Livingstone, Lusaka, Luangwa River, South Luangwa National Park, Luwawa Forest, Malawi, Iringa, Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Nairobi, Lake Naivasha National Park, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kampala, Lake Bunyoni, Queen Elizabeth Nationa
Combining our popular East African Adventure tour with a trip to visit the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda is one of the most established combination tours that we offer. A trip to the Gorilla’s is a unique and memorable experience and the perfect end to your African Adventure.
Day 1 Zambia - Livingstone
Camp L, D
We spend the day enjoying the activities on offer in Livingstone, getting to know our equipment and one another before the trip leaves Livingstone the following morning. Optional Activities: Zambezi White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Elephant Back Safari, Zambezi sunset cruise, Vic Falls NP.
Day 2/3 Lusaka - Luangwa River
Leaving behind the excitement of Vic Falls we depart on our expedition. The journey towards the bustling Zambian capital of Lusaka takes us along an interesting route. We begin the following day with some shopping in Lusaka before heading northeast towards the Luangwa River where we spend the night. This is an interesting area full of friendly locals and a walk along the river is a rewarding experience.
Day 4/5 South Luangwa National Park
Early in the morning we drive from the Luangwa River to the South Luangwa National Park where we spend two nights on the banks of the river. The second day is put aside for activities. You can choose between a morning or night game drive and a guided game walk accompanied by a professional local guide. If the South Luangwa NP is not for you, then relax by the pool. On occasion, in the rainy season it is impossible or inadvisable to attempt to reach South Luangwa NP, if this happens then an alternative itinerary will be chosen. Optional Activities: Game Drive, Night Drive and Game Walk in South Luangwa NP
Day 6 Malawi – Luwawa Forest
Today we cross the Zambia-Malawi border after leaving South Luangwa National Park in the early morning. Heading north we enter the highlands of Malawi and spend the night at Luwawa Forest. There are some wonderful hikes in the area as well as other activities. Optional Activities: Fishing, Mountain Biking, Hiking.
Day 7/8/9/10 Central Lake Malawi and Northern Malawi
Lake Malawi used to be called Lake Nyasa and is the southernmost of the Great Rift Valley lakes. The lake is at an altitude of around 500 metres and has a tropical climate. We will spend the next couple of carefree days relaxing on the white sandy beaches. For the more adventurous there are endless leisure and water sport activities. Alternatively, soak up the atmosphere and relax in one of the most scenic and memorable holiday destinations in Africa! The evenings are spent beside the tranquil waters. Optional Activities: Scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing, fishing, canoeing, horse riding, craft shopping, hiking and more.
Day 11/12 Tanzania – Iringa - Dar es Salaam
Today we make the border crossing out of Malawi. Leaving the lake behind us, we head for our first night in Tanzania, as we ascend out of the Great Rift Valley through some spectacular mountain passes, we pass the vast tea plantations in the highlands to our camp outside Iringa. The next day we transit through Mikumi National Park to the historical port city of Dar es Salaam.
Day 13/14/15 Zanzibar
Own Arrangements B (day 13 only)
On this optional activity a transfer by ferry takes us to Zanzibar where we will spend the next few days exploring this fascinating island with its renowned architecture, beautiful beaches, colourful people and history. The excursion is at your own expense and costs can be adjusted depending on your preferred level of accommodation and activities. Optional Activities: Zanzibar Excursion: Ferry, Food, Accommodation, Spice Tours, Dolphin Tours, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling.
Day 16/17 Zanzibar/Dar es Salaam – Arusha
Camp B,L,D (B, L Day 17 only)
Today we leave Zanzibar and catch a late ferry (or flight) back to Dar es Salaam and return to our campsite. The evening can be spent reminiscing about our days on the island. The next day we take a long and scenic drive to Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania. If the weather is favourable and skies are clear we might see Mt Kilimanjaro. After arriving in Arusha, those who are going to explore the Serengeti National Park, prepare for their excursion.
Day 18/19 Serengeti/Ngorongoro
There are many options available, ranging from a one-day trip to the Ngorongoro crater, to a three-day trip into the Serengeti. As this is for your own expense, we give you every opportunity to match the activity to your budget. For those not going to the parks, take this opportunity to absorb some of the fascinating local culture. One of the guides will remain with those that decide to stay in Arusha. Optional Activities: Serengeti, Ngorongoro Excursion.
Day 20 Arusha
Getting together again after our various game viewing activities in the game parks, we spend our last night in this beautiful country exchanging 'big game' stories around the campfire.
Day 21 Kenya – Nairobi
After crossing the border into Kenya we continue to travel towards Nairobi and the end of our journey. Although our tour has ended some groups like to spend this evening at local restaurant.
Optional Activities: Dinner at Carnivore.
Day 22 – Lake Naivasha National Park
The tour will leave the capital city of Kenya and travel north to Lake Naivasha where we spend the day at Hells Gate National Park that lies next to this shallow lake. Hell’s Gate is named for the huge red-coloured cliffs that form the entrance to the geothermal interior. This is the only National Park where you can go hiking in and activities also include game and bird watching. The park entry fees are included in the tour and a popular optional activity is game viewing on bicycles. Another optional way to spend your afternoon is to take high-tea at Elsamere – the former home of Joy Adams, best known for her autobiographical novel Born Free. Optional Activities: Cycle hire, high tea at Elsamere.
Day 23 – Masai Mara National Reserve
The Masai Mara National Reserve is the Kenyan side of the Serengeti National Park (located in Tanzania). Today the tour will be entering this 2430 square kilometre area of spectacular game viewing to photograph some of Africa’s most abundant wildlife. Best known for the annual migration of around 1.5 million wildebeest, the Masai Mara is also home to many other plains animals including lions. In addition to what we hope will be a successful day’s game viewing, cultural interaction with Kenya’s native Masaai people will round off your experience.
Day 24 – Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru National Park
After some further game viewing in the Masai Mara, the tour will travel towards central Kenya and Lake Nakuru, home of the greater and lesser flamingo. Originally created as a bird sanctuary, Lake Nakuru was upgraded to National Park status in 1968. Although the shallow alkaline lake is most famous for the large flocks of flamingos that congregate to feed on the blue-green algae, the National Park is also home to a further 450 species of birds and over 50 species of mammals. White Rhino inhabit the transitional savanna area surrounding the lake and if you are lucky you will get some great photographs.
Day 25 – Lake Nakuru to Kampala
The drive from Lake Nakuru and across the border into Uganda travels through Eldoret – founded by the Afrikaner people at mile 64 (on the wagon route from Londiani). Uganda is hailed as ‘Africa’s friendliest country’ and on arrival it will soon become obvious how true this is. Kampala is the capital of Uganda and since 1986 the constantly improving economy and relative political stability have enhanced the attractiveness of Uganda as a tourism destination. When crossing the equator today there will be opportunity for photography.
Day 26 –Kampala / Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary
Although officially this day is set aside for everyone to explore Kampala most people use this day to take an optional day trip to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary of Ngamba Island. This non-profit eco-friendly project was set up in 1998 to care for the orphaned chimpanzees that are the sad result of the illegal bush-meat trade. Ngamba Island is situated 23 km from Entebbe (near Kampala) in Lake Victoria and is only accessible by boat. The Chimpanzee Sanctuary & Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) manages the project and as only one third of their operating costs are covered by visitors fees, all interested parties are encouraged to join ‘Friends of the Sanctuary’ if they choose to. Should the weather be unfavourable and the lake too rough for this excursion there are many other activities available in Kampala. Optional Activities: Ngamba Chimpanzee Excursion, Kampala Markets
Day 27 – Kampala and Lake Bunyoni
Lake Bunyoni is a small but attractive lake with steep sides and abundant birdlife. Ringed by mountains, Lake Bunyoni is best known for its dense otter population and beautiful scenery. On this tour we make use of this beautiful spot to relax and spend the night before the final drive to the Gorilla’s.
Day 28/29/30 – Gorillas
The Gorilla is one of our closest living relatives with over 95% similarity in our DNA. The Mountain Gorilla is extremely endangered and while exact numbers vary it is widely assumed that there are only 650 left. Visiting the Gorilla’s is a great way to support their future on earth as the money spent on permits is used for their protection. An extremely important part of the future conservation of the remaining Gorilla’s rests in the community development work – as local communities change their attitudes towards wildlife and start to protect rather than poach the future of the Mountain Gorilla’s is assured.
As permits granting permission to visit the gorillas are extremely limited we require flexibility in both the tour itinerary and where we actually visit them. The home of the Mountain Gorillas is completely at odds with man-made borders and so their range encompasses Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Whenever possible we choose to make use of the National Parks in Uganda, but this depends on the availability of permits and any one of the following National Parks could be used: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda), Mgahinga National Park (Uganda)), Volcano National Park (Rwanda) and Virunga National Park (DRC).
The forest area that the Mountain Gorilla inhabits is split between two sections. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park forms 330 square kilometers of forest area in Uganda. The Virunga Volcano region is located on the border between DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. The Virunga Volcano region is home to the other three National Parks – Mgahinga, Volcano and Virunga and is approximately another 300 square kilometers in size. The Gorillas themselves are split into two divided populations.
Should we not obtain permits to visit the Mountain Gorillas in either Bwindi or Mgahinga National Parks in Uganda then we will inform all passengers beforehand that the tour will travel to Rwanda or DRC. Visas for all nationalities are available on the DRC and Rwandan borders.
The Ugandan Wildlife Authority manages the availability and issuing of all permits to visit Uganda’s gorilla populations. Six (6) people are permitted per trek per day and a total of eighteen (18) people can be taken in to Bwindi, while six (6) people are allowed for Mgahinga. There are only four family-groups of gorillas that can be visited, three groups in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, (Mubare, Habinyanja and Rushegura) and only one (Nyakagezi) in Mgahinga National Park.
Day 31 – Queen Elizabeth National Park
The Rwenzori Mountains rise majestically above Lakes Edward and George. In literature and during the explorative period of Africa these ‘Mountains of the Moon’ have stirred the imagination of many a prospective explorer. Many game species are to be found in this mainly wetland park including the (elsewhere elusive) giant forest hog, and the legendary tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha Sector. The 1995 square kilometers of exceptional bio-diversity contain over 600 species of birds and nearly 100 mammals. Game is best viewed from the water and we recommend a sunset river cruise on the Kasinga channel.
When looking at some maps of Uganda it is possible to become confused as several of the National Parks and lakes have changed their names more than once since independence in 1962, and not all maps have been updated. Queen Elizabeth National Park was called the Ruwenzori National Park for many years until it returned to the colonial name. Meanwhile the Ruwenzori Mountains to the north of Queen Elizabeth N.P became Ruwenzori National Park in 1991. Optional Activities: Kasinga Channel Sunset Cruise
Day 32 – Queen Elizabeth National Park and Kampala
This afternoon we return to Kampala where there is opportunity to dine out at one of Kampala’s many restaurants. There is a variety of different fare on offer and your guide will provide you with a choice of options. The next day the tour will leave early for Jinja – home to some of the best White Water Rafting in the world. As we need to pre book this activity our guide needs to know by the time we arrive in Kampala if you wish to participate in this optional adventure activity. Optional Activities: Meal out in Kampala
Day 33 – Jinja
Jinja is Uganda’s second largest city and is famous as the point where the Nile (officially the Victoria Nile) flows out of Lake Victoria and begins the 6695 kilometre journey to Egypt and the Mediterranean. Many people feel quite moved - knowing that the river in front of you nourished the Egyptian empires thousands of years ago and continues to sustain people to this day. The longest river in the world, the Nile goes by many names as it makes its way though Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. The correct identification of Lake Victoria as the source of the Nile was made by John Hanning Speke who was part of the 1856-1858 expedition led by Richard Francis Burton.
If you do not want to go rafting why not volunteer for the day at Soft Power Education - a UK registered charity that is doing a wonderful job in the education of Jinja’s youth. Spending your day helping out will not only assist their projects, but will also allow you the opportunity to spend a day at grass-roots level helping Africa’s youth. Optional Activities: White Water Rafting, Soft Power Education Project.
Day 34 – Eldoret
The tour returns to Kenya today and this time we spend a night in the town of Eldoret. Eldoret is the 5th largest city in Kenya and is currently the fastest growing. Moi University (named for Daniel Arap Moi, President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002) is located here and almost 11 500 students are educated every year. The Great Rift Valley is still the dominant geographical feature of this region with the altitude at Eldoret being 2100 metres above sea level.
Day 35 – Nairobi
Tour ends. Own arrangements, B, L
The city of Nairobi was originally founded as a camp for the Mombassa-Uganda railway in 1899 and had since become the largest city in both Kenya and the East Africa region, with a population of between 3-4 million people. Nairobi is a cosmopolitan African-European city with many immigrants from former British colonies. The number of churches, mosques, temples and gurdwaras within the city bear testimony to its multiculturalism.
Nairobi is not a prime tourist destination, but it does have several tourist attractions, the most well known being Nairobi National Park. The park contains many animals including lions and giraffes. Nairobi also has more species of birds than any other capital city in the world. There are also several museums in Nairobi including Nairobi Railway Museum and the National Museum of Kenya, which houses many artefacts including the full remains of a Homo erectus boy. Nairobi has the informal title "City in the Sun."
As this is the last evening together the group may choose to dine together at Nairobi’s famous Carnivore Restaurant where vegetarians are catered for, but not encouraged…
Optional Activities: Meal out in Nairobi.
Single Supplement R840
Local Payment USD$600
The itinerary is flexible and can be changed without notice in order to accommodate the best possible viewing of the Gorillas. The Permit price to visit the Gorillas can also change without notice.