Travel into the heart of Africa to Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda

A close encounter with gentle giants on a gorilla safari in Rwanda is an extraordinary African experience that will always stay with you - and it's just one of the many wildlife spottings 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 to spot lions, rhinos, chimps, antelope, hippos, leopards and more in their natural habitats. The staggeringly beautiful African countryside will provide memories that last a lifetime.

** In 2018 this itinerary will visit the gorilla's in Uganda rather than Rwanda. This change is due to the 2018 Rwanda gorilla permits doubling in price. Further we will no longer visit Lake Bunyoni and have only 1 night in Queen Elizabeth National Park, missing the included game drive. Instead we will have 2 nights at Masai Mara National Reserve with an included full day game drive. **


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

Why we love this trip

  • 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

  • The chance to spot and get close to all of the Big Five in Queen Elizabeth National Park

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

  • Experience the two sides of Jinja, a riverside retreat at the source of the Nile but also the adventure capital of Uganda

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 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. 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.

  • 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 is a participatory camping trip. You will be expected to set up and take down you own tent as well as assist with food preparation and cleaning. This makes it quicker, easier, more fun and will bring the group closer together.

  • Some passengers on this trip will have been travelling together prior to the start of your trip, so they can help you get into the groove quickly.

Itinerary

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

Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your Africa adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Have your insurance details and next of kin information available for collection at this meeting. If you have the time, 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.

Notes: Unfortunately petty crime has become fairly 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Nairobi - National Museum - USD10
  • Nairobi - Karen Blixen museum - USD14
  • Nairobi - National Park safari walk - USD30
  • Nairobi - Carnivore Restaurant - KES3600
  • Nairobi - Bomas of Kenya - USD12
  • Nairobi - Langata Giraffe Sanctuary - KES1200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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. Arrive in time for a short evening game drive along the shore of the lake. Your camp tonight is located inside the park and has flush toilets and showers. Accommodation upgrades and WiFi are not available.

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 - Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 campsite is located before Eldoret town. It has basic flush toilets and showers, with upgrades available.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lake Nakuru - Morning Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will leave Kenya behind and cross the border into landlocked Uganda, travelling on to its capital city, Kampala (approximately 8 hours, though it could take longer depending on border crossings). With a population of over 30 million, Uganda is 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. As today is a long travel day, take a break from setting up camp with a stay at a hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Travel to Kalinzu Forest National Park (approximately 9 hours). Some of inhabitants include chimpanzees, black and white colobus, baboon, red-tailed monkey, both blue and red duiker, bushbuck, waterbuck, giant forest hog, buffalo and elephants.Your camp tonight has basic facilities with no upgrades available.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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.
Then 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)
Included Activities
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game Drive
Optional Activities
  • Kalinzu Forest - Chimp trek - USD70
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Kazinga Channel boat cruise - USD30
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today, take a game drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park. During your time in the park it's hoped you'll see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game Drive
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today travel south to Lake Bunyonyi on the border with Rwanda (approximately 7 hours), with a stop along the way to stock up on supplies 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, explore the hilly, terraced shores of the lake. One of the best ways to admire the landscape is from the lake itself; hire a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro) and glide across the water, hopping between the little islands dotted around. They can be hard to master at first but great fun. Your campground has flush toilets, basic showers, WiFi access and upgrades possible.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Lake Bunyonyi - Mokoro hire (per day) - USD20
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Cross the boarder into Rwanda and set up camp at Ruhengeri, the gateway to the land of the gorillas (approximately 7 hours). You'll make a stop en route at Kigali and visit the very moving genocide memorial. There is also the option to hire an audio guide at the memorial to learn more about this dark part of recent history. Continue on to Ruhengeri, the entrance to Volcanoes National Park, the oldest national park in Africa, which was created to protect the habitat of the gorillas. There are two days allowed 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. Depending on availability, you will stay in dormitories at a local church mission. If the dormitories are not available you will camp for these 3 nights.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial Visit
Optional Activities
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial Audio Guide - USD15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Joined by a local guide and trackers, climb through rugged mountain terrain to meet the eyes of these rare animals. 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. 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 ones laze in the trees or play like children. Your visit with the gorillas will last one unforgettable hour.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Volcanoes National Park - Mountain gorilla trek & permit
Optional Activities
  • Volcanoes National Park - Nature walk Rwanda - USD55
  • Volcanoes National Park - Additional gorilla trek and permit - USD1140
  • Ruhengeri - Venge Village walk - USD35
  • Volcanoes National Park - Dian Fossey's Memorial - USD90
  • Volcanoes National Park - Golden Monkeys Trek Permit - USD115
  • Volcanoes National Park - Full Day Mt. Bisoke Hike - USD75
  • Ruhengeri - Twin Lakes Afternoon Tour - USD35
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 Ruhengeri. You can head out on more rainforest hikes to see monkeys, on nature walks, a hike up Mt Bisoke or a walk to the memorial for naturalist Dian Fossey. Please keep in mind that the prices of these optionals are not inclusive of transport costs to and from the activity. Your guide will organise transport for you to be paid locally.

Notes: You can also arrange to partake in an additional gorilla trek on your free day. If you wish to trek on both days, we highly recommend pre-purchasing the additional permit well in advance to avoid disappointment. Please speak to your booking agent about arranging this.The additional gorilla permit 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 gorilla permits often sell out.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Volcanoes National Park - Dian Fossey's Memorial - USD90
  • Volcanoes National Park - Golden Monkeys Trek Permit - USD115
  • Volcanoes National Park - Full Day Mt. Bisoke Hike - USD75
  • Volcanoes National Park - Nature walk Rwanda - USD55
  • Volcanoes National Park - Additional gorilla trek and permit - USD1140
  • Ruhengeri - Venge Village walk - USD35
  • Ruhengeri - Twin Lakes Afternoon Tour - USD35
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.
Much of today will be spent travelling as you return to Uganda and complete border formalities. It's possible for most nationalities to purchase a re-entry visa at this land crossing but please check before travelling. Then it's on to the pit-stop town of Mbarara near the shores of Lake Victoria for the night (approximately 8 hours including border crossings). Relax at camp in the afternoon or perhaps walk into town.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you'll continue your journey inland, travelling to Jinja via Kampala. Stop at the equator and then at Kampala - a great place to wander around on foot, exploring its markets and shops (approx 7 hrs). Jinja 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. Camp at a scenic riverside site with showers, flush toilets, WiFi and ATM access, and upgrades possible.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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 who wants to do something really worthwhile in a beautiful area. Maybe get active with some excellent white water rafting.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Jinja - River Nile whitewater rafting (half day) - USD125
  • Jinja - River Nile whitewater rafting (full day) - USD140
  • Jinja - Village Walk - USD10
  • Jinja - Nile Boat Cruise - USD20
  • Jinja - Source of River Nile tour - USD10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you'll begin the journey back to Nairobi, dropping by the town of Eldoret once again for an overnight stop along the way (approximately 8 hours). Tonight's camp has basic facilities with upgrades available.
Accommodation
  • Camping (with facilities) (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
To reduce your travelling time back to Nairobi, you may wish to consider a flight from Entebbe Airport to Nairobi at an additional cost. A transfer to the airport can be arranged locally for $70 USD and will take approx 4.5 hours. Flights should not be booked before midday.
On arrival in Nairobi you'll be dropped at your finishing point hotel (approximately 7 hours). 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 a bit longer then perhaps book the Nairobi by Night Urban Adventure to have a final night with your new friends.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Please don't book any international flights until after 6.30pm this evening

Meals

15 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 14 dinners

Transport

4x4 Safari Vehicle, Overland vehicle

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (10 nights), Dormitory (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Lake Nakuru - Game Drive
  • Lake Nakuru - Morning Game Drive
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park - Game Drive
  • Kigali - Genocide Memorial Visit
  • Volcanoes National Park - Mountain gorilla trek & permit

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 on this trip. Please see your booking agent for further information. Please note, the single supplement does not apply to nights 9-11 spent in a dormitory.
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

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 & Game Parks trips score an average of 4.67 out of 5 based on 218 reviews in the last year.

Gorillas & Game Parks, October 2017

Pamela Wade

Gorillas & Game Parks, October 2017

Klair O'Brien