9 Day Gorilla Safari

From R 10395

DURATION:

9 DAYS

STARTING POINT:

NAIROBI

ENDING POINT:

KAMPALA

TOUR TYPE:

Overland Tour

TOUR CODE:

AATGS9

Gorilla

This African budge safari takes you deep into the heart of the jungle to view the rare and majestic mountain gorilla in its natural habitat.

Starting in Nairobi, you will first get some great game viewing opportunities in the world renowned Masai Mara National Reserve. From here you will head North West into Uganda and the city of Kampala. Lake Bunyonyi is a truly spectacular sight, a small lake dotted with 29 small islands, makes for a rather magical experience. This is where you will camp in preparation for your gorilla trek. Depending on what permits are available, trekking is either done in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. The gorilla treks are done in small groups and while waiting your turn, you can spend time swimming and exploring the islands of Lake Bunyonyi. From here you will head back to Kampala where this tour will end.

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9 Day Gorilla Safari

Day 1

Nairobi – Masai Mara

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi we climb the escarpment to our first stop, a viewpoint overlooking a section of 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, and continue our drive possibly getting a glimpse of some wildlife along the way. We arrive at Acacia Camp in the late afternoon. 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.

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

 Day 2

Masai Mara

We depart shortly after sunrise on our game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. The Masai Mara is well known as one of East Africa’s best National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Most famous for the Annual Migration, that consists of the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania; the Masai Mara is most popular between July and October when these vast herds feast on the fresh grazing here. Following these herbivores are Africa’s predators that are often seen at a kill during this period. We game drive through a section of the park in search of the ‘Big 5’- elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard; along with the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who make call this wilderness home.

After our game drive, we have the option to visit one of the nearby Masai Manyatta’s – this is a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way. This evening we sit around the camp fire, and watch the sun set over this “Garden of Eden”.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Day 3

Masai Mara – Eldoret

Leaving the Masai Mara early, we head out of Masai Land pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Eldoret.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Day 4

Eldoret – Kampala, Uganda

This morning, 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 semi-desert 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Day 5 – 8

Kampala – Lake Bunyoni

After an early morning departure from Kampala we drive west into the depths of Uganda to our base at the tranquil Lake Bunyoni.

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 from US$600. For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (the trip leader will advise at the pre departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed), we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. We also advise budgeting a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers. Please budget accordingly as payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre departure meeting.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain 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. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. 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 (not including transfer time) 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 resort.

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.

Depending on where the trek takes place you may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC. The villagers in this area are mostly subsistence farmers, and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes. It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Optional Activity: Gorilla Trekking

 Day 9

Lake Bunyoni – Kampala

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 finish in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life if you are staying overnight before saying our goodbyes to the group.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

 Gorilla Trekking

The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice – currently they are priced from US$600. There is a local transport & handling fee from US$120 per person (this covers the return public transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee).

Camping – R10395 + US$410 Local payment
*Gorilla permits not included in price. These prices fluctuate and are dependent of which permits are available and in which countries. The price is currently starting at US$600.

Includes:

Meals as indicated on the itinerary, Highlights as indicated, accommodation, guides and transport.

Excludes:

Flights, Airport departure taxes departure transfer, visas, meals unless otherwise stated, travel insurance, laundry, Gorilla Permit, transfer to gorilla trek, personal items, sleeping bag, pillow & tips, Optional Activities

Please note that maps shown are a rough guide. Exact locations and routes might differ slightly to what is shown. Please refer to the tour itinerary for a more precise route.

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9 Day Gorilla Safari

R10,395.00

This African budge safari takes you deep into the heart of the jungle to view the rare and majestic mountain gorilla in its natural habitat.

Starting in Nairobi, you will first get some great game viewing opportunities in the world renowned Masai Mara National Reserve. From here you will head North West into Uganda and the city of Kampala. Lake Bunyonyi is a truly spectacular sight, a small lake dotted with 29 small islands, makes for a rather magical experience. This is where you will camp in preparation for your gorilla trek. Depending on what permits are available, trekking is either done in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. The gorilla treks are done in small groups and while waiting your turn, you can spend time swimming and exploring the islands of Lake Bunyonyi. From here you will head back to Kampala where this tour will end.

Product Description

Day 1

Nairobi – Masai Mara

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi we climb the escarpment to our first stop, a viewpoint overlooking a section of 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, and continue our drive possibly getting a glimpse of some wildlife along the way. We arrive at Acacia Camp in the late afternoon. 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.

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

 Day 2

Masai Mara

We depart shortly after sunrise on our game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. The Masai Mara is well known as one of East Africa’s best National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Most famous for the Annual Migration, that consists of the impressive herds of over 1 million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania; the Masai Mara is most popular between July and October when these vast herds feast on the fresh grazing here. Following these herbivores are Africa’s predators that are often seen at a kill during this period. We game drive through a section of the park in search of the ‘Big 5’- elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion & leopard; along with the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who make call this wilderness home.

After our game drive, we have the option to visit one of the nearby Masai Manyatta’s – this is a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional way. This evening we sit around the camp fire, and watch the sun set over this “Garden of Eden”.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Day 3

Masai Mara – Eldoret

Leaving the Masai Mara early, we head out of Masai Land pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Eldoret.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Day 4

Eldoret – Kampala, Uganda

This morning, 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 semi-desert 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.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 Day 5 – 8

Kampala – Lake Bunyoni

After an early morning departure from Kampala we drive west into the depths of Uganda to our base at the tranquil Lake Bunyoni.

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 from US$600. For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (the trip leader will advise at the pre departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured, and will assist with the online visa application for Rwanda en-route if needed), we will also have to purchase an additional visa to enter either country, as well as renewing our Ugandan visa upon re-entry. We also advise budgeting a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers. Please budget accordingly as payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre departure meeting.

Trekking Procedures: The mountain 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. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. 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 (not including transfer time) 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 resort.

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.

Depending on where the trek takes place you may also pass through some of the local villages that have settled in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC. The villagers in this area are mostly subsistence farmers, and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes. It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Optional Activity: Gorilla Trekking

 Day 9

Lake Bunyoni – Kampala

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 finish in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life if you are staying overnight before saying our goodbyes to the group.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

 Gorilla Trekking

The prices of trekking permits fluctuate and may change without prior notice – currently they are priced from US$600. There is a local transport & handling fee from US$120 per person (this covers the return public transfer and the Wildlife Authority’s booking fee).

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