Gorillas, Game Parks & Beaches

Gorillas, Game Parks & Beaches

From $ 6,700 AUD

Description

Journey through the heart of East Africa and be amazed by the astounding diversity of landscapes and wildlife – verdant highlands, steamy rainforests, tropical beaches and waving grasslands that are home to some of the planet’s most amazing animals. Get closer to nature than you ever imagined in the game parks of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar. Enjoy the unforgettable experience of being so near to lions, elephants, buffaloes, hippos, giraffes, flamingos and chimpanzees, not to mention sitting in the presence of rare mountain gorillas in the Ugandan rainforest. Along the way, meet local people whose friendly smiles and sense of community are inspiring. The wonders of East Africa will remain vivid in your memory long after this tour ends.

Trip Name
Gorillas, Game Parks & Beaches
Last Updated
2019-11-19
Days
27
Capacity
22
Highlights
  • 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
  • Experience the two sides of Jinja, a riverside retreat at the source of the Nile but also the adventure capital of Uganda
  • Embark on a safari across the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater and the savannas of the Serengeti in an open roof safari 4x4 for a chance to see a Black Rhino and the Big 5.
  • Wander around Stone Town’s bustling bazaars and fragrant spice markets and receive a guided tour of the spice plantations

Itinerary

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. ROAD CONDITIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN AFRICA: Roads in Africa are often in very poor condition, which makes it hard on our vehicles. Our vehicles are serviced regularly and are generally in good condition, but breakdowns can and do happen. Sometimes the going on this trip is quite tough, the distances covered fairly large and some of the roads and tracks are not exactly smooth or free from dust, but the rewards are exceptional. The travelling times indicated in our Essential Trip Information is just a rough guide and is dependent on various factors that may be outside our control, such as road conditions, weather and time spent at borders. DRIVE TIMES: The travel times listed in the day to day itinerary are a guide only. Please be aware that delays may occur and please be patient - it's all part of the experience afterall! Additionally, the travel times do not include time spent on game drives as these can vary with each departure.

Day 1 - Nairobi
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.
Day 2 - Lake Nakuru National Park
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.
Day 3 - Eldoret
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.
Day 4 - Kampala
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.
Day 5 - Kalinzu Forest
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.
Day 6 - Queen Elizabeth National Park
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.
Day 7 - Kisoro
Today, drive out of the Queen Elizabeth National Park on your way to the southwest tip of Uganda (approximately 6-7 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 – like in Mgahinga, Nkuringo, Rushaga and Nshongi. The camp here has basic flush toilets and showers, with upgrades available.
Day 8 - Gorilla Trek
Joined by a local guide and trackers, climb through the rugged mountain terrain of Bwindi National Park to meet the eyes of 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 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.
Day 9 - Gorilla Trek
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.
Day 10 - Mbarara
Farewell the lands of the Gorilla and turn back towards the capital, Kampala. You’ll break up the journey at the pit-stoptown of Mbarara for the night (approximately 5-6 hours driving). There’s not much dressing up what is really just a stopping point, so spend the afternoon and evening relaxing at the camp, or maybe have a quick look around the town.
Day 11 - Jinja
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.
Day 12 - Jinja
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.
Day 13 - Kericho
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. Tonight's camp is on the grounds of a hotel with upgrades available.
Day 14 - Masai Mara National Reserve
This morning after breakfast, take the chance to visit one of the tea plantation the town is known for, learning about tea growing and production in Kenya. Afterwards, drive to the famous Masai Mara National Park (approximately 7 hours drive). 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 4x4 game drive.
Day 15 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve for a full day's 4x4 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, then be returned to your campsite.
Day 16 - Nairobi
Return to Nairobi for a free evening seeing any sights you may have missed on Day 1. As this is a combination trip, some of your group may depart today and new travellers may arrive for the next leg. Feel free to join them for a dinner or strike out on your own to find some Kenyan fare.
Day 17 - Mto Wa Mbu
Depart early for Mto Wa Mbu in your overland truck (approximately 8–9 hours). The trip includes a border crossing from Kenya into Tanzania, so be sure to have your passport handy. While you're on the road, there will be a stop at an ATM and a market or shop to stock up on any supplies you might need for the coming days. Arrive in Mto Wa Mbu and acquaint yourself with this delightful small village – it's a fascinating snapshot of small-town African life, situated well off the tourist trail. Tonight you'll stay at a campsite with flush toilets, showers and optional upgrades (subject to availability).
Day 18 - Ngorongoro Crater / Serengeti National Park
Get up early, put your camping and personal gear into a six-person jeep and head out for an excursion into the Serengeti via the Ngorongoro Crater. Enjoy a safari in the crater, spending between three and four hours exploring this incredible, perfectly intact volcanic crater. Watch for black rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants, impalas, zebras and hippos. The crater floor offers excellent game viewing all year round (some 30,000 animals live here) and the photo opportunities here are unrivalled. Next it's on to the wide open plains of the Serengeti. Green after the rains, brown and burnt in the dry season, this is perhaps the quintessential image of Africa – the home of thousands of hoofed animals and fierce predators. Your campsite is within the Serengeti itself, so listen out for the sounds of nocturnal animals as you drift off to sleep. The camp is basic with limited running water and no upgrades or WiFi available.
Day 19 - Serengeti National Park
Awake at dawn and embark on a game drive. You will head out while the animals are at their most active, then head back to camp for brunch at around 11 am. After spending the middle of the day relaxing, just like the animals do, head out again as the day begins to cool. You'll return from this second game drive in time for dinner.  There's also the option of a balloon ride over the park today (in place of some of the morning game drive). If you have pre-booked this activity (please see the 'Important Notes' section) you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site. After a safety briefing, 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 the early morning movements of the teeming herds. After landing, you'll be treated to a five-star bush breakfast, then be returned to your camp.
Day 20 - Serengeti National Park / Mto Wa Mbu
Rise with the sun and enjoy another game drive as you exit the Serengeti. Jump back into your overland vehicle and head for Mto wa Mbu. Once camp is set-up join the local community for a guided stroll around the farming areas, milling machine, and local homes and farmlands, before a local meal in town.
Day 21 - Usambara Mountains
Prepare yourself for a long travel day heading for the Usambara Mountains (approximately ten hours). Stretch your legs during a brief supply stop in Arusha, then jump back in the vehicle and watch the ever-changing scenery, read your favourite book or get to really know your fellow travellers. Your base will be Lushoto, an old German colony and home to the Wasambaa people. This highland town sits at approximately 1400 metres and this evening you'll camp in the grounds of one of the oldest hotels in Africa.
Day 22 - Usambara Mountains
Explore the beautiful Usambara Mountains, a lovely unspoilt area of Tanzania. Unlike the coast and the north, very few tourists visit this part of the country, so it has a freshness that can be hard to find elsewhere. As beautiful as the surrounding mountains and rainforests are, however, the real jewels here are the local people and villages. You'll experience some gentle hospitality on a visit to some of the small local communities. From your base, you will take a walk out to the gorgeous Irente viewpoint. It's best to pack some water and snacks in a day pack for this trip. On your way back, visit a local cultural project based at Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Day 23 - Dar es Salaam
Leaving the mountains behind, travel still further south to the coastal town of Kipepeo Beach in Dar es Salaam (380km, approximately 8-9 hours). Your camp at Kipepeo is by the beach, so make the most of it – perhaps take a stroll along the shore after you arrive and settle in. The camp is on the grounds of a hotel with upgrades usually possible
Day 24 - Stone Town
Catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar. Filled with idyllic beaches, winding cobblestone alleyways and fragrant bazaars, Zanzibar has a colourful history – everything from slave traders to Arabian sultans and fruit exporters. The sight of traditional dhows sailing along the coast evokes what the island must have been like in Livingstone's day. The old part of Zanzibar's main city is known as Stone Town. The best way to see this exotic port town is on foot, exploring the markets, shops, mosques, palaces and courtyards. When the sun is setting, perhaps enjoy a sundowner from a bar overlooking the seafront, and a seafood curry at a local restaurant. Spend a night in Stone Town at a basic inn with double/twin-share rooms and access to WiFi.
Day 25 - Zanzibar Northern Beaches
Check out of your Stone Town hotel and either drive to the spice plantations for your optional guided tour, or head directly to the perfect northern beaches. On the spice plantations guided tour you can learn all about the history of this town's renowned spice trade. You will also have the opportunity to touch, smell and taste various spices, such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger. Sample some teas made with these spices too. After lunch here you will head to the northern beaches, where white sands and sparkling blue seas await, and reunite with your group. This is the Indian Ocean at its best.
Day 26 - Zanzibar Northern Beaches
Enjoy free time in this beautiful archipelago today. There are many ways you can spend your day – perhaps talk to your leader for any recommendations they might have. Snorkelling in search of exotic fish is an excellent option. You might also like to feast on a sumptuous lunch of grilled local seafood, or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree with a good book.
Day 27 - Stone Town
After checking out this morning, you will make your way back to Stone Town, arriving at the hotel around 12pm. Your trip comes to an end here.  From here the easiest option is to fly out of Zanzibar Airport. However, if you have arranged to fly out of Dar es Salaam Airport ferries depart Zanzibar at 7.30 am, 9.30 am, 12.30 pm and 3.30 pm. It's important to allow enough time to get back to the mainland if you need to catch your departing flight from Dar es Salaam. Speak to your leader about the best way to do this.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
07-12-201902-01-2020AUD $ 6,800-
21-12-201916-01-2020AUD $ 6,760-
28-12-201923-01-2020AUD $ 6,700-
04-01-202030-01-2020AUD $ 6,950-
11-01-202006-02-2020AUD $ 6,950-
18-01-202013-02-2020AUD $ 6,950-
01-02-202027-02-2020AUD $ 6,950-
08-02-202005-03-2020AUD $ 6,750-
07-03-202002-04-2020AUD $ 6,750-
21-03-202016-04-2020AUD $ 6,750-
09-05-202004-06-2020AUD $ 6,750-
16-05-202011-06-2020AUD $ 7,205-
30-05-202025-06-2020AUD $ 7,205-
06-06-202002-07-2020AUD $ 7,205-
13-06-202009-07-2020AUD $ 7,205-
20-06-202016-07-2020AUD $ 7,205-
27-06-202023-07-2020AUD $ 7,205-
04-07-202030-07-2020AUD $ 7,495-
07-07-202002-08-2020AUD $ 7,495-
11-07-202006-08-2020AUD $ 7,495-
18-07-202013-08-2020AUD $ 7,495-
25-07-202020-08-2020AUD $ 7,495-
28-07-202023-08-2020AUD $ 7,495-
01-08-202027-08-2020AUD $ 7,780-
08-08-202003-09-2020AUD $ 7,780-
11-08-202006-09-2020AUD $ 7,780-
15-08-202010-09-2020AUD $ 7,780-
22-08-202017-09-2020AUD $ 7,780-
29-08-202024-09-2020AUD $ 7,780-
05-09-202001-10-2020AUD $ 7,780-
08-09-202004-10-2020AUD $ 7,780-
12-09-202008-10-2020AUD $ 7,780-
19-09-202015-10-2020AUD $ 7,780-
26-09-202022-10-2020AUD $ 7,780-
03-10-202029-10-2020AUD $ 7,495-
10-10-202005-11-2020AUD $ 7,495-
17-10-202012-11-2020AUD $ 7,495-
31-10-202026-11-2020AUD $ 7,495-
14-11-202010-12-2020AUD $ 7,205-
21-11-202017-12-2020AUD $ 7,205-
05-12-202031-12-2020AUD $ 7,205-

Accommodation

Camping (with facilities) (18 nights),Camping (with basic facilities) (2 nights),Bungalow (2 nights),Hotel (4 nights),Hotel with shared facilities (1 night)

Transport

Overland vehicle,4x4 Safari Vehicle,Ferry,Minbus

Map