African Overlander Express
DAY 1- 5
Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar
Dar es Salaam is Tanzania’s main trading port and commercial city; it is a bustling city of high rises, colourful markets and Arab influenced architecture. Dar is also our ‘leaping off’ point for our excursion to Zanzibar.
Evocative and exotic, Zanzibar conjures up images of idyllic, sandy, palm fringed beaches, romantic winding cobbled alleys and lush tropical forests. You will find all of these here – and an intriguing history. Zanzibar was the base for the great 19th century explorers such as John Hanning Speke, Richard Burton and David Livingstone and was once a major trading centre for spices. Indeed the spice trade is centuries old: Zanzibaris have traded with the people of the Arabian peninsula for generations, plying the ocean in simple dhow sailboats relying on the annual trade winds for passage. The Arab influence is evident in the architecture and diverse street stall offerings of the capital, Stone Town. Indeed the Arab influence can be seen right along the East African coast - the Swahili language itself the result of the mixing of Arab and African languages and cultures over many centuries.
Zanzibar’s other history is not so romantic. The island was also a staging post for slaves brought from the African interior being held before being shipped to slave owners in the middle east. You can still see the places where these men and women were held – and even a short visit is enough to convey the appalling conditions they had to endure.
Our time on the island is not structured and your time is at leisure. Perhaps the best way to see Stone Town is on foot: explore the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and alleyways of the old town. Spices are grown in plantations nearby and you can take daytours to visit some and have your senses dazzled by the tastes and scents experienced. If it’s white sand, sparkling ocean and hot sun you prefer – head for the northern beaches and enjoy the Indian Ocean at its best. Try snorkelling and diving, indulge in some sumptuous seafood, or simply relax beneath a coconut palm with a cocktail and a good book.
After four nights we cross back by ferry to the African mainland and Dar es Salaam.
NB Basic shared accommodation is included on Zanzibar however meals will be for your own account allowing you to experience some of the many different options available on Zanzibar. Please refer to the tour dossier (available below) for more information
DAY 6 - 7
Zanzibar – Dar es Salaam, Arusha
Returning from Zanzibar to the African mainland, we join our Overland tour truck and travel inland to the great game parks of East Africa. On the way north, if the weather is clear, we gain a view of the magnificent snowcapped Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak at 5895m. Our next stop is Arusha, a city of some 2-3 million people situated mid way between Cape Town and Cairo and generally known as Tanzania’s ‘safari capital’. The city is a bustling melting pot of markets, vehicles and tribesmen, nestling in the shadow of the brooding Mt. Meru (4556m). After time to explore the markets, we head to our camp outside the city on the edge of the Masai plains at Meserani. Here there is the opportunity for camel riding or to visit one of the local Maasai villages; there is also a small but very interesting Masai museum, and you can see snakes, small and large in the snake enclosure at the Snake Park. For those who are interested there is a small school and clinic not far from the camp. Finally enjoy Tanzanian hospitality at its best in the lively bush bar. It is from here that we prepare for our two night/three day excursion to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater.
DAY 8- 11
Arusha, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater - Nairobi
Transferring to 4x4 vehicles, we depart for a 2 night/3 day game viewing excursion to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro is a World Heritage Site and contains the most concentrated population of wildlife anywhere in Africa. We descend the crater walls and enjoy game viewing in the spectacular setting. The ‘Big 5’ can be found within the crater as can an array of other wildlife such as hyena, cheetah, wildebeest and many species of antelope. The open plains and clean horizons of the Serengeti epitomize many people’s image of Africa. Game viewing here is easier than most with 360 degree views of the savannah in many areas. We camp in the middle of the Serengeti plains to enjoy its atmosphere to the full. The sounds we hear at night are often as exhilarating as the views we see during the day! Returning to Arusha we enjoy last-minute shopping before a final day’s drive across the border into Kenya to Nairobi completing the tour.
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