Enjoy the highlight of this 10 Best of Gorillas & Big Five Safari in East Africa. The endangered Mountain gorillas inhabit the remote rain forests of southern Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda on the base of Virunga Volcanoes; tracking and finding them among the tangled vines and giant trees is a spine-tingling encounter. However, the highlights of this tour are endless; ranging from the memorable countryside scenery of Uganda, known as the ‘Pearl of Africa’, to searching for Africa’s ‘big five’ mammals in the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is another famed home of black and white rhinos, elephants, rare predators and unequalled savannah landscape, while Ngorongoro crater harbors over 30,000 animal species, making it the “Eden of Africa”. This 10 days’ tour begins in Entebbe, Uganda and travels through Kenya before heading to Arusha where it ends from.
Day 1: Fly into Entebbe airport
This 10 Best of Gorillas & Big Five Safari with your arrival at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport where our tour representative meets, greets and transfers you for a short distance to nearby hotel. This day’s accommodation is set on the shores of Lake Victoria, making it an ideal start of your safari and a perfect refreshing place after a long flight.
Day 2: Travel to Bwindi National Park
After an early breakfast at your overnight hotel in Entebbe, transfer to southwestern Uganda to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, driving for about 8-9 hours. Drive through the Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara-Kabale/Kisoro highway, with a stopover at Equator monument in Kayabwe for photo taking and a cup of coffee. Proceed to Agip Motel or Igongo country hotel for sumptuous lunch and relaxation.
Continue on the drive via Ntungamo to Kabale and get a chance to catch a glimpse of the coined Kigezi hills or travel through Kihihi-Butogota town for those tracking in Buhoma sector. Other regions where gorilla treks in Bwindi National Park take place are, Ruhija, Rushaga and Nkuringo sectors.
Day 3: Gorilla trekking and Batwa community visit
Commence this day with an early breakfast and later head off to the respective ranger station to join other visitors for briefing on the set gorilla trekking rules and regulations. You will be assigned to 1 habituated gorilla family for trekking with in a group of 8 visitors, under the company of 1 ranger guide, trackers and a hired porter to carry luggage. Hit the jungles with your packed lunch and bottled water in quest for these humble creatures.
The trek may last for about 2 to 7 hours and one has up to hour for a face to face experience with these remarkable apes, and take as many photos as possible, get to understand their unique behaviors and their history in African forests. Later, return to the trail head, join the guide and drive to the lodge to have rest, and in the evening, walk to the nearby Batwa communities for cultural encounters.
Day 4: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda
Enjoy Bwindi’s chilly morning, and hot breakfast, and later drive to Volcanoes National Park/Rwanda, via Kabale. Make a stopover at Lake Bunyonyi to view some of the 29 islands that make up this lake or take a short canoe ride to explore some islands with rich history. Have lunch at one of the resorts here and later continue to Volcanoes National park via Katuna border.
Day 5: Golden monkey trekking and transfer to Kigali. Connecting flight to Nairobi
After marveling at the experience of golden monkey tour and enjoying peaceful forest beneath the towering Virunga ranges, have lunch at the lodge and begin the drive to Kigali, traversing the scenic tea plantations and bustling local towns. Upon arrival in Kigali, you have an opportunity to go shopping or a short city excursion to explore numerous cultural and historical sites in the heart of Kigali. Later transfer to the airport for a connecting flight to Nairobi.
Day 6: To Maasai Mara
After breakfast at a luxurious hotel in Nairobi, be picked up by your safari guide to begin a 7 – 8-hour drive south wards to the Mara region. Maasai Mara national park is a Sanctuary of both common and rare wildlife, an excellent place for scenic viewing at any time of the year. The park is particularly good for predators and African big 5. Between July and October, Maasai Mara is an area that plays host to one of the world’s sought after wildlife shows –the Wildebeest Migration and one can view these mammals as they cross the Mara River from Serengeti national park.
The next day is full adventure and you will get soaked up the action, regardless of the season, on expertly guided morning and afternoon game safari, returning every evening to the camp that blends ecological design and elegant comfort right down to the mini-spa and secluded swimming pool, making your stay here an epic luxe.
Day 7: Full day Game drive in Maasai Mara
You will depart shortly with a park ranger after sunrise on a game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. Maasai Mara reserve is famous as one of East Africa’s rich wildlife sanctuaries, and it is also home to a wide variety of flora and bird species. Maasai Mara game drive is a great avenue to see the annual Migration consisting of the pleasant herds of over one million wildebeests, zebras and Thomson’s gazelles as they cross from the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. This magical wildlife show is most popular between July and October months when these vast herds feast on the fresh savannah covering Maasai Mara’s plains.
Following this big herd of herbivores are Africa’s predators notably lions and hyenas that are usually seen at a kill during this period. A perfect game drive traverses through a section of the park on a look out for the ‘Big 5’ mammas – elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, lions and leopards, and so many other species of animals, reptiles and birds that have made this wilderness their home.
Maasai Mara’s game drive takes about 4 hours and the evening can be dedicated to visiting one of the nearby Maasai Manyattas – a traditional homestead where the native Maasai still dwell still practicing their traditional ways of life. Alternatively, spend the evening sitting around a camp fire in the compound of your lodge, watch the sun disappear in Africa’s horizon; an excellent way to finish a day’s game viewing in this “Garden of Eden.”
Day 8: Travel to Serengeti NP
Transfer after a delicious breakfast for Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. This may take up to 8 hours of driving through rough road, but with incredible views of Lake Victoria. Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s most premier national park and famous in Africa. It’s also the largest savannah protected park, covering up to 14,763 square kilometers perched along the border with Kenya, extending into Maasai Mara Game Park.
Its name “Serengeti” is synonymous with its far-reaching plains of endless golden grassland, flavored with the twisted shadows of acacia trees, making it the quintessential image of pure wilderness and unspoilt Africa. Its huge rock kopjes act as home to an array of cheetahs and leopards and the sheer populations and scale of life that the Serengeti plains support is shocking. Enroute to Serengeti, undertake a game drive to get introduced to this astonishing wildlife hub.
Day 9: Game drive in Serengeti and transfer to Ngorongoro
Wake up before sunrise and traverse the smoky plains that teem with carnivores, Africa’s big five, lesser mammals, bird species and eye-catching scenery. The magnificent views of Serengeti’s wildlife come better with an expert safari guide, but even better ones the next day when you explore the Ngorongoro Crater floor on a half-day drive.
After this exploration, leave Serengeti and drive leisurely with picnic lunch to world’s epic wildlife center; the Ngorongoro crater. This destination is widely known for its easy and regular sightings of the Big 5 mammals, and a famed home to hippos, hyenas, large herds of zebras and numerous antelope species. Check in at your luxury camp located on Ngorongoro crater rim with almost 360” views of the entire crater floor. A great introduction to this world renowned wildlife hub!
Day 10: Game safari / Nature Walks in Ngorongoro and departure through Kilimanjaro airport.
This day after a delicious breakfast at your lodge; choose between visiting a Maasai local Village and going for a nature walk within Ngorongoro forests (complementary). Guided by an expert ranger, trek through the forest well-maintained trails and on a lucky day one might bump into herds of buffaloes, elephants as well as other forest dwellers like the duikers, Pottos, bush pigs, leopards etc.
After the activities you will drive straight to Arusha town with a brief stop at Karatu and Mto-wa-Mbu market towns where you can mix and mingle with the locals and shop some African souvenirs if you wish.
End of 10 Best of Gorillas & Big Five Safari tour.
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