35 Day Gorillas and Southern Discoverer
Victoria Falls to Nairobi
(Trip Code: VN35)
Rate till 31 Dec 2011 Price: R14 320 pp & Local payment: US$705 pp Single Supp N/A
Frequently asked questions
This trip starts in Victoria Falls and travels north through Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and finishes in Nairobi, Kenya. The best of East Africa as well as the diversity that the more southern countries can offer you, sees you experience the rain forests, exploring the domain of the mountain gorilla, the cultural differences of the African people, the game of the best parks, the tranquil beauty of the spice island, Zanzibar, the vastness and changing faces of this magnificent continent. The trip is a combination of hard game viewing, quality leisure time, cultural exchange, enjoying what Africa throws at you and having a damn good time doing it!
Please note that this trip starts on a Sunday and spends the first day in Victoria Falls. Should you wish to spend extra time there an earlier arrival should be planned and additional accommodation booked.
Pre Departure Meeting: Held at departure point at 5:00pm the day before your departure.
Departure Point: Victoria Falls Rest camp and Lodge, Parkway Rd.
Check In Time: 9:00am
Zanzibar - "Spice Island"
Serengeti National Park
Masai Mara game Reserve
Lake Nakuru National Park
DAY 1: Victoria Falls
Please note that this trip starts on a Sunday and spends the first day in Victoria Falls, giving you the opportunity to take part in the many activities available. Should you wish to spend extra time there an earlier arrival should be planned and additional accommodation booked through your agent.
1700 metres wide and around 100 metres high, Victoria Falls are one of the most memorable sights on this African safari. All year round, flights can be taken in fixed wing planes, micro lights or helicopters. Back on the ground, the falls can be seen from the Victoria Falls National Park with its many viewing points or from the Zambian side. All offer fantastic photographic opportunities.
White water rafting in the Batoka Gorge is considered to be world class. Besides the excitement of the grade 5 rapids, there are the "floats", where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
Other optional activities around Victoria Falls include day trips into the Zambezi or Hwange National Parks, horse riding safaris, a visit to the Crocodile Ranch, Snake Park, golf at the Elephant Hills Hotel, parachuting, the Falls Craft Village. (B)
DAY 2 & 3: Victoria Falls to Lake Kariba
This morning we will pack up camp and depart Victoria Falls. Exiting Zimbabwe we cross the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Zambezi River to enter into Zambia at the town of Livingstone. We head to the western waters of Lake Kariba, our base camp for the next 2 nights. The lake is one of the largest man made lakes in the world, boasting a wide variety of African game, bird life and unique flora and fauna.
Here you have the option to take a 2 night trip on the House Boats on Lake Kariba. For those of you who do not want to partake in the House Boats there are many activities you can do at the campsite such as fishing, canoeing, hikes, explore the local village or just relax on the tranquil banks of Lake Kariba. The campsite also has a swimming pool where you can enjoy soaking up the sun. (B,L,D)
House Boat option 2 night/2 day:
We board the House Boats at approx. 1pm and have lunch after you have settled yourself in. We depart the harbour at approx. 2pm and sail out to the Maaze River for a beautiful sunset and overnight on the House Boats. Lake Kariba is famous for its spectacular sunsets. (B; L, D)
The next day you can relax the entire day on the deck of the House Boat and enjoy the on board Jacuzzi. House Boats on Lake Kariba are truly one of the most relaxing ways to spend a few days. For those of you feeling a bit more active in the early morning we take a Fishing/Game Cruise on tender boats or you have the option to do a game walk on the island in the Maaze area. There is opportunity to see plains game and many different species of bird life. After lunch and head to Maaze Island where we do a tour of the Crocodile Farm. Dinner is prepared on the boat while we sit back and enjoy our sundowners over the lake. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: Lake Kariba to Lusaka
After everyone has reunited we bid goodbye to Lake Kariba and we head north through Southern Zambia to a camp just before the capital city of Lusaka. The campsite is home to some local wildlife and has beautiful facilities. (B,L,D)
DAY 5: Lusaka to Chipata
From Lusaka we cross the north-eastern side of Zambia, heading to a beautiful little campsite just 10kms before the Zambia/Malawi border. Here we spend the night under the stars before heading into Malawi the following day. (B,L,D)
DAYS 6 to 9: Chipata to Lake Malawi
Leaving Zambia we cross the border into Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’. We visit the capital Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre. The newly democratic Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area being the beautiful Lake Malawi. The country's temperate climate allows for swimming in this clear blue fresh-waters all the year round.
We travel the full length of western side of lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets for the next 4 days. This is the time for rest and relaxation. Lake Malawi offers a variety of watersports from various beachside campsites. Alternatively, you can go wandering along quieter shorelines where you can see the fishermen sorting their daily catch. Traditional methods are still used in their fishing techniques and you can appreciate their boating skills by trying to paddle in a dugout canoe yourself.
Visit the nearby villages and schools as well as dine in the local village, haggle for a bargain at the local markets, learn the game of bao with some locals … or simply relax on the pristine white beaches. (B,L,D)
DAY 10: Lake Malawi to Iringa, Tanzania
We depart Malawi via Karonga and enter Tanzania through the border post of Songwe. We continue our journey through the Tanzanian countryside and take in the beauty of the Tukuyu tea plantations and banana plantations. Just before Iringa is the Old Farmhouse, a beautiful rustic campsite in rural Tanzania, where we spend the night. Try one of the signature Amarula Hot chocolates! (B,L,D)
DAY 11: Iringa to Dar es Salaam
The next morning we proceed to Dar es Salaam, passing through Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to humans and their vehicles. On arrival in Dar es Salaam, we spend the night at a beach hotel/campsite that is situated to the north of the city, and prepare for our departure to Zanzibar the next morning. (B,L,D)
DAY 12: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar
A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes us to the "Spice Island", where we will spend three nights on this legendary island. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. (B)
Please note: Our crew can organise accommodation for you whilst on Zanzibar, although from our experience our clients have felt the need to explore the island on their own. thereforee accommodation and food is for client’s own account whilst on Zanzibar.
DAY 13 & 14: 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 still famous for its spices, and tours around a spice plantation can be organised. Other options include a trip to the nearby Prison Island with its giant tortoises, and beautiful beaches to enjoy. Or perhaps you would enjoy the opportunity to hire a motorbike and 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 - giant lobsters being a popular speciality. Alternatively, joining the locals for dinner in the waterfront market is an experience not to be missed. The market stalls offer an unusual selection of fast food African style at a very reasonable cost.
DAY 15: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam
Leaving Zanzibar we take the ferry back to mainland for an overnight in Dar es Salaam. There may be an opportunity to visit one of the craft markets offering an extensive range of exquisite ebony products (where prices depend on your bargaining skills) and where the goods are made on-site. It is possible to observe the carvers at work and understand the skill, which has gone into making even the simplest trinket. (D)
DAY 16: Dar es Salaam to Arusha
From Dar es Salaam we travel through the countryside with its vast sisal plantations to Arusha. On the way we pass the Pare and Usambara Mountain ranges before driving through the town of Moshi, the base for Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions, and weather permitting, we may catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit. A photo opportunity not to be missed! (B,L,D)
DAY 17: Arusha to Serengeti National Park (optional Excursion)
Arusha is a pleasant town situated at the base of Mount Meru and is the starting point for the optional excursions to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. We conduct these excursions in locally operated 4WD vehicles, which are adapted for safari use. Depending on which option you choose, you will be away from the Arusha campsite for either one or two nights.
If you take up the two night/three day option you will depart Arusha in the morning with your vehicles and guides. The drive to the Serengeti National Park takes us through the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) and up into the Ngorongoro Reserve for a glimpse of the Ngorongoro Crater before descending down onto the plains of the Serengeti. The abundance of plains game in this area is truly astounding. The afternoon will be spent game viewing before setting up camp in the midst of the national park. With some luck we will be able to listen to the nighttime noises of the wildlife! (B,L,D)
DAY 18: Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Crater
After a full morning game drive in the Serengeti we will return to pull down camp and head back towards the Ngorongoro. Enroute we will have the option of a visit to Olduvai Gorge, known as the cradle of civilisation (time permitting), or a visit to a Masai village to learn a little more about these unique and intriguing people. From here we travel up to Ngorongoro craters edge for our campsite for the evening. We suggest you pack your winter woollies as it can get very cold on the rim of the crater during night times.
For those taking the one night/two day option you will be collected from Arusha in the afternoon and transferred to the town of Karatu for the evening. (B,L,D)
DAY 19: Ngorongoro Crater to Arusha
Ngorongoro Crater with its 600 metre walls and 20 kilometre width is a natural wonder, and offers a spectacular view from the rim. The true size of this caldera is only appreciated from the floor itself and the abundance of its animal inhabitants becomes apparent. It is home to nearly every species of African animal and offers a chance to view an incredible concentration of East African mammals, such as elephant, rhino, buffalo, hippo, lion, and plain’s game. After spending the full morning in the crater you will return to the campsite near Arusha for another night. Both optional excursions will follow the same schedule today. (B,L,D)
DAY 20: Arusha to Namanga
After a leisurely morning start and the chance to explore the snake exhibits at our campsite in Arusha we will take some time in Arusha for our last Tanzanian stop. Explore the craft markets in town or stop at the bakery for a local coffee. Lunch will be just outside town as we head the last 120 kms north to the Tanzania/Kenya border town of Namanga. After completing formalities we will camp at Namangaon the Kenyan side of the border. (B,L,D)
DAY 21: Namanga to Nairobi
This morning we travel the final 180 kms north to the capital city, Nairobi, arriving in the morning. On arrival in Nairobi, the truck will proceed to the Boulevard Hotel to allow passengers to disembark there, and will then drive to our campsite to overnight. (B)
DAY 22: Nairobi to Masai Mara game Reserve
We will depart from the Boulevard Hotel and leave the hustle and bustle of Nairobi and climb the escarpment to our first viewpoint stop over looking the Great African Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift valley we enter Masai land, and these habitual pastoralists are seen quite regularly on the side of the road as they tend their cattle. We will arrive at our campsite – Acacia Camp - early evening in time to enjoy sunset on the Masai Mara. (L, D)
DAY 23: Masai Mara
Game drives through the Mara find us looking for the infamous big 5 as well as giving us the opportunity to see this ‘ garden of Eden’ in a state nature intended it to be, huge plains, rolling hills and an abundance of game matched no where else on earth. Elephant, lion, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck just to name a few of the animal that inhabit this wonderland. Sitting around a campfire and watching the sunset is the perfect way to finish a day’s game viewing in the Mara. (B, L, D)
DAY 24: Masai Mara to Nakuru
Departing the Masai Mara early we will pass through the third largest town in Kenya, Nakuru, where we will stop for the night to re supply and shop. (B, L, D)
DAY 25: Nakuru to Kampala
Today, we cross the border into Uganda and travel via the lakeside town of Jinja (the Source of the Nile) before reaching Kampala, Uganda's capital, for an overnight stay. 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 covered Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semi-desert parts of the north facing the border of Sudan.
The political instability that haunted Uganda over a period of years has 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 regain Uganda's former glory 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. (B, L, D)
DAYS 26 & 27: Kampala to Kisoro
After an early morning departure from Kampala we drive further west on into the depths of Uganda and arrive at our base in Kisoro. (B, L, D)
From our Kisoro base, depending on where the gorilla permits are available, and where the gorillas are located, we will be viewing them in either the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the DRC or at Ruhengeri in Rwanda. Due to the nature of the gorillas and their habits, viewing cannot be guaranteed. The gorillas themselves can tend to move around the locality quite a distance and the trek can be quite arduous. The cost to trek the gorillas differs from park to park and can range from US$275 to US$375, per 1 hour viewing. There is usually a park entry fee as well of approx. US$15. There is also a cost for the local transport to take you to & from the starting point to trek the gorillas. This cost is normally US$10 to US$15 per person. Please note that Africa Travel Co is not in control of the price of gorilla permits and thereforee cannot be held responsible for any increases in fees levied by the relevant authorities. National parks usually allow clients who fail to see the gorillas, a second chance to re-trek the next day if time and availability allows or they may refund your trekking fee.
This is purely at their discretion. Although this is the general situation, the respective National Parks authorities will not put this in writing to any tour operator. Again the respective park authorities say that you are paying to trek the gorillas, not view them. Africa Travel Co is considered to be the main tour operator within the overland industry and we have a very high success rate of getting in and actually seeing these magnificent animals.
Please note: This is an optional excursion and visas to the DRC and Rwanda can be obtained at the border.
The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei) of whom only about 600 still exist, is one of our closest living relatives, yet ironically, it is mankind that poses the greatest threat to its survival. To visit these noble creatures in there own environment is an experience you will never forget. Accompanied by a park guide and a bush cutter, we track these gorillas through the rain forest. The gorilla families have been habituated to tourists and their whereabouts are monitored daily by the guides and park officials.
It may be necessary to trek for quite a while through the dense forest vegetation (up to 5 hrs) in order to reach the family designated for your visit.
As gorillas are sensitive to human diseases, the park authorities will not allow anyone they consider to be in poor health to visit the gorilla groups and children under 15 years of age are not allowed to visit.
You need not feel that you are exploiting these animals - for years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as souvenir ashtrays and lampshades. In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. As a result, the ever-growing number of tourists to see them is an important factor in their survival. The gorilla fees help to set up and finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares.
DAY 28: Kisoro to Lake Bunyoni
A short drive through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa brings us to lake Bunyoni. Lake Bunyoni is the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and is home to a large number of bird and fish species as well as otters. (B, L, D)
DAY 29: Lake Bunyoni
Today we have the whole day at leisure to enjoy the beauty of Lake Bunyoni. There is the option to swim, visit the local villages or just sit back, relax and enjoy the tranquil surrounds. A well deserved rest day! (B, L, D)
DAY 30: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala
After enjoying the peaceful surrounds of Lake Bunyoni we drive to Kampala for another overnight stay, and perhaps the chance to sample the nightlife. Today we will cross the equator for the second time and there will be ample opportunity for photos at the Equator crossing. (B, L, D)
DAY 31: Kampala to Jinja
Today we have the option to either white water raft the Nile or visit Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary. For the adventurous, you will be collected from Kampala and transferred to Jinja where you will experience some of the best white water rafting in Africa. For the less adventurous, you will have the morning at leisure or the option to take a full day excursion to visit Ngamba Chimp Sanctuary before our departure to Jinja.
Our overnight camp is right on the edge of the Nile River where there is an abundance of resident bird life & some truly amazing photo opportunities from right outside your tent! (B, L, D)
DAY 32: Jinja to Nakuru
Today will be a full day driving back towards Kenya, we will cross the border before lunch and stop for supplies en route. Tonight we will overnight again in Nakuru. (B,L,D)
DAY 33: Lake Nakuru National Park
Today we move onto Lake Nakuru National Park, famous for the thousands of flamingo that inhabits the Lake's edge. The numbers vary depending on the level of the lake, and are more numerous when the water level is low. The Park has also been established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are frequently seen in the Park, along with buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, various antelope, leopard and the occasional hippo. After entering the park in the morning we will spend the rest of the day game driving before we overnight at one of the campsites within the Park. (B, L, D)
DAY 34: Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha
Moving further east, we drive to Lake Naivasha where we make camp in peaceful surroundings beside the lake. The highest of the Rift Valley lakes, Naivasha lies at about 1880m again the lake is home to a multitude of bird life, pride of place must go to the African Fish Eagle. The afternoon is spent at leisure here and you have the opportunity (time permitting) to enjoy some optional excursions, such as a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary, Hell's Gate National Park or Elsamere, the retirement home of Joy Adamson ("Born Free"). (B, L, D)
DAY 35: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi
After breakfast, we leave Naivasha and return to Nairobi, arriving in the early afternoon. The truck will stop at the Boulevard Hotel for those staying there, and then continue to our campsite to finish the trip. (B)
Local Payment: US$705
Victoria Falls - National Park Entry Fee
. . .US$ 20
Victoria Falls - White Water Rafting on the Zambezi
. . .US$ 110
Victoria Falls - Bungee Jump
. . .US$ 105
Livingstone - Zambezi Sunset Dinner Cruise
. . .US$ 50
Lake Malawi - Village Walk & Meal
. . .US$ 10
Lake Malawi - Water Skiing
. . .US$ 20
Zanzibar - Accommodation
. . .US$ 30 p/p/p/n
Zanzibar - Stone Town - Spice Tour
. . .US$ 30
Arusha - 3 Day / 2 Night Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater Excursion
. . .US$410
Masai Mara - Masai Village Cultural Visit
. . .US$ 25
. . .US$375 - US$600 (depends if we trek in Uganda, Rwanda or DRC)
Kampala - Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
. . .US$ 60
Jinja -White Water Rafting on the Nile
. . .US$ 125
Jinja -Softpower Community Project
. . .US$ 25
Lake Naivasha - Elsamere High Tea
. . .US$ 10
Lake Naivasha - Crescent Island Sanctuary
. . .US$ 505
(All prices are approximate and are subject to change)
Please note: This itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road conditions, weather, political situations, and group decisions. Due to new tourism laws in some of the countries we operate in there may be a truck and crew change during the trip. All prices & Local Payments are subject to change without prior notice.
Please note that when you book this trip you are entitled to receive a free 3 day Masai Mara Safari AND our 3 day Hwange safari. The Local Payment is still applicable for both trips. This offer must be taken up when booking your main trip. Conditions apply.
Gorillas & Southern Discoverer VN35 - North Bound Price R 14,320 Local Payment U$705 START FINISH VFA NBO SUN SAT 21 Aug 11 24 Sep 11 04 Sep 11 08 Oct 11 18 Sep 11 22 Oct 11 02 Oct 11 05 Nov 11 16 Oct 11 19 Nov 11 30 Oct 11 03 Dec 11 13 Nov 11 17 Dec 11 27 Nov 11 31 Dec 11