Go all-out Tarzan on this unbelievable Gorilla Encounter expedition, packed with more action than you can poke a banana leaf at. This short African safari starts and ends in Nairobi, with an optional jungle trek in neighbouring Uganda. Get up close and personal with a family of wild mountain gorillas, track chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge and check out the fabulous flamingos at Lake Nakuru. With so many memorable animal encounters, you’ll be giving David Attenborough a run for his money.
Get excited. This. Is. Africa! First up: Kenya’s Great Rift Valley and Lake Nakuru National Park, where we’ll kick things off with a game drive. Best known for its birdlife, Nakuru also contains plenty of rhinos, leopards, warthogs, baboons and lions – so keep those eyes peeled.
Today we’ll kick it north through the highlands to Eldoret, a thriving town on the Kenya-Uganda highway. Grab dinner and go exploring before we move on to Kampala tomorrow.
Get ready to roll into Uganda’s bustling capital city. With a rich history to explore (not to mention a whole bunch of shops, attractions and gardens) you certainly won’t be short of things to do here.
From Kampala we’ll travel west towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, checking out green terraced hillsides, lush banana plantations, steep mountains and tangled forests along the way. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for herds of Ankole cattle! When we reach the national park, a spot of chimpanzee trekking is on the cards. OMG.
If the amazing mountain #views aren’t enough for you this morning, wait till you see Lake Edwards and Lake George! Did you know? Queen Elizabeth National Park has over 500 species of birds and 100 species of mammals, making it one of the most biodiverse national parks in the world. If you’re lucky, you might get to spot a few critters en route to Kyambura Gorge for the trek to see the chimpanzees (if you didn’t already make this journey yesterday). Unlike their mountain gorilla cousins, chimps live mostly in the trees, so keep an eye up high!
Over the next three days, you and your adventure buddies will be split into two groups. On the first day, one group will trek to see the amazing mountain gorillas up close, while the others will have a free day of chilling out on the lake. Then the next day, the groups will swap. Quick fact: the Lake Bunyonyi region is home to the world’s remaining 770 mountain gorillas, many of which inhabit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. On the day of our trek, we’ll meet our local guide and tracker bright and early before venturing into the rainforest. The trek can be demanding at times (look out for uneven terrain and hill climbs), but trust us – the privilege of spending time with a family of these gentle giants will make the effort totally worthwhile. Excited yet? We sure are! What can you do at Lake Bunyonyi when you’re not trekking, you ask? Good question. Take your pick from our optionals: hire a canoe, hop on a boat trip or check out a traditional dance performance. If you’re all about the animal life, you can even indulge in a spot of bird watching. Wanna chill? We won’t judge. You’ll have plenty of time to relax around camp and send a few postcards home.
If you’re not on today’s trek, take advantage of some free time by the lake with a bunch of boredom-killer activities. Hire canoes and swing by some of the islands, wander the local villages or channel your inner explorer with a nature walk.
Got a free day? Yesterday’s optionals are still here for you! Spend your time swanning around the campsite or discover why this area is known as the ‘place of many birds’ with a spot of bird watching. What’s it gonna be?
After your once-in-a-lifetime gorilla experience, it’s time to venture out of the wilderness and back into civilisation as we hit the road to Kampala.
Onwards to Jinja – a great place for optionals like kayaking, whitewater rafting and bird watching.
Since our camp in Jinja overlooks a dramatic set of rapids (known as Bujagali Falls), it's no surprise the region is somewhat of an adrenalin playground. Best make the most of it while you're here!
When you've had your fill of heart-racing activities, why not roll up your sleeves and take the opportunity to make a difference to the local community by volunteering? Soft Power Education is a locally run volunteer programme aimed at building and improving schools in the Jinja area. Your contribution of a few hours of painting or plastering is always most welcome (and serves as a great mood booster, too).
After our excitement-filled break in Jinja we’ll retrace our steps across the border into Kenya. Then: it’s off to Eldoret we go! Tonight, share a few laughs with your travel buds and toast the end of your trip with one last night around the campfire.
After breakfast we’ll carry on along the Rift Valley to Nairobi, where our Gorilla Encounter trip will wrap up. Make sure you swap numbers – you’ll want to relive the amazing experiences you’ve shared time and time again! #gorillalife
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