42 day Southern Explorer. Cape Town to Nairobi

Elephants in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Picture Gallery

This 42 day Southern Explorer tour begins in Cape Town, South Africa, and travels through Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania, Zanzibar before ending in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Pre-departure meeting: 17h00 at the departure point the day before you depart
  • Departure point: Ashanti Lodge and Travel Centre, 11 Hof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
  • Check-in: 08h45
  • Departure: 09h30
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Group size: Max 30 passengers
  • Safari vehicle: Overland truck

What you can expect from this 42 day Southern Explorer (Cape to Kenya) Safari Tour:

Journey through the wild continent, from South Africa to Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Victoria Falls, Lake Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya. See Africa at its best - a true journey of discovery.

You will be entertained by mokoro (traditional dug out canoes) excursions in the Okavango Delta, Zanzibar excursions and excursions in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorogoro Crater. In Sossusvlei, Namibia, explore the Sesriem Canyon and watch spectacular sunsets over the world's highest sand dunes.

Day 1: Cape Town to Cedarberg Area, South Africa

Leaving the beautiful city of Cape Town, you head north through the wine growing regions. You cross the Piketberg Pass into the rich fruit growing area of Citrusdal. Your first night is spent in a picturesque campsite surrounded by local wine farms.

This afternoon you have the opportunity to sample some of the nectar of the gods or to explore the surrounding scenic Cederberg Mountains. Lunch and dinner included.

Day 2: Cederberg Area to Orange River, South Africa

From the Cederberg Mountains you travel north through the region known as Namaqualand, well known for its prolific display of colourful Namaqua wildflowers that occur each spring (September-October) after rainfall.

After stopping for supplies in Springbok, you continue on through the desert area of the Richtersveld to the Orange River (Gariep River), the natural land border between South Africa and Namibia. Here, you overnight at a beautiful campsite on the South African bank of the river. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 3: Orange River to Fish River Canyon, Namibia

This morning you have the option of a half-day canoe trip on the Orange River, affording you the opportunity of some bird watching or just a scenic and relaxing paddle. After lunch you cross into Namibia. After a short drive, you reach the Fish River Canyon.

At 161 km long, 27 km wide and about 550 m deep, it‟s the second largest canyon in the world. The outer canyon was formed by tectonic activity, while the erosion of the Fish River formed the inner canyon. A road follows the eastern rim, giving you access to several viewing points from where you can take in the spectacular vistas. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 4: Fish River Canyon to Helmringhausen Area, Namibia

After a leisurely morning at the Fish River Canyon, you head north through Namibia‟s farming area. You stop in Bethanie, a small, former missionary town, for supplies. You head to your overnight camp from where you have the opportunity to star gaze at the magnificent Milky Way. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 5: Helmringhausen Area to Sesriem, Namibia

Heading north you enter the Namib-Naukluft Park in one of the oldest deserts in the world. You pitch up camp at Sesriem, a good place to experience the Namib and its many moods. A short distance away is Sossusvlei, surrounded by a dramatic sea of Namib Desert sand dunes reputed to be the highest in the world. Magnificent views of the desert can be seen from the top of the dunes, some are over 300m high.

You spend the afternoon exploring this amazing area. An optional (and must do) excursion is to walk around the Namib Desert area, learning about the amazing history, geology, flora and fauna from the specialised local guides of 'Sossus on Foot'. They also give you a glimpse into the cultural legacy of the San people. View the sunset from the top of Dune 45 - a truly memorable experience. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 6: Sesriem to Swakopmund, Namibia

After watching the sunrise across this beautiful area you leave the serenity of the Namib Desert dunes and head in a north-westerly direction to meet the Atlantic Ocean at Walvis Bay.

Following the coast for some 35 km, you arrive at the prime holiday resort of Namibia, Swakopmund, where you enjoy 3 nights of rest and relaxation. Accommodation will be in dormitories. Upgrades are possible, but depend on room availability. Brunch.

Days 7 & 8: Swakopmund, Namibia

Founded by the Germans in 1892, their colonial influence is still evident today. Swakopmund has a selection of excellent coffee shops, restaurants and bars as well as many arts and crafts shops selling Namibian curios. There are fine beaches to walk along as well as a great museum, aquarium and galleries to visit.

Optional excursions and adventures in Swakopmund

Enjoy sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, scenic desert flights, dolphin cruises, fishing trips, golf, horse riding and more. An activity briefing will be held on arrival in Swakopmund. Breakfast on both days.

Day 9: Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe, Namibia

Your departure from Swakopmund takes us to the „Matterhorn of Namibia‟ - the Spitzkoppe. The 1728m high rock formation, one of Namibia‟s most recognised landmarks, is well known as an ancient San sacred site. Explore the surrounding area and its San rock paintings. Tonight, you bush camp under the African stars. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 10: Spitzkoppe to Cheetah Park, Namibia

Today's drive is to the Cheetah Park, a private farm dedicated to conserving the Cheetah population of Namibia. You get to meet the resident Cheetahs. This is a photo opportunity not to be missed. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 11: Cheetah Park to Etosha National Park, Namibia

After stopping briefly in Outjo to get supplies, you head to Etosha National Park. Covering 20 000 km2, Etosha is the premier game reserve in Namibia. Situated around the Etosha Pan with a large variety of African wildlife and bird species, the extensive network of gravel roads affords you the opportunity of accessing even the most remote areas of the park. You spend the remainder of the day with a safari in the southern area of Etosha. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 12: Etosha National Park, Namibia

Today you make your way 150 km across Etosha National Park, keeping a look out for the large herds of desert antelope such as Springbok and Oryx (Gemsbok). After a full day of game viewing, you spend the evening relaxing at your camp. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 13: Etosha National Park to Rundu, Namibia

From Etosha, you head in a north-easterly direction towards the lush Kavango region of northern Namibia. You stop at Rundu for supplies before heading to your spectacular campsite located on the banks of the Kavango River, which offers 'open air' facilities and the occasional Hippo grazing on the lawn. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 14: Rundu to Maun, Botswana

Following the Kavango River, we enter Botswana and travel east along the course of the river to the southern reaches of the Okavango Delta and our destination, Maun. It is from here that we set off to explore the Okavango Delta. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 15: Maun to Okavango Delta, Botswana (Optional)

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a huge expanse of water, which has travelled from the Angolan highlands, spreading out to form the largest inland delta in the world. Studded with exotic islands, the delta is renowned for its incredible variety of bird species and African wildlife and is unique to Southern Africa.

Optional 3 Day / 2 Night Drive In / Mokoro Excursion into the Okavango Delta

If you choose this poption, you travel north from Maun for a couple of hours to reach the mokoro poler's station. Mokoros are traditional dug out canoes manoeuvred through the waterways by local guides who "pole" them through the reeds. After your guides find us a place to camp, you set off on an afternoon game walk, allowing you to experience the Okavango Delta wilderness in Botswana.

For those who'd prefer not to explore the delta, you can stay at the lovely campsite relaxing by the swimming pool or challenging each other to a game of volleyball. There is also a crocodile farm nearby that has it's feeding times open to campsite visitors. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 16: Okavango Delta, Botswana (Optional)

A day of rest, relaxation and Okavango Delta experiences await. Today you have the opportunity to partake in a number of activities including swimming (dependant on area and water levels), game walks, mokoro cruises and even a chance to try your hands at poling your own mokoro. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 17: Okavango Delta to Maun, Botswana

This morning affords you a final opportunity for a game walk before packing up and setting off back to Maun. You arrive back in the early afternoon and have the chance to complete your picture of the Okavango Delta in Botswana by taking an optional sunset scenic flight over the water channels. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 18: Maun to Chobe National Park, Botswana

You travel east and then north to the town of Kasane where you set up camp on the banks of the Chobe River. The Chobe River forms a border between Botswana and Namibia and Zambia. In the late afternoon you can take a boat cruise along the Chobe River.

Spot Elephant, Hippo and many bird species from the boat. Watch another glorious African sunset and listen out for the sounds of the resident Hippos. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 19: Chobe National Park, Botswana

This morning, you have the option to do an early morning game drive into Chobe National Park in Botswana. Chobe is one of Botswana's premier game parks, renowned for its large Elephant herds. After the safari you return to camp for lunch. The afternoon is at leisure.

For the adventurous spirits, there is the option for the Chobe National Park Sleep-out. This is an overnight experience in the Chobe National Park. Spend the afternoon in search of African wildlife en-route to the set camp within the park where you spend the evening surrounded by the night-time noises of the Botswana bush.

In the morning, you continue your exploration and rejoin the group before heading to our next destination. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 20: Chobe National Park to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Leaving Botswana, you enter Zimbabwe and drive to the town of Victoria Falls. Here, in Africa‟s adventure capital, you set up camp in the centrally located campsite. Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and it's not difficult to see why.

At 1700m wide and around 100m high, this is the world's largest sheet of falling water and a memorable sight on any African Safari. The falls can be viewed from the Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe.

Enjoy fantastic photo opportunities. The afternoon is spent relaxing at the swimming pool in the camp or exploring the many sights and delights of Victoria Falls town. Brunch.

Days 21 & 22: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

The next 2 days are spent relaxing or participating in a myriad of Optional Excursions. Some of your fellow passengers will leave you in Victoria Falls, to be replaced by new passengers joining you for the next leg of your trek.

Optional Excursions

You have the chance to visit the Zambezi or Hwange National Park, go on Elephant back safaris, horse back safaris, visit the Crocodile ranch, enjoy boat cruises and play golf at The Elephant Hills Resort. Adrenalin junkies can bungee from the Victoria Falls Bridge, which is 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 23: Victoria Falls to Livingstone, Zambia

You leave Zimbabwe and cross the Victoria Falls Bridge and the Zambezi River, entering into Zambia at the town of Livingstone. You have the opportunity to view the Victoria Falls from the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Zambia. This is a fantastic photo opportunity.

The day affords you the opportunity to participate in the activities available in Zambia you weren't able to do on the Zimbabwean side of the falls. Tonight, you have the option of enjoying a sunset dinner cruise on the mighty Zambezi. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 24: Livingstone to Lusaka, Zambia

Early morning you head north through southern Zambia to your campsite on the outskirts of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. The campsite is home to some local wildlife including the largest antelope in Africa, the Eland. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 25: Lusaka to Chipata, Zambia

From Lusaka you head north east to a beautiful little campsite just 10 km before the Zambia/Malawi border. Here you spend the night before heading into Malawi. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Days 26 - 30: Chipata to Lake Malawi Beaches, Malawi

Leaving Zambia you cross into Malawi, the 'Warm Heart of Africa'. You 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. You travel the full length of the western side of the lake, stopping off at various bays and inlets over the next 5 days.

You spend the days learning the game of bao from the locals, scour the markets for a bargain or simply relax on the pristine beaches. The temperate climate in Malawi 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 the Lake Malawi shores offer many optional excursions, including a variety of water sports, horse back rides and a visit to the local village and school. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 31: Lake Malawi to Iringa, Tanzania

After a relaxing 5 days, we 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 we spend the night in the beautiful rustic „Farmhouse‟ campsite famous for its Amarula Hot Chocolates and its steamy showers. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 32: Iringa to Dar Es Salaam

The next morning you make your way to Dar es Salaam. You pass through the Mikumi National Park where it is possible to view a range of African wildlife from the roadside, totally impervious to the passing traffic. On arrival in Dar es Salaam, you make your way to your lovely seaside campsite and prepare for our departure to Zanzibar the next morning. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 33: Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar

A ferry from Dar es Salaam takes you to the 'Spice Island', where you 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 you to replace those that'll leave us at the end of our excursion to Zanzibar.

Accommodation and Meals on own account on Zanzibar

Passengers prefer to explore the island on their own. The Trip Leader joins you and can arrange your accommodation, while meals can be enjoyed from a wide selection of restaurants.

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. Breakfast in Dar es Salaam included. Accommodation and meals on Zanzibar on own account.

Days 34 & 35: Zanzibar, Tanzania

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.

Zanzibar 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 Indian Ocean - crayfish being a popular speciality. Alternatively, you can mingle with the locals and have dinner at the Forodhani Gardens seafront market, where delicious, inexpensive seafood is on offer. Accommodation and meals on Zanzibar on own account.

Day 36: Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

You leave the beautiful island of Zanzibar and return to the mainland of Tanzania. You spend the night in Dar es Salaam. Dinner.

Day 37: Dar es Salaam to Arusha, Tanzania

From Dar es Salaam we travel through vast sisal plantations 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. Weather permitting, you may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain's snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed.

Tonight we stay in a lovely campsite in Meserani on the outskirts of Arusha, before heading out on our Optional Excursions to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Days 38-40: Arusha and Optional Ngorongoro Crater / Serengeti Excursion, Tanzania

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. You conduct these excursions in locally operated 4x4 vehicles, which are adapted for safari use.

For those not opting to visit the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park, the next 2 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 takes us via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to 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. You spend the evening at a pleasant campsite in Karatu.

The following morning you 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. Guests might be able to spot the elusive Black Rhino.

After your game drive in the Crater, you head down the Crater rim and past the 'Cradle of Mankind' on your way to the Serengeti National Park. You cross the vast plains as we game drive through the southern and central areas in the Serengeti.

Tonight you camp in the bushveld surrounded by the sounds of the African wilderness. In the morning, you head off for another safari and explore the landscape in search of the resident game. With some luck, you may see some of the Big Five animals (Leopard, Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino).

After your morning game drive, you head back across the plains and the lush Ngorongoro Crater rim to your truck at Arusha, where you spend the evening musing over our thrilling wildlife experience.

Day 41: Arusha to Namanga, Kenya

After a morning in Arusha's vibrant craft markets, you head to lunch just outside of town. After lunch, you travel 120 km to the Tanzania / Kenya border. Once the border formalities are complete, you camp at Namanga just over the Kenyan border. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Day 42: Namanga to Nairobi

This morning you travel 180km north to the Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. On arrival, you head to the Hotel Boulevard, where you exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime.

Free Trip

When you book this 42 day Southern Explorer trip, you are entitled to receive a free 3 Day Masai Mara Safari the Sunday after your 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. Ask your Siyabona Africa Consultant for more info.

Optional Excursions (Selection)

  • Orange River canoeing, South Africa
  • Sossusvlei Desert Walk, Namib Desert, Namibia
  • Quad biking, sandboarding and other adventures, Swakopmund, Namibia
  • Okavango Delta with mokoros, Botswana
  • Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe
  • White river rafting or bungee jumping, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Zambezi sunset river cruise, Zambia
  • Fresh water diving or village walks, Malawi
  • Zanzibar accommodation and activities (e.g. spice tour or snorkelling)
  • Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park safari

Rates are subject to change.
Please contact one of our Siyabona Africa Consultants to enquire about the current rates and departure dates.

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