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Maasai Mara National Reserve to Victoria Falls

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. Unlike most trips between Nairobi and Victoria Falls, this journey gives you something that other trips miss - time to relax and to get off the beaten track. This journey will take you through some of the best wildlife areas in the world, such as the waving grasslands of the Maasai Mara, the stunning plains of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and the lesser-known gem of South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. We'll also head off on an incredible canoeing trip down the Zambezi Valley, a wonderful experience being surrounded by elephants and camping on river islands away from all the tourists! We also build in plenty of relaxation time on the beautiful beaches of Lake Malawi, and of course the incredible white sands of the Indian Ocean and Zanzibar! Finishing at the fantastic town of Victoria Falls, which boasts Africa's mightiest waterfalls and some adrenaline-fuelled optional outdoor activities, this trip is an incredible experience and the best way to see the heart of Africa - join us for this trip, and you're guaranteed to be very glad that you chose our comprehensive month-long itinerary through the region rather than the rushed 20 or 22 day itineraries offered by other operators!


Duration: 28 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Safari Physical rating: Demanding
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 158194
Starts: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya Finishes: Victoria Falls, Zambia
You will Visit
  • Maasai Mara National Reserve
  • Nairobi
  • Arusha
  • Serengeti National Park
  • Ngorongoro Crater
  • Mto Wa Mbu
  • Marangu
  • Dar Es Salaam
  • Lushoto
  • Zanzibar
  • Mikumi
  • Iringa
  • Chitimba
  • Kande
  • Lilongwe
  • South Luangwa National Park
  • Luangwa River
  • Lower Zambezi Area
  • Livingstone
  • Victoria Falls

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Maasai Mara National Reserve

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

Welcome to Nairobi! If you would like to explore Nairobi fully, we advise you arrive a day earlier to give yourself the time to see some of the highlights in the city - possible activities include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, the National Museum and the Langata Giraffe Centre. 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.

There will be a group meeting today at our joining hotel at 10:00am - your tour leader will meet you at the hotel reception. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where this important meeting will take place.

After the group meeting, 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).

02

Day 2: Maasai Mara National Reserve

Today 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.

03

Day 3: 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.

04

Day 4: Arusha

Border Information: Exit Kenya at Namanga, enter Tanzania at Namanga.

We will have an early start to beat the Nairobi traffic and head south to cross the border into Tanzania. We will go to the town of Arusha, where we will stop for food shopping in preparation for our excursion to the Serengeti National Park. 

We will then head to our campsite on the outskirts of Arusha. On arrival we should have time to go on an optional walk to a nearby Maasai village, or visit a reptile house and snake-bite clinic that are run by the campsite. We will also prepare and re-pack for the Serengeti excursion starting the following day.

In Arusha we stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 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!).

05

Day 5: Serengeti National Park

Today we will be met at the campsite by our fleet of 6-person 4x4 jeeps - we will load the jeeps with our camping and personal gear, and then head out for our 3-day excursion to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, leaving our truck behind.

Today will be a full drive along the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater (stopping to take in the awe-inspiring views) and then down into the plains of the Serengeti. We will take an evening game drive around the savanna before heading to our campsite - the area is one of the world's premier spot for wildlife viewing and we hope to able to find elephants, lions, leopards, giraffe and other big game during our time here!

Tonight we will stay at a campsite within the Serengeti National Park. The camp where we stay is very basic (with showers and flush toilets, but no other facilities) but is located right in the middle of the plains, surrounded by animals and their nocturnal noises! Your leader will outline the basic safety rules to be followed when camping in an unfenced location where wild animals are present.

06

Day 6: Ngorongoro Crater

Today we will get up very early and we set off in our jeeps for an early morning game drive in the heart of the Serengeti plains. The early morning is the best time of day for wildlife viewing, as many of the animals are at their most active while it is still cool.

There is an option this morning for to take a hot air balloon flight over the Serengeti instead of the game drive - demand is high for this activity, so this must be pre-booked at the time that you book your trip with Dragoman.

We will return to our campsite for brunch, and then aim to exit the Serengeti at around lunch time. We will head back through the conservation area to our second campsite, on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, where we will arrive in the early evening.

Again, the campsite tonight is very basic and unfenced. It can often be quite cold on the crater rim so it is recommended that you take some warm clothes for this night.

07

Day 7: Mto Wa Mbu

This morning we will have another early start to descend into the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater for a morning game drive. Again, the Ngorongoro Crater is an outstanding area for wildlife spotting, often described as a 'natural wildlife enclosure'. This is the best chance on the excursion to spot black rhinos as well as a myriad of other big game.

We will spend as long as our entry tickets allow in the Ngorongoro Crater before departing, which will usually give us about 3-4 hours of game driving. We will then be dropped off at our next campsite in the small town of Mto Wa Mbu, where we are re-united with our truck.

We will have a well-deserved free afternoon to relax at our excellent campsite or to explore the town of Mto Wa Mbu.

In Mto Wa Mbu we will stay at a well equipped campsite in the grounds of a good hotel.

08

Day 8: Mto Wa Mbu

This morning we will go on a fantastic community walk around the town where we will see local craft workshops, learn a little about the life here, and enjoy a lunch of delicious specialities from the area.

We will set off again in our overland truck and head east to Marangu, where we have a nightstop camping in the grounds of a beautiful colonial hotel at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. We will go past the whole length of Mount Kilimanjaro where we'll hope for clear skies and fantastic views of the mountain from the road. 

In Marangu we will camp in the grounds of a hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

09

Day 9: Dar Es Salaam

Today we have a long travel day south to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's largest city on the coast of the Indian Ocean. 

In Dar es Salaam we stay at a beautiful and well-equipped beach camp on the southern side of the bay across from the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

Please note that if the group and leader prefer to split this drive into 2 days, we may spend this night in Lushoto in the Usambara Mountains (approximately half way to Dar es Salaam), where we will camp in the grounds of a local hotel. We would then complete the drive to Dar es Salaam the next morning.

10

Day 10: Dar Es Salaam

Today is a free day to explore Dar es Salaam or relax at the beach campsite. 

If we stayed in Lushoto last night, we will complete the drive to Dar es Salaam today. 

Please note that, as of tonight, this trip overlaps with our "YDF - Zanzibar to Victoria Falls" trip, so you may have other customers joining your existing group once you arrive in Zanzibar. This is because Zanzibar is part of both trips, so it means customers going all the way through do not do our Zanzibar itinerary twice!

11

Day 11: Zanzibar

This morning we will head to the exotic and beautiful island of Zanzibar! We will travel on the local commuter barge from Kigamboni to the city centre of Dar es Salaam, and then take a ferry from Dar es Salaam centre to Zanzibar. The ferry will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

When we reach Zanzibar we will meet our local guide, who will help us check in to our hotel in Stone Town and then give a quick orientation of the town before we branch off and head to lunch! We will have a free afternoon to explore the atmospheric streets of the historic centre of Stone Town, with the option of meeting for sunset drinks at Africa House and heading out to the night markets for a local dinner.

In Stone Town we will stay in a good local hotel.

12

Day 12-13: Zanzibar

On our second day on Zanzibar we will join our local guide for a very interesting and informative tour around the sights of Stone Town and learn about the history of the island. We will then head away from town and take in a tour of a spice plantation, enjoy a local lunch with our guide, then head to Nungwi beach at the very north of the island. Nungwi is the Indian Ocean at its best - bright white sand, sparkling blue sea, outstanding seafood and a fantastic chilled atmosphere. 

On our third day on Zanzibar, we will have free time to enjoy Nungwi beach and relax, or to try snorkeling, diving, or other beach activities, or maybe go further afield looking for Red Colobus monkeys in the Jozani Forest.

In Nungwi we will spend both nights in a good hotel right on the shore of the ocean.

13

Day 14: Zanzibar

Border infromation: If leaving at Zanzibar, you will most likely exit Tanzania from Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (IATA code: ZNZ), however some customers prefer to return to Dar es Salaam and then exit from Dar Es Salaam Julius Nyerere International Airport (IATA code: DAR).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Zanzibar. 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.

14

Day 15: Zanzibar

Border Information: If joining at Zanzibar, you will most likely enter Tanzania from Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport (IATA code: ZNZ).

There will be an informal meet-and-greet and orientation of Stone Town with our local Zanzibar guide at 6:00pm - please meet at the reception of the joining hotel at this time if you wish to take part in this orientation. Please note that you will not usually meet your regular Dragoman crew tonight, as they will be arriving in Dar es Salaam this evening and will travel to Zanzibar with members of their previous group tomorrow. 

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Zanzibar 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 Zanzibar.

In Stone Town we will stay in a good local hotel.

Please note that the first 4 days of this section overlap with our "YND - Nairobi to Zanzibar" trip, so some of the group that come to Zanzibar will leave before we take the ferry to Dar es Salaam. This is because Zanzibar is part of both trips, so it means customers going all the way through do not follow our Zanzibar itinerary twice!

15

Day 16: Zanzibar

Today will be a free day to explore Stone Town, the atmospheric old town on the exotic and beautiful island of Zanzibar!

Your Dragoman crew will arrive on Zanzibar this afternoon, and there will be an important meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel - there will then be the option going for sunset drinks at Africa House and heading out to the night markets for a local dinner.

16

Day 17-18: Zanzibar

On our second day on Zanzibar we will join our local guide for a very interesting and informative tour around the sights of Stone Town and learn about the history of the island. We will then head away from town and take in a tour of a spice plantation, enjoy a local lunch with our guide, then head to Nungwi beach at the very north of the island. Nungwi is the Indian Ocean at its best - bright white sand, sparkling blue sea outstanding seafood and a fantastic chilled atmosphere.

On our third day on Zanzibar, we will have free time to enjoy Nungwi beach and relax, or to try snorkeling, diving, or other beach activities, or maybe go further afield looking for Red Colobus monkeys in the Jozani Forest.

In Nungwi we will spend both nights in a good hotel right on the shore of the ocean.

17

Day 19: Dar Es Salaam

Today we will return to Stone Town and then take a ferry from Zanzibar to Dar es Salaam, before travelling on the local commuter barge from the city centre to the suburb of Kigamboni. The ferry will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes. The rest of the afternoon will be free to relax at the campsite.

In Dar es Salaam we stay at a beautiful and well-equipped beach camp on the southern side of the bay across from the city.

18

Day 20: Iringa

We have a couple of big drives ahead of us to reach Malawi, starting with a journey out of Dar es Salaam and through the hills of the Mikumi National Park.

We will stay in a well-equipped campsite on a working ranch 52kms south of the town of Iringa.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 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!).

19

Day 21: Chitimba

Border Information: Exit Tanzania at Songwe, enter Malawi at Songwe.

Today is another travel day as we cross the southern highlands of Tanzania and enter Malawi, arriving at the beaches of Chitimba on the northwestern shores of Lake Malawi.

In Chitimba we will stay in a beautiful campsite on the beach.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours

20

Day 22-23: Chitimba

This morning, depending on the preferences of the group, we may have to chance for a short village walk or a woodcarving lesson in Chitimba. We will then continue south along the coast of Lake Malawi to Kande beach, a beautiful spot on the lake shore.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day on Kande beach to relax or to get involved in some of the optional activities available here - there are watersports on the lake, horse riding through the forests and on the beaches, and village walks to see a little bit of the life of the local Tonga people.

In Kande we will stay in a well-equipped campsite.

21

Day 24: Lilongwe

Today we will head to the Malawian capital of Lilongwe. Hopefully we will arrive by mid-afternoon so that we have the chance to explore the city, its markets and its shops.

In Lilongwe we will camp in a well-equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

22

Day 25-26: South Luangwa National Park

Border Information: Exit Malawi at Mchinji, enter Zambia at Mchinji.

Today our journey continues across the Zambian border to the stunning South Luangwa National Park, where we will stay for 2 nights.

If we make good enough time on the drive to the campsite, then there may be opportunity for an optional extra game drive upon arrival tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

On the following day we will have an included early morning game drive and an included evening game drive, both in open-sided safari vehicles.

South Luangwa National Park is a hidden gem on the safari circuit; it is rarely visited due to its remote setting, but has some incredible populations of wildlife and is one of the only parks in Southern Africa that is open for night driving with spotlights when many of the big game is at its most active. 

In South Luangwa National Park we will stay in a well-equipped campsite.

23

Day 27: Luangwa River

Today we have a full day drive towards the Lower Zambezi area.

Tonight we will stay in a well-equipped campsite at the bridge over the River Luangwa. 

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

24

Day 28: Lower Zambezi Area

Today we drive to our well equipped campsite on the banks of the Lower Zambezi. 

Tonight we will meet our guides who will take us on our two-day canoeing expedition on the Lower Zambezi on the following day - they will give us a full briefing about the canoeing trip on arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

25

Day 29-30: Lower Zambezi Area

Today we head out on our 2-day/2-night canoeing trip on the Lower Zambezi river.

This is a fully participatory expedition - everyone will pair up, go out in 2-person canoes and paddle themselves, following the lead boat! Everyone also gets involved in setting up the camps and cooking. All of our gear will be carried in a supply canoe, and wild camps are erected on islands in the river along the way.

This is a fantastic way to see the river, the scenery and some of the wildlife in the area!

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • 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
    • Head on an unforgettable 3-day/2-night safari in 4x4s into the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater National Reserves - two of the world's most incredible areas for wildlife spotting
    • Learn all about the locals' way of life on a village walk with the Mto Wa Mbu village community project
    • Take the public ferry from Dar es Salaam to Zanzibar  
    • Explore the beautiful and historic streets of Zanzibar's Stone Town
    • Take a guided tour of Zanzibar's historical sites, markets, and the spice plantations
    • Explore the beautiful and historic streets of Zanzibar's Stone Town
    • Take a guided tour of Zanzibar's historical sites, markets, and the spice plantations
    • Ferry back from Zanzibar to Dar Es Salaam
    • Head out 4x4 game drives through the wildlife-packed South Luangwa National Park
    • Head out on a 2-day/2-night canoe wildlife safari in the Lower Zambezi area
    • Visit to the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls, the largest waterfalls in Africa
    Tour Staff
    • 3 crew members including an African camp master
    Accomodation
    • 81% Camping - 19% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
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Reviews (2)
Robin L. Posted on: 

I really like the vehicles, they seem more authentic than other trucks.

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Robin L. Posted on: 

The Vic Falls to Nairobi leg is excellent.

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