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18-Day Overland Mountain Gorilla To The Mara Tour from Nairobi

Nairobi, Kenya

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US$1937.29 US$ 1992.48
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24 hours
Duration
18 days
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Starts From
US$1937.29 US$ 1992.48
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Overview

This tour is packed with excitement and surreal attractions in 18 days. A unique itinerary to take you from the hustle and bustle that is Kenya’s capital city Nairobi to traversing endless safari landscapes only to be topped by an encounter with Gorillas in the misty mountains of Uganda. Starting with the awe inspiring ‘Great Rift Valley’ followed by the picturesque flamingoes of Lake Nakuru (a photographers dream!) We cross the Equator to explore Uganda; a country to surely melt your heart. We visit Jina – the source of the Nile River, with its adrenaline, fueled activities, marvellous sunsets and local friendly faces. Travelling further into the lush countryside we head to the enchanting Queen Elizabeth National Park, including chimpanzee trekking at Kyambura Gorge. We then relax surrounded by the serene waters and cool tranquillity of Lake Bunyoni, bringing us closer to encounter the majestic mountain Gorillas in the Bwindi Forest. A once in a lifetime experience! To complete this unbelievable tour we partake in unmatched game viewing in the prominent Maasai Mara. This tour represents a truly African overland adventure, connecting a person to place with magic and amazement.

Itinerary

Day 1: Nairobi – Lake Nakuru National Park
Distance travelled: +/-190 Km
Approx driving time: 4 Hours

Kenya is East Africa’s most popular safari destination and has a long tradition of tourism and of welcoming visitors. Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, has seen rapid growth in recent years but still has a comparatively small city centre, interesting city markets, numerous craft shops, book shops and plenty of cafes and restaurants. We recommend you arrive at least one day before the tour departure in order to relax, check out the city and overcome any jetlag. We depart Nairobi early and descend into the ‘Great Rift Valley’, an enormous cleft in the Earth’s surface stretching from the Red Sea to Madagascar but with particularly marked escarpments here in Kenya. We stop at a lookout point to take in the magnificent views. Our overnight stop is Lake Nakuru National Park, a relatively small park (by African standards) however prolific in wildlife, situated on the Great Rift Valley floor. The shallow soda lake attracts a huge variety of birdlife – especially flamingos, which may gather in such numbers that (when viewed from above) they form a strikingly pink ‘fringe’ around the lake-shore.
However Lake Nakuru is not simply a bird sanctuary, it is also home to buffalo, lion, rhino (black and white), leopard, warthog, baboon, antelope, and a variety of smaller animals. A delightful introduction to East Africa’s wildlife diversity that we search for in an afternoon game drive
making use of local guides and smaller safari vehicles for a more intimate experience.

Accommodation: Punda Milias Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: No

Day 2: Lake Nakuru - Eldoret
Distance travelled: +/-150 Km
Approx driving time: 3.5 Hours

From Nakuru we continue northwest and climb in altitude towards the town of Eldoret en route to the Ugandan frontier. We cross from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern Hemisphere today over the Equator, enjoying some time here learning a little about its significance and taking photos before moving onwards to Eldoret. The name ‘Eldoret’ is based on the Maasai word ‘Eldore’ meaning stony river, due to the stony bed of the nearby Sosiani River. The town is the 5th largest in Kenya and is the fastest growing with a population of approx 194,000. We camp outside of town in a unique campsite created on hilly forest tribal land, once home to members of the ancient Sirikwa tribe. Preserved on the site are excavations with stone sides, commonly called Sirikwa holes, which are believed to have been roofed and occupied by the inhabitants of a bygone age.

Accommodation: Naiberi Overland camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: No

Day 3: Eldoret - Kampala
Distance travelled: +/-400 Km
Approx driving time: 7.5 Hours
 
We cross into Uganda, Winston Churchill’s ‘Pearl of Africa’, a country with beautiful natural scenery and a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures – and friendly people. Our first night we camp at the capital Kampala, an attractive hilly city, bustling with roadside traders, markets and busy matatu (mini-bus taxi) stands.

Please note that some group members may be starting their tour in Kampala

Accommodation: Red Chilli Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: Yes

Day 4: Kampala – Queen Elizabeth National Park
Distance travelled +/-240 Km
Approx driving time: 5 hours

From Kampala, we travel west towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, crossing the Equator again, through fertile green terraced hillsides, lush banana plantations, steep mountains and tangled forests. From the truck we should see herds of Ankole cattle with their incredible long curving
horns roaming the roads and paddocks. We camp a short distance from the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Here you will have the opportunity to relax and unwind, take a walk in the surrounding areas and mingle with the local community.

Accommodation: Simba Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: Yes

Day 5: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Trekking permits are issued by the wildlife authority in groups of up to 8 people at a time, per group. Depending on our group size, this means that we may trek on the afternoon of day 4, morning of day 5 and afternoon of day 5 or morning of day 6.

Accommodation: Simba Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: Yes

Day 6: Queen Elizabeth National Park - Lake Bunyonyi
Distance travelled +/- 240 Km
Approx driving time: 5 Hours

We leave the picturesque hills of the national park and make our way to the lush and stunning Lake Bunyonyi (‘Place of many little birds’). This lake is 27km long, 7km wide and at an elevation of 1950 metres above sea level, it is surrounded by undulating hills between 2200m to 2478m
high. With a depth of nearly 900m in parts, this lake is the second deepest lake in Africa (the deepest being Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania). With twenty-nine islands that can be visited by local boats, the lake is a great place to unwind, relax and explore on the days that we don’t trek to see the mountain gorillas.

Over the next two days the group will be split, with one group trekking to the mountain gorillas while the others stay at Lake Bunyonyi to enjoy the many activities on offer. Lake Bunyoni There are many activities to do here such as hiring canoes to visit some of the lakes islands, visit local tribes and villages, visiting the local orphanage, as well as bird watching and nature walks. Alternatively just relax around camp, catch up on your travel diary or postcards to home, or sorting through your photos of your trip so far. Mountain Gorilla Trekking This region of Africa is home to the world’s remaining 700 free-roaming mountain gorillas, many of which inhabit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. [Occasionally we may
travel into neighbouring Rwanda to trek for the gorillas.]

On the day of your trek we gather in the early morning to meet our local guide and tracker. Walking in small groups, we trek into the thick rainforest. The trek can be demanding at times - with uneven terrain and hilly rainforest, but the privilege of spending time with a family of these gentle primates makes the effort well worthwhile. To many people the day’s trek and time with the gorillas remains their most exciting wildlife encounter in Africa. The usual procedure, once we have located the gorilla ‘family’, is to squat or sit down and simply observe them for around an hour – the time set by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (the national body charged with controlling and maintaining the gorillas in Uganda). Gorillas are sociable creatures, living in groups between 12 and 20 individuals, usually led by an alpha male (the ‘silverback’ - so called because of the silver hair on his back which grows once the male gorillas reach maturity). Most people find that the gorillas are remarkably human-like at close quarters – particularly in the social interaction between family members and in ‘play’ activity in which the young engage. Photography is permitted (although not with a flash and there are restrictions for those who wish to use a video camera.)
Your permit allows you one trek and gorilla viewing (time limited to one hour). However because the authorities maintain strict limits on the number of visitors allowed to view the gorillas each day we may spend several days in the area while all passengers in our group complete the trek and viewing.
NB: Depending on the availability of the chimpanzee and gorilla permits the tour itinerary may vary in day to day running order which is based on the brochure itinerary. From time to time we may have to trek on different days. If at any chance our Gorilla trek should be in another neighbouring country, eg Rwanda (instead of Uganda) this may entail extra visa fees although we shall endeavour to advise you before departure of any significant changes to the tour itinerary. Please take the above itinerary as a guideline only. This applies to day 6 – 8 of this tour.

Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Stop/Gorilla Trek area - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
WIFI: Yes

Day 7: Lake Bunyonyi rest days or Gorilla trek day
If not trekking, today is free to explore the surrounding area, discover the Islands by boat on Lake Bunyonyi or relax
back at camp catching up on some well deserved rest and relaxation.

Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Stop/ Gorilla Trek area - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
WIFI: Yes

Day 8: Lake Bunyonyi rest days or Gorilla trek day
Today is a trek day or a day at leisure to enjoy the many optional activities in Lake Bunyonyi. Whether relaxing on the shores of this deep Crater Lake with a good book or heading out to the village and orphanage to gain an insight into the everyday life of Ugandans in this area - you’ll no doubt wish you could stay in this beautiful part of Africa for longer.

Accommodation: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Stop/ Gorilla Trek area - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
WIFI: Yes

Day 9: Lake Bunyonyi - Kampala
Distance travelled +/- 550 Km
Approx driving time: 10 Hours

From Lake Bunyonyi we make our way back across the Equator (stopping for a photo if we have not done so previously) through lush pasture lands and the northern reaches of Lake Victoria (Africa’s largest lake) to Kampala where we will overnight. Kampala is a hotspot for great food and entertainment. If time allows, go out to enjoy the nightlife, try the local cuisines and enjoy the hospitality and friendliness of the local Ugandans.
Please note that some group members may be ending their tour in Kampala

Accommodation: Red Chilli Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: Yes

Day 10: Kampala - Jinja
Distance travelled +/- 80 Km
Approx driving time: 1.5 Hours

Leaving Kampala we drive the short distance to the town of Jinja on the banks of Lake Victoria and the Nile. It was in 1862 that the British explorer John Hanning Speke recognised Lake Victoria as the ‘source of the Nile’ settling a long running dispute about Africa’s (and the world’s)
longest river. From his modest monument on the banks, the Nile begins its 4132 mile course through Uganda, Sudan and eventually Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.  Our camp is situated on the grassy banks overlooking the Nile River. It is here that we usually have the option to try
river rafting - an exciting day out for those enjoying the thrill of ‘whitewater’. There is also the opportunity to make some difference to local children at a local school project: ‘Softpower’ is a locally run volunteer programme aimed at building and improving schools in the Jinja area to which your contribution of a few hours of painting or plastering is always most welcome. Other activities at Jinja include mountain biking, quad biking, village walks and even bangee jumping!

Accommodation: Nile River Explorers - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: No

Day 11: Jinja
Enjoy a free day in this magical place or take part in one of the many optional activities on offer. Adrenaline lovers can head to the world class rapids and try rafting - an exciting day out for those enjoying the thrill of ‘whitewater’. Those seeking a more relaxing day can visit the local community or simply just relax at camp.

Accommodation: Nile River Explorers - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: No

Day 12: Jinja
Enjoy a last day on the banks of the Nile exploring the surrounding community, the town of Jinja and discover the beauty of the river Nile as you relax on its banks or indulge in the many optional activities on offer.

Accommodation: Nile River Explorers - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: No

Day 13: Jinja – Eldoret
Distance travelled: +/- 300 Km
Approx driving time: 6 Hours

Leaving Jinja, we retrace our steps across the border into Kenya and onwards to Eldoret, where we will camp for the evening.

Accommodation: Naiberi Overland Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: No

Day 14: Eldoret - Nairobi
Distance travelled: +/- 250km
Approx driving time: 4 hours

This morning we cross the Equator and make our way south to Nairobi and to our base just outside the city.

Accommodation: Karen Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
WIFI: Yes

Day 15: Nairobi
Today you are free to explore the city and surrounding area and our Tour Leader can help you arrange these optional excursions locally. Popular excursions include catching a taxi into town to check out the shopping, markets, bars and restaurants; Visit the National Museum of Kenya; chow
down at Carnivore – a bbq meat eater’s paradise; go on safari at Nairobi National Park; Visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Centre or check out the Karen Blixen Museum in the nearby town of Karen. Alternatively the day is yours to simply relax and enjoy some ‘downtime’.

Please note that some group members may be finishing or starting their tour in Nairobi today.

Accommodation: Karen Camp - Camping in twin share tents with shared facilities
Meals included: Breakfast
WIFI: Yes

Day 16: Nairobi – Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya
Distance travelled: +/-300km
Approx driving time: 5 hours

We depart the city early and make our way across the Great Rift Valley to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, enjoying views of the vast vista en route. We travel in small specialized safari vehicles that enable us to have a more intimate view of wildlife. We spend two nights camping on the edge of the Reserve with time to explore the park on morning and afternoon game drives. The sweeping plains, distant horizons, low slung acacia trees, and plentiful wildlife ensure a deeply evocative few days. The ‘Mara’ is crossed every year between July and October by great
herds of wildebeest, zebra and other grazing animals in their migration from the adjoining Serengeti plains to the south (in Tanzania). How long they stay is dependant on rainfall and subsequent grass growth in the rainy season. Predators (such as lion, cheetah, leopard) and scavengers
(hyena, vultures) follow the grazing animals and this enormous congregation of wildlife forms a spectacular display of Africa’s natural resource. But the Mara is excellent for game viewing at any time of year and regardless of when you can visit we hope to see some, if not all, of Africa’s ‘Big Five’ (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard) and an array of other wildlife.

Accommodation: Maasai Mara: Chronicle Tented Camp
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: Yes (Nairobi only)

Day 17: Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya
Approx driving time: Full day including game drives

We have the day to explore the Reserve in search for wildlife including the ‘big 5’ – lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo and leopard. We stop for a lunch before returning to our tented camp for the evening.

Accommodation: Maasai Mara: Chronicle Tented Camp
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
WIFI: No

Day 18: Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya - Nairobi
Distance travelled: +/-300 Km
Approx driving time: 5 Hours

From the Mara we make our way back across the Great Rift Valley to Nairobi, where our tour ends

Accommodation: nil
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
WIFI: No

Information

Includes:
  • Fully equipped safari vehicle
  • Camping and cooking equipment
  • All road tolls and vehicle taxes
  • All ground transportation
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Meals as indicated
  • Services of two crew 
  • Included Highlights: 
  • Cape Town Township Tour*
  • Sesriem Canyon
  • Sossusvlei shuttle & guided walk*
  • Dune 45
  • Spitzkoppe, Bushman Paintings
  • Etosha National Park, Game Drives 
  • *Highlight is part of the Adventure Pass
Excludes:
  • Adventure Pass Activities and Excursions (Mandatory) 
  • Gorilla and Chimpanzee Trek Permit (Mandatory)
  • Visas
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Departure taxes
  • Airport transfers
  • Sleeping bag
  • Optional activities
  • Drinks, tips and Items of a personal nature
Additional Info:
  • Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
  • Mandatory Gorilla and Chimpanzee Permit is GBP 555.00 and is paid at the time of booking
  • Each Overland tour has an Adventure Pass which is paid to your tour leader in Africa at the beginning of the tour (or pre-paid by arrangement prior to your tour). This is separate and in addition to the Tour Price, and covers selected park entries, activities and excursions along the way where payment goes directly to the supplier to ensure local suppliers benefit directly from the income. The (mandatory) Adventure Pass is USD 630.00 per person 
  • Minimum age is 18 years, Maximum age is 39 years. 
  • You MUST confirm and obtain any visa requirements prior to border crossing. All visa requirements are the sole responsibility of the traveller.

Meeting Point

Hotel Boulevard
Departure Time:
08am
Return Details:
The tour ends in Nairobi, Kenya
  • 18-Day Overland Mountain Gorilla To The Mara Tour from Nairobi
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