worlds’ biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, with a network of trails leading through the rain forest surrounding the “smoke that thunders”. Take an umbrella and raincoat and gaze at the incredible vistas of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Victoria Falls village is home to a seemingly endless variety of adventure sports from bungee jumping to canoeing and white-water rafting. Apart from its appeal to adventure enthusiasts the village still has a gracious, pioneering and colonial atmosphere.

Hwange Park is one of the finest conservation areas in Africa and is said to contain the widest variety and greatest density of wildlife in the world. Game viewing is generally restricted to the Hwange Park road network, but it has private concession areas allowing off-road safaris and nature walks. Mana Pools is an unspoiled, remote Park in the Zambezi Valley, a subtropical region, with the terrain and vegetation varied from the river up to the Zambezi Plateau. Walking is allowed (at visitor's own risk) and can be exhilarating and rewarding, if caution is taken.

Lake Kariba is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, with abundant game-sightings and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish. The Lake provides pleasure to locals and visitors alike with fishing, canoeing, sailing or drifting along on a houseboat. The Matopo Hills is an area of incredible beauty with a mythical history and a proud people, the Matebele. The Matobo Hills were so named because they looked like the bald heads of indunas (chiefs). The entire region is a complex of bizarre and exposed granitic formations. Once inhabited by the bushman, today one can find magnificent examples of rock art in and amongst the caves. The Matobo National Park is one of Zimbabwe's prime wildlife sanctuaries with a large population of white rhino, the elusive black rhino, a variety of antelope species, baboon, rock hyraxes and a large population of leopard and black eagle.

Highlights of Zimbabwe

  • The magnificent Victoria Falls are classed as one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.
  • Zimbabwe is home to four World Heritage Sites - Victoria Falls, Mana Pools National Park, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and the Khame Ruins.
  • Lake Kariba is one of the world's largest man-made lakes, with abundant game and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish.
  • Magnificent national parks include Hwange, Mana Pools, Matusadona and Chizarira.
  • Adventure activities abound and include canoeing on the lower Zambezi, kayaking and rafting on the upper Zambezi, and bungee jumping at Victoria Falls.
  • For high adventure enthusiasts, white-water rafting is most exciting when the Zambezi waters are low (generally from August to December) and is often referred to as the best one-day white-water rafting in the world.
  • Canoeing down the Lower Zambezi affords an ideal opportunity to get close to Africa's wildlife.
  • Magnificent scenic areas in the Eastern Highlands Highlights of Zimbabwe.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer/wet (November - April) 30 °C 14 °C
Winter/dry ( May - October) 20 °C 5 °C
Rainfall: November – March

Zimbabwe offers excellent game-viewing opportunities throughout the year. Due to Zimbabwe’s high altitudes, it has a beautiful and moderate climate, where temperatures are never very extreme.  It has warm summers, November to April, where days are generally sunny in the morning with possible dramatic afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Temperatures of 35°C in summer are considered boiling.

Winter occurs from May to October and days are sunny and cool to warm while evening temperatures drop sharply. Temperatures of 7°C in winter are considered freezing. The end of the cool, dry season, around September/October, is the top time for wildlife viewing.

The main rains fall between November and March, although the Eastern Highlands are damp for most of the year. The Victoria Falls are spectacular in April and May after the rainy season.

Key Facts

Population – 12.5 million
Capital - Harare
Currency – none. The Zimbabwean dollar was suspended by the government due to hyper-inflation. The US dollar, South African rand, Botswanan pula, pound sterling and Euro are used instead. The US dollar has been adopted as the official currency for all government transactions with the new power-sharing regime.
Language – English is the official language, with Shona and Ndebele being recognised regional languages

Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 263, international access code 00

Click here to view the full interactive mapBotswana - Book Your Experience of a Lifetime

Why visit Botswana?

Botswana is a land of dramatic contrasts, from the crystal clear waters of the Okavango Delta, to the large elephant herds in the Chobe National Park, the abundant birdlife in Moremi Game Reserve and the vast savannah of the Kalahari desert, which covers over 70% of the country. It is no wonder that Botswana has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Surrounded by the sands of the Kalahari Desert is the magical oasis of the Okavango Delta, the world’s largest inland delta, formed by ancient seismic shifting of the earth's surface. Wide grassy floodplains are host to a magnificent array of wild animals. Within this lacework of channels, game viewing and bird watching is frequently guided from mokoro (dugout canoes) or more commonly, environmentally-friendly fibreglass replicas. In these slender flat-bottomed craft, visitors are propelled by expert polers.

Chobe National Park, approximately 62 miles due west of Victoria Falls, is abundant with wildlife all year round, and features the beautiful Chobe River on its northern boundary. Throughout the area numerous clay-bottomed pans hold water during the short rainy season. During the rainy season, from November, one can witness the zebra migration from the north-western area of Linyanti heading south through the Savute plains to the salt pans around Makgadikgadi, where the foals are born. The herds then return to Linyanti between February and April.

The Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the most remote and unspoiled parts of Africa. At certain times of the year, usually during the summer rains, the northern section of the Park is one of the prime game viewing areas of Botswana, not to mention the breathtaking landscapes that await discovery.

Highlights of Botswana

  • Seventeen percent of Botswana is comprised of pristine national reserves, featuring some of Africa's most beautiful subtropical wilderness, generally teeming with wildlife.
  • A land of awesome contrasts - from the vast plains of the Kalahari Desert to the crystal clear waters of the world's largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta.
  • Game viewing by mokoro (dugout canoe) in the Delta is unforgettable.
  • Sunshine totals are high all year round, although winter is still the sunniest period.
  • Chobe National Park is home to the mighty Chobe River and what is arguably the world's largest concentration of elephants.
  • View Botswana’s annual zebra migration in the Linyanti and Savute areas.
  • Moremi Game Reserve is renowned for its superb birdlife.
  • The game-filled Central Kalahari Game Reserve, at 54,600 km2, is Botswana's largest reserve.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer/wet (October -April) 45 °C 25 °C
Winter/dry ( May - September) 26 °C 0 °C
Rainfall: November - March

Botswana is semi-arid, due to the short rain season. It experiences extremes in both temperature and weather.

In the winter (late May through September), days are normally clear, warm and sunny, and nights are cool to cold, with average temperatures of around 14 °C. The whole country is windy and dusty during the dry season. Wildlife never wanders far from water sources, so sightings are more predictable than in the wetter summer season. This is also the time of school holidays, so some areas can be busy, especially between mid-July and mid-September.

In summer (October to April), Botswana has hot summers with average temperatures around 26 °C. Wildlife can be harder to spot and rains can render sandy roads impassable. This is also the time of the highest humidity and the most stifling heat, where daytime temperatures of over 40°C are common, so the magnificent afternoon showers can be a welcome relief.

The main rains fall between December and March, but often just in the form of brief thundershowers that last an hour or two before the sun re-emerges. The sunlight after an African storm is incredibly intense and superb for wildlife photography. The summer rains also bring spectacular migrant birds to Botswana.

Key Facts

Population – 2 million
Capital - Gaborone
Currency –pula (BWP)
Official Language(s) – English and Setswana

Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 267, international access code 00

Click here to view the full interactive mapNamibia - Work At a Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

Why visit Namibia?

Namibia is one of those dreamlike places that makes one question whether something so visually fabulous could actually exist. It is characterised by vast open spaces, with breathtaking scenery and great contrasts – ocean, dunes, mountains and deserts. A predominantly arid country, Namibia can be divided into four main regions. The Namib Desert and vast plains of the Skeleton Coast in the west; the eastward-sloping Central Plateau; the Kalahari desert along the borders with South Africa and Botswana; and the densely wooded bushveld of the Kavango and Caprivi regions – a magical undeveloped oasis of waterways and wildlife, providing abundant game and birdlife viewing opportunities.  Despite its harsh climate, Namibia has some of the world’s grandest national parks, ranging from the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park, to the dune fields and desert plains of the Namib-Naukluft Park. The Namib-Naukluft Park is superb for hiking, with a number of spectacular trails. It is also home to the renowned dunes of Sossusvlei - said to be the highest in the world - and the fascinating Sesriem Canyon. Windhoek is the country’s geographical heart and commercial nerve centre, with an ethnic mix of people, while surfers, anglers and beach-lovers won’t want to miss Swakopmund, with its lively entertainment and sporting activities.

Highlights

  • Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s finest parks, both in size and diversity of wildlife.
  • The Namib-Naukluft Park is the largest conservation area in Namibia and one of the largest in the world.
  • Two spectacular deserts - the Kalahari and Namib - each with distinctive wildlife and scenery.
  • The Namib, at 80 million years, is the world's oldest desert. Namib means “open space”.
  • The Namib and Damaraland offer remarkably clear skies for astronomers and keen star gazers.
  • Stunning Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon – it is 161km long, up to 27km wide and 550m deep.
  • Sossusvlei are said to be the highest sand-dunes in the world.
  • Superb birding and good fishing is available from the banks of the Kavango and Kunene Rivers on the northern border.
  • Popular self-drive destination with excellent infrastructure.
  • Largely malaria-free.
  • More than 300 days of sunshine per year.

Climate

Seasons Max Min
Summer/wet (October - April) 40 °C 20 °C
Winter/dry (May - September) 25 °C 0 °C
Rainfall: October – December “little rains”, January to April more stormy period

The winter months (May - September) range from 25 to 30°C during the day but night temperatures may drop to below freezing. June to August is the dry season with very little rain. This can be a good time for game viewing as wildlife converge at the waterholes.

The summer months (October - April) can reach highs of over 40°C and nights in the 20°C range (in the arid central Namib Desert temperatures can fall to below freezing during the night). This is a summer rainfall area, but overcast and rainy days are few and far between. Welcome thundershowers may occur in the late afternoon, bringing relief to flora and fauna. In October and November, large herds of blue wildebeest, zebra, springbok and oryx migrate from the Namutoni area to Okaukuejo, where they remain until May.

Rainfall is heaviest in the northeast, which enjoys a sub-tropical climate, and reaches over 600mm annually along the Okavango River. The northern and interior regions experience ‘little rains’ between October and December, while the main stormy period occurs from January to April.

Key Facts

Population – 2.1 million
Capital - Windhoek
Currency - Namibian dollar
Language – official language English; most widely spoken is Afrikaans; half of all Namibians speak Oshiwambo as their first language. German is also widely spoken, plus some Portuguese.
Namib – means “open space”
Etosha – means “great white place”
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 264, international access code 00

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 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 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 mapSouth Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started

Why visit South Africa?

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.

Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.

The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.

Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.

Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.

Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.

Highlights of South Africa

  • Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
  • Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
  • Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
  • See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
  • Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
  • Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
  • Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.

Climate

For Johannesburg:

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 25 °C 10 °C
Winter (May - August) 19 °C 4 °C
Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest


South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.

In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception -  the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).

Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.

Key Facts

Population – 50 million

Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)

Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours

Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00

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

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