fbpx

Gorillas & Game Parks

Gorillas & Game Parks

From $ 4,640 AUD

Description

A close encounter with gentle giants on a gorilla safari in Uganda is an extraordinary experience that will always stay with you – and it’s just one of the many wildlife sightings this unforgettable Lonely Planet Experience 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, antelopes, hippos, leopards and more in their natural habitats. The staggeringly beautiful African landscape will provide memories that last a lifetime.

Trip Name
Gorillas & Game Parks
Last Updated
2020-09-25
Days
16
Capacity
22
Highlights
  • With permits included in the price of the trip, take a trek through Uganda's steamy forests to seek out rare mountain gorillas and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence.
  • Head out on an early evening game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park, which is particularly famous for its rhino population.
  • Spend a few days at your own pace in Jinja, which can be either a relaxing riverside retreat or an adrenaline-pumping adventure capital depending on what you feel like.
  • Build the adventure that’s perfect for you with a mixture of included activities and optional ones – like a chimpanzee trek in Kalinzu Forest.
  • 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.

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 review this information 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 such 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 maybe 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 in the Group Meeting 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. URBAN ADVENTURES: Join us for the Best. Day. Ever. Urban Adventures are for those who want to get away from the tourist crowds and really connect with a city, with a local by their side. The experience can be as short as a couple of hours, or as long as a whole day, but in every case our Urban Adventures tours take travellers to interesting places to experience local culture and see what makes a place unique. If you are travelling before or after your trip with us and would like to book an Urban Adventure in advance, please contact your booking agent or use this link: http://www.urbanadventures.com/?aff=2226. While on tour with us, your leader can assist in booking other Urban Adventures.

Day 1 - Nairobi
Jambo! Welcome to Kenya. Your Lonely Planet Experience, powered by Intrepid, begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, but if you arrive early, why not head out and soak up the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Nairobi. There are plenty of good bars and restaurants, and markets and shops for essentials as well as arts and crafts from the region. After the welcome meeting, perhaps join your new travel companions for an optional group dinner.
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 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.
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. Tonight, enjoy a traditional dinner at your campsite located just outside of Eldoret town.
Day 4 - Kampala
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.
Day 5 - Kalinzu Forest
Travel to Kalinzu Forest National Park (approximately 9 hours). Some of its inhabitants include chimpanzees, black and white colobuses, baboons, red-tailed monkeys, both blue and red duikers, bushbucks, waterbucks, giant forest hogs, buffalo and elephants. On arrival, settle into your camp and perhaps stretch your legs and explore your surrounds with the rest of the group.
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. Later, take the short drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park. Once camp is set up 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 a 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 7-hour drive). On this short game drive, cross your fingers and look out for elephants, buffalo, 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.
Day 8 - Gorilla Trek
Joined by a local guide and trackers, climb through the rugged mountain terrain of Bwindi National Park to encounter rare gorillas. No more than eight people per day can visit any one habituated family and visits are strictly controlled to minimise disturbance or the chances of 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 four hours – up and down hills. 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, or if your legs are up for it, join a challenging hike up Mt Sabinyo – one of five volcanoes located in the Parc National des Volcans – or perhaps take a day excursion over the border to Rwanda to visit the genocide memorial, art museum and Nyamirambo women’s center. However, please ensure you have a Rwanda or East Africa visa.
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-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.
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 tomorrow's 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. You’ll enjoy two days here at your own pace, with a bunch of optional activities to choose from (at extra cost) if you want. Maybe get active with some whitewater 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. On arrival, visit a tea plantation and sample a delicious brew or two.
Day 14 - Masai Mara National Reserve
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.
Day 15 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve for a day-long 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 you will be picked up before dawn and driven to the launch site for a safety briefing from your pilot. You’ll then glide through the dawn skies, 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.
Day 16 - Nairobi
Return to the bustling metropolis of Nairobi (approximately 5–6 hours). Stop en route in Loita Hills, home of the traditional Maasai people, and visit Tepesua Village. You’ll be welcomed by Maasai Warriors through traditional song and dance. Meet your Maasai hosts and enjoy a fascinating talk, full of insights into this remarkable and ancient culture. Take a walk to the community village which was founded for widows who had lost their cows due to drought and can never remarry. The village offers support, safety and economic growth through the Tepesua Widows Income Project. Here the women are engaged in making handicrafts and sewing eco-friendly handbags and backpacks to sell to visiting travellers and locals. On arrival in Nairobi you'll be dropped at your finishing point hotel, where your trip ends on arrival.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
05-12-202020-12-2020AUD $ 4,735-
19-12-202003-01-2021AUD $ 4,735-
02-01-202117-01-2021AUD $ 4,970-
16-01-202131-01-2021AUD $ 4,780-
20-02-202107-03-2021AUD $ 4,780-
06-03-202121-03-2021AUD $ 4,780-
24-04-202109-05-2021AUD $ 4,780-
08-05-202123-05-2021AUD $ 4,780-
05-06-202120-06-2021AUD $ 4,970-
12-06-202127-06-2021AUD $ 4,970-
19-06-202104-07-2021AUD $ 4,970-
26-06-202111-07-2021AUD $ 4,970-
03-07-202118-07-2021AUD $ 5,160-
10-07-202125-07-2021AUD $ 5,160-
17-07-202101-08-2021AUD $ 5,160-
24-07-202108-08-2021AUD $ 5,160-
27-07-202111-08-2021AUD $ 5,160-
07-08-202122-08-2021AUD $ 5,160-
14-08-202129-08-2021AUD $ 5,160-
28-08-202112-09-2021AUD $ 5,160-
11-09-202126-09-2021AUD $ 5,160-
25-09-202110-10-2021AUD $ 4,970-
09-10-202124-10-2021AUD $ 4,970-
16-10-202131-10-2021AUD $ 4,970-
30-10-202114-11-2021AUD $ 4,970-
06-11-202121-11-2021AUD $ 4,780-
20-11-202105-12-2021AUD $ 4,780-
04-12-202119-12-2021AUD $ 4,780-
25-12-202109-01-2022AUD $ 4,970-
01-01-202216-01-2022AUD $ 4,640-
15-01-202230-01-2022AUD $ 4,640-
05-02-202220-02-2022AUD $ 4,640-
19-02-202206-03-2022AUD $ 4,640-
05-03-202220-03-2022AUD $ 4,640-
02-04-202217-04-2022AUD $ 4,640-
16-04-202201-05-2022AUD $ 4,640-
07-05-202222-05-2022AUD $ 4,640-
04-06-202219-06-2022AUD $ 4,640-
11-06-202226-06-2022AUD $ 4,640-
18-06-202203-07-2022AUD $ 4,640-
25-06-202210-07-2022AUD $ 4,640-
02-07-202217-07-2022AUD $ 4,640-
09-07-202224-07-2022AUD $ 4,640-
16-07-202231-07-2022AUD $ 4,640-
23-07-202207-08-2022AUD $ 4,640-
26-07-202210-08-2022AUD $ 4,640-
06-08-202221-08-2022AUD $ 4,640-
13-08-202228-08-2022AUD $ 4,640-
27-08-202211-09-2022AUD $ 4,640-
10-09-202225-09-2022AUD $ 4,640-
24-09-202209-10-2022AUD $ 4,640-
08-10-202223-10-2022AUD $ 4,640-
15-10-202230-10-2022AUD $ 4,640-
29-10-202213-11-2022AUD $ 4,640-
05-11-202220-11-2022AUD $ 4,640-
19-11-202204-12-2022AUD $ 4,640-
03-12-202218-12-2022AUD $ 4,640-
24-12-202208-01-2023AUD $ 4,640-

Accommodation

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

Transport

Overland vehicle,4x4 Safari Vehicle

Map