TourSA are sales representatives for SANParks at no extra cost to to our clients
24 Days Zanzibar, Game Parks and Gorillas-Dar es Salaam to Nairobi [DN24]
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
Masai Mara Reserve and Surrounds
Serengeti National Park
Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
Masai Mara Reserve and Surrounds
Lake Nakuru National Park
Rift Valley Lakes
A combination of two of our most popular trips sees you experience the varying faces of Africa, from gorilla viewing in the rain forests to the island paradise beaches of Zanzibar. The memory of the Gorilla Trek and observing these amazing creatures as they meander and feed in their ever-diminishing habitat will remain with you forever. The game parks of east Africa are renowned for their unspoiled natural beauty and prolific game, while the island of Zanzibar will see you soak up its exotic traditions. You will be caught up in the way of life, which is hard to leave. We know, we came and stayed!
This trip begins in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and travels to Zanzibar and then north through Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, before ending Nairobi, Kenya.
This trip departs from Dar Es Salaam early on Thursday morning. Should you wish to explore Dar Es Salaam, an earlier arrival should be planned and accommodation booked through your agent SA Tours and Safaris.
Pre Departure Meeting: Held at the Departure Point at 17h00 the day before your departure. Departure Point: Kipepeo Beach Campsite, Plot 4, Mjimwema, Kigamboni. Check-In Time: 07h30 Departure Time: To be advised at pre-departure meeting Local Payment: US$695
Included Highlights: Masai Mara National Reserve, & Zanzibar Ferry, Meserani Snake Park & Masai Cultural Museum, Kampala, Lake Bunyonyi, Great Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru National Park.
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. Due to Tourism Laws in some of the countries we visit, there may be a truck and crew change during the trip. Your arrival transfer and pre-trip accommodation in a dorm bed is included in your trip price. Should you choose not to make use of these, or in the event that Africa Travel Co was not updated with your arrival details, no refund will be paid for services not used. Please ensure you’ve received a copy of our pre departure information document with information on what to expect on this overland safari. For booking purposes please notify our office as soon as possible should you choose not to trek the Mountain Gorillas.
DAY 1: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (OPTIONAL) (NM) A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes us to the "Spice Island,” where we have the option to spend the next 3 nights. Zanzibar is steeped in history and was one of the major starting points for most East African explorers in their quest for new lands. New passengers may join us to replace those that’ll leave us at the end of our excursion to Zanzibar.
PLEASE NOTE: Accommodation and Meals are for your own account whilst on Zanzibar, as it is our experience that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own, and in accordance with their own budget. The Trip Leader joins you and can arrange your accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants. There are also a wide variety of optional excursions on offer – please see the price guide on the end of this document for more details.
For those not opting to visit the island of Zanzibar, the next 3 days are spent at leisure at the beach campsite in Dar es Salaam. There are various optional excursions available from the camp including diving, snorkelling and fishing trips. The driver and cook remain behind in Dar es Salaam during the excursion.
PLEASE NOTE: New legislation prohibits the taking of photographs during the Zanzibar ferry ride. Spot fines can be issued, if legislation is not obeyed.
Included Activity: Zanzibar Ferry Ticket Optional Activity: Zanzibar Excursion
DAYS 2 & 3: 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 famous for its spices and an excursion around a spice plantation is always a fascinating experience. Other options include a trip to the beautiful beaches and giant tortoises of Prison Island, a full day scuba dive in Nungwe or a fishing trip in a traditional dhow. Mopeds are available for hire if you’d like to 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 - crayfish being a popular speciality. Alternatively, mingle with the locals for dinner at the Forodhani Gardens seafront market, where delicious, inexpensive seafood is on offer.
DAY 4: Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (D) Leaving Zanzibar in the afternoon, we return to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam. Arrival back to camp is usually in the late afternoon, or early evening.
DAY 5: Dar es Salaam to Arusha (B / L / D) From Dar es Salaam we have a long day’s drive through vast sisal plantations and African bushveld to Arusha. On the way, we pass The Pare and Usambara Mountain ranges before driving through the town of Moshi. Moshi is the base for Mount Kilimanjaro climbing expeditions and weather permitting; we may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed! Tonight we stay at a campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on our Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater tomorrow. Optional Activity: Take a brief visit to the “Masai Cultural Museum” at Snake Park
DAY 6: Arusha to Karatu (Optional) (B / L / D) This morning we visit the Meserani Reptile Park and Masai Cultural Museum. A few minutes’ walk from the campsite is a gallery selling the bright and iconic Tinga Tinga paintings. Alternatively the town of Arusha is nearby to explore. After enjoying lunch at our camp against the backdrop of Mount Meru we meet our Tanzanian guides and transfer into locally operated 4WD vehicles. These vehicles have been adapted for safari use and allow excellent viewing and photographic opportunities through the opening roof hatches.
Leaving our camp we travel via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park and then up the Rift Valley Escarpment to the higher lying village of Karatu. Karatu offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas. Tonight we spend the evening at a very pleasant campsite in Karatu (campsite has ablution facilities).
DAY 7: Karatu to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park (B / L / D) This morning we depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unbroken, unflooded caldera in the world. Comprising of open savannahs, acacia forests and both soda and fresh water lakes, the Ngorongoro Crater is truly a miniature ‘Garden of Eden’. This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa – including the elusive Black Rhino. After our game drive in the Crater, we head down the Crater rim and past the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ on our way to the Serengeti National Park. We cross the vast plains as we game drive through the southern and central areas in the park. Tonight we camp (no ablution facilities) in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness. Without any fences surrounding our campsite we are truly in the midst of nature! Optional Activity: Karatu to Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park Speak to your crew prior to this excursion for more information
DAY 8: Serengeti National Park to Arusha (B / L / D) In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the landscape in search of the resident game. With some luck, we may see some of Africa’s ‘Big 5’! Following our morning drive, we retrace our journey back across the plains and along the lush Crater rim to our truck at Arusha, where we spend the evening musing over our thrilling wildlife experience. If you choose not to do the optional Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater you will remain at the campsite. Please contact us for more information.
DAY 9: Arusha to Nairobi (Kenya) (B / L / D) We set off early this morning and make our way to the Tanzania/ Kenyan border and the small border town of Namanga. After completing the border formalities, we continue on our journey to the Capital City Nairobi and our campsite on the outskirts of the city.
DAY 10: Nairobi (B) The rest of the day is yours at leisure to enjoy some of the many options available in this bustling city; visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where you can view the orphaned baby Elephants at feeding time, or head to the Giraffe Centre in Langata, if you haven’t had your fill of game viewing, then Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if you haven’t quite got all those souvenirs you wanted, take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets close by the campsite. This evening why not try the fair on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.
DAY 11: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D) Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi we climb the escarpment to our first stop, a viewpoint overlooking a section of the spectacular Great Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift Valley, 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. We arrive at our campsite, Acacia Camp in the late afternoon. 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. Included Excursion: Masai Mara Nature Reserve
DAY 12: 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.
After our game drive, we have the option to visit one of the nearby Masai Manyatta’s – this is a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way. This evening we sit around the camp fire, and watch the sun set over this “Garden of Eden”.
DAY 13: Masai Mara to Eldoret (B / L / D) Leaving the Masai Mara early, we head out of Masai Land pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Eldoret.
DAY 14: Eldoret to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D) This morning, we cross the border into Uganda where we overnight it the capital city, Kampala. 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 capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semi-desert region in the north. The political instability that has haunted Uganda in the past has actually 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 return Uganda to its former status 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.
DAYS 15 - 18: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D) After an early morning departure from Kampala we drive west into the depths of Uganda to our base at the tranquil Lake Bunyoni.
Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds, is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda. The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice – currently they are priced at US$500. There is a local transport & handling fee of US$65 to US$70 per person (this covers the return public transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee). For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (the trip leader will advise at the pre departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed), we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. We also advise budgeting a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers. Please budget accordingly as payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre departure meeting.
*Gorilla Trekking is optional
Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still only about 700 remaining, are one of our closest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience - one you’ll never forget. The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old.
Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, we depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours (not including transfer time) and it can be quite strenuous, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour. You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point where you will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.
You needn’t feel like you’re exploiting these animals. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day play a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. 100% of the gorilla permit cost is used to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.
Depending on where the trek takes place you may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC. The villagers in this area are mostly subsistence farmers, and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes. It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.
DAY 19: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D) After marvelling at the experience of our gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, we begin our drive back to Kampala. We cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. We overnight in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life!
DAY 20: Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D) Today we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or heading to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or visiting a volunteer and community project. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area.
DAY 21: Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D) Departing early, we head back to Kenya, stopping for lunch and supplies en route. We overnight outside Nakuru at a lovely campsite on a local farm. Nakuru is Kenya’s 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province and lies adjacent to the small but wildlife rich Lake Nakuru National Park. *EAMO Orphanage Optional Activity: Spending time with the kids and / or bringing pens, pencils, notepads and so forth for them.
DAY 22: 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, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way. After our game drive, we head to our campsite, arriving in the late afternoon. Included Activity: Game drives in Lake Nakuru National Park
DAY 23: Lake Nakuru to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D) Lake Naivasha, is home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. We spend the day enjoying optional excursions like *Elsamere (former home to Joy & George Adamson of Born Free fame), *a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a *bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park. Included Activity: Lake Naivasha
DAY 24: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B) After breakfast, we head back to Nairobi usually arriving by late morning, or early afternoon. On arrival we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime! The rest of the day is yours at leisure to enjoy some of the many options available in this bustling city; visit The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where you can view the orphaned baby Elephants at feeding time, or head to the Giraffe Centre in Langata, if you haven’t had your fill of game viewing, then Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips or if you haven’t quite got all those souvenirs you wanted, take a “Matatu” to the local curio markets close by the campsite. This evening why not try the fair on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.
Local Payment: US $ 695 Why pay local payent? Local payment is a compulsory fee and is paid in cash to the trip leader at the start of your trip and is used to cover the daily US dollar expenses of running the trip and includes, amongst others, game park entrance fees, camping fees, tolls, entrances and food. We ask that you bring along your local payment contribution, if applicable, in US$ cash, as thisis the easiest currency to exchange in Africa.
Includes: Meals, activities and accommodation as per itinerary.
Meal Key: B-Breakfast L-Lunch D-Dinner
INSURANCE Personal travel insurance is compulsory to join all of our trips. All clients require adequate Travel Insurance. Medical Insurance is not sufficient. 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. Activity providers can refuse participation of activities, if the correct valid Travel Insurance is not provided. Travel insurance can be purchased via SA Tours and Safaris. Please enquire with our consultants for further information.