Cape Town to Zanzibar

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Group Size: Avg. 16, max. 24.

Trip code: CTZ

Duration: 34 or 35 days

Discover the delights of Africa on this unforgettable 35-day overland adventure. Journey through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi & Tanzania, and end up on the stunning spice island of Zanzibar! You’ll enjoy epic inclusions, such as safaris in Etosha and South Luangwa National Parks, cultural experiences with local tribes, beach time on the shores of Lake Malawi, and a stunning 3-night island getaway on Zanzibar. Plus, you can supercharge your experience with our optional Adventure Pass, and double up on the once-in-a-lifetime adventures! Amazing!

Please Note: This tour also runs in reverse from Zanzibar to Cape Town. Please select the direction of travel you'd prefer in the booking section to see the relevant start dates.

Trip highlights

  • Travel by truck off the beaten track and camp under the African stars 
  • See stunning Fish River Canyon and spot wildlife in the Namib 
  • Get cultural with a Kalahari Bushman Walk and be blown away by the beautiful Okavango Delta
  • Laze by the idyllic shores of Lake Malawi and end your tour on the amazing spice island of Zanzibar!
  • Opt to do the trip in reverse, from Zanzibar to Cape Town!
Further trip information

Please note: This route can also be travelled in reverse, from Zanzibar to Cape Town. Please see the end of this itinerary for more details.

Optional Adventure Pass. Supercharge your African experience with our optional Adventure Pass, which is packed with unique excursions and activities. See the end of this itinerary for more information.

Day 1: Cape Town to Western Cape, South Africa. Kick off in buzzing Cape Town. Adventure pass holders will take a tour of a local township. Travel along the beautiful Western Cape and enjoy an optional wine tasting before making camp by the Olifants River.

Fancy some extra time to explore beautiful Cape Town? Enjoy 4 days of fun on our Cape Town City Stay before your overland tour begins and discover the wonders of this spectacular city!

Day 2: Western Cape to Gariep (Orange) River. Journey north to the rocky landscapes of the Namibian border. Make camp by the gorgeous Gariep (Orange) River. Optional canoe river safari or hiking in the area.

Day 3: Gariep (Orange) River to Fish River Canyon, Namibia. Relax on the banks of the orange river and then explore the mighty Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world.

Day 4: Fish River Canyon to Sesriem. Get your first glimpse of the beautiful Namib desert and set up camp beneath a starry desert sky.

Day 5: Namib Naukluft National Park to Sossus on Foot. Venture into the desert and watch the sunrise from Dune 45. Adventure pass holders will visit the giant sand dunes of Sossusvlei. Explore the impressive Sesriem Canyon before camping in a traditional desert camp.

Day 6–7: Sossus on Foot to Swakopmund. Swap the baking desert for the cooling coast in Swakopmund. Here, you can enjoy cool sea air and adventure activities galore. Why not try quad biking, sand boarding or skydiving? 

Day 8: Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe. Step back in time in Spitzkoppe and admire the ancient bushman paintings. Watch the rock turn orange and red as the sun sets. Camp at the foot of the mountain.

Day 9-10: Etosha National Park. Prepare for your first wildlife encounters in Etosha National Park, home to 114 mammal and 340 bird species. Spend two amazing nights camping by a floodlit waterhole and spot wildlife on unforgettable game drives.

Day 11: Etosha to Windhoek. Journey south towards the Auas and Eros Mountains and spend the night in Namibia’s capital city, Windhoek. Enjoy a night out with your group.

Day 12: Windhoek to Ghanzi, Botswana. Head east into Botswana and meet the local San/Bushman people. Enjoy a guided bush walk through sun-blasted plains and learn about this ancient people’s way of life.

Day 13: Ghanzi to Maun. Once Botswana’s ‘Wild West’, Maun has a fascinating mix of modern and native dwellings. Keep your eyes peeled for antelope grazing on the banks of the Thamalakane River.

Day 14: Okavango Delta. Adventure Pass holders will head into the magical Okavango Delta for a unique canoe and wildlife overnight excursion. An unforgettable experience!

Day 15: Maun. Return to Maun by midday and spend a free afternoon trying exciting optional activities or relaxing in Maun.

Day 16: Maun – Elephant Sands, Nata. Travel from Maun to Nata, arriving at the Elephant Sands Lodge in the late afternoon. With no fences, expect to spot wildlife roaming freely between waterholes!

Day 17: Elephant Sands, Nata – Kasane. Journey to Kasane, the gateway to Chobe National Park. Adventure Pass holders will enjoy a ‘Fish Eagle’ cruise on the Chobe River to spot hippos, buffalo and elephants.

Day 18: Kasane to Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Zambia. Adventure Pass holders will explore Chobe National Park on an open vehicle game drive, spotting elephants, lions and antelopes. Then, cross the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers by ferry and enter Zambia. Camp close to the mighty Victoria Falls.

Day 19-20: Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Zambia. Spend two more days having fun and adventures in Livingstone!

Day 21: Livingstone – Lusaka. Make your way through lush scenery to Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka. You will camp in a peaceful farm setting outside the city.

Day 22-23: Lusaka – South Luangwa National Park. Your destination today is the stunning South Luangwa National Park, where you will spend two nights. Adventure pass holders will enjoy a morning game drive, spotting giraffe, elephants, leopards, lions and more. Enjoy optional walking safaris, village walks and relaxation in this lush natural setting.

Day 24: South Luangwa National Park – Kande Beach, Malawi. Cross into Malawi and make your way to magical Lake Malawi. You’ll camp on the shores and spend time swimming, watching the fisherman ply their trade in traditional dugout canoes, and relaxing on the beach.

Day 25: Kande Beach. Spend the day on the beach by Lake Malawi, where you can try some exciting water sports such as diving, snorkelling or surfing (extra cost), or head out and meet some of the locals.

Day 26: Kande Beach – Chitimba Beach. Drive through scenic rubber plantations to Mzuzu and check out the local markets. Spend the night on picturesque Chitimba Beach.

Day 27: Chitimba Beach. Chill out on the beach, explore the area, and wander the surrounding hills that offer magnificent views. There is also a fantastic local craft market where you can brush off your haggling skills in search of the perfect souvenir.

Day 28: Chitimba Beach – Iringa, Tanzania. Cross the border into Tanzania, climbing in altitude through the Southern Highlands until you reach a working rural farm, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 29: Iringa – Mikumi. Head east and keep your eyes peeled for elephant and giraffe in Mikumi.

Day 30: Mikumi - Dar es Salaam. Journey towards the sparkling Indian Ocean and soak up the lively atmosphere of Dar, with its colourful markets and Arabic architecture.

Day 31-34: Zanzibar Island. Hop across to the idyllic spice island of Zanzibar for a 3-night island stay. The exotic destination of Zanzibar is known for its stunning sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, winding cobbled streets and tropical forests.

Day 35: Zanzibar – Dar es Salaam. Enjoy a final few hours on Zanzibar before catching the ferry back to the mainland, where the tour ends today in Dar es Salaam.

Please note: The itinerary above is for guidance only. Every effort is made to adhere to the planned route, but please allow for a certain amount of flexibility, as on occasion it may be necessary or desirable to make alterations to the itinerary.

Optional Adventure Pass

If you wish you can book an optional Adventure Pass, which includes awesome extra activities and excursions for a price of USD530. The cheapest way to get the pass is to book it locally, in cash, when you arrive in Africa. If you wish, you can pre-book the pass in the UK; please contact our travel advisors for more details. The Adventure Pass includes:

  • A township tour in Cape Town
  • A 4x4 transfer in Sossusvlei
  • Okavango Delta excursion
  • Fish Eagle cruise in Chobe National Park
  • Game drive in Chobe National Park
  • Game drive in South Luangwa National Park

Reverse Option: Zanzibar to Cape Town

This tour can also be done in reverse, from Zanzibar to Cape Town. Starting in Dar es Salaam, this 34-day adventure includes all the same destinations apart from South Luangwa National Park. Please select the direction of travel you'd prefer in the booking section to see the relevant start dates!

The Adventure Pass for the reverse option costs USD410. The Adventure Pass includes: 

  • Fish Eagle cruise in Chobe National Park
  • Game drive in Chobe National Park
  • Okavango Delta excursion
  • A 4x4 transfer in Sossusvlei

For more information about the reverse itinerary, please download the trip notes for this trip.

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Please select the direction of travel you'd prefer in the booking section to see the relevant start dates.