Eastern and South African Overland Bush Tour
and Mauritius Island Resort
June 20 through August 11, 2016
June 20, 2016
Depart Houston Tx (IAH)
June 22 Arrive Addis Ababa (ADD) 7:15
Arrive Nairobi Kenya (NBO) 1:05
June 22 – 25 Fairview Hotel
Bishop Rd +25 420 288 1000
This will be an opportunity to tour the Nairobi area. This city actually has an excellent game preserve with the city. I will be sure to see the Karen Blixon museum, home of the famous author of “Out of Africa”. Other great places to visit are the Giraffe Rehabilitation facility, and the Dame Sheldricks Elephant and Rhino Orphanage.
June 25 Saturday Depart Dragoman trip
There will be a group meeting today at the Kivi Milimani Hotel at 10:00am – your tour leader will meet you at the hotel reception. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note on your arrival, as the previous day is often a traveling day for the tour leader and they will often be unable to reach the Kivi Milimani until this morning’s meeting.
Address – Kivi Milmani Hotel, Milimani Road, Nairobi.
After the group meeting, we will be met by our 6-person 4×4 jeeps that will take us on our 2-night excursion to the Maasai Mara. We will load the jeeps with our personal gear (but we will not need our camping equipment) and then head off to Maasai Mara, leaving our truck behind.
Maasai Mara National Reserve,
On arrival, we will have the chance for a short evening game drive in the Maasai Mara National Park before heading to our campsite. The Maasai Mara is an incredibly scenic area and is one of the world’s greatest places for wildlife spotting which is absolutely teeming with giraffe, buffalo, zebra, elephants, lions, cheetah, leopards, and other big game!
On both nights at the Maasai Mara, we will stay in a basic campground on the outskirts of the National Park. The campsite has set-tents and bedding, but is self-catered (we will use our kitchen equipment brought from the truck).
Day 2: Maasai Mara National Reserve
Today we will go out for the full day game driving in the National Park before returning to our campsite for a second night.
Tonight we will stay at the same campsite on the outskirts of the Maasai Mara.
Today we will have a final game drive in the Maasai Mara in the early morning, before heading back to Nairobi and our campsite in Karen, arriving at about 4:00pm or 5:00pm. This is where we will meet our overland truck and start using the truck’s camping equipment.
June 28 Tuesday
Day 4: Arusha, Tanzania
Border Information: Exit Kenya at Namanga, enter Tanzania at Namanga.
We will have an early start to beat the Nairobi traffic and head south to cross the border into Tanzania. We will go to the town of Arusha, where we will stop for food shopping in preparation for our excursion to the Serengeti National Park.
We will then head to our campsite on the outskirts of Arusha. On arrival we should have time to go on an optional walk to a nearby Maasai village, or visit a reptile house and snake-bite clinic that are run by the campsite. We will also prepare and re-pack for the Serengeti excursion starting the following day.
Tonight we stay in a well equipped campsite.
Day 5: Serengeti National Park Tanzani
Today we will be met at the campsite by our fleet of 6-person 4×4 jeeps – we will load the jeeps with our camping and personal gear, and then head out for our 3-day excursion to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, leaving our truck behind.
Today will be a full drive along the rim of the Ngoronogoro Crater (stopping to take in the awe-inspiring views!) and then down into the plains of the Serengeti. We will take an evening game drive around the savannah before heading to our campsite – the area is one of the world’s premier spot for wildlife viewing and we hope to able to find elephants, lions, leopards, giraffe and other big game during our time here!
Tonight we will stay at a campsite within the Serengeti National Park. The camp where we stay is very basic (with showers and flush toilets, but no other facilities) but is located right in the middle of the plains, surrounded by animals and their nocturnal noises! Your leader will outline the basic safety rules to be followed when camping in an unfenced location where wild animals are present.
About Serengeti National Park:
The wide open plains of the Serengeti, green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season and home to thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators, is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa. Flat and rolling with long grasses, the plains get its name from the Masai word siringitu, “the place where the land moves on forever”. Game viewing in the Serengeti is amazing and as you camp out at night, don’t be surprised to hear lions in the distance as you recount your amazing sightings from during the day. In normal circumstances we would expect to see the Big 5 during our stay in the Serengeti. The Serengeti Plains usually live up to every-one’s expectations. This is the classic East African scenery of rolling grasslands is dotted with Acacia trees.
Day 6: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater
Today we will get up very early and we set off in our jeeps for an early morning game drive in the heart of the Serengeti plains. The early morning is the best time of day for wildlife viewing, as many of the animals are at their most active while it is still cool.
We will head back through the conservation area to our second campsite, on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, where we will arrive in the early evening.
Again, the campsite tonight is very basic and unfenced. It can often be quite cold on the crater rim so it is recommended that you take some warm clothes for this night.
About Ngorongoro Crater: The Ngorongoro Crater is a huge caldera – a volcano which collapsed in an immense explosion. It measures 19km in diameter and 265km² in area. On our trips we make the most of our safari in the crater, spending between four and five hours exploring the area which is sometimes called the “Garden of Eden”. There is an excellent chance of spotting many of the Big Five, not to mention many other species.
Day 7: Mto Wa Mbu, Ngorongoro Crater ( Fri 01 Jul )
This morning we will have another early start to descend into the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater for a morning game drive. This is the best chance on the excursion to spot black rhinos as well as a myriad of other big game.
We will spend as long as our entry tickets allow in the Ngorongoro Crater before departing, which will usually give us about 3-4 hours of game driving. We will then be dropped off at our next campsite in the small town of Mto Wa Mbu, where we are re-united with our truck.
We will have a well-deserved free afternoon to relax at our excellent campsite or to explore the town of Mto Wa Mbu. Tonight we stay at a well equipped campsite in the grounds of a good hotel.
Day 8: Mto Wa Mbu, Marangu
This morning we will go on a fantastic community walk around the town where we will see local craft workshops, learn a little about the life here, and enjoy a lunch of delicious specialities from the area.
We will set off again in our overland truck and head east to Marangu, where we have a nightstop camping in the grounds of a beautiful colonial hotel at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. We will go past the whole length of Mount Kilimanjaro where we’ll hope for clear skies and fantastic views of the mountain from the road. Tonight we will camp in the grounds of a hotel.
Day 9: Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Today we have a long travel day south to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city on the coast of the Indian Ocean. In Dar es Salaam we stay at a beautiful and well-equipped beach camp on the southern side of the bay across from the city.
In Dar es Salaam we stay at a beautiful and well-equipped beach camp on the southern side of the bay across from the city.
Day 11: Zanzibar
This morning we will head to the exotic and beautiful island of Zanzibar! We will travel on the local commuter barge from Kigamboni to the city centre of Dar es Salaam, and then take a ferry from Dar es Salaam centre to Zanzibar. The ferry is quite comfortable with airline type seats, and will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
When we reach Zanzibar, we will meet our local guide who will help us check in to our hotel in Stone Town, and then give a quick orientation of the town before we branch off and head to lunch! We will have a free afternoon to explore the atmospheric streets of the historic centre of Stone Town, with the option of meeting for sunset drinks at Africa House and heading out to the night markets for a local dinner.
In Stone Town we will stay in a good local hotel.
Day 12 to 13: Zanzibar
On our second day on Zanzibar we will join our local guide for a very interesting and informative tour around the sights of Stone Town and learn about the history of the island. We will then head away from town and take in a tour of a spice plantation, enjoy a local lunch with our guide, then head to Nungwi beach at the very north of the island. Nungwi is the Indian Ocean at its best – bright white sand, sparkling blue sea outstanding seafood and a fantastic chilled atmosphere.
On our third day on Zanzibar, we will have free time to enjoy Nungwi beach and relax, or to try snorkeling, diving, or other beach activities, or maybe go further afield looking for Red Colobus monkeys in the Jozano Forest.
Day 14: Dar Es Salaam
Today we will return to Stone Town and take the return ferry to Dar es Salaam, where we return to our campsite on the south side of the bay. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax at the campsite.
Day 15: Mikumi, Iringa
We have a couple of big drives ahead of us to reach Malawi, starting with a journey out of Dar es Salaam and through the hills of the Mikumi National Park. Mikumi National Park is situated at the foot of the thickly wooded Uluguru Mountains and is home to large herds of elephant, buffalo and giraffe, as well as lions and leopards. It is Tanzania’s third largest national park and we spend a couple of hours traveling through the park on the main route to and from Southern Tanzania. Although we do not make an off-road safari into the depths of the park on our trips, we usually still see a good selection of wildlife here as we pass by along the way.
Day 16: Chitimba, Malawi
Border Information: Exit Tanzania at Songwe, enter Malawi at Songwe.
Today is another travel day as we cross the southern highlands of Tanzania and enter Malawi, arriving at the beaches of Chitimba on the north-western shores of Lake Malawi.In Chitimba we will stay in a beautiful campsite on the beach.
Chitimba is a small village with long, white beaches and clear waters, which make it a great place to relax. On the shores of Lake Malawi, there is some amazing scenery and many places to hike
Day 17 to 18: Kande, Chitimba
This morning, depending on the preferences of the group, we may have to chance for a short village walk or a woodcarving lesson in Chitimba. We will then continue south along the coast of Lake Malawi to Kande beach, a beautiful spot on the lake shore.
Kande sits on the coast of Lake Malawi and is a half way point from the towns of Bandawe and Mphoza. Less than 2 miles from the village lies Kande beach, a great spot to kick back an relax. This is also a great place for water sports, you can hire pedalos, snorkeling sets and canoe and the clear waters make it perfect for exploring. As well as chilling on the beach and participating in the many optional water activites on offer, make sure you take the opportunity to meet some local Malawians, easily some of the friendliest in Africa.
On the next day, we have a free day on Kande beach to relax or to get involved in some of the activities available here – there are water sports on the lake, horse riding through the forests and on the beaches, and village walks to see a little bit of the life of the local Tonga people. In Kande we will stay in a well-equipped campsite.
Day 19: Lilongwe
Today we will head to the Malawian capital of Lilongwe. Hopefully we will arrive by mid-afternoon so that we have the chance to explore the city, its markets and its shops.
Day 20 to 21: South Luangwa National Park
Border Information: Exit Malawi at Mchinji, enter Zambia at Mchinji
Today our journey continues across the Zambian border to the stunning South Luangwa National Park, where we will stay for 2 nights.
South Luangwa National Park:
For scenery and variety of animals, South Luangwa (area of 9050sq kilometre) is probably the best park in Zambia to see hippos and crocodiles – the Luangwa River has vast numbers of them. There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species. The plains beside the river are populated with many kinds of buck, kudu, Thompson’s gazelle and red lechwe, unique to Zambia. Luangwa is also home to the Thornicroft giraffe not found elsewhere. The park is also renowned for its large elephant population.
We will have an included early morning game drive and an included evening game drive, both in open-sided safari vehicles. South Luangwa National Park is a hidden gem on the safari circuit; it is rarely visited due to its remote setting, but has some incredible populations of wildlife and is one of the only parks in Southern Africa that is open for night driving with spotlights when many of the big game is at its most active.
While we are staying in South Luangwa National Park, we have the chance organise an optional visit to Kawaza Village to experience rural life in Zambia. Kawaza is a social centre for many of the surrounding smaller villages and is situated about 10 Kms. from the national park. As far back as 1997, it has been the centre of a community tourism project. The local villagers of Kawaza genuinely want to share their culture with the visitors, so that they see, not only wildlife, but also the local life of the people who live in the area. Usually we will take part in or watch one of the village’s two dancing groups. Normally the women’s group will perform local dances and stories and discuss everyday life in rural Zambia. They are very keen for their guests to join in and they will cook a traditional Kunda midday meal for us. The Kunda, who live throughout the Luangwa Valley have been here for thousands of years. Like all traditional farming and hunting communities in this part of Africa, they have suffered over the past years with diminishing resources. National Parks may preserve the wildlife but generally, they do not benefit local people and often there is a conflict of interest between the two. At Kawaza, the villagers are now benefiting directly from our visits and have a stake in the local tourist infrastructure. Initially all profits went to the whole community, but over the years profits have gone to fund school supplies, books, a water pump, local medicines and services for the communities sick. Each year the village decides what is to be done with the money.
Day 22: Luangwa River
Today we have a full day drive towards the Lower Zambezi area.
Tonight we will stay in a well-equipped campsite at the Bridge over the River Luangwa.
Day 23: Lower Zambezi Area
Today we drive to our campsite on the banks of the Lower Zambezi.
Tonight we will meet our guides who will take us on our two-day canoeing expedition on the Lower Zambezi on the following day. They will give us a full briefing about the canoeing trip tonight.
About Lower Zambezi Area:
The Zambezi Valley has been known outside of Africa for thousands of years. Legends suggest that the kingdoms of Hiram, Solomon and Sheba were enriched by the gold and ivory of Ophir – supposedly part of present day Zimbabwe. The Zambezi was one of the gateways to the ancient treasure trove. More recent history records some of the explorations of hunters, missionaries and slave traders along this part of the Zambezi River.
Beyond Kariba Gorge, the Zambezi River flows through a wide and game-rich floodplain hemmed in by towering escarpments in both Zimbabwe and Zambia.
July 18 and July 19
Day 24 to 25: Lower Zambezi Area
Today we head out on our 2-day/2-night canoeing trip on the Lower Zambezi river. This is a fully participatory expedition – everyone will pair up, go out in 2-person canoes and paddle themselves, following the lead boat! Everyone also gets involved in setting up the camps and cooking. All of our gear will be carried in a supply canoe, and wild camps are erected on islands in the river along the way. This is a fantastic way to see the river, the scenery and some of the wildlife in the area!
Day 26: Livingstone
After breakfast, we have an early morning transfer from our second island wild camp on a fast barge back to the truck, and then continue our journey to Livingstone, on the Zambian side of the world-famous Victoria Falls. In Livingstone we will stay in a well equipped campsite.
When you arrive in Livingstone and you will have arrived in one of the friendliest places in Zambia. This lively historic town is located right on the border with Zimbabwe and is the gateway to the magnificent Victoria Falls, situated just a short distance further up-river.
The falls themselves are an enormous curtain of water about a mile wide, falling 108m into a narrow chasm below. In the wet season, the spray created can rise an incredible 400m, the falls create an impressive raging torrent and the spray can be seen from miles away. The locals call the falls “Mosi oa Tunya” which means “smoke that thunders”, a good description of this magnificent sight. In the dry season the view of the falls is less obstructed by spray and it’s also possible to see the little islets in the river below.
Day 27: Victoria Falls
Border Information: Exit Zambia at Victoria Falls, enter Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls.
Today we cross the border to Zimbabwe and to the world famous Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls in Africa!
Upon arrival in Victoria Falls we will go for a briefing for possible optional adventure activities, then we will have an included visit to the main viewpoints over the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls. In Victoria Falls we will stay in a well equipped campsite.
Day 28: Victoria Falls
Border Information: We will leave Zambia at Victoria Falls and cross into Zimbabwe
Today is a free day to take advantage of the vast array of adventure activities on offer in the area. If you are interested in a full day of activities here, we advise that you don’t book a flight out earlier than 6:00pm, or just aim to stay an extra night, in order to give yourself enough time to do so.
Today Cindy joins me in Victoria Falls!
We will stay at the Cresta Sprayview Hotel Vic Falls ZW
July 23 to July 26
Day 29 to 32 Nehimba Safari Camp in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Today we will transfer to a safari camp deep in the Hwange National Park. Hwange National Park at 14,651 sq km is the largest National Park in Zimbabwe and one of Africa’s great parks. It was granted Game reserve status in 1928 and proclaimed a National Park in 1961.
Hwange’s waterholes are famous and during the dry season months from June to November all of our wildlife including our magnificent elephant flock to them in a daily cycle that runs from morning until well into the night. Whether you enjoy the spectacle sitting under a tree, or on one of our all day Pump Runs or from our signature underground Look Up blinds, the photography options are endless.
July 26, 27
Day 33, 34 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Staying at The Kingdom at Victoria Falls Hotel on the banks of the Zambezi river. A couple of days to see the falls and town.
Day 35 Johannesburg SA
Today is a travel day. We move from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg to begin our next adventure.
BA6292 Livingston to Johannesburg 13:30 – 15:15 JNB
Day 36 – 39 Cheetah Plains Safari Camp
July 29 – August 2
Cheetah Plains Safari Camp in the Sabi Sands next to the Kruger National Park South Africa. The Sabi river runs through this private game preserve adjacent to Kruger Nation Park. There are no fences across the park and the animals may roam freely.
An early morning wake-up call is followed by a journey through the magic of the African sunrise. Bushveld inhabitants will also be waking up for the day, or settling down to laze in the shade after a hard night’s hunting.
An experienced field guide will take you through the reserve in specially equipped game drive vehicles to make the most of the finest game viewing opportunities. Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Antelope and more will be spotted among the gorgeous thorn and Marula trees.
Early mornings are an ideal time to watch Africa’s magnificent animals in their natural habitat, birds and mammals are out at this time of day to gather food and drink water. You will stop for tea, coffee and rusks during your morning drive.
Day 40 Travel day back to Johannesburg via shuttle across South Africa
Day 41 Travel Day transfer from Johannesburg to the Island Paradise of Mauritius
South African Air flight 192
August 3, 4, 5 6, 7
Day 41 – 45
Island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. An island of renowned beauty and world-famous beaches. We will stay on the Mon Choisy Beach.
Hotel in Mauritius: Mon Choisy Beach Resort
Travel day return to Johannesburg and then on to Cape Town
South African Airways flight 7110
Flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town
August 7, 8 ,9
Day 45-48 Cape Town, South Africa
Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel
August 10, 11
Houston via Cape Town and Johannesburg JNB South Africa