Treat yourself to your very own African experience as you embark on this unforgettable adventure from Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to the island paradise of Zanzibar – with a very special wildlife encounter with the beautiful mountain gorillas in between! Top it all off with a well deserved rest on Zanzibar and you’ve got yourself one pretty spectacular holiday.
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. Spend some time exploring the markets, book shops, cafés and restaurants on foot.
Yes! You’ve got a free day in Nairobi. If you’re stuck for ideas, your Trip Leader will be more than happy to help you arrange optional local excursions in and around the city!
Next up: the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya’s best-known game park. Looking for the real Africa? This is it! We’ll spend two nights camping here, with plenty of time to explore the park and meet the locals on morning and afternoon game drives. Keep your eyes peeled for some (if not all) of Africa's 'Big Five' (elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard) and a whole bunch of other wildlife, too.
You’ve got another day to soak up the Mara’s rolling grasslands and broad horizons (heart eyes emoji). Watch out for wildebeest and zebras!
Leaving the incredible natural wonderland of the Maasai Mara behind us, today we’ll hit the road back to the chaotic city of Nairobi, where we’ll stay overnight.
After crossing the border into Tanzania, we’ll arrive at our next destination: Arusha. This place is Tanzania’s ‘safari capital’ – a bustling city with colourful markets, nestling in the shadow of Mt Meru. If we have time, we’ll take a guided walk in a Maasai village to learn about the local culture before heading to our camp (if not, we’ll do it on day 22). But first: anyone for an optional camel ride?
Today we’ll switch to smaller 4x4 vehicles as we head west to Serengeti National Park. Don your khaki greens, ‘cos we’re going all-out safari mode! Exciting. Passing into the park, we’ll drive around the crater rim and down onto the Serengeti plains, which are home to an huge variety of grazing animals and birdlife. Flatter and larger than the Maasai Mara, the Serengeti certainly lives up to its nickname: ‘the place where the land moves on forever'.
Rise and shine! This morning we’re heading out on a game drive beyond the plains – and after lunch, we’ll ascend the outer wall of the awesome Ngorongoro Crater. Tonight, we’ll stay on the rim of the crater (read: pack your warmest jacket).
Today, we’re headed inside the Ngorongoro Crater for a morning of game driving and wildlife spotting. It’s a tough life. Then: it’s back to Arusha. If we didn’t already do it on day 19, we’ll visit a Maasai village this afternoon.
Next stop, Bagamoyo. If we’re lucky with the weather, we might even get to see an ah-mazing snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak) on the way.
Today we’re hitting the road south to Dar es Salaam, which is hot, humid and full of high rises, colourful markets and Arab-influenced architecture. Tonight we’ll set up camp on the beach (OMG). Feel that balmy sea breeze yet?
Hop on the ferry – we’ve got a beautiful palm-fringed island to get to! Fact: Zanzibar was once a major trading centre of spices. Did we mention this place has heaps of amazing optionals? We’re talking spice tours, visits to the Old Fort and more. Please note: As we leave the truck on the mainland, basic safari lodge/hotel accommodation and breakfast on Zanzibar is included. However, you will need to arrange your own lunches and dinners. We usually divide our nights in Zanzibar between accommodation in Stone Town and accommodation on one of the northern beaches, but there are no set activities – the time is entirely yours to do as you please.
After breakfast, why not head out on foot to explore Stone Town? You’re sure to find a whole bunch of souvenirs here. Wanna get aquatic? Then an optional snorkelling or scuba diving session has your name on it.
If it's white sand, sparkling sea and hot sun you're after, you’ve come to the right place! Later, indulge in some de-LISH seafood or simply relax beneath a coconut palm with a cocktail and a good book. #Bliss
Nooooooo – after one last breakfast as a group, it’s time to jump on the ferry back to Dar es Salaam. Our trip ends here. Facebook friends, anyone?
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