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Chobe National Park
The Chobe National Park is the second-largest national park in Botswana and covers 10,566 square kilometres, and has one of the greatest concentrations of game found on the African continent. Its uniqueness in the abundance of wildlife and the true African nature of the region offers a safari experience of a lifetime. In 1967, the reserve was declared a national park – the first national park in Botswana.

The park is divided into four distinctly different ecosystems: Serondela with its lush plains and dense forests in the Chobe River area in the extreme north-east; the Savuti Marsh in the west about fifty kilometres north of Mababe gate; the Linyanti Swamps in the north-west and the hot dry hinterland in between.

Visit Chobe National Park Tourist activities in Chobe National Park Travel to Chobe National Park

All ATC trips include a boat cruise on the Chobe River with an optional game drive should clients wish to partake.

A major feature of Chobe National Park is its elephant population. First of all, the Chobe elephant comprises part of what is probably the largest surviving continuous elephant population. This population covers most of northern Botswana plus northwestern Zimbabwe. Botswana’s elephant population is currently estimated at around 120,000. This elephant population has built up steadily from a few thousand since the early 1900s and has escaped the massive illegal off take that has decimated other populations in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Chobe elephant is migratory, making seasonal movements of up to 200 kilometres from the Chobe and Linyanti rivers, where they concentrate in the dry season, to the pans in the southeast of the park, to which they disperse in the rains. The elephants, in this area, have the distinction of being the largest in body size of all living elephants though the ivory is brittle and you will not see many huge tuskers among these rangy monsters.

Chobe Game Reserve Chobe Game Reserve
Okavango Delta
The area was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that dried up some 10,000 years ago. Today, the Okavango River has no outlet to the sea. Instead, it empties onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating 15,000 km² of the desert, making it the largest inland delta in the world. Each year some 11 cubic kilometres of water reach the delta. Some of this water reaches further south to create Lake Ngami.

The water entering the delta is unusually pure, due to the lack of agriculture and industry along the Okavango River. It passes through the sand aquifers of the numerous delta islands and evaporates by leaving enormous quantities of salt behind. These precipitation processes are so strong that the vegetation disappears in the centre of the islands and thick salt crusts are formed.
Okavango Delta Okavango Delta Okavango Delta

The waters of the Okavango Delta are subject to seasonal flooding, which begins about mid-summer in the north and six months later in the south (May/June). The water from the delta is evaporated relatively rapidly by the high temperatures, resulting in a cycle of cresting and dropping water in the south. Islands can disappear completely during the peak flood and then reappear at the end of the season. The Okavango Delta is home to a wealth of wildlife and attracts thousands of visitors a year. There are a number of camps within the delta region that cater to these visitors.

Okavango Delta Okavango Delta

The delta provides a seasonal habitat to numerous different species. Among these are African elephants, the African Buffalo, the Hippopotamus, the Lechwe, the Topi, the Blue Wildebeest, the Giraffe, the Nile crocodile, the Lion, the Cheetah, the Leopard, hyenas, wild dogs, the Greater Kudu, the Sable Antelope, both the Black and the White Rhinoceros, the water monitor, zebras, the Warthog, and then chacma baboon. The delta also includes over 400 species of birds, including the African Fish Eagle, the Crested Crane, and the Sacred Ibis.

The Okavango Delta Excursion takes the group from Maun into the Okavango Delta region. From Maun, clients are transferred to the edge of the water at the mokoro station. Here they meet up with the local guides and transfer to the local dug-out canoes (Mokoro’s). 2 Persons share a mokoro along with their luggage for the excursion. A 1-2 hour mokoro trip takes us along the channels of the Delta.

Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley, mostly known in Kenya as the East African Rift Valley, was formed between 2 and 7 million years ago. It is the longest rift on the surface of the earth. The Rift Valley starts all the way from Jordan, Middle-East, and runs through Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Malawi, and ends near the coastal town of Solada in Mozambique. The amazing quality about the Rift Valley is that once it reaches the Kenyan border, it diverges into two rifts, which later converge near Lake Rukwa in southern Tanzania.

The Great Rift Valley The Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley is approximately 4,000 miles (6500km) long and 35 miles (60km) wide. It was formed due to geological tension in the earth’s crust that caused a deep depression, while probably forcing the sides upwards. The floor of the valley is normally below sea level. In Kenya, the Rift Valley gave rise to many lakes that have become a habitat for diverse wildlife. The walls of the Rift Valley are called escarpments; the famous escarpments of Kenya being the Mau Escarpment. The Mau escarpments are famous for their height, which rise over 8500 feet (2600m). To the surprise of many tourists, geological movements still occur in the Rift Valley. In 2000, the British media, BBC, reported that Mount Kenya had reduced in height. Both Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro are almost adjacent to the Rift Valley.
The Great Rift Valley The Great Rift Valley The Great Rift Valley
Lake Naivasha
Lake Naivasha is a beautiful freshwater lake, fringed by thick papyrus. The lake is almost 13kms in diameter, but its waters are shallow with an average depth of five metres. The highest of the Rift Valley lakes, Naivasha lies at approx 1880m above sea level. At the beginning of the 20th Century, Naivasha completely dried up and effectively disappeared. The resulting open land was farmed, until heavy rains a few years later caused the lake to return to existence, swallowing up the newly established estates.

Afternoon wind and storms can cause the Lake to become suddenly rough and produce high waves. For this reason, the local Maasai christened the lake Nai’posha meaning “rough water”, which the British later misspelt this as Naivasha. The lake and its surrounds are rich in natural bounty, and the fertile soils and water supply have made this one of Kenya’s prime agricultural regions. Much of the lake is surrounded by forests of the yellow barked Acacia Xanthophlea, known as the Yellow Fever-Tree. These forests abound with birdlife, and Naivasha is known as a world-class birding destination. There are over 450 species in the immediate area including the highland escarpments which surround the lake to the south and west. From October to March the resident bird population is generously supplemented by Palaearctic migrants. On the water, pelicans, and cormorants are numerically superior but the pride of place must go to the African Fish Eagle whose haunting call remains as significant to lake visitors, like the roar of a lion does in the National parks.

Lake Naivasha Lake Naivasha Lake Naivasha

The waters of the lake draw a great range of game to these shores. Giraffes wander among the Acacia Trees, Buffalo wallow in the swamps, and Colobus monkeys call from the treetops while the Lakes’ large hippo population sleep the day out in the shallows.

Optional Excursion near Lake Naivasha: Hell’s Gate National Park lies beside the lake. This Park was named for its pair of massive red tinged cliffs framing a geothermal active interior of steam vents and bubbling springs. The park is home to a profusion of plains game and birdlife. This is one National Park that people are allowed to freely leave their vehicles which makes it popular with hikers and cyclists.
Hell’s Gate National Park Hell’s Gate National Park Hell’s Gate National Park

Elsemere – home of Joy Adamson (January 20, 1910 – January 3, 1980). She was a naturalist and author, best known for her book, Born Free, which described her experiences in saving the life of a lioness, Elsa. She was born Joy Friedericke Victoria Gessner in Troppau, Silesia, Austria-Hungary (now Opava, Czech Republic). With her third husband, George Adamson, she made her home in Kenya on the shores of Lake Naivasha. She studied and painted animals in the wild, and became famous as a result of the publication of Born Free in 1960. Several sequels were also published, two films were made: Born Free and Living Free. In addition to her books about lions, Adamson also wrote two books about Pippa, a cheetah she took on in 1964, first meeting her in an elegant tea room in Nairobi.

Lake Nakuru National Park
Size: 188 sq km
Location: Just outside of Nakuru town
Most Famous for: Large population of white rhino, excellent leopard spotting area, and its ever colourful flamingos.

Nakuru in Kiswahili means “Waterbuck Haven”. Lake Nakuru National Park, close to Nakuru town, was established in 1961. It started off small, only encompassing the famous lake and the surrounding mountainous vicinity. Now it has been extended to include a large part of the savannahs. It has unusual but beautiful vegetation. The forest vegetation is covered with Euphorbia, tall cactus-like trees and acacia woodland. The forest region is a host to over 400 migratory bird species from around the world.
Lake Nakuru National Park Lake Nakuru National Park Lake Nakuru National Park

The park’s lake is internationally known for its lesser and Greater Flamingos. Ornithologists often describe Lake Nakuru as “the most fabulous bird spectacle in the world”. The Lesser flamingo can be distinguished by its deep red carmine bill and pink plumage unlike the greater, which has a bill with a black tip. The Lesser flamingos are ones that are commonly pictured in documentaries mainly because they are large in number. The flamingos feed on algae, created from their droppings mixing in the warm alkaline waters, and plankton. Lake Nakuru National Park is also shared with the white pelicans and the ever-snorting hippos.
Lake Nakuru National Park Lake Nakuru National Park Lake Nakuru National Park

Other wildlife in the Lake Nakuru National Park include: The famous Black and White rhinos. The Black rhinos have been slowly multiplying over the years, and are well-protected. Thanks partially to the government of South Africa. Lake Nakuru National Park also boasts an increase in white rhinos. There are plenty of waterbuck, impalas, dik-diks, grants gazelles, lions, and leopards. In 1977, the Rothschild giraffe was introduced to the Park. The park also has large sized python snakes that inhabit the dense woodlands, and can often be seen crossing the roads or dangling from trees.

Lake Nakuru National Park is the only park in Kenya that is completely fenced.
Masai Mara National Park
Size: 1,510 sq km
Location: The Masai Mara National Reserve lies in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, on the border to Tanzania and the Serengeti National Park.
Rainy Season: It rains in April and May and again in November to February and this can cause some areas of the Mara to be inaccessible due to the sticky ‘black cotton’ mud.
Dry Season: July to October is dry and the grass is long and lush after the rains. This is a good time to come and see the huge herds of migratory herbivores.
Hottest time: The warmest time of year is December and January.
Coldest Time: June and July are the coldest months.
Most famous for: Annual wildebeest migration and indigenous Maasai Tribes.

The Maasai Mara is one of the most well known and most popular reserves in the whole of Africa. This is also partly because of the tall red-robed Maasai people whose lifestyle has changed little over the centuries and jointly with the government own the Maasai Mara which is its reasoning for being a Reserve rather than a National Park. As with most game parks in East Africa, there is no border fencing which gives animals the liberty to move outside the park into huge areas known as ‘dispersal areas’. There can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside. Many Maasai villages are located in the ‘dispersal areas’ and they have, over centuries, developed a synergetic relationship with the wildlife.

In a short stay during the wildebeest migration you could see thousands of animals, at other times there are still hundreds. The plains are full of wildebeest, zebra, impala, topi, giraffe, Thomson’s gazelle. Also regularly seen are leopards, lions, hyenas, cheetah, jackal and bat-eared foxes. The black rhino is a little shy and hard to spot but is often seen at a distance. Hippos are abundant in the Mara River as are very large Nile crocodiles, which lay in wait for a meal as the wildebeest cross on their annual quest to find new pastures. Due to their generally relaxed state once in the water, there is the opportunity to leave the vehicle and with a park armed guard to walk high along the river bank to view the crocodiles and hippos lazing in the sun.
Staying in the Maasai Mara Visit Masai Mara National Reserve Visit Masai Mara National Reserve

The Mara is a bird lover’s paradise with great variety and colour including common but beautiful ones like the lilac-breasted roller and plenty of large species like eagles, vultures, and storks. There are 53 different birds of prey. Game driving in the Mara is done in the comfort of our ATC truck, which allows great height for game viewing! ATC has their own camp on the border of the Maasai Mara and it is at this camp, Acacia Camp that all trips stay. The campsite has great facilities and clients overnight in pre-erected safari tents for the duration of their stay.

ATC has a 3 day Maasai Mara Safari (NN3) that departs from Nairobi daily with a minimum of 2 passengers. This safari can be sold as a standalone product but is most times taken up as our bonus safari offer (clients receive the trip price of the safari for free only needing to pay the local payment on any trips ten days or longer starting or finishing in Nairobi. Please note the free safari only departs the Thursday before or the Sunday after the main tour.

Staying in the Maasai Mara between tours: This is possible if you take up our Free Maasai Mara Safari before doing the trips that start in Nairobi. These trips do visit the Masai Mara region, so you will be travelling the same route twice if you do the free trip. There is an option for you to do the free trip (Thursday to Saturday) and then remain at the campsite (this saves you having to do the full days drive on not the greatest roads). The campsite has great facilities and all clients stay in pre-erected safari tents whilst in the Mara. This option is highly recommended as the Acacia Campsite in the Maasai Mara is a very beautiful campsite. The truck will arrive at the Mara Campsite on Saturday and then return to Nairobi to meet the rest of the clients who chose not to do the Free Maasai Mara Safari. You will then have Saturday afternoon until Sunday afternoon (when the truck returns) to relax, reading a book, soaking up the African sunshine and even visiting the local Masai villages. There is also an option to go on a game walk in the conservation area or again visit the Manyata. Any game drives undertaken are at your own cost.

Visit Masai Mara National Reserve Visit Masai Mara National Reserve Visit Masai Mara National Reserve
The cost to stay at the campsite for the Saturday night after the 3-day tour ends and before the gorillas trip group arrives on Sunday is US$ 85. This is settled directly with the campsite. This US$120 (2012 price) includes accommodation in Walk-in tents on Saturday night, lunch, and dinner on the Saturday and breakfast and lunch on Sunday (excludes any activities).
Nairobi is the capital of Kenya. Founded in 1899, the city was handed capital status from Mombasa in 1905. The city was named after a water hole known in Maasai as Ewaso Nyirobi, meaning “cool waters”. Nairobi has the highest urban population in East Africa, estimated at between 3 and 4 million, since its foundation as a railway camp in 1899, Nairobi has grown to become the largest city in Kenya, and one of the largest cities in Africa. Nairobi is now one of the prime cities in Africa politically and financially. Home to many companies and organizations, it is established as a hub for business and culture and a main starting/finishing point for many of our safaris.

Visit Nairobi Visit Nairobi Visit Nairobi

ATC trips that start in Nairobi usually leave on that same day so it is needed for clients to arrive the day before departure. Trips finishing in Nairobi generally arrive late morning/early afternoon and it is advised for clients flying out that day to only book evening flights should the trip be delayed.

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Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi occupies one-fifth of the country’s total area. It is the third-largest lake in Africa. Its approximate dimensions are 590 km north to south and 85 km broad at its widest point. The Lake drains an area larger than Malawi itself yet, surprisingly, only one river, the Shire (pronounced “shiray” – the old spelling) flows from it. Eventually, the water spills into the Indian Ocean via the River Zambezi. The surface of the Lake is 470m above sea level. In the north it is quite extraordinarily deep: 700m, plunging well below sea level. This reflects the enormity of the natural faulting of the Great Rift Valley which is the origin of the Lake itself.

Visit Lake Malawi Visit Lake Malawi Visit Lake Malawi

For much of the year the Lake is placid, a gentle giant, but, especially when strong winds blow north or south, it can become an angry monster. Because of its potentially rich harvest of fish, the Lake plays an important part in the country’s economy. Fishing villages are scattered along the length of the lakeshore and the traditional industry and practices are an attraction to visitors.

Visit Lake Malawi Visit Lake Malawi Visit Lake Malawi

All ATC trips that go to Malawi spend 4 nights on the banks of Lake Malawi, tents can be put upright on the beachfront within a few metres from the gentle lapping waves. Malawi, known as the Warm Heart of Africa, and aptly named so, is a generous and friendly country and one of the best opportunities for clients to truly immerse themselves into the African warmth and way of life. Days can be spent exploring the village, drumming on the beach, swimming, snorkelling, fishing, horse riding, or just sitting back and enjoying the slow pace of Africa. Malawi is also hosting to some of the greatest wood carvings found on our travellers; excellent craftsmanship and quality make it a souvenirs shoppers dream!! Those looking for something more active to do, they can join a local guide and hike up to the Livingstonia mission, a good 6-10 hours round trip which gets the muscles working and allows for great views on the route and from the mission.
Well known as an Ivory and slave trade centre in the colonial years, Inhambane was the centre of trade for the then Portuguese East Africa. Today Maputo is the capital of Mozambique and the centre of its trade industry. The beaches just outside Inhambane are well known by locals and holidaymakers alike for their close proximity to various scuba diving reefs. Today can be spent at leisure enjoying the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, taking a dive to explore the abundant marine life, or browsing the busy “Mercado Central” (central market), or exploring the beach on horseback.

Visit Maputo Visit Maputo Visit Maputo

Scuba diving in Inhambane is amongst the best in the world with reefs close to every beach including the famous Manta Reef and Galeria. Sightings include Manta Rays, Whale Sharks, Turtles and a host of other marine life are the norm. There are many professional scuba diving operators along the coast and dives can be booked with them on arrival at the camp. For those wishing to see the spectacular marine life that is not able to dive, snorkelling is also excellent.

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Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is of Southern Africa’s finest and most important Game Reserves. It was declared a National Park in 1907 and covering an area of 22 270 square km, it is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish. Etosha, meaning “Great White Place”, is dominated by a massive mineral pan. The pan is part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago. The Etosha Pan covers around 25% of the National Park. The pan was originally a lake fed by the Kunene River. However, the course of the river changed thousands of years ago and the lake dried up. The pan now is a large dusty depression of salt and dusty clay which fills only if the rains are heavy and even then only holds water for a short time. This temporary water in the Etosha Pan attracts thousands of wading birds including impressive flocks of flamingos. The perennial springs along the edges of the Etosha Pan draw large concentrations of wildlife and birds.

Visit Etosha National Park Visit Etosha National Park Visit Etosha National Park

A San legend about the formation of the Etosha Pan tells of how a village was raided and everyone but the women slaughtered. One woman was so upset about the death of her family she cried until her tears formed a massive lake. When the lake dried up nothing was left apart from a huge white pan. The game viewing in Etosha National Park is excellent, the best time being from May to September – the cooler months in Namibia. Visitors to Etosha Game Reserve can expect to see many buck species, elephant, giraffe, rhino and lions. More fortunate visitors will see leopard and cheetah.

Visit Etosha National Park Visit Etosha National Park Visit Etosha National Park

Camping is inside one of 3 permanent campsites with facilities of swimming pool, bar, shop, and restaurant. All campsite waterholes are floodlit allowing for excellent night time game viewing. Daily game drives are done in our truck throughout the park.
Fish River Canyon
The Fish River Canyon is located in Namibia. It is the second-largest canyon in the world and the largest in Africa, as well as the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia. It features a gigantic ravine, in total about 100 miles (160 km) long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 metres deep.

Visit Fish River Canyon Visit Fish River Canyon Visit Fish River Canyon

The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia, but its flow in the present is a puny trickle compared with the immense volume of water that poured down its length in ages past. It cuts deep into the plateau which is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants such as succulents. The river flows intermittently, usually coming down in flood in late summer, and when it ceases to flow it becomes a chain of long narrow pools on the sandy rock-strewn floor of the chasm.

Visit Fish River Canyon Visit Fish River Canyon Visit Fish River Canyon
Namib Naukluft National Park
This is one of the largest National Parks in Africa (40 000 sq. km) and fourth-largest in the world. There are four sections in the park: Sossusvlei and Sesriem, Naukluft, Namib section, and Sandwich Harbour.

Visit Namib Naukluft National Park Visit Namib Naukluft National Park Visit Namib Naukluft National Park

The Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park was established in 1964 with the accrual of farm Naukluft as a sanctuary for Hartmann’s zebra. Most of the farm surrounding Naukluft mountain massif was purchased by 1970. In 1979 the area is known as Diamond Area 2 (south of Kuiseb River, including Sesriem and Sossusvlei) was added to form Namib Naukluft Park. The following mammals are likely to be seen: steenbok, springbok, Oryx, kudu, mountain zebra, dassie rat, chacma baboon, rock dassie, and klipspringer. Up to 200 bird species have been recorded in the area. Sesriem Canyon is located only 4 kilometres from Sesriem. The canyon, approximately 2 to 4 million years old, is up to 40 metres deep and about 3 kilometres long. Sossusvlei – Huge red sand dunes, camel thorn trees and vlei (shallow water pond) itself, filled occasionally after good rains are the attractions of the area. The name of Sesriem is derived from the fact that to reach water six ox thongs were used in old times.
Visit Namib Naukluft National Park Visit Namib Naukluft National Park Visit Namib Naukluft National Park

Whilst in the park we explore the desert by foot, from climbing the dunes for sunset to the option of a guided walk into Sossusvlei and Dead-Vlei to learn the history of the desert and find the local inhabitants that live in this arid terrain.
Swakopmund was founded in 1892, two years after Windhoek, by Captain Curt von Francois as the main harbour of German South-West Africa. Increased traffic between Germany and its colony necessitated establishing of own port and with Walvis Bay, already in British possession, Swakopmund was their best position. With just over 30 000 inhabitants, Swakopmund is characterised by numerous colonial buildings with the Woermann House from 1905 as its landmark. The former trading house with its 25 metres high Damara Tower and its courtyard bordered by arcades, today houses the city library and an art gallery.

Visit Swakopmund Visit Swakopmund Visit Swakopmund

Swakopmund is an adventure lovers playground, with activities ranging from skydiving to quad biking, deep-sea fishing to sand-boarding, and horse riding to township tours, there is something to suit every taste bud and if relaxing is what you are after, Swakopmund is dotted with many delicious German cafes and a great strip of beach for tanning and swimming for the brave! Whilst in Swakopmund we stay in dorm accommodation in the centre of town, this is a great location to savour the sights and delights of the town as well jump right into the adrenalin activities on offer!

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South Africa
Augrabies Falls National Park
Augrabies Falls National Park is where the Gariep (Orange) River divides into numerous channels before tumbling down the 56m high waterfall. The river then continues its path through the 18km stretch of the Augrabies gorge. The surrounding National Park spans an area to the north, and south of the River and is home to a variety of fauna and flora, including the remarkable-looking Quiver Tree. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park includes the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park of South Africa and the Gemsbok National Park of Botswana. On our way, we stop off in the Mier area to have a look at some of the local Khoisan crafts and community projects.

Visit Augrabies Falls National Park Visit Augrabies Falls National Park Visit Augrabies Falls National Park

The ancestors of these Khoisan were the original inhabitants of the desolate Kgalagadi area and their culture and descendants survived in this harsh landscape for thousands of years. Spanning the three countries, this Transfrontier National Park is most well known for the rolling burnt red sand dunes that are found throughout this desert region. Despite being a desert, the park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the rare black-maned lion, and a spectacular variety of birds of prey.

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Cape Town
With its stunning location, tucked into the arms of a broad bay, surrounded by wild, white-sand beaches and set against the canvas of Table Mountain, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Affectionately nicknamed the Mother City, it is the capital of South Africa’s Western Cape Province and the seat of South Africa’s parliament.

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The city has a reputation for being the least xenophobic and most welcoming city in South Africa – Capetonians are proud of their easygoing and laid-back nature. On the streets, a great variety of languages are spoken, while stalls selling all manner of crafts, food and textiles are squashed among American-style malls, European fashion boutiques, art galleries, luxury hotels, backpacker lodges and ubiquitous chain stores.
Visit Cape Town Visit Cape Town Visit Cape Town

Cape Town is most popular during the peak summer months (December to February) but it is attractive all year round. Summer brings long, hot beach days and balmy outdoor evenings, but there is the chance of the legendary strong ‘southeaster’ wind. Spring (September to November) brings blooms of flowers, while autumn (March to May) promises a golden haze of warm days. Winter (June to August), although wet and often cold, is interspersed with weeks that are both warm and clear. The city is free of tourists and wonderfully green; dolphins and whales stop in the many small bays along the coastline, and the waterfalls streak silver paths down the mountains.
Cederberg Area
The Cederberg area is famous for its spectacular rock formations. The Cederberg gives its name to the Cederberg Formation, a narrow shale band that is locally referred to as “Die Trap” or in English “The Step”, because of its characteristic manner in which it weathers. The vegetation of the conservancy area changes from fynbos to succulent karoo as the climate slowly becomes arider from the west to the east.

Visit the Cederberg Mountains Visit the Cederberg Mountains Visit the Cederberg Mountains

Driving and hiking in this beautiful and unique area offer an opportunity to view a wonderful variety of vegetation types and associated plants. Many of these plants are restricted to the area (i.e. endemic), occurring nowhere else in South Africa, or indeed in the world. Due to the water canal project, there are now many wine farms in the vicinity of Clanwilliam, as well as citrus farms towards the small farming town of Citrusdal.

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De Hoop Nature Reserve
At 340km², the De Hoop Nature Reserve is a favourite destination for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers and in the early summer months, whale watchers. The reserve lies adjacent to the largest protected marine area in Africa and provides a sanctuary for a vast and fascinating array of marine life.

Visit De Hoop Nature Reserve Visit De Hoop Nature Reserve Visit De Hoop Nature Reserve

Home to 86 species of mammal including the rare Bontebok and Cape Mountain Zebra – both species that only exist within the Fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom; and 260 different species of birds, amongst which the Cape Vulture is highly endangered and it’s only remaining breeding site can be found within the Reserve. Various walks and hiking trails are spread over the Reserve.

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Garden Route
The Garden Route is a popular stretch of the south-eastern coast of South Africa. There is ecologically diverse vegetation in this area and numerous lagoons and lakes scattered along this stretch of coastline; hence the name Garden Route. An ocean climate with mild to warm summers and mild to cool winters occur in this area, making the weather very pleasant.

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There are various activities to do along this route, namely bungee jumping, blackwater tubing and Tree Top canopying.

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Kruger National Park
Location: The park stretches from the Crocodile River in the south up to the Limpopo River, which is the international border in the north.
Size: 20 000km sq
Most famous for: Southern Africa’s most world-renowned National Park with excellent diversity of wildlife and birdlife.

The National Park was opened in 1898 at the instigation of then-president Paul Kruger. After hunters had considerably decimated the originally rich game stock, all the land between the Sabie and the Crocodile Rivers was put under the protection of Nature Conservation to ensure the survival of the remaining animals. Only as recently as 1961 was the extended Kruger Park fenced in.

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Visit Kruger National Park
The best time for observing the animals is the dry winter season, due to the summer rainfall of this area. At this time the grass is low and bushes and trees don’t have leaves so that one can have an unobstructed view of the wildlife. Because it virtually doesn’t rain in winter the animals are more concentrated around the few waterholes which allow for good game viewing.

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We stay just outside the park at Kruger Park Backpackers which has great facilities and is only a mere 8km from Numbi gate. We spend a full day game driving in the park searching for the big five and the extensive animal and bird species that inhabit this area. Clients have the option to participate in a night drive with the parks board. This is the only national park which we visit which allows this night method of time viewing
Tsitsikamma National Park
The Tsitsikamma National Park encompasses a spectacular stretch of indigenous forest that stretches from the coastline up to the Tsitsikamma Mountain range and offers visitors the opportunity to see some of South Africa’s most colourful birdlife and flora. The park itself includes a stretch of natural forest alongside the coastline and a portion of the adjacent ocean. There are various walks and hikes available to explore this afternoon before setting up camp on the verge of the ocean.

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The original section of Addo Elephant National Park was founded in 1931, due to a home needed for 11 elephants. The park currently houses over 450 elephants, and a large number of other mammals, such as; Cape buffalo, black rhino, antelope, lion and hyena. The park is also home to the largest remaining population of flightless dung beetle.

Addo Elephant Park Addo Elephant Park Addo Elephant Park
Serengeti National Park
Location: West of the Great Rift Valley, 130km west-north-west of Arusha. A corridor extends westwards to within 8km of Lake Victoria and a northern sector extending to the Kenya border.
Size: 1,476,300ha
Climate: Rainfall is mainly restricted to November-May with peaks in December and March/April. Mean annual temperature 20.8°C and mean annual precipitation 1210mm recorded at 1,150m. Rainfall tends to decrease towards the east and increase to the north and west, reaching 950mm annually in the western corridor near to Lake Victoria, and 1150mm annually in the extreme north of the park near to the border with Kenya.

Visit Serengeti National Park Visit Serengeti National Park Visit Serengeti National Park

Most well known for: The annual migration which is best viewed during the months December through to April, the wildebeest, gazelle and zebra descend on the Serengeti Plains having followed the sweet smell of rains to find lush feeding grounds for the herds; most of the female population of wildebeest will be pregnant at this stage. In February in the space of 2 weeks, approximately 90% of the wildebeest females give birth to a calf, with the sudden excess of “easy” prey the predators are on high alert and there is excessive hunting in this area. As the rainy period ends the wildebeest once again get on the move heading towards the western corridor, leaving the plains to the dry season, while the migration involves over 1.5 million animals there are resident herds which stay in specific areas of the park allowing for game viewing all year round but not in the famous herds that the migrational period promises. Serengeti is an excellent place to spot the ever-elusive leopard and is also host to good lion, cheetah, and hyena populations.

Visit Serengeti National Park Visit Serengeti National Park Visit Serengeti National Park

Over 350 recorded bird species include 34 species of raptors, six vultures, kori bustard Choriotis kori, ostrich Struthio camelus and lesser flamingo Phoenicopterus minor (LR), and several with a comparatively restricted distribution such as Rufous-tailed weaver Histurgops ruficauda.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Location: The conservation area is located between the Serengeti NP and Lake Manyara. It is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro crater which is the largest unbroken caldera in the world.
Size: Conservation area covers an area of 8,300 sq km with the crater at a size of 610 metres deep and 260 km squared surface area
Most famous for: There are 25,000 larger animals within the crater itself, mostly Zebra and wildebeest. However, this is undoubtedly the best place to see black rhino in Tanzania as well as pride of lion that include the magnificent black-mane males. There are lots of colourful flamingos and a variety of other water birds around the soda lake on the crater floor. More than a 100 species of bird not found in the Serengeti have been found in the crater. Other game: leopard, cheetah, hyena, elephants, warthog, impala, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and lots of other members of the antelope family and smaller mammals of sorts.

Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The visit to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater is an optional excursion over 3 days and 2 nights. This excursion is operated by a local ground operator in 4×4 vehicles.

Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Zanzibar is an island that lies off the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. It is famous for once being the commercial centre of East Africa and the last place to abolish the slave trade. Today it combines ancient Islamic ruins, noble Arabic houses with miles of white sandy palm-fringed beaches and coves. The ocean offers warm clear blue waters, idyllic islands excellent reefs for snorkelling and diving, fantastic deep sea fishing, water sports and of course delicious fresh fish. And if you thought that wasn’t enough, visiting the Spice plantations (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom and others) or haggling for carvings in the Central Market is great fun too.

On all ATC trips that visit Zanzibar (except for the 5 day Zanzibar Experience), the clients have the freedom to explore the island as per their own interests. We include the ferry to Zanzibar and back but whilst on the island all food and accommodation is at the client’s own cost as we have found that travellers enjoy having the freedom to experience the island in different ways/ means if they wish but still have the security/ expertise of their trip leader on hand if need be.

Visit Zanzibar Visit Zanzibar Visit Zanzibar

ATC Zanzibar Excursion: The Trip Leader accompanies the group to help with bookings, transfers and other information and most clients tend to stick together and spend either the first or the last night in Stone Town, and the other 2 nights at one of the beaches (most commonly Nungwi in the north).

Accommodation in budget rooms (they supply linen and towels and most have en-suite facilities) is loosely reserved for the groups but depending on the level of comfort the client requires, some prefer to do their own booking e.g. East Coast resorts or 3* type depending on individual budgets. The cheapest accommodation available (budget rooms) costs US$30-50 per person sharing and includes breakfast (egg, fruit, bread, jam, tea/coffee). The lodges have a lock-up/safe available for clients to put their valuables (passports, excess money etc). All activities available on the Island are booked on-site with the local operators and can be paid in US$ cash or local Tanzanian Shillings. The ferry arrives from Dar es Salaam to Stone Town. On arrival, clients transfer to a central meeting point (Karibu Inn). From here the clients can transfer to their pre-booked accommodation or choose to stay with the group. On the day of their return to Dar es Salaam, the trip leader will once again meet the clients at this point and transfer to the ferry station and customs house as a group.

Visit Zanzibar Visit Zanzibar Visit Zanzibar

PLEASE NOTE that the ferry ticket is included in the tour price and should the clients be extending their stay, the ticket dates can be changed at no extra cost to the client. Food is widely available on the island and some restaurants cater to every taste. The Forodhani market in Stone Town is open every night with a wide array of seafood and local dishes prepared straight from the fishermen. On average a meal at a restaurant costs around US$7-10 depending on what is ordered. A beer costs around US$ 1.5-2 and cocktails with locally grown and produced fruit juices around $5.


Diving – this is one of the most popular and definitely recommended. Divers should make sure they bring their diving ticket (PADI, NAUI etc). Costs approx. US$60-85 depending on a number of dives taken and diving school used (many choices available so it is easy to ‘shop around’ for the best deal).

Spice Tour – This is one of the most worthwhile and a popular excursion on the island as it combines quite a bit of culture along with the unusually interesting spice plantations. Sample various fruits and spices that are in season as well as learning of the medicinal and cosmetic uses. Approx. US$ 30

Dolphin Tour – Although a lot of operators sell this one as ‘swimming with the dolphins’ it is actually more a trip out to see dolphins in their natural habitat. Costs approx. US$35

Snorkeling – Most commonly done from the North beach, clients are taken out on a Dhow (local boat) to one of the reefs or atolls. This usually takes most of the day and includes lunch. Cost approx. US$25-40 depending on where they go.
Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi is a body of water seven kilometres west from Kabale Town, southwestern Uganda. It is 25 km long and 7 km wide, covering an area of 61 square kilometres. The lake’s altitude is 1,950 m, and it is surrounded by hills that are 2,200 to 2,478 m high and intensely cultivated. Its 29 islands are concentrated in the central part. These islands have few settlements; they are mostly used for tourist facilities and a secondary and a primary school. The data on the lake’s maximum depth varies, from 44 m to 900 m in parts.

Lake Bunyonyi Lake Bunyonyi Lake Bunyonyi

The temperature on the surface rises to 25 degrees Celsius. Over 200 bird species have been recorded here. “Bunyonyi” actually means “the place of many little birds”. Lake Bunyonyi is one of the few African lakes completely safe for swimming – there is no Bilharzia.

Lake Bunyonyi Lake Bunyonyi Lake Bunyonyi
The Mountain Gorilla
The Mountain Gorilla (gorilla beringei beringei) is one of two subspecies of Eastern Gorillas and is one of our closest living relatives. It is only found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, on the confluence of Rwanda, Uganda and DRC. A census taken in 2003 has shown a 17% increase in population size since 1989. There are now a total of approximately 720 gorillas split up into their own social/ family groups. The amount of gorillas in a social group varies and can range from 5 gorillas to 46 gorillas. The Mountain Gorilla continues to be considered critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. It faces an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild due to habitat loss, poaching, human disease, and war.

African mountain Gorilla African mountain Gorilla African mountain Gorilla

Some notes on Gorilla Trekking:

Trekking cost: The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice – currently (Jan ’12) they are priced at US$600 depending on where we trek. There is a local transport & handling fee of US$65 to US$70 per person (this covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee). For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Please budget accordingly.

Trekking Procedures: A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience – one you’ll never forget. The park rangers monitor the gorillas daily and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free-roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek (yellow fever inoculations are also compulsory). Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old.

Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, we depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. Winding our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa, we head to the town of Kisoro where we spend the night (Should we be trekking in Rwanda our overnight will be in Ruhengeri). The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 10 hours and it can be quite strenuous, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour. You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point where you will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.

You needn’t feel like you’re exploiting these animals. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day plays a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. 100% of the gorilla permit cost is used by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.

African mountain Gorilla African mountain Gorilla African mountain Gorilla

What to take on the trek: You will need to wear comfortable hiking/walking shoes as you spend a lot of time walking. Wear long pants, a long sleeve top and take a rain jacket with as you are in the dense jungle so you can get a bit wet. You will be doing a bit of “bushwhacking” so bring along a pair of gloves to protect your hands. There are stinging nettles, which can irritate your hands more than damage them! You will take a small daypack with you when trekking containing a packed lunch, which you will stop en route for (this is prepared in the morning before leaving the campsite). Also concerning cameras – no flash photography is allowed, so bring along a 400 or 800-speed film to be able to get the best photos without a flash. When you find the Gorilla family you will leave your daypacks in a spot and then take only your camera with you. The minimum age for trekking is 16 years, however, the trek is recommended for 18 and over.
Great Zimbabwe Ruins
The Great Zimbabwe Ruins are some of the most extraordinary manmade remains in Africa. Formed of regular, rectangular granite stones, carefully placed one upon the other, they are the ruins of an amazing complex. The structures were built by indigenous African people between AD 1250 and AD 1450 believed to be the ancestors of modern Zimbabweans, although a lot of mystery still surrounds these ancient ruins.

Travel to see the Zimbabwe Ruins Travel to see the Zimbabwe Ruins Travel to see the Zimbabwe Ruins

The ruins at Great Zimbabwe are remarkable: lofty, majestic, awe-inspiring, timeless. The quality of the building in places is outstanding. It was quite obviously built by craftsmen who took pride and patience in their work and there is nothing to compare with it in southern Africa. The two main areas of stone wall enclosures are the Hill Complex, on the long, steep-sided granite hill and the land below this hill where the Valley Enclosures and the Great Enclosure are situated. The Great Enclosure is the largest single ancient structure south of the Sahara.

The legacy of Great Zimbabwe is widespread throughout the region. The art of building with stone persisted in following centuries so that dzimbabwe (a Shona word possibly derived from dzimba woye, literally ‘venerated houses’) are numerous. There are at least 150 in Zimbabwe itself, probably as many as a hundred in Botswana, and an undetermined number, yet to be found in Mozambique.

Aspirant sculptors today use the same soapstone to carve copies of the same birds and this has helped launch a stone carving craft characteristically Zimbabwean and these carvings can be found in curio markets throughout Zimbabwe.

Visit Great Zimbabwe Ruins Visit Great Zimbabwe Ruins Visit Great Zimbabwe Ruins

The campsite we stay at is right next door to these ancient ruins, which allows for excellent sunrise and sunset exploration of these ancient ruins.
Hwange National Park
Location: Situation just south of Victoria Falls town on the main road
Size: 14 000km2
Most well known for: Large game populations and 400 species of birds.

Hwange National Park makes up a huge slice of Zimbabwe, with a land area of more than 14 200 square kilometres, which makes Hwange NP, Zimbabwe’s biggest game reserve. This area was set aside over 70 years ago purely to conserve wildlife in its natural habitat and boasts over 100 different species of animal and over 400 bird species, which makes Hwange National Park one of the finest in Africa, not to mention the world!

Hwange National Park Hwange National Park Hwange National Park

Hwange is one of Africa’s premier elephant strongholds, with over 30 000 elephants in the park. Besides home to elephant, buffalo, zebra and the Big five, Hwange shelters one of Africa most endangered animals, the wild dog. The population of wild dog found in Hwange is thought to be one of the largest surviving groups in Africa today.

Tours to Hwange National Park Tours to Hwange National Park Tours to Hwange National Park

The Park is situated on the main road between Victoria Falls and Bulawayo, which make it an easily accessible drive. The landscape varies from desert sand to spares woodlands as well as grassland, where you will find game grassing during the day. During the dryer months of May and October game can be found around the man-made water holes, which have viewing platforms for visitors. These months are traditionally the best months to visit the park but in saying that our groups have seen on average 4 out of the Big 5 during the winter months. The water hole is a definite highlight when travelling to Hwange National Park and there can be few experiences in the world more gratifying than sitting around one of Hwange’s watering holes watching the endless procession of game.
Matobo National Park
A very popular tourist attraction in Zimbabwe is the Matobo National Park, as one leaves Bulawayo travelling south, many granite outcrops are seen increasing in number and size as the distance from the city grows and the wilderness takes over from the city outskirts. By the time you enter the Park, you are surrounded by dramatic and enveloping scenery that is unique and extraordinary. Matopo is a place where erosion is tearing at the very core of the country, a place where the heart-rock is exposed to the elements, a place where, as it is destroyed, great beauty is created. It is this great beauty that keeps bringing people back again and again. Set in a sea of fascinating rock formations, the park contains many historical sites, namely the burial site of Cecil John Rhodes.

Matobo Hills National Park Matobo Hills National Park Matobo Hills National Park

Another strong point of interest is the plentiful, well-preserved galleries of rock paintings to be found in the park. Despite their antiquity, many of the depictions are well preserved and very clear with vibrant overhangs with which they shelter.

Matobo Hills National Park Matobo Hills National Park Matobo Hills National Park

Matobo National Park also boasts excellent wildlife including the more beautiful larger antelope (kudu, sable and eland) as well as black and white rhinoceros. The park boasts the largest concentration of raptors and leopard in an area of its size in the world. Birdlife is prolific and includes the world’s largest concentration of black eagles.
Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya are situated on the Zambezi River, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, (17°55’1″S, 25°51’0″E) and are roughly 1.7 km (1 mile) wide and 128 m (420 ft) high. They are considered a remarkable spectacle because of the peculiar narrow slot-like chasm into which the waterfalls, so one can view the falls face-on.

David Livingstone, a Scottish explorer, visited the falls in 1855 and renamed them after Queen Victoria, though they were known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya, the “smoke that thunders”. The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, and are one of Southern Africa’s major tourist attractions. They are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vastly larger than North America’s Niagara Falls, Victoria is only rivalled by South America’s Iguazu Falls (excluding large rapid like falls such as Livingston de Chutes). Whilst Iguazu is divided into over 270 (relatively) ‘small’ falls and cataracts, Victoria is the largest single sheet of water in the world, over 100 metres tall, and over one mile wide. During the wet season, the falls have over 500 million litres (19 million cubic feet) of water falling over its crest line each minute, and spray from this rises hundreds of metres into the air because of the incredible force of the falling water.

Visit the Victoria Falls Visit the Victoria Falls Visit the Victoria Falls

Visit Victoria Falls Travel To Victoria Falls Victoria Falls ActivitiesIn the wet season, the river discharges as much as 9,100 m³/s of water. At this time, the water rolls over the main falls in an unbroken expanse. The dry season may see the falls diminish to just a few narrow cascades, with the spray and mist almost absent and the flow reduced to as little as 350 m³/s. At this time it is possible to look into the normally obscured depths of the gorge. The level of the river in the gorge varies by up to 20 metres between maximum flow in April and the end of the dry season in October.

Victoria Falls Africa Victoria Falls Africa Victoria Falls Africa

The falls are part of two national parks, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia and Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe. Both national parks are small, covering areas of 66 and 23 km² respectively. The national parks contain abundant wildlife including sizable populations of elephants, buffalo and giraffes. The river at this point also contains a large population of hippos. Mosi-oa-Tunya national park provides a habitat for white rhinos. The rhinos are the only white rhinos in Zambia, but are not indigenous, having been imported from South Africa. Within the park, boundaries is a small cemetery, located on the site of the original British settlement in the area, Old Drift.

Please note that all trips that start or finish in Victoria Falls include a day in the town before departing/ finishing. Entrance to see the Victoria Falls is US$30.
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