Cape Town to Istanbul

Map Image

Discover ancient treasures and vibrant cultures on this epic 153-day journey. Begin in cosmopolitan Cape Town and finish up in the exotic charms of Istanbul, all the while experiencing the warm hospitality of this amazing region. Spot Africa's legendary wildlife in world-renowned parks, explore some of the planet's most breathtaking scenery, delve into the Middle East's rich history with visits to ancient ruins and historic souqs, be enchanted by the fairy chimneys and underground cities around Goreme and gaze in awe at the iconic Pyramids of Giza. This is truly an adventure like no other and the ultimate way to experience the many cultures of this remarkable region.

Itinerary

Day 1 Cape Town

Start the adventure amid the stunning coastal scenery of Cape Town.

Days 2-3 Western Cape/Orange River

Relax on the banks of the Orange River.

Day 4 Fish River Canyon

Catch a spectacular sunset over one of the largest canyons in the world.

Days 5-6 Sesriem/Bush Camp

Climb to the top of some of the highest sand dunes on earth in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Wake early to witness a dramatic sunrise across a sprawling sea of golden sand. Afterwards, meet with a passionate local full of incredible knowledge of the desert.

Days 7-9 Swakopmund

Enjoy adventure activities in this oasis between the desert and the ocean.

Day 10 Spitzkoppe

View thousands of seals basking on the shores of Cape Cross before gazing at the wonder of the rocky Spitzkoppe.

Days 11-12 Etosha National Park

From big carnivores to tiny birds, there's plenty to spot on this adventure into the vast Etosha.

Day 13 Grootfontein/San Bushmen

Spend a night listening to the songs and stories of the San Bushmen and attempt to pick up a few words of their 'clicking' language.

Days 14-15 Rundu/Bagani Community Camp

Stop off in Rundu, then continue to the vast swamps of Bagani.

Days 16-17 Okavango Delta

Cruise the delta's reed beds and maze of waterways aboard a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe.

Day 18 Bagani Community Camp

Recharge in laidback Bagani and perhaps enjoy some of the optional activities, including boating, fishing and hiking.

Days 19-20 Chobe National Park

Embark on an early morning game drive, then try to spy swimming elephants, wallowing hippos or sun-loving crocs on a cruise along the Chobe River.

Days 21-23 Victoria Falls

Enter Zimbabwe and admire the might of thundering Victoria Falls. Thrillseekers can chose from white-water rafting, canoeing or abseiling.

Day 24 Hwange National Park

Hear about the efforts to save the African wild dog from extinction on a visit to the Painted Dog Conservation Group. Later, journey to Hwange National Park to see herds of majestic elephants.

Days 25-26 Bulawayo

Explore the Matobo National Park on foot and track the rare rhinos that live here.

Day 27 Masvingo

See intriguing ancient ruins thought to have once been a palace for the Zimbabwean monarch.

Day 28 Harare

Unwind in the gardens, galleries and cafes of Zimbabwe's capital city.

Days 29-30 Blantyre/Lilongwe

Journey through Mozambique to reach the friendly capital of Malawi. Take time to visit the markets and shops here to stock up on essentials or perhaps buy a souvenir.

Days 31-32 Lake Malawi

Head to the less populated beaches, where water sports are on offer for the energetic. Alternatively, relax on the shores and soak up the scenic surrounds.

Days 33-34 Chitimba/Iringa

Forge through lush highlands and set up camp in the grounds of a Tanzanian farmhouse.

Day 35 Dar es Salaam

Spot elephants, buffaloes and giraffes on a drive through Mikumi National Park. Camp on a balmy beach outside Dar es Salaam.

Days 36-38 Zanzibar

Plunge into the sensuous delights of Zanzibar by exploring historic Stone Town, touring fragrant spice plantations and lounging under coconut palms beside the Indian Ocean.

Day 39 Dar es Salaam

Return to this port city by ferry and spend another night camping on the beach.

Day 40 Marangu

Leave the beach behind and travel high onto the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. Stay overnight amid acres of beautiful, tropical gardens.

Day 41 Mto Wa Mbu

Learn about the day-to-day life of the crop-growing Chagga people while walking around Mshiri village. Visit a farm and sample some traditional cuisine.

Days 42-43 Ngorongoro Crater/Serengeti National Park

Descend to the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in a 4x4 to seek out lions, zebras and rhinos. Afterwards, head to the Serengeti and safari across the grassy plains of the savanna, home to the Big Five. In the evenings, fall asleep to the sounds of animal calls.

Day 44 Arusha

Interact with locals in the village of Mto Wa Mbu. Perhaps pick up some souvenirs from the market before continuing to Arusha.

Days 45-50 Nairobi

Spend time finding the best spots to eat, shop and relax in Kenya's buzzing capital.

Day 51 Lake Naivasha

Relax by the lake and watch hippos wallowing on the shore.

Days 52-53 Lake Nakuru

A favourite spot with birdlife, Lake Nakuru is a shimmering sea of pink flamingos. Listen for the chatter of black and white colobus monkeys in the treetops above.

Day 54 Mt Kenya

Travel through stunning scenery on the way to the slopes of Mt Kenya.

Days 55-56 Samburu National Reserve

Witness traditional Samburu dancing, and learn about tribal life and customs from the locals. Venture into the vast reserve to try and spot Africa's iconic Big Five.

Days 57-58 Moyale/Marsabit

Traverse a surreal, black lunar landscape and pass spectacular craters and termite mounds on the drive to Ethiopia.

Days 59-60 Konso

Pick up a souvenir at the local market or perhaps take time to admire the traditional houses in the area.

Days 61-64 Omo Valley

The colourful markets and villages are a delight to explore in this picturesque valley. Meet friendly tribespeople and learn about their fascinating culture.

Days 65-66 Arba Minch

In free time, why not embark on a boat trip or visit a crocodile farm?

Days 67-68 Shashemene

Learn about the Rasta lifestyle and philosophy at a Rastafarian community school and museum.

Days 69-71 Bale Mountains National Park

Venture out on game-spotting expeditions in this stunningly diverse park.

Day 72 Lake Abiata-Shala National Park

Soak in hot springs surrounded by the twitter of birdlife.

Days 73-74 Addis Ababa

Arrive in Ethiopia's bustling capital and indulge in spicy, traditional cuisine in a local restaurant or cafe.

Days 75-78 Bahir Dar

Feel the sheet of mist rising from the mighty Blue Nile Falls before boarding a reed boat bound for the monasteries on Lake Tana's islands and isolated peninsulas. The monasteries are famous for their murals and ornately decorated interiors.

Days 79-81 Lalibela

Hidden among the hills of northern Ethiopia, Lalibela is home to monolithic churches hewn from the surrounding rocks. Take a walk through the structures with a local guide to unlock the fascinating history of this area.

Days 82-83 Mekele

Admire the clusters of churches sculptured into caves and a dramatic cliff-face in Tigray.

Days 84-85 Aksum

Get acquainted with this once-mighty city and discover its towering ancient obelisks, crumbling palaces and web of underground tombs.

Days 86-90 Simien Mountains National Park

These stunning mountains are home to a wealth of animals. Hike through the rugged terrain, passing eroded volcanic cores, raging rivers and jagged peaks.

Days 91-93 Gonder

Discover this cosmopolitan city of elaborate castles, churches and palaces.

Days 94-97 Khartoum

Brush up on your Arabic with the friendly residents of Khartoum in Sudan. Be sure to watch the famous Sufi Whirling Dervishes dance themselves into religious ecstasy.

Days 98-99 Meroe

Marvel at the spectacular Kushite temples at Meroe, the most impressive and well-preserved in Nubia. Explore unique sites including the Lion Temple at Naga and the palace at Musawwarat es-Sufra.

Days 100-103 Nubian Desert

Follow a traditional camel route through some of Africa's most unforgiving terrain. Experience the magical solitude of camping among the dunes and perhaps offer passing nomads a meal in accordance with desert hospitality. Cross the Nile by boat and admire the remote, ruined Temple of Sulb.

Days 104-105 Wadi Halfa

Drive to Wadi Halfa then take in the spectacular desert landscape on a ferry adventure across the vast expanses of Lake Nasser.

Days 106-109 Aswan

A stroll beside the Nile is the perfect way to appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of this picturesque town. Visit an unfinished obelisk, take a felucca ride or venture into the atmospheric souq to snare a bargain.

Days 110-112 Luxor

Be overwhelmed by Luxor's ancient treasures including the spectacular Temples of Karnak. Ride donkeys into the eerie Valley of the Kings and explore the famous tombs of pharaohs, which boast wonderfully preserved paintings.

Days 113-117 Western Desert Oasis Route

Experience the magic of travelling through golden, desert landscapes. Explore the White and Black deserts and behold the unique beauty of Crystal Mountain.

Days 118-123 Cairo

Dive into the rich history of captivating Cairo. Be amazed by the priceless artefacts in the Egyptian Museum, including the dazzling treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb. Gaze in awe at the legendary Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza and explore the sprawling Saqqara cemetery. The city's unique fusion between ancient and modern offers something for everyone and is sure to impress.

Day 124 Mt Sinai

Located at the base of Mt Sinai, St Katherine's Monastery is fabled to hold an offshoot of the biblical Burning Bush. Perhaps climb to the summit of Mt Sinai and camp overnight to catch a spectacular sunrise.

Days 125-127 Dahab

Rejuvenate in the balmy waters of the Red Sea, perhaps taking the opportunity to go snorkelling or scuba diving.

Day 128 Wadi Rum

Famously associated with Lawrence of Arabia, Wadi Rum offers breathtaking desert scenery.

Days 129-130 Petra

Discover the extraordinary 'lost city' of Petra and admire the monumental buildings carved out of sheer rock face.

Day 131 Dead Sea/Mt Nebo

Float in the salty waters of the Dead Sea and see iconic Mt Nebo.

Day 132 Jerash

Wander the colonnaded streets of ancient Jerash.

Days 133-135 Damascus

Sample baklava from the city's charming bazaar.

Days 136-137 Beirut

Boasting colonial architecture and a thriving bar scene, Lebanon's capital is a city of contradictions.

Day 138 Krak de Chaveliers

Enjoy the views from the top of this well-preserved ancient castle.

Day 139 Palmyra

A powerful city in the time of the Roman Empire, Palmyra is a wonderful archaeological site to explore.

Day 140 Aleppo

Revel in the lively atmosphere of Aleppo's souq.

Day 141 Bush Camp

Spend a night camping in the bush.

Days 142-143 Goreme

Be enchanted by remarkable underground cities and fairy chimneys carved out of soft, volcanic rock.

Day 144 Termessos

Perched on a dramatic precipice of the Toros Mountains, the extraordinary ruins of Termessos are breathtaking to behold.

Days 145-146 Fethiye

Catch some rays on stunning beaches or hike through beautiful hillside olive groves.

Days 147-148 Selcuk

Uncover history's secrets on a visit to the legendary city of Troy and the majestic ruins of Ephesus.

Days 149-150 Gallipoli Peninsula

The stark memorial at Lone Pine is a moving reminder of the many fallen Anzacs.

Days 151-153 Istanbul

This fascinating Turkish city is bursting with interesting sights to explore. Wrap this adventure up with a visit to the mesmerising Blue Mosque or wander the massive Grand Bazaar.

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