Ain¡¯t nothing like an African safari. And an African safari that ticks off heavyweight destinations like Kruger, Victoria Falls and Zanzibar? Well, that¡¯s the ultimate. Only in your wildest dreams could you imagine getting up close to some of the world¡¯s most spectacular animals, lazing about on postcard-worthy beaches and feeling the spray of the powerful Victoria Falls ¨C but on this trip, it¡¯s 100% the real deal. Pack your bags for the adventure of a lifetime!
Touch down in Pretoria, meet your new Topdecker BFFs and get excited for the adventure ahead! Starting out early, we’ll hit the road in style (and by style, we mean fully equipped safari truck) to Hazyview, where a cultural Shangaan dance show awaits. Kruger is South Africa’s premier national park – and, in connection with parks in adjoining Mozambique and Botswana, it covers a whopping 24,000 square kilometres of land used for the protection of African wildlife. Wowee.
Get your camera at the ready! Today we’ve got a full day’s game drive in store, so keep your eyes peeled for the Big Five (lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos and leopards). Want more? Well, you could be lucky enough to see giraffes, hippos and zebras, too! Nothing will prepare you for the first time you spot these incredible creatures in the wild. Expect goosebumps, and lots of them. If you want, you can even opt in to do a game drive after dark tonight.
After leaving Kruger we’ll shimmy north and spend the night near the Limpopo River in Tshipise.
When we’ve got the formalities over with at the border post, we’ll rock and roll into Zimbabwe and make a beeline for Matobo National Park, near Bulawayo. This place is home to a wide variety of animals, including black and white rhinoceroses, zebras, wildebeest and giraffes.
The wind-sculpted Matobo Hills are the site of numerous Bushman paintings, so it’s no surprise this area holds a special cultural and spiritual importance to the indigenous people. Keep an eye out for beasties, ‘cos today we’ve got a half-day game drive in store – or, if you fancy it, you could opt in to extend the experience with a full-day upgrade.
Next up: adventure-loving Livingstone, where we’ll visit the thundering Victoria Falls. At over a mile wide, the falls form the largest curtain of falling water in the world, with spray visible from 20 kilometres away – hence the local name Mosi-oa-Tunya ('the smoke that thunders').
This is Africa’s adventure capital, so get out there and make the most of it! We’ve got optional whitewater rafting, gorge swinging and even bungy jumping to fulfil all of your adventure needs. If you want to take it easy, you could go fishing or take a sunset cruise on the Zambezi (both optional).
Of course, there’s more to Livingstone than hair-raising activities – which is why you have another day to check out the markets and museum, visit a nearby village, or simply relax on the serene campsite deck and watch the Zambezi River flow rapidly to the Falls.
Today we’ll make tracks to Zambia's urban metropolis, Lusaka. A commercial hub and centre for the government, Lusaka is home to dusty tree-lined streets and bustling local markets that ooze African flair. Our campsite for the evening is set in a tranquil and relaxing spot on a farm, far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We’ll leave Lusaka early this morning and take the Great Eastern Road through lush countryside to South Luangwa National Park. This area of outstanding natural beauty is rightly known as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Did you know? The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River and its oxbow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa. After setting up camp, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy however you like. Anyone for an optional village tour or walking safari?
What better way to start the day than with a morning game drive along the river’s edge? A whole bunch of animals and birds call this area home. After the game drive, kick back at Warthogs Bar or take a dip in the swimming pool (100% the best place to cool off during the hot hours of the day).
Also known as ‘Lake Nyasa’, Lake Malawi covers almost a fifth of the country’s area and provides the livelihood for many fishermen. True story. Expect to see the locals in their bwato (dugout canoes made from hollowed-out tree trunks) fishing on the lake at the break of day. After arriving at Kande Beach, you’ll have some free time to get acquainted with the area. Sweet!
Wanna grab a slice of today’s optionals? Go for it! We’ve got horse riding, snorkelling and scuba diving on offer. It’s also worth taking the time to get to know some of the locals – they’re renowned for being some of the friendliest in Africa!
Today we’ll take a scenic drive through rubber plantations to Mzuzu, the capital of the northern region and the third largest town in Malawi. After stopping to grab supplies, we’ll head to Chitimba Beach – our home for the next two nights.
Got itchy feet? Then you may wanna take an optional hike to Livingstonia with a local guide. Be sure to rest up beforehand – the trek may take a while!
Today we’ll climb through Tanzania’s Southern Highlands all the way to Kisolanza Farm House – a working farm famous for its hot showers and chocolate brownies. Home to the Ghaui family for over 70 years, Kisolanza provides beef, lamb, chicken and vegetables to the surrounding markets, as well as further afield in Dar es Salaam.
Today we’ll make our way east to Mikumi, where there’s an optional National Park visit on offer. Tonight: sip sundowners at the local bar before gathering around the open fire and stargazing at our camp.
With luck, we may spot forest elephants or giraffes feeding near the side of the road on our way to Dar es Salaam – a humid, bustling seaport city full of high rises and colourful markets. We’ll set up camp at our site on the beach just outside of the city centre, with a chance to browse the local markets (if we have time) before heading to Zanzibar tomorrow.
After kicking things off in Dar es Salaam, we’ll hop on a ferry and set a course for the island of Zanzibar. Once in Stone Town, choose from the optional activities: a spice tour, a visit to the Arab Fort, the site of the old slave market or the Palace Museum are all here. Please note: As we leave the truck on the mainland, basic safari lodge/hotel accommodation and breakfast on Zanzibar is included. However, you will need to arrange your own lunches and dinners. We usually divide our nights in Zanzibar between accommodation in Stone Town and accommodation on one of the northern beaches, but there are no set activities – the time is entirely yours to do as you please.
Zanzibar is known as ‘Spice Island’. Go for a wander around the bazaars today and you’ll soon discover why! This afternoon, we’ll swap Stone Town for the beautiful beaches in the north of the island. Why not try a spot of optional scuba diving or a snorkelling safari? If you just wanna relax, you could always opt in for a massage...
You’ve got a free day to spend on Zanzibar’s palm-fringed beaches. Snorkel, scuba dive and round off your day with a sunset cruise (all optional). We won’t blame you if you never want to leave!
It’s your last full day on this beautiful island, so make the most of it. Take to the water, or just get your tan on.
Bye bye, Zanzibar! We’re jumping on the ferry back to vibrant Dar es Salaam, where this trip comes to a close. See you on the flipside!
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If you’re between 18-30 something, don’t miss the opportunity to travel with this awesome travel company. Topdeck was born in 1973 when Skroo Turner and his mates bought a double-decker bus and drove across Europe to Morocco. They now offer over 330 amazing tours in 65 countries, so they will definitely have a touring adventure to whet your appetite.
A collective of explorers who are devoted to travel, they strive to open minds, shift perspectives, learn new things and make a difference. Their passion is to inspire young people through life-changing travel experiences. Their business is to make travel dreams a reality. They know what works. And they’re not afraid to shout about it. They refuse to sacrifice quality, independence and freedom, and believe solo adventures should go hand in hand with unforgettable moments with like-minded travellers. They offer variety, comfort and value for money, and promise a hassle-free holiday, loaded with authentic local experiences.
They are lively, curious, knowledgeable and dedicated; driven with the desire to laugh and have fun. They build the trips. You build the memories. Go on, jump on board and discover what it means to be a #Topdecker!
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