Encounter the wildlife of Uganda and Kenya on this journey into the heart of East Africa

A close encounter with gentle giants on a gorilla safari in Uganda is an extraordinary African experience that will always stay with you – and it's just one of the many wildlife sightings this unforgettable African overland adventure has to offer. Roam the verdant plains, rainforests, papyrus-fringed lakes and acacia woodlands of Kenya and Uganda's game parks – from Queen Elizabeth National Park to the Masai Mara Reserve – spot lions, rhinos, chimps, antelope, hippos, leopards and more in their natural habitats. The staggeringly beautiful African landscape will provide memories that last a lifetime.


Start
Nairobi, Kenya
Finish
Nairobi, Kenya
Destinations
Kenya, Uganda
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YXOG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 22

Why you'll love this trip

  • With gorilla permits included in the price of the trip, seek out the rare mountain gorilla on a trek through Uganda's steamy forests and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence.

  • The Lake Nakuru National Park is filled with iconic vistas and animals – safari through it with a late afternoon game drive in our overland vehicle.

  • Experience the two sides of Jinja – a relaxing riverside retreat at the source of the Nile and the adrenaline-pumping adventure capital of Uganda.

  • Take the opportunity to visit the Chimpanzees of Kalinzu Forest – witness these incredible creatures squabble and play among the fruiting trees.

  • Meet the Maasai people known for their vibrant red dress and elaborate jewellery and gain an insight into the culture and ancient ways of this proud East African Community.

Is this trip right for you?

  • 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 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. A top tip is to pack some gardening gloves to assist in any up-hill climbs.

  • We use our purpose-built overland vehicles for the duration of this trip. This multi-purpose truck allows for great game viewing with large sliding windows. This means the trucks do not have air-conditioning and conditions can get dusty and hot. It’s all part of the adventure and a great way to get to know your fellow travellers. Please read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.

  • The overland vehicle is large enough to seat up to 22 passengers and carries all the camping equipment needed for the duration of this trip. Therefore, the going can be slow over the long distances and often bumpy roads.

  • This trip is predominantly a camping experience, giving you access to more remote destinations at close proximity, and the joy of experiencing the elements. This is a participatory trip – a fancy way of saying you’re not just along for the ride, but you are part of a team! Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and help out with camp activities like food prep and washing up. It’s all about giving your new travel mates a hand, and everyone knows there’s nothing worse than trying to put up a tent on your own!

  • As the early bird catches the worm, the early camper sights the animals. There will be many early starts either to make use of the better safari time or to beat the morning traffic on long travel days.

  • Africa is a world of endless possibilities – that’s why our trips are designed so they fit together as (not quite endless) combinations. This means that while you might just be starting your trip, some of your new travel mates may have been travelling together for a week or more on a previous adventure. They will definitely have some great tips for you. Visit intrepidtravel.com/africa to check out our combination trips and other tours you can add on to this one to extend your journey.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 21 Dec 2018 to 31 Dec 2019.
View the 2020 itinerary
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya, your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, however if you arrive early, why not head out and soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Nairobi. 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. There's also the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa), or Bomas of Kenya (displays of traditional homesteads of several Kenyan tribes) open for exploration. After the welcome meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions for an optional group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nairobi - City Experience Urban Adventure - USD55
  • Nairobi - Karen Blixen museum - USD14
  • Nairobi - From Farm to Feast In Focus Urban Adventure - USD86
  • Nairobi - Carnivore Restaurant - KES3600
  • Nairobi - Bomas of Kenya - USD12
  • Nairobi - Langata Giraffe Sanctuary - KES1200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

Unfortunately, petty crime has become common in Nairobi and recently arrived visitors to the capital can often make for tempting targets. Your trip leader will verse you in a few worthwhile precautions at the welcome meeting. Some top tips are to get local advice on where to walk, keep valuables in a neck wallet or money belt or leave them secure in your hotel, and to not leave belongings unattended on chairs or the floor. Stay aware even when inside, as thieves and pickpockets have been known to operate indoors as well. There's no need to be paranoid but appearing vigilant is a great deterrent to would-be thieves.
Take in spectacular views of the Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Elementaita on the drive north-west to Lake Nakuru National Park, situated in the heart of the Great Rift Valley. The drive will take approximately 3-4 hours and you’ll arrive in time for a short evening game drive along the shore of the lake. Lake Nakuru National Park is a small and compact area based around a lake that makes a great location for spotting wildlife. Along with the other members of the Big Five, Lake Nakuru harbours many rhinos and will be the best chance to get a great picture of these magnificent beasts.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Nakuru - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight is located inside the park and has flush toilets and showers. Accommodation upgrades and WiFi are not available.
Rise early this morning for tea or coffee before going back into the park for a morning game drive. Return to camp for brunch before driving north-west to Eldoret, one of Kenya's fastest growing towns (approximately 5-6 hours.). Due to its high altitude, the town is an ideal training ground for middle- and long-distance athletes and is home to some of Kenya's most famous runners. Your Tonight enjoy a traditional dinner at your campsite located just outside of Eldoret town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Nakuru - Morning Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The camp has basic flush toilets and showers, with upgrades available.
Today you will leave Kenya behind and cross the border into landlocked Uganda, travelling on to its capital city, Kampala (approximately 10 hours, though it could take longer depending on border crossings). With a population of over 30 million, Uganda is a country of great cultural diversity and is one of the five countries that make up the East African Community. As today is a long travel day, take a break from setting up camp with a stay at a hotel. Shake off the long journey with the option to eat in Kampala town and experience this dynamic city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel with shared facilities (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel to Kalinzu Forest National Park (approximately 9 hours). Some of its inhabitants include chimpanzees, black and white colobus, baboon, red-tailed monkey, both blue and red duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck, giant forest hog, buffalo and elephants. On arrival, settle into your camp and perhaps stretch your legs and explore your surrounds with the rest of the group.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Your camp tonight has basic facilities with no upgrades available.
Take the optional excursion of visiting the Chimpanzees of Kalinzu Forest this morning or enjoy the sounds of the forest from the comfort of your tent. More closely related to humans than any other living creature, the chimpanzees are a delight to watch as they squabble and play in fruiting trees. Later, take the short drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Once camp is set there's an option to take a boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife, as well as its healthy population of hippos.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kalinzu Forest - Chimp trek - USD70
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Kazinga Channel boat cruise - USD30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today, drive out of the Queen Elizabeth National Park on your way to the southwest tip of Uganda (approximately 7-hour drive). On this short game drive, cross your fingers and look out for elephants, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks. When you arrive at the corner of Uganda, where the border touches Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, you’ll be based in Kisoro, which provides access to seven different Gorilla groups located in Mgahinga, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Nshongi.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The camp here has flush toilets and showers and there are no upgrades available.
Joined by a local guide and trackers, climb through the rugged mountain terrain of Bwindi National Park to encounter these rare animals. 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 quite 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. You 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. Be mesmerised as you watch them eat, sleep, groom and play – the giant silverback surveying the scene as the smaller one’s laze in the trees or play like children. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bwindi National Park - Mountain Gorilla Permit & Trek
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 free day in the area around Kisoro. You can head out on more rainforest hikes to see monkeys, take some nature walks, join a hike up Mt Sabinyo – one of five volcanoes located in the Parc National des Volcans – or perhaps make a visit to the Batwa community, indigenous to the Great Lakes Region and found throughout Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the eastern region of the Congo.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kisoro - Virunga Hike - USD50
  • Kisoro - Trek With Golden Monkeys Permit & Guide (from price) - USD90
  • Kisoro - Sabinyo Trek / Mgahinga hiking - USD90
  • Kisoro - Mount Muhavura Trek - USD90
  • Kisoro - Lake & Famstead Bicycle Tour - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Optional activities require additional transport costs of approximately USD$100 that can be shared between up to 5-8 travellers.

The Golden Monkeys Trek is offered as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a place. If you would rather wait and try to get a better price by booking this locally on the ground, you are welcome to, but keep in mind that this is a popular activity and places are limited.
Farewell the lands of the Gorilla and turn back towards the capital, Kampala. You’ll break up the journey at the pit-stop town of Mbarara for the night (approximately 5-6 hours driving). We’ll be honest – there’s not a great deal to do here, however it’s a great opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at the camp, or even to have a leisurely look around the town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you'll continue your journey inland, travelling towards Jinja (approximately 7 hrs). The Jinja region is one of the highlights of any visit to Uganda, a riverside retreat at the source of the Nile but also the adventure capital of Uganda. Tonight, camp at a scenic riverside site and enjoy a good night’s rest ready for tomorrows adventures.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s camp has showers, flush toilets, WiFi and ATM access. Upgrades are also possible (subject to availability.)
Located at the source of the Nile as it leaves Lake Victoria, Jinja is a place for the adventurer, the adrenaline junkie and the eco-traveller. Maybe get active with some white-water rafting or kayaking. Alternatively take a boat cruise to the source of the Nile or to enjoy the river and quench a thirst.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Jinja - River Nile whitewater rafting (full day) - USD140
  • Jinja - Nile Boat Cruise - USD40
  • Jinja - Source of River Nile tour - USD45
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
The Source of the Nile boat cruise requires a minimum of 4 travellers.
Farewell Uganda and begin the journey back to Kenya and Nairobi, stopping overnight at the town of Kericho (approximately 9 hours, including border crossings). Kericho sits at the edge of South- Western Mau National Reserve and is known for its vast tea estates. On arrival, visit a tea plantation and sample a delicious brew or two.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kericho - Tea plantation visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight's camp is on the grounds of a hotel with upgrades available (subject to availability)
This morning drive to the famous Masai Mara National Park (approximately 7-hours). 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. Explore this diverse environment and view a multitude of wildlife on an evening 4WD game drive.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masai Mara - 4x4 Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve for a full day's 4WD game drive. You'll explore this diverse environment and most likely see a multitude of wildlife. An optional balloon ride over the Mara at sunrise is an unforgettable experience. If you have pre-booked this activity (see the 'Important Notes' section) you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing from your pilot. Then you will glide through the dawn, sometimes at tree height, which provides amazing photo opportunities. Sometimes you will ascend, getting an overview of the enormity of the plains and of the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a bush breakfast before returning to your campsite.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Full Day 4x4 Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Balloon ride (from price) - USD500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The balloon ride is offered as a pre-booked service which will guarantee you a place. If you would rather wait and try to get a better price by booking this locally on the ground, you are welcome to, but keep in mind that this is a popular activity and places are limited. If you participate in this activity you will miss the morning half of the included game drive.
Say goodbye to the open expanses of the African bush and return to the bustling metropolis of Nairobi (approximately 5-6 hours). Pass by the remote region of Loita Hills, home of the traditional Maasai people. Here you will make a stop to visit the Maasai, known for their vibrant red dress and elaborate jewellery, and gain an insight into the culture and ancient ways of this proud East African Community. Meet your Maasai hosts and enjoy a fascinating talk, full of insights into this remarkable and ancient culture, from a local elder. Enjoy being shown around a traditional Maasai home and their cattle enclosures. On arrival in Nairobi you'll be dropped at your finishing point hotel. No accommodation is provided for tonight, but we are able to book you additional accommodation in Nairobi – please ask at the time of booking.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Please don't book any international flights until after 6:30pm this evening

Meals

15 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 14 dinners

Transport

Overland vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (13 nights), Hotel (1 night), Hotel with shared facilities (1 night)

Included activities

  • Lake Nakuru - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Lake Nakuru - Morning Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Overland Vehicle Game Drive
  • Bwindi National Park - Mountain Gorilla Permit & Trek
  • Kericho - Tea plantation visit
  • Masai Mara - 4x4 Game Drive
  • Masai Mara National Reserve - Full Day 4x4 Game Drive

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1.This trip requires a higher non-refundable deposit (AUD1000, USD1000, EUR800, NZD1250, GBP650, CAD1000, ZAR8000, CHF900) in order to secure the included gorilla permit. We also require full passport details at time of booking. Please note that we need to confirm availability of a gorilla permit if you are booking within 45 days of departure. The additional deposit paid at time of booking will be credited to the final balance of your booking.
2. A single supplement is available for all nights on this trip, subject to availability.
3. This trip finishes upon arrival in Nairobi on Day 16. Please do not book any flights until after 6.30pm this evening.

Essential trip information

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