Overlanding is the only way to see East and Southern Africa! Our Arba Minch to Zanzibar trip truly gets you under the skin of Africa, venturing from the cradle of mankind in Ethiopia to the fabled spice island of Zanzibar. With Dragoman you will journey through the remote tribal lands of Ethiopia's Omo Valley, and head out on safari in East Africa's great game parks such as the Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Samburu. You will track mountain gorillas on foot in Rwanda, as well as chimpanzees in Uganda! You'll have the chance to get the adrenaline pumping with a plethora of optional outdoor activities in Uganda's Jinja, and relax on the stunning beaches of Zanzibar. An incredible trip that will live long in the memory - join us for this amazing African experience!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 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.
You will then have time to explore Nairobi fully - possible activities include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, the National Museum and the Langata Giraffe Centre. Your tour leader will let you know some of our reccommendations however you are more than welcome to move through the city independently for the day!
Today we will head to Amboseli National Park. Here you can experience the iconic view of the African plain with Mount Kilimanjaro standing majestically in the background. We will drive through the park in our truck keeping a keen eye out for all of the animals we will pass.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 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!).
Border Information: Exit Kenya at Namanga, enter Tanzania at Namanga.
We will have an early start as we 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 - 4-5 hours
Today we will be met 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 4-day excursion to the Tarangire National Park, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, leaving our truck behind.
We will also be leaving our large bags behind (where they will be stored in a secure location), 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 4 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.
We will have safety talk with our safari guides and then on to a full day drive within Tarangire National Park. You should have many oportunities for photographs so remember your cameras!
Once we make it into our camp site for the evening will will have our evening meal before the opportunity for a night game drive to Lake Manyara.
Today we have an optional bike ride or bush walk along the shore of Lake Manyara. Then we will experience the view from the birds perspective with a tree top walkway followed by a traditional Swahili buffet for lunch.
After lunch we will make our way 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.
The next morning 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 lunch, and then aim to exit the Serengeti early afternoon. We will head back through the conservation area to our next 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.
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 campsite back in Arusha, where we are re-united with our truck.
We will have a well-deserved free afternoon to relax at our excellent campsite or to do some of the optional activites on offer here.
This morning we will set off again in our overland truck and head east to Lushoto via 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. If the weather allows we will have the option to do some stargazing at camp tonight.
In Lushoto we will camp in the grounds of a hotel. We have 2 nights here. On the second day we can go on a mountain walk for the morning and visit some great viewopints. We have time to recharge before we are on the move again!
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
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. If we have time on arrival we can do some optional activities such as kayaking and snorkelling.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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Trip Name: Arba Minch to Zanzibar
Duration: 49 Days
From Price: £2,352
Supplier Tour ID: AMZ1/162943
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