Great African Trek 56 Day (Southbound)£1,795 (plus local payment)

Nairobi to Cape Town Ref: AT010

This epic 56-day safari covers all the highlights of nine countries in east and southern Africa. Stare into the soft brown eyes of a gorilla, watch thousands of animals trample the plains of the Masai Mara and the Serengeti, bask on palm-backed beaches on Zanzibar, and idle away sunny days on Lake Malawi. Further south are the thundering Victoria Falls, the vast wilderness of the Okavango Delta, the giant sand dunes in Namibia's Namib-Naukluft Park, and dynamic Cape Town, easily one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  This trip begins in Nairobi, Kenya and travels south through Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia before ending in Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Who can join: 18 years and over
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Pick up Point: Kenya Comfort Hotel
  • Meals: Most meals included

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Duration & Fees

  • £1,795 - 56 days

    USD 1,470 - Local Payment


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Start Dates

2014 Start Dates: 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 9 Feb | 23 Feb | 9 Mar | 23 Mar | 6 Apr | 20 Apr | 4 May | 18 May | 1 Jun | 15 Jun | 29 Jun | 13 Jul | 27 Jul | 10 Aug | 24 Aug | 7 Sep | 21 Sep | 5 Oct | 19 Oct | 2 Nov | 16 Nov | 30 Nov| 14 Dec | 28 Dec |

2015 Start Dates: 11 Jan |

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/mats not provided)
  • Meals as indicated
  • Park fees and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
  • Pre-departure pack and support and advice from Amanzi Travel staff and trip leaders

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Airport Departure Taxes
  • Departure Transfer
  • Visas
  • Optional excursions
  • Restaurant meals and drinks
  • Laundry
  • Gorilla Permit
  • Personal items and tips

Click here to enlargeCountries Visited: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
Start and Finish Points: Nairobi to Cape Town
Departure Point Nairobi: Kenya Comfort Hotel
Check-in time: 8.45 am (departure 9.30 am)
Pre-departure Meeting: 5.00 pm the day before at the departure point

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. Please note that this itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road and weather conditions, political situations and group decisions.  All prices and local payments are subject to change.  For booking purposes any passengers choosing NOT to trek the Mountain Gorillas should please advise Amanzi Travel as soon as possible.

Itinerary

DAY 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara (Lunch / Dinner)
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi the escarpment is 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 tour will pass through the town of Narok, before arriving at the campsite, Acacia Camp, which 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 2: Masai Mara (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)
The tour will depart shortly after sunrise to game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve, which is well known as one of East Africa's best National Reserves and home to a wide variety of wildlife species.Most famous for the Annual Migration, when impressive herd of more than one million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Masai Mara is post popular between July and October when these vast herds feast on the fresh grazing here.  The game drive will be through a section of the park in search of the Big 5 - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard and the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds that call this wilderness home.  After 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.   Sitting around the camp fire, watching the sun set is the perfect way to finish a day’s game viewing in this “Garden of Eden.”

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

DAY 4:  Eldoret to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
Today the border into Uganda is crossed and an overnight stop made in the capital city, Kampala. Uganda is a small country of striking physical beauty. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the 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 5 - 8: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D)
After an early morning departure from Kampala the group will travel west into the depths of Uganda to the base at the tranquil Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds.  It is from this base that the optional Gorilla Trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, the trek will take place 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$500 depending on the location of the trek. There is a local transport fee of US$65 to US$70 per person which covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority's booking fee.  For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda it will also be necessary to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing the Ugandan visa upon re-entry.  Travellers are advised to budget a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers and to bear in mind that payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are only about 700 remaining, is one of man's closest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience - one never to be forgotten.  The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. 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 old.  Due to restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, those wishing to trek will depart in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size, and will wind their way through some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa heading to the town of Kisoro where the night will be spent.  (If the trek is to Rwanda the overnight stop will be in Ruhengeri).  Early the next morning, after packing a picnic lunch, the group will transfer to the 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 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 and then back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.   It is not necessary to feel as if these animals are being exploited. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day plays a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to 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 to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.

Depending on where the trek takes place the group may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC.  The villagers in this area are mainly subsistence farmers and families 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.

* Gorilla Trekking is optional

DAY 9: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D)
After the wonderful experience with the gorillas and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, the drive back to Kampala will commence, crossing the equator for the second time with a stop for the classic "one foot in each hemisphere" photo opportunities.  An overnight stop will be made in Kampala - with an opportunity to sample the night life!

DAY 10:  Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Today there is the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or 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. The afternoon can be spent relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area. 

DAY 11: Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D)
Today sees the group 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 12: Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning the exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park begins.  The Park is 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 rhino, which are often seen. The day is 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 tthe game drive the group will head to the campsite, arriving in the late afternoon.

DAY 13: Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D)

To-day the group will move further east to Lake Naivasha, home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. Time permitting the afternoon can 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 14: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)

After breakfast the group will head back to Nairobi usually arriving by late morning or early afternoon.

DAY 15: Nairobi to Arusha (Tanzania) (L / D)
This morning the hustle and bustle of Nairobi will be left behind as the group travels south, crossing the border into Tanzania at Namanga.  The night will be spent in a lovely campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha before heading out on the Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

DAY 16:  Arusha to Karatu (B / L / D)
This morning a visit to the Meserani Reptile Park and Masai Cultural Museum will be made.  A few minutes' walk from the campsite is a gallery selling the bright and iconic Tinga Tinga paintings.  Alternatively the town of Arusha is nearby to explore.  After enjoying lunch at the campsite against the backdrop of Mount Meru the group will meet the Tanzanian guides and transfer into their locally operated 4WD vehicles, which have been adapted for safari use and allow excellent viewing the photograhic opportunities through the opening roof hatches. 

Leaving the camp the tour 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 Escarpement to the higher lying village of Karatu.  This village has magnificent views over the surrounding hills and many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas.  The night will e spent at a very pleasant campsite in Karatu.

Day 17: Karatu to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater (optional) (B / L / D)
This morning there will be an early departure for the Ngorongoro Conservation area to head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken, unflooded caldera in the world.  It is comprised of open savannahs, acacia forests and both soda and fresh water lakes and it is truly a miniature Garden of Eden.  This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa - including the elusive black rhino.

After the game drive in the Crater the group will head down the Crater rim and past the 'Cradle of Mankind' on the way to the Serengeti National Park, crossing vast plains while game driving through the southern and central areas of the park.  Tonight's camp will be in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness and without any fences to surround the camp, this is truly in the midst of nature.

For those not opting to visit the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park, the next days are spent at leisure at the campsite, perhaps enjoying the Meserani reptile park, Masai Cultural Museum and the surrounding villages and craft markets. Alternatively the town of Arusha is close by to explore.

Day 18:  Serengeti National Park to Arusha (B / L / D)
This morning there will be another game drive to explore the landscape in search of the resident game.  With luck some of Africa's 'Big 5' will be seen.  Following this game drive the tour will recross the plains and along the lush Crater rim to the truck in Arusha, where the evening will be spent musing over the thrilling experience.

DAY 19: Arusha to Pangani (B / L / D)
After a morning spent stocking up on supplies in Arusha the trip will head south towards Dar es Salaam, driving through the town of Moshi on the way.  Moshi is the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions, and weather permitting it may be possible to catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed!  Vast sisal plantations will be passed surrounded by the Usambara and Pare Mountain ranges, before reaching the lovely campsite nestled between these mountains, midway between Arusha and Dar es Salaam.
* Some groups may choose to forego this night at their own cost.

DAY 20: Pangani to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
Today the journey continues on to Dar es Salaam, travelling through lush scenery and palm trees as the warm Indian Ocean gets closer.  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 are sure to keep everyone entertained.  Look out for the colourful shop fronts with their sometimes humorous catch phrases.  On arrival in Dar es Salaam a lovely seaside campsite is approached and everyone prepares for departure to Zanzibar the next morning. 

DAY 21:  Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (Optioal) (B)
A ferry is taken from Dar es Salaam to the "Spice Island,” where there is the option to spend the next three nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. New passengers may join here to replace those that’ll leave at the end of the excursion to Zanzibar.

Please note: Accommodation and meals are not provided 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 will be available and can arrange accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants. There is also a wide variet of optional excursions on offer - these are listed later in this document.

Passengers not opting to visit the Island of Zanzibar can spend the next three days at leisure at the beach campsite in Dar es Salaam where 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 this excursion. 

DAYS 22 -23: 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 trades. 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 wishing to explore the more remote areas of the island. Zanzibar is a seafood lover’s paradise. Numerous restaurants offer a great variety of the freshest catch from the ocean - crayfish being a popular speciality. Alternatively, mingle with the locals for dinner at the Forodhani Gardens seafront market, where delicious, inexpensive seafood is on offer. 

DAY 24: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (NM)
To-day the group will leave Zanzibar in the afternnon and return to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam. Arrival back in camp is usually in the late afternoon or early evening.

DAY 25: Dar es Salaam to Iringa (B / L / D)
Leave Dar es Salaam this morning and and head south, 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. Travelling on towards Iringa where the night will be spent in a beautiful rustic campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!

DAYS 26 - 28: Iringa to Lake Malawi (Malawi) (B / L / D)
Take in the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations whilst heading towards Malawi, entering the "Warm Heart of Africa’ through the border post at Songwe.  Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. The length of the western side of the lake will be travelled stopping off at various bays and inlets over the next three days.  Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scouring the markets for a bargain or simply relaxing on the pristine white beaches. Malawi’s temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue fresh water lake all year round. Explore the beautiful shore where local fishermen will be seen sorting their catch. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and to appreciate their boating skills, try paddling a dug-out canoe!  At night it is possible to see the 'fairy' lights of the fishermen out on the lake.  The various beachside campsites along Lake Malawi’s shores offer many optional excursions including a variety of water sports, horse back rides and a visit to the local village and school. 

DAY 29: Lake Malawi to Chipata (Zambia) (B / L / D)
To-day the tour will head away from Lake Malawi, stopping off in the capital Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre, to stock up with supplies before crossing into Zambia where the night spent in a beautiful little campsite just 10 km over the Malawi/Zambia border.  

DAY 30: Chipata to Luangwa National Park  (B / L / D)
This beautiful park lies on the Luangwa River in the eastern park of Zambia and is the southernmost of three national parks in the region.  South Luangwa was founded in 1938 as a game reserve and in 1972 was declared as a national park and to-day covers over 9000 kilometres squared.  Animals such as giraffe, buffalo and elephant can be found in abundance and the Luangwa is home to many a croc and hippo.

Day 31:  Luangwa National Park to Eastern Zambia (B / L / D)
To-day this amanzing National Park will be left as the tour makes its way down south, driving through a few of the villages and towns of Zambia on the way. Prosperous during the copper boom in the 60s Zambia was able to build infrastructure at the main mining and farming communities.  After the fall of the copper industry the country was left virtually bankrupt and existing infrastructure was left to fall into ruin.  Due to foreign investment and a rise in the mining industry, Zambia is once again to-day starting to prosper.

Day 32:  Eastern Zambia to Livingstone (B / L / D)
To-day the tour will head further south, through the southern Zambian towns which mainly support local agriculture and farming, on the way to Livingstone.  The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it’s not difficult to see why. At 1700 m wide and around 100 m high, this is the world's largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari! The Falls can be viewed from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia - a fantastic photo opportunity. Tonight there is the OPTION of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi.

Day 33:  Livingstone to Chobe National Park (Botswana) (B / L / D)
To-day the group will leave Zambia and cross the borer into Botswana at the Kazangula Ferry.  Once border formalities have  been completed the tour will continue to the town of Kasane on the banks of the Chobe River.  This river forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia and is the main water source to the Chobe National Park.  The group will the continue on 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, well known for its large herds of elephant.  The afternoon will be spent in search of wildlife while game driving to the camp within the park where the evening will be spent surrounded by the night-time noises of the local wildlife.  A look-out should be kept for the rare Sable and Roan Antelope on the game rive, with their majestic backward slanting horns, or keep a count of the Lilac Breasted Rollers as they swoop by.  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.

DAY 34: Chobe National Park to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (Brunch)
On return to the camp the group will get back onto the truck and continue to the border with Zimbabwe.  Once border formalities have been completed there will be a short drive to the nearby Victoria Falls.  Named after the famous World Heritage Site and Water Falls, the town of Victoria Falls is located on the Zambeze River and is surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park.  The campsite is conveniently situated in the centre of town and within walking distance of the adventure booking agents, restaurants and shops.  

A 20 minute walk down the main road leads to the entry point to view the Falls, which lie between Zambia and Zimbabwe. After the adventure activities briefing the afternoon will be spent relaxing at the campsite's swimming pool, viewing the Victoria Falls or exploring the many sights and delights of this town.

DAYS 35 - 36: Victoria Falls (B on both days)
The next two days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions at Victoria Falls - one of the most memorable sights on this African safari. Some fellow passengers may leave here to be replaced by new passengers joining for the next leg of the trek. 

OPTIONAL EXCURSIONS include elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, walking with lions, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at the Elephant Hills Resort.  Adrenaline 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 can be taken in fixed wing planes, micro lights or helicopters providing 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 37: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park (Botswana) (B / L / D)
After breakfast the border into Botswana is crossed and the group will head to Kasane where there will be time to explore.  After lunch, once everyone is packed up and prepared, there will be a second chance to take the Chobe National Park Overnight Mobile excursion into the wilds of the Chobe National Park.  After the night in the bush, the tour will head out early to continue the search for wildlife before packing up the camp and heading back to Kasane.

DAY 38: Chobe National Park (B / L / D)
On returning to camp there will be some free time to relax at leisure.

DAY 39: Chobe National Park to Maun (B / L / D)
Today travel is in a south-westerly direction to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and the destination, Maun, from where the exploration of the Okavango Delta begins.  On the route there will be stops at Botswana's 'meat' borders - check points that were set up to protect the thriving beef export industry from the spread of disease.  This evening preparations and packing will be done for the two night excursion.  It is suggested that a smaller daypack might be useful which can be used to pack the supplies needed for this short excursion.  The trip leader will give a briefing on what is needed and what to expect, prior to the trip into the Delta. 

DAY 40: Maun to Okavango Delta (optional) (B / L / D)
The Delta is a huge expanse of water, which has travelled from the Angolan highlands, spreading out to form the largest inland delta in the world. Studded with exotic islands, it is renowned for its incredible variety of bird life and animals and is unique to Southern Africa. Here there is the option of a 3 day/ 2 night Drive-in/Mokoro Excursion into the Delta. Driving north from Maun for a couple of hours the mokoro polers' station is reached.  The Delta region is studded with many local villages where 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 stationth polers will be met and supplies packed before heading out onto the waterways.  After a couple of hours along the waterways the guides find  a place to camp, and the group will set off on an afternoon game walk to experience the Delta wilderness.  The camp is situated in an open wilderness area.

Those passengers preferring not to join this optional excursion into the Delta can remain at the lovely campsite relaxing by the swimming pool or challenging each other to a game of volleyball.  There is also a crocodile farm nearly that has its feeding times open to campsite visitors.  The driver and the cook will remain behind in Maun during this excursion.

DAY 41: Okavango Delta (B / L / D)
A day of rest, relaxation and Delta experiences awaits with the opportunity to partake in a number of activities including swimming (dependant on area and water levels), game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try poling your own mokoro!   There is also plenty of time to relax and rest during the hotter part of the day, perhaps to challenge new friends to a game of cards, or chat with the guides about their culture and lifestyle, or simply to lie back and enjoy the sounds of the surrounding wilderness.

DAY 42: 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 - dependent on weather conditions and availability.

DAY 43: Maun to Rundu (Namibia) (B / L / D)
Following the Kavango River, Northern Namibia is entered.  A stop is made at Rundu for supplies before heading to the spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River.

DAY 44: Rundu to Etosha National Park (B / L / D)
From Rundu, the group will head towards Etosha National Park. Covering 20,000 square kilometres, Etosha is Namibia’s premier nature reserve. Situated around the Etosha Pan with a wide 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 down a little, the remainder of the day will be spent exploring he park's northern area, keeping an eye open for the striking Oryx and Springbok as these are endemic to desert National Parks.  After dinner there is the opportunity to head to the waterhole to sit and watch the wildlife that may come to drink in the evenng.

DAY 45: Etosha National Park (B / L / D)
Today the group will drive 150 km across the park, keeping a look out for the many different mammals, reptiles, birds and insects in the various regions.  As the vegetation types change so does the animal and bird life that depends on it and so the diffferent sections of the park offer a variety of different game options.  After a full day of game viewing, the group will exit the park through Anderson Gate and head to the campsite just 10 km away where everyone can enjoy a quick dip in the pool before dinner, followed by an evening spent relaxing in the very interesting bar.

DAY 46: Etosha National Park to Cheetah Park (B / L / D)
After stopping briefly in Outjo to stock up on supplies, today’s drive is to the Cheetah Park - a private farm dedicated to conserving Namibia’s cheetah population.  While cheetah are an endangered species in Africa, Namibia has the highest population of wild, free roaming cheetah who cause immense damage to some of the local farms by hunting their livestock.  As such there are many local farmers who have offered a sanctuary to those that have been trapped or injured.  It is great to meet the resident cheetahs - a photo opportunity not to be missed!

DAY 47: Cheetah Park to Spitzkoppe (B / L / D)
Departure from the Cheetah Park takes the group to the ‘Matterhorn of Namibia’ - Spitzkoppe. The 1728 m high rock formation, one of Namibia’s most recognised landmarks, is well known as an ancient San sacred site. The camping area is managed by the local community who offer local guides for guided walks to the San Rock Art at an additional cost.  Explore the surrounding area and its San rock paintings or simply enjoy the magnificent views.  Tonight will be a bush camp under the African stars.

DAY 48: Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund (B / L)
Today Swakopmund is reached.  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 waters may be a bit chilly.  Accommodation will be in dormitories for the next two nights and upgrades are possible, but depend on room availability.

DAYS 49: Swakopmund (B)
The next day are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions.  Some fellow passengers will leave the tour in Swakopmund to be replaced by new passengers joining for the final leg of the trek. 

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.

DAYS 50 - 51: Swakopmund to Sesriem (B / L / D)
Leaving Swakopmund, the group will head south to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay, before turning inward towards the desert. Continuing the journey the group will enter the Namib-Naukluft Park, one of the oldest deserts in the world. Base is made at Sesriem, a great place to experience the Namib and its many moods. A short distance away is Sossusvlei, surrounded by a dramatic sea of sand dunes reputed to be the highest in the world. Magnificent views of the desert can be seen from the top of the dunes, some over 300 m high. The afternoon is spent exploring this amazing area.

DAY 52: Sesriem to Fish River Canyon (B / L / D)
After watching the sunrise across this beautiful area the serenity of the dunes will be left behind to head south to the Fish River Canyon. At 161 km long, 27 km wide and about 550 m deep, it’s the second largest canyon in the world. The outer canyon was formed by tectonic activity, while the erosion of the Fish River formed the inner canyon. A road follows the eastern rim, giving access to several viewing points from where the spectacular vistas can be viewed.

DAY 53: Fish River Canyon to Gariep River (South Africa) (B / L / D)
Continuing south, where, after a short drive,the Gariep River is reached - the natural land border between Namibia and South Africa where camp is made at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river. This afternoon there is the option of a half-day canoe trip on the beautiful Gariep River, affording the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle.  Tonight there will be the chance for some fun at the awesome camp bar overlooking the river.

DAY 54: Gariep River to Cederberg (B / L / D)
An early morning start to travel south through the Richtersveld and the mining town of Springbok before reaching the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of Namaqua wildflowers that occurs each spring. The night is spent in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms and there will be an opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding beautiful Cederberg Mountains.  Tonight will be the last night under the stars.

DAY 55: Cederberg to Cape Town (B)

To-day the group will leave the scenic Cederberg area and travel south towards Cape Town, passing through the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal before crossing the Piketberg Pass to the Cape’s wine growing regions. The first sighting of the Mother City's Table Mountain across Table Bay means that the final destination has been reached and the night's accommodation is in dormitories in one of Cape Town’s best loved hostels.  After everyone has checked in and got themselves lunch, there will be a township tour in and around Cape Town - being dropped back at the hostel at the end of the tour.

DAY 56: Cape Town
This morning addresses will be exchanged and farewells said having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!

Optional excursions

South Africa:
Canoeing on Gariep River (minimum 4) - $50
Wine Tasting - $15

Namibia - Swakopmund
Quad Biking - $100
Sand Boarding  - $55/$70
Township Tour - $80
Tandem Sky Dive - weather permitting - $350
Horse Riding - 2 hours - $100
Fishing - $145
Dolphin Cruise - $80
Kayaking - $95
Paragliding - weather permitting - $150
Scenic Flight - various - weather permitting - as per Operator
Hot Air Ballooning - weather permitting - $450

Botswana:
3 Day Okavango Delta Mokoro Excursion - $170
Scenic Flight over Delta (max five passengers per plane)  - $100
Chobe National Park Game Drive - $60

Victoria Falls:
Victoria Falls National Park Entry (for viewing the Falls) - $35
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi (full day) - $140
Bungee Jumping (111 m) - $150
Rafting and Boarding Combo - $180
Half Day Adrenaline (minimum 10) $165
Elephant Back Safari - $150
Walk with Lions Victoria Falls -  $140
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

Please note that all accommodation and activities in Victoria Falls must be paid for in US$ cash

Malawi:
Freshwater Diving at Kande Beach - $45 - additional dives $30 each
Horse Riding at Kande Beach 2 hour/3 hour - $60/$90
Village Walk and Meal at Kande Beach - from $15
Village Walk at Chitimba Beach - $3
Traditional Healer Visit - $2
Livingstonia Mission Hike - 30 km return - $7

Tanzania:
3 Day Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater Excursion - From $500
Olduvai Gorge - $10
Masai Village Visit - $15

Zanzibar:
Transfer to Nungwi - $20
Zanzibar Accommodation per person per day - from $40 - $60
Spice Tour including lunch  - $40
Prison Island Snorkelling Trip - $30
Diving, Snorkelling and Fishing - from $30
Dhow Sunset Cruise - from $40
Moped Hire - $60 - $80 plus local drivers license/insurance at $5

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

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

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.
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 Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.  Please make sure that you arrive in plenty of time for your trip departure. We recommend that you arrive the day before your start date and depart the day after your end date to allow for any delays.   Amanzi Travel can assist you in arranging airport transfers and pre trip accommodation.  Full details will be in provided in your pre-departure pack.

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

Support and Orientation

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

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

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

Nairobi to Cape Town , Great African Trek 56 Day (Southbound)Nairobi to Cape Town , Great African Trek 56 Day (Southbound)Nairobi to Cape Town , Great African Trek 56 Day (Southbound)These trips are camping trips, and spacious 2-person tents with sewn in ground sheets and a separate fly sheet are provided.  Most 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 desired. Occasionally, when it is impossible 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.

The safari cook does all the cooking on the tour, although it may be necessary to participate in the preparation of the meals on a rota basis.  Meals and menus vary depending on what is available locally, but three healthy square meals a day on the road are provided.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are purchased from market stalls, supported by a bulk purchase of goods prior to departure.  In the towns and cities there is the optional alternative of sampling the local restaurants.




 

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 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 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 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 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 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

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

Why visit Kenya

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

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

Highlights of Kenya

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

Climate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Facts

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

Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, 32 and 34

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

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

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


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