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Addis Ababa to Nairobi

Overlanding is the only way to see East and Southern Africa! Dragoman have been leading the way in African overland expeditions since 1981, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. The journey between Addis Ababa and Nairobi heads through some of Africa's remotest tribal lands - it is not for the faint hearted, but the rewards of visiting these rarely-visited areas are very worthwhile! We will explore the remote tribal area of the Omo Valley, visit several villages and learn all about the traditional ways of life here. We will then cross into Kenya and take the challenging roads to the lands of the Samburu tribe, where we have a fascinating village stay and an incredible safari in Samburu National Park, home to some of Kenya's rarer wildlife such as the curious gerenuk and Grevy's zebra. We will head through the incredible wildlife area of Lake Nakuru before entering the wonderful country of Uganda, where we safari around Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks, track chimps on foot, and head out on some optional adrenaline-fuelled activities at Jinja, the source of the White Nile. We then journey deep into Rwanda for one of the world's ultimate wildlife experiences - a face-to-face encounter with the incredible mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park. Arriving back in Nairobi, this fantastic and adventurous trip is second to none!

  • Duration: 44 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Safari
  • Physical rating: Demanding
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Tour code: 158216
  • Starts: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Finishes: Nairobi, Kenya
You will Visit
  • Addis Ababa
  • Lake Ziway
  • Bale Mountains National Park
  • Awassa
  • Wendo Genet
  • Arba Minch
  • Omo Valley Region
  • Konso
  • Moyale
  • Marsabit
  • Samburu Village
  • Samburu National Reserve
  • Nakuru National Park
  • Naivasha
  • Nairobi
  • Gilgil
  • Kericho
  • Jinja
  • Nakitoma
  • Kaniyo Pabidi
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Kampala
  • Kabale
  • Mbarara
  • Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park
  • Kigali
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Eldoret

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Border Information: If joining in Addis Ababa, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day before this meeting will be free to explore Addis Ababa and visit the city's many museums - we recommend that you arrive early (or the night before) if you would like the chance to fully explore the sights of Addis Ababa. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Addis Ababa before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Addis Ababa.

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

02

Day 2: Lake Ziway

Today we will leave Addis Ababa and head to the small town of Ziway.

After lunch we will take an included boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, where we will have a short guided tour of the ancient monastery there and view some of the old religious manuscripts.

In Ziway we will stay in a small local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

03

Day 3-5: Bale Mountains National Park

Today we will leave Ziway and drive to the stunning Bale Mountains National Park.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

We will enjoy 2 full days to explore the National Park. We will keep one day completely free to head out for optional guided walks - there are several possibilities for routes, including highland routes up the hills and moorlands searching for mountain nyalas, or lowland walks through the forest areas to look for Bale monkeys! On the other day we will drive in the truck up to the Sanetti Plateau, all the way to the fourth-highest point in Ethiopia (the 4359m summit of Tulu Dimtu) to explore the primeval landscape and search for Ethiopian wolves.

In the Bale Mountains we will stay in dorms in a basic lodge near the entrance to the National Park.

04

Day 6-7: Wendo Genet

Today we will head north to the small town of Awassa, where we will have an included visit to the Awassa Children's Project in the afternoon. This is a home for local children orphaned by the HIV epidemic, and we will be shown around and see how public donations and the support of Dragoman goes towards feeding, sheltering and educating the children.

After our visit we will head to Wendo Genet, a small town in the hills above Awassa, where we will stay for the 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to explore the region, go on an optional walk to some nearby waterfalls, or take a dip in the nearby hot springs.

In Wendo Genet we will camp in the grounds of a small local hotel.

05

Day 8: Arba Minch

Today we will travel to the town of Arba Minch, a small town overlooking Lake Chamo. 

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

06

Day 9: Arba Minch

Border Information: If joining in Arba Minch, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day before this meeting will be free to explore Arba Minch. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Arba Minch before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Arba Minch.

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel. 

07

Day 10-12: Omo Valley Region

Over the next 4 days/3 nights we will be exploring the remote and rarely-visited tribal areas of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.

We will keep these days on a flexible itinerary so that we can react to news of special events being hosted by particular villages or tribes; as such, we cannot provide an exact itinerary for these days. However, we will aim to visit various tribal villages in the area, such as villages of the Hamer, the Mursi and the Konso tribes. 

In the Omo Valley we will camp in basic campsites on each night without the possibility of upgrades, and we will try to spend at least one of the nights camping in one of the tribal villages (this is not guaranteed to be possible on every trip). 

Estimated Drive Times - between 4-9 hours each day (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Please note that we will be travelling through very remote areas with rough roads and basic conditions on these days. Please also note that it is absolutely vital that you follow your tour leader's directions regarding responsible tourism in these regions, especially with regards to giving things away for free and taking photographs of the locals.

08

Day 13: Konso

Today we will arrive in the town of Konso, marking the end of our time in the Omo Valley region.

In Konso we will camp in the grounds of a basic lodge.

09

Day 14: Moyale

Today our group will split between those finishing in Arba Minch and those continuing towards Nairobi.

Those ending their trip in Arba Minch will have a local transfer back to Arba Minch today, where you stay in a local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Those continuing south will have a full drive day across the Kenyan border to Moyale, where we will stay in a basic local hotel or camp in a local campsite.

Border Information: Exit Ethiopia at Moyale, enter Kenya at Moyale.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

10

Day 15: Samburu Village

This is the final day for those leaving in Arba Minch.

For the group continuing towards Nairobi, today we will have an early start and travel through the very rarely-visited region of northern Kenya, crossing the infamous Moyale-Marsabit road to the central Samburu region. The scenery along this route is spectacular, as you travel through the black lunar landscapes near Marsabit and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.

We will reach the Samburu region near to the small town of Archer's Post this evening, where we will visit a Samburu village - this evening there will be fantastic display of traditional singing and dancing from the Samburu villagers, and a chat around the camp fire with the locals to ask them all about their way of life.

We will camp in the village in the heart of the community tonight, where there are no toilet or washing facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours.

Please note that due to security issues in this particular area, we will sometimes be accompanied by two armed police escorts between Moyale and Archer's Post.

11

Day 16: Samburu National Reserve

This morning we will be shown around the Samburu village by our hosts - we will be shown around their homes, play with the children and learn all about the way of life here for the Samburu people! We will then enter the Samburu National Reserve, where we will enjoy game drives in the truck (breaking for a long lunch during the heat of the day).

Samburu is a stunning National Reserve and is a great opportunity to spot big game such as cheetah, leopards, lions, and buffalo. The Reserve is also home to other animals rarely seen in the National Parks further south, such as Grevy's zebras, Somali ostriches and gerenuk ('giraffe-necked antelopes').

Tonight we will wild camp in a camping area in the National Reserve - facilities are very basic, but the area is a 5-10 minute walk from Samburu Lodge.

Please note that during very wet conditions we may need to use locally-chartered 4x4 jeeps rather than our truck to get a good game drive in - in this instance we may make this option available at extra cost.

12

Day 17-18: Naro Moru

Today we will get up early to spend the morning enjoying some more excellent game driving in our truck through the Samburu National Reserve. When the animals start to take shelter from the heat of the midday, we will exit the reserve and drive to the small village of Naro Moru at the base of Mount Kenya.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

On the next day, we will have a free day in Naro Moru to take optional walks around the lower slopes of Mount Kenya, explore the nearby Mau Mau caves, or take an optional game drive in the nearby Sweetwaters National Reserve.

In Naro Moru we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

13

Day 19-20: Nakuru National Park

Today we will head through the hills of central Kenya, through the area's beautiful scenery and tea plantations, to arrive at Nakuru.

If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

On the next day, we head into Nakuru National Park for an included full-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos!

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of the town.

14

Day 21-22: Naivasha

Today we make our way to Naivasha, on the edge of a beautiful calm lake in the Great Rift Valley. Here we will have the chance to take an optional boat trip on the lake to spot hippos and African fish eagles, and also to visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the old home of Joy Adamson.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some excellent optional activities around Naivasha. Naivasha is the base for exploring the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary and the Hell's Gate National Park, two scenic areas that are some of the only places in East Africa where you can safely explore and look for wildlife on foot.

In Naivasha we will stay at a well equipped campsite on the lake shore.

15

Day 23: Nairobi

Today we will drive to the bustling Kenyan capital of Nairobi, where we will have free time on arrival.

In Nairobi we will camp in the grounds of a peaceful eco-camp in the suburb of Karen.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

16

Day 24: Nairobi

Border Information: If joining the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Welcome to Kenya! There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note, as this will often be a travelling day for the crew who will be joining you.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi.

17

Day 25: Kericho

This morning we will drive on to Kericho, where there is an optional tour around a nearby tea plantation.

In Kericho we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

18

Day 26-27: Jinja

Border Information: Exit Kenya at Busia, enter Uganda at Busia.

Today we have a full day's drive across the border into Uganda as we travel to Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa!

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to get involved in the many optional adventure activities available here, such as white water rafting, bungee jumping and boat trips on the White Nile!

In Jinja we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

19

Day 28: Nakitoma

Today we continue our journey and head north to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary close to the town of Nakitoma. Here we will have the chance to track rhinos on foot with a local ranger!

In Nakitoma we will stay in a well equipped campsite within the Rhino Sanctuary.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

20

Day 29: Kaniyo Pabidi

Today we continue to Kaniyo Pabidi in the Budongo Forest, in the southern part of the Murchison Falls National Park. Here we will head out for our included chimpanzee tracking walk in the afternoon!

Please note that for conservation reasons the maximum group size to track the chimpanzees is 12 people, so if we have a large group we will split in half, one half going on the walk this afternoon and the other half going tomorrow morning.

In Kaniyo Pabidi we will stay in basic dorm rooms in a small lodge in the Budongo Forest.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

21

Day 30-31: Murchison Falls National Park

If we had to split the group for chimpanzee tracking, the other half of the group will head out for the walk this morning. When we are ready to continue, we will drive to the central region of Murchison Falls National Park to reach our campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours (to the campsite).

On the next day, we will head out early in the truck for a included morning of game driving around the northern area of the National Park - we will take a local vehicle barge to get over the Nile and pick up a ranger to show us around in search of wildlife!

We will return to our campsite for lunch, and then embark on an included launch cruise on the Nile to spot wildlife from the water and to see the spectacularly-powerful Murchison Falls.

In Murchison Falls National Park we will stay in a well equipped campsite at Paraa on the southern banks of the River Nile in the heart of the park.

Please note that the roads leading into and around Murchison Falls are very poor and can be hazardous in wet conditions. If there has been heavy rain recently, it may not be possible to go into the National Park beyond Kaniyo Pabidi - this is firstly for safety reasons on the drive in, and secondly due to the risk of extreme bogging that will cause us to miss the gorilla treks in Rwanda. We will always endaevour to reach the National Park as per the itinerary; but when this is occasionally not possible, please respect the tour leader's decision in this matter. On these occasions we will be able to utilise this time with spending longer in Lake Bunyonyi and Ruhengeri.

22

Day 32: Hoima

This morning we wil make our way out of the national park and head to the bustling town of Hoima. This is a day to absorb the ancient culture on offer. Believe it or not Hoima has its very own palace!

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

23

Day 33-34: Queen Elizabeth National Park

This morning we travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Lake Edward and Lake George, undertaking a game drive on our way to the campsite. 

After lunch we will take an included boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife as well as its healthy population of hippos. During our time in the park we also hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks. 

The next morning we are up early to go on a full day game drive making our way into the depths of the park. We will experience areas of the National Park that are impossible to reach without a full days excursion!

In Queen Elizabeth National Park we will camp at a basic campsite with drop toilets inside the park. Your leader will explain the basic safety aspects of camping in an unfenced area amongst the wildlife upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

24

Day 35-36: Bwindi

Here we will go on what is undoubtedly the highlight of the trip - trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas in their natural forest habitat. 

This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than 8 people per day can visit any one habituated family, and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals. 

Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid; however, the sheer thrill of coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk at least 4 hours - uphill and downhill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself! Once you find them, you will stay with the gorillas for one unforgettable hour!

When visiting the gorillas you will be assigned a trekking group and time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day.

In Bwindi we will stay in a campsite that occasinally has some very special visitors, the incredible mountain gorillas!

Please note that the gorilla permits are paid for in full by the trip kitty - however, Dragoman has to purchase the permits in advance on the customers' behalf, so a higher deposit is charged on the trip price to protect us from losing this money in the event of cancellation - please see the notes at the end for further detail.

25

Day 37: Lake Mburo National Park

This morning we will make our way into the stunning Lake Mburo National Park. This drive will take us across the equator - a prime moment for some photos!

In the afternoon we may have time for a walking safari or even a boat trip on Lake Mburo.

We will stay in an increbile campsite close to the lake where you may be lucky enough to see hippos leaving the water in the evening.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

 

26

Day 38-39: Jinja

Border Information: Exit Uganda at Malaba, enter Kenya at Malaba.

Over the next 2 days we will travel back to the east through Jinja to Nakuru.

We will most likely split the drive with a nightstop in Jinja, but if the road conditions improve on a different road then we may go via the western town of Fort Portal instead. Both Jinja and Fort Portal have decent campsites to stay in.

Either way, we will reach Nakuru by the second evening and enjoy a night relaxing at a campsite that we are staying in for 2 nights. 

This is our base for tomorrow's excursion into Nakuru National Park. If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

Estimated Drive Times - 7-9 hours each day.

27

Day 40: Nakuru National Park

This morning we head into Nakuru National Park for an included half-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos.

In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of town.

28

Day 41-42: Maasai Mara National Reserve

Today we will be met by our 6-person 4x4 jeeps that will take us on our 2-night excursion to the Maasai Mara. We will load the jeeps with our personal gear (but we will not need our camping equipment) and then head off to Maasai Mara, leaving our truck behind.

 

We will also be leaving our large bags behind (where they will be stored in a secure location in Nairobi), and advise you to bring along a smaller daypack for your personal gear for this trip that will need to be packed soon after the group meeting before we set off. You should pack clothing for 3 days (including a warm jumper or fleece and long trousers), a waterproof jacket, toiletries (including sun screen and insect repellent), your camera and charger, a small towel, a head torch, a water bottle, books and personal snacks, etc.

 

On arrival, we will have the chance for a short evening game drive in the Maasai Mara National Park before heading to our campsite. The Maasai Mara is an incredibly scenic area and is one of the world's greatest places for wildlife spotting which is absolutely teeming with giraffe, buffalo, zebra, elephants, lions, cheetah, leopards, and other big game! On both nights at the Maasai Mara, we will stay in a basic campground on the outskirts of the National Park. The campsite has set-tents and bedding, but is self-catered (we will use our kitchen equipment brought from the truck).

 

The following day we will go out for the full day game driving in the National Park before returning to our campsite for a second night. There is also the opportunity for a sunset balloon flight over the savannah - demand for this activity is very high so you must reserve this at the time of booking your Dragoman trip to avoid disappointment. Tonight we will stay at the same campsite on the outskirts of the Maasai Mara.

29

Day 43: Nairobi

Today we will have a final game drive in the Maasai Mara in the early morning, before heading back to Nairobi and our campsite in Karen, arriving at about 4:00pm or 5:00pm. This is where we will meet our overland truck and start using the truck's camping equipment. In Nairobi we will stay in a well equipped campsite in the suburb of Karen on the outskirts of the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

30

Day 44: Nairobi

Border Information: if you are leaving the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely exit Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Today is this is the final day of this section - if you are leaving here (or continuing northbound with us to Ethiopia) you will have a free day in Nairobi. If you are continuing your trip with us southbound towards Tanzania then there will a new group meeting at 10:00am for the next section of your journey, before heading away from Nairobi - your leader will give you detailed instructions about this.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Take a boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, and explore the old Coptic monastery on the island
    • Head out on various walks through the forests, moors, and mountains of the beautiful Bale Mountains National Park
    • Head up to the incredible Sanetti Plateau on a day trip with our overland truck, stopping to explore the area on foot and search for Ethiopian Wolves
    • Relax in the hot springs at Wendo Genet
    • Visit the Dragoman-supported Awassa Children's Project, a home for orphaned children from the area
    • Journey through the remote Omo Valley, visiting several tribal communities along the way (possibly including the Hamer, Banna, Mursi, Ari, Konso or Danesesch tribes)
    • Visit and stay at the Samburu tribal community and cultural project, learning all about the culture of the Samburu people
    • Head out for a wildlife safari in our overland truck through the Samburu National Reserve, in search of local wildlife including gerenuk and Grevy's zebra
    • Take a safari in 4x4 vans in the beautiful Lake Nakuru National Park
    • Visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the former house of the conservationists Joy and George Adamson
    • Trek on foot in the Budongo Forest in search of habituated chimpanzees
    • Launch cruise on the River Nile to the mighty Murchison Falls
    • Head out game driving in our overland truck in Murchison Falls National Park
    • Take a boat trip through the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park
    • Trek out for this once in a lifetime experience - Gorilla Tracking with the endagered Mountain Gorillas in the Impenetrable Forest
    • Head out on a phenomenal 2-night/3-day safari in 4x4s into the Maasai Mara - one of the best areas in Africa for wildlife and scenery
    Tour Staff
    • 2 crew members with local guides where necessary. In the Omo Valley in Ethiopia you also be accompanied on the truck by a local guide. South of Nairobi you will have 3 crew members including an African camp master
    Accomodation
    • 77% Camping - 23% Hotels
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