Show Trip | WYUR

Gorillas & Masai Mara - Camping Reverse

Fantastic wildlife viewing in Uganda & Kenya.

Trip CodeWYUR
Duration16 Days
ActivityWildlife Holidays
Group Size6-18
Minimum Age16
Leisurely / Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate
Prices (excl. flights & transfers) from

R59,914

To book   call us on 074 340 4587 or email info@earthwanderer.co.za

Fantastic wildlife viewing in Uganda & Kenya.

The Masai Mara, a vast grassland teeming with animals, has an astonishing amount and mixture of game, including lions, cheetahs and at certain times of the year, the wildebeest migration. Lake Nakuru National Park has an incredible variety of birds as well as a healthy population of White and Black rhinos while Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to hippos, elephants, buffalo, leopards and the elusive tree-climbing lions as well as a huge variety of birds.  Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most impressive parks in Africa, renowned for its scenic beauty, spectacular falls and abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, Ugandan kobs (antelope), leopards, and over 450 different species of birds. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly an hour with Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. This close-up encounter is arguably the most sensational wildlife experience of them all.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a precious hour in the company of Uganda's Mountain gorillas
  • Game drives in the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru N.P. and Queen Elizabeth N.P.
  • Visit Murchison Falls National Park
  • Track chimpanzees and other primates in Budongo Forest

Key Information

  • 14 nights full-service camping, and 1 night in hotel
  • Travel by specialist overland vehicle, 4WD and on foot
  • Some long drives on rough roads and early starts

What's Included

  • 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 14 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • 1 chimp permit and 1 gorilla permit

What's Not Included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

Day 1

Start Kigali and overnight in hotel.

The group flight usually arrives into Kigali this afternoon and will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. This evening's Welcome Briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers. Accommodation: Beausejour Hotel or similar
  • Standard Hotel

Day 2

Morning Kigali; afternoon to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Rwanda is a country widely remembered for the genocide of 1994 in which over a million people were killed. There is a moving museum in Kigali to commemorate this time in Rwanda's history which we visit this morning. After lunch we will cross the border into Uganda and drive towards Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the home of wild Mountain gorillas. Accommodation: Casa Gorilla Lodge & Campsite or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 3

Trek to see Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

You will probably remember today for the rest of your life as we spend a full hour in the company of a family of Mountain gorillas! Owing to the nature of the terrain and the need to explore to find the gorillas, our trek doesn't follow a path and instead our guides will cut a route through the undergrowth. After a safety briefing, we are assigned to a gorilla family group and begin our trek. You should expect a minimum of three hours walking on irregular terrain in order to find the gorillas; steep ascents and descents over muddy slopes are the norm. Strong footwear is essential and we recommend hiring a local porter to help you carry your bag/camera equipment and provide a steady, supportive hand (porters will be arranged and paid for locally on the day). Seeing wild Mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is an experience you will never forget. An adult male can weigh up to 195kg, a female up to 100kg, and a male can reach 1.7m in height. They are almost exclusively vegetarian and quite destructive eaters, which makes them unpopular with the farmers lower down the mountain slopes as they have been known to wreck a whole field of crops just to eat one plant. For this reason, and also because of poaching, the gorillas are very carefully protected. Gorillas are gentle creatures and are not known to attack unless very severely provoked. The family groups that we trek to see are habituated to human presence but to prevent over familiarisation our time with them is limited to one hour. The minimum distance that we must keep is 8 metres - we are not permitted any closer because gorillas are very susceptible to human disease. Please note that anyone with a cold or any similar ailment may not be permitted to join the trek. Accommodation: Casa Gorilla Lodge & Campsite or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 4

Optional second Mountain gorilla trek.* *

This morning there is the option of getting a second gorilla permit, though due to the limited number of permits, this should be obtained at time of booking. For those who choose not to go on a second gorilla trek, there are other walks which you can do nearby or you can relax at our campsite, reminiscing about the previous day’s encounters. Please note that on some departures, due to availability of permits, we may have to swap these two days over with the free day (and optional second gorilla trek) on day 3 and the included gorilla trek on day 4 or we may have to split the group to trek with gorillas across both days. Accommodation: Casa Gorilla Lodge & Campsite or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 5

To Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Today we drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). The park resides in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery. It is Uganda’s most popular and accessible savannah reserve, with a total area of 1978 square kilometres. It is primarily associated with grassy savannah plains, but this impressive park also includes within its boundaries leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps and natural volcanic crater lakes. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 species of birds. Accommodation: Irungu Forest Campsite or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 6

Full day Queen Elizabeth National Park.

This morning we will explore QENP on a game drive in search of wildlife including elephants, lions, buffalo, leopard, hyena, jackal, topi, kob, bush buck and various others. In the afternoon there is an optional boat trip of about two hours along the Kazinga Channel to view some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world (reported to be about 30,000) and other game with excellent birding. The game drive will continue in the afternoon for those who do not join the boat trip. Accommodation: Irungu Forest Campsite or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 7

To Budongo.

We have a long drive today covering about 450 kms from Queen Elizabeth N.P. to Budongo. The drive goes north along the eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains, where, weather permitting, we can see the glaciated peaks. We will pass through tea and sugar cane plantations, stopping for lunch en route. We expect to arrive in Budongo in the late afternoon. Accommodation: Machison River Lodge or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 8

Chimpanzee Tracking in Budongo; to Murchison Falls.

We depart early this morning for Budongo Forest, which is home to the largest numbers of chimpanzees in Uganda; we will go on a trek in search of chimpanzees and other wildlife.  The walking is fairly easy due to the well-maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain. Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be surrounded by bird song and hope to see both Velvet and Colobus monkeys, wild pigs and of course the chimpanzee.  Once a chimpanzee family is found, we will have an hour with these fascinating creatures, to watch them interact and play with each other. In the afternoon we drive to Murchison Falls where we spend the next two nights. Accommodation: Red Chili Murchison or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 9

Full day Murchison Fall.

This morning we have an early morning game drive in search of wildlife in Murchison Falls N.P.  We transfer by ferry to the north side of the Nile where we embark our game drive.  Murchison Falls N.P. is home to elephants, giraffe, buffalo and Uganda kobs, as well as the predators: lions and leopards. After lunch we travel by boat up the Nile, passing hippos and crocodiles, searching for elephants and waterbuck that come to the river to drink. The cruise lasts about 3 hrs, and will travel upstream to the bottom of the falls, stopping near the ‘Devil’s Cauldron’, the place where the water bursts through the narrow gorge and creates an outstanding rainbow.  Accommodation: Red Chili Murchison or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 10

To Jinja.

After a short game drive through the park, we leave Murchison Falls National Park and drive to Jinja today, a journey which should take us 6 hrs.  Passing through untouched forest and tree plantations, we arrive in Jinja around 3pm, and the rest of the afternoon is free to relax.    Accommodation: Adrift Camp or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 11

Free day for optional activities.

Today is free to choose from a range of optional activities. White-water rafting in Jinja is considered to be amongst the best in the world, with a half or full day route that varies from quiet pools and forested islands to thunderous rapids and drops. There are several grade V rapids to navigate including 'Big Brother', 'Overtime' and 'Silverback'. If rafting doesn't appeal, you can join a village walk, learn about a vibrant community project known as Soft Power which supports education, or visit the source of the White Nile. Accommodation: Adrift Camp or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 12

To Eldoret.* *

Today there is a long drive of about 250km to Eldoret which should take about 8 hours, including a border crossing into Kenya. The border crossing can be slow but we leave plenty of time for this and you'll no doubt find the experience interesting! Accommodation: Green Wood Campsite or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 13

To Lake Nakuru N.P.; game drive.

We depart the Eldoret in the morning after breakfast and drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the finest small parks within Kenya, where we spend the day on a game drive in the park. Protected by an electric fence, the park is widely known for its impressive population of Black and White rhino which are relatively easy to spot on game drives in the open savannah. Fever trees line the park and are a well-known spot for leopards to laze in, whilst one of the most impressive sights is the vast flamingo population. Owing to flooding the alkaline content of the lake has changed in recent years and as a result the flamingos no longer tend to be found in such large numbers, but this can change depending on the rainfall. Accommodation: KWS Campsite or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 14

To Masai Mara; late afternoon game drive.

Today we travel into the Masai Mara, one of the most famous ecosystems in the world. This vast grassland is teeming with life; plains game including wildebeest, gazelle, topi, zebra and buffalo abound in the rolling savannah, and never far away lay the predators; cheetah, lion and hyena. Between mid-August to late October one of the greatest spectacles on Earth takes place in the Mara - the annual migration of thousands of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra trampling their way across the long grass. Nothing is guaranteed on safari, but with the help of our brilliant guides you should see and learn a huge amount about the Masai Mara's resident wildlife as we game drive through the park this afternoon. Accommodation: Mara Springs Camp or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 15

Full day in the Masai Mara.

A full day game drive in the Masai Mara to increase our chances of encountering many of the wildlife species found in the reserve. We find a quiet spot inside the park to enjoy lunch by our vehicle, looking out across the plains. There is also an optional Hot Air Balloon Safari in time for sunrise (including champagne and breakfast).   Accommodation: Mara Springs Camp or similar
  • Full-service Camping

Meals included: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 16

Drive to Nairobi and end.

We will depart after breakfast for Nairobi. We travel up through the escarpement of the Rift Valley looking back on classic African views with acacia trees scattering the vast landscape. For those on the group flights, these will usually depart in the evening. For clients who have booked land only, the trip ends on arrival in Nairobi.

Meals included: breakfast

Trip for You

This trip has been graded 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) with a safari rating of 4.
The grading of moderate applies specifically to the gorilla trek and the Chimpanzee tracking. The rest of the itinerary is graded as leisurely in relation to the activity level only (however, this is not a leisurely trip in relation to the early starts and long drives). Gorilla Trek: Owing to the nature of the terrain and the need to explore to find the gorillas, the trek doesn't always follow a path in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and instead the guides will cut a route through the undergrowth.  You should expect a minimum of three hours walking on irregular terrain, with the possibility of climbing up to 2607m, in order to find the gorillas; steep ascents and descents over muddy slopes are the norm.  Strong footwear is essential and we recommend hiring a local porter to help you carry your bag/camera equipment and provide a steady, supportive hand (porters will be arranged and paid for locally on the day). Transport is in a specialist overland vehicle with good visibility and 4WD vehicles in the Masai Mara. There will be several early morning starts especially to view the wildlife, and several long drives as this trip covers the highlights of three countries. Although the distances are not always very long, some of the roads are quite poor and bumpy especially after the rainy season. We include breaks for toilet facilities, shopping, photos and meals. There are a few days where the journey time (including stops) can be over 7 hours and the longest drive can take approximately 9 hours. The spectacular scenery and glimpses of village life when travelling make the journeys enjoyable, as well as the chances to get to know your fellow travel companions. Come prepared with a sense of adventure and a sense of humour and you're sure to have the holiday of a lifetime. Certain areas in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are not recommended for travel on the Foreign Commonwealth website. Please note that we do not visit any of these areas on our itinerary and keep continually abreast of changes to FCO advice.

Eating & Drinking

Virtually all meals are included and will be prepared for you by our chef and crew.They are adept at catering for large groups of hungry travellers! Breakfasts will usually include cereal, toast and hot food such as porridge or eggs. Lunches tend to feature a range of sandwich options as well as a selection of fruit. Dinners usually feature soup, main (a mix of local and international cuisine) and dessert (typically fruit salad). All cooking equipment is loaded onto the overland vehicle and so our crew are ready to prepare food wherever we stop - don’t worry about going hungry on this trip! You will have time to stock up on snacks and drinks along the journey. For meals not included, it would be a good idea to allow a further US$100 to cover these.

Transportation

Transport is in one of Exodus' specialist overland vehicles. The vehicle seats 24 passengers but there is a maximum of 18 passengers on this itinerary. The seating is mostly forward facing and the windows are large and easy to open. People are expected to move around to permit everyone a chance to have a window seat. The vehicle carries all camping equipment and has a large drinking water tank for you to fill up a smaller bottle. There is a reference library on the truck and also a 6-plug 240 volt invertor that can recharge camera/cellphone/laptop batteries when it is being driven. For game viewing in the Masai Mara we use smaller 4WD vehicles.

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 18 days
The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.
Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of Ethiopian Airlines or Qatar Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.
Travelling land only: 16 days starting in Kigali and ending in Nairobi
Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Kigali in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.  

Transfer Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.  If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense. The cost of a taxi is likely to be approx. US$25-$30 should you decide to make your way independently.  

Weather Info

Although this part of East Africa lies in the tropics, the temperature depends more on altitude than on season. Kenya has temperatures ranging from 18 - 28ºC in March and dropping to 15 - 21ºC in August. The long rains, during which we do not operate these tours, occur in April and May, and there are intermittent 'short rains' between November and early December, though these normally have no great effect on the safari. In western Uganda, the rainy season is also in April and May, with intermittent rains during November and December, and daytime temperatures of between 15 - 25ºC. Parts of Uganda are very wet and rain can be expected at any time. In Rwanda, the rainy season is also in April and May, with intermittent rains during November. December to February is quite dry, and June through October is the driest season. Temperatures do vary, in the southern parts of Rwanda the temperatures are between 18 - 30ºC, while in the northern part, temperatures are between 12 - 28ºC.

Essential Equipment

This trip encounters a range of temperatures so come prepared. Most of the time light cotton clothing will be most comfortable, but you should bring a sweater and a warm windproof jacket as it can get cold at night, in the mornings and in the back of the truck. Avoid bright colours when on safari. Walking boots: for the gorilla trek as conditions under foot can be tough. Long socks: For the gorilla trek to protect against jungle ants. Gloves: for the gorilla trek as there can be stinging and sharp vegetation on the trek. Gardening gloves would be fine. Daypack or small bag Water bottle Head torch and spare batteries Mosquito repellent Sun hat, suncream and sunglasses Sleeping bag and liner: a three-season bag is required as it can be cold at night when travelling in the higher regions of Kenya and Uganda. Travel pillow: We do not provide pillows in the 2-man tents so if you would like a travel pillow, please bring your own. Rucksack or holdall: please do not bring a suitcase or hard-bottomed bag on these trips. We advise you to bring a soft holdall/rucksack and a day pack. Everyone has a large locker (30 inches deep, 19 inches long and 10 inches high) to store his or her belongings and personal items in.  We recommend you also take a combination padlock to lock the locker. Shoes and sleeping bags can be stored separately at the back of the vehicle.
Please note: In a move praised by conservation groups and health organisations, Kenya has taken the lead in banning the use of plastic carrier bags and certain other plastic bags. Included in the ban are the following items that travellers might carry: ▪ Duty free carrier bags ▪ General shopping bags ▪ Bin liners (sometimes used to protect luggage during rain) ▪ Dry cleaning bags (commonly wrapped around clothing) Travellers arriving into Kenya via airports, sea ports or land borders will be required to leave any bags deemed to be on the banned list at the point of entry. Travellers will not be fined so long as they surrender any prohibited bags. Uganda has banned electronic cigarettes.

Optional Equipment

If you are interested in animal photography then take a camera with a good optical zoom. Binoculars Wet wipes Travel towel Hand gel wash Toilet roll Gaiters
Laundry:
Laundry facilities are limited outside the major cities but it will be possible to do some hand washing at the campsites or using water from rivers or lakes. You should bring a small supply of washing powder with you for this purpose. We ask you to be careful when washing clothes in rivers and lakes as this water may well be the main supply for villages further along. Always use a washing bowl and discard used water away from the river or lake. Take environmentally friendly detergents and shampoos for hand and hair washing, and use as little as possible. This will help to keep valuable fresh water supplies, rivers, streams and the sea free from pollution.

Spending Money

There are a great variety of souvenirs on sale. We encourage buying items which benefit the local economy and avoiding expensive shopping malls where most of the money will go abroad or to large businesses. Bargaining is the norm for much souvenir buying. Don't accept the first price offered unless the shop or stall clearly works on fixed prices, but also remember that you are probably much better off than most local people, so please do not generate ill-feeling by bargaining too hard. Similarly, you should not bargain for items which you have no intention of buying. Goods can often be traded with the Masaai rather than money especially red clothing, cheap watches and sunglasses. Amongst the local handicrafts look out for Makonde woodcarvings, permitted leather goods, native jewellery, local textiles, batik and soapstone carvings.
Optional Excursions:
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Second Gorilla tracking in Bwindi NP - from £779 or equivalent in booking currency (to be booked in advance) Mgahinga Hike - US $80 per person (depending on location of accommodation) Forest walk- US $70 per person (depending on location of accommodation) Batwa Experience - US $80 per person (depending on location of accommodation) Birding walk - US $70 per person (depending on location of accommodation)
Queen Elizabeth
Kazinga Channel boat trip - US$30
Jinja
Full Day rafting, Jinja - US$140 per person Half Day Rafting, Jinja – US$125 Visit to the source of the White Nile - US$25 per person We suggest that these excursions be paid for in cash.
Masai Mara
Sunrise Balloon Safari in Masai Mara - can be booked locally at a price of US$495 per person or higher. Includes champagne and a full English breakfast in the bush. Nairobi For the excursions in Nairobi, these can only be done if you extend your stay after the trip. As the leader will not yet be with you in this case, you need to book these through our local partners on the ground on +254 733 523 813. Karen Blixen Museum - US$14 per person Giraffe Centre- US$12 per person NNP Animal orphanage - US$25 per person (Entry only) Safari walk - US$25 per person Carnivore Restaurant- US$30-35 per person Bomas - US$10 per person National Museum - US$14 per person Transfers to/from all of these excursions - price will vary depending on the type of vehicle and the number of clients and may include waiting charges.

Tipping

If you feel that your leader and crew have performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide we suggest that you budget: Approximately US$50-$70 for your tour leader. Approximately US$25-$35 for each of the other 3 crew members on this trip. It is also courteous to tip any extra guides/ drivers you may have over the course of the trip, though certainly not compulsory. Shortly after arrival the leader will suggest to the group that they donate a sum of approx. 25 GBP (approx. US$ 30) per person towards a kitty. This money is then used for tipping local guides, hotel porters, drivers etc and will be distributed by the leader. Any money left at the end of the trip will be refunded to the group on equal basis.

(Please note, visa information cannot be guaranteed and should be checked with the relevant country's embassy prior to departure.)

Kenya

Important Note

South Africans visiting Kenya for 30 days or less do not require a visa.
  • Those with intention of staying in Kenya for more than 30 days are required to apply for a visa at the Kenya High Commission in Pretoria or on arrival or e-Visa can be applied for via: www.evisa.go.ke
  • Transiting passengers DO NOT need an invitation letter.
  • Tourists (not employed) do not need a letter from employer but need to have hotel bookings.
  • Students and college students need admission letters.

Health Requirements

  • Original passport (valid for 6 months) and must have at least 4 blank pages
  • Return/onward ticket
  • Hotel booking

Days Closed

2019: All South African and Kenyan public holidays including 01 Jan / 21 Mar / 19, 22, 27 Apr / 01 May / 01, 16, 17 Jun / 09 Aug / 24 Sep / 21 Oct / 12, 16, 17, 25, 26 Dec

Office Hours

Monday - Thu: 09h00-12h30   14h00-15h00
Friday: 09h00-12h00

Contact Details

Kenya High Commission (Pretoria)
Telephone No : (012) 362-2249  Emergency 076 046 4849
Fax No : (012) 362-2252
Street Address : TAIFA House, 302 Brooks Street, Menlo Park 0081
Postal Address : P.O. Box 35954, Menlo Park 0102
Email Address : consular@kenya.org.za
Web Address : www.kenya.org.za

Rwanda

Important Note

South African's and citizens of all countries will be issued with a 30 day visa upon arrival at entry points or alternatively, visas can be applied for prior to travel at the High Commission in Pretoria
Visa on arrival cost: USD30

Requirements

  • Valid passport for at least 6 months and at least 4 blank pages
  • Letter stating purpose of the visit
  • Business: Invitation letter from company in Rwanda

Health Requirements

  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate are required, only if the traveller has travelled to any endemic countries within 24 days.

Days Closed

2019: All South African and Rwandan public holidays including 01 Jan / 01 Feb / 21 Mar / 07, 19, 22, 27 Apr / 01 May / 17 Jun / 01, 04 Jul / 09 Aug / 24 Sep / 16, 25, 26 Dec + Eid-ul Adha & Eid-ul-Fitr 

Office Hours

Mon - Thurs: 09h00 - 13h00 and 14h00 - 16h00
Fri: 09h00 - 14h00

Contact Details

Rwanda High Commission (Pretoria)
Telephone No : (012) 342 6536
Fax No  : (012) 342 7106
Street Address : 983 Francis Baard Street, Arcadia, Pretoria
Postal Address : P O Box 55224, Arcadia 0007, Pretoria
Email Address : ambapretoria@minaffet.gov.rw
    rwandahcpretoria@gmail.com
Web Address : www.southafrica.embassy.gov.rw

Uganda

Important Note

The Government of Uganda has introduced the online visa application system. Anyone intending to visit Uganda for tourism, business, study, medical or other reasons are required to apply and obtain a visa online. Types of visas that can be applied for online include multiple-entry, diplomatic and ordinary, East Africa tourist visa and transit visa. Applications should be submitted at the following link: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/

Requirements

Yellow Fever certificate (Typhoid, Cholera & Malaria is not a necessity but is recommended)

Office Hours

09h00 - 12h00: Mon to Fri (Submissions)
14h00 - 15h00: Mon to Fri (Collection)

Contact Details

High Commission of Uganda
Telephone No : (012) 342-6031/2/3
Fax No : (012) 342-6206
Street Address : 882 Church Str, Corner Church & Balmoral Street, Arcadia
Email Address : ugacomer@mweb.co.za
Website : www.pretoria.mofa.go.ug
Postal Address : P.O. Box 12442, Hatfield, 0028

Camping

The camping is full-service which means that the tents are put up and taken down for you by our crew. We use standard mobile two man tents for these nights and provide mattresses and all other equipment that you'll need (except a sleeping bag and pillow). East African campsites vary in terms of facilities - you should not expect hot showers, flushing toilets or western standards of cleanliness. Upgrades are available at some locations to a room - these can only be booked and paid for locally. On some nights we have more than one accommodation option. This can mean that where we stay differs to what has been listed for the day. The accommodation that we select around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is dependent on the gate we are using to access the park. In Kigali, we stay in a small hotel with en suite facilities.


An African Adventure

Long travel days, early mornings, tough tracking terrain, beautiful scenery, very changable weather, history lessons, amazing animal sightings, upset tummies, Masai and Batwa villages, hot and cold showers, trucks in ditches, border crossings, picnic lunches, and sooooooo much more
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were so many memorable moments from the Rwandan Genocide Memorial which was heartbreaking, the silent power of the Gorilla family we tracked, seeing a leopard ( 3 actually ), black and white rhino, jumping and spear throwing with the Masai, speaking with Helen who rescues young girls from FGM.....
  What did you think of your group leader?
Gilbert was an excellent all rounder with vast local, national and historical knowledge. All information was given clearly and our nightly meetings to tell of the plans for the following day often ended in stories about previous trips, historical figures and African culture. The other members of the team were super too. The driver, Stony, was unreal and Albert and James, the chefs, made sure nobody went hungry. If you are lucky enough to have this team looking after your group, you'll have a fantastic trip.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Please, please, please, don't underestimate the level of difficulty involved in the Gorilla trek. The trip notes do not adequately reflect the gradient of the slopes, the neccessity of a porter, or the toughness of the terrain. Having said that, its an amazing day and a once in a lifetime experience. I'd absolutely recommend doing the reverse trip. Get the gorilla trek done in the first few days and then you can enjoy the wonders of Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara in comfort.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just go!! Don't overthink it and just go. It is a great trip with so many different things to see and do. One thing to avoid however is the optional trip to the source of the White Nile. A huge disappointment for the money that was paid. Be prepared for medical problems like reactions to malaria pills, upset tummies, sunburn, and frankly, a roll of toilet paper in your bag could very well be your best friend.

A very good holiday

A very good but exhausting holiday with long truck journeys, heavy rain, early wet mornings but with magnificent sightings of all of East Africa's animals. The crew were exceptional with each member doing their job diligently and were a great help to us travellers. The following day's program were clearly explained each evening with questions asked and answered. Although I had no regrets about going on this holiday, I was just grateful that I did the reverse journey as I'm not sure that I would appreciate a six hour trek to see the gorillas at the end of the holiday - at 67, I'm not sure that I would have made it. Overall, I'm glad that I went.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The sightings of the gorillas - I could literary touch one - and we were privileged to see three leopards in Uganda and Kenya.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Gilbert was an excellent group leader, giving clear instructions to the group each evening and providing a talk on many relevant subjects displaying a deep knowledge of local current affairs, African culture and history. He always had time to answer any queries and resolve any problems that occurred.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The gorilla trek could be a problem for travellers who have fitness problems. The first trek took six hours up and down hills in hot weather. I booked a second gorilla trek which only took two to three hours as the animals were located near one of the gorilla centres - however, this was just as arduous due to the steep terrain, the thick vegetation and the slippery, muddy conditions. But, for me, it was worth it.

Amazing wildlife viewings

Amazing overall itinerary. Saw the big 5 in the Masai Mara in the first two days including iconic wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River. Followed by chimp trekking and gorilla trekking in Uganda which were amazing. The gorilla trekking in particular was superbly organised. Some long travel days but absolutely necessary to get between National Parks. Good safari truck and amazing food all cooked from local produce.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Seeing the Silverback gorilla so close
  What did you think of your group leader?
Gilbert was excellent. The other three members of the crew, Stoney, Albert and James, were also excellent.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Take a light weight inflatable mattress if you need that little extra padding, we took an adjustable walking pole each for the gorilla trekking and found them very useful although even more so was the porter who guided you over the worst bits of the mud and held you up when you started slipping. Go with an open mind about early morning starts and long journey times as they are all necessary and the holiday was unforgettable.

Incredible wildlife experience

Be prepared for a number of long overland journeys (you will become very familiar with the truck), but the Exodus team made it as smooth and enjoyable as possible and the wildlife experiences we had made it all so so worth it!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
I was fully expecting to be blown away by the Gorillas (and they did not disappoint !) but as someone who has done safari before, I was not expecting the spectacular sightings that we had at the Masai Mara! We had a mind blowing first few days! So many big cats in such close proximity - including the ever elusive leopard ! 😍 We also saw wildebeest crossing and a kill which was bittersweet. Seeing the chimps in their natural habitat carrying on their business was also awe inspiring . When they start calling to each other and drumming the trees, it’s really quite intimidating but in the best possible way.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Gilbert was our Group leader and I thought he was fantastic! As well as being incredibly witty and good humoured throughout the trip, Gilbert was always explaining local culture, history, knowledge of the wildlife etc. I always felt very well informed and in safe hands! A very knowledgeable guy! Incredibly patient with a big group of big personalities! He and the broader team had a great bond and worked so well together!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
The only consideration I would raise with potential travellers is around the camping. For me, I’m not a regular camper and so was a little out of my comfort zone at times. In saying that, whilst not all camps had hot water all the time, all of the campsites were lovely and indeed, I think my favourite nights were in the wild / unfenced camps. Truly an experience! I don’t at all regret the camping option as it was great fun but I did very much take advantage of the upgrade options, which were a nice break for a city girl at times (but i still felt part of the group and experience). I also thought upgrade prices were generally reasonable. Tents were clean and the team were very efficient with taking them up and down, but for a single traveller, I’d consider single supplement next time just due to personal space. In saying that, a number of single travellers and couples alike stayed in dual occupancy tents for the whole trip and loved it, so just personal choice. It’s nice to have the option of both though .
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Beyond the above, I would like to commend the whole Exodus ground team (Gilbert, “Stoney”, Albert and James). They work so hard and so well together and were a pleasure to be around. Food is incredible and you will not go hungry! 😉 I always had seconds (and sometimes thirds!). There are some very long drives but there’s no other way of covering the distance otherwise. Well worth it overall though and I think the itinerary was well balanced. Can see how it’s been refined over time!

Why Gorilla and Masai Mara Reverse Camping is Better.

This is a trip that's worth every single buck. I'll list the pros and cons though. Pros: Gorilla tracking is physically demanding. So is waking up very early every morning, travelling long distances and camping. Wildlife in Masai Mara is fantastic, no other national parks measure up to it in terms of sightings during this trip. When at the beginning of the trip energy level is high, better to do the gorilla tracking etc. Then in the end of the trip be rewarded by extraordinary wildlife viewing in Masai Mara. The crew was really great (except one) but Albert (chef) requires special mention because he was funny, kind and fed us amazing food. Stoney (driver) was very helpful and was always helpful with information. Cons: In some camping sites there is no Wi-Fi or internet, if we were informed before could tell our family not to worry if they didn't hear from us on certain dates. The truck was too old and dusty, some of the windows were difficult to open and close. We even had a breakdown close to Lake Bunyoni and that was only the beginning of the trip! Although Gilbert arranged alternative for reaching the campsite soon. On the days of long drive, why we stopped for lunch (sandwiches) which required preps and thus wasted time is beyond my understanding. There were days when we were given packed lunches (when went on game drives). Why couldn't the same be done which would have saved time and effort of the crew? Especially as bread in Uganda was horrible. The water pump was the most inconvenient thing ever! After a certain level it required one hand to hold the bottle, one to hold the neck of the pump and another to actually pump water! I've only two and one of crew member who was basically Man Friday, got annoyed because I was asking for help. He also tried to sell me wildlife photos (I'm a photojournalist and was travelling with pro cameras) but I didn't encourage him.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Of course the highlight was watching the gorillas up close. However that wasn't all for me. Watching all wildlife in their habitat is a joyful experience. Visiting new countries, learning about their culture, cruising near Murchison Falls and Lake Victoria, hot air balloon in Masai Mara. All unforgettable experiences!
  What did you think of your group leader?
Gilbert our group leader was very knowledgeable and proud of his culture, which was wonderful. He tried to solve any issue intelligently and swiftly. If it was possible, he tried his level best to get it done.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Those who an to buy additional gorilla permit must know that both happens in two different areas of the Virunga Massif. One in Bwindi and another in Mhinga (sorry about the spelling). The second one has more slope and physically exhausting. Bwindi has heavier growth and thus clear sighting maybe a problem. Unless very sure about being able to handle the climbs and physical exhaustion on two consecutive days, pause before buying the second permit. If someone plans to buy tea, try some in Uganda (my parents are loving it) but Kenyan coffee is better. Locals sell souvenirs in some places (but not outside Masai Mara), they are much cheaper than the souvenir shop they stop in. They sell some of the same stuff at double the price. DO NOT forget insect repellent, they will feast on you no matter what! I forgot my anti malaria pills, so Gilbert took me to a pharmacy in Uganda, where bought weekly tablet pack.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
If I had to do this trip again, would still choose the reverse camping. Although now that Exodus Travels don't do gorilla tracking in Rwanda, it didn't make much sense to me. Perhaps they will replan the itinerary in future?

A great adventure

This trip is great for adventure, photography and wildlife. Be prepared for long bumpy journeys on the truck but driving through the towns and villages is interesting to.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Getting so close to mountain gorillas was an unforgettable experience. We were very lucky with all the wildlife we say. The hot air balloon safari was amazing to, watching the sunrise and seeing so much wildlife.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our tour guide (Gilbert) was very passionate knowledgeable and about the history and wildlife. He was also very helpful with any problems that came up like sorting out get peoples luggage back to them after the airlines lost them. He was always smiling and laughing with us all.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
On the truck there are two uk plug sockets by each set of seats so don't worry about charging things. I'd highly recommend doing the hot air balloon safari, you will not regret it. Also there optional upgrades at some of the campsites. At Lake Bunyonyi campsite I upgraded to a tent with a bed and a balcony with views overlooking the river at a very reasonable price. I definitely recommend this.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
The other people in are crew were great to. Our chef (Albert) made us delicious meals and made us laugh so much. Our driver (stone cold) was a really good driver and kept us safe on the roads, it must be an exhausting job but he was always happy. Charlie was helping out with everything, always smiling and great company.

Oh My Freaking God I Want to Move to Africa.

I have been fortunate to travel a lot. These countries were my 51st, 52nd and 53rd but this was the best time of my life. This was my 7th small group trip. I have never felt more grateful in my life—and it is all owed to this wonderful staff, Gilbert (our guide), Stoney (our driver), Albert (our cook) and Charles (his helper). I moderately injured my low back while rafting in Jinja and was very worried that if it worsened (from camping or the bumpy dirt roads) I would not be able to do the Chimp or Gorilla treks. The staff did everything in their power to help me through this and I’m very thankful for that; the injury never worsened and I was able to do everything that the agenda entailed. The safari portion of our trip was extraordinary, particularly in the Mara and Lake Nakuru. The boat safari in Murchison was also amazing as we saw everything in such a different ecosystem. The highlights: five lionesses in a tree, two leopards, a monster of a crocodile, a wildebeest stampede, a hippo and a family of warthogs at our campsite in Murchison, hordes of playful baby baboons, a pack of zebras hilariously chasing an territory-invading jackal and virtually every other large African mammal except the cheetah. A few other animal experiences to mention: —There are 1,388 species of birds in East Africa. I’m not a birder or anything but I was constantly in awe of the gorgeous, highly varied plumage patterns of these majestic creatures. —The chimps in the Budongo Forest were outrageous. We hoped to just see a few eating in the treetops. We saw that and about twenty minutes into our viewing session a highly-orchestrated colobus monkey hunt began with screeching, screaming and yelling. Chimps rapidly descended all around us, ran across the forest floor and ascended other trees nearby. The rangers claimed they killed three colobus. While we collectively only had one picture of a chimp eating his prey, it was an exhilarating, albeit terrifying and somewhat sad, experience. —I figured the chimps had stolen the show. But the gorillas responded. Extraordinary experience...we had no clue how close they were going to get. They say it’s a seven meter distance that we need to maintain, but not if the gorillas decide they want to play with you... One of the gorillas (an impish three year old boy) sprinted to me, stuck his head between my knees and patted the sides of my thighs in rapid succession. He then just lied there. No one got any of it on film because the silverback, Bweza, was waking right towards me as his son was pulling this stunt and everyone had to shuffle away quickly... Bweza was no more than two meters away from me before we could all pull back. It was terrifying but that early lesson taught us that these gorillas are extremely habituated and thus, totally harmless; I suspect Bweza was simply wanting to keep his playful toddler in check. Later on during the viewing hour, the same three yr old pirouetted three or four times right at our feet. It was adorable. That was followed by several minutes of wrestling with his same-aged cousin. One of the great memories of my life. Most importantly, our crew made the trip. Gilbert, our leader, was outstanding. Solid knowledge of the animals. He has degrees in tourism and social anthropology and it really shows. He not only has a good understanding of the countries we visited but the continent and the world as a whole. His education led to a bunch of really interesting conversations that I enjoyed. Very well organized, kind and funny as well. A great trip leader. Albert was our chef and did a damn good job prepping tasty meals for us. Most importantly though, he was ALWAYS in a good mood and lifted the spirits of our group constantly. I’ll never forget the guy. Stoney, our driver, was a great great guy. Sincere, kind and very hard working. He navigated some tough roads and kept us on time. I had several great conversations with him about all kinds of topics ... mostly his family, his childhood and Kenya’s hopes for the future. Another guy with a big heart I’ll never forget. Lastly, Charles, the helper, was just a damn hard worker. For a first timer, he really seemed to contribute a lot. Always dived in when he was needed. Again, what a great trip. I’m elated that I was able to do this with such a wonderful group of people. Thanks Exodus!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
I should also mention that the people in Kenya and Uganda were wonderful. I’ve never seen so much road-side waving in my travels. It’s nice to feel wanted as a tourist and everyone we met along the way was very welcoming.
  What did you think of your group leader?
The best I've ever had.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Bring a small lock for the lockers. A large lock won't fit in the hole provided.

If I could do it again I wouldn't hesitate

If you could gurantee the same team, group and even half the wildlife encounters I'd book it up tomorrow. We were very lucky with both the wildlife and to have such an enthusiastic and fun group of guides and guests - which made the trip all the better. The locations are stunning - in two days in the Masai Mara we saw the big 5 and had an epic balloon ride at sunrise. Then we were off to Lake Nakuru and the rhinos and flamingos took centre stage, with the smiles getting wider as the wildlife encounters got better. Sleeping within 300m of a waterfall in Nakuru was a highlight and despite being the most basic, was my favourite campsite - hearing lions and hyeenas calling in the night while sat around a campfire checking out all the stars. At Jinja even novice rafters got to experience the thrill of white water and again the provided photos and videos had us all laughing and reliving the day. The Adrift campsite was also brand new and had great facilities. So the experiences built, Murchison has impressive waterfalls and the boat trip was a good way to get out of the heat of the day. Gorilla tracking in Budongo again had us being lucky, being in the middle of chimps hunting, a once in a lifetime opportunity and not something to be expected, but if you get to experience time with the enigmatic chimps you cannot be disappointed. Queen Elizabeth has less diversity of wildlife but still provided lots of Elephants and on the river you see birds and elephants everywhere. Lastly the gorillas - I did two treks and they were both different but magical experiences. The first involved a long trek but we were surrounded by a group and followed them, experiencing interactions with several different family members. This would be a tough trek if you are not physically fit and used to walking up hills. The second trek involved spending an unforgettable hour with Xmas, the largest silverback in Bwindi and his 1 and 2 year old babies. We could not see other members of the family and the trek was shorter and easier, but a very close and magical encounter - when a baby gorilla looks at you from less than 7m you get a sense of how special and priveledged your time with them is. You are also given certificates to help remember your time with these beautiful animals The trip to the genocide museum was a very poignant reminder of what Rwanda has been through as well. Some facts - the trip involves a lot of early starts and quite a bit of travelling. Your reward is the trip of a lifetime. The truck is large and spacious but keep things in the lockers or that room fills up quickly. You will need to be able to walk up steep hills for the gorillas, but the team takes things slowly and chooses the best path for the group. Campsites often had showers, toilets and a bar so have some dollars for these. A lot of Ugandan service stations and almost all of Rwanda wanted local currency. Some things to note - the Rwandan border was the most difficult to cross, with a problem getting our taxi across taking 2hrs but providing a great side adventure - a sense of humour about delays and acknowledging that you may be asked seeminglystupid questions is par for the course. Get some snacks and drinks before crossing as there is nothing on the Rwandan security zone. The Exodus team were fantastic throughout, working hard to fix any problems ( airline lost bags), keep our trip moving smoothly and provide fun and share jokes over Albert's fantastic cooking ( his cooking may expand your waistline). Gilbert was the charismatic tour leader with lots of local stories and knowledge, Stoney the unflappable driver who always made time to help, Albert the fantastic chef with all the catchphrases and a personality larger than life, and Charles the youngest and ever smiling and helpful team member eager to greet and hear of our days adventures. A good team feels like family not a crew, these guys felt like family and helped knit the group together. I feel exceptionally lucky to have been on this trip, I've travelled a lot and this will remain a trip to remember. If I could do the same or similar trip with the group and crew I would book it tomorrow, if you promised me half the wildlife too I'd still jump at the chance. Thanks Exodus for another epic adventure.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Spending time with the gorillas and seeing the look on everyone's faces as they encounter these incredible animals up close.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Gilbert was really good at bringing people together and engaging the group. He was also active in securing us better times for chimp trekking and minimising time on the truck / getting good plots on campsites. A lot of what he was doing behind the scenes in planning / logistics was while people slept on the truck so he could chat and sing songs when we were all awake. He also had excellent wildlife and historical knowledge and was happy to share The only problem we encountered was on the day the team weren't there at the Rwandan border - and over the phone he was working on a solution to get us moving
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Bring a folder for certificates they give for gorilla trekking Have a sheet or blanket to sit on in the truck as the vinyl seats can get hot in the sun ( thanks Vio) Have some small Ugandan and Rwandan currency so you can buy things at service stations if they don't accept cards or dollars ( Rwanda the bars all wanted local currency). Pack some extra clothes in your daysack when flying - airlines lose bags so have at least a change of clothes to last you a day or two. Go to Carnivores in Nairobi it is a great meal and intro for the group. Don't expect glamping but this is comfortable camping and you get to hear lions calling.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
If the team running this trip do any other Africa trips I'd gladly go on them

Mind-blowing experience

WYU190630 Just returned from my first African wild adventure and i m still day dreaming of it! Couldn't have asked for a better crew team members and better group. Absolutely awed day in day out. This being my first experience camping and group travelling i must say it has been a blast! Do not let the camping put you off! It is a great experience and i loved every minute of it!
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
From day one, every day was memorable! And just when i thought that nothing could top seeing the big five, here comes chimpanzee trekking, mountain gorilla trekking, the scenery all around were absolute breathtaking. Totally totally would recommend this trip to anyone who's ready for adventure.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our tour guide Gilbert together with chef Albert, driver Stony and all around helper Charlie made our experience a memorable one. I could not have asked for a better crew! They were awesome and their hard work must be acknowledged. Absolutely stunned with Gilbert's knowledge in terms of culture, nature, wildlife; and throughout the trip he always kept us informed, always smiling laughing and ready to listen to everything we had to say. Driver Stony, hat down! His many years of experience definitely had a say and he kept us safe throughout the journey. 100% confidence is his skills. Chef Albert looked after our stomach affairs! The whole group were astonished how he always managed to come up with the most delicious dishes even when camping. Healthy and freshly cooked food, always a bonus. Charlie the man does it all!
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Pack a sense of adventure and a big smile and you'll have the holiday of a lifetime! I was nervous when i booked this trip as was travelling alone, and never done this sort of trip before, but words cannot express how amazing the trip was and how well the group and crew members integrated from day one! Be prepared for long drives on bumpy roads sometimes. Its part of the adventure package!:)
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
When we had to say goodbyes we cried....No one wanted the trip to end... I've created what am hopping to be lifelong friendships and its amazing!

A myriad of wildlife in the heart of Africa

This trip packs in a huge variety of wildlife experiences over a great distance in three scenic and friendly East African countries.
  What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were many highlights. For this trip, the Masai Mara provided the greatest inspiration. Our group was so fortunate to see multiple close up lion sightings, a leopard up a tree and a successful cheetah hunt amongst many other animals. The Mara is totally worthy of its global fame as a premier game reserve. On this occasion, our good fortune in Kenya just pipped the excellent gorilla and chimp tracking days in Uganda.
  What did you think of your group leader?
Our Kenyan team, consisting of the tour leader driver, chef and camp assistant worked so hard evrry day and did so in cheerful spirit that made them a pleasure to be around.
  Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be prepared for long drives on bumpy roads, particularly in Uganda. The gorrila tracking involves difficult underfoot conditions and the length of the hike to see the gorillas can't really be predicted in advance. No one in our group opted for the Kazinga Channel boat trip, this didn't matter as the included boat trip at Murchison Falls was outstanding, particularly for birds. Temperatures are generally moderate in this part of the world due to altitude, but Murchison Falls is lower and was therefore hot.
  Is there anything else you would like to add?
I've been lucky enough to go on a few African safaris over the years and this one was definately the best. Anyone put off by camping should be assured that the tents are fairly spacious, the camping mats are comfortable and that showers are reasonable at the majority of the campsites.
Sun 29 Dec 2019 to Mon 13 Jan 2020

Guaranteed (Available)

R 59,914

(Optional Single Supplement +R3,197)
Tue 14 Jul 2020 to Wed 29 Jul 2020

Available

R 63,910

(Optional Single Supplement +R3,197)
Tue 25 Aug 2020 to Wed 09 Sep 2020

Available

R 63,910

(Optional Single Supplement +R3,197)
Tue 29 Sep 2020 to Wed 14 Oct 2020

Available

R 63,910

(Optional Single Supplement +R3,197)
Tue 03 Nov 2020 to Wed 18 Nov 2020

Available

R 63,910

(Optional Single Supplement +R3,197)