Victoria Falls to Nairobi Adventure
Track the Big Five across the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater in agile 4x4 safari vehicles, chill out at Lake Malawi, explore Victoria Falls and Zanzibar.
Tour description provided by G Adventures
Inhale the fragrant perfume of Zanzibar’s spice plantations, hunt for the perfect snapshot of the ever-elusive 'Big 5’, feel the thunder of Victoria Falls—uncover the spectacular highlights of four African countries on this stellar twenty-day adventure. Enjoy an intriguing combination of stunning wilderness and bright city lights from the comfort of our overland truck and camp under the big African sky for a unique perspective of this majestic land. With a unique itinerary that offers plenty of options, uncover all that this diverse region has to offer.
- Day 1-2 Livingstone (B)
- Arrive in Livingstone and make your way to the camp. Attend a pre-departure group meeting with your CEO scheduled for the evening. Please make sure you have all of the necessary visas for this tour by the time of the welcome meeting. It is very important to read the Visa section in our trip details to make sure which visas you will need, if any. Please note that not all nationalities are able to obtain a visa on arrival at the border. Livingstone is great base to kick-off this southern African adventure, to see both some natural wonders and take part in some exciting activities. Get up close (at wet from the spray) while awing at the immense Victoria Falls, raft the whitewater of the mighty Zambezi, for the more adventurous, bungee jump with the Victoria Falls in view. Please note that the entrance fee to Victoria Falls is not included in the tour. The town of Livingstone is a regional transport center, being located near the borders of Botswana and Zimbabwe, and serves as a base for the many visitors to see this part of Africa, and the impressive Victoria Falls, a mere 12km from Livingstone. The Victoria Falls waterfalls occur in a country that is perfectly flat. From its source on the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Zambezi River meanders for 1300 km across the wooded plateau of Zambia, eroding for itself a shallow valley on its mild descent to the site of the falls. The river eventually found a weak spot on the lower lip of the surface over which it passed, and forced a passage which was steadily deepened into an exit gorge. During the last half million years the river has scoured out eight of these cracks across its bed. The Victoria falls occurs where the river is 1688 m wide, presents the spectacle of an average maximum of 550 million liters of water a minute tumbling over the lip of the trench in five main falls, the Devil’s Cataract, Main falls, Horseshoe Falls, Rainbow falls and the Eastern Cataract. The highest of these is Rainbow falls, on an average 108 m high. A peak flood sees 750 million liters of water in one minute hurtling over the falls. The name Zambezi comes from the Tonka tribe, also meaning Great River, but the Sotho-speaking Kololo people of the upper reaches of the river gave it the well-known name of Mosi o a Thunya (smoke that rises). The Lozi people call it by the same name but translated it into smoke that sounds. The Ndebele call it aManza Thunqayo (the water that rises like smoke). The Namibian people call it Chinotimba (a noise-making place like the distant sound of digging).
- Day 3 Lusaka (B,L,D)
- Approximate Distance: 543km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs Today’s long journey across rough and bumpy roads takes us to a private game farm 29km's outside of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. Here you can marvel at the Zebras, Buffalos, and the Boks that roam the property, or relax by the pool or at the rest camp’s bar. Lusaka, like many African capitals, is a bustling metropolis developing around its colonial roots, its socialist history, and nowadays its drive for independence. It’s an example of how many African cities are trying to find their “independent” way in a world that’s surging ahead. Situated in the southern part of the country, Lusaka is considered one of the fastest growing populations in Africa, and is the governmental and administrative centre of Zambia. Please note that as today and tomorrow is long driving days, we will not be able to visit Lusaka.
- Day 4 Chipata (B,L,D)
- Approximate Distance: 544 km Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs Travel north east up through the Zambian country-side, we head to the capital of the Eastern Province, Chipata. Previously known as Fort Jameson, Chipata is a popular refueling station for overlanders heading to South Luangwa National Park. As today is a long driving day we will not be able to visit Chipata town.
- Day 5-8 Lake Malawi (4B,4L,4D)
- Day 5 - Approximate Distance: 400 km ; Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs Day 7 - Approximate Distance: 235 km ; Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs Today we will cross the border from Zambia to Malawi. The name of the border posts are Mwami border post on the Zambian side and /Mchinji border post on the Malawian side. We have been experiencing a lot of problems with people that need visas for Malawi. Malawian visas is not available at the border, so please make very sure if you do need a visa before arrival. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility; please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for Malawi. The currency in Malawi is Malawian Kwacha (MWK.)You will be able to change money in Lilongwe. Most establishments, activities etc. do accept USD for payment. Spend four nights relaxing on the shores of “the Lake of Stars”. Beach walks, swimming in the crystal clear water and snorkelling among the tropical fish are all part and parcel of your stay. Visit various lakeside camps as we travel north along the shores of Lake Malawi. This is Malawi’s main attraction and covers one fifth of the country. It is the third largest lake in Africa and is about 500km long. The lake has more fish species than any other lake in the world with around 600 different species. The largest family is the chichlids, which are exported all over the world to pet shops etc. The lake is also known for its good snorkelling and diving. The locals depend on the lake for fishing and survival and use dug out canoes to fish from and set out long nets. There are many different ethnic groups all speaking their own language, most are Christians and the rest have traditional beliefs as do most African countries Up in the hills above Chitimba Beach is a mission station named after David Livingstone. Livingstonia is a small mission town that was founded in 1894 by the missionaries from the Free Church of Scotland. At first they planted the mission at Cape Mclear in 1875 but had to move it because of Malaria. They then moved it to the north of Bandawe, but this site was also unhealthy. So they had to move it to the current location between Lake Malawi and the Nyika Plateau. The mission gradually developed into a small town – now having around 6690 inhabitants. The leading missionary Dr Robert Laws established the best school in this time for the whole region. Livingstonia graduates became influential in several neighbouring countries. He wanted to develop Livingstonia into a university, but his successors did not pursue his vision. In 2003 though, the Livingstonia Synod of the Church of central Africa, Presbyterian started the Livingstonia University.
- Day 9 Tanzania/Iringa (B,L,D)
- Approximate Distance: 534 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs Today we will cross the border from Malawi to Tanzania. The name of the border posts are Songwe border post on the Malawian side and Kasumulu border post on the Tanzanian side. Some nationalities do require a visa for Tanzania. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility; please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for Tanzania. The currency in Tanzania is Tanzanian shilling (TZS.)You will be able to change your left over MWK at the border. Most establishments, activities etc. do accept USD for payment. Begin the day by making the border crossing out of Malawi and into Tanzania. Climbing out of the Great Rift Valley through some spectacular mountain passes, view the vast tea plantations in the highlands along the way as you make camp outside Iringa. Historically, Iringa was a centre of colonial administration. During German occupation, the German military constructed the town as a fortified defence against marauding Hehe tribal warriors intent on driving them out of the region. Gangilonga Rock, a site just outside of the town, is a legendary spot where the Hehe chief at that time, Chief Mkwawa, met with his people and decided how to fight the Germans. Iringa was also the site of several battles during the First and Second World Wars, and Commonwealth War Graves are located just outside of town.
- Day 10 Dar Es Salaam (B,L,D)
- Approximate Distance: 637 km Estimated Travel Time: 10 hrs Transit to, Dar Es Salaam. The city started as a fishing village in the mid 19th century before becoming a port and trading centre. Between independence and 1996 – Dar Es Salaam was the countries capital. Today, Dar remains the principal commercial city and the de facto seat of most government institutions in Tanzania. It is the major seaport for the country and its landlocked neighbours. Dar Es Salaam - Arabic for “Abode of Peace” (a word closely related to the familiar “Yer u-salem” in Israel) - is the largest city in Tanzania. With a population estimated around 2,500,000, it is also the country’s richest city and an important economic centre.
- Day 11-14 Zanzibar (4B)
- Day 11 - Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs (ferry ride) Day 12 - Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs (including 2 hr Spice Tour) Day 14 - Estimated Travel Time: 2 hrs After arriving on Zanzibar, spend the remainder of the day exploring Stone Town, the heart of the island. It has an intriguing maze of narrow, cobbled lanes hemmed in by Arabic buildings. The best way to see the Stone Town is, literally, to get lost. You can spend hours just wandering the alleys and squares, drinking potent coffee from pavement vendors, or buying sweetmeats from scores of tiny cafes. At this point you may be joined by other G Adventures travellers who are starting their tour here on Zanzibar. A group meeting with your tour leader for this portion of your trip is scheduled for the early evening. Please look for information from your tour leader on the hotel bulletin board regarding the time of this meeting. Zanzibar Island, 'the spice island,' has an extremely interesting history and culture as it was the centre of the slave and spice trade in the 1800s. Zanzibar is one of the most fascinating places in East Africa, despite a heavy increase in tourism since the early 1990s. Thanks to an ambitious and far-reaching preservation programme funded by UNESCO and the Aga Khan, many famous old buildings have been restored, or are in the process of being renovated. The following morning we head north to Nungwi for two days/ two nights at one of Zanzibar's major highlights. Here you can either relax on the idyllic white-sandy beaches, take an optional diving/snorkeling excursion, or take a wander through the village of Nungwi. No visit to Zanzibar would be complete without a visit to the spice plantations - an activity that is included on our way north to Nungwi on Day 12. Your senses will be aroused as you will receive a detailed description on the assortment of spices (black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, breadfruit, jackfruit, vanilla, lemon grass) and their various uses. It was the wonderful spice plantations that brought the beginnings of Zanzibar’s infamous slave trade dating back to the 1840’s. On our fourth day on the island, we head back south to Stone Town, for our final night on this enchanting island. It's your last chance to shop and/or enjoy all that Stone Town has to offer. Remember that Zanzibar is a Muslim society, and immodestly dressed women, or men in shorts, will get harassed and cause great offence in Stone Town. In Nungwi, customs are a little more relaxed, but passengers are encouraged to be respectful of the islands culture and still cover up when walking around. Never try to take a photograph without asking permission. The polite way to ask is “Tafadhali (pronounced tougher-thaarli) naomba ruhusu kwa kupiga picha yako.” Many guidebooks say the correct phrase is “nataka kupiga picha yako”, but this is incredibly rude, the equivalent of saying “give me your picture”.
- Day 15 Korogwe (B,L,D)
- Approximate Distance: 309km Estimated Travel Time: 6hrs (excl. 3hr ferry ride) Our campsite is adjaecent to the Motel White Parrot and is a perfect spot to stop after the days journey. With views of the Usambara Mountain slopes and plenty of space in the sun and/or the shade, you can grab a chair or an area of grass and just lay out and relax, reading a book, or enjoy a nice "cool" drink.
- Day 16 Arusha (B,L,D)
- Approximate Distance: 250km Estimated Travel Time: 7/8 hrs Pass Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain and head towards Arusha. Arusha sits at the foot of rugged Mount Meru, Africa's fifth highest mountain. Spend some time exploring the town and its bustling markets. Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center in northern Tanzania. With many protected national parks, reserves, and mountains nearby (on a clear day, you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance), Arusha is a modern town, and with its markets, services, and fine location, it is a great base for your safari trip. Arusha officially became a city on the 1st of July 2006. The primary industry of the region is agriculture with large vegetable producers sending high-quality produce to Europe. The city and its environs are also spotted with large coffee plantations, adding to the area’s charm. Though in recent years, due to the coffee crisis, many local farmers have been badly hit, and now subsistence farming is the most common source of livelihood. Arusha, who owes its name from the local Wa-arusha people who resided here for hundreds of years, is historically and politically significant city within East Africa. In 1961 the official documents ceding independence to Tanzania were signed by the United Kingdom in Arusha. Six years later the Arusha Declaration of Self Reliance in Tanzania was signed. On the 4th of August 1993 the Arusha Accords were signed by representatives of competing factions in the civil war in neighbouring Rwanda. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN Security Council decided by its Resolution 955 of 8 November 1994 that Arusha should host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The establishment of the tribunal with its employees has influenced the local economy of Arusha.
- Day 17-18 Serengeti NP / Ngorongoro Conservation Area (2B,2L,2D)
- Day 17 Approximate Distance: 320 km; Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including game drive into Serengeti) Day 18 Approximate Distance 160 km; Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including game drive out of Serengeti) After breakfast, we begin our 2 night/3 day excursion to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, two of Africa’s premier wildlife areas. Changing to specialized 4WD 7-seater safari vehicles, we are met by experienced safari driver/guides, who will ensure us wonderful wildlife encounters. Our safari vehicles each have sliding windows and a large pop-up roof, perfect for game viewing. They are smaller than our overland truck, and will allow us to maneuver easily through the wildlife areas. As the vehicles are smaller than our overland truck, our group will split up among several vehicles,. The Serengeti is to Tanzania what the Masai Mara Game Reserve is to Kenya, though with an area of 14,763 sq km, it is actually over 7 times as large! The area where you will be staying and game viewing is in the central Serengeti 'Seronera' area, which lies in the southeast of the National Park. Because of the sheer size of the National Park other areas will not be accessible during your stay. As we drive through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and on to the Serengeti National Park, en route you will begin to experience the sheer vastness of this territory, and you will marvel at the multitude of animal and bird life while cruising through this acacia-spotted savannah. The next day, we continue your search for the "Big 5" - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino - while taking in the vastness of the Serengeti plains with a game drives through out the day. Note: If you have pre-booked a Serengeti Balloon Safari Theme Pack, your flight will be early in the morning of Day 18.
- Day 19 Ngorongoro Crater/Arusha (B,L,D)
- Approximate Distance: 200 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including game drive in Crater) Venture down to the crater floor, and take in your final safari experience viewing the high concentration of wildlife, including zebra, gazelle, impala, and cheetah, bound by the crater walls. Exit the crater late morning and continue back to Arusha for your final night of camping.
- Day 20 Arusha to Nairobi (B,L)
- Approximate Distance: 286 km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs (depending on border crossing) Today we will cross the border from Tanzania to Kenya. The name of the border posts are Namanga border post on both sides. Some nationalities do require a visa for Kenya. See our visa section for further information. Remember that visas are your own responsibility; please double check with your agent if you will require a visa for Kenya. The currency in Kenya is Kenyan shilling (KES.)You will be able to change your left over TZS at the border or in Nairobi. Most establishments, activities etc. do accept USD for payment. Departing Arusha in the morning we make our way to Nairobi, and the tour ends upon arrival into Nairobi, in the late afternoon, at the Hotel Boulevard in central Nairobi. In order to avoid any necessary issues with timing, please book your outgoing flight from Nairobi from 21:00 hrs or later. There is no included accommodation for this night in Nairobi. You may choose to pre-reserve post-tour accommodation at through G Adventures.