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Northern Trek 46 Day

Johannesburg to Nairobi
£1,895 (plus local payment)

Ref: AT019

This comprehensive trip begins in Johannesburg and travels through eight countries - South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda before finishing in Nairobi, Kenya. A variety of landscapes will be seen, from vast tracts of animal-filled bush, tranquil lakes and rivers, misty rain forests and dazzling beaches. There are many game parks to explore on the hunt for the 'big five' as well as sites of great history in Zimbabwe, Matobo and Zanzibar.  The natural wonder of Victoria Falls is a sight not to be missed and the chance to stare into the soft brown eyes of a gorilla is an experience never to be forgotten.  From south to north this trip offers some of the best attractions in southern and east Africa.

 

Who can join: 18 years and over
Accommodation: Camping
Transfer time: approx. 1 hour
Pick up Point: Mufasa Backpackers, Johannesburg
Meals: Meals Included as Indicated
Volunteer numbers: approx. 25

Duration & Fees

Prices valid from the 01 Jan 2017 until the 31 Dec 2017

46 days£1,895

USD 1430 - Local Payments

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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:

18 Jan | 15 Feb | 15 Mar | 12 Apr | 10 May | 7 Jun | 21 Jun | 5 Jul | 19 Jul | 2 Aug | 30 Aug | 27 Sep | 25 Oct | 22 Nov | 20 Dec

2018 Start Dates:

17 Jan | 14 Feb | 14 Mar | 11 Apr | 9 May | 6 Jun | 20 Jun | 4 Jul | 18 Jul | 1 Aug | 29 Aug | 26 Sep | 24 Oct | 21 Nov | 19 Dec

Payment

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

What's Included

  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Pre-trip night dorm room accommodation
  • Fully equipped expedition vehicle
  • Cooking and camping equipment (sleeping 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
  • Transfer to Gorilla Trek
  • Personal items
  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Tips

Click here to enlargeStart and finish points: Johannesburg to Nairobi
Countries visited: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana,  Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda
Departure Point Johannesburg: Mufasa Backpackers, 21 Fourth Road, Cloverdene, Benoni, Johannesburg
Check-in time: 7.00 am (departure 7.30 am)
Pre-Departure Meeting: Held at the departure point at 5.00 pm the day before departure

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. The trip departs from Johannesburg early on a Wednesday morning and anyone wishing to explore this great city should arrive two or three days earlier to allow time to do so.  Please contact Amanzi Travel for suggestions for accommodation and places to visit. 

For booking purposes, anyone choosing NOT to trek the Mountain Gorillas, should advise Amanzi Travel as soon as possible.

INCLUDED HIGHLIGHTS
Kruger National Park; Night Game Drive; Blyde River Canyon; Great Zimbabwe Ruins; Matobo National Park; Hwange National Park; Entrance to Victoria Falls; Chobe National Park; Chobe Overnight Excursion; South Luangwa National Park; Lake Malawi; Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar Ferry; Meserani Snake Park and Masai Cultural Museum; Masai Mara National Reserve; Kampala; Lake Bunyoni; Lake Nakuru National Park; Great Rift Valley; Lake Naivasha.

Itinerary

DAY 1: Johannesburg to Nkambeni Camp (Lunch / Dinner)
The group will leave Johannesburg and head towards the Lowveld and the campsite situated on the border of the famous Kruger National Park, passing through the southern section of the picturesque Panorama Route – famous for its breathtaking vistas - en route.   Camp for the next two nights is just a short drive from the Kruger National Park and has some interesting local residents including hippo, giraffe, zebra and impala.  

Included Activity:  Night Game Drive

DAY 2: Nkambeni Camp (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)
Today the amazing Kruger National Park will be explored.  Covering 19,485  km2 - 60 km wide and over 350 km long, this conservation area has more than 146 mammals, 500 bird, 114 reptile, 33 amphibian & 49 fish species.  Twenty-three thousand different types of plants have been recorded. The day will be spent driving around the park looking for a few of these.  There is the option of a night drive to look for a few of the nocturnal inhabitants or upgrading to a small vehicle for the game drive at an additional cost.

Included Activity:  Game Drives in Tour Vehicle
Optional Activity:  Night Game Drive

DAY 3: Nkambeni Camp to Polokwane  (B / L / D)
To-day the Lowveld will be left behind and a long scenic drive to Polokwane.  Along the way stops will be made at some of the best scenery in South Africa ncluding the ever striking Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. The many viewpoints of the Canyon afford excellent photo opportunities. Polokwane, capital of Limpopo, is the largest metropolitan complex in the north and a major economic centre.  Its proximity to the neighbouring countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland, as well as its convenient distance from the Kruger National Park and Magoebaskloof makes it a perfect gateway and good desintation in itself.  Tents will be set up on the lush green grass of the campsite located just outside of the city before enjoying a dip in the lovely swimming pool.

Included Activity:  Blyde River Canyon

DAY 4: Polokwane to Musina (B / L / D)
After a quick replenishment of supplies the journey north to Zimbabwe begins - a long, relaxing drive where passengers get to sit back and enjoy the ever changing scenery. Tonight camp will be in one of the hottest towns in South Africa, Musina - at the hot water spring resort of Tshipise.  Situated between the rolling hills the resort is well known for its natural hot water springs.  Once camp has been set up everyone will be free to enjoy the pools, the walking trails or the various other activities on offer here.   

ZIMBABWE
This land-locked 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. 

DAY 5: Musina to Masvingo (Zimbabwe) (B / L / D)
Today the tour will enter Zimbabwe - a beautiful country rich in soul, culture and tradition - to the town of Masvingo - on the outskirts of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. This was the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa, built by an ancient highly skilled civilization. The name Zimbabwe is derived from this ancient city and means “great stone houses” in Shona. The most notable artefacts found at the ruins were the eight statues of stone birds carved out of soapstone.  There will be time to wander around these amazing ruins, before setting up camp at the foot of the hills.

Included Activity:  Great Zimbabwe Ruins

DAYS 6:  Masvingo to Bulawayo (B / L / D)
Leaving Masvingo, the journey continues north to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city - noted for its exceptionally wide streets, which were originally designed to accommodate a full span ox wagon. The city also still retains much of its British Colonial character, evident by the many buildings maintained as heritage sites by the Bulawayo City Council. Interesting places to visit are the Natural History Museum, the National Arts Gallery and the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, which employs over 70 people.

DAY 7: Bulawayo (B / L / D)
Today a visit is made to the Matobo National Park, one of the last strongholds of both the black and the white rhino. This park is also well known for its high concentration of the elusive leopard and majestic black eagle. Rock paintings are to be found too, providing evidence of the ancient San inhabitants of this area. Cecil John Rhodes (after whom Rhodesia was named) asked to be buried at the top of one of the sacred hills, (although there is some controversy over whether he will stay!)  The day will be spent exploring this unique geological, ecological and historic area.

Included Activity:  Visit to Matobo National Park

DAY 8: Bulawayo to Hwange National Park  (B/L/D)
Today the tour will head north-west to Zimbabwe's oldest and largest reserve - the Hwange National Park which is well known for its many and varied wildlife species including thousands of elephant and rare antelope species such as the Sable and Roan Antelope.  A game drive will be enjoyed (either late afternoon or early morning) to explore the wilderness in search of these and the other resident wildlife species.

Included Activity:  Game Drive in Hwange National Park

Day 9: Hwange National Park
To-day will be a full day in the Hwange area enjoying a game drive through the National Park to spot as many wild animals as possible.

Included Activity:  Game Drive in Hwange National Park

DAY 10: Hwange to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (B / L)
Leaving Hwange and heading to Victoria Falls - Africa’s adventure capital - where camp is set up in the town’s centrally located campsite which is 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 are located between Zimbabwe and Zambia.   Named after the famous Water Falls, the town of Victoria Falls is situated on the Zambezi River and surrounded by the Victoria Falls National Park.   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 Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe and the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia. Each offer fantastic photo opportunities. The afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite’s swimming pool, viewing the Victoria Falls or exploring the many sights and delights of this town!

Included Activity:  Entrance to Victoria Falls

DAYS 11 - 12: Victoria Falls (B on both days)
The next two days are spent relaxing or participating in a wide range of optional activities. Some fellow passengers may leave the tour at Vic Falls to be replaced by new passengers joining for the next leg of the trek.

Optional activities include elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, walking with lions,  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.

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

DAY 13: Victoria Falls to Chobe National Park, Botswana (B / L / D)
To-day the tour will head out from Victoria Falls to the border crossing to Botswana and once border formalities have been completed will head to the town of Kasane, situated on the banks of the Chobe River.  The river forms the border between Botswana, Namibia and Zambia and is the main water source to the Chobe National Park.  After lunch there will be time to relax and later in the afternoon the group will elave 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 searching for 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.  It may be possible to see the rare Sable and Roan Antelope whie on the game drive, with their majestic backward slanting horns, or perhaps count the Lilac Breasted Rollers that swoop by.  After the night in the bush the group will head out early to continue the search for wildlife, before packing up camp and returning to Kasane.

Included Activity:  Chobe National Park Overnight Mobile Excursion

Day 14:  Chobe National Park to Livingstone (Zambia) (Brunch / D)
Having returned to camp at Kasane everyone will get back onto the truck and continue to the town of Livingstone where there will be the opportunity to view The Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia. Another fantastic photo opportunity. The day affords the opportunity to participate in the activities available in Zambia that were not possible on the Zimbabwean side of the Falls. Tonight there is the option of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi.

Optional Activity:  Zambezi Sunset Boat Cruise

DAY 15: Livingstone to Eastern Zambia (B / L / D)
An early morning start to-day to head north through southern Zambia passing through several of the towns and villages 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 falls 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 to-day once again starting to prosper.  The difference is evident in the cities with their foreign stores, banks and imported cars, while the villages and smaller towns are still to catch up. 

DAY 16:  Eastern Zambia to South Luangwa National Park (B / L / D)
This beautiful park is situated on the Luangwa River in the Eastern part of Zambia and is the most southerly of the three national parks in the area.  South Luangwa was founded in 1938 as a game reserve and in 1972 it was declared a national park which to-day covers more than 9000 kilometres squared.  There is abundant wildlife to be seen including giraffe, buffalo and elephant and the Luangwa River is home to plenty of hippo and croc.

Included Activity:  Game Drives through South Luangwa National Park in Tour Vehicle

Day 17:  South Luangwa to Chipata (B / L / D)
From Luangwa the tour will head north east on the old "East Road" to a lovely little campsite just 10 kilometres before the Zambia/Malawi border.  In the past the route from Cairo to Cape Town passed through Lusaka and it's along this route to Malawi that the travel will be to-day.  It is a long drive and the impressive Luangwa River Bridge will be crossed which is heavily guarded due to its close proximity to the Zimbabwean and Malawian borders.  A stop to purchase fresh supplies from local sellers along the way will be made.

MALAWI
A variety of attractions can be found in this exquisite country such as 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 one can kick back on the sand and enjoy a perfect sunset over the lake.  Malawi offers the perfect sub-tropical climate and its visitors have plenty of time to soak up the sun and work on their tans.  Lilongwe is the largest city in Malawi as well as being the capital city.  Malawi plays host to just over 12 million people with English and Chichewa being the main languages.

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

DAYS 18 - 20: Chipata to Lake Malawi Beaches (Malawi) (B / L / D)
Leaving Zambia and crossing into Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, the group will stop off in the capital, Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre. Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. The first camp will be at the central lake and then in the northern area over the next threedays.

The days can be spent learning the game of bao from the locals, scouring the markets for a bargain or simply relaxing on the pristine beaches. Malawi’s temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue fresh-water lake all year round. There will be time to explore the beautiful shore where the local fishermen will be found 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 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 activities including a variety of water sports, horse back rides and a visit to the local village and school.

Optional Activities vary:  However the visit to the local school is recommended and anyone who would like to take along pens, pencils, notebooks etc will be very welcome.

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

DAY 21: Lake Malawi to Iringa (Tanzania) (B / L /D)
After a relaxing four days, the group will leave Malawi and enter Tanzania through the border post at Songwe.  The tour will wind its way through the beautiful Tukuyu tea and banana plantations before heading towards Iringa where the night will be spent in a beautiful rustic farmhouse campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers! 

DAY 22: Iringa to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
The next morning travel is 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. Today'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 - with the colourful shops fronts and their humorous catch phrases.  The evening is spent in Dar es Salaam at a lovely seaside campsite preparing for departure to Zanzibar the next morning.

DAY 23: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (Optional) (B)
A ferry will be taken from Dar es Salaam to the "Spice Island,” where there is the option to spend the next three nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. New passengers may join the tour here to replace those that will leave at the end of the excursion to Zanzibar.

Included Activity:  Zanzibar Ferry
Optional Activity:  Zanzibar Excursion

Please note: Accommodation and meals are not 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 is available and can arrange accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants. There is a wide variety of Optional Excursions on offer here. 

For those passengers not opting to visit the island of Zanzibar, the next three days are spent at leisure at the beach campsite in Dar es Salaam where there are many Optional Activities and Excursions available.  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.

DAYS 24 - 25: 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 those 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 26: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (D)
To-day the tour will leave Zanzibar in the afternoon and return to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam.  Arrival back at camp is usually in the late afternoon or early evening.

DAY 27: Dar es Salaam to Pangani * (B / L / D)
This morning there will be an early start to leave the hustle and bustle of this major Tanzanian city to head towards the farmlands of this beautiful country.  To-day is used as a transit day to get closer to the Serengeti and some trips may choose to forego this night at their own cost.

Day 28:  Pangani to Arusha (B / L / D)
To-day will be a long drive through vast sisal plantations and African bushveld to Arusha, passing the Pare and Usambara Mountain ranges before driving through the town of Moshi, the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions.  Weather permitting it may be possible to catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed! Tonight camp is in a lovely campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on the Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.

DAYS 29:  Arusha to Karatu (Optional) (B / L / D)
This morning a visit will be made to the Meserani Reptile Park and Masai Cultural Museum and 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 - set against the backdrop of Mount Meru - the Tanzanian guides will be met and those taking the optional trip will transfer nto the locally operated 4WD vehicles which have been adapted for safari use and give excellent viewing and photographic opportunities through the opening roof hatches.

Optional Activity:  Serengeti and Ngorongoro Excursion

Leaving camp travel will be via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park, and then up the Rift Valley Escarpement to the higher lying village of Karatu which offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well-established wheat farms that make it very picturesque.  Tonight is spent at a very pleasant campsite in Karatu.

Those choosing not to do the optional Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater excursion will remain at the campsite where there are many activities available.

Day 30:  Karatu to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park (Optional) (B / L / D)
This morning sees an early departure for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. The Crater is the largest unbroken, unflooded caldera in the world and comprises oepn savannahs, acacia forests and both soda and fresh water lakes.  This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa – including the elusive 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 where the vast plains will be crossed during the game drive through the southern and central areas in the park. Camp tonight is in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness with no ablution facilities and no fences surrounding the campsite - truly in the midst of nature.

Day 31:  Serengeti National Park to Arusha (B / L / D)
This morning there will be another game drive and exploration of the landscape in search of the resident game. With luck, some of Africa’s ‘Big 5’ will be seen!  After the morning drive, a return is made across the plains and the lush Crater rim to the truck at Arusha, where the evening will be spent musing over the thrilling wildlife experience.

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

DAY 32: Arusha to Nairobi (Kenya) (B / L / D)
The tour will set off early this morning and make its way to the Tanzania/ Kenyan border and the small border town of Namanga. After completing the border formalities and exchanging money, the tour will continue on its journey to the Capital City Nairobi and the campsite on the outskirts of the city.

The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy many of the optional activities available in this bustling city.  A visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one option, where the orphaned baby elephants can be viewed at feeding time or perhaps head to to the Giraffe Centre in Langata.  For anhyone who has not had their  fill of game viewing, then Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if more souvenirs are wanted, take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets close by the campsite. This evening why not try the fair on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.

DAY 33: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D)
This morning the hustle and bustle of Nairobi will be left behind as the tour climbs the escarpment to the first stop, a viewpoint overlooking the spectacular Great Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift Valley, Masai land will be entered where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road. The town of Narok will be passed 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 34: Masai Mara (B / L / D)
To-day the tour will leave shortly after sunrise on a game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve.  The Reserve 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 when impressive herds of over one million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle 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.  There will be a game drive through a section of the park in search of the Big 5 - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard along with the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who call this wilderness home.

After the game drive there will be the option to visit on 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.”

Included Activity:  Masai Mara Game Reserve

MASAI MARA NATIONAL RESERVE
All members of the big five can be found in the Masai Mara National Reserve, a reserve which is a natural extension of the Serengeti plains in Tanzania.  The Mara River serves as a natural border and is crossed annually by hordes of zebra and wildebeest during the Great Migration from July to October.  Watching their every movement closely are the well fed predators of this reserve.

DAY 35: Masai Mara to Eldoret (B / L / D)
The tour will to-day leave the Masai Mara early in the morning, passing 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 boys.  The source of the Nile at Jinja allows the opportunity to tame the mighty waters with some of the world's best white water rafting - and to top it all, this breath-taking country has the largest population of primates anywhere in Africa.

DAY 36: Eldoret to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
Today, the border into Uganda will be crossed for an overnight stop in the capital city, Kampala. Uganda is a small country of striking physical beauty. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semidesert region in the north. The political instability that has haunted Uganda in the past has actually had the positive effect of leaving the country free of the over commercialism so common in other parts of Africa. The current administration under President Museveni has devoted considerable effort and funds to 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 37 - 40: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B / L /  D)
After an early morning departure from Kampala the tour will drive 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 twill ake place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, the trek will 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 depending on the trek. There is a local transport and handling fee of US$120 per person which covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority's booking fee.   For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, it will also be necessary to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing the Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Please budget accordingly and include  a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers.  Please note that payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are 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 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 the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, departures from Lake Bunyoni will be in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the size of the whole group.  The group will wind its way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa heading en route to the National Park.  Dependent on where permits are available a night will be spent in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing a picnic lunch, the group will transfer to the ranger's station where the trek will commence. The rangers will lead the trek 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 are therefore able to catch man's diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is one hour. However this is plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide a background to the family being visited. Once your hour is up, the trek will return back out of the rain forest to the meeting point from where the group will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.

 It is not necessary to feel that 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 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 it may be possible to pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwanan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC.  The villagers in this area are most subsistence farmers and farm against the slopes of the volcanoes.  It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvested their crops in such an unlkely landscape.

Optional Activity:  Gorilla Trekking
Please note that the transfer fee is not inlcuded in the trekking fee.

DAY 41: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D)
After marvelling at the experiences of the gorilla encounters and enjoying peaceful Lake Bunyoni, to-day will see the drive back to Kampala, crossing the equator for the second time with a stop for the classic "one foot in each hemisphere" photo opportunity.  An overnight stop will be made in Kampala with the opportunithy to sample the night life!

DAY 42: 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.

DAY 43: 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 will be made in Nakuru at a lovely campsite on a local farm.  Nakuru is 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.

Optional Activity:  Spending time with the children at EAMO:  East African Mission Organisation

DAY 44: Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha  (B / L / D)
This morning the exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park is begun - 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 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 a game drive the group will head to the campsite for the night, arriving in the late afternoon.

Included Activity:  Game Drives at Lake Nakuru National Park

DAY 45: Lake Nakuru to Lake Naivasha (B / L /  D)
Lake Naivasha, 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. Time permitting the afternoon will be spent enjoying optional excursions like Elsamere (former home to Joy & 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 46: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
After breakfast, the tour will head back to Nairobi arriving at the Acacia Camp in the late morning or early afternoon.  On arrival addresses will be exchanged and everyone will part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!

Included Activity:  Lake Naivasha

The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy many of the optional activities available in this bustling city.  A visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is one option, where the orphaned baby elephants can be viewed at feeding time or perhaps head to to the Giraffe Centre in Langata.  For anhyone who has not had their  fill of game viewing, then Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if more souvenirs are wanted, take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets close by the campsite. This evening why not try the fair on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.

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 and group decisions.  All prices and local payments are subject to change with prior notice.  Due to tourism laws in some of the countries visited there may be a truck and crew change during the trip.

Optional Excursions

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

Zanzibar:
Zanzibar Accommodation per person per day - from $40 - $60
Spice Tour including lunch   - $40
Prison Island Snorkelling Trip - $30
Diving, Snorkellling and Fishing - from $40
Dhow Sunset Cruise - from $40
Moped/CarHire - $60 - $80
Transfer to Nungwi - $20

Malawi:
Freshwater Diving at Kande Beach - $55 + additional dives at $30 each
Horse Riding at Kande Beach 2 hour/3 hour - $70/$100
Village Walk and Meal at Kande Beach - from $20
Traditional Healer Visit - $10
Livingstonia Mission Hike - 30 km return - $10
Carving Lessons and Local Fishing - price to be negotiated on arrival

Zimbabwe:
White Water Rafting on the Zambezi (full day) - $140
Bungee Jumping (111 m) - $150
Rafting and Boarding Combo - $180
Micro Light over the Falls - 15 mins - $170
Helicoptor Flight over the Falls - 12 mins - $155
Zambezi Sunset boat cruise - from $50
Please note that all accommodation and activities in Victoria Falls must be paid for in US$ cash

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

South Africa:
Johannesburg City Tour (pre trip)  - $80
Soweto Tour – Johannesburg/Pretoria(pre tour) – from $80


Above is a selection of optional activities and for a comprehensive list of things to do before, during or after the trip, please contact Amanzi Travel.

Getting There

Flights should be arranged to arrive into Johannesberg International Airport, South Africa.   Please make sure to arrive in plenty of time for the trip departure.  Travellers are recommended to arrive the day before their start date and depart the day after their end date to allow for any delays.  Airport transfer on arrival and one night's pre-trip accommodation in a dormitory bed are included in the tour price.   Full details will be in provided in the pre-departure pack.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and can arrange any flight requirements 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.

Johannesburg to Nairobi, Northern Trek 46 DayJohannesburg to Nairobi, Northern Trek 46 DayMeals on tour Meals and menus vary as food is purchased en-route and is subject to what is available seasonally in the areas travelled through. As the aim is to support the local communities along the way, fresh produce is mainly purchased directly from the local grower and sometimes has an organic appearance.  The safari cooks are able to offer a wide variety of menus with the ingredients available, even if the produce on offer is not the same as that at home. Breakfast spread consists of bread (toast when time permits), spreads and cereals with a hot breakfast every few days. Lunches are mainly prepared en-route with a supply of "build your own" sandwich ingredients available.  Dinners are cooked in the evenings on arrival at the campsite and a wide array of dinner menus is on offer during the safari including curries, stews, pastas, BBQs and even roasts.

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

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

 

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

Why visit Tanzania

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

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

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

Highlights of Tanzania

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

Climate

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

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

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

Key Facts

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

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

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

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

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

Why visit Uganda

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

Highlights of Uganda

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

Climate

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

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

Key Facts

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

Click here to view the full interactive 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 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

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)

Northern Trek 46 Day

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

Bethany, UK, aged 21

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