Nairobi - Masai Mara. Heading west from Nairobi on day 2, we reach possibly Kenya’s most famous natural attraction - the Masai Mara National Reserve. The Kenyan section of the wildly beautiful Serengeti Plains teems with wildlife. The highlight of the Mara is no doubt the annual wildebeest migration, when literally millions of these beasts plus zebra and Thomson’s gazelle stray north from the Serengeti in neighbouring Tanzania in search of lush grass on the savannah plains. Elephant, lion, cheetah, giraffe and a multitude of hooved herbivores also inhabit the reserve. A game drive through the Mara on day 3 gives us the chance to spot the Big Five. During our stay we can also opt to visit a local Masai tribe.
Overnight: Masai Mara N.P. | Breakfast x 1, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Masai Mara - Eldoret. Leaving the Masai Mara early today, we head out of Masai Land and pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho before descending the Rift Valley Plateau, on our way to Eldoret - our stop for the night.
Overnight: Eldoret | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Eldoret - Kampala (Uganda). This morning, we cross the border into Uganda where we overnight it the capital city, Kampala.
Overnight: Kampala | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kampala - Lake Bunyoni. From Kampala we drive to Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds, which is the base from which the optional Gorilla trek takes place. Dependant on where trekking permits are available, we trek in the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda.
We depart from our base in Bunyoni in small groups over 3-4 days, depending on the group size. We wind our way through arguably some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park. Dependant on where permits are available, we may spend a night in either Kisoro or in Rwanda. The following morning, after packing our picnic lunch, we are transferred to a ranger’s station where the trek commences. Your rangers will lead you through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours and it can be quite strenuous. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of our genes (and therefore able to catch our diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is 1 hour. You will have plenty of time to watch their activity and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide you with a background to the family you are visiting. Once your hour is up, you trek back out of the rain forest to your meeting point where you will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.
Overnight: Lake Bunyoni | Breakfast x 4, Lunch x 4, Dinner x 4
Lake Bunyoni - Kampala. After marvelling at the experience of our gorilla encounters and enjoying the peaceful Lake Bunyoni, we begin our drive back to Kampala. We cross the Equator for the second time and stop for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. We overnight in Kampala and have the opportunity to sample its night life!
Overnight: Kampala | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kampala - Jinja. Today we have the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or heading to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or visiting a volunteer and community project.
Overnight: Jinja | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Jinja – Lake Nakuru (Kenya). Departing early, we head back to Kenya and spend the night outside Nakuru at a lovely campsite on a local farm. Nakuru is Kenya’s 4th largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province and lies adjacent to the small but wildlife rich Lake Nakuru National Park.
Lake Nakuru National Park is home to a veritable array of wildlife. The park supports a population of black rhino, lion, leopard, zebra, antelope and giraffe not to mention millions of pink flamingos. The lake itself is a shallow soda lake.
On day 13 we begin our exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park - famous for the thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that flock to this soda lake’s edge. The numbers vary depending on the water level, and when it’s low, the lake almost turns pink. A truly spectacular sight! The park was established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are often seen. We spend the day searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way.
Overnight: Lake Nakuru | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Nakuru – Naivasha. Today we head to Lake Naivasha arriving in the late afternoon. Lake Naivasha, is home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. We spend the day enjoying optional excursions like Elsamere (former home to Joy & George Adamson of Born Free fame), a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park
Overnight: Lake Naivasha | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Nairobi - Arusha (Tanzania). Leaving Nairobi, we cross the border into Tanzania. Arusha is the starting point for the optional 3 day excursion to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti. For those not opting to visit the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti National Park, the next 3 days are spent at leisure enjoying the Meserani reptile park, Masai Cultural Museum and the surrounding villages and craft markets. Alternatively the town of Arusha is close by to explore.
The Optional Ngorongoro/Serengeti excursion takes us via the Masai town of Mtu Wa Mbu (Mosquito River) that lies adjacent to the Lake Manyara National Park and up the Rift Valley Escarpment to the higher lying village of Karatu. Karatu offers magnificent views over the surrounding hills and has many well established wheat farms that add to the picturesque panoramas. We spend the evening at a pleasant campsite in Karatu. The following morning we depart early for the Ngorongoro Conservation area and head into the wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater. This World Heritage Site boasts some of the best game viewing in Africa – including the elusive Black Rhino.
Overnight: Serengeti (optional) or Arusha | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 4, Dinner x 4
Arusha - Pangani. We return to Arusha before continuing on towards Dar es Salaam. On the way we drive through the town of Moshi situated at the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. We may even catch a glimpse of this magical mountain’s snowy summit - a photo opportunity not to be missed!
Overnight: Pangani | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dar es Salaam - Zanzibar (optional). A ferry from Dar Es Salaam takes us to ‘Spice Island’, where we have the option to spend the next three nights.* Zanzibar is steeped in history and offers a wealth of experiences. Wander the streets of Stone Town, take an excursion around a spice plantation or simply laze on one of the pristine white sandy beaches, the choice is yours! Accommodation is not provided on Zanzibar, allowing you the freedom to choose where you spend your time on the island. Your trip leader can arrange accommodation for you locally should you wish.
* For those opting not to visit Zanzibar, the 3 days can be spent at leisure at the beach campsite or exploring Dar Es Salaam.
Overnight: Zanzibar (optional) or Dar Es Salaam | Breakfast x 1
Zanzibar - Dar es Salaam. Leaving Zanzibar in the afternoon we take the ferry back to Dar es Salaam. On arrival, where we exchange addresses and part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
Overland Budget Accommodation Upgrade
If you're interested in our adventurous Overland Safaris but don't fancy camping, there is the option to upgrade to budget accommodation (subject to availability). You will be travelling with our overland camping passengers, sharing a truck, equipment and chores with them and enjoying your meals together as a group. Accommodation is in basic twin share rooms and a single supplement applies for solo travellers if we're unable to match you up or you would prefer the privacy of your own room. For more details please refer to the tour Trip Notes.
Northbound Dates & Prices
I have travelled on countless tours and Moses is the best guide I've ever had. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he went above and beyond to ensure that we all had an amazing time. The trip was incredible and was made even more so with the help of Moses, Shabani and Simon. Thank you so much to them. These three deserve a bonus!! ”