18 Days East African Safari Holiday (1 Free Gorilla Permit)

This tour starts in Entebbe and ends in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. It will take you to the most sought after tourist spots in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. These include; city tours, famous east African National parks presenting amazing launch trips on rivers and lakes, the Big five mammals, endangered mountain gorillas, golden monkeys and chimpanzees as well as the unique flora. The 18 days East Africa tour as well presents to you the historic great wildebeest migration, iconic cultural experiences and pure adventure.

18 Days East African Safari Holiday

18 Days East African Adventure Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival & Hotel Transfer

Welcome to Uganda, the Pearl of Africa! Upon arrival, the guide will pick you up from Entebbe airport, meet and greet and drive to your pre-booked hotel in Entebbe / Kampala. If you have time, take a brief tour in Kampala city to have spectacular views of the shopping malls, museums, craft markets, etc. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park

This morning, depart Kampala town Murchison falls National Park via Kachumbanyobo gate. Enroute visit to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, a three-hour drive from Kampala and about 1.5 hours from Murchison falls national park, along the Masindi – Kampala highway. While you track the rhinos, look out for other animals like bushbuck, leopard, Uganda kob, oribi and several other wildlife present in the ranch.

The sanctuary has abundant bird life, including the elusive shoebill stork that can be sighted on a canoe in Lugogo wetlands. Retire from the Rhino tracking excursion, have lunch at Amuka lodge or Kabalega diners. Continue on a drive to Uganda’s biggest national park, Murchison falls national park for dinner and overnight stay at the lodge.

Day 3: Game Drive & Boat Cruise

Wake up very early in the morning to begin a morning game drive in Murchison’s plain landscapes. Here you will have a chance to spot early risers and nocturnal species before they return to their shelters. Murchison falls national park is home to a varied number of animal species, and visitors usually have endless chances of sighting some of the park’s permanent residents including giraffes, Jackson’s hartebeests, lions, buffaloes, antelopes, and elephants. For avid birders, you will enjoy a cock tail of them as these areas support the secretary bird and the black chested snake eagle, to name a few.

After lunch, go for a 3-4 hour afternoon boat cruise along the Victoria Nile, between the raging Murchison falls and the Albert delta. The cruise exposes one to various bird species (both endemic and migratory), large mammals, cats and reptiles. After the boat cruise, you will retire back to the Lodge for relaxation.

Day 4: Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park

Leave Murchison falls national park after breakfast, and head southwards to the iconic Kibale national park. Traverse the curved landscapes of the western region, with unmatched views of the Albertine escarpments. Cross undulating plantations of sugar and tea until you reach Kibale forest national park – Africa’s primate capital. Retire at your lodge for resting, dinner and overnight stay.

Day 5: Chimpanzee Trekking & Bigodi Swamp Walk

This morning, you will go on a forest walk in search of chimpanzees. While trekking within the lush green forest, you will be surrounded by sights and sounds of the resident birds and you can expect to spot at least 8 other types of primates, most probably the Red-tailed and grey-cheeked Mangabeys and obviously the endangered chimpanzees, plus many other forest mammals, butterflies, etc. Walking in this forest is fairly easy due to the well-maintained trails and moderately flat terrain. Return to the starting point, have a picnic lunch while waiting for a cultural tour.

In the afternoon, you will explore the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary, part of the bigger Magombe wetlands. The sanctuary is a popular eco-tourism destination with in the Kibale Forest area and is operated by the Kibale Association for Rural and Environmental Development (KAFRED), a local community based organization. Among the many activities done in Bigodi, include bird watching, swamp and community walks.

Day 6: Transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park

Depart at leisure after breakfast to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a drive of approximately 2-3 hours. This park is set in the back drop of the Rwenzori towering mountains and is home to a wide variety of wildlife including elephants, lions, hippos, buffaloes, antelopes, and numerous species of birds. The journey to Akagera is about 170km taking about 2.5 hours’ drive to reach the park. En route, the journey offers you beautiful scenery of rolling hills, tea plantations, seasonal rivers, equator and everything else for which the country Uganda is well known.

Day 7: Game Drive & Boat Cruise

A morning game is the park’s highlight. With one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, Queen Elizabeth boasts a total of 95 mammal species and 610+ species of birds, including permanent residents and migratory. Meanwhile, the afternoon boat cruise presents amazing opportunities to view wildlife, unique birds, reptiles, and so much more.

Day 8: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

This morning you rise to an early breakfast and make your exit towards Bwindi Impenetrable national park (about 4hrs’ drive). Famous for its notable biodiversity, Bwindi Impenetrable forest is home to an array of endangered species including half of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, endemic bird species, great mountain forest scenery and verdant flora. Take an optional en-route game drive within Ishasha sector in the southern exit to Bwindi national park. Arrive in the evening, check in and overnight stay.

Day 9: Gorilla Trekking & Batwa Cultural Experience

Wake up as the sun rises over the towering Virunga ranges, have breakfast and drive for a short journey to the park headquarters. Here you’ll be briefed about the gorilla trek, get assigned to a ranger and a specific gorilla family which you will track. Get your trekking gears ready and porter (to be hired at an affordable cost and highly recommended to help carry your luggage) and a warn cup of coffee will also be served. Thereafter begin the trek into the forest with excitement and anticipating a great adventure ahead.

Tracking can last between 45 minutes and 7 hours depending on the group you are tracking and the season. Upon meeting the gorillas, you will spend utmost one hour in their midst, watching their behaviors, lifestyle, their conservation history as narrated by the ranger guide. The ranger guide will make sure you are in the best spots to capture every moment with pictures and videos and maximize this once-in-a-lifetime experience. In the afternoon, take a leisurely tour to the neighboring communities for an interesting Batwa cultural tour; watch their style of living, their historic songs, performances, etc. Return to your hotel for a relaxed evening, refreshments and later overnight stay.

Day 10: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

After breakfast, leave Bwindi impenetrable National park, and cross to the other side of Rwanda in the northern region. Cross via Cyanika / Kisoro border and penetrate into Rwanda’s big game destination. Volcanoes national park is famous for the endangered mountain gorillas and the only park in Rwanda that hosts these particular species. Arrive at the lodge for early check in, and if there’s time, you can do a short nature walks to discover the park’s permanent wildlife residents, bird life, lush vegetation, and rolling hills.

Day 11: Golden Monkey Trekking & Iby’Iwacu Village Walk

Have breakfast and proceed to Volcanoes national park headquarters for another briefing, this time for golden monkey trekking; and not the gorilla trekking. Enter into the bamboo forest, on the lower slopes of Virunga Mountains where these shy, rare primates inhabit. Golden monkey trekking tours lasts averagely 1-5 hours depending on the movements of the golden monkeys.

During trekking, you will meet other resident primates in the park like, Blue and black colobus monkeys, Vervet monkeys, red tailed monkeys, olive baboons, among others. After trekking the golden monkeys, return to the lodge for lunch, relax and in the evening, opt for a community tour to the nearby Ib’yiwachu village and enjoy cultural performances, traditional activities, local brew, songs, stories, and return to the lodge for overnight stay.

Day 12: Dian Fossey Hike & Twin Lakes Visit

Have breakfast, and immediately embark on a morning hike to explore the Dian Fossey graves. This is a site where the gorilla heroine who advocated for conservation of mountain gorillas in the 19th Century. She was killed by poachers in 1985 and her body buried right here.
Hike to pay your last respects to this historic lady. In the afternoon, you’ll take a leisurely drive to the twin lakes and have a sunset canoe to explore more of the Virunga ranges.

Day 13: Visit Musanze Caves & Transfer to Kigali for outbound flight

Visit Musanze caves after a tour to Musanze caves. After this tour, continue to Kigali traversing through the most beautiful regions of the country often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of Africa’. You will view sweeping country-side, marked with great views over the Virunga ranges, rolling landscapes and sweeping valleys. Arrive in Kigali later in the evening, check in at the airport and catch a connecting regional flight to Arusha or Kilimanjaro airports in Tanzania. Overnight stay in Arusha town.

Day 14: Transfer to Serenget National Park, Sunset Game Drive

Wake up to a beautiful sunrise of Arusha, with a delicious breakfast, and soon you hit the road and begin a 5 hour journey to Serengeti national park. With a picnic lunch, the safari driver will choose the best possible route based on the weather, season and the kind of animals you’d like to spot, because the opportunities of sighting Serengeti’s diverse wildlife along the way are endless.

Arrive at the lodge in Serengeti national park, check in and get ready for an evening magic! As the sun sets over the Serengeti horizon, you get on your jeep to be mesmerized by Tanzania’s best national reserve. The evening game safari presents endless chances to see predators in action as they take advantage of the setting sun and cooler temperatures to pounce on a retreating antelope for an early dinner.

It’s a perfect timing to spot lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas in action as well as other herbivores retreating in huge herds back to their kraals for an overnight. Another option would be to take to the skies with a luxurious hot air balloon safari that offers 360 degrees views of the Serengeti sweeping plains. As night sets in, retire back to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 15: Full day game drive in Serengeti

Today is typically a spectacular day of game viewing! Because it’s a full, fun-filled day in one of Africa’s wildlife – populated conservation areas. The Serengeti is a notable destination known to be the most thrilling wildlife eco-system in the Natural world. Serengeti national reserve harbors the highest and varied concentration of wild animals than any other park in the east African region.

The scenic appeal of Serengeti’s rolling Savannah plains, its appealing climate and diversity of wild game species has made it a one stop center for authentic game viewing experiences. This is a day of game viewing, period! Traverse the reserve like never before on a full day game safari and have unlimited encounters with Africa’s big five mammals and more of the lesser game, like antelopes, zebras, giraffes, and big cats.

Day 16: Transfer to Masai Mara National Reserve, Evening game drive

After breakfast, leave Serengeti National park, and cross to the other side of Kenya in the Mara region. Cross via Isebania border and penetrate into Kenya’s big game destination. Do not miss epic game viewing along the way to the Masai Mara, as it is Kenya’s most populated wildlife park. Arrive at the lodge for early check in, and if there’s time, you can do a short evening game drive to discover the park’s permanent wildlife residents, birdlife, lush vegetation, and rolling hills.

Day 17: Full day game drive in Masai Mara

Rise before the dawn for the once-in-a-lifetime moment and wildlife extravaganza within the Masai Mara game reserve. After a quick cup of coffee or cappuccino, you’ll set out into this wildlife-filled reserve to watch the sun rising over the Mara River and attracting thousands of game to graze on the shores.

Another option would be to take to the skies with a luxurious hot air balloon safari with a champagne breakfast, offering 360 degrees views of the Mara sweeping plains. Watch all the action from the skies and land on a popular spot where the carnivores lie waiting to pounce on their suspecting prey. Watch all this action happening right before you! You’ll then return to your lodge for lunch, and return to the Mara valleys to encounter more wildlife, do another extensive until the sun sets and views the beautiful herds of mammals returning to their kraals.

Day 18: Departure

Have a relaxed breakfast in Masai Mara and check out to begin your journey to Nairobi – Kenya’s capital, driving for about 6 hours. The guide will drop you off at the Jomo Kenyatta international airport to catch your departure flight.