Introducing the grandest of all African safaris! From big skies and big plains to big game and big smiles, everything is bigger in Africa – and this trip is no exception. Spend 58 adventure-filled days on an extended safari between Kenya and South Africa, soaking up all the amazing wildlife, landscapes and culture this spectacular continent has to offer. With so many unique experiences, you’ll be reminiscing on this once-in-a-lifetime getaway till the lions come home. Seriously.
Get excited. This. Is. Africa! First up: Kenya's Great Rift Valley and Lake Nakuru National Park, where we'll kick things off with a game drive. Best known for its birdlife, Nakuru also contains plenty of rhinos, leopards, warthogs, baboons and lions - so keep those eyes peeled.
Today we’ll kick it north through the highlands to Eldoret, a thriving town on the Kenya-Uganda highway. Grab dinner and go exploring before we move on to Kampala tomorrow.
Get ready to roll into Uganda’s bustling capital city. With a rich history to explore (not to mention a whole bunch of shops, attractions and gardens) you certainly won’t be short of things to do here.
From Kampala we’ll travel west towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, checking out green terraced hillsides, lush banana plantations, steep mountains and tangled forests along the way. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for herds of Ankole cattle! When we reach the national park, a spot of chimpanzee trekking is on the cards. OMG.
If the amazing mountain #views aren’t enough for you this morning, wait till you see Lake Edwards and Lake George! Did you know? Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 500 species of birds and 100 species of mammals, making it one of the most biodiverse national parks in the world. If you’re lucky, you might get to spot a few critters en route to Kyambura Gorge for the trek to see the chimpanzees (if you didn’t already make this journey yesterday). Unlike their mountain gorilla cousins, chimps live mostly in the trees, so keep an eye up high!
Over the next three days, you and your adventure buddies will be split into two groups. On the first day, one group will trek to see the amazing mountain gorillas up close, while the others will have a free day of chilling out on the lake. Then the next day, the groups will swap. Quick fact: the Lake Bunyonyi region is home to the world’s remaining 770 mountain gorillas, many of which inhabit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. On the day of our trek, we’ll meet our local guide and tracker bright and early before venturing into the rainforest. The trek can be demanding at times (look out for uneven terrain and hill climbs), but trust us – the privilege of spending time with a family of these gentle giants will make the effort totally worthwhile. Excited yet? We sure are! What can you do at Lake Bunyonyi when you’re not trekking, you ask? Good question. Take your pick from our optionals: hire a canoe, hop on a boat trip or check out a traditional dance performance. If you’re all about the animal life, you can even indulge in a spot of bird watching. Wanna chill? We won’t judge. You’ll have plenty of time to relax around camp and send a few postcards home.
If you’re not on today’s trek, take advantage of some free time by the lake with a bunch of boredom-killer activities. Hire canoes and swing by some of the islands, wander the local villages or channel your inner explorer with a nature walk.
Got a free day? Yesterday’s optionals are still here for you! Spend your time swanning around the campsite or discover why this area is known as the ‘place of many birds’ with a spot of bird watching. What’s it gonna be?
After your once-in-a-lifetime gorilla experience, it’s time to venture out of the wilderness and back into civilisation as we hit the road to Kampala.
Onwards to Jinja – a great place for optionals like kayaking, whitewater rafting and bird watching.
Since our camp in Jinja overlooks a dramatic set of rapids (known as Bujagali Falls), it’s no surprise the region is somewhat of an adrenalin playground. Best make the most of it while you’re here!
When you’ve had your fill of heart-racing activities, why not roll up your sleeves and take the opportunity to make a difference to the local community by volunteering? Soft Power Education is a locally run volunteer programme aimed at building and improving schools in the Jinja area. Your contribution of a few hours of painting or plastering is always most welcome (and serves as a great mood booster, too).
After our excitement-filled break in Jinja we’ll retrace our steps across the border into Kenya. Then: it’s off to Eldoret we go! Tonight, share a few laughs with your travel buds and toast the end of your trip with one last night around the campfire.
After breakfast we’ll carry on along the Rift Valley to Nairobi. Spend some time exploring the markets, book shops, cafés and restaurants on foot.
Yes! You’ve got a free day in Nairobi. If you’re stuck for ideas, your Trip Leader will be more than happy to help you arrange optional local excursions in and around the city!
Next up: the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya’s best-known game park. Looking for the real Africa? This is it! We’ll spend two nights camping here, with plenty of time to explore the park and meet the locals on morning and afternoon game drives. Keep your eyes peeled for some (if not all) of Africa's 'Big Five' (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard) and a whole bunch of other wildlife, too.
You’ve got another day to soak up the Mara’s rolling grasslands and broad horizons (heart eyes emoji). Watch out for wildebeest and zebras!
Leaving the incredible natural wonderland of the Maasai Mara behind us, today we’ll hit the road back to the chaotic city of Nairobi, where we’ll stay overnight.
After crossing the border into Tanzania, we’ll arrive at our next destination: Arusha. This place is Tanzania’s ‘safari capital’ – a bustling city with colourful markets, nestling in the shadow of Mt Meru. If we have time, we’ll take a guided walk in a Maasai village to learn about the local culture before heading to our camp (if not, we’ll do it on day 22). But first: anyone for an optional camel ride?
Today we’ll switch to smaller 4x4 vehicles as we head west to Serengeti National Park. Don your khaki greens, ‘cos we’re going all-out safari mode! Exciting. Passing into the park, we’ll drive around the crater rim and down onto the Serengeti plains, which are home to an huge variety of grazing animals and birdlife. Flatter and larger than the Maasai Mara, the Serengeti certainly lives up to its nickname: ‘the place where the land moves on forever'.
Rise and shine! This morning we’re heading out on a game drive beyond the plains – and after lunch, we’ll ascend the outer wall of the awesome Ngorongoro Crater. Tonight, we’ll stay on the rim of the crater (read: pack your warmest jacket).
Today, we’re headed inside the Ngorongoro Crater for a morning of game driving and wildlife spotting. It’s a tough life. Then: it’s back to Arusha. If we didn’t already do it on day 19, we’ll visit a Maasai village this afternoon.
Next stop, Bagamoyo. If we’re lucky with the weather, we might even get to see an ah-mazing snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak) on the way.
Today we’re hitting the road south to Dar es Salaam, which is hot, humid and full of high rises, colourful markets and Arab-influenced architecture. Tonight we’ll set up camp on the beach (OMG). Feel that balmy sea breeze yet?
Hop on the ferry – we’ve got a beautiful palm-fringed island to get to! Fact: Zanzibar was once a major trading centre of spices. Did we mention this place has heaps of amazing optionals? We’re talking spice tours, visits to the Old Fort and more. 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.
After breakfast, why not head out on foot to explore Stone Town? You’re sure to find a whole bunch of souvenirs here. Wanna get aquatic? Then an optional snorkelling or scuba diving session has your name on it.
If it's white sand, sparkling sea and hot sun you're after, you’ve come to the right place! Later, indulge in some de-LISH seafood or simply relax beneath a coconut palm with a cocktail and a good book. #Bliss
Bye bye, Zanzibar! We’re jumping on the ferry back to vibrant Dar es Salaam, where we’ve got your dinner covered.
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.
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.
After our last night in Tanzania, we’ll head through lush mountain passes, rich grazing land and both banana and tea plantations on the way to Songwe, the border post into Malawi. For the next two nights we’ll stay at the Chitimba Beach campsite.
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 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 Kande Beach – our home for the next two nights.
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!
Chipata is a colourful town with a number of fruit and vegetable markets – and a handful of ornate mosques, thanks to its large Indian community. If time allows, we’ll make a stop in town before arriving at our campsite.
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.
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.
Another day of living your best life at the Falls awaits! What bucket list item will you tick off today?
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.
First things first today: a fish eagle boat cruise! Try and catch a glimpse of the sneaky bird (and other varmints too). They’re out there. We know they’re out there (eyes emoji).
Chobe National Park, we’re coming for you! After starting the day off with a game drive, we’ll leave Kasane and make our way south, hugging the fringes of the dry and dusty Kalahari Desert on the way to our campsite near Nata.
Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana, and is packed with an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts. We’ll stay here for the night before pressing on to the Okavango Delta tomorrow.
When we get to the Okavango Delta, we’ll travel by mokoro (dugout canoe) past giant lily pads and tall grasses in search of hippos, crocodiles and a variety of birds. After settling into our island tented camp, we’ll explore the area on a walking safari. Anyone for critter bingo?
Back to Maun! Spend the rest of your time here on your own watch, taking in the awesome natural scenery from camp.
In Ghanzi, we’ll head out on a guided Kalahari Bushman walk and discover how the locals manage the resources around them to the max. Tsamma melon, anyone? FYI: Your support of this ecotourism venture will give the Bushmen a sustainable income (plus, it helps keep their culture alive). It’s a win-win!
Departing Ghanzi, we’ll head south to Windhoek – the capital of Namibia. Quick fact: Windhoek is home to approximately 200,000 people (an extremely small capital by global standards). Pro tip: take the opportunity to check out one of the local restaurants or visit the famous Joe’s Beer House tonight.
Today we’ll make our way north to Etosha National Park. After pitching our tents near a floodlit waterhole (OMG), we’ll embark on a short afternoon game drive. As dusk falls, keep your eyes peeled for a range of nocturnal visitors – including elephants, giraffes, zebras, hyenas... and even lions!
Etosha National Park = the ultimate game viewing destination. Picture this: a barren landscape full of flamingos and pelicans, surrounded by nothing but native bush, scrubland and saline lakes. Trust us, this place is magical! Keep watch for more of the local residents on today’s game drive.
Our next stop is Spitzkoppe, where we’ll take a closer look at the ancient bushman paintings that are still visible on the area’s peculiar rock formations. The rocks peak at approximately 2,000 metres above sea level, making for some ah-mazing views – one of the most impressive being the 'Bushman Paradise' cave (Google it).
Next up: a few days of adventure activities in Swakopmund. Wanna tick off some bucket list items? This is the place to do it!
Swakopmund is Namibia's main seaside resort, sandwiched slap bang between the desert and the ocean. Make the most of your time here with a spot of quad biking, sandboarding or skydiving (weather permitting). Not your thing? Steal a moment to yourself and take a look at the town’s many shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries – or simply stroll along the promenade admiring the ocean. #beaut
Today we’ll cross over the Tropic of Capricorn on our way south, with a stop for a photo opportunity en route to Solitaire (Namibia’s smallest town).
Time to crack on to the desert landscapes of Namib Naukluft Park, home to the highest sand dunes on the planet (we’re looking at you, Dune 45). We’ll also head off on a Sossusvlei shuttle to see the Sesriem Canyon and take a guided walk.
One of the natural wonders of Africa, Fish River Canyon is around 500 metres deep and over 160 kilometres long, and is the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. Prep your camera lens for amazing photos this afternoon, especially when the sun begins to set over the sharp bend in the river known as ‘Hell’s Corner’. Trust us, it’s friendlier than its name implies.
Tonight we’ll set up camp on the South African side of the Gariep (Orange) River. If you’re looking for a few creature comforts, you’re in luck – our site provides hot showers, flush toilets, grassy floors and even a bar. Hello, sundowners!
Today we’ll head to our campsite on the Western Cape, where we’ll spend our final night under the huge African sky. Try not to get too emosh!
After waving goodbye to the scenic Cederberg area, we’ll make tracks to cosmopolitan Cape Town – without a doubt one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Here, our epic trip will come to a close (sad face). If time allows, why not spend a few days exploring the city and its surrounds?
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!
You can contact Top Deck directly by: