Enquire About This Tour Code FGZ Gorillas & Zanzibar
Duration: 26 Days Route: Nairobi to Dar es Salaam Style: Overland Tours Price: US$4,539.00
Larger than any other primate, a visit to a family group of gorillas in the Ugandan rainforest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. During this Africa tour we visit national parks teeming with wildlife, including the Masai Mara National Reserve, Serengeti National Park and Lake Nakuru with its colossal flamingo population, then relax with a visit to Zanzibar Island.
Day 1 to 1 - Arrive Nairobi
The first day of your tour is simply an arrival day with no pre-organised activities. In order to allow time to relax and see some of the sights you may wish to add pre tour accommodation. On arrival please ask at the reception for information on when the pre departure meeting will be held.
Many travellers use Nairobi as a stop off point on their way to other parts of Eastern Africa, but there are many activities in the city that may appeal such as visiting orphaned baby elephants or the giraffe centre where endangered Rothschild giraffes are protected and bred.
Optional Excursions: Carnivores restaurant – US$42 • The Flip Flop Recycling Company – free • Karen Blixen Museum, coffee garden & cottages – free entrance to the bar. They offer beauty treatments, massages, swimming pools, sauna, gym. • Kazuri bead and pottery factory – free • Giraffe centre – US$9-10 • Elephant orphanage – US$7. Only open 11am -12am when feeding. • Safari walk – US$13 • Horse riding – from US$15 • Nairobi National Museum and city tour (need to rent a taxi for this) – starting from US$10 pp
Day 2 to 2 - Naivasha
After breakfast this morning we board our truck for the first time, enjoying the big windows and comfortable space. Driving through the villages, we pass communities going about their day and you might see children running after the truck waving and shouting hello. We will stop on the way at a viewing point for the Great Rift Valley where you can purchase souvenirs and refreshments as well as admire the view.
Naivasha is the second largest lake in the Great Rift Valley and is a great place to enjoy a boat cruise or guided bush walk to the green crater lake. With patience and a set of binoculars you can see many different species of birdlife found in the thick papyrus and forests of acacia trees fringing the lakeshore. You may also see colobus monkeys and giraffes near the lake.
In the afternoon you will have some free time to explore the nearby Hell's Gate National Park. Being mindful of the buffaloes you can enter this park on foot and it is one of the few parks in Africa you can explore by mountain bike. You may also like to visit Elsamere, the former home of the late Joy Adamson, who became famous for her relationship with the lioness Elsa in the film Born Free. We will camp here for the night before heading to Lake Nakuru the next day.
Approximate Travel Time: Four hours to Naivasha
Optional Excursions: Lake Naivasha boat trip – US$20 (price dependent on number of passengers) • Elsamere visit – US$10 • Green crater lake hike and guided game walk half day – US$35 • Hells Gate National Park entrance – US$35. The national park has no animals dangerous to man, making it a safe place to go hiking, rock climbing and cycling. There may also be the option to visit a Masai village at an additional cost of US$10 per person. • Push bike tour of Hell's Gate National Park with guide – US$45 • Mountain bike hire – US$10
Day 3 to 4 - Nakuru
You may awake to some unusual sound effects this morning; from our campsite in Navaisha it is often possible to hear hippos wallowing in the lake’s fresh water. We drive across the top of the Great Rift Valley, being treated to views of the immense trench before dropping down into the valley itself. We should arrive at Lake Nakuru in the afternoon with time for you to explore the farm that sits alongside our campsite.
The next day is a full day game drive into Lake Nakuru National Park, famous for the staggering sight of the thousands of pink flamingos that ring the lake feeding along the shores. It is a rhino sanctuary and shelters both the white and the critically endangered black rhino. Also present in the park are leopards, lions, cheetahs, zebras, buffalo, Rothschild giraffes and water birds including terns, stilts, ducks, herons, pelicans, kingfishers and cormorants.
Included Excursions: Game drive in Lake Nakuru National Park
Approximate Travel Time: Three hours to Nakuru
Optional Excursions: Kenana Knitters Project
Day 5 to 5 - Kampala
Crossing the border, we will make our way to Uganda’s capital, Kampala, passing townships, local markets and communities on the way.
Approximate Travel Time: Full day drive to Kampala including border crossing
Day 6 to 9 - Lake Bunyonyi (Gorilla Trek)
The next three days are based in Lake Bunyonyi, our start point for an excursion to see endangered mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. There are believed to be less than 800 mountain gorillas remaining in the world, and about half of that population live in this forest. To watch them in their natural habitat is a heart-stirring experience.
You’ll be picked up early in the morning and taken to the national park’s office and then transferred by 4WD truck to the trek point. Specialist guides will track gorilla spoor and look for signs of the gorillas' last movements. Gorilla trekking is unpredictable and the distance can vary as gorillas may move very little or travel some distance while foraging for food. Trekking can be physically demanding at times and the weather can be very changeable, but the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing these magnificent animals in the wild is entirely worth the effort. It is possible that you may be lucky enough to come within arm's length of these beautiful creatures if they approach you, but you are required to maintain a distance of seven metres from the animals at all times. Your time with the gorillas is restricted to one hour to safeguard the families from excessive human contact.
Back in Lake Bunyonyi, we will visit the Batwa pygmy village and local school. The school was set up by two past passengers and the local community to help pygmy children integrate into Ugandan society. The cost of this included excursion goes directly to the school and donations of school supplies are always welcome. You can also enjoy a cruise on the lake, perhaps take a swim or relax on the shore. Meaning 'place of many little birds', Lake Bunyonyi is about 29 kilometres long and 7 kilometres wide, dotted by 29 islands. Look out for Uganda's national bird, the crested crane, among the 200 other bird species in the area.
Included Excursions: Gorilla Trek with trekking permit included • Lake Bunyonyi excursion
Approximate Travel Time: Eight hours to Lake Bunyoni
Optional Excursions: Dugout canoe hire on the lake – US$3 • Mountain biking – US$5
Day 10 to 11 - Jinja
Making our way towards the source of the mighty Nile, we visit the adventure sports hub of Jinja. With world-class white water rafting on the Nile River, quad biking to local villages along the riverbank and a 44-metre bungee jump, there is plenty to entertain in this buzzing town.
It is also the location of the Soft Power project, a British-registered community charity dedicated to improving quality of life through education. If you wish, you can visit this project and volunteer your services helping with school renovations. Your tour leader will be able to give you more information about this.
Approximate Travel Time:Full day drive to Jinja
Optional Excursions: White water rafting on the White Nile – US$125 • Rafting and river boarding – US$140 • Kayaking with the rafters – US$140 (experienced kayakers only) • Mountain bike guided tour – US$30 • Horseback safaris approximately 2 hours – US$45 • Quad biking - approximately 2 hours – US$50 • Nile high bungee jump – US$95 • Soft Power Education project day – US$20. A British registered, non-religious charity devoted to developing and improving educational facilities for children in the local community of Jinja.
Day 12 to 12 - Eldoret
Today we return to Kenya, crossing the border at the same place as before, and make our way to Eldoret. The scenery as we pass varies from mountainous scrubland to tangled jungle ravines and fertile high tea country. The city of Eldoret is located on the Uasin Gishu Plateau west of the Great Rift Valley and was originally known as '64', because it was located 64 miles from the newly built Uganda Railway railhead at Kibigori. It is also famous for its cheese! We stay a night in Eldoret.
Approximate Travel Time: Ten hours to Eldoret
Day 13 to 14 - Masai Mara National Reserve
Covering of over 1,500 square kilometres and providing habitat for thousands of animals, the Masai Mara Nature Reserve is deservedly one of Kenya’s most popular safari spots. We leave Nairobi in the morning, making our way by safari minivan. Wasting no time, we head off on our first game drive in the afternoon. Animals present in the reserve include the Big Five (lions, elephants, Cape buffaloes, leopards and rhinoceros), various grazing mammals which attract carnivores such as cheetahs, hyenas and jackals, as well as over 500 recorded species of birds. We stay just outside the park in permanent tents with ensuite, enjoying a buffet dinner in the evening.
The following morning we leave camp early for a second game drive, visiting the mighty Mara River en route. During the annual Great Migration, this is the setting for the thunderous display of thousands of wildebeest crossing the river while canny crocodiles lie in wait. At any time of year, the river is vitally important to the ecosystem and a good spot to view animals. We’ll also visit a local Masai village, learning about the vibrant, semi-nomadic herders’ way of life and join them in a local dance.
Included Excursions: Game Drives by 4WD in the Masai Mara National Reserve
Approximate Travel Time: Nine hours to Masai Mara National Reserve
Optional Excursions: Hot air balloon over the Masai Mara National Reserve – US$450 per person
Day 15 to 16 - Nairobi
Returning to Nairobi gives you the chance to experience some of the activities around the capital city you may have missed first time around. You may wish to enjoy a meal at the famous African buffet restaurant called Carnivores, where meat is served from Masai spears until you can eat no more and raise your flag in surrender!
Approximate Travel Time: Seven hours
Day 17 to 17 - Arusha
Crossing the border into Tanzania, we make our way to Arusha. Our campsite for the evening runs a free clinic onsite offering snake anti-venom to the local people. They treat snake bites and provide free medical care to the nearly 1000 patients a month that come to them for help. There is also a snake and reptile park, Masai museum and craft market. It is here that we will prepare to enter the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.
Approximate Travel Time: Ten hours depending on the border
Day 18 to 19 - Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater
A place that needs no introduction, the Serengeti National Park is the most famous safari destination in Africa. We’re picked up after breakfast and taken by 4WD to the national park. The afternoon is spent game driving to our campsite, located inside the national park to maximise our time and wildlife viewing opportunities. Before we reach the Serengeti plains, we’ll stop for a stunning vista overlooking the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken, un-flooded caldera in the world. The vast 300 square kilometre crater stretches out in front of you in a kaleidoscope of blues and greens and it’s not until you spot the barely discernible grey speck of an elephant that you truly grasp its scale.
Every safari is unique and you will never know what’s in store for you until you arrive. Among the hundreds of species in the park, you may encounter zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, buffalo, lion, cheetah, leopard, hippopotamus, hyena, elephant, vulture, monkey, warthog, gazelle and impala. Each season offers a different highlight.
Our second day in the park is a full day of game driving, trying to spot the more elusive members of the animal kingdom before heading to our campsite on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater.
Included Excursions: Game Drives by 4WD in the Serengeti National Park
Optional Excursions: Olduuvai Gorge – 27,000TS or US$18 • Masai Village
Day 20 to 20 - Arusha
After camping on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater our final morning game driving is spent inside crater itself - a good place to spot black rhinoceros, elephant and lions.
This afternoon, we return to stay in Arusha and reunite with the overland truck.
Included Excursions: Morning Game Drive by 4WD in the Ngorongoro Crater
Day 21 to 21 - Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam is a bustling port on the Indian Ocean and our gateway to the exotic island of Zanzibar.
Day 22 to 24 - Zanzibar
Today we are bound for the enigmatic, intoxicating Isles of Zanzibar. Taking tuk-tuks to the ferry terminal, we board our fast ferry to make the crossing. Arriving in Stone Town, we’re given a guided tour of a nearby spice plantation discovering the many plants that flourish in this verdant, tropical environment. You can sample spices picked straight from the plant including fresh cloves and cinnamon bark before stopping for lunch at a local home.
The UNESCO-listed Stone Town has changed little over the past 200 years. It boasts a labyrinth of walled streets, winding alleys, bustling markets and grand crumbling architecture. You can spend many idle hours simply wandering the streets, shopping at the bazaars and admiring the intriguingly decorated elephant-proof doors before sitting down to watch the sun set with a cold beer and a sumptuous seafood feast. If food is your thing, make sure you check out the excellent night market on the promenade which serves traditional local fare.
Our time in Zanzibar is divided between Stone Town and relaxing on the powder white sands of North Beach. The most beautiful, isolated beaches in Zanzibar lie to the north and east of the island. With sparkling turquoise water and silvery sand fringed with palm trees, these beaches are nothing short of paradise. There are plenty of options available here. Relax and take it easy, indulge with a massage or go diving, snorkelling or swimming with dolphins.
Included Excursions: Guided Tour of the Spice Plantations and lunch at a local house.
Optional Excursions: Dhow sunset cruise – US$15 • Snorkelling – US$20-45 • Scuba diving – US$135
Day 25 to 25 - Dar es Salaam
This afternoon we take a ferry back to the mainland, making the most of our last few hours on Zanzibar Island before we depart. We return to the same campsite in Dar es Salaam, reuniting with our overland truck and gear.
Day 26 to 26 - Depart Dar es Salaam
Your adventure of a lifetime comes to an end today. If you have a late flight or have lengthened your stay by adding post tour accommodation you will have more time to explore the sights.
Day by Day Itinerary
|Day 6||Lake Bunyonyi||BLD|
|Day 7||Lake Bunyonyi||D|
|Day 8||Lake Bunyonyi||D|
|Day 9||Lake Bunyonyi||D|
|Day 13||Masai Mara National Park||BLD|
|Day 14||Masai Mara National Park||BLD|
|Day 18||Serengeti National Park||BLD|
|Day 19||Serengeti National Park||BLD|
|Day 21||Dar es Salaam||BLD|
|Day 25||Dar es Salaam||BD|
|Day 26||Dar es Salaam|
(B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner included)
For tours that include the option of a single supplement, a ✔ will indicate in which destinations single rooms are available. The detailed and day by day itineraries above are provided in good faith and it is our intention to adhere to the published route. Changes may be made before or during your tour for operational or safety reasons or to incorporate improvements. Impromptu changes may also occur whilst you are travelling as a result of one-off circumstances such as an excursion being closed on a particular day, weather conditions or transport. Delays are rare but occur occasionally and for this reason and the reasons above this itinerary should be considered as a guide only. Published transport times are approximations and may vary depending on local conditions.