Gorillas & Game Parks


A close encounter with gentle giants on a gorilla safari in Uganda is an extraordinary experience that will always stay with you. On this 16-day overland African camping adventure, you’ll 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, antelopes, hippos, leopards and more in their natural habitats. If you’re looking for a trip that has it all when it comes to African wildlife, this is the trip for you! Take an adventure with a knowledgeable local leader and get the best chance to spot the Big Five, the Small Five, the Ugly Five and all your favourites from the Lion King!

16 days, from

$3,760

per person

GROUP SIZE

22 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: YXOG
Style: Basix
Theme: Overland

Details

Countries Visited:  Kenya Uganda
Accommodation: Camping (with facilities) (13 nights), Hotel (1 night), Hotel with shared facilities (1 night)
Transportation: Overland vehicle , 4x4 Safari Vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 15 breakfasts
  • 11 lunches
  • 14 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 22

  • With permits included in your trip, take a trek through Uganda's steamy forests to seek out rare mountain gorillas and spend an unforgettable hour in their presence with the help of expert Rangers and trackers.

  • 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 a relaxing riverside retreat or an adrenaline-pumping adventure capital - depending on your mood.

  • Look out for lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes and more as an expert driver guide take you on a 4WD adventure through the incredible Masai Mara National Reserve for a full-day game drive.

  • 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

Show Full Itinerary

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. After your long drive enjoy a dinner prepared by the hotel before settling in for a good night rest.

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 ranger and gorilla 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).
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.

Travel on to the Masai Mara; a 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 early evening 4WD game drive with expert local driver guides.

Day 15: Masai Mara National Reserve

Venture into the Masai Mara National Reserve with expert local driver guides for a day-long 4WD game drive. You'll explore this diverse environment and most likely see a multitude of wildlife. Plus, 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 4–5hours). On arrival in Nairobi you'll be dropped at your finishing point hotel, where your trip ends on arrival.