14 days of wild adventure with Mountain Gorillas and the Big 5.
- Mountain Gorillas
- Masai Mara National Reserve
- Lake Bunyoni
- Lake Nakuru National Park
- Great Rift Valley
- Lake Naivasha
- Meseranie Snake Park & Masai Cultural Museum
Tour Price R6,495.00
Local Payment $460.00
The Price depends where Gorilla trek takes place, example Uganda, DRC or Rwanda. All prices are approximate.
Mountain gorillas inhabit the rain forests of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda on the high slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes and to track them and find them among the tangled vines and giant trees is a spine-tingling experience. Other highlights of this trip are the memorable countryside of Uganda, known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’, and searching for the ‘big five’ in the Masai Mara. Lake Nakuru National Park is home to black and white rhino, flamingo and leopard, while Lake Naivasha harbours large pods of hippo.
DAY 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara (L / D)
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi we climb the escarpment to our first stop, a viewpoint overlooking the spectacular Great Rift Valley. Descending into the Rift Valley, we enter Masai land where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road. We pass through the town of Narok, before arriving at our campsite, Acacia Camp. Acacia Camp looks on to the Meguarra hills and the stream that meanders by on the bottom end forms a natural border to the Masai Mara National Reserve.
DAY 2: Masai Mara (B / L / D)
We spend the day driving through nature as it was intended to be – huge plains, rolling hills and an abundance of game matched no where else on earth. We keep an eye open for the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard. If travelling between July and October, we may get to witness the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle in their Annual Migration. Sitting around the camp fire, watching the sun set is the perfect way to finish a day’s game viewing in this “Garden of Eden.”
DAY 3: Masai Mara to Kisumu (B / L / D)
Leaving the Masai Mara early in the morning, we pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Kisumu – Kenya’s harbour town on the banks of Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria. We replenish our supplies and overnight here.
DAY 4: Kisumu to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
Today, we cross the border into Uganda where we overnight it the capital city, Kampala. Uganda is a small country of striking physical beauty. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semidesert region in the north. The political instability that has haunted Uganda in the past has actually had the positive effect of leaving the country free of the over commercialism so common in other parts of Africa. The current administration under President Museveni has devoted considerable effort and funds to return Uganda to its former status as one of Africa’s most prosperous and, from a tourist’s point of view, one of the most appealing and interesting countries to visit.
Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds, is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda. The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice – currently they are priced at US$500 depending on where we trek. There is a local transport & handling fee of US$65 to US$70 per person (this covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee). For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda, we will also
have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Please budget accordingly.
Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Gorilla Berengei), of which there are still only about 700 remaining, are one of our closest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience – one you’ll never forget. The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of where they are. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. As the gorillas share much of our DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years old.
Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, we depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. Winding our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa, we head to the town of Kisoro where we spend the night (Should we be trekking in Rwanda our overnight will be in Ruhengeri). The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours and it can be quite strenuous, so a
reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour. You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point where you will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite. You needn’t feel like you’re exploiting these animals. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day play a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to stop poachers stealing the babies for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. 100% of the gorilla permit cost is used to by the parks authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.
For those of us awaiting our day of gorilla trekking, the choice is yours, visit a local village or church, hike in the surrounding hills, canoe, go on a bird watching walk, visit the local markets of Kabale or just spend the days relaxing or swimming in this tranquil lake.
DAY 9: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D)
After marvelling at the experience of our gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, we begin our drive back to Kampala. We cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. We overnight in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life!
DAY 10: Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Today we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or transferring to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering at a community project. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area.
DAY 11: Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D)
Today we head back to Kenya, stopping for lunch and supplies en route. We overnight in Nakuru, Kenya’s 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province.
DAY 12: Nakuru & Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning we begin our exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park – famous for the thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that flock to this soda lake’s edge. The numbers vary depending on the water level, and when it’s low, the lake almost turns pink. A truly spectacular sight! The park was established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are often seen. We spend the day searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way.
DAY 13: Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D)
Moving south-east, we head to Lake Naivasha, home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. Time permitting; we spend the afternoon enjoying optional excursions like Elsamere (former home to Joy & George Adamson of Born Free fame), a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park. Tonight is spent in a lovely campsite on the banks of the lake.
DAY 14: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
After breakfast, we head back to Nairobi. On arrival we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
|Meals||13x Breakfast, 13x Lunches and 13xDinners|
|Price||R6495 Local Payment US$460|