The Masai Mara, a vast grassland teeming with animals, has an astonishing amount 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. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly an hour with Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda.

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Why We Love It

Travel on a classic overland expedition visiting Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda and their famous national parks

Enjoy a precious hour in the company of Uganda's Mountain gorillas's Mountain gorillas on one of the world’s best wildlife experiences

Spend a full day discovering the vast plains and abundant wildlife of the Masai Mara, viewing plains game and predators

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Day by day Itinerary

Gorillas & Masai Mara

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Day 1

Kigali

This evening there is a welcoming briefing to meet your guide.

Day 2

Kigali - Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

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. After lunch we will cross the border into Uganda and drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the home of wild Mountain gorillas. (B)(L)(D)

Day 3

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. (B)(L)(D)

Day 4

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

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 at our campsite, reminiscing about the previous day’s encounters.

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 3 and the included gorilla trek on day 4 or we may have to split the group to trek with gorillas across both days. (B)(L)(D)

Day 5

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest - Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today we 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. (B)(L)(D)

Day 6

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. (B)(L)(D)

Day 7

Queen Elizabeth National Park - Budongo

We have a long drive today covering about 450 kms from Queen Elizabeth N.P. to Budongo. The drive goes north along the eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains, where, weather permitting, we can see the glaciated peaks. We will pass through tea and sugar cane plantations, stopping for lunch en route.  We expect to arrive in Budongo in the late afternoon. (B)(L)(D)

Day 8

Budongo - Murchison Falls

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, forest elephants 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. In the afternoon we drive to Murchison Falls where we spend the next two nights. (B)(L)(D)

Day 9

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. (B)(L)(D)

Day 10

Murchison Falls - Jinja

After a short game drive through the park, we leave Murchison Falls National Park and drive to Jinja today, a journey which should take us 6 hrs.  Passing through untouched forest and tree plantations, we arrive in Jinja around 3pm, and the rest of the afternoon is free to relax.  (B)(L)(D)

Day 11

Jinja

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. (B)(L)(D)

Day 12

Jinja - Eldoret

Today there is a long drive of about 250km to Eldoret which should take about 8 hours, including a border crossing into Kenya. The border crossing can be slow but we leave plenty of time for this and you'll no doubt find the experience interesting! (B)(L)(D)

Day 13

Eldoret - Lake Nakuru National Park

We depart the Eldoret in the morning after breakfast and drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the finest small parks within Kenya, where we spend the day on a game drive in the park. 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. (B)(L)(D)

Day 14

Lake Nakuru National Park - Masai Mara

Today we travel 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. Stay in a permanent tented camp just outside the reserve for the next two nights. (B)(L)(D)

Day 15

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 are also several optional excursions that you can enjoy today in addition to the game drive. Get up early for a sunrise Hot Air Balloon Safari (including champagne and breakfast) or visit a traditional Masaai village to meet the locals. (B)(L)(D)

Day 16

Masai Mara - Nairobi

We will depart after breakfast for Nairobi. We travel up through the escarpement of the Rift Valley looking back on classic African views with acacia trees scattering the vast landscape. Trip ends on arrival in Nairobi. (B)

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