Overlanding Africa on a Self-Drive

Scoop out the astounding diversity of the Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and diverse cultural experiences in East Africa. Visit green-clad highlands, fogged rain forests, and epic grasslands in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. Take on a threatening shape close to the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in Uganda, plenty of game drives in Kenya and Tanzania in search of the big five, or take part in many of the optional excursions and activities. The wonders of Africa will remain dazzling in your memory long after going on self-drive in East Africa.

Day 1

Upon arrival at the Kigali airport in Rwanda1, our professional guide shall be waiting for you to hand over the car to you to start your self-drive tour.  Just out of the immigration, your eyes will land you to a smiling and enthusiastic fellow, eager to see the beautiful land of a thousand hills Rwanda. Transfer to the hotel for relaxation.

Day 2

The next day, visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The entry here is but you can donate and support of the memorial. At this place, you will listen to stories of the causes of the 1994 genocide where the minority Tutsis were killed by the majority Hutus. Please walk around the genocide as you see the remains of the evidence for the massive killings, and see the artifacts in the museum before viewing the mass graves where an estimated 120,000 persons were buried.

After lunch, drive to Kimironko market: here you will tour the largest market buy all items needed for human survival from a pin-to-a-tank. There beautifully woven crafts will attract you to buy at least one item. If time is permitting, you will visit the Inema art gallery. This is one of the largest art galleries in Rwanda. They have art pieces that are used to interpret many occasions and things.

Day 3

Traverse from Kigali to Volcanoes National Park. Embark on your short but scenic journey to the northern part of Rwanda. Upon arrival, you may decide to check in the lodge first or visit the Ellen De Generes Museum. Still, this area houses the pictorial stories of how one of the Trimates Dian Fossey did the great work of studying the Gorillas and all her life until her puzzling death in the Virunga Mountains.

Day 4

Road trip to Volcanoes to Kisoro. After an early morning breakfast, drive to the Kinigi visitor information Centre for the registration and briefing about the tracking of these endangered monkeys which are endemic to the Virunga conservation area. Seeing them in their natural setting is indeed a great but rewarding and exciting adventure. Thereafter drive through the Cyanika border crossing over to Uganda and arrive in Kisoro in the afternoon.

Day 5

Day activity gorilla tracking, the most astounding and delighting tourism activity in the world. Getting a full hour face-to-face with these greatest genital creatures of the world is indeed an exciting activity in everyone’s life. On this day get up ready with the requirements for gorilla trekking. Proceed to the park headquarters at either Ntebeko for the briefing with your tracking gear.

Time taken to find these apes is very unpredictable but you will be entertained by other primates like baboons, Vervet monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, black and white Colobus monkeys and so many others animals. After this experience return to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 6

Road trip from Kisoro to Queen Elizabeth National Park. On this day you will drive from Kisoro area northwards to Queen Elizabeth National Park. The drive may take between 6-7 hours but very interesting as you see small towns and municipal towns, villages with large banana plantations. Banana markets on the roadside and fruit markets are interesting. Reaching in the afternoon, relax at the lodge.

Day 7

Day activity game drives and boat cruise. You will start the day with a game drive to look for different wildlife in the jungles of the national park. Expect to see various animals, birds and reptiles: including but not limited to lions, leopards, savanna elephants, cape buffaloes, bee-eaters, egrets, ox-peckers, vultures, snakes, tortoise, etc.

After lunch, you drive to take a boat cruise to explore the aquatic life on the Kazinga Channel. On a 2-hours’ boat ride, expect to see various species like crocodiles, hippos, monitor lizards, different water birds above all. Retire from the activity and drive back to the lodge

Day 8

Set off from Queen Elizabeth to fort portal via Kalinzu Reserve. Kalinzu is a medium-sized tropical rainforest but with stunning attractions. There are lots of wildlife including various primates, elephants most likely from Queen Elizabeth National Park, many bird species and enormous plant-life. The guide will give you a 10-minutes’ briefing and thereafter enter the forest to search for man’s closest primates the chimpanzees.

Day 9

Road trip from Fort portal to Murchison Falls National Park. The drive shall last for between 6-7 hours. Good enough it is on a paved road. There are great views at the escarpment of the western arm of the great African rift valley. You can have lunch on the way, most likely in Hoima city, reach in the late afternoon and do a simple game drive or visit the top of the falls if you opt not to hike the next day. Proceed to the lodge.

Day 10

Drive from Murchison Falls to Masindi. This day, you will start with an early morning game drive on the northern bank of the national park. The park was renamed after the world’s most powerful waterfalls, is indeed a wild garden on an unlimited scale. This gives us chances to search for the Giraffes, the Jackson heartbeats, lions, Leopards, and Oribis.

Luckily enough you may see the “Elusive Shoebill Stork” at the delta point on the river Nile where it enters Lake Albert on its long journey to the Mediterranean Sea. Lunch at the lodge, or enjoy your packed lunch depending on the prior arrangement. After lunch, assemble at the Paraa jetty for the Nile boat cruising on the waters of the Nile to see the thunderous Murchison Falls from downriver.

During the cruise, you will see crocodiles, hippos, Elephants, and lots of birds on the shoes of the water like the Gull-billed and white-winged Terns can also be seen. A hike to the top of the World’s powerful waterfalls will be rewarding but it is medium strenuous. Overnight in Masindi town.

Day 11

Traverse from Masindi to Jinja. This morning, after breakfast, proceed to Ziwa Rhino sanctuary and chances to see these rhinos is put at 98%, still explored on foot. Get your hiking boots onboard and long pants or trousers. It is so exciting and captivating when your eyes get in touch with the wide faces of these gigantic creatures in the wilderness. You will be in company of the local guide who will explain much more about these rare species. After this activity, drive to Jinja where you will reach in the late evening for an overnight.

Day 12

Jinja is an adventure city of Uganda where you will find many buildings that portray ancient Asian art and architecture. Besides, it is where you will find the source of world’s longest single river The Nile. Where it starts its journey to Mediterranean Sea.

There are many thrilling options, ranging from White Water rafting ($140 per person) Tubing ($55 per person), Kayaking your way on the Nile ($30 per person), Bungee jumping ($115 per person for the first jump, then 50% for a second consecutive jump), mountain-forest biking ($50 per person), Ziplining ($50 per person), Quad biking ($110 per person) water biking ($50 per person). If you choose to do one of the activities mentioned, they will be billed directly according to their choice.

Day 13

Road from Jinja to Lake Nakuru. After an early breakfast, prepare for a long drive (approximately 5-7hrs) with a packed lunch or choose to eat in a local restaurant. You will leave Jinja behind and drive further east passing through the upper Nile town where sugar farming is vibrant, to the Malaba border. Get ready with your paper documents including your passport at the Malaba Uganda-Kenya border. After the immigration process, you will drive past the rural-urban communities of western Kenya through Eldoret town where most of our marathon runners who dominate marathons worldwide train and live arriving in Lake Nakuru late in the evening.

Upon arrival, if time allows you can have an evening game drive or you can visit the nearby Nakuru town to get a feeling of how the Kenyan farmers sell their produce at the nearby market or just relax at your hotel by the poolside as you prepare for the next day.

Day 14

Drive from Lake Nakuru to Lake Naivasha. You will depart for an early game drive this morning and then thereafter, return to the lodge for a breakfast before driving to Lake Naivasha. It is a freshwater lake in Kenya outside the town of Naivasha northwest of Nairobi. It is famous for its population of hippos, Masai giraffes, wildebeest, and the over 400 bird species in the forest surrounding the lake making it the perfect destination for birders.

Proceed to Lake Naivasha for a boat ride and walking excursion at the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary. Boat rides on Lake Naivasha are refreshing experiences that take you on the breezy lake waters as you explore the diverse bird life and wildlife on the lake and its surroundings. You will return to the hotel for lunch.

Day 15

Road Trip from Lake Naivasha to Masai Mara National Reserve. Proceed through the Rift Valley floor to Masai Mara National Reserve arriving at the lodge in good time for lunch. Thereafter, embark on your first game drive in the reserve in the afternoon. This park is ones of the favourite places to look for wildlife in Kenya. On this game drive, you will be able to spot the big cats (lions, leopards, and cheetahs) and elephants among the highlights.

There’s a very good chance you’ll also see giraffes, buffaloes, wildebeests, zebras, hippos, hyenas, and, of course, impalas. And bring your binoculars, because more than 500 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve. The Masai Mara ecosystem comprises the famous reserve, community conservancies, group ranches, and many Maasai villages.

Day 16

Game viewing in Masai Mara National Reserve. This is a full day spent game viewing across the rich tree-studded grassland and rolling hills of the famous Eighth Wonder of the Animal World. The Mara is renowned for its great herds of plains game animals like leopards, Cheetahs and lions. You will have a full-day game drive in Masai Mara National Reserve.

Day 17

Self-drive from Masai Mara to Serengeti National Park. Today after breakfast, you will carry picnic lunch boxes and head towards the border separating Kenya and Tanzania through Isebania border post. You will prepare to pay for your visas which cost $50 depending on your nationality. Then after clearing the border, you will drive to proceed to the expanse of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania which means endless plains.

While heading to your camp keeping an eye out for millions of animals that call this place home. Dinner and overnight stay. The lodge is an unfenced site within the national park, right in the heart of the animal action.

Day 18

Game viewing in Serengeti National Park. Start your day with an early morning game drive to search for animals when they’re at their most active. Return to the lodge for a relaxed breakfast and lunch. You will spend the day relaxing in the camp relaxing listening to your favourite music while observing the birds. Don’t stress, the animals will be doing the same. You will head off again in the afternoon for another drive through the park. In the evening, you’ll return to the lodge for dinner and another night under the Serengeti’s stars.

Note: But, there is also an option of an early hot air balloon ride here if interested.

Day 19

Drive from Serengeti to Ngorongoro Crater Conservation. Exit Serengeti with a game drive. You will drive to enter the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area en route to Karatu. This afternoon, you will descend to Ngorongoro Crater’s floor for a game drive. Enjoy the spectacular views from the rim of the crater as you make your way to the bottom, where animals roam the lakes, rivers, woodlands, and hills. Keep an eye out for wildebeests, lions, zebras, cheetahs, buffalos, gazelles, and endangered black rhinos. Retire for dinner and overnight.

Day 20

Traverse from Ngorongoro to Tarangire via Lake Eyasi. After an early morning breakfast, you’ll make your way to Lake Eyasi, a huge seasonal soda lake. Lake Eyasi has been home to the Hadzabe people for more than 10,000 years and is one of the few places in Africa where traditional tribal life continues without modern influence.

A visit to the Hadzabe lands offers insight into this ancient culture and a chance to learn about their way of life. You will also have the opportunity to meet members of the community and join in on daily activities like hunting, gathering, and traditional dances. Proceed to your lodge in Tarangire National Park arriving in good time for lunch. Do evening game drives and then you’ll return to the lodge for your dinner and overnight stay.

Day 21

Tarangire after drive to Amboseli National Park. You will set off early this morning, around 7.30 am, heading for the border Kenya-Namanga border post and passing through Arusha leaving Tarangire National Park behind. Upon arrival at the border, you will head to the immigration office for clearance at the border, after drive to Amboseli National Park approximately 2 hours from the border arriving in good time for lunch.

You will embark on your first-afternoon game drive at 4:00 pm, exploring the acacia woodland, freshwater swamps, scrub brush, and open plains in search of wildlife. You will return to the lodge at sunset for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 22

Enjoy Amboseli National Park. You will leave the camp after breakfast carrying your packed lunch to be enjoyed in the wild. You’ll spend the whole day exploring the marshlands and swamps of Amboseli which are fed by subterranean water channels. Elephants and various other herbivores are found here. Retire to the lodge late in the afternoon after a long exploration of this 392sq km park.

There is also an option also have an option of starting the day with an early morning game drive to search for animals when they’re at their most active. Then, you will return to the lodge for a relaxed breakfast and lunch. Then, you will head off again in the afternoon at 4:00 pm, for another drive through the park. You’ll return to the lodge at sunset for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 23

Drive from Amboseli National Park to Nairobi. After a leisurely breakfast, you will depart from Amboseli to Nairobi with an en-route lunch, and thereafter, transfer to your city hotel or to the airport for your flight back home.

What do you think?

Written by Mike Bisho

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