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East Africa Gorilla & Safari Experience

Some of the greatest wildlife viewing on the continent is combined here for two weeks of outstanding adventure in the wild. Trek into the Rwandan jungle for the rare opportunity to watch a family of gorillas living their lives, head out in search of playful chimpanzees in Uganda, and then finish it off with a week of viewing and learning about elephants and rhinos in Kenya. Make this trip to East Africa for so much more than a vacation.


Duration: 16 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Physical rating: Demanding
Accommodation standard:   Moderate% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 166058
Starts: Kigali, Rwanda Finishes: Nairobi, Kenya
You will Visit
  • Kigali
  • Nairobi

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Kigali

If you arrive early, take some time to explore the city, known for its pleasant, friendly atmosphere. Kigali also has some interesting and historic sites outside of the city. If you want more time to explore, we recommend booking a pre-night.

Additional Notes:
Please remember that this is a developing area and as such, accommodations/service may not be of similar standard to which you are used to in your home country. There also can be differences in service levels between different countries in East Africa. As well, interruptions in electricity and water can be common and internet/wifi is often only available in large cities. We appreciate your patience and understanding as well as your sense of adventure.

A/C is not available in the accommodations used on this trip. In general is not a concern as it does cool down at night and depending on location fans or screened windows are available.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Transport:
Private Vehicle

02

Day 2: Kigali/Volcanoes National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Volcanoes National Park borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. Five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains can be found here. The volcanoes and highlands of the park are covered in lush rainforest and bamboo (a favourite snack of the gorillas). While the most famous resident is the mountain gorilla, there's plenty of other wildlife roaming around: buffaloes, bushbucks, golden monkeys, hyenas, numerous bird species, and some elephants call this place home.

Additional Notes:
Altitude note: Volcanos NP - approx 2000 m (6,550 ft)

Included Activities:
Genocide Memorial Visit
Nyamirambo Women's Centre, Community Walk and Local Lunch

Transport:
4x4 (3.00 hour(s), 130km)

03

Day 3: Volcanoes National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Enjoy a trek into the national park with a ranger/guide to view a unique and endangered species, the golden monkey. Watch these playful and lively creatures in their natural habitat. After, visit the Karisoke Research Center, which was founded by Dr. Dian Fossey in 1967. Meet with a resident researcher and enjoy a tour to learn learn about their ongoing work in the protection of mountain gorillas. In the evening, expand your understanding of gorillas through an in-depth lecture from one of the head wardens of Volcanoes National Park.

Additional Notes:
Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in a rainforest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nettles and normally a rather muddy terrain.

Only 1 hour is spent with the Golden Monkeys to ensure their protection and conservation.

Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the golden monkeys. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.

The order of activities over Days 3 and 4 can change depending on permit scheduling.

Included Activities:
Golden Monkey Trek
Mountain Gorilla Conservation Experience
Gorilla Lecture

Transport:
4x4

04

Day 4: Volcanoes National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Approximately 800 mountain gorillas exist globally in the wild today. They are found in Rwanda, DRC, and Uganda. In DRC and Rwanda, gorillas live in similar ecosystems/areas. The gorilla species found in these three areas are called highland gorillas.

In Rwanda there are ten habituated gorilla families that are open to visits – the visit to a gorilla family is done once per day, with a maximum 8 trekkers per group and the duration of a visit is limited to one (1) hour with the gorilla family. The time spent with them is limited due to conservation considerations and to minimize impact on the day-to-day life of the gorilla family you are visiting. It is important to be well prepared for the trek — you never know if your total trek will be short or long. The total duration of a trek can vary and be anything between 4 and 9 hrs in length depending on the location of the gorillas, which are constantly moving. You will mainly walk where there are no paths apart from the occasional buffalo or elephant trail.

Touching the gorillas is not allowed (although in some cases they may touch you). Making loud noises or sudden movements is also not allowed. You should attempt to keep a distance of 7m from the gorillas, however the gorillas themselves are unaware of this and will often get very close, in which case you should try to slowly move away. At all times you must abide by the instructions of the trackers and rangers.

Please note that porters are available at approx. $10USD per person. The porters are all hired from local villages and not only can carry your day pack, but assist you with a welcome hand over difficult spots. Regardless of your fitness level, we highly recommend hiring a porter as some tracks can be very muddy and elevation can affect even the most fit person. It also provides employment and supports the local community.

Additional Notes:
Mountain gorillas share 98% of our DNA and are prone to catching human illnesses. Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the gorillas. This is a national park regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.

Proper hiking attire must be worn – you will be trekking in a rainforest with lots of vegetation, undergrowth, nettles and normally a rather muddy terrain. Minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15 years old.

Please note that depending on the size of our group and when permits are confirmed, we may be split into 2 trekking groups and you may be trekking with non-G travellers.

Included Activities:
Gorilla Trekking
Iby'iwacu Village Visit

Transport:
4x4

05

Day 5: Volcanoes National Park/Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Queen Elizabeth National Park is characterized by open savannah, large areas of swamp around Lake George, the extensive Maramagambo Forest in the southeast, and the forested Kyambura Gorge along the border with Kyambura Game Reserve.

Additional Notes:
There is little accommodation inside the national park that fits our upgraded service level. Most of the mid-range lodges are adjacent to the park but it can often take approx. an hour to reach the park gates due to poor road logistics and conditions. For this reason there is a lot of driving to get to/from activities within the national park area.

Included Activities:
Border Crossing (Rwanda - Uganda)

Transport:
4x4 (8.00-9.00 hours)

06

Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Explore the lush Kalinzu Forest Reserve with a ranger on a trek in search of chimpanzees who call this protected area home. This afternoon drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park for a wildlife drive with possible sightings of buffalo, elephants, giant forest hogs, hyenas, leopards, lions, and warthogs.

Additional Notes:
The order of activities over Days 6 and 7 can change depending on chimp permit scheduling.

Proper hiking attire must be worn – there are trails but we can at times go off trail, to search out chimps. Vegetation and be thick with undergrowth, nettles and often in muddy terrain.

At all times you must abide by the instructions of the trackers and rangers.

Please note that if you are unwell with anything contagious, even a common cold, you may be denied any of the treks to ensure the safety of the chimps. This is a national forest regulation, and trekking permits will not be refunded if you are denied entrance due to illness.

Included Activities:
Kalinzu Forest Chimp Trek
Queen Elizabeth National Park Wildlife Safari Drive

Transport:
4x4

07

Day 7: Queen Elizabeth National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Embark on a morning game drive for more wildlife viewing inside the park. In the afternoon, take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel to view birds, hippos, and, with a bit of luck, elephants or big cats.

Included Activities:
Queen Elizabeth National Park Wildlife Safari Drive
Kazinga Channel Cruise

Transport:
4x4

08

Day 8: Queen Elizabeth National Park/Entebbe (1B, 1L)

After breakfast, head to Entebbe with a stop at the Equator and a visit to a royal drum maker's workshop.

Included Activities:
Equator Visit
Drum Makers Workshop

Transport:
4x4 (8.00-9.00 hours, 350km)

09

Day 9: Entebbe/Nairobi (1B)

After your flight, transfer to the hotel. Take some time to explore Nairobi before meeting your group back at the hotel for a second orientation meeting. Here, you will meet your Kenyan CEO for this duration of the tour, and new travellers that may join you for the rest of your journey.

Included Activities:
Welcome Meeting

Transport:
Private Vehicle (0.25 hour(s))
Flight (1.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (0.50-1.00 hours)

10

Day 10: Nairobi/Masai Mara (1B, 1L, 1D)

After breakfast, we depart for the world famous Masai Mara National Reserve. With its vast open plains and flat-topped acacia trees, no visit to Kenya would be complete without a visit here. In the afternoon, we will arrive in the area, and get settled at our safari camp, our base for our time here. Then we'll make our way into the reserve for an afternoon wildlife safari drive, with excellent chances of seeing the Big Five: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino.

Additional Notes:
The road in and back out of the park is very rough and very bumpy but once you catch a glimpse of the stunning wildlife, it is worth a bit of discomfort.

Included Activities:
Masai Mara Wildlife Safari Drive

Transport:
Safari vehicle (6.00 hour(s), 386km)

11

Day 11: Masai Mara (1B, 1L, 1D)

Enjoy an early morning wildlife safari drive. The day continues with more wildlife viewing as you cross the rolling hills of the African savannah. Also enjoy a late afternoon/evening safari.

Included Activities:
Masai Mara Wildlife Safari Drive

Transport:
Safari vehicle

12

Day 12: Masai Mara/Lake Nakuru National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

After breakfast, we embark to Lake Nakuru National Park for a hot lunch and an afternoon wildlife safari drive in search of the resident black and white rhino, buffalo, impala, and the elusive leopard.

Additional Notes:
Today is a very long driving day but we do break it up with a wonderful visit and lunch at the Ubuntu Cafe.

Included Activities:
Ubuntu Cafe Workshop and Organic Farm Tour
Ubuntu Cafe Lunch
Lake Nakuru Wildlife Safari Drive

Transport:
Safari vehicle

13

Day 13: Lake Nakuru National Park/Amboseli National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

After a morning wildlife safari drive, venture south to famed Amboseli National Park located at the foot of Africa's highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. The snow-capped peak of the mountain dominates every aspect of the park, providing the ultimate photo backdrop.

Included Activities:
Lake Nakuru Wildlife Safari Drive

Transport:
Safari vehicle

14

Day 14: Amboseli National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)

Enjoy morning and afternoon wildlife safari drives today. During your down time relax at camp, enjoying views of Mt Kilimanjaro and wildlife who visit the camp's watering holes. Gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding poaching and elephant conservation during a lecture by an accredited speaker from the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Included Activities:
Amboseli Wildlife Safari Drive
Kenya Wildlife Service Amboseli Talk

Transport:
Safari vehicle

15

Day 15: Amboseli National Park/Nairobi (1B, 1L)

Rise early for a final morning wildlife safari drive, enjoying the African sun as it rises over the savannah of the Amboseli plain. Return to Nairobi in the late afternoon and opt to join the CEO in a farewell dinner.

Included Activities:
Amboseli Wildlife Safari Drive

Transport:
Safari vehicle (4.50-5.00 hours, 235km)

16

Day 16: Nairobi (1B)

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Arrival transfer
    • All national park entrance fees
    • Genocide memorial entrance
    • Community walk and local lunch
    • Guided mountain gorilla trek with permits
    • Karisoke Research Center tour and lecture
    • Gorilla lecture
    • Golden monkey trek with permits
    • Guided chimpanzee trek with permits
    • Local village walk
    • Safari drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
    • Wildlife boat cruise in Kazinga Channel
    • Visit to the Equator
    • Drum workshop
    • Game drives in Masai Mara National Reserve, Lake Nakuru National Park, and Amboseli National Park
    • Ubuntu Café centre and farm tour with lunch
    • Lecture on conservation with Kenya Wildlife Service
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    Accommodation
    • Hotel/Lodge (11 nts), comfortable tented camps (4 nts)
    • 15 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 11 dinners
    Transport
    • 7-seat 4x4 safari vehicle, walking, hiking, boat, plane
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Tour Highlights:
  • Learn about Rwanda's somber past at the Genocide Memorial
  • Look out for gorillas during guided treks
  • Meet with scientists at the Karisoke Research Center
  • Cruise the Kazinga Channel to view hippos and birds