Johannesburg to Kenya


Marvel at the crashing white water of Victoria Falls, cruise the sprawling Okavango Delta and stake out natural waterholes in the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. This 37-day adventure is your ticket to diverse offerings and immersive experiences throughout Africa. Witness Ngorongoro Crater and the big cats of the Serengeti. Travel through verdant national parks and remote highland villages. Come face-to-face with wild animals and explore landscapes rich in natural beauty on this memorable journey across Africa’s south to the eastern plains.

37 days, from

$5,703

per person

GROUP SIZE

22 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: UBOAC
Style: Basix
Theme: Overland

Details

Countries Visited:  Botswana Kenya Malawi South Africa Tanzania, United Republic Of Zambia Zimbabwe
Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (22 nights), Bush camp (no facilities) (2 nights), Hotel (2 night), Bunglow (2 nights), Camping (with basic facilities) (4 nights)
Transportation: Overland vehicle , 4x4 Safari Vehicle , Ferry , Mokoro
Included Meals:

  • 35 breakfasts
  • 23 lunches
  • 29 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 22

  • Protect the wilderness you came to explore by visiting the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, the only place left in Botswana where both black and white rhinos reside.

  • Camping on a remote island in the heart of the Okavango wilderness is an experience you’ll never forget. As night falls, listen to the sounds of the bush coming alive.

  • Go wildlife-spotting along the river in Chobe National Park, home of the world's highest concentration of African elephants.

  • Discover the magic of South Luangwa National Park, a highly concentrated arena of noble beasts and exotic wildflowers, on a game drive at dawn.

  • Get incredible views over the great plains of Tanzania after a hike to Irente viewpoint in the Usambara Mountains.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Johannesburg

Sawubona – welcome to South Africa! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, get out and explore Johannesburg; the country’s largest city. Perhaps visit the cultural hotspots of Newtown, Braamfontein or Maboneng. Otherwise, the sobering Apartheid Museum is well worth your time. After your important meeting this evening, why not head out for an optional group dinner and get to know your newfound travel crew – your local leader will point you in the right direction with bar and restaurant recommendations.

Day 2: Khama Rhino Sanctuary

Leaving South Africa behind, cross the border into Botswana and travel towards the Khama Rhino Sanctuary (approximately 8–10 hours). Situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, the Khama Rhino Sanctuary has drastically changed from a former hunting area to a conservation project. Built to protect Botswana's only remaining populations of both black and white rhinos, the sanctuary is also home to other wildlife including zebras, giraffes, leopards, ostriches and wildebeest, all of which can be seen grazing the many waterholes. Visiting this project benefits local communities and directly contributes to protecting the endangered white rhinoceros. Later on, head out on a dusk game drive to see the rhinos when they are most active.

Day 3: Maun

Jump aboard your vehicle and head to Maun (approximately 8–9 hours). Here there will be an opportunity to stock up on any supplies you might need for your adventure ahead. Maun is the gateway to one of the world's most complex ecosystems, the Okavango Delta. This place is unlike anything in the world – a 16,000 square kilometre maze of lush wetlands and waterways teeming with wildlife. You might see hippos, crocodiles, elephants and big cats, but it's the animals aren’t the only drawcard here – the waterscapes and shimmering horizons will have you gazing for days.

Day 4: Okavango Delta

Get right in the action today, jumping aboard a traditional mokoro – a dugout canoe steered by friendly local 'polers' – for an Okavango waterways experience. With some luck, you could spot some of the delta's unusual wildlife and exotic birdlife. Spend some time today exploring the maze of lagoons, lakes and streams on foot too, led by experienced local guides. Tonight, you’ll camp on a remote island right in the heart of the wilderness, falling asleep to the humming and buzzing of the African heartlands.

Day 5: Okavango Delta

Wake up early and head out on a sunrise walk. Along the way, keep watch for elephants, and if the timing is right, you might also come across some Cape buffalo! These noble-looking beasts are more dangerous than they look, and their horns double as a kind of bone shield that's fittingly known as a 'boss'. Returning to camp for breakfast, you’ve got the rest of the day to relax. A refreshing swim, or perhaps a nap, could be on the cards – both good ideas in the warmer part of the day. Alternatively, take another mokoro trip to soak up that serene river atmosphere.

Day 6: Maun

After taking down your camp, return to the ‘poler’ station by mokoro, before continuing your Lonely Planet Experience to Maun by vehicle (approximately 2–3 hours). Today you'll visit a rural village and interact with some of the locals, providing insight into daily life along the Okavango Delta. The waterways are the lifeblood of so many in this area, so learn more from locals about how important these fertile lands are. Tonight, settle in at camp on the outskirts of town.

Day 7: Nata

Get up early and hit the road for Nata (approximately 6–7 hours). This small town is situated near the stunning Makgadikgadi Salt Pans which are some of the largest on earth, covering around 12,000 square kilometres. This afternoon, take the opportunity to explore the salt pans in an open vehicle. They are naturally dry and salty for a large part of the year, and during this time, the arid landscape has an eerie feel to it as the shimmering mirages disorientate the senses. At other times they take on a layer of grass and, as soon as the rains hit, become a refuge for migratory birds and animals.

Day 8: Chobe National Park

Hit the road to Chobe National Park (approximately 6–7 hours). Botswana's first national park is perhaps best known for its high concentration of elephants, which can often be seen swimming in the Chobe River. The river also attracts wallowing hippos, a variety of birdlife, crocodiles sunning themselves by the water's edge, and cheetahs and lions coming down to drink. Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Chobe – an ideal way to spend the afternoon and toast to another day in Africa.

Day 9: Victoria Falls

Why not wake up early and see Chobe National Park from a different perspective, booking yourself in on an optional morning game drive. Afterwards, travel on to Victoria Falls (approximately 2–3 hours), crossing the border into Zimbabwe just in time to have lunch on the banks of the Zambezi River. Then it's free time to experience the sights and sounds of the mighty falls. This thundering curtain of water is about 1.7 kilometres wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise an incredible 400 metres as the falls become a raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see the little islets in the river below.

Day 10: Victoria Falls

Today is a free day to enjoy the many activities on offer. If you are interested in the optional helicopter flight (12 minutes or 25 minutes ) we endorse the following operator only: Zambezi Helicopter co CAA Zimbabwe. Your leader can help you arrange this.

Day 11: Victoria Falls

Use your free time to visit the magnificent Victoria Falls. This thundering curtain of water is one-and-a-half kilometres wide, falling 108 metres into a narrow gorge below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise up an incredible 400 metres and the falls become a raging torrent. In the dry season, the view of the falls is unobstructed by spray and you can see little islets in the river below. Be sure to check your Lonely Planet app for all of the hottest tips and advice on what to do in Victoria Falls, or ask your local leader for their recommendations.

Day 12: Bulawayo

Depart Victoria Falls and travel toward Bulawayo (approximately 7 hours) via the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust – one of The Intrepid Foundation’s projects. Here you can learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife, human-wildlife conflict and the trusts role in anti-poaching. There may also be a chance to meet any rescued or orphaned wildlife currently in their care. Onwards to Bulawayo – known locally as the 'City of Kings', Zimbabwe's second-largest city has an interesting history and some impeccable colonial architecture.

Day 13: Bulawayo

Perhaps get up early and take the option to go to Matobo National Park. Home to a significant population of black and white rhinoceros that can be tracked on foot, Matobo National Park is also the site of the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of Rhodesia and the De Beers diamond company. The Matopos area has great spiritual and cultural significance to the local people and there are many sites within the park where important ceremonies still take place. This optional activity is highly recommended, otherwise you could head into town to check out the local museums or take the opportunity for some down time.

Day 14: Masvingo

Drive the short stretch to Masvingo (approximately 5–6 hours). This colonial settlement – the oldest in Zimbabwe – makes for the perfect base from which to explore the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The ruined city, now a World Heritage-listed site, was first constructed in the 11th century. It's thought to be the former royal palace of the Zimbabwean monarch. Spend a few hours exploring this intriguing site before heading off to camp for the evening.

Day 15: Harare

Travel to Harare today (approximately 5–6 hours). You will arrive at your destination in time for lunch. You only have an hour or two to explore Zimbabwe's capital city, so if you're feeling active and up for a stroll, get out and make the most of it. Perhaps head to the National Gallery, the museum, the botanical gardens or simply wander the city centre and visit the colourful markets.

Day 16: Lusaka

Today you will cross into Zambia and drive to your campsite just outside Lusaka, Zambia's capital (approximately 8 hours). Your journey begins with a nice scenic drive to the border. At some point during the day there will be an opportunity to stop at an ATM and stock up on any supplies you might need at a shop or market.

Day 17: Petauke

Spend some time checking out Lusaka before a long day of travel. You'll see that it's a modern city but still retains a traditional African feel. Afterwards, travel on to Petauke (approximately 8 hours).

Day 18: South Luangwa National Park

After breakfast, travel (approximately 4 hours) to a workshop in South Luangwa where local craftswomen take snare wire recovered from poaching traps and transform it into jewellery inspired by the African bush. The women will show you around their purpose-built workshop and give you a chance to try coiling or hammering the wire yourself. For each sale made, a donation is given to anti snare patrols dedicated to the conservation of the region. Afterwards, make your way through the heartland to South Luangwa National Park (approximately 2 hours). The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River and its lagoons is among the highest in Africa. Many elephants, buffaloes, leopards, Thornicroft’s giraffes and lions are known to roam here. There are also some 400 species of birds inhabiting the area. A great way to experience South Luangwa and its beautiful scenery is to take an optional river trip – ask your group leader for more details.

Day 19: South Luangwa National Park

Rise early for an exhilarating morning game drive in a 4WD vehicle. Enjoy classic savanna scenery while keeping your eyes peeled the parks abundance of wildlife. There’s every chance you may spot a herd of zebra grazing on parched grass or a pride of lions passing by. Midday is the hottest part of the day here, so seek refuge from the sun and return to the camp for lunch. Afterwards, perhaps head out on a village walk for a snapshot of daily life in the local community. An optional game drive at night is also a good option to see wildlife when they are most active.

Day 20: Lake Malawi

Cross the border into Malawi and continue straight to your camp on the shores of Lake Malawi (approximately 9–10 hours). Malawi is dominated by its lake, which covers almost a fifth of the country and provides a livelihood for many local people. Fishermen, fish traders and canoe and net makers all ply their trade on the lake. A common sight is that of a fisherman in a bwato (a dugout canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk) fishing on the still lake at the break of day. Your campsite at Kande Beach is right on the shore, so take some time to rest and relax.

Day 21: Lake Malawi

Take a dip in the lake this morning as you head out on a snorkelling trip with a local guide. Lake Malawi's high alkalinity has resulted in an abundance of brightly coloured fish and relatively low levels of plants. What you end up with is a tropical oceanlike snorkelling experience within a landlocked freshwater lake. This afternoon, enjoy free time to soak up your idyllic surrounds. As well as chilling out on the lake’s sandy shores, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some local Malawians – easily some of the friendliest people in Africa.

Day 22: Chitimba

Drive to your camp in Chitimba (approximately 8 hours). Chitimba lies along the coast of Lake Malawi and has lovely beaches, friendly locals and a laidback atmosphere. When you arrive, perhaps take a stroll and acquaint yourself with this different part of the lake. Enjoy the scenery of banana palms, papaya trees and the Livingstonia and Nyika mountains looming nearby.

Day 23: Iringa

Today is a long travel day into Tanzania and its southern highlands (approximately 11 hours). Sit back, relax and watch as the countryside passes by. On arrival you will set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse situated on the outskirts of this pleasant settlement.

Day 24: Mikumi National Park

Wake up early this morning to head off on a 4WD game drive into Mikumi National Park with local expert guides. This less touristed park is home to impressive numbers of elephants, hippos, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, warthogs, wildebeest and impalas – and maybe even a predator or two if you're lucky! Afterwards, we'll drive to Iringa (approximately 5 hours) and set up camp on the grounds of a farmhouse on the outskirts of this pleasant settlement. The area is filled with natural bush land which can make it a bird watchers paradise. Make the most of this rural setting by doing some stargazing before you retire for the night.

Day 25: Dar es Salaam

Settle in for a 7-hour drive to Kipepeo Beach, just south of Dar es Salaam. Be sure to make the most of it – perhaps take a stroll along the shore after you arrive and settle in. Your camp today is on the grounds of a hotel situated next to the beach.

Day 26: Stone Town

Catch a ferry to Zanzibar and check into tonight’s accommodation in Zanzibar City’s Old Quarter – Stone Town. There will be an important meeting tonight where you can introduce yourself to any new folks joining your adventure and your new leader for the next part of your tour. Aside from that, your day is free! The best way to explore Stone Town is on foot. After settling in, maybe set out and have a wander through the narrow alleyways and past the market stalls, ornate doorways and stores overflowing with the city’s famous carved frames. Later, maybe head to a waterfront bar for a drink with an incredible view and a seafood curry – a must-try local specialty.

Day 27: Zanzibar Northern Beaches

Once checked out of your Stone Town accommodation, consider booking in to an optional guided tour of the island's spice plantations, learning all about the history of this town's spice trade. You will have the opportunity to smell and taste various spices, such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, plus sample some teas made with these spices too. After lunch, head to the Northern Beaches, where white sands and sparkling blue seas await. This is the Indian Ocean at its best.

Day 28: Zanzibar Northern Beaches

Enjoy free time in this beautiful archipelago today. There are many ways you can spend your day – perhaps talk to your leader for any recommendations they might have. Snorkelling in search of exotic fish is an excellent option, or you could take a traditional dhow boat on the water. You might also like to feast on a sumptuous lunch of grilled local seafood, or just relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book. It's totally up to you!

Day 29: Bagamoyo

Catch the midday ferry to Dar es Salaam with your leader and group. Then you will join your overland crew and make the short drive to your beach camp in Bagamoyo.

Day 30: Usambara Mountains

If you wake early, you can make an optional excursion to the historical slave trade markets that once operated in Bagamoyo. After that visiting that sombre but important site (if you choose) it’s time to travel into the remote Usambara Mountains (approximately 7 hours). This unspoilt area of Tanzania attracts very few tourists, making it the perfect place for a Lonely Planet Experience. The forests stretch across the mountains and are ideal for easy hikes and guided walks. You base is the old German colony of Lushoto, where you’ll stay on the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa.

Day 31: Usambara Mountains

Today, explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains and experience this area’s gentle hospitality on a visit to some of its small communities. From your base, hike to the gorgeous Irente viewpoint. It's best to pack some water and snacks in a day pack for this trip. On your way back, visit a local cultural project based at Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Day 32: Arusha

Get ready for is a full day of travel as you board your truck once again and venture towards Tanzania’s national parks. Your destination is the sprawling gateway town of Arusha, approximately 10 hours’ drive. Arrive at your campsite on the outskirts of the town and settle in for the evening.

Day 33: Karatu

After breakfast head to Karatu, the gateway to the Ngorongoro Crater. Here we'll enjoy a hike through the Ngorongoro Reserve Forest to Elephant Caves and Endoro waterfalls along the way. Rich with calcium, the Elephant Caves got their name as elephants would come here and break off pieces of rock, eating the dust to receive important mineral.Today's trek, accompanied by an expert local guide and armed ranger, is the perfect way to stretch your legs after a few days of overland travel. You'll hike through Ngorongoro rainforest as your local guide explains the ins and outs of the area here and points out interesting animal tracks and footprints. Marvel at the wild landscape and spot beautiful birdlife as you walk.

Day 34: Ngorongoro Crater / Serengeti National Park

Get up early, put your camping and personal gear into a six-person jeep and head out for an excursion into the Serengeti via the Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy a safari in the crater, spending between 3–4 hours exploring this perfectly intact volcanic crater. Watch for black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. Next, move on to the open plains of the Serengeti. Green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season, this is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa – the home of thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators. Your campsite is within the Serengeti itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep.

Day 35: Serengeti National Park

Wake at dawn and embark on a game drive. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then go back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. After spending the middle of the day relaxing, just like the animals do, head out again as the day begins to cool. You'll return from this second game drive in time for dinner. There's also the option today of a balloon ride over the park (in place of a portion of the morning game drive). If you have pre-booked this activity you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, which provides amazing photo opportunities. After landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast, then be returned to your camp.

Day 36: Mto wa Mbu

Rise with the sun and enjoy another game drive as you exit the Serengeti and head for Mto wa Mbu. On arrival, you will learn how to prepare a Swahili dish and enjoy a crafting session with local women.Learn about the farmer and artisan co-op that operates at the local market. Enjoy your food creations for lunch.

Day 37: Nairobi

Set off early and cross the Kenyan border then continue to Nairobi (approximately 9–10 hours). You'll be dropped at the finishing point hotel in Nairobi where your trip ends on arrival. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but this can be arranged when you book this trip (subject to availability). You can also choose to finish your trip in Arusha this morning if you wish.