Gorillas & Masai Mara

Gorillas & Masai Mara

Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda

Fantastic Kenyan wildlife and the endangered Mountain gorillas. 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.

$200 off per person


Highlights:

Nairobi, Masai Mara, Nakuru, Eldoret, Jinja, Murchison Falls, Budongo, Kampala, Queen Elizabeth N.P. Bwindi, Kisoro, Kigali.

Includes:

• All breakfasts
• All accommodation
• All transport and listed activities
• Tour leader throughout

Related Services Available to Add:

15 nights

Price Range: $$$$$


Date of first travel is no later than 31 DEC 2020.

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View Itinerary

Day 1 - Start Nairobi; overnight in hotel.
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

Day 2 - To Masai Mara; late afternoon game drive.
After loading our things onto the overland vehicle we depart Nairobi and travel approximately 7 hours into the Masai Mara, one of the most famous ecosystems in the world. This vast grassland is teeming with life; plains game including wildebeest, gazelle, topi, zebra and buffalo abound in the rolling savannah, and never far away lay the predators; cheetah, lion and hyena. Between mid-August to late October one of the greatest spectacles on Earth takes place in the Mara - the annual migration of thousands of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra trampling their way across the long grass. Nothing is guaranteed on safari, but with the help of our brilliant guides you should see and learn a huge amount about the Masai Mara's resident wildlife as we game drive through the park this afternoon.
Accommodation: Mara Springs Camp or similar Comfortable Camping
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 - Full day in the Masai Mara.
A full day game drive in the Masai Mara to increase our chances of encountering many of the wildlife species found in the reserve. We find a quiet spot inside the park to enjoy lunch by our vehicle, looking out across the plains. There is also an optional Hot Air Balloon Safari in time for sunrise (including champagne and breakfast).
Accommodation: Mara Springs Camp or similar Comfortable Camping
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 - To Lake Nakuru N.P.; afternoon game drive.
We depart the Masai Mara in the morning after breakfast and drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the finest small parks within Kenya, where we have an afternoon game drive. Protected by an electric fence, the park is widely known for its impressive population of Black and White rhino which are relatively easy to spot on game drives in the open savannah. Fever trees line the park and are a well-known spot for leopards to laze in, whilst one of the most impressive sights is the vast flamingo population. Owing to flooding the alkaline content of the lake has changed in recent years and as a result the flamingos no longer tend to be found in such large numbers, but this can change depending on the rainfall.
Accommodation: Alps Hotel Nakuru or similar Standard Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 - Morning game drive in Nakuru N.P.; to Eldoret.
This morning we once again go in search of wildlife on a game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park. After lunch inside the park, we have a journey of around 3 hrs as we drive to Eldoret, one of Kenya's larger cities, where we spend the night.
Accommodation: Greenwood Resort or similar Standard Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 - To Jinja, Uganda.
Today there is a long drive of about 250km to Jinja, which should take about 8 hours, including a border crossing into Uganda. The border crossing can be slow but we leave plenty of time for this and you'll no doubt find the experience interesting! Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Jinja is the adventure capital of Uganda and the source of the River Nile. The area is most famous for grade IV and V white-water rafting excursions but there are plenty of other adrenaline fuelled activities here.
Accommodation: Adrift Camp or similar Comfortable Camping
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 - Free day for optional activities.
Today is free to choose from a range of optional activities. White-water rafting in Jinja is considered to be amongst the best in the world, with a half or full day route that varies from quiet pools and forested islands to thunderous rapids and drops. There are several grade V rapids to navigate including 'Big Brother', 'Overtime' and 'Silverback'. If rafting doesn't appeal, you can join a village walk, learn about a vibrant community project known as Soft Power which supports education, or visit the source of the White Nile.
Accommodation: Adrift Camp or similar Comfortable Camping
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 - To Murchison Falls.
We leave Jinja and drive to Murchison Falls National Park, a journey which should take us 6 hrs. Murchison Falls N.P. is the largest of Uganda’s national parks and covers an area of 5081 sq kms, with rolling grasslands and wooded savannah. Tomorrow we visit the top of the falls, where the river narrows from 50 metres to crash through a 7 metre gorge, falling 45 metres to the rocks below. A truly impressive sight!
Accommodation: Sambiya River Lodge or similar Comfortable Camping
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 - Full day Murchison Falls.
This morning we have an early morning game drive in search of wildlife in Murchison Falls N.P. We transfer by ferry to the north side of the Nile where we embark our game drive. Murchison Falls N.P. is home to elephants, giraffe, buffalo and Uganda kobs, as well as the predators: lions and leopards. After lunch we travel by boat up the Nile, passing hippos and crocodiles, searching for elephants and waterbuck that come to the river to drink. The cruise lasts about 3 hrs, and will travel upstream to the bottom of the falls, stopping just 10 metres from the ‘Devil’s Cauldron’, the place where the water bursts through the narrow gorge and creates an outstanding rainbow.
Accommodation: Sambiya River Lodge or similar Comfortable Camping
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 - Chimpanzee Tracking in Budongo.
We depart early this morning for Budongo Forest, which is home to the largest numbers of chimpanzees in Uganda; we will go on a trek in search of chimpanzees and other wildlife. The walking is fairly easy due to the well-maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain. Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be surrounded by bird song and hope to see both Velvet and Colobus monkeys, wild pigs and of course the chimpanzee. Once a chimpanzee family is found, we will have an hour with these fascinating creatures, to watch them interact and play with each other.
Accommodation: Red Chilli Kampala or similar Standard Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 - To Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Today we a long drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). The park resides in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery. It is Uganda’s most popular and accessible savannah reserve, with a total area of 1978 square kilometres. It is primarily associated with grassy savannah plains, but this impressive park also includes within its boundaries leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps and natural volcanic crater lakes. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 species of birds.
Accommodation: Parkview Lodge or similar Standard Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 - Full day Queen Elizabeth National Park.
This morning we will explore QENP on a game drive in search of wildlife including elephants, lions, buffalo, leopard, hyena, jackal, topi, kob, bush buck and various others. In the afternoon we have a boat trip of about two hours along the Kazinga Channel to view some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world (reported to be about 30,000) and other game with excellent birding.
Accommodation: Parkview Lodge or similar Standard Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13 - To Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
We have a final early morning game drive in QENP and depart after breakfast, heading for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the Mountain gorillas. The journey is 300kms and takes 5-6 hours including stops along the way.
Accommodation: Bunyonyi Overland Resort or similar Standard Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14 - Trek to see Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
You will probably remember today for the rest of your life as we spend a full hour in the company of a family of Mountain gorillas! Owing to the nature of the terrain and the need to explore to find the gorillas, our trek doesn't follow a path and instead our guides will cut a route through the undergrowth. After a safety briefing, we are assigned to a gorilla family group and begin our trek. You should expect a minimum of three hours walking on irregular terrain in order to find the gorillas; steep ascents and descents over muddy slopes are the norm. Strong footwear is essential and we recommend hiring a local porter to help you carry your bag/camera equipment and provide a steady, supportive hand (porters will be arranged and paid for locally on the day).
Seeing wild Mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is an experience you will never forget. An adult male can weigh up to 195kg, a female up to 100kg, and a male can reach 1.7m in height. They are almost exclusively vegetarian and quite destructive eaters, which makes them unpopular with the farmers lower down the mountain slopes as they have been known to wreck a whole field of crops just to eat one plant. For this reason, and also because of poaching, the gorillas are very carefully protected. Gorillas are gentle creatures and are not known to attack unless very severely provoked. The family groups that we trek to see are habituated to human presence but to prevent over familiarisation our time with them is limited to one hour. The minimum distance that we must keep is 8 metres - we are not permitted any closer because gorillas are very susceptible to human disease. Please note that anyone with a cold or any similar ailment may not be permitted to join the trek.
Accommodation: Bunyonyi Overland Resort or similar Standard Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15 - Optional second Mountain gorilla trek. To Kigali.
This morning there is the option of getting a second gorilla permit, though due to the limited number of permits, this should be obtained at time of booking. For those who choose not to go on a second gorilla trek, there are other walks which you can do nearby or you can relax, reminiscing about the previous day’s encounters.
In the afternoon, we cross the border into Rwanda and head to Kigali (those on the second Gorilla trek will typically be transferred separately).
Please note that on some departures, due to availability of permits, we may have to swap these two days over with the free day (and optional second gorilla trek) on day 14 and the included gorilla trek on day 15 or we may have to split the group to trek with gorillas across both days.
Accommodation: Beausejour Hotel or similar Comfortable Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16 - Morning visit to the Genocide Museum and end.
Rwanda is a country widely remembered for the genocide of 1994 in which over a million people were killed. There is a moving museum in Kigali to commemorate this time in Rwanda's history which we visit this morning. Our trip comes to an end in the afternoon where we bid Rwanda and our group goodbye. Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for the flight to London.
Meals included: Breakfast

Trip operated by Exodus travels. Prices will be quoted in CAD. CDN$ per person, land only. Based on double occupancy. Other dates available, prices may vary, please contact us for details.

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