With amazing scenery, vibrant cities and spectacular wildlife, East Africa has everything you could ever want from a safari experience ¨C and then some! This epic journey covers a variety of landscapes, including the lush beaches of Zanzibar, the wonders of Kruger, Matobo and South Luangwa National Parks, the thundering Victoria Falls, the majestic Ngorongoro Crater and the sweeping Serengeti plains. With so much eye candy, you¡¯ll feel as if you¡¯ve stepped into a real-life David Attenborough special.
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 we’ve got your dinner covered.
All aboard our overland truck! Today we’re travelling inland from the Indian Ocean coast to the grassy plains of Northern Tanzania. Tonight we’ll camp in Marangu, a town close to the base of Mt Kilimanjaro. Keep an eye out for the mighty mountain’s peak.
Today we’ll continue on to Tanzania’s sprawling safari capital: Arusha. Here, we’ll head out on a guided walk in the local Maasai village and you can even cross off a true bucket list experience with an optional camel ride! Oh – we’ll also swing by a snake park today.
Prep your day pack (or a small bag) – today we’re transferring to smaller 4x4 vehicles for a two-night/three-day game viewing trip through Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Trust us, these safari vehicles are decked out with ALL the animal spotting necessities – pop-up roof included. After passing into the park we’ll drive around the crater’s rim and down onto the Serengeti plains, where we’ll try to spot the Big Five (as well as hyenas, cheetahs, wildebeest and antelopes). Wow x 100.
Spend the morning game driving out on the plains, then ascend the outer wall of the Ngorongoro Crater (after a well-deserved lunch, of course). Tonight we’ll camp on the rim of the crater. Did you know? At 326 square kilometres in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is Africa’s largest intact caldera AND a World Heritage Site.
Rise and shine! This morning, we’ll descend down the steep dirt road of the Ngorongoro Crater for a spot of game driving. Keep your eye out for all the major mammals – except giraffes, which struggle to manage the steep slopes leading down onto the crater floor. After our game drive, we’ll retrace our steps to our campsite in Arusha.
Today we’ll make our way across the Maasai Steppe to the Kenyan frontier. When we get to Nairobi, we’ll go our separate ways. Where to next?
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