Incorporating four amazing game reserves over ten days this trip really does highlight the best of East Africa. Lake Nakuru National Park is famous for its thousands of pink flamingos and healthy rhino populations whilst the Masai Mara National Reserve is world renowned for big five sightings. In Tanzania's Serengeti Nationla Park, the vast plains support thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle and the predators that follow in their wake, while the Ngorongoro Crater is packed with animals and offers sweeping views from its rim.
This trip begins in Nairobi, Kenya and travels through Kenya and Tanzania before ending in Nairobi, Kenya.
This trip departs from Nairobi early on Tuesday morning. Should you wish to explore Nairobi, an earlier arrival should be planned and accommodation booked through your agent or the Africa Travel Co office.
DAY 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D)
Today we head on to the Masai Mara National Reserve. We enter Masai land where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road. We pass through the town of Narok, and continue our drive possibly getting a glimpse of some wildlife along the way.
The main section of road between Nairobi and the Reserve is in a very poor state, so be prepared for a rough ride! We arrive at our campsite, Acacia Camp in the evening. Acacia Camp 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. The Reserve remains unfenced, allowing wildlife to roam freely across into the surrounding area and if they choose – through our own camp! No need to be afraid, as the local ‘Askari’ will keep a look out for any unwanted predators.
DAY 2: Masai Mara (B / L / D)
We depart shortly after sunrise on our game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. The Masai Mara is well known as one of East Africa’s best National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Most famous for the Annual Migration, that consists of the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle that 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. Following these herbivores are Africa’s predators that are often seen at a kill during this period. We 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 make call this wilderness home.
DAY 3: Masai Mara to Lake Nakuru National Park (EAMO) (B/L / D)
Leaving Masai Mara we head towards our first overnight stop in the area of Lake Nakuru National Park, where our overnight campsite will be at EAMO; East African Mission Organisation. We will have the chance to interact with the local kids as well as a chance to learn more about this wonderful organisation.
DAY 4: Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning we begin our exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park - 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. We spend the day searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, and various antelope. After our game drive, we head back to EAMO for the night.
DAY 5: Kisii/Kericho Area (B / L / D)
After breakfast we leave the Lake Nakuru area and head to Kisii/Kericho passing through the picturesque tea plantations along the way. These towns are the main commercial centres in the Gusii Highlands, where cash crops like tea and coffee thrive because of its equatorial climate. We replenish our stocks before heading for Tanzania tomorrow.
DAY 6: Musoma (B / L / D)
We depart Kenya and head south into Tanzania. After border formalities, our drive takes us through the scenic granite landscapes adjacent to Africa’s largest lake – Lake Victoria. We spend the night at a campsite on the banks of Lake Victoria in the fishing town of Musoma.
DAY 7: Serengeti National Park (B / L / D)
After stocking up on supplies for the next couple of days, we head to the Serengeti National Park, entering the park after lunch. The Serengeti (Masai for “endless plains”) is famous for its enormous concentration of game (especially the big cats) and for the annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelles. The abundance of plains game in this area is truly astounding. We enter the park through the lesser travelled western corridor and game drive en-route to our campsite in the centre of the park. Tonight we bush camp (no ablutions) in the wild surrounded by the sounds of the African bushveld, pierced only by the calls of the nocturnal wildlife. In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the landscape in search of the resident wildlife. With some luck, we may see some of Africa’s ‘Big 5’!
DAY 8: Ngorongoro Crater (B / L / D)
After an early start we pack up our camp and continue our game drive through the Serengeti National Park. We head to the southern part of the park where the have the chance to see the endless plains this park is renowned for. We cross from the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Conservation area at lunch time and begin our climb up the steep Crater edge. Tonight’s camp (basic ablutions) on the crater rim sharply contrasts the warmer plains below - we suggest you bring your winter woollies as it can get very cold at night.
DAY 9: Ngorongoro Crater to Arusha (B / L / D)
The Ngorongoro Crater with its 600 m high walls and 20 km width is a natural marvel. The Crater’s rim offers spectacular views, but the true scale of this caldera is only appreciated from the floor itself where 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 morning game driving in The Crater we continue to our campsite outside Arusha where we spend the evening musing over our thrilling wildlife experience.
DAY 10: Arusha to Nairobi (B / L)
After breakfast, we begin our journey back to Nairobi. On arrival in the late afternoon, we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
The following information is provided to assist you in preparing for your trip.
All of our trips are camping trips. They are designed with people who have an adventurous spirit in mind, who‟d like to visit East, Central and Southern Africa, but only have a limited time frame. The nature of overland travel is such that it is generally better suited to the young (and young at heart), but we do not impose an upper age limit.
We provide all cooking and camping equipment, with the exception of your sleeping bag & mat on all of our trips.
Transport is on specially converted Mercedes or MAN trucks that are completely self-sufficient - carrying all the necessary equipment, passenger's luggage, fuel, fresh water and food stocks. In addition, all Africa Travel Co. vehicles carry a range of spare parts and the driver is well versed at fixing common faults. Before each truck begins a trip it will have been thoroughly serviced and overhauled, but it is comforting to know that in the unlikely event of a breakdown the necessary spares and experience are available.
Accommodation on our trips is in two person dome tents with mosquito nets over the door and window areas, a sewn in ground sheet and a separate flysheet.
The only exceptions to the above are our NN7 Kilimanjaro Climb and our VV10 Best of Botswana that are operated by local suppliers. The accommodation & transport for these is specified in the relevant trip information.
Passengers are expected to participate in all aspects of the trip. This means pitching and dismantling your own tent and, on a roster basis, helping with the daily chores such as cooking, washing up and truck cleaning. On all of our trips we have a Safari Cook, although we do ask you to assist in the food preparation and shopping. Bargaining in the local markets and helping produce a meal for between 10 and 30 people, can be great fun. The advantages of group travel are achieved when the group works as one. Sharing the responsibility for the roster duties, as well as the packing and security of the vehicle, equipment and belongings will help to make the groups collective experience an enjoyable one.
2. BEFORE YOUR TRIP
PRE-DEPARTURE MEETINGS AND DEPARTURES
The Pre-Departure Meetings usually last for approximately one hour and are a great opportunity for you to meet your fellow travellers. The meetings cover a range of topics and important information that should make you feel a lot more comfortable with how your trip will operate as well as ways for you to maximise your experience. Please make every effort to attend this meeting or advise your travel agent or Africa Travel Co. directly, if you know you will be unable to attend.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the correct documentation to complete your trip. The Trip Leader cannot stop or alter a trip because you don‟t have the correct paper work. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after the end of your trip. You should have at least one blank page for each country to be visited. TIP: We advise you to bring a photocopy of the first 4 pages of your passport, which you store away from the original, just in case you lose it. Most visas, for most nationalities, are obtainable on arrival at each border. However, you must check with each consular office of each county we visit prior to your departure as to what the visa requirements are. Make sure you check this, way in advance of your departure, so that, if required, you have enough time to get them. This is completely your responsibility. For more information please see: http://www.projectvisa.com/.
LUGGAGE AND WHAT TO BRING
As a guide, we recommend you keep to your airline's restriction – no more than 20 kg. The truck has limited luggage space, so we recommend you bring along a backpack (preferably with built-in frame) and a day bag. We do not recommend large suitcases. Most people make the mistake of bringing too much. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry, but avoid nylon and other synthetics as they can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Please remember that Africa can be much colder than you might expect, particular at night and in the early morning, so pack accordingly.
Suggested list of what to pack:
-PASSPORT & photocopy
-VACCINATION CERTIFICATE & photocopy
-TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY & photocopy
-MONEY & AIRLINE TICKETS
-underwear & socks
-2 long sleeved shirts or blouses
-spare contact lenses & solution / spare glasses
-3 – 4 short sleeved shirts or t-shirts
-sleeping bag & mat
-2 pairs trousers or 1 pair & 1 skirt
-1 – 2 pairs shorts
-torch & spare batteries
-small sewing kit
-washing soap for clothes
-water/wind proof jacket
-clothes line & pegs
-comfortable walking boots or trainers
-small scrubbing brush
-sandals or flip-flips
-sealable plastic bags
-1 set of smart clothes & shoes
-camera & spare batteries/charger
-extra memory card/film
-universal plug adapter
-music (our vehicles are equipped with stereos)
This information and the itinerary we‟ve given you, are intended to serve as guidelines only. Each trip must be flexible to allow for all variables that are beyond our control - such as adverse road conditions, complications caused by the weather, unstable political situations, etc. Our trips generally run as planned, and you‟ll, more than likely, get see everything listed, if not more.
Please Note that any trip travelling via Nairobi or Victoria Falls and any trip where we‟ve added another truck to a departure date because of passenger demand, may have a Truck and/or Crew change.
As already mentioned, conditions in Africa are constantly changing and we can therefore not be held responsible for disruptions and delays that may cause you to miss your connections. We recommend that you allow 1 to 3 days after the completion date of your trip before flying out.
3. HEALTH & WELFARE
MEDICAL / HEALTH
All of our vehicles carry a basic first aid kit that is used in emergencies. Passengers will be asked to replace any item they use. We would therefore strongly advise you to bring your own medical kit, which you‟ll be able to get at any reputable medical store.
Suggested contents include:
-plasters / sterile dressings
-anti-histamine tablets / cream
-water purification tablets
-anti diarrhoea remedy
-sun screen / after sun lotion
-moisturiser / body lotion
Malaria is endemic in most parts of Africa. It is your responsibility to take precautions against catching it. First and foremost, don‟t get bitten!!! Wear long sleeved shirts and trousers when mosquitoes are most active - early in the morning and evening! Use plenty of insect repellent with a high level of DEET on any exposed areas – neck, wrist and ankles!!! Consult your doctor prior to leaving for Africa so that they can prescribe suitable anti-malarial medication. For further information see http://www.alib.co.za/aftrip/malaria.html.
Please consult your doctor / immunisation centre for the relevant vaccination requirements for the countries through which you will be travelling. Most countries you visit will require a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if you‟ve been into an area that‟s infected. Your home country will also probably need the Vaccination Certificate if you‟ve been into an infected area. Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal meningitis, Diphtheria and Tetanus are all prevalent in much of Africa and while it is not compulsory to be vaccinated against these, all precautions should be taken to prevent them. TIP: We advise you to bring a copy of your yellow fever vaccination certificate, which you store away from the original, just in case you lose it. All travellers wishing to partake in the gorilla trek excursion will be required to present their yellow fever vaccination certificate to the park‟s officials prior to their trek.
Personal travel insurance is compulsory to join all of our trips. This should include, at least, comprehensive medical cover including the cost of airlifting you to a specialist hospital. Make sure that you will be covered when participating in Adventure Activities, like white water rafting. We recommend you make sure your possessions are covered for both theft and damage. We also recommend you cover yourself for Cancellation and Curtailment Fees if you are unable to travel due to sudden illness, airline strikes, etc. NB: A copy of your Insurance Policy must be handed to your Trip Leader at the start of your trip.
4. WHILST ON YOUR OVERLAND TRIP
OUR OVERLAND SAFARI VEHICLE’S
All of our trucks are either Mercedes Benz or MAN trucks that have been designed, modified and built to ensure your safety and comfort. All our vehicles carry full cooking and camping equipment, cassette players, exterior and interior lighting, long-range fuel tanks and 300 to 400 litre water tanks. (Bring along an adapter to connect your CD / MP3 players to the cassette player.) They have either all forward facing seats or a combination of forward and backward facing seats with little tables between. A few of our trucks have a few side facing seats right in the front of the truck, but the rest of the truck has forward facing seats. Keep in mind, bench seating often faces inwards, so while you can communicate with your fellow travellers, it‟s not advantageous for game viewing and photography. Our trucks have soft cushioned seats. Our fleet of overland trucks have fitted windows that slide to open.
We cannot stress enough, the need for you to be alert whilst travelling in Africa, as petty theft is common. Don't bring any unnecessary, expensive jewellery with you. Keep an eye on your belongings, at all times. There is a safe on each truck where we suggest you store your travel documents and money. We recommend you photocopy all of your travel documents, which you keep separately from the originals.
Vehicle security is a part of trip life and is one of your roster duties. The vehicle should never be left unattended, except when we are staying in a guarded campsite.
Although every precaution will be taken, neither Africa Travel Co, nor its agents and employees can accept any responsibility for anything deposited in the safe or left on the vehicle.
Only you know to what extent your spending habits will tax you! Africa is not as cheap as a lot of the travel books would have you believe and as such we would recommend that you allow for between U$30.00 to U$35.00 per day for things like bottled water, snacks, drinks and curios. This obviously depends on how much of curio shopper and drinker you are!!! You will also have to budget for any Optional Excursions you‟d like to do.
We advise you to bring your spending money in both cash preferably in US dollars. Credit Cards are not widely accepted. If you‟re travelling in East Africa, U$ notes should be clean, un-torn and printed after 2001. Larger denomination notes attract a better exchange rate, but we suggest you bring along a mix of both small and large denomination notes. You may need to change only a small amount to tide you over in a country and you should try to get rid of each country‟s currency before you leave that country as you won‟t be able to change it anywhere else! Your trip leader will advise you on when & where to change to local currencies.
Please budget accordingly for any of the optional excursions listed for your trip. While we do list a guideline to the prices for these, they may increase without notice by the local operators.
Gorilla Trek: Please familiarise yourself with our document on trekking procedures and costs for the excursion. This can be downloaded from our website, or on request from our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are often asked about gratuities. These are always at your discretion, of course, and then only for, at least, satisfactory service. If you found the service to be unsatisfactory, you are obviously not obligated to leave a tip.
However, we would ask that you let us know (on our Client Feedback Form) in what way the service was unsatisfactory so that we can rectify the problem for future clients. The tips below are a guideline only. Scale your tips according to your satisfaction – average service should equate to an average tip. Local guides (like the rangers when gorilla trekking and the polers when in the Okavango Delta), between U$5.00 and U$7.00 per day. Assistants to the guides, (like bushwhackers when gorilla trekking and camp assistants when in the Okavango Delta) between U$4.00 and U$5.00 per day. Others who have provided a service (like housekeeping staff when staying in lodges for a few days), about U$2.00 per day. When eating out, satisfactory service usually warrants a tip of about 10% of the total bill. For the Kilimanjaro Climb – please refer to the tipping guide provided on your trip dossier.
ATC camping trips have 3 crew members - your Driver, Trip Leader and Safari Cook. Your Driver & Cook are generally
Kenyan, Zimbabwean, Namibian or South African. They have a wealth of experience and are more than happy to share it with you. Your Trip Leader is generally African, European or Australasian. They have travelled through Africa, either independently or as a passenger. Most of our crew have been on the road for a number of years and have vast experience in running successful trips throughout the route we travel. NB: Your Trip Leader is not a “Tour Guide” in the normal sense. They are not experts in all aspects of the culture, history and wildlife of each area. They are employed to ensure the smooth running of your trip. That said, all of our crew have a passion for Africa and have acquired much knowledge of each area, which they‟ll happily share. For more in-depth information there are usually books on board the truck for your use, but if you have a specific interest like bird watching for example, consider buying one of the guides listed at the end of this document.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, like impassable roads or group safety, it may be necessary to make alterations to the planned itinerary. If this is necessary, the Trip Leader will discuss the issue with the group and alter the itinerary accordingly. The Trip Leader will obviously consider the wishes of the group, but there may be occasions where they have to make an unpopular decision. In ALL matters relating to the trip’s running, the Trip Leader’s decision will be final.
WHILST ON SAFARI
On the Kenya to Cape route (or vice versa), it is possible to stay in a secure campsite every night and there are few nights when a shower or a beer are not available - whether they be hot or cold, respectively, is another matter! Sometimes conditions can be challenging and if it‟s raining you‟ve still got to put up your tent. Africa is a vast continent so some of the drives can be long and there are a few patches of bumpy roads. There maybe a few hiccups in the itinerary when a bridge is washed away or there‟s a mechanical emergency. But, none of these will spoil your trip if you approach them with the right attitude and a sense of humour.
"TAKE ONLY PHOTOS, LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS".
Africa is a diverse and unique continent with both a very beautiful and a very ugly side to her. Wherever possible, we try to let you experience Africa first hand so that you may get a better understanding of what makes her so unique.
We ask that you leave her as you find her. Respect the locals. Ask before taking a photo. You probably wouldn‟t enjoy suddenly being accosted by a group of tourists taking pictures of you! Some people believe that you take away their spirit when you photograph them, so ensure you show them the same courtesy you would appreciate, and ask for permission. Bargaining for curios is the norm. It is a great way to interact with the locals, but bear in mind they‟re trying to make a living, so don‟t bargain just for the sake of it. Be prepared to pay what you think the item is worth.
You will see some of the absolute poverty that grips much of the continent, but will amazed at how people with seemingly so little are able to triumph over their circumstances to come out on the other side with such a generous spirit. In many of the places you visit, you will experience begging in some form or another. Whether or not to give has caused many a heated debate. The answer is entirely personal, but consider the long term consequence of your decision. If you‟d like to distribute goodies, why not ask for permission to take a photo, a smile or a song from the kids and as payment you could let them have a goodie. Please bear in mind that while the kids in your hometown may find sweets a real treat, their moms and dads haul them off to the dentist regularly to get their cavities filled. Many of the areas you visit will not have access to dentists, so instead of sweets, why not bring along some fruit or pens/balls/old clothes/etc. which will be happily received by the kids but won‟t leave them toothless.
All passengers are required to obey the laws of the countries we travel through. Any passenger found in possession of contraband, non-prescribed narcotic drugs or firearms will be asked to leave the trip immediately, with no refund of the Trip Price.
Africa is a photographer‟s paradise. There will be a few opportunities to download your photos, but these will only be in the bigger centres. We therefore suggest you invest in an extra memory card with a high storage capacity so that you won‟t have to delete your precious memories. If your camera still uses film, bring along a good stock, as film can be scarce (and, when available, expensive). Consider bringing along a re-sealable polythene bag to protect your camera from the dust.
If you are visiting the gorillas, make sure you familiarise yourself with your camera settings as flash photography is not permitted. If you‟re planning on videoing your trip, make sure you bring along an extra battery as it isn‟t always possible to re-charge you batteries every day.
WARNING - Under no circumstances should you attempt to photograph government buildings (including borders), police, military personnel or any government official. It is not unknown for people to have cameras confiscated if officials even suspect a photo has been taken. If in doubt, ask.
CHARGING OF BATTERIES
Most of the camp sites have electrical points, so you should be able to charge your batteries every 3 to 4 days, provided they have electricity, which is not always guaranteed. We recommend you bring along 2 sets of rechargeable batteries as well as 2 sets of normal batteries, so you can be guaranteed of having working batteries.
BONUS TRIP:When you book this trip, you are entitled to receive a BONUS 3 Day Masai Mara Safari the Thursday before or the Sunday after your trip ends. A Local Payment of US$235 is applicable for this trip. This fantastic offer must be taken up at the same time you book this trip. Ask your agent or the Africa Travel Co office for more details. Conditions apply.
Please Note: This itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road & weather conditions, political situations and group decisions. All prices & Local Payments are subject to change with prior notice. Due to Tourism Laws in some of the countries we visit, there may be a truck and crew change during the trip.
Below is a selection of Optional Excursions available on this trip.
Please Note - these prices are approximate and are subject to change
- where activities occur away from your base, there may be an additional transfer cost.
Masai Mara Balloon Safari (when available)
Masai Village Visit
Masai Warrior Dancing
Elsamere Visit, Home of Joy Adamson
15 US$ +Transfer Fee
Naivasha Hells Gate NP
50 US$ Including Transfer, Bike & Guide
Naivasha Boat Hire (Max 7 Pax)
55 US$ per hour
Naivasha Horse Riding
20 US$ per hour
Naivasha Crescent Island Tour
Masai Village Visit From
Olduvai Gorge (if time allows)