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Gorillas & Masai Mara - Accommodated

From £4599 for 0 days
Trip Overview
The Masai Mara, a vast grassland teeming with animals, has an astonishing amount and mixture of game, including lions, cheetahs and at certain times of the year, the wildebeest migration. Lake Nakuru National Park has an incredible variety of birds as well as a healthy population of White and Black rhinos while Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to hippos, elephants, buffalo, leopards and the elusive tree-climbing lions as well as a huge variety of birds.  Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most impressive parks in Africa, renowned for its scenic beauty, spectacular falls and abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, Ugandan kobs (antelope), leopards, and over 450 different species of birds. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly an hour with Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. This close-up encounter is arguably the most sensational wildlife experience of them all.
Essential Info
Starts: Start Nairobi; overnight in hotel.
Ends: Morning visit to the Genocide Museum and end.
Ages: Min 16
Theme: Wildlife
Trip Code: EWYUP
Activity Level:     
Countries visited: Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda
What's Included

Meals

Virtually all meals are included; most will be provided by the various hotels and lodges we use while some will be provided by our well trained cook who is adept at catering for large groups of hungry travellers! Breakfasts will usually include cereal, toast and hot food such as porridge or eggs

Transport

9 nights hotels/lodges and 6 nights permanent tented camps Travel by specialist overland vehicle, 4WD and on foot

Accommodation

Trip Highlights

•    Enjoy a precious hour in the company of Uganda's Mountain gorillas

•    Game drives in the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru N.P. and Queen Elizabeth N.P.

•    Visit Murchison Falls National Park

•    Track chimpanzees and other primates in Budongo Forest

Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Price
Availability
Departing: 9th Aug 2020
Returning: 24th Aug 2020
£4,599pp
Fully Booked
Departing: 18th Oct 2020
Returning: 2nd Nov 2020
£4,499pp
Availability: Good
Itinerary & Notes
The group flight usually arrives into Nairobi this afternoon and will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers. Accommodation: Kenya Comfort Suites or similar *Standard Hotel*
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Reviews
       
Whereas nothing can be guaranteed this trip was one that just kept on giving. It surpassed all expectations and we were extremely fortunate to see and experience all that we did. Wildlife in abundance exhibiting some distinctive behaviour . The big 5 was seen in the first two days and with the animals being used to seeing traffic in the game reserves and National Parks they were almost within 'touching' distance from the truck. I have lost count of the many species of animals and birds seen throughout the journey. Equally spectacular was the scenery in the three very different countries visited. All the game lodges used enhanced the experience with buffalo even grazing outside (security procedures in place), Wild Waters set on an island in the middle of the Nile offered luxury not expected but was well received and was in the right place at the right time for our day of optional activities. The chance to meet and take part in local communities along with the extremely knowledgeable leader and driver all added to the 'adventure' of a lifetime.
       
Long travel days, early mornings, tough tracking terrain, beautiful scenery, very changable weather, history lessons, amazing animal sightings, upset tummies, Masai and Batwa villages, hot and cold showers, trucks in ditches, border crossings, picnic lunches, and sooooooo much more
       
Amazing overall itinerary. Saw the big 5 in the Masai Mara in the first two days including iconic wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River. Followed by chimp trekking and gorilla trekking in Uganda which were amazing. The gorilla trekking in particular was superbly organised. Some long travel days but absolutely necessary to get between National Parks. Good safari truck and amazing food all cooked from local produce.
       
Be prepared for a number of long overland journeys (you will become very familiar with the truck), but the Exodus team made it as smooth and enjoyable as possible and the wildlife experiences we had made it all so so worth it!
       
This trip is great for adventure, photography and wildlife. Be prepared for long bumpy journeys on the truck but driving through the towns and villages is interesting to.
       
I have been fortunate to travel a lot. These countries were my 51st, 52nd and 53rd but this was the best time of my life. This was my 7th small group trip. I have never felt more grateful in my life—and it is all owed to this wonderful staff, Gilbert (our guide), Stoney (our driver), Albert (our cook) and Charles (his helper). I moderately injured my low back while rafting in Jinja and was very worried that if it worsened (from camping or the bumpy dirt roads) I would not be able to do the Chimp or Gorilla treks. The staff did everything in their power to help me through this and I’m very thankful for that; the injury never worsened and I was able to do everything that the agenda entailed. The safari portion of our trip was extraordinary, particularly in the Mara and Lake Nakuru. The boat safari in Murchison was also amazing as we saw everything in such a different ecosystem. The highlights: five lionesses in a tree, two leopards, a monster of a crocodile, a wildebeest stampede, a hippo and a family of warthogs at our campsite in Murchison, hordes of playful baby baboons, a pack of zebras hilariously chasing an territory-invading jackal and virtually every other large African mammal except the cheetah. A few other animal experiences to mention: —There are 1,388 species of birds in East Africa. I’m not a birder or anything but I was constantly in awe of the gorgeous, highly varied plumage patterns of these majestic creatures. —The chimps in the Budongo Forest were outrageous. We hoped to just see a few eating in the treetops. We saw that and about twenty minutes into our viewing session a highly-orchestrated colobus monkey hunt began with screeching, screaming and yelling. Chimps rapidly descended all around us, ran across the forest floor and ascended other trees nearby. The rangers claimed they killed three colobus. While we collectively only had one picture of a chimp eating his prey, it was an exhilarating, albeit terrifying and somewhat sad, experience. —I figured the chimps had stolen the show. But the gorillas responded. Extraordinary experience...we had no clue how close they were going to get. They say it’s a seven meter distance that we need to maintain, but not if the gorillas decide they want to play with you... One of the gorillas (an impish three year old boy) sprinted to me, stuck his head between my knees and patted the sides of my thighs in rapid succession. He then just lied there. No one got any of it on film because the silverback, Bweza, was waking right towards me as his son was pulling this stunt and everyone had to shuffle away quickly... Bweza was no more than two meters away from me before we could all pull back. It was terrifying but that early lesson taught us that these gorillas are extremely habituated and thus, totally harmless; I suspect Bweza was simply wanting to keep his playful toddler in check. Later on during the viewing hour, the same three yr old pirouetted three or four times right at our feet. It was adorable. That was followed by several minutes of wrestling with his same-aged cousin. One of the great memories of my life. Most importantly, our crew made the trip. Gilbert, our leader, was outstanding. Solid knowledge of the animals. He has degrees in tourism and social anthropology and it really shows. He not only has a good understanding of the countries we visited but the continent and the world as a whole. His education led to a bunch of really interesting conversations that I enjoyed. Very well organized, kind and funny as well. A great trip leader. Albert was our chef and did a damn good job prepping tasty meals for us. Most importantly though, he was ALWAYS in a good mood and lifted the spirits of our group constantly. I’ll never forget the guy. Stoney, our driver, was a great great guy. Sincere, kind and very hard working. He navigated some tough roads and kept us on time. I had several great conversations with him about all kinds of topics ... mostly his family, his childhood and Kenya’s hopes for the future. Another guy with a big heart I’ll never forget. Lastly, Charles, the helper, was just a damn hard worker. For a first timer, he really seemed to contribute a lot. Always dived in when he was needed. Again, what a great trip. I’m elated that I was able to do this with such a wonderful group of people. Thanks Exodus!
       
If you could gurantee the same team, group and even half the wildlife encounters I'd book it up tomorrow. We were very lucky with both the wildlife and to have such an enthusiastic and fun group of guides and guests - which made the trip all the better. The locations are stunning - in two days in the Masai Mara we saw the big 5 and had an epic balloon ride at sunrise. Then we were off to Lake Nakuru and the rhinos and flamingos took centre stage, with the smiles getting wider as the wildlife encounters got better. Sleeping within 300m of a waterfall in Nakuru was a highlight and despite being the most basic, was my favourite campsite - hearing lions and hyeenas calling in the night while sat around a campfire checking out all the stars. At Jinja even novice rafters got to experience the thrill of white water and again the provided photos and videos had us all laughing and reliving the day. The Adrift campsite was also brand new and had great facilities. So the experiences built, Murchison has impressive waterfalls and the boat trip was a good way to get out of the heat of the day. Gorilla tracking in Budongo again had us being lucky, being in the middle of chimps hunting, a once in a lifetime opportunity and not something to be expected, but if you get to experience time with the enigmatic chimps you cannot be disappointed. Queen Elizabeth has less diversity of wildlife but still provided lots of Elephants and on the river you see birds and elephants everywhere. Lastly the gorillas - I did two treks and they were both different but magical experiences. The first involved a long trek but we were surrounded by a group and followed them, experiencing interactions with several different family members. This would be a tough trek if you are not physically fit and used to walking up hills. The second trek involved spending an unforgettable hour with Xmas, the largest silverback in Bwindi and his 1 and 2 year old babies. We could not see other members of the family and the trek was shorter and easier, but a very close and magical encounter - when a baby gorilla looks at you from less than 7m you get a sense of how special and priveledged your time with them is. You are also given certificates to help remember your time with these beautiful animals The trip to the genocide museum was a very poignant reminder of what Rwanda has been through as well. Some facts - the trip involves a lot of early starts and quite a bit of travelling. Your reward is the trip of a lifetime. The truck is large and spacious but keep things in the lockers or that room fills up quickly. You will need to be able to walk up steep hills for the gorillas, but the team takes things slowly and chooses the best path for the group. Campsites often had showers, toilets and a bar so have some dollars for these. A lot of Ugandan service stations and almost all of Rwanda wanted local currency. Some things to note - the Rwandan border was the most difficult to cross, with a problem getting our taxi across taking 2hrs but providing a great side adventure - a sense of humour about delays and acknowledging that you may be asked seeminglystupid questions is par for the course. Get some snacks and drinks before crossing as there is nothing on the Rwandan security zone. The Exodus team were fantastic throughout, working hard to fix any problems ( airline lost bags), keep our trip moving smoothly and provide fun and share jokes over Albert's fantastic cooking ( his cooking may expand your waistline). Gilbert was the charismatic tour leader with lots of local stories and knowledge, Stoney the unflappable driver who always made time to help, Albert the fantastic chef with all the catchphrases and a personality larger than life, and Charles the youngest and ever smiling and helpful team member eager to greet and hear of our days adventures. A good team feels like family not a crew, these guys felt like family and helped knit the group together. I feel exceptionally lucky to have been on this trip, I've travelled a lot and this will remain a trip to remember. If I could do the same or similar trip with the group and crew I would book it tomorrow, if you promised me half the wildlife too I'd still jump at the chance. Thanks Exodus for another epic adventure.
       
WYU190630 Just returned from my first African wild adventure and i m still day dreaming of it! Couldn't have asked for a better crew team members and better group. Absolutely awed day in day out. This being my first experience camping and group travelling i must say it has been a blast! Do not let the camping put you off! It is a great experience and i loved every minute of it!
       
This trip packs in a huge variety of wildlife experiences over a great distance in three scenic and friendly East African countries.
       
Well where do we begin. This was simply an incredible holiday and our very first safari. The crew of four; Boniface aka Stony the driver; Ken head chef; Raymond aka Dolly head chef in training and Patrick our tour leader were all terrific, great fun and very hard working guys. They know their stuff and helped make our holiday. The trip covers a tremendous amount of miles around 1300 miles in total. Yes there are a few early starts the earliest being around 4.30am to hit the road around 5am but when getting up a little earlier than normal to go and visit the mountain gorillas the early morning start pails into insignifance. The whole itinary is brilliant. We were exceptionally lucky to have seen the big five (elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, buffalo) and so what more could you ask for especially as this was our very first safari trip. The various stop overs were very good with some terrific campsites with options to upgrade to rooms or hotels along the way. The time spent trekking to see the mountain gorillas can vary we trekked for around two hours which went very quickly but do be prepared for a hilly walk and make sure you have the right footwear and waterproofs as you can come across some small brooks and it could be muddy if the rain comes, we were very lucky as the rain came once we returned back to the start. For sure this experience is likely to remain with you for ever. It does mention in the trip notes that helping out whilst not complusary, we believe it can go a really long way to get to know the crew and other members of the group you’re travelling with which adds to the fun around the campfires. The food was fantastic and plentiful each day and the variety was excellent. We thought the trip was really well planned and when things didn’t go quite to plan such as the overland truck breaking down at no stage did we feel concerned and our safety was the crews main concern. Everything was done to resolve the issue in a timely manner. We would highly recommend this trip to anyone with a love for animals you get to see so much it’s hard to put into words. Truly incredible and prividged to see these amazing animals in their own habitat.
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