The Africa adventure itinerary – Cape Town to Kenya in 42 days!

So it’s 2 weeks (ahhh!) until I head to one of the most controversial continents on the planet and I’m guessing you’re going to want to know what I plan on getting up to and want to keep track of me even when I’m on the road?

Well then, look no further; here’s my itinerary (unless of course we get hit by random floods or get held up for all my chocolate biscuits in which case it might alter slightly *ahem*!)…

Before the tour actually starts I have two days by myself.  The first in which I hope to go up Table Mountain if it’s open and on the second day I plan on going cage diving!  woooo!  So there will be no sleep for the first couple of days; just adrenaline 🙂

DAY 1 of the official tour; Cape Town – Western Cape – Gariep River Our overland safari begins in cosmopolitan Cape Town, overlooked by Table Mountain and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.  From here we head north through South Africa’s western and northern Cape provinces, a fertile area of winelands and wild flowers in the south that gradually turns drier and rockier as we head north towards the Namibian border. We camp in the western Cape area overnight on the way to the Gariep River.

DAY 2 – 5 Fish River Canyon – Namib Naukluft Park We enter Namibia and arrive at the awesome Fish River Canyon. One of the natural wonders of Africa, some 500m deep and over 160km long, this is the second largest canyon in the world (after the Grand Canyon, USA). After a night near the canyon we continue north until we reach the Namib Naukluft Park, containing the world’s oldest desert and the highest sand dunes. Some of Sossusvlei’s dunes are over 300m high and a popular activity here is to trek to the top of one of them in time to watch the sun rise over the open desert. A spectacular sight but be warned, it’s an energy sapping climb to the top! Another well worthwhile option is to continue deeper into the park for a nature walk across the saltpans and valley floor, amidst the dunes – a real glimpse of Namibia’s unspoilt natural environment. (Expect lots of photos of me looking like a burnt Ribena berry)

DAY 6 – 7 Swakopmund Continuing on, we drive out of the desert and hit the Atlantic coast at Swakopmund, a small town redolent of Namibia’s colonial past but with modern adventure oriented attractions for the visitor. Swakopmund is Namibia’s main seaside resort, sandwiched neatly between the desert and the ocean, and is a delightful coastal oasis.  (Swakopmund aka Adrenaline Junkie heaven with everything from sandboarding to skydiving!!!)

DAY 8 Cape Cross Seal Colony – Spitzkoppe We leave Swakopmund and continue north, stopping briefly at Cape Cross which is home to some 80,000 seals, the largest seal colony along this stretch of coast-line. It’s an impressive sight, if not just for the number of seals but also for the immense noise and smell! Leaving the Cape we turn inland to the beautiful Damaraland region and stop at Spitzkoppe to admire ancient bushman paintings still visible on the peculiar rock formations. (I wonder if there is a ‘scratch and sniff’ option for blogs these days…got a feel the seals are going to burn off a few nostril hairs with their smell)

DAY 9 – 11 Etosha National Park – Windhoek We make our way north to Etosha National Park, a vast reserve of over 20,000 sq km surrounding a central salt depression or ‘pan.’ The pan is seasonally full of water but specially managed waterholes sustain some 114 mammal and 340 bird species. We spend two nights here, usually making camp near a floodlit waterhole. Observers frequently see a range of night visitors including elephant, giraffe, zebra, even lion and hyena, making it one of the most memorable wildlife encounters in Namibia. After two nights we leave Etosha and turn south to the Windhoek, the capital, a city steeped in German architecture and atmosphere.  (let’s hope that the Germans also left another precious item in Africa – alcohol!)

DAY 12 – 17 Ghanzi – Okavango Delta – Chobe National Park Leaving Windhoek we travel west into the Kalahari region and cross into Botswana. Our first stop is at the town of Ghanzi. Here we meet the Bushman and have a guided bush walk for a glimpse of this ancient people’s way of life. We stay the night nearby before continuing north to Maun for our next national park – the Okavango Delta. The Okavango is a natural wetland spreading over some 1,600,000ha of northern Botswana. The Okavango River allows us to explore amongst the giant lily pads, tall grasses and labyrinthine channels in search of hippo, crocodile and a variety of birds. We travel on foot and by mokoro (dugout canoe) and camp for a night on one of the river islands. After our return to Maun we make our way to the northern corner of Botswana to Chobe National Park, home to elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo and abundant birdlife, including the famous African fish eagle. Rising early we take a game drive, we rest during in the heat of the day and then in the late afternoon, we take a cruise on the Chobe River. (I think this is about the time my camera has an orgasm!)

DAY 18 – 19 Livingstone – Victoria Falls Moving on from Chobe we take the ferry across the Zambezi River to Zambia and drive the short distance to the small town of Livingstone. We set up camp at the Waterfront campsite on the banks of the Zambezi, just a few kilometres from the Victoria Falls. At various times of year the spray from the Falls can be seen from up to 20 or 30 kilometres away, hence the local name ‘Mosi au Tunya’ – the ‘smoke that thunders’. (this is about the time I pass out from sheer happiness at seeing such a wonder of nature especially if I get to sit in Devil’s Pool)

DAY 22 – 28 Kafue River – Malawi From Livingstone, we head north-east into Zambia and stop at the Kafue River to take a short journey by boat on the river to a community camp on the river banks. We spend the night here and have the opportunity to visit the neighbouring village and meet the local people who live here. The following morning we continue our journey through Lusaka to Malawi – the ‘warm heart’ of Africa. We descend to Lake Malawi which covers almost a fifth of the country providing a source of livelihood for many of the Malawi people. Fishermen, fish traders, canoe and net makers all ply their trade, and a common sight is that of a fisherman in his bwato, (dugout canoe made from a hollowed out tree trunk) fishing on the still lake at the break of day. (let’s hope I don’t tip the bwato over when I attempt to get out of it…attempt being the operative word!)

DAY 29 – 34 Dar es Salaam – Zanzibar Leaving Malawi we climb into the hills and cross the border into Tanzania. We continue northeast towards the Indian Ocean coast and the port city of Dar es Salaam. On the way we take the road that runs straight through small Mikumi National Park and with luck, may spot forest elephant or giraffe feeding near the side of the road. ‘Dar’ is Tanzania’s hub of commerce and industry – a hot, humid and bustling city. We set up camp at our campsite near the beach just outside of the city centre with time to browse one of the nearby curio markets best. This is also our ‘leaping off’ point for our excursion to Zanzibar. Evocative and exotic, Zanzibar conjures up images of idyllic, sandy, palm fringed beaches, romantic winding cobbled alleys and lush tropical forests. The Arab influence is evident in the architecture and diverse street stall offerings of the capital, Stone Town. But if it’s white sand, sparkling ocean and hot sun you prefer – head for the northern beaches and enjoy the Indian Ocean at its best.  After three nights we cross back by ferry to the African mainland and Dar es Salaam. (pure white beaches and tropical turquoise beaches = heavenly diving and recuperation time!)

DAY 35 – 37 River Camp – Arusha We continue the journey northward and inland to the great game parks of East Africa. We may take a night beside the scenic Pangani River on the way north, and a little further on if the weather is clear we gain a view of the magnificent snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak (at 5895m). We drive past the town of Moshi and eventually reach Arusha, a city situated exactly mid way between Cape Town and Cairo.  With time to explore town we head out to our camp just outside of the city on the edge of the Masai plains. More importantly, it is from here that we prepare for our two night/three day excursion to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.

DAY 38 – 40 Serengeti National Park – Olduvai Gorge – Ngorongoro Crater Stopping to see the Olduvai Gorge, made famous by Drs Louis and Mary Leakey for their explorations into early man we descend onto the open plains and wide horizons of the Serengeti. Flatter and larger than the Masai Mara the Serengeti is simply huge – indeed the name ‘derives from the Masai word Siringitu – ‘the place where the land moves on forever’. Game viewing here can be superb and camping out in an unfenced campsite where lion and hyena roam nearby is an unforgettable experience. The following day we drive out of the plains and ascend the outer wall of the Ngorogoro Crater. We spend the night camping on the rim. At 326 square kilometres in area the Ngorongoro is Africa’s largest intact caldera and is a World Heritage Site. If the view from the rim (2400 metres above sea level) is spectacular, the site from the Crater floor (some 600 metres below the rim) is equally enjoyable. All the major mammals are present, except giraffe (which cannot manage the steep slopes leading down one to the Crater floor). We descend the steep access road for a morning of excellent game driving in this dramatic location. (seriously can’t wait for this…talk about sensory overload!)

DAY 41 Nairobi After a last night at camp, we make our way across the Masai steppe to the Kenyan frontier at Namanga. Completing formalities we drive the last afternoon to Kenya’s burgeoning capital, Nairobi, where our tour sadly ends. (thankfully I have another full day by myself before my flight leaves so who knows what I’ll get up to?!)

T minus 16 days and counting! woooppeeeee 😀

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  1. JEALOUS!!!! I’m so insanely excited for you. Reading about all of your itinerary makes it so real. Africa is a dream of mine and I’ll be living vicariously through you the entire time!

  2. Sheryll – Girl I still don’t think I’ve accepted it’s real despite the itinerary haha. Having to pimch myself; can’t quite believe I’m going and I’m doing it all – woooooohooooooooo 🙂

  3. OMG…this looks beyond amazing! I’ve been to S Africa, which I adored (and Egypt up yonder), but nowhere else on the continent. This is truly a dream trip–one you’ll never forget. Enjoy!

  4. Too Exciting! Namibia is on my short list for my next trip. I listened to an interesting podcast at the Amateur Traveler that got me curious about it. I will be interested in hearing what you feelings on the security situation in South Africa are. I’m always nervous about going places with security issues since I travel solo.

  5. I’m starting to hate you more and more each day. In fact, I hope you get gobbled up by a great white while you’re cave diving. There should be a claus that if you die, I get to take your spot on the trip.

  6. Lisa – it wasn’t until I wrote it all out that I realised just how amazing it actually was….still can’t believe I’m about to do this =)

  7. Elle – you love me really chick 😉

  8. Erik – it will definitely be interesting to see the different between expected and actual levels of security etc when I go through Africa. I’m extremely nervous about going to Africa, I can’t deny it, but I’ll be pushing on through to have the time of my life 🙂

  9. It sounds SO amazing!! I want to do the exact same trip – exactly like that! It sounds perfect and you’re going to have the best time ever! 😀

  10. Annette | Bucket List Journey

    Double WOW!!! That trip looks amazing and I am thoroughly jealous. But, I do look forward to reading all about it 😉

  11. Liv

    If the first day you are in Cape Town is a decent day, get yourself up Table Mountain pronto! The weather changes really quickly there and they ‘close’ the mountain to visitors, so don’t miss out! Very glad you are getting to Stonetown ;o) If you have time go up North on Zanzibar too – the beaches are wonderful. It looks absent from your itinerary, but I love Uganda, so if you can sneak in a few days there then do that too! Bon Voyage!

  12. Wow! What an amazing trip you`re going to make! Can`t wait to read and follow you along your journey 🙂

  13. Wow! sounds amazing. I’m actually really excited for you to go so we can start hearing about your adventures. You defo wouldn’t get me in that Devil’s Pool though!

  14. Lauren – it really does sound the best bits of Africa all thrown into one trip 🙂

  15. Annette – Glad you found me just in time for the trip – here’s hoping I can update along the way 🙂

  16. Liv – I’m definitely going up Table Mountain on the first day; I’ve only got one day to do it haha. Fingers crossed the weather stays nice! Stonetown looks incredible from the photos I have seen and I DEFINITELY want to see the turquoise beaches of North Tanzania 😀 Can’t wait!

  17. Isabelle – thanks 🙂 I seriously can’t wait to get there; think I’m going to have total sensory overload 😀

  18. This is a route I’ve longed to take and was always overwhelmed at the different overland tours and which to choose. Looking forward to your thoughts on yours!

  19. Wow! That sounds like such a great trip – really looking forward to reading about it esp the devil’s pool part – I would love to sit in that at the edge of the falls 😀
    *hopefully one day*

  20. Heather – I didn’t really look into it. I just walked into STA travel and said ‘here’s where I want to go is it possible’ and he came back with Acacia and the itinerary. I think if I’d had to look into things myself I would have always wondered if I’d made the right decision. Rough Guides have called the company I’m going with expensive etc so it will be interesting, as you say, to get my REAL check on things =)

  21. Liya – really excited about the Devil’s Pool. I will probably stand on the edge for five minutes too scared to go in but I’m determined to do it =D Fingers crossed the water stays at a good level! 🙂

  22. Monica – I can’t wait to get writing about them! So few people have extensively travelled through Africa so it will be great to experience/write about 🙂 I’ve got a feeling I’m REALLY going to struggle getting into the Devil’s Pool (all dependent on if the water level is safe of course) but it’s definitely a once in a lifetime thing and has to be done 😀

  23. effing awesome. that is all.

  24. Scott – haha you’re right; that’s all that needs to be said 🙂

  25. Nicole – thanks hun! Can’t wait to get there and have the time of my life! =)

  26. Wow, that looks epic! I’m going to Dar and Tanzania in a few months so will definitely be interested to see what you think about them. Cage diving? Cool!

  27. Vicky – I wasn’t that impressed with Dar if I’m honest but each to their own. The rest of Tanzania and Zanzibar though? Mind-blowing!!! 🙂 So excited for you to go there! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  28. Hey Toni thanks for the blog planning my own trip next year on a similar route to you but in reverse, 45 days Cape Town to Nairobi…. I can’t wait and you have given me plenty to think about…

  29. Simo – Great to hear that you’re doing the same route! Which company are you going with? I’m writing an ebook abou the whole thing with tips and hints etc 😀

  30. Going with Nomad… have a friend that travelled with them this year and loved them… I’m supa pumped already and have months to wait…

  31. Simo – that friend wouldn’t be Mellyboo by any chance would it?! She loved Africa as much as I hoped she would. I was the same as you – I booked my trip about 10 months in advance and my impatient was killing me by the time it finally came around! 🙂

  32. Yeah of course its Mel…. she was on my tour bus a few years back and now we hope to do some of Africa together next year…. gunna be a crazy trip with her lol….

  33. and yeah waiting always sucks…. but hey what can you do…