Gorillas & Game Parks Trip Notes

  • Trip code : IYXOG
  • Trip length : 16 Days
  • Trip starts in : Nairobi, Kenya
  • Trip ends in : Nairobi, Kenya
  • Maximum group size : 22
  • Ages : Min 15
  • Meals : 15 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 14 dinners
  • Accommodation : Camping (with facilities) (11 nights), Dormitory (3 nights), Hotel (1 night)
  • Transport : 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Overland vehicle

 

daily-itinerary1
Day
1

Nairobi

Jambo! Welcome to Kenya.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If your flight arrives too late, we recommend that you consider arriving a day early and book a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you are able to attend. If you are going to be late please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader.

Nairobi - which takes its name from a Maasai phrase Enkare Nyrobi meaning 'place of cool waters' - has a cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, while markets and shops have most things you could want or need, as well as various arts and crafts from the region.

If you arrive early, you can head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya where traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes are displayed in an outdoor village.

Stay in a simple hotel with swimming pool, restaurant and en suite bathrooms.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day
2

Masai Mara National Reserve

It is 240 km from Nairobi to Masai Mara, which will take us approximately 5-6 hours. The road is smooth for the first 150kms and the rest dusty when dry and could be slippery and soft when wet.

The Masai Mara is the quintessential African experience with sparse open plains, dramatic skies and the world's most iconic animals living within its boundaries.

Our campground is located outside of the national reserve and has flush toilets and showers. There is an option to upgrade tonight (depending on availability) however there is no WiFi available.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
3

Masai Mara National Reserve

Today we wake before dawn to start a morning game drive when the sun comes up, one of the times of the day when most animals tend to be more active. After what is hopefully an exciting morning's drive we return to camp for lunch and to relax during the heat of the day.

We set off again in the afternoon and expect to return to camp around sunset. However, depending on wildlife movements, we may on occasion do a full day's game drive and in this instance we'll stop en-route for a picnic lunch.

An optional balloon ride over the Masai Mara at sunrise is an unforgettable experience. If you have pre-booked this activity (please see 'Important Notes') you will be picked up and driven to the launch site and receive a safety briefing from your pilot. You then glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, providing amazing wildlife photography opportunities; sometimes ascending to get an overview of the enormity of the Masai Mara plains and the early morning movements of the teeming herds. Upon landing you'll be treated to a bush breakfast before being returned to your vehicle.

Please note if you are taking a balloon ride over the Mara you will be taken to the launch place from our campsite before dawn and returned to the group when you have finished your ride. Please note that we offer this activity as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a spot in a balloon. If you choose to wait and book this activity locally on the ground you may get a better price. However this is a popular activity and places are limited. It is at your own discretion if you wish to pre-book this service with us or try and book it locally while you are on your trip.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
4

Eldoret

This morning we have a scenic drive through tea plantations to Eldoret (378 km, approx. 7-8 hrs.).

One of Kenya's fastest growing towns, Eldoret is home to some of Kenya's most famous runners due to its high altitude.

Our campsite tonight has basic facilities with upgrades available.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
5

Kampala

Today we cross the border into Uganda and travel on to its capital city, Kampala (350 km, approx. 8-9 hrs.). This could take longer depending on the border crossings.

Kampala is the capital of landlocked Uganda. With a population of over 30 million, it's one of the five countries that make up the East African Community. It's a country of great cultural diversity and in recent years has been one of the most progressive in the region in terms of health education relating to HIV. Once the heart of the Buganda Kingdom, Kampala is a bustling city spread over several hills and valleys.

Our camp on the outskirts of the city has flush toilets, showers and upgrades possible (subject to availability).

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
6

Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast, we drive to Kampala City. If time allows, it's a great place to wander around on foot, exploring many of its markets and shops.

Travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park (380 km, approx 4-5 hrs).

Queen Elizabeth National Park is beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Edward and George. During our time in the park we hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks. Take an optional evening boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife, as well as its healthy population of hippos or a morning Chimp trek in a nearby Gorge.

Stay at a campsite with basic toilets and showers. However, upgrades are possible.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
7

Queen Elizabeth National Park

Perhaps wake up early to take a hike to see the chimps. Then meet up with the rest of the group and enjoy a game drive in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
8

Lake Bunyonyi

Travel on to Lake Bunyonyi (250 km, approx 6-7 hrs), stopping along the way at a shop/market and ATM.

Located in the south-west of Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi - meaning 'place of many little birds' - is home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the country. If time allows, one of the best ways to admire the landscape is from on the lake itself by hiring a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro). They can be hard to master at first but great fun.

Our campground has flush toilets, basic showers, WiFi access and upgrades possible.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
9

Gorilla Trek

Cross the border into Rwanda and travel toward Ruhengeri, via Kigali (240 km, approx 6-7 hrs).

Take a visit to Kigali's very moving genocide memorial. We may visit the memorial on the way to Ruhengeri or on our return. There is the option to hire an audio guide at the memorial.

Ruhengeri is the gateway to Volcanoes National Park. We allow two days for gorilla visits as you are assigned a trekking group/time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day, or even over two days, depending on the time of permit issue and group size. There is a maximum group size of eight on each gorilla visit.

This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than eight per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals. Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid, but the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours - up and down hill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.

When you are waiting for, or have completed, your gorilla visit, your leader will provide you with options and ideas on how you can spend your time in the area around Ruhengeri.

Depending on availability, we will stay in dormitories at a local church mission. If the dormitories are not available we will camp for these 3 nights.

Accommodation: Dormitory (1 nt)

Day
10

Gorilla Trek

We allow two days for gorilla visits as you are assigned a trekking group/time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day, or even over two days, depending on the time of permit issue and group size. There is a maximum group size of eight on each gorilla visit.

This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than eight per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals. Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid, but the sheer thrill in coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk up to 4 hours - up and down hill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.

Accommodation: Dormitory (1 nt)

Day
11

Gorilla Trek

When you are waiting for, or have completed, your gorilla visit, your leader will provide you with options and ideas on how you can spend your time in the area around Ruhengeri.

Accommodation: Dormitory (1 nt)

Day
12

Masaka

Travel to the border with Uganda where we'll complete the border formalities. It's possible for most nationalities to purchase a re-entry visa at this land crossing but please check before travelling.

Then head to the town of Masaka for the night (380 kms, approx. 10-11 hrs including border crossings).

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
13

Jinja

Mbarara to Jinja via Kampala, stopping en route at the equator (360 km, approx 7-8 hrs).

Camp at a scenic riverside retreat with showers, flush toilets, WiFi and ATM access, and upgrades possible.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
14

Jinja

Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda. Located at the source of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria, this is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and the eco-traveller who wants to do something really worthwhile in a beautiful area.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
15

Eldoret

Begin the journey back to Nairobi, making an overnight stop outside the town of Eldoret along the way (300 km, approx 7-8 hrs).

One of Kenya's fastest growing towns, Eldoret is home to some of Kenya's most famous runners due to its high altitude.

Our camp has basic facilities with upgrades available.

Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)

Day
16

Nairobi

On arrival in Nairobi we'll be dropped at our finishing point hotel (310kms, approx. 6-7hrs).

No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Nairobi. Please ask at time of booking. If you are staying on perhaps book the Nairobi by Night Urban Adventure to have a final night with your new friends.

Important: Please don't book any international flights until after 6.30pm this evening.

 

included1

  • Masai Mara - Game drive
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game Drive
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial
  • Ruhengeri - Mountain gorilla trek & permit

 

optional-extras

  • Nairobi - National Museum - USD10
  • Nairobi - Karen Blixen museum - USD14
  • Nairobi - Nairobi National Park safari walk - USD30
  • Nairobi - Carnivore Restaurant - KES3500
  • Nairobi - Bomas of Kenya - USD12
  • Nairobi - Langata Giraffe Sanctuary - KES1200
  • Kazinga Channel boat cruise - USD30
  • Queen Elizabeth NP - Chimp trek - USD160
  • Lake Bunyonyi - Mokoro hire (per day) - USD20
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial Audio Guide - USD10
  • Ruhengeri - Diane Fossey Memorial - USD90
  • Ruhengeri - Golden monkeys Trek Permit - USD105
  • Ruhengeri - Mt Bisoke hiking (full day) - USD75
  • Ruhengeri - Nature walk Rwanda - USD55
  • Jinja - Water Rafting River Nile - half day - USD115
  • Jinja - River Nile rafting (full day) - USD125

not-included1International flights, departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

 

tripgrade1

Overland

Overland journeys are all about freedom and discovery. By travelling in a purpose-built truck you’ll see all the must-see highlights but also get far off the beaten track. These are real adventures where itineraries are changeable and the number of nights in hotels or camping can vary. The tours are highly inclusive and very much hands on. Led by professional crew, groups consist of up to 22 adventurous passengers, sharing the cooking, food shopping and setting up camp.

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.

 

visa1A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.Please click here for more information.

 

medical-preparation1We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.

 

Money1Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later

 

travel-insuranceYou must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information.

 

responsible-travel1Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.For further information about responsible travel please click here.

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

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