Africa Northern Circle Tours
46 days Africa Northern Circle Overland Tours, starts or finish Johannesburg or Nairobi. Tourist explore's eight countries, variety the landscapes from vast tracts of animal-filled bushes, tranquil lakes, rivers, misty rain forests & dazzling beaches. Students and couples can explore big five African animals, & the magnificent Victoria Falls for adrenaline challenges. In your widest dreams look into the soft brown eyes of a gorilla. From south to north, this trips offers the best attractions in east and southern Africa.( Tour price )
This African overland tour begin or finish in Johannesburg or Nairobi, see itinerary:
This adventurist tour start in Nairobi and will end in Nairobi with game drive in the , Masai Mara in Kenya to Kisoro camp for the Gorillas and much more.
Day 1; Johannesburg to Hazyview (L / D)
The driver-guide leaves Johannesburg and the group of tourist head towards the Lowveld and the famous Kruger National Park. On the way through the southern section of the picturesque Panorama Route – famous for its breathtaking vistas. The groups camp for the next two nights is just 8 km from the Kruger’s Numbi Gate. We spend a relaxing evening around the camp fire before the groups game viewing drive tomorrow.
Day 2; Hazyview (B / L / D)
Today the group explore the amazing Kruger National Park. Covering 21 497 km2 - 60 km wide and over 350 km long, this conservation area has more than 146 mammals, 500 bird, 114 reptile, 33 amphibian & 49 fish species. 23 000 different types of plants have been recorded. We spend the day driving around the park looking for a few of these. There is the option of doing a night drive looking for a few of the nocturnal inhabitants.
Day 3; Hazyview to Graskop (B / L / D)
After a quick replenishing of the groups stocks they leave the Lowveld and head up to the beautiful small town of Graskop. It is from this gateway in Mpumulanga that we explore some of the best scenery in South Africa, including the ever striking Blyde River Canyon and God’s Window. The many viewpoints of the Canyon, afford the group excellent photo opportunities. The group set up our tents on the lush green grass of their camp before enjoying a dip in the lovely swimming pool. Graskop’s night life is something to be enjoyed and those that want will have the opportunity to experience it.
Day 4; Graskop to Musina (B / L / D)
Today begin with a journey to Zimbabwe. Have a long, relaxing drive where visitors get to sit back and enjoy the ever changing scenery. Tonight the group camp in one of the hottest towns, Musina. Born in the copper mining era, it withered into a ghost town after the closing of these mines. However, the resurgence of the mining industry has seen it flourish once more and today it is an interesting town steeped in history.
Day 5; Musina to Masvingo (Zimbabwe) (B / L / D)
Today the group enter Zimbabwe - a beautiful country rich in soul, culture and tradition. They make way to the town of Masvingo - on the outskirts of the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. This was the greatest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa, built by an ancient highly skilled civilization. The name Zimbabwe is derived from this ancient city and means “great stone houses” in Shona. Wander around these amazing ruins, before setting up camp.
DAY 6; Masvingo to Gweru (B / L / D)
Leaving Masvingo, the group continue the journey north to Gweru, in Zimbabwe’s Midlands. Here they stop over at the Antelope Park. It is said “you have not been to Zimbabwe until you have visited the Victoria Falls… and the Antelope Park.” A wide variety of game viewing opportunities are available in this area inhabited by lion, elephant, giraffe and obviously numerous antelope! The group have the unique option to walk with lions, ride or swim with elephants, view game from horse back or from the back of a vehicle.
Day 7; Gweru (B / L / D)
Today is spent enjoying personal encounters with Africa’s wildlife.
Day 8; Gweru to Bulawayo (B / L / D)
Leaving Gweru, the truck head to Bulawayo - Zimbabwe’s second largest city. Bulawayo is noted for its exceptionally wide streets, which were originally designed to accommodate a full span ox wagon. The city also still retains much of its British Colonial character, evident by the many buildings maintained as heritage sites by the Bulawayo City Council. Interesting places to visit are the Natural History Museum, the National Arts Gallery and the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre, which employs over 70 people.
Day 9; Bulawayo (B / L / D)
Today the group visit Matobo National Park, one of the last strongholds of both the black and the white rhino. This park is also well known for its high concentration of the elusive leopard and majestic black eagle. Rock paintings are to be found too, providing evidence of the ancient San inhabitants of this area. Cecil John Rhodes (after whom Rhodesia was named) asked to be buried at the top of one of the sacred hills, (although there is some controversy over whether he will stay!) The group spend the day exploring this unique geological, ecological and historic area.
Day 10; Bulawayo to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) (B / L)
Leaving Bulawayo heading to Victoria Falls. Here in Africa’s adventurous capital, the group set up camp in the town’s centrally located campsite. The afternoon is spent relaxing at the campsite’s swimming pool or exploring the many sights and delights of this town!
Day 11 & 12; Victoria Falls (B on both days)
Today is spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. AT 1700 metres wide and around 100 metres high, Victoria Falls are one of the most memorable sights on this African safari. All year round, flights can be taken in fixed wing planes, micro lights or helicopters. Back on the ground, the falls can be seen from the Victoria Falls National 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 the "floats", where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
OPTIONAL Excursions include trips into the Zambezi or Hwange National Parks, elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, a visit to the crocodile ranch, boat cruises and golf at the Elephant hills resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia or abseil down the Batoka Gorge - neither activity is for the faint hearted! All year round, flights in fixed wing, micro light and ultra light aircraft or helicopters provide an aerial perspective over this magnificent World Heritage Site. White water rafting on the Zambezi is world class. Beside the excitement of the Grade 5 rapids, there are the "floats," where there is time to admire the scenic cliffs and the occasional wildlife on the riverbanks.
Day 13; Victoria Falls to Livingstone (Zambia) (B / L / D)
The group leave Zimbabwe and cross the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Zambezi River, entering into Zambia at the town of Livingstone. The group have the opportunity to view the Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia. Another fantastic photo opportunity. The day affords the opportunity to participate in the activities available in Zambia the group weren’t able to do on the Zimbabwean side of Vic-toria Falls. Tonight the group have the option of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi.
Day 14; Livingstone to Lusaka (B / L / D)
An early morning start sees the group head north through southern Zambia to their campsite on the outskirts of Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka.The campsite is home to some local wildlife including the largest antelope – Eland.
Day 15; Lusaka to Chipata (B / L / D)
From Lusaka the group head north east to a beautiful little campsite just 10 km before the Zambia/Malawi border to spend the night before heading into Malawi.
Day 16 to 20; Chipata to Lake Malawi Beaches (Malawi) (B / L / D)
Leaving Zambia the truck cross into Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.The group stop off in the capital, Lilongwe, a small city distinctively divided into the old town and the new administrative centre. Malawi is a landlocked country with 20% of its total area made up of beautiful Lake Malawi. Travel the full length of the western side of the lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets over the next 5 days.
Spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine beaches. Malawi’s temperate climate allows for swimming in the clear blue fresh-water lake all year round. Explore the beautiful shore where you’ll happen upon the local fishermen sorting their catch. Traditional fishing techniques are still practiced and to appreciate their boating skills, try to paddle a dug out canoe yourself! The various beach-side campsites along Lake Malawi’s shores offer many optional Excursions including a variety of water-sports, horse back rides and a visit to the local village and school.
Day 21; Lake Malawi to Iringa (Tanzania) (B / L / D)
After a relaxing 5 days the group leave Malawi, entering Tanzania through the border post at Songwe. Taking in the beauty of the Tukuyu tea and banana plantations, we head towards Iringa where they spend the night in the beautiful rustic ‘Farmhouse’ campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers!
Day 22; Iringa to Dar es Salaam (B / L / D)
The next morning the group make way to Dar es Salaam and pass through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to the passing traffic. On arrival in Dar es Salaam the group make our way to a lovely seaside campsite and prepare for the departure to Zanzibar the next morning.
Day 23; Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar (B)
A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes the group 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 own account whilst on Zanzibar, as it is a experience that passengers prefer to explore the island on their own. The trip leader joins the group and can arrange accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants.
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 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 Nungwe and giant tortoises of Prison Island, a full day scuba dive in 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 26; Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam (D)
Leaving Zanzibar, the group return to the mainland and another night in Dar es Salaam.
Day 27; Dar es Salaam to Arusha (B / L / D)
From Dar es Salaam the group travel through vast sisal plantations to Arusha. On the way, they 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; you may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed! Tonight stay is in a lovely campsite in Mererani on the outskirts of , before heading out on our Optional Excursions to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.
Day 28 & 30; Arusha / Optional Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti Excursion (B / L / D)
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. The group conduct these excursions in locally operated 4WD vehicles, which are adapted for safari Ngorongoro Crater use. For those not opting to visit the or Serengeti National Park, the next days are spent at leisure enjoying the Meserani reptile park, Masai Cultural Museum and the surrounding villages and craft markets. Alternatively the town of Arusha is close by to explore. The Optional Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park and 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. Spend the evening at a pleasant campsite in Karatu. The following morning depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa – including the elusive Black Rhino. After a game viewing drive in the Crater, the group head down the Crater rim and past the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ on the way to the Serengeti National Park. The truck cross the vast plains as the group game drive through the southern and central areas in the park. Tonight we camp in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness. In the morning, we head off for another game drive and explore the landscape in search of the resident game. With some luck visitors may see some of Africa’s ‘Big 5’! After morning game drive, the group head back across the plains and the lush Crater rim to the truck at Arusha,where they spend the evening musing over the thrilling wildlife experience.
Day 31; Arusha to Namanga (Kenya) (B / L / D)
After a morning spent exploring Arusha’s city centre and vibrant craft markets, we head to lunch just outside of town. After lunch, we travel 120 km to the Tanzania / Kenya border. Once the border formalities are complete, the group camp at Namanga just over the Kenyan border.
Day 32; Namanga to Nairobi (B)
This morning the group travel 180 km north to the capital city, Nairobi. On arrival, the group head to the Hotel Boulevard, to deliver the passengers who’ll be ending their trip here, before heading to the campsite for the night.
Day 33; Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D)
This morning the group collect the passengers who’ll be joining us on the final leg of our trek. Th truck leave the hustle and bustle of Nairobi and climb the escarpment to the first stop, a viewpoint overlooking the spectacular Great Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift Valley, the group enter Masai land where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road. The Backpackers group pass through the town of Narok, before arriving at our campsite, Acacia Camp. 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
Day 34; Masai Mara (B / L / D)
The group depart early and spend the day game driving through this natural wilderness – with huge plains, rolling hills and an abundance of game; the Masai Mara offers a spectacular wildlife experience. The group keep an eye open for the Big 5 - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard. If travel-ling between July and October, visitors may get to witness the impressive herds of over 2 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle in their Annual Migration. Tonight the group recollect highlights around the campfire.
Day 35; Masai Mara to Kisumu (B / L / D)
Leaving the Masai Mara early in the morning, the group pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on the way to Kisumu - Kenya’s harbour town on the banks of Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria for overnight camp.
Day 36; Kisumu to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
Today, the truck 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.
Day 37 & 38; Kampala to Kisoro (B / L / D)
After an early morning departure from Kampala the group drive west into the depths of Uganda to the base in Kisoro. Kisoro is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, the group 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. For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, the group will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Please budget accordingly. Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still only about 700 remaining, are one the 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 can not be guaranteed. In the unlikely event of these creatures managing to completely elude us, the authorities usually allow us a second opportunity to trek them. However, this is purely at their discretion and subject to the availability of permits, and they will not confirm this in writing. 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. The group depart from the camp in the early morning and after border formalities are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Rangers will lead visitors 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 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. The group will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide visitors with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, the group trek back out of the rain forest to the meeting point. 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.
Day 39; Kisoro to Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D)
A short drive, through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa, brings us to awesome Lake Bunyoni. Lake Bunyoni is the deepest crater lake in Africa and is home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds.
Day 40; Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D)
Today the whole day at leisure to enjoy the beauty of Lake Bunyoni. There is the option to visit a local village or church, hike in the surrounding hills, canoe or just spend the day relaxing or swimming in this tranquil lake. A well deserved rest day!
Day 41; Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D)
After enjoying peaceful Lake Bunyoni, the group drive back to Kampala. The truck cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. Overnight in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life!
Day 42; Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Today the group have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or transferring to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering at a 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 43; Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D)
After the group engaging trip through the ‘Pearl of Africa’, they head back to Kenya,tovernight in Nakuru, Kenya’s 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province.
Day 44; Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning the truck head in to Nakuru Town to stock up on supplies before beginning 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. The group 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. Overnight at a bush camp within the Park.
Day 45; Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D)
Moving further east, the group head to Lake Naivasha, 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. Time permitting; the group spend the afternoon 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. The last night is spent in a lovely campsite on the banks of the lake.
Day 46; Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
After breakfast, the group head back to Nairobi, arriving at the Hotel Boulevard in the early afternoon. The travel-lers exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
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.
South Africa, Kruger National Park - Night Drive
Zimbabwe, Gweru - Walk with Lions
Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls - White Water Rafting on the Zambezi
Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls - Bungee Jump
Zambia, Livingstone - Sunset Dinner Cruise
Malawi, Lake Malawi - Water Skiing
Malawi, Lake Malawi - Village Walk & Meal
Tanzania, Zanzibar - Accommodation
Tanzania, Zanzibar - Stone Town - Spice Tour
Tanzania, Arusha - 3 Day / 2 Night Serengeti/Ngorongoro Crater Excursion
Kenya, Masai Mara - Masai Village Cultural Visit
Uganda, DRC or Rwanda - Gorilla Trekking Permit
Uganda, Kampala - Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Uganda, Jinja - White Water Rafting on The Nile
Uganda, Jinja - Soft-power Community Project
Kenya, Lake Naivasha - Elsamere
Kenya, Lake Naivasha - Crescent Island Sanctuary
When travel-lers book this trip, you are entitled to receive a FREE 3 Day Masai Mara Safari the Sunday after the
trip ends. The Local Payment is still applicable for the trip. This fantastic offer must be taken up at the
same time you book this trip.Conditions apply.
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