32 day Northern Safari. Johannesburg to Nairobi


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This budget African safari tour starts in Johannesburg, travels north through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, and ends in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Pre-departure meeting: 17:00pm the day before at the departure point
  • Departure point: Johannesburg, Backpackers Ritz, 1A North Road, Dunkeld West
  • Check-in: 08:45am
  • Departure: 09:30am
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Group size: Max 30 passengers
  • Safari vehicle: Overland truck

Please note that this budget African safari tour operates in both directions.


Day 1: Johannesburg to Hazyview, South Africa

Your South Africa tour starts by departing Johannesburg. You head towards the Lowveld and the very famous Kruger National Park, your camp for the next two nights, situated just 8km from Kruger Parks Numbi Gate. Spoilt with a swimming pool and good hot showers you spend the evening around the campfire anticipating your game drive tomorrow. Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 2: Kruger National Park, South Africa

Today you explore the wonders of Kruger National Park. This is one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world. Covering an area of 21, 497 sq km - 60km wide and over 350km long, this conservation area has more than 500 bird species, 114 reptile, 49 fish, 33 amphibians, 146 mammals and over 23000 plant species have been recorded.

Today is spent in the Park on a full day game drive to see how many of the species can be found. Tonight there is an option of a night drive in the park. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 3: Hazyview to Graskop, South Africa

After a quick replenishing of your stocks you leave the Lowveld, climbing up in altitude to the beautiful town of Graskop, it is from this gateway that you get to explore the beauties of Mpumulanga, known for some of the best landscape in South Africa. Your stops for the day include the ever striking Blyde River Canyon and Gods Window.

There is a chance to view the Canyon from the many viewpoints, which offers fantastic photographic opportunities. We then set up camp on lush green grass and enjoy the luxuries of a swimming pool with the most amazing view. For those in a party mood the small town of Graskops nightlife is something to be indulged in. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 4: Graskop to Messina, South Africa

A long yet lovely days drive on day 4 of your South Africa tour as you head up north toward Zimbabwe, this is your chance to sit back, relax and enjoy the ever changing scenery, tonight is your last night in beautiful South Africa in a town called Messina - said to be one of the hottest areas in South Africa.

Years back this was a flourishing copper mining area, but with the mines closing down in the early 1990's it tumbled into the darkness of a small quiet ghost town. With the discovery of diamonds it has again once flourished into its former self, and now a sphere filled with history. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 5: Messina to Masivingo, Zimbabwe

Leaving South Africa we enter Zimbabwe a country of tradition, culture, soul and a lot of scenic beauty. You make your way to the town of Masivingo, which lies in the outskirts of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. Great Zimbabwe was the greatest medieval city in sub-Sahara and provides evidence that an ancient African civilization reached a very high level of civilization.

The name Zimbabwe is derived from the Shona word meaning great stone houses. The grand setting and history soaked walls certainly qualify as one of the highlights of your trip. You will have the time to wander around this ancient wonderland before setting up camp for your first night in Zimbabwe. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 6: Masivingo to Gweru, Zimbabwe

Once you have finished exploring this historic area you continue your journey to Gweru, situated in the Zimbabwe Midlands. Here you stop over at The Antelope Park. People say you have not been to Zimbabwe until you have visited the Victoria Falls and The Antelope Park.

Here you have the opportunity to partake in an incredible experience unique to The Antelope Park -  'Walking with the lions". In addition to the Lions there is an abundance of other wildlife species in the park such as Elephants, Giraffe, Zebra, wildebeest and over 150 bird species. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 7: Gweru - Antelope Park, Zimbabwe

Today is spent as leisure with a variety of activities to enthral you. From walking with Lions, Elephant riding, swimming on the majestic Elephant, to trying your hand at fishing the list is endless. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 8: Gweru to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Bulawayo is the second largest city in Zimbabwe with a laid back atmosphere. It is noted for the exceptionally wide streets, which were originally designed to allow space for a full span ox wagon. The city is still characterised by the many old British colonial buildings, maintained by the Bulawayo City Council as heritage sites.

There are a number of interesting places to visit in Bulawayo such as The natural History Museum, the National Arts Gallery and the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, providing work for over 70 people. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 9: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Today you take in Matobo National Park. The park is one of the last strongholds of both Black and White Rhino, and the region is renowned for it's high concentration of Leopards and Black Eagle. There are numerous caves and rock painting which once again is evidence of the ancient San inhabitants of this area.

Cecil Rhodes (after whom Rhodesia was named) is buried here at his own request, but there is some controversy over whether he will stay! You spend time game driving through the park giving you an insight into the unique geological, ecological and historical environment. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 10: Bulawayo to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Heading north you make your way to the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world. Victoria Falls is one of the memorable sights on your African safari.  There are many activities available all year round such as, flights can be taken which gives you a panoramic view of the Falls, Batoka Gorge and the islands above the falls.

Back on the ground, the Falls can be seen from the Victoria Falls 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 'floats" where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.

Bungee jumping enthusiasts can take the plunge from the Zambezi Bridge, which connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The leap into the Batoka Gorge is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Other optional activities around Victoria Falls include day trips into the Zambezi National Park, horse riding safaris, a visit to the Crocodile Ranch, Snake Park, golf at Elephant Hills Hotel, parachuting, the Falls Craft Village and the Sunset Cruise.

You suggest you allow yourself a few days after your safari if you wish to partake in some of the many activities. You have an office situated in the heart of Victoria Falls town and your friendly staff will be more than willing to help you arrange any activities you wish to do. Breakfast, Lunch is included.

Days 11 & 12: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The next 2 days are at your own leisure to partake in activities or relax at the campsite swimming pool. You will also have some new clients joining you for the second part of the tour. Breakfast is included on both days.

Days 13 & 14: Victoria Falls to Lake Kariba, Zambia

This morning you will pack up camp and depart Victoria Falls. Exiting Zimbabwe you cross the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Zambezi River to enter into Zambia at the town of Livingstone. You head to the western waters of Lake Kariba, your 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 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. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

House Boat option 2 night / 2 day:

You board the House Boats at approximately 1pm and have lunch after you have settled yourself in. You depart the harbour at approximately 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.

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 a bit more active in the early morning wyou can 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 you do a tour of the Crocodile Farm. Dinner is prepared on the boat while you sit back and enjoy your sundowners over the lake.

Day 15: Lake Kariba to Lusaka, Zambia

After everyone has reunited you bid goodbye to Lake Kariba and you 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. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 16: Lusaka to Chipata, Zambia

From Lusaka you cross the northeastern side of Zambia, heading to a beautiful little campsite just 10kms before the Zambia/Malawi border. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Days 17 - 20: Chipata to Lake Malawi, Malawi

Leaving Zambia you cross the border into Malawi, the 'Warm Heart of Africa'. You 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.  You travel the full length of western side of lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets. 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. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 21: Lake Malawi to Iringa, Tanzania

You depart Malawi via Karonga and enter Tanzania through the border post of Songwe.  You continue your 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 you spend the night. Try one of the signature Amarula Hot chocolates! Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 22: Iringa to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The next morning you 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, you spend the night at a beach hotel/campsite that is situated to the north of the city, and prepare for your departure to Zanzibar the next morning. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 23: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar

A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes you to the 'Spice Island', where you will spend 3 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. Breakfast is included.

Please note: Accommodation can be organised for you whilst on Zanzibar, although clients usually feel the need to explore the island on their own. Therefore accommodation and food is for your own account whilst on Zanzibar.

Day 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 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 26: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Leaving Zanzibar you 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. Dinner is included.

Day 27: Dar es Salaam to Arusha, Tanzania

From Dar es Salaam you travel through the countryside with its vast sisal plantations to Arusha.  On the way you pass the Pare and Usambara Mountain ranges before driving through the town of Moshi, the base for Mt. Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions, and weather permitting, you may catch a glimpse of this magical mountain. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 28: Arusha to Serengeti National Park, Tanzania (optional)

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. You 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 you will be able to listen to the nighttime noises of the wildlife! Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 29: Serengeti National Park to Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

After a full morning game drive in the Serengeti you will return to pull down camp and head back towards the Ngorongoro. En route you 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 you travel up to Ngorongoro craters edge for your campsite for the evening. 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. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 30: Ngorongoro Crater to Arusha, Tanzania

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. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 31: Arusha to Namanga, Kenya

After a leisurely morning start and the chance to explore the snake exhibits at our campsite in Arusha you will take some time in Arusha for your 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 you head the last 120kms north to the Tanzania / Kenya border town of Namanga. After competing formalities you will camp at Namanga on the Kenyan side of the border. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is included.

Day 32: Namanga to Nairobi, Kenya

This morning you travel the final 180kms 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 your campsite to finish the trip. Breakfast is included.

Optional Excursions:

  • Night game drive in the Kruger National Park
  • Walking with Lions
  • Victoria Falls National Park
  • Kariba House Boats (2 nights)
  • Game walk on Maaze Island
  • Zanzibar accommodation
  • Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater option (3 day)
  • Ngorongoro Crater option (1 day))

Free Trip:

Please note that booking this budget African safari tour entitles you to receive a free 3 day Masai Mara Safari. The Local Payment is still applicable for this trip. This offer should be taken up when booking your main trip, so please ask your Siyabona Africa consultant for more information. Conditions apply.

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