Embark on an overland tour of Africa and see gorillas in Uganda

The stunning beauty of East Africa’s steamy rainforests and sprawling savanna is a breathtaking backdrop for an adventure into the habitat of the magnificent gorillas and majestic rhinos. Trekking through some of Uganda’s most dense areas of jungle is a challenging, but incredibly rewarding experience and coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a moment that will remain imprinted on the memory for years to come. Matched with cruising along the Kazinga Channel, and game drives through some of East Africa’s most iconic national parks, this trip provides a lottery win on the wildlife front. Along the way, encounter local people whose friendly smiles and sense of community is a warm welcome to East Africa.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Nairobi, Kenya
Finish
Nairobi, Kenya
Countries
Kenya, Uganda
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YDOU
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 6, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Search for gorillas near the border of Rwanda

  • Learn a dark history at the Genocide Museum

  • Taste traditional African cuisine

  • Spot wildlife in Nakuru National Park

  • Trek through the dense Ugandan rainforest

  • Find rhinos in the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

Is this trip right for you?

  • Dragoman tours travel from each destination to the next on one of their purpose-built trucks, this is an overland adventure! There are some long travel days, venturing away from cities and into remote areas, but the rewards are immeasurable.

  • Dragoman overland journeys are designed to offer freedom, and many of their routes have a degree of flexibility depending on the destination. As they have their own vehicle, they are generally unrestricted in their ability to alter the schedule in the case of unforeseen circumstances.

  • Dragoman use a broad range of accommodation on their trips from good hotels, basic hostels, family-run guesthouses, well-equipped campsites, local family homestays, or wild camping in more remote areas. Note: some of their routes are non-camping routes, depending on the nature of the destination. Please see the day to day itinerary for more detailed information about accommodation on the trip.

  • On an overland trip you're more than just a passenger - you're part of the team! Everyone on the journey will get involved to help with setting up camp, pitching tents, shopping for food, and cooking. The more you put it the more you get out!

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Border Information: If joining the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Welcome to Kenya! There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note, as this will often be a travelling day for the crew who will be joining you.

Nairobi is a lively city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Kenyan capital takes its name from the Maasai meaning 'Place of Cool Waters'. Today it is a busy, bustling place that comes alive through it's many markets, shops, bars and restaurants, not to mention its vibrant nightlife. If you have time to explore the city, the National Museum of Kenya and Karen Blixen Museum are both worth a visit, or you can get up close to the giraffes and help to feed them at the Langata Giraffe Centre.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the  Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi. 

Hotel for the night: Wildebeest Eco Camp
Wildebeest Eco Camp
151 Mokoyeti Road West
Karen
Nairobi
Kenya
+254 7347 70733 

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES 

Visit to the David Sheldrick Animal Orphanage in Nairobi
(KES 500)

Explore the museum at the site of the former home of Karen Blixen, the author of 'Out of Africa'
(KES 1200)

Visit the Langata Giraffe Centre in Nairobi
(KES 1000)

Learn all about the different tribal groups of Kenya at the Bomas of Kenya cultural centre in Nairobi
(USD 40)

Discover some of Kenya's ancient hominids at the National Museum in Nairobi (KES 1200)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning we will drive on to Kericho, where there is an optional tour around a nearby tea plantation.

Kericho is one of the larger towns in the western highlands of Kenya. Its location in the highlands of the Rift Valley next to the Mau forest gives it a warm and temperate climate, that makes it perfect for agriculture and specifically the cultivation of tea.

In Kericho we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time: 5-6 hours.

ACTIVITIES:
Optional: Tour of a tea plantation in Kericho
(KES 200)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Border Information: Exit Kenya at Busia, enter Uganda at Busia.

Today we have a full day's drive across the border into Uganda as we travel to Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa!

Jinja is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda. This is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and the eco-conscious traveller. The area is beautiful and is located at the source of the White Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria. The most popular activity here is the spectacular and hair raising white-water rafting trip down the Nile. Our base in Jinja is perched spectacularly on a cliff-top 30 metres above the swirling currents of the river!

Estimated Drive Time: 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to get involved in the many optional adventure activities available here, such as white water rafting, bungee jumping and boat trips on the White Nile!

In Jinja we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

ACTIVITIES:
Optional: Full Day rafting, Jinja
(USD 125)
Optional: Go bungee jumping above the Nile at our campsite in Jinja
(USD 115)
Optional: Go on a boat trip to discover the source of the Nile where the river outflows from Lake Victoria
(USD 15)
Optional: Head out on an adventure activity day of rafting, jet boating and bungee jumping
(USD 240)
Optional: Adventure activity combo day of rafting, jet boating and bungee jumping
(USD 250)
Optional: 2 nights in Jinja camping next to the swirling currents of the mighty White Nile
(USD 75)
Optional: Head out for a full day of quad biking at the Bujagali Falls near Jinja
(USD 160)
Optional: Head out horse riding along the banks of the White Nile
(USD 75)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we continue our journey and head north to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary close to the town of Nakitoma. Here we will have the chance to track rhinos on foot with a local ranger!

The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary near Nakitoma was created to reintroduce the rhinoceros to Uganda, which had previously been extinct there since 1982. The 70 square-kilometre sanctuary in pristine bush country is currently home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The sanctuary's long-term goal is to build a sustainable rhino population and relocate rhinos back to their original habitat in Uganda's protected areas. In addition to the rhino-breeding program, Rhino Fund Uganda also runs community upliftment and education programs in the surrounding villages. During our stay, one of the trained rangers will introduce you to the sanctuary and provide you with information about the rhinos. Depending on where our rhinos happen to be when you arrive, you can take to the opportunity to go out with the guide by vehicle and then approach the rhinos up close on foot. This is a fantastic opportunity to observe the rhinos in their habitat at a very close, and very safe, distance. The animals are magnificent and the opportunity to see them up close is truly one not to be missed!

In Nakitoma we will stay in a well equipped campsite within the Rhino Sanctuary.

Estimated Drive Time: 6-7 hours.

ACTIVITIES:
Optional: Rhino tracking at hte Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
(USD 40)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we continue to Kaniyo Pabidi in the Budongo Forest, in the southern part of the Murchison Falls National Park. Here we will head out for our included chimpanzee tracking walk in the afternoon!

Kaniyo Pabidi is an eco-tourism site within the Budongo Forest Reserve in the southern section of Murchison Falls National Park. The terrain of the Budongo Forest is flat, allowing for good on-foot travelling conditions for the average tourist to trek out to try and spot the resident chimpanzees. Our basic lodge is located on the edge of the chimpanzees’ home range, significantly diminishing the risk of a long trek before contact is made with the group - the habitat consists of primary forest with medium under story vegetation-density allowing for good visibility of the canopy (and thus of the chimpanzees) and the presence of savanna and grassland areas neighbouring the primary forest present an interesting opportunity for viewing of different ecosystems. There is an extensive (115km in total) and well-maintained trail system that further facilitates visitor accessibility.

Please note that for conservation reasons the maximum group size to track the chimpanzees is 12 people, so if we have a large group we will split in half, one half going on the walk this afternoon and the other half going tomorrow morning.

In Kaniyo Pabidi we will stay in basic dorm rooms in a small lodge in the Budongo Forest.

Estimated Drive Time: 2-3 hours.

ACTIVITIES:
Included: Trek on foot in the Budongo Forest in search of habituated chimpanzees
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
If we had to split the group for chimpanzee tracking, the other half of the group will head out for the walk this morning. When we are ready to continue, we will drive to the central region of Murchison Falls National Park to reach our campsite.

Estimated Drive Time: 2-3 hours (to the campsite).

On the next day, we will head out early in the truck for a included morning of game driving around the northern area of the National Park - we will take a local vehicle barge to get over the Nile and pick up a ranger to show us around in search of wildlife!

We will return to our campsite for lunch, and then embark on an included launch cruise on the Nile to spot wildlife from the water and to see the spectacularly-powerful Murchison Falls.

In Murchison Falls National Park we will stay in a well equipped campsite at Paraa on the southern banks of the River Nile in the heart of the park.

Muchison Falls National Park is Uganda's largest reserve and is bisected by the mighty White Nile river. It is named after the dramatic Murchison Falls - where the world's longest river explodes violently through a narrow cleft in the Rift Valley escarpment to plunge into a frothing pool 43m below. The falls are often described as the most dramatic thing to occur along the entire length of the Nile, and are best seen from a boat cruise along the river! Wildlife populations have largely recovered from the poaching of the 1980s - in the lush grassland to the north of the Nile, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes and a variety of antelope are regularly encountered on game drives, while lions are seen with increasing frequency. The Nile itself hosts one of Africa's densest hippo and crocodile populations, and an incredible variety of waterbirds.

Please note that the roads leading into and around Murchison Falls are very poor and can be hazardous in wet conditions. If there has been heavy rain recently, it may not be possible to go into the National Park beyond Kaniyo Pabidi - this is firstly for safety reasons on the drive in, and secondly due to the risk of extreme bogging that will cause us to miss the gorilla treks in Rwanda. We will always endeavour to reach the National Park as per the itinerary; but when this is occasionally not possible, please respect the tour leader's decision in this matter. On these occasions we will be able to utilise this time with spending longer in Lake Bunyonyi and Ruhengeri.

ACTIVITIES:

Included: Launch cruise on the River Nile to the mighty Murchison Falls
(Included in Kitty)

Included: Head out game driving in our overland truck in Murchison Falls National Park
(Included in Kitty)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Murchison Falls Game Drive
  • Murchison Falls Launch trip
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
This morning we will make our way out of the national park and head to the bustling town of Hoima. This is a day to absorb the ancient culture on offer. Believe it or not Hoima has its very own palace!

Estimated Drive Time: 2-3 hours.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning we travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Lake Edward and Lake George, undertaking a game drive on our way to the campsite.

After lunch we will take an included boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife as well as its healthy population of hippos. During our time in the park we also hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks.

The next morning we are up early to go on a full day game drive making our way into the depths of the park. We will experience areas of the National Park that are impossible to reach without a full days excursion!

In Queen Elizabeth National Park we will camp at a basic campsite with drop toilets inside the park. Your leader will explain the basic safety aspects of camping in an unfenced area amongst the wildlife upon arrival.

The magnificent Queen Elizabeth National Park lies across the Equator in the southwest of Uganda, bordering the Rift Valley lakes of Edward and George. The animals that make their home here include many hippos, tree-climbing lions, elephants, buffaloes, Ugandan kob, water buck, bush buck and topi. Uganda's wildlife took a terrible hammering from poaching and war after the military coup of the 1970s and beyond, but in recent decades the government and wildlife authorities have done a great deal to eradicate poaching and the wildlife is once again on the increase. Elephant numbers have increased substantially, with an influx from the Congo where they are still being poached. Queen Elizabeth National Park contains the most astonishing number of different fauna, including 100 different types of mammal and over 600 species of birds. We also take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel between the park's two lakes, which is well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful bird life as well as its healthy population of hippos.

Estimated Drive Time: 5-6 hours.

ACTIVITIES:
Included: Take a boat trip through the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park
(Included in Kitty)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Here we will go on what is undoubtedly the highlight of the trip - trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas in their natural forest habitat.

This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than 8 people 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; however, the sheer thrill of 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 at least 4 hours - uphill and downhill. 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! Once you find them, you will stay with the gorillas for one unforgettable hour!

When visiting the gorillas you will be assigned a trekking group and time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day.

In Bwindi we will stay in a campsite that occasionally has some very special visitors, the incredible mountain gorillas!

Please note that the gorilla permits are paid for in full by the trip kitty - however, Dragoman has to purchase the permits in advance on the customers' behalf, so a higher deposit is charged on the trip price to protect us from losing this money in the event of cancellation - please see the notes at the end for further detail.

ACTIVITIES:
Included: Trek out for this once in a lifetime experience - Gorilla Tracking with the endagered Mountain Gorillas in the Impenetrable Forest
(Included in Kittty)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Volcanoes National Park - Mountain gorilla trek & permit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
This morning we will make our way into the stunning Lake Mburo National Park. This drive will take us across the equator - a prime moment for some photos!

In the afternoon we may have time for a walking safari or even a boat trip on Lake Mburo.

We will stay in an incredible campsite close to the lake where you may be lucky enough to see hippos leaving the water in the evening.

Estimated Drive Time: 8-9 hours.

ACTIVITIES:
Optional: Walking Safari in Lake Mburo National Park
(USD 100)
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Border Information: Exit Uganda at Malaba, enter Kenya at Malaba.

Over the next 2 days we will travel back to the east through Jinja to Nakuru.

We will most likely split the drive with a nightstop in Jinja, but if the road conditions improve on a different road then we may go via the western town of Fort Portal instead. Both Jinja and Fort Portal have decent campsites to stay in.

Either way, we will reach Nakuru by the second evening and enjoy a night relaxing at a campsite that we are staying in for 2 nights.

This is our base for tomorrow's excursion into Nakuru National Park. If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

Estimated Drive Times: 7-9 hours each day.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Included Activities
  • Guided walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
This morning we head into Nakuru National Park for an included half-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos.

In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of town.

ACTIVITIES:
Optional: Walk to explore a colonial dairy farm and visit a local women's knitting collective
(5 USD)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today we will be met by our 6-person 4x4 jeeps that will take us on our 2-night excursion to the Maasai Mara. We will load the jeeps with our personal gear (but we will not need our camping equipment) and then head off to Maasai Mara, leaving our truck behind.

We will also be leaving our large bags behind (where they will be stored in a secure location in Nairobi), and advise you to bring along a smaller daypack for your personal gear for this trip that will need to be packed soon after the group meeting before we set off. You should pack clothing for 3 days (including a warm jumper or fleece and long trousers), a waterproof jacket, toiletries (including sun screen and insect repellent), your camera and charger, a small towel, a head torch, a water bottle, books and personal snacks, etc.

On arrival, we will have the chance for a short evening game drive in the Maasai Mara National Park before heading to our campsite. The Maasai Mara is an incredibly scenic area and is one of the world's greatest places for wildlife spotting which is absolutely teeming with giraffe, buffalo, zebra, elephants, lions, cheetah, leopards, and other big game! On both nights at the Maasai Mara, we will stay in a basic campground on the outskirts of the National Park. The campsite has set-tents and bedding, but is self-catered (we will use our kitchen equipment brought from the truck).

The following day we will go out for the full day game driving in the National Park before returning to our campsite for a second night. There is also the opportunity for a sunset balloon flight over the savannah - demand for this activity is very high so you must reserve this at the time of booking your Dragoman trip to avoid disappointment. Tonight we will stay at the same campsite on the outskirts of the Maasai Mara.

ACTIVITIES:
Included: Head out on a phenomenal safari in 4x4s into the Maasai Mara - one of the best areas in Africa for wildlife and scenery
(Included in Kitty)
Optional: Take a hot air balloon flight to see the sunrise over the incredible scenery of the Maasai Mara (alternative to the scheduled game drive). This must be pre-booked through your sales consultant.
(USD 550)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (2 nights)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast (2)
  • Lunch (2)
  • Dinner (2)
Today we will have a final game drive in the Maasai Mara in the early morning, before heading back to Nairobi and our campsite in Karen, arriving at about 4:00pm or 5:00pm. This is where we will meet our overland truck and start using the truck's camping equipment. In Nairobi we will stay in a well equipped campsite in the suburb of Karen on the outskirts of the city.

Estimated Drive Time: 5-6 hours.


ACTIVITIES:
Optional: NNP Animal orphanage & Safari walk, Nairobi
(KES 500)
Optional: Explore the museum at the site of the former home of Karen Blixen, the author of 'Out of Africa'
(KES 1200)
Optional: Visit the Langata Giraffe Centre in Nairobi
(KES 1000)
Optional: Learn all about the different tribal groups of Kenya at the Bomas of Kenya cultural centre in Nairobi
(USD 40)
Optional: Discover some of Kenya's ancient hominids at the National Museum in Nairobi
(KES 1200)
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Border Information: if you are leaving the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely exit Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Today is this is the final day of this section - if you are leaving here (or continuing northbound with us to Ethiopia) you will have a free day in Nairobi. If you are continuing your trip with us southbound to wards Tanzania then there will a new group meeting at 10:00am for the next section of your journey, before heading away from Nairobi - your leader will give you detailed instructions about this.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. 


ACTIVITIES:
Optional: NNP Animal orphanage & Safari walk, Nairobi
(KES 500)
Optional: Explore the museum at the site of the former home of Karen Blixen, the author of 'Out of Africa'
(KES 1200)
Optional: Visit the Langata Giraffe Centre in Nairobi
(KES 1000)
Optional: Learn all about the different tribal groups of Kenya at the Bomas of Kenya cultural centre in Nairobi
(USD 40)
Optional: Discover some of Kenya's ancient hominids at the National Museum in Nairobi
(KES 1200)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

21 breakfasts, 20 lunches, 20 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (17 nights), Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (1 night)

Included activities

  • Murchison Falls Game Drive
  • Murchison Falls Launch trip
  • Volcanoes National Park - Mountain gorilla trek & permit
  • Guided walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1.This trip is run by our experienced overland partner Dragoman.
2. This trip requires an additional non-refundable deposit ( AUD1120, USD1000, EUR810, NZD1200, GBP600, CAD1080, ZAR13700, CHF850 ) in order to secure a gorilla permit. We also require a scanned copy of your passport at time of booking. Please see trip notes (Important notes) for more details.
3. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Gorillas & Chimps In Depth trips score an average of 4.33 out of 5 based on 9 reviews in the last year.

Gorillas & Chimps In Depth, July 2017

David Snelgrove

Gorillas & Chimps In Depth, June 2016

Hermann Mueller