This 21 day tour is designed to give an in depth and unhurried view of East Africa. The wildlife viewing opportunities particularly for rhino are excellent, a visit to Nakuru National Park. In Uganda there’s a further 2 nights in Queen Elizabeth National Park, a walking tour across Mburo National Park and 2 days in the beautiful Murchison Falls National Park. The tour includes searching for Chimpanzees at Budongo, visiting Bwindi Impenetrable Forest looking for Mountain Gorillas and 2 nights in Kenya’s Masai Mara.
It ticks all the boxes for wildlife lovers and is also great for adrenalin seekers with rafting the stunning White Nile. It is also an amazing way to explore two of East Africa’s most iconic countries, Uganda and the highlands and Rift Valley of Kenya.
Border Information: If joining the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).
Welcome to Kenya! There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note, as this will often be a travelling day for the crew who will be joining you.
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi.
This morning we will drive on to Kericho, throughout this drive you will have sights of the world famous tea plantations in the area.
In Kericho we will stay at a well equipped campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Border Information: Exit Kenya at Busia, enter Uganda at Busia.
Today we have a full day's drive across the border into Uganda as we travel to Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa!
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
On the following day we will have a free day to get involved in the many optional adventure activities available here, such as white water rafting, bungee jumping and boat trips on the White Nile!
In Jinja we will stay at a well equipped campsite.
Today we continue our journey and head north to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary close to the town of Nakitoma. Here we will have the chance to track rhinos on foot with a local ranger!
In Nakitoma we will stay in a well equipped campsite within the Rhino Sanctuary.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.
Today we continue to Kaniyo Pabidi in the Budongo Forest, in the southern part of the Murchison Falls National Park. Here we will head out for our included chimpanzee tracking walk in the afternoon!
Please note that for conservation reasons the maximum group size to track the chimpanzees is 12 people, so if we have a large group we will split in half, one half going on the walk this afternoon and the other half going tomorrow morning.
In Kaniyo Pabidi we will stay in basic dorm rooms in a small lodge in the Budongo Forest.
Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.
If we had to split the group for chimpanzee tracking, the other half of the group will head out for the walk this morning. When we are ready to continue, we will drive to the central region of Murchison Falls National Park to reach our campsite.
Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours (to the campsite).
On the next day, we will head out early in the truck for a included morning of game driving around the northern area of the National Park - we will take a local vehicle barge to get over the Nile and pick up a ranger to show us around in search of wildlife!
We will return to our campsite for lunch, and then embark on an included launch cruise on the Nile to spot wildlife from the water and to see the spectacularly-powerful Murchison Falls.
In Murchison Falls National Park we will stay in a well equipped campsite at Paraa on the southern banks of the River Nile in the heart of the park.
Please note that the roads leading into and around Murchison Falls are very poor and can be hazardous in wet conditions. If there has been heavy rain recently, it may not be possible to go into the National Park beyond Kaniyo Pabidi - this is firstly for safety reasons on the drive in, and secondly due to the risk of extreme bogging that could cause us to miss the gorilla treks further along in our trip. We will always endaevour to reach the National Park as per the itinerary; but when this is occasionally not possible, please respect the tour leader's decision in this matter. On these occasions we will be able to utilise this time with spending longer in Lake Bunyonyi.
This morning we will make our way out of the national park and head South to Mpanga Forest via Kampala. This is a chance to experience a new environment as we camp in the forest near traditional communities. We will hopefully be able to visit the Mpambire drum making village to experience their ancient traditions and culture.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.
This morning we travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Lake Edward and Lake George, undertaking a game drive on our way to the campsite.
After lunch we will take an included boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife as well as its healthy population of hippos. During our time in the park we also hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks.
The next morning we are up early to go on a full day game drive making our way into the depths of the park. We will experience areas of the National Park that are impossible to reach without a full days excursion!
In Queen Elizabeth National Park we will camp at a basic campsite with drop toilets inside the park. Your leader will explain the basic safety aspects of camping in an unfenced area amongst the wildlife upon arrival.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.
Here we will go on what is undoubtedly the highlight of the trip - trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas in their natural forest habitat.
This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than 8 people 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; however, the sheer thrill of 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 at least 4 hours - uphill and downhill. We 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! Once you find them, you will stay with the gorillas for one unforgettable hour!
When visiting the gorillas you will be assigned a trekking group and time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day.
In Bwindi we will stay in a campsite that occasinally has some very special visitors, the incredible mountain gorillas!
Please note that the gorilla permits are paid for in full by the trip kitty - however, Dragoman has to purchase the permits in advance on the customers' behalf, so a higher deposit is charged on the trip price to protect us from losing this money in the event of cancellation - please see the notes at the end for further detail.
This morning we will make our way into the stunning Lake Mburo National Park. This drive will take us across the equator - a prime moment for some photos!
In the afternoon we may have time for a walking safari or even a boat trip on Lake Mburo.
We will stay in an increbile campsite close to the lake where you may be lucky enough to see hippos leaving the water in the evening.
Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.
Border Information: Exit Uganda at Malaba, enter Kenya at Malaba.
Over the next 2 days we will travel back to the east through Jinja to Nakuru.
We will most likely split the drive with a nightstop in Jinja, but if the road conditions improve on a different road then we may go via the western town of Fort Portal instead. Both Jinja and Fort Portal have decent campsites to stay in.
Either way, we will reach Nakuru by the second evening and enjoy a night relaxing at a campsite that we are staying in for 2 nights.
This is our base for tomorrow's excursion into Nakuru National Park. If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.
Estimated Drive Times - 7-9 hours each day.
This morning we head into Nakuru National Park for an included half-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos.
In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.
In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of town.
Today we will be met by our 6-person 4x4 jeeps that will take us on our 2-night excursion to the Maasai Mara. We will load the jeeps with our personal gear (but we will not need our camping equipment) and then head off to Maasai Mara, leaving our truck behind.
We will also be leaving our large bags behind (where they will be stored in a secure location in Nairobi), and advise you to bring along a smaller daypack for your personal gear for this trip that will need to be packed soon after the group meeting before we set off. You should pack clothing for 3 days (including a warm jumper or fleece and long trousers), a waterproof jacket, toiletries (including sun screen and insect repellent), your camera and charger, a small towel, a head torch, a water bottle, books and personal snacks, etc.
On arrival, we will have the chance for a short evening game drive in the Maasai Mara National Park before heading to our campsite. The Maasai Mara is an incredibly scenic area and is one of the world's greatest places for wildlife spotting which is absolutely teeming with giraffe, buffalo, zebra, elephants, lions, cheetah, leopards, and other big game! On both nights at the Maasai Mara, we will stay in a basic campground on the outskirts of the National Park. The campsite has set-tents and bedding, but is self-catered (we will use our kitchen equipment brought from the truck).
The following day we will go out for the full day game driving in the National Park before returning to our campsite for a second night. There is also the opportunity for a sunset balloon flight over the savannah - demand for this activity is very high so you must reserve this at the time of booking your Dragoman trip to avoid disappointment. Tonight we will stay at the same campsite on the outskirts of the Maasai Mara.
Today we will have a final game drive in the Maasai Mara in the early morning, before heading back to Nairobi and our campsite in Karen, arriving at about 4:00pm or 5:00pm. This is where we will meet our overland truck and start using the truck's camping equipment. In Nairobi we will stay in a well equipped campsite in the suburb of Karen on the outskirts of the city.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Border Information: if you are leaving the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely exit Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).
Today is this is the final day of this section - if you are leaving here (or continuing northbound with us to Ethiopia) you will have a free day in Nairobi. If you are continuing your trip with us southbound towards Tanzania then there will a new group meeting at 10:00am for the next section of your journey, before heading away from Nairobi - your leader will give you detailed instructions about this.
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
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Trip Name: Gorillas, Chimps & Maasai Mara
Duration: 21 Days
From Price: $1,965
Supplier Tour ID: YNN1/158133
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