I spent 11 weeks overlanding in Africa last year and I’m so pleased I got to see everything that I did but I know that lots of people don’t have the luxury of spending this long in Africa so I’ve given you a couple of great options to visit Africa and see the best bits in three weeks.
Itinerary 1 – Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda & Zanzibar
Day 1: Nairobi
Start in Kenya’s capital Nairobi and visit the David Sheldrick elephant orphanage and the Giraffe Centre to get up close and personal with these cute animals.
Day 2-5: Pick up a game driving tour to the Masai Mara which you can reach in a days drive. The Masai Mara is an excellent place to spot wildlife and we spent two days here enjoying the lions, giraffes, elephants, leopards, crocodiles and many many zebras. There are luxury resorts within the park or campsites just beyond the gates which is where we stayed in a permanent tent with a bed and personal bathroom.
Day 5-7: From Arusha you can pick up tours to Serengeti National Park to see some of the best wildlife and landscape in Africa. We did a two night, three day tour with Bee Eater and Honey Safari company who transported us from Arusha to the park and back. They also put up our tents and cooked for us over the two days.
I saw so many lions in the Ngorongoro Crater literally lying on the edge of the road. It was such a successful game drive as we saw a whole pride and they were even awake and quite active.
Day 7-10: From Arusha you can fly to Zanzibar or do the two day drive from Arusha to Dar es Salam and take the ferry over to Zanzibar (which I did). Upon arrival in Stone Town you could take a spice tour of a nearby farm or just head north to the resort area where the best beaches on the island are.
Tip: If you do go to Stone Town in Zanzibar you will need to cover up as it is Islamic. Even though the temperatures were high it was leggings and shoulders covered.
At the northern beaches you can take boat trips, party until the early hours at the beach bars or just relax on the beach and enjoy the beautiful beaches.
Day 10-15 – Uganda
Fly back to Nairobi and catch a connecting flight to Kampala where you can pick up a tour to go to Lake Bunyoni in Uganda where you can do the gorilla trek which was without doubt the best thing I did in Africa. From Lake Bunyoni you can also do a day trip to Rwanda which was very interesting.
Obviously you can do this itinerary in reverse as well and do Uganda and the gorillas first before heading south and spending the last few days on the beach.
Extra activity: Rwanda day trip
We did a day trip from Lake Bunyoni to Rwanda where we spent a day visiting memorials and museums about the genocide. It was an optional excursion we weren’t sure about but after visiting Kigali and learning about the genocide I would highly recommend doing it.
Itinerary 2: Livingstone to Cape Town
This was the most popular route on our trip and lots of people joined the overland trip for this part of the journey. Each day there was something else to see and do and the whole 2 and a half weeks was action packed and was definitely my favourite part of Africa.
Day 1-3 Livingstone – Zambia
Livingstone is the adventure capital of Africa, there is a variety of activities of do there including visiting the mighty Victoria Falls, helicopter or microlight flights over the falls, Devils Pool where you can swim in a natural pool at the top of Vic Falls, animal encounters with elephants and lions and white water rafting.
You will need to have a fair bit of money though because compared to the rest of Africa Livingstone is very expensive!
Day 4-5 – Chobe National Park in Botswana is a great place to do a boat safari and see the animals from a different perspective. Don’t forget to pack some cheese, crackers and wine and enjoy the beautiful animals from the comfort of a boat.
Day 6-7: Okavango Delta is a fantastic overnight trip to do from Maun in Botswana where you are taken in to the Delta on a mokoro boat by someone from the local village to camp overnight on a tiny island to enjoy some of the local wildlife. Elephants were grazing right outside our tent, we did a walking safari and swam in a watering hole where I could hippos grunting nearby.
Day 8-10: Etosha National Park was a real highlight of the trip because it is where I saw my first rhino as well as seeing the second biggest salt flat in the world. The fantastic thing about Etosha is most of the campsites have flood lit watering holes where you can go and sit anytime of the night and see the animals come to you rather than you chasing them in a vehicle.
Day 10-11 – The Cheetah Park was a great place to stop off en route in Namibia, a family who run a farm took in some cheetahs who were ruining their crops so the big cats are totally domesticated and you can get up close and person with these cuties as well as visit some of the more wild cats.
Day 12: En route
Day 13 – 14: Spitzkoppe & Swakupmund are in the heart of the Namibian desert and the rock formations in Spitzkoppe are excellent to hike up. Swakaupmund is a German town right on the Atlantic coast. Activities include sand boarding and quad biking in the sand dunes as well as sky diving. There is also an excellent brewery with some of the best wifi in Africa!
Day 15 – 16: Dune 45 & Deadvlei is a real highlight of Africa, climbing Dune 45 at 5am to watch the sunrise and then going to see a salt pan in the middle of the desert filled with dead trees was a really memorable day and it was also one of the most beautiful places we visited in Namibia.
Read: View from the top of Dune 45
Day 17: Fish River Canyon is the second biggest canyon in the world after the mighty Grand Canyon in the States so it is well worth a visit on your way to South Africa from Namibia.
Day 18: Cederberg is a wine region in South Africa and a great place to unwind after a couple of weeks in the desert. Wine, green grass, rolling hills and sunshine.
Day 19 – 21: Cape Town is one of the greatest cities I’ve ever visited and it is the perfect place to finish your African adventure. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking in Cape Town and there are so many fantastic things to do here you will leave wanting more.
I hope these itineraries have been helpful if you find yourself planning an African adventure. Africa is such a special place, it is so unique and there really is nowhere else on the planet that compares to it.
If you are interested in more Africa travel check out my Africa page.
I did a 77 day tour with Tucan Travel but these were the best bits of the whole 11 week trip.