This 20 Days Holiday Safari in East Africa cuts across 4 International boundaries, beginning from Uganda to Rwanda, Tanzania and finally to Kenya bringing you closer to the most spectacular destinations.
Every moment in this 20 days’ East African safari is a lifetime adventure. Take this chance to discover Kenya’s greatest hidden biodiversity in the Mara region and the serene Serengeti in Tanzania where you will not miss the hunting cats, Big 5 and unequaled scenery. Uganda and Rwanda are stunningly beautiful countries, presenting interesting and memorable wildlife and gorilla experiences as well as friendly people.
Day 1: Transfer to Murchison falls National Park
Meet and greet with your safari driver guide who will pick you from your overnight accommodation in Kampala / Entebbe and head northwest of the country via Kampala- Gulu high way. This is a very smooth transfer on a well tarmacked road is all clear in not about too long you will arrive in Masindi town.
You will stop for a delicious lunch in Masindi town and then continue to Murchison falls National Park and within a short while you will be at the southern park entrance – Kacumbanyobo traversing the Budongo forest. Budongo forest will earn you views of a few primates inclusive of which the Vervet baboons won’t miss. You will then cross with a ferry through the Nile if your place of accommodation is in the northern sector.
Day 2: Game drive, boat cruise and visit top of the falls
Morning game drive in the northern sector of Murchison Falls National Park begins immediately after breakfast. The drive presents excellent chances to sight Rothschild giraffes, lions, buffaloes, African elephants and the shoebill storks that dwell on Albert delta. In the afternoon, go on a boat trip along Victoria Nile to the bottom of Murchison and Uhuru falls. the banks of Victoria Nile are thronged with variety of mammal and bid species, which include Nile crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, elephants, waterbucks, etc. as well as rich flora.
Upon reaching the bottom of falls, take a short hike along the steep sides of the river that will take you to the viewpoint above the Falls, where the mass of thunderous Murchison falls spectacularly drops through a 7m wide gorge. (walking approximately for 45 minutes).
Day 3: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park
You drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park along Albertine rift escarpments and have always best views over the lake and blue mountain ranges of DR Congo. After that, the landscape becomes ever hilly and greener. Banana plantations alternate with bright green, very beautiful to look at and endless tea plantations which are often terraced. When the weather is clear you can see the Rwenzoris, “mountains of the moon “, in a far distance.
Day 4: Exploring Queen Elizabeth National Park and boat cruise
Have breakfast, and go out on a wildlife safari drive with your lunch box and bottled water. Queen Elizabeth National Park is a hub to Uganda’s largest mammal and bird populations as well as incredible scenery. During a game drive, watch out for the big 4 mammals, including buffaloes, elephants, lions and the elusive leopards. Other lesser animals include hyenas, warthogs, antelopes, etc.
In the afternoon, embark on a 2 hours’ boat cruise along Kazinga Channel, a 45km waterway inside Queen Elizabeth National Park which links Lake Edward and Lake George. On such a launch trip, search for unique wildlife that is drawn to the shores of Kazinga channel, including several species of birds, hippos, crocodiles and other reptiles.
Day 5: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park via Ishasha sector
This morning, depart Queen Elizabeth National Park and travel (3-4 hours) depending on the region you are staying in, via Ishasha sector in the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. Mid-morning game drives will be enjoyed in Ishasha region, searching for the large herds of buffaloes, elephants, Uganda Kobs, but most notably the famous tree-climbing lions that typically inhabit this area.
Have en route lunch and continue to Bwindi forest; Time permitting, you may visit a Community Project or village walk through Batwa homesteads. Here the local people allow you to enjoy some time in their traditional shelters, as well as see some of the crops and curios they produce, and a cultural performance at the end of the tour is stunningly refreshing, and a great way to rewind from a long journey.
Day 6: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park
Begin with a short drive from your lodge to the park headquarters and meet with your professional local guides. The guides will take you through a brief talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking, and outlining both dos and don’ts of a typical experience. Get on a trek though the lush impenetrable forests of Bwindi, to discover about 50% of the world’s mountain gorillas that dwell here.
The difficulty and length of the trek varies, depending on the movement of the allocated gorilla family and prevailing weather conditions. Spend up to one hour observing (and maybe following) these adorable and endangered apes, a truly lifetime encounter! Spot these creatures as they go about their daily routine, unconcerned about their visitors, grooming each other, feeding on bamboo shoots, while the juveniles play and jump from tree to tree.
Day 7: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda
Leave Uganda’s Bwindi forest, and transfer to Northern Rwanda based Volcanoes National Park in the afternoon, located in Ruhengeri province. Check in at the lodge, located outside the park and provides stunning views of the Virunga volcanoes. The park borders Virunga National Park in the D.R. Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Southern Uganda. 5 of the 8 volcanoes in the Virunga ranges can be seen from this park.
The park’s highlands are covered with lush rain forest, while the lower slopes are comprised of bamboo plantations (a favorite snack of the mountain gorillas and golden monkeys). While the most famous resident is the mountain gorilla, there’s plenty of other wildlife roaming around; including mountain gorillas, golden monkeys, buffaloes, hyenas, bush bucks, unique bird species and a handful of forest elephants call this place home.
Day 8: Golden monkey trekking. Visit the Karisoke research center
Enjoy a trek into the national park after an early breakfast and briefing with an armed ranger guide to track and visit an elusive and endangered species — the golden monkey. Trek through the bamboo plantations on the lower slopes of Mount Gahinga, until you meet these playful and lively creatures in their natural habitat.
Only one hour is spent with a handsome troop of golden monkeys to ensure their safety, health and conservation. After lunch, trek to the Karisoke Research Center, which was founded in 1967 by Dr. Dian Fossey. Meet with a resident researcher and undertake a tour to learn about the works of the center about the conservation of mountain gorillas in the Virunga region. Expand your understanding of mountain gorillas through an in-depth lecture from one of the head tutors of Dian Fossey research center.
Day 9: Transfer to Nyungwe forest national park
Head out this morning for a two hour drive to Lake Kivu, one of Africa’s Great Lakes and 18th deepest in the world. Split between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, this serene lake is surrounded by majestic mountains and makes for the perfect stop over point before continuing on to the Nyungwe National Park.
The afternoon is at leisure to have lunch and explore the town or venture into the lake for a swim, kayak or speed boat trip to the islands. Proceed for more 4 hours’ drive to southern based Nyungwe forest.
Day 10: Chimpanzee and Colobus Monkey trekking
Have breakfast early morning, and head out into Nyungwe forest; extending for over 1,000 square kilometers via the majestic hills of southeast Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park remains the biggest block of montane forest in East and Central Africa. It is as well one of the most ancient, dating back to the times of the last Ice Age.
Nyungwe forest has over 200 different tree species, and a notable floral diversity including the other-worldly giant lobelia and a hub of colorful orchids. It is particularly alluring for its 13 primate species; 13 species, including humankind’s closest relatives – the chimpanzees, and also the handsome L’Hoest’s monkeys and hundred troops of the delightfully acrobatic Angola and Rwenzori colobuses.
Nyungwe is the most significant ornithological site in Rwanda, and it harbors almost 300 species of birds, of which 12 dozens are unique to alpine forests within the Albertine Rift. The highlight of all bird species in Nyungwe is the blue turaco, a blue, green and red bird that flies from tree to tree. Spend a full day experiencing both the chimpanzees and colobus monkeys in Rwanda’s iconic natural forest.
Day 11: Transfer to Kigali international airport – fly to Arusha
Drive from the smoky Nyungwe forest after breakfast, travel through picturesque countryside and several stopovers in Nyanza, Butare and Nyamata and Ntarama genocide sites, before continuing to Rwandan capital, Kigali. Time allowing, take on a city tour where you can visit one of the most famous genocide memorials in the heart of Kigali. Do some shopping and later transfer to airport and connect flight to Arusha in Tanzania.
Day 12: Game drive in Arusha National Park
In the morning, be collected from your hotel in Arusha and transfer to the nearby Arusha National Park. This park has an unbelievable variety of fauna and flora, which can never fail to impress any visitor. Hollywood also selected this place to film the movie “Hatari” in which Hardy Kruger featured alongside the legendary John Wayne. Your day trip in Arusha national park will also include a tour to the Ngurdoto Crater.
Buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, waterbucks, warthogs and baboons can be spotted all year round including various species of birds. Upon arrival at the Momella Gate, an armed park ranger awaits to accompany you on your walking safari that avails a golden chance to experience Arusha’s wide array of wildlife really up-close.
Only a few national parks in Tanzania can give you such an opportunity of game walking and it is an encounter that should never be missed. Have lunch at a picnic point and in the afternoon, you will proceed with a safari to explore Arusha National Park’s vast wilderness. After the game drives believing that you have observed and are satisfied with the wildlife, you will be taken back to your hotel in Arusha.
Day 13: Transfer to Lake Manyara National Park
Have breakfast, and later transfer from your hotel in Arusha town to Lake Manyara National Park. This park has diverse and peculiar inhabitants regardless of its small area. While in the park, you can have perfect spectacular views of the Great Rift Valley, numerous species of bird and an array of wildlife.
Arrive at the lodge, and thereafter go for the afternoon game drive searching for the different wildlife species, particularly the rare tree climbing lions which are unique only to this park. Dinner and night stay at the lodge.
Day 14: Game drive in Lake Manyara National Park
Early morning, be collected from your overnight hotel and drive to the plains of Lake Manyara National Park. This park holds the northwest bank and part of the alkaline Lake Manyara which itself sits in the Great Rift Valley. It also known for its countless population of flamingos, pelicans and cormorants and it is also home to a few hundred other bird species; it is thus a paradise for ornithologists.
Apart from the great variety of birds, the “Big 5 Game” can also be seen here. On a lucky day, you might view elephants in the woodland regions and with even more luck, the tree-climbing lions can be spotted lying flat on branches of the giant fig trees. Indeed, it is believed for a long time that Lake Manyara National Park is a special place – second to only Ishasha sector in Queen Elizabeth national park where lions can be found with this unique behavior of climbing trees.
Within the forested regions, baboons and Vervet monkeys can be sighted, while giraffes nibble at the fresh leaves and thorns amongst the more open spaces, and numerous types of antelopes which are common to this region browse for tasty shoots. Have a picnic lunch, there will be more time for further game afterwards; continue viewing wildlife until it is time to return to the lodge for dinner and night stay.
Day 15: Transfer to Serengeti National Park
Depart from Lake Manyara national park and head to Serengeti after breakfast. The word “Serengeti” refers to “endless plains” in Maasai language, and is one of the famed wildlife hubs on earth. The park hosts the spectacular annual great migration in early June until September, where more than 5.5 million hooves pound the historical plains of the Serengeti searching for greener pastures. Serengeti national park is also popular for its abundance of larger game, particularly the Big 5 – lions, leopards, buffaloes, Rhinos and elephants.
Day 16: Game drive in Serengeti National Park
As the sun rises beneath the horizons of Serengeti National Park, you set off into the wilderness after breakfast to explore this “Haven on Earth”! There’s no any other place on earth that can compare with the multitudes of animals found in the Serengeti National park, part of the vast Maasai Mara ecosystem spanning Tanzania and Kenya. During the summer season (usually June to September), you can view the Great Migration during a game drive. The migration is comprised of 1.5 million wildebeests and several hundred thousands of zebras that make Serengeti National park their home.
Outside of the great migration season, Serengeti plains inhabit permanent herds of ungulates as well as predators, which include; lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas. The Serengeti giraffe and impala graze in the woodlands while crocodiles and hippos bask along the banks of River Talek.
Day 17: Transfer to Maasai Mara Game Reserve
Leave Serengeti in the morning after breakfast to embark on an 8-hour drive crossing from Tanzania to Kenya’s biggest reserve, Maasai Mara. The famous Maasai Mara National Reserve is filled with a huge density of animals including the ‘Big Five’ and 453 bird species. It is also one of the most visited reserves in Africa, with Serengeti in Tanzania and Bwindi national park in Uganda. The Maasai Mara reserve’s plains are filled predominantly by open savannah, crisscrossed with patches of acacia woodland, and riparian forest along the Mara River.
While wildlife viewing is excellent in Maasai Mara all year round, the most perfect period for visiting is late July to August, where more than 1,000,000 wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of zebras migrate from the Serengeti in Northern Tanzania. Arrive in the late evening at your lodge in Maasai Mara, refresh and dinner.
Day 18: Game drive in Masai Mara
Enjoy an early wildlife safari drive when animals are most active. Masai Mara is one of the world’s top safari destinations, known for its abundance of big cats – cheetahs, leopards, and lions – as well as the two million wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelles, and zebra that migrate annually across the vast grasslands in search of water.
Set off on safari with our driver/guide and keep your eyes and ears peeled for movement and memories. Watch elephants and giraffe grazing, photograph zebras and wildebeest, and with a little luck, you’ll even spot animals feasting on a recent kill. Opt to visit a Masai village, learn to dance like a warrior, stop in the Manyatta (family compound) and learn about this nomadic culture.
Alternatively, you can undertake a balloon safari adventure which begins just before dawn and lasts an hour in the sky. Fly over the Mara River, plains, and forests of the Masai Mara. Toast your return to earth with a champagne breakfast, cooked wherever you land.
Day 19: Transfer to Nairobi town for city tour
Enjoy a delicious breakfast in Maasai Mara, before checking out of your lodge and embark on a long drive back to Nairobi arriving in the afternoon for lunch. Arrive at your hotel in Nairobi, check in and if time allows, you’ll take a short city tour to explore some of the hidden treasures of Nairobi, including modern shopping malls, historical sites, museums, art galleries or visit the Maasai craft market to purchase at least a souvenir. Rest of the evening can be spent at leisure at the hotel.
Day 20: Transfer to Nairobi international airport and departure
Depending on flight time, you will head out on a last game drive in Nairobi National park or visit the Nairobi Giraffe center. Have a hearty breakfast at the hotel, and your guide will take you to Jommo Kenyatta international airport for departure flight back home, or connect to another destination to continue with your vacation.
End of 20 Days Holiday Safari in East Africa.
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