Join us on this once-in-a-lifetime, immersive tour taking a small group of guests to wildlife hotspots of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
During this extraordinary three-country journey, you will not only enjoy seeing diverse wildlife, but also learn about conservation from renowned experts like Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikosoka. You will come away with an in-depth understanding of human-wildlife conflict issues; challenges facing conservation initiatives and also, about conservation successes in these three countries. The tour starts in Rwanda where our focus is Akagera National Park, managed African Parks which has been conducting sterling work in order to transform Akagera into the rewarding wildlife haven that it once was. Here you will be able to meet the rangers and learn about conservation developments in this park. In exquisite,verdant south-western Uganda at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, visit the Mountain gorillas with none other than Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, one of the world's leading authorities on Mountain gorillas. You also enjoy the stunning scenery in this corner of Uganda, including dense rainforests, the Virunga volcano chain and picture-perfect crater lakes.
The third and final country incorporated into this itinerary, is Kenya. Here we stay for six nights at the Enonkishu Conservancy in the Mara region. Aside from game drives (day and night) galore in Enonkishu and two other conservancies, you will have the privilege of meeting conservation figures such as the conservancy Operations Manager Albabus Musyoka; you can engage in one-to-ones with rangers, wardens and park staff; learn about camera trapping techiques, transects; foot patrols; animal track identification and you can get to know something of the everyday lives of the Masaai people, with whom you can enjoy a traditional dinner at a Masaai home and even 'put the cows to bed'; one night. The inclusion of a visit to a little-known Rhino sanctuary, means that guests are afforded the chance to see the Big Five; during the tour.
Among the many other highlights of this busy but utterly fascinating itinerary, are a sunset boat trip on Lake Inema (Akagera); a visit with the Batwa at Mgahinga Gorilla Park; the unusual Kisozi Caldera walk near Bwindi and a cooking class with Kenyan food blogger Kaluhi Adagala. All this, with the blend of quintessential tropical African scenery, diverse habitats and abundant wildlife (and birdlife), make the trip a truly memorable experience.
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16 Jan 2021: London Heathrow - Kigali
Fly from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) to Kigali, Rwanda. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your dedicated, professional, English-speaking, Ugandan driver-guide/tour leader, who will transfer you to your hotel where you stay overnight and meet the rest of your party, with breakfast included (approx. 30min drive).
Accommodation: Heaven Boutique Hotel
17 Jan 2021: Kigali - Akagera National Park, Southern Sector
After breakfast, you will be met and transferred along a scenic route to the southern sector of Akagera National Park (approx. 3hr drive time).
On arrival at the national park, you will be given a fascinating ‘Behind the Scenes’ talk by one of the rangers, who will speak about Akagera’s history; the wildlife relocation programmes, and the management take-over by Africa Parks (2010).
In the afternoon, venture on an exciting boat trip on Lake Ihema, where you can spot an array of birds; pods of hippos, crocodiles and more. Sunsets here are magical.
Accommodation: Ruzizi Tented Lodge
18 Jan 2021: Akagera National Park, Southern - Northern Sector
After breakfast, venture out on a full-day game drive up to the north of Akagera National Park.
Despite its relatively small size, this attractive savannah park in eastern Rwanda protects varied wildlife, so expect interesting sightings in a short amount of time. The wildlife in Akagera has increased over time and the recent count is estimated that the park is now a home to over 8,000 large mammals. Lions were re-introduced recently and have had cubs.
Game you should see in Akagera includes African elephant; Cape buffalo, Giraffe, Impala, Topi, Zebra, Bushbuck, Oribi, Reedbuck, Roan and Sable antelopes, Eland, Warthog and smaller mammals include Baboons, Vervet monkeys and Mongoose,.
During the wonderful drive from the south to the north of the park, you'll be able to savour panoramic views from the top of the mountain across Lake Ihema and out towards Tanzania.
Accommodation: Karenge Bush Camp
19 Jan 2021: Akagera National Park, Northern Sector
Enjoy another game drive this morning in Akagera National Park, in search of the resident Lions and elusive leopards (which we saw in our 2018 inspection visit), as well as all of the aforementioned mammals.
In the afternoon, you'll be shown the work that park fence attendants do to safeguard Akagera's biodiversity. (Part of their work entails walking along the fence on a daily basis. Today's walk starts at the park entrance taking you 7km into the hills following the fence on the outside of the park. The walk takes on average 2 hours and ends at the top of a ridge from where there are spectacular views of Akagera in all directions.
Accommodation: Karenge Bush Camp
20 Jan 2021: Akagera National Park - Rwanda/Uganda Border - Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda)
Today you will be transferred in your comfortable 4-wheel drive vehicle to the Rwanda/Uganda border and from there, up to the boundary of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. This very scenic drive takes about. 5hrs. T
his afternoon, you meet the Batwa during the Batwa Settlement Walk. A 45 min walk through picture-perfect, fertile rural Ugandan countryside, will bring you to the temporary homes of the Batwa. Joined by an official translator and mediator between the Batwa community and the management of Mt. Gahinga Lodge, guests have the rare and very special opportunity to ask the Batwa questions.
This is not a staged: you can ask challenging and contentious questions relating to their (the Batwas’) forced eviction from the forests and the unfulfilled promises on the parts of the Ugandan government and the Uganda Wildlife Authorities (UWA).
So expect honest and sometimes harrowing replies.
Accommodation: Mount Gahinga Lodge
21 Jan 2021: Mgahinga Gorilla National Park - Lake Mutanda - Nkuringo, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Set off after breakfast into the forest to track the Golden monkeys. Listed as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN, the Golden monkey (Cercopithecus Kandti) is endemic to the Albertine Rift. The Virunga Volcanoes harbour the only remaining viable breeding population of this localised primate, a rare subspecies of the Blue monkey with a golden-orange patch on the upper flanks and back.
The activity will involve venturing through open farmland and searching the dense bamboo forest canopy. Here, the Golden monkeys feed most of the year on bamboo leaves, insects and on ripe fruit when it is available. If successful at tracking the Golden monkeys it is hoped to spend an hour observing their behaviour.
After lunch, enjoy another varied and interesting rural Ugandan countryside. You will be taken on the Kisozi Caldera walk, followed by a short canoe trip on lovely Lake Mutanda. You will then be driven to Nkuringo in the southern sector of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park (an approx. 2.5hrs drive).
Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
22 Jan 2021: Uganda Gorilla Tracking with Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka!
After an early breakfast, you will be taken to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park's HQ (Nkuringo) for a briefing at 07:00 on conduct during gorilla tracking. You will then meet the renowned Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka and her team of experienced ranger-guides, who will take you into the rainforest-clad slopes, to seek out one of the resident, habituated Gorilla groups. ‘Dr Gladys’ as she is affectionately known, started the Conservation Through Public Health’s (CTPH) Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre veterinary unit at Uganda Wildlife Authority, and she is the first full-time authority and gorilla veterinary doctor in Uganda.
Time taken to reach the Gorillas varies from as little as 45 mins to a few hrs. They may be in bamboo habitat or in closed forest. Once the Gorillas are located, you will be allowed a max of 1 hr with them. This is one of the most memorable and awe-inspiring wildlife experiences to be had anywhere in the world – superlatives simply fail to convey just how impressive it is.
During the excursion, you may see other forest wildlife such as L’Hoest’s monkeys, Black-fronted duiker, Forest squirrels and various birds unique to the Albertine Rift, notably colourful Rwenzori and Ross's turacous.
You don’t have to be an athlete to take on Gorilla tracking, but you do have to be prepared to traverse fairly steep, rough and uneven terrain for what could be a lengthy period of time. Rangers and porters always go at the speed of the slowest walker, and you will be able to make several stops for drinks or snacks.
This evening, enjoy dinner with ‘Dr Gladys’ during which she will tell you more about the CTPH, its history and its aims. The CTPH was founded in 2003, when scabies in gorillas was traced back to people resident around the park who have very little access to health care and to education about hygiene and disease prevention. So CTPH set about building a Gorilla Research Clinic, which then became the Gorilla Health and Community Conservation Centre.
During dinner, you learn about gorilla health monitoring, gorilla conservation; community well-being and livelihood. You will learn about work under way to improve health among resident communities, this being essential to prevent diseases being transmitted between humans and gorillas.
Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
23 Jan 2021: Optional 2nd 'Uganda Gorilla Trek' OR the 'Gorilla Habituation Experience Programme' OR 'Top of the World' Trek
There are three wonderful alternatives for today:
a) You could make a second Gorilla tracking excursion in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Nkuringo)
b) You could go on a Gorilla Habituation Experience: this entails 06:45 to Rushaga, 23km away.Here you track the Rushaga Gorilla group. Once you reach the gorillas, you have the opportunity of spending up to 4 hrs with them. (Note: a maximum. of 4 guests is allowed for this activity so permits are very limited and subject to availability - if it is of interest, please book as long in advance as is possible to avoid disappointment).
c) Enjoy a 2-3hr 'Top of the World' trek, which is a very scenic rainforest walk in the Nkuringo sector of Bwindi, during which you can enjoy stunning vistas of the Virunga volcano chain and seek out birdlife and small forest wildlife.
Accommodation: Nkuringo Bwindi Gorilla Lodge
24 Jan 2021: Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - Lake Mutanda - Uganda/Rwanda Border - Kigali Airport - Nairobi
After a relaxing breakfast, enjoy the scenic transfer to Lake Mutanda (an approx. 1hr drive). Here, you enjoy an early lunch and stunning vistas at the beautifully located Chameleon Hill Lodge.
After lunch by the lodge, you are transferred over the Uganda/Rwanda border and then down to Kigali Airport, in time to catch the Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi Airport (approx. 19:25-21:55).
Upon arrival in Nairobi, you will be welcomed by our representatives and transferred to the hotel to stay overnight.
Accommodation: House of Waine
25 Jan 2021: Nairobi - Ngerende Airstrip - Enonkishu Conservancy
After breakfast, visit Kaluhi Adagala of Kaluhi’s Kitchen. Kaluhi is a Nairobi-based food blogger who sees Nairobi as the vibrant, fast-evolving albeit chaotic heart of Kenya. She blogs about the popular recipes that visitors to the country should try, including nyama choma - Swahili for roast meat, usually goat or beef; Ugali, and vegetable staples such as sukuma wiki, collared greens cooked with onions and spices, and Kenyan foods influenced by Indian and Arabic cuisines. Enjoy a cooking lession with Kaluhi after which you eat the dishes you've learned to create over a chat with your hostess.
You are then transferred to Nairobi Wilson Airport to catch the light aircraft flight to the Ngerende Airstrip (approx. 15:00-16:45).
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the Enonkishu Conservancy, with a game drive en-route (approx. 15min drive time)
During the 6 nights you are based here, accommodation is in Bandas In The Wild, with all meals and activities included.
26 Jan 2021: Enonkishu Conservancy
You will be taken for morning and afternoon game drives in the Enonkishu, Lemek & Ol Chorro Oiruwa Conservancies. During these drives,you can enjoy the classic Mara region / African savannah scenery and abundant wildlife, as well as a rich and diverse avifauna.
(Lions and much of the other wildlife are concentrated in the Lemek Conservancy; the other consessions are shared with the Masaai people so you will gain an insight into the resident people and their livestock live together with wildlife).
There will also be a talk on Lion identification.
This evening, enjoy an interesting dinner with Rebekah Karimi (Enonkishu Conservancy Manager) and Albanus Musyoka (Operations Manager).
Afterwards you will be taken for a nocturnal game drive within the Enonkishu Conservancy.
27 Jan 2021: Enonkishu Conservancy
Today, you have the opportunity to spend the morning relaxing at camp, or, to join in on one of the following activities:
i. Large Mammal vehicle transect /distance and density sampling
ii. Community Youth Group visit in Aitong
This afternoon, you can enjoy a one-to-one session with Albanus Musyoka (Operations Manager of the Enonkishu Conservancy); local Masaai herders, and community members with whom subjects discussed include wildlife-livestock interface management.
For those who wish to join, you have the opportunity to help 'putting the cows to bed' with a family in the Enonkishu Conservancy, followed by a roasted goat/sheep dinner with the community members.
28 Jan 2021: Enonkishu Conservancy
After breakfast, accompanied by a ranger and a scout, you will participate in a foot patrol of the Enonkishu Conservancy. Your morning will include a talk on camera trapping wildlife identification.
After lunch, venture out on a wonderful game drive in the Enonkishu, Lemek & Ol Chorro Oiruwa Conservancies.
For the late afternoon, you will be invited to join a Masaai family home where, with some of the elders, you can enjoy dinner and drinks around a campfire. (If you have any special dietary requirements or preferences, please notify us in advance so that we can arrange for the necessary catering).
Those who wish will have the opportunity to go on another nocturnal game drive in the Enonkishu Conservancy.
29 Jan 2021: Enonkishu Conservancy
After breakfast, venture out on an early morning game walk to search for - and learn about - animal tracks, trails and signs including scat and dung identification and identification of the local flora and fauna.
You are then joined by one of the Enonkishu Conservancy rangers for an interactive 'Ranger Observation' excursion.
In the mid-afternoon, travel to the Headquarters of the Mara Elephant Project (MEP), game driving along the way. Here, you meet the rangers and enjoy a picnic lunch at the HQ, or on the banks of the Mara River with key staff members. After lunch, there will be a presentation/talk on human-wildlife conflict in this region.
The day will be rounded off with a late afternoon game drive, during which you are accompanied by a key staff member of the MEP with the hope of seeing collared Elephant in the field. Finally, enjoy sundowners in the Lemek Conservancy.
30 Jan 2021: Enonkishu Conservancy
Enjoy a very scenic hike up Kileleoni Hill (meaning ‘’scales’’ in local language - a reference to the way that the rock formations jut out) - this is the highest elevation in the Mara ecosystem with stunning vistas over the vast plains.
Lunch will be a picnic on the hill, where you can savour the peaceful surrounds and stunning landscapes.
This afternoon, visit the (little-known) Rhino sanctuary and meet the Kenyan Wildlife Service rangers helping to protect them. Here, you will have the rare opportunity to encounter rhinos up close and learn about the poaching scourge that has reduced their numbers so significantly.
Back at the camp, enjoy sundowners by the Memusi Dam.
31 Jan 2021: Enonkishu Conservancy - Naboisho Airstrip - Nairobi Airport
This morning, after checking out of your room, you will be transferred to the Naboisho Conservancy where you will visit the Koiyaki Guiding School.
Funded by tourism through a number of camps/lodges; donors, and local Maasai communities, the Koiyaki Guiding School provides education for local Maasai school leavers (female and male) in the tourism industry. The programmes cover land usage that is compatible with conservation, so creating and providing employment opportunities while encouraging conservation of the Maasai Mara ecosystem - in particular the Koiyaki-Lemek conservation areas.
A large number of youth who study at this school, gain the Professional Safari Guides Bronze and Silver Level awards.
After meeting the students and taking a short tour around the compound, you can join in a lesson. Then take a picnic lunch with the students and make a short, interactive walk in the field.
After this very inspiring experience, you will be transferred the short distance to the Naboisho Airstrip (approx. 30min drive time) in time to catch the late afternoon light aircraft flight to Nairobi Wilson Airport (approx 16:00 - 17:45).
Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the Ole Sereni Hotel where you enjoy a farewell dinner
(Please note: day/evening room use & drinks are for own account).
In the later evening, you will be met and transferred to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to check in for the overnight flight back to London Heathrow (or selected other UK airport if you are coming from the UK).
01 Feb 2021: London Heathrow
Today, you will arrive back into London Heathrow (or selected other UK Airports)
Pricing Information & Dates
17 day tour, from £8225 per person
DATES: 16 Jan - 01 Feb 2021
Group Size: Minimum 4 - Maximum 10
* Return international flights from London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) to Kigali; Nairobi to London Heathrow (or selected other UK airports) in Economy Class seating
* Accommodation in double or twin rooms
* All meals as listed
* All transfers and comfortable, 4-wheel drive transportation and minibus in Nairobi
* Services of your dedicated, professional, experienced, English-speaking driver-guide as tour leader and driver in Nairobi
* All excursions and activities as per itinerary
* 1 Uganda Gorilla permit per person
* All National park/wildlife reserve entry permits and park guide and scout fees
* Bottled mineral water
Single Room Supplement: £965
***East Africa Tourist Visa (US$100, must be applied for online in advance from the Rwanda High Commission/Embassy. NB. Rwanda, Uganda, & Kenya are all covered in the East Africa Tourist Visa)
* 'Optional' second gorilla trek on Day-8 (23 Jan 2021)
* 'Optional' Gorilla Habituation Experience Programme on Day-8 (23 Jan 2021)
* Any meals not mentioned on the itinerary
* Items of personal nature (travel insurance, phone calls, laundry)
Additional Costs: (Optional items)
* £490 per person: Second Uganda gorilla tracking permit on Day-8 (23 Jan 2021) (instead of the 2-3hr 'Top of the World' trek)
* £1,210 per person: Uganda Gorilla Habituation Experience Programme on Day-8 (23 Jan 2021) (instead of the 2-3hr 'Top of the World' trek)
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