Gorillas & Plains tour

Gorillas & Plains tour

Tour Experience

Two week tour covering the lakes wildlife parks of Kenya and the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees in Uganda

Available

All year round

Location

Kenya and Uganda

This two week adventure takes you through the magnificent lakes and wildlife parks of Kenya, across Uganda and the Equator, and up into the jungle for some trekking to visit the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.

Starting in Nairobi we first head out to the famous Masai Mara game reserve where we’ll have several included game drives to view the wildlife in one of Africa's most iconic game reserves. We then head north, stopping for more game viewing at Lake Nakuru, before crossing the border into Uganda where our next stop is Jinja, famous as the point where the River Nile flows out of Lake Victoria. There are optional Nile cruises and great white water rafting available here.

Next we head north towards the Murchison National Park, home of the spectacular Murchison Falls. We'll enjoy another included game drive here, through one of Uganda's best National Parks. Then we take another jungle trek, this time through the Budongo Central Forest Reserve in search of the local chimpanzees. We follow this adventure with a visit to the mountains, stopping at the beautiful Lake Bunyoni which we use as our base for our gorilla trek deep into the Bwindi Impenetrable forest. This experience is a once in a life time opportunity to get up close and personal with man's closest relative.

An optional rhino trekking experience is then available as we head back towards Kenya through the Great Rift Valley and Eldoret, before we arrive back in Nairobi to finish the tour.

Important Note: the itinerary below is written with an optional Activity Package included. This optional payment covers what we consider highly recommended activities on the tour. Separating these activities out is designed to help people with differing budgets. If required, the Activity Package should be pre-purchased prior to your arrival to guarantee availability and to help your guides plan ahead to help the smooth running of the tour. Please contact us for details and prices.

VIEW THE PHOTOS

INCLUDED

  • 13 night's accommodation in hotels/lodges/guesthouses
  • All transport using our 25-seat expedition vehicle
  • All 'included highlights' as mentioned in the itinerary
  • 2 truck crew (driver/guide plus assistant/cook)
  • Local guides for sightseeing tours and activities as per the itinerary
  • Meals: 13 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 11 dinners

EXCLUDED

  • International Flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees if required
  • Activity Package and optional activities (see itinerary and tour notes)
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for guides & drivers
  • Entrance fees and activities not mentioned above
  • Any other items not mentioned above
  • Gorilla permits (allow approx US$630)

PACKAGE DETAILS

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Travel to the Masai Mara

The tour begins in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. Travellers who purchased the activity package will travel to the wildlife-rich Masai Mara Game Reserve – one of Africa’s premier wildlife destinations, which is home to all the Big Five animals and hosts the great wildebeest migration every year.
We travel to the Masai Mara in a minibus before we transfer into a game vehicle. Due to this, we request that you only pack a small overnight bag which includes things such as a towel, clothing, toiletries and camping essentials.
Travellers who never purchased the activity package should arrange travel to Lake Nakuru to join up with the tour on day four. We can help you arrange this, contact us for more information.
Route: Nairobi to Masai Mara ±240km
Activity package: Kenyan Parks Highlights Excursion
| OVERNIGHT: Permanent Tents: Masai Mara Camp
| MEALS: Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Gorilla Permit, Extra day in Nairobi – pre-tour, Options available while on tour, Arrival airport transfer in Nairobi, Activity Package 2018 – Gorillas & Plains

DAY 2 : Game drives in the Masai Mara

We spend most of the day exploring the Masai Mara and if you’re lucky enough, you may end up seeing the Big Five.
For several months of the year, the Masai Mara plays host to the great wildebeest migration – known as one of nature’s most iconic spectacles, as thousands of wildebeest attempt to cross the crocodile-infested waters of the Mara River. Predator interaction is also spectacular during this period, as lion, leopard and cheetah move in to take advantage of the massive herds of wildebeest.
Activity package: Kenyan Parks Highlights Excursion
| OVERNIGHT: Permanent Tents: Masai Mara Camp
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Activity Package 2019 – Gorillas & Plains

DAY 3 : Onwards to Lake Nakuruu

We head out on an early morning game drive in the Mara before we head in the direction of Lake Nakuru National park, which we’ll reach by afternoon.
We embark on a game drive through Lake Nakuru National Park, made famous by its abundance of bird life, especially flamingo. Other wildlife that you may see here include leopard, lion, different species of buck as well as black and white rhino.
Route: Masai Mara to Lake Nakuru ±220km
Activity package: Kenyan Parks Highlights Excursion
| OVERNIGHT: Lake Nakuru Lodge OR Kivu Lodge
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Activity Package 2019 – Gorillas & Plains

DAY 4 : Travel to Jinja

We travel across the border today, stopping to celebrate crossing the Equator until we reach the Uganda’s second largest city – Jinja.
Jinja is also famed as being the point where the Nile River flows out of Lake Victoria and begins its 6,700-kilometre journey towards Egypt and the Mediterranean.
Note: If you have not booked the Activity Package then you will need to get to Lake Nakuru and be ready to leave there with the group this morning.
Route: Lake Nakuru to Jinja
| OVERNIGHT: Eden Rock Resort
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Options available while on tour

DAY 5 : Jinja to Murchison Falls National Park

We leave Jinja this morning, stopping in Kampala for a break before we make our way to the Murchison Falls National Park, which lies on the shores of Lake Albert in northwest Uganda.
The national park is made famous by the Murchison Falls, also known as Kabaraga Falls, is a waterfall located on the course of the Nile River. Wildife that can be spotted in the park include four of the Big Five species – lion, leopard, buffalo and elephant.
Your guide will help you settle into your accommodation before briefing you on the itinerary for the following day.
| OVERNIGHT: Kabalega Resort Hotel
| MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Options available while on tour

DAY 6 : Budongo Central Forest Reserve

The Budongo Central Forest Reserve is not only home to East Africa’s biggest mahogany forest, but also hosts Uganda’s largest population of chimpanzees, with an estimated 600-700 chimps residing in the forest reserve.
Our chimpanzee guide will take us on a trek through the forest in search of the chimps, before we head out on a game drive in the afternoon to spot other wildlife.
Note: Chimp trekking is limited to 12 guests per trek. Should there be more than 12 guests on a tour, the trekking will be split into morning and afternoon treks. Therefore, you may find that you will first do the game drive activity followed by the chimp trekking or vice versa. Please allow for flexibility.
Activity package: Chimpanzee Trekking
Included highlight: Nile River Boat cruise (half day) in Murchison Falls National Park
| OVERNIGHT: Kabalega Resort Hotel
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Options available while on tour, Activity Package 2018 – Gorillas & Plains

DAY 7 : Visiting the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary

We head out this morning on an early game drive in the Budongo Central Forest Reserve before visiting the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, which is the home of the only wild rhinos in Uganda. The Rhino re-introduction project is the brainchild of the Rhino Fund Uganda and Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU) was formed as a Non-Government Organization (NGO) in 1997 and is tasked with overseeing its aim of reintroducing rhinos back into the national parks of Uganda through a breeding and release program.
After spending some time here, we make our way back to Kampala, where we’ll spend the night.
Optional activities: Murchison Falls game drive
Activity Package: Ziwa Rhino Walk
Route: Masindi to Kampala
| OVERNIGHT: Hillside Plaza Hotel
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch
| EXTRAS: Options available while on tour

DAY 8 : Crossing the Equator towards Lake Bunyonyi

We head back over the Equator as we make our way south towards Lake Bunyonyi. Surrounded by mountain ranges, Lake Bunyonyi boasts some of Uganda’s most abundant birdlife, a large otter population and is the ideal place to relax before our journey to see the mountain gorillas.
Route: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni
| OVERNIGHT: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
| MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Gorilla Permit, Options available while on tour

DAY 9 : Mountain gorilla trekking

Today is all about searching for the endangered mountain gorillas of Uganda. Its estimated that there are only 650 gorillas left in the wild today. One of the best ways to protect these beautiful mammals is by visiting them, as the funding from visitor permits are used for their protection.
Community development plays a key part in protecting these animals – by changing the attitudes of the locals to protecting them instead of poaching them – we can win the battle in keeping this species away from extinction.
Permits granting permission to visit the gorillas are limited, so flexibility is required in both the tour itinerary and where we visit them.
We prefer to make use of the national parks of Uganda, but depending on the availability of the permits, we may travel to Rwanda or the DRC.
On your free day in Bunyonyi you will have the opportunity to participate in optional activities. You can also go hiking or explore the area on a mountain bike.
Optional Activity: Gorilla Trekking
| OVERNIGHT: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
| MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Gorilla Permit

DAY 10 : Gorilla trekking Nyombi Village cultural tour

We generally set aside two days for gorilla trekking, however we only spend one day on the trek. The other day is used to provide a window to obtain permits and to allow the entire travelling group to see the mountain gorillas.
We will also visit the nearby Nyombi Village, a Pygmy village which is reached by motor boat from Bunyonyi Resort. We will have the chance to learn about the culture of the Pygmies, giving you great insight into their lifestyle.
Included Highlight: Pygmy Village Visit
| OVERNIGHT: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Gorilla Permit

DAY 11 : Kampala

We cross the Equator for the third time as we make our way back to Kampala. Your guide will give you some insight into the activities that you can enjoy in Jinja tomorrow, so that you can plan your day ahead.
Route: Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala
| OVERNIGHT: Hillside Plaza Hotel
| MEALS: Breakfast
| EXTRAS: Options available while on tour

DAY 12 : Jinja

Kampala is a stone’s throw away from Jinja and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy here, which includes kayaking and river rafting on the Nile River.
If you’re looking to stay on dry land, activities such as horse-riding and quad-biking are available.
Optional Activities: Quad biking, kayaking, rafting
Route: Kampala to Jinja
| OVERNIGHT: Eden Rock Resort
| MEALS: Breakfast, Dinner
| EXTRAS: Options available while on tour

DAY 13 : Jinja to Eldoret

We say our final goodbyes to Jinja as we cross the border back into Kenya – visiting Eldoret, the country’s fifth largest city. The Great Rift Valley is the most prominent geographical feature of this region, with the city rising at 2100 metres above sea level.
Route: Jinja to Eldoret
| OVERNIGHT: Naiberi River Camp
| MEALS: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14 : Travel to Nairobi

The tour comes to an end in Nairobi. There is an optional dinner, where we can swap stories and exchange contact details.
We recommend that you book at least one more night post-tour rather than flying out this evening in case of any delays. We can help you in organising extra nights if required.
Route: Eldoret to Nairobi
Note: The itinerary for this tour is flexible and can be changed without notice in order to accommodate the best possible viewing of the Mountain Gorillas. The Permit price to visit the Gorillas can also change without notice.
| OVERNIGHT: N/A
| MEALS: Breakfast
| EXTRAS: Extra day in Nairobi – post-tour, Departure airport transfer in Nairobi

DURATION

14 Days

Price

A$2613

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