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Gorilla Safari & the Masai Mara

Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda
From £3099 - £3549 (18 days) including UK flights
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From £2249 - £2399 excluding flights. Mimimum age 16.
Vouchers: accepted
2015: 20 Dec
2016: 6 Jan, 7 Feb, 30 Jun, 17 Jul, 11 Aug, 28 Aug, 15 Sep, 2 Oct, 20 Oct, 6 Nov, 18 Dec
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42 reviews4.5 star rating
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Gorilla Safari & the Masai Mara

Responsible Travel's at a glance summary

“Besides a real sense of comradery in camp and the chance to explore breathtaking wildlife across three countries, you will never forget meeting a wild Mountain Gorilla face-to-face”
Highlights: Nairobi | Lake Naivasha | Masai Mara | Game-driving in the Masai Mara | Kembu Farm | Lake Nakuru National Park | Eldoret | Jinja | Lake Mburo National Park | Guided walking safari in Uganda | Lake Bunyonyi | Ruhengeri | Gorilla safari in the Parc National des Volcans | Kigali | Genocide Museum
It’s hard to even imagine going on safari across three African countries in one trip, but with the constant support of a four-man crew, this well-organised holiday does it seamlessly. You’re camping, but full-service camping, so it won’t be you struggling with tent poles and you’ll also have the services of a chef, so you can relax in the evenings while wonderful local food is prepared for you.

Game-driving through the Masai Mara; guided walking safaris through Uganda; and a trek through Rwanda’s undergrowth to meet a family of wild Gorilla – you’ll be struck speechless by the wildlife on this trip and naturally there are some long drives along pretty bumpy roads to get you there: pack your sense of humour as well as your sense of adventure and you’ll love every minute.
Our top tip:
In addition to your daysack, take a small overnight bag to pack what you’ll need in for camping.
Trip type:
Small group tour. 4-18 adults (min. age 18) with a tour leader.
Activity level:
11 nights camping, 4 nights hotel.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available with surcharge.
15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 13 dinners.
Accommodation, all transport and listed activities, tour leader, gorilla permit, flights (if booked).
About this holiday company:
This holiday company is a specialist wildlife operator with over 40 years global experience.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Gorilla Safari & the Masai Mara

Description from the holiday company

Description of this tour from the holiday company

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“Where we camp there is no fence. One time, lions came into the campsite; we could hear them roaring…”

Gorilla Safari & the Masai Mara: the story of this holiday company

This tour operator was the first to get access to China over 30 years ago and the first to take a truck to Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side. They have since expanded into 91 countries. Their product is driven by their clients because they listen to feedback and have to constantly evolve to provide a greater experience and better value. The exclusive centres they use have been grown organically and are often owned by ex-leaders. The holidays remain innovative, though you will now be travelling in a Mercedes 16-seater sprinter coach rather than a rusty old Bedford overland truck.

Responsible tourism: Gorilla Safari & the Masai Mara

Accommodation & meals:
The majority of this trip is spent camping, therefore reducing our energy consumption and carbon footprint for the whole trip. Each tour has their own chef, dedicated to buying produce from local stalls and markets and making a range of traditional meals. Guests might have the chance to learn to make an African Lakes regional specialty such as stew with ‘Ugali’ - a maize flour and water mixture with the consistency of dough.

We employ local tour guides, drivers, porters and chefs and so all of these employment opportunities provide financial benefit for people in the community. Beyond this, we also work directly with a number of charitable organizations in the area. Along with offering the opportunity to get involved in a school project in Jinja, for example, we make a point of visiting the genocide museum in Kigali, Rwanda. This helps to educate visitors, drive income to the area and to support the work of the Aegis Trust which prevents further acts of atrocity in the region.

Local Crafts & Culture:
In addition to purchasing supplies locally, tour guides encourage travelers to purchase goods and souvenirs from a Maasai village. Through this we encourage and respect their customs and craftsmanship while sharing with our visitors at a fair price for the Maasai people. Our guides are also keen to teach Swahili as a means of making a more genuine connection with people they meet on the trip.

Group size:
This is a small group tour and so numbers do not exceed 18, meaning that local environments and the communities and variety of species (endangered and otherwise) that we encounter are not seriously impacted by our stay. This group size also allows us to travel with ease and therefore to stay at a number of unique, lesser known campsites and one hotel that would not usually benefit from tourism commerce due to its limited size.

UK office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.

The permit fee charged to see the Gorillas in in Parc National des Volcans goes directly towards the preservation of this endangered species and their fragile but beautiful environment. By travelling with us, you ensure that rangers are paid a fair wage and have the provisions and personnel to protect themselves and wildlife against harmful poaching activity.

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Gorilla Safari & the Masai Mara

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays. In addition, we don't run these holidays ourselves - our only interest is giving you the best independent advice.

5 stars
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
4 stars
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
3 stars
Very enjoyable
2 stars
It was OK
1 star
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed 28 Mar 2014 by Valerie Koppi5 star rating

Every day was fabulous always something different... travelling with like minded people was also a good thing.(read full review)

Reviewed 12 Mar 2014 by Mark Asquith5 star rating

Gorillas!!!!!. Interacting with them was the most exceptional experience elf my life and the biggest adrenaline rush I have ever had. Its is without comparison. The Masai Mara was amazing, will decamping was a buzz and White water rafting on the Nile was an amazing experience but being close to the African people(especially the happy kids) and not isolated in 5 star resorts made the trip a once in a lifetime experience.(read full review)

Reviewed 01 Feb 2014 by Sally Knowles-Jackson5 star rating

It was excellent. I would go again tomorrow... it was such a fabulous trip from the start in Kigali to the end in Nairobi. Seeing the gorillas was obviously so special and memorable and the rafting in jinja was an unexpected highlight. Also the people in my group and our fabulous exodus team who were to efficient, friendly, patient and organised. (read full review)

Reviewed 26 Mar 2014 by Chris Hehir4 star rating

Wildlife from Masai Mara to Rwanda was amazing, varied and stunning...Brilliant - one I shall never forget.(read full review)

Reviewed 08 Jan 2014 by Mary-Laure Bollini4 star rating

It was a really great holiday, great wildlife, beautiful scenaries, great people, well organised.(read full review)

Reviewed 06 Mar 2013 by D Smith3 star rating

The Gorilla trek in Rwanda was the real highlight, would do it again tomorrow, but Uganda was an unexpected highlight, with wonderful bird watching at Lake Bunyonyi, camping next to the hippos at Lake Mboru and at Jinja the boat trip to the Source of the Nile.(read full review)

Reviewed 17 Sep 2012 by Lisa Irving3 star rating

The most memorable part was game driving in the Masai Mara and visiting the gorillas in Rwanda...Excellent.(read full review)

Reviewed 13 Dec 2011 by Elaine Spence5 star rating

My holiday was the best, the guides were fantastic and made sure that all our needs were catered for, couldn't fault it and worth every penny. Very fortunate that we had a great group of people on the trip.(read full review)

Reviewed 16 Aug 2011 by Pete Fuller-Thompson5 star rating

Most memorable? Seeing the gorillas, playing with children at the orphanage at Bunyonyi, seeing an elusive cheetah on our final game drive in the Mara and an absolutely fantastic group of people led by an amazing guided.(read full review)

Reviewed 30 Oct 2011 by John Durham4 star rating

Seeing the mountain gorillas at such close proximity. Incredible...It was an excellent trip. Very well organised with lots to see and do without feeling rushed. (read full review)

Reviewed 10 Aug 2011 by Phoebe Harrison4 star rating

I have travelled a lot and have been to Africa before but not the East. However, something about this trip touched me deeply. I worry for Africa, for the people, the environment and the wildlife. This trip educated me further on the problems facing this great continent. It was truly educational, breathtaking, humbling and fun! (read full review)

Reviewed 09 Jan 2011 by Karin Guttorm3 star rating

Good, but to much driving. (read full review)

Reviewed 20 Aug 2010 by Barbara Wulff5 star rating

Most memorbale was almost walking into a zebra on my way to the toilet one night! The camping was challenging for me, but it was worth it to hear animals at night. 5 stars.(read full review)

Reviewed 18 Jul 2010 by Nathanial Ray5 star rating

A highlight was the gorilla treks, not only where they amazing but it was also on my birthday.(read full review)

Reviewed 18 Apr 2010 by Paul Oppenheimer5 star rating

This was the best vacation we have ever taken. It was a packed with a wide variety of activities from wildlife to culture to beautiful site seeing. (read full review)

Reviewed 16 Nov 2010 by Freddie Hull4 star rating

Seeing the gorillas and animals in the other game reserves, the experience of spending time in Africa, meeting the people and seeing the beautiful country. The guides and the group were excellent...One I will never forget.(read full review)

Reviewed 31 Oct 2010 by Helen Rankmore4 star rating

Expect the unexpected! Don’t get hung up on itineraries, when something doesn’t work out the way YOU are expecting it too.(read full review)

Reviewed 27 Jan 2010 by Frank Townsend4 star rating

An excellent holiday, would readily recommend it to friends.(read full review)

Reviewed 25 Nov 2010 by Rexford Newbould3 star rating

A very enjoyable time, and we plan to go back to East Africa again, though under our own steam now.(read full review)

Reviewed 20 Mar 2009 by Angela Platt5 star rating

It was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had and I’ve been to many countries. Africa is the kind of place you fall in love with. We ventured to such different landscapes, enjoying the wildlife which was spectacular to see, the elephants roaming, the gorillas goofing around.(read full review)

Reviewed 04 Feb 2009 by Sharon Branch4 star rating

There were highlights in each country. The gorilla's in Rwanda, the white water rafting in Uganda and The Masa Mara in Kenya.(read full review)

Reviewed 21 Jul 2008 by Andrew Shand5 star rating

Most memorable were Gorilla trekking, time with chimps, watching lions hunt down a buffalo, wiping out while whitewater rafting on the Nile, meeting up with some great new people on the trip.(read full review)

Reviewed 14 Dec 2008 by Phillip Dear4 star rating

Most memorable was seeing the mountain gorillas in Rwanda.(read full review)

Reviewed 13 Oct 2008 by John Wyatt4 star rating

A fantastic way to see wildlife and experience Africa in three different countries for a very reasonable price. (read full review)

Reviewed 09 Sep 2008 by Sean Ramgoolam4 star rating

Seeing the gorillas for the first time, hearing the deep rumble of the silver back and then hearing the crashing around as the youngsters were playing and feeding was a moment that will stay with me.(read full review)

Reviewed 17 Aug 2008 by Sarah Baker4 star rating

Very good, better than I could have hoped.(read full review)

Reviewed 13 Aug 2007 by Joanne Halpin5 star rating

This has been the most amazing trip with lots of varied and interesting experiences. For me the highlights of the trip have been the gorilla visit in Rwanda which was absolutely breathtaking and watching the wildebeest migration as they entered the Masai Mara in Kenya. (read full review)

Reviewed 13 Aug 2007 by Cheryl McGookin5 star rating

Difficult to choose a highlight - gorillas, Masai Mara wildlife, rafting on the Nile, even just watching the world go by from the back of the truck. It was all fantastic(read full review)

Reviewed 24 Sep 2007 by Nikki Wilson4 star rating

Too many highlights to choose from! Seeing all the animals in their natural environment on the Masai Mara, watching baby gorillas play and taking in the scenery by the various lakes we were lucky enough to stay by - to mention but a few!(read full review)

Reviewed 05 Jan 2007 by Yvonne Ovesson4 star rating

The most memorable and exciting part of our holiday was the gorillas without a doubt!(read full review)

Reviewed 10 Mar 2006 by Ms Amanda Stevens5 star rating

I had a brilliant time it was all I expected and more. I saw all of the BIG 5 and have fallen in love with Africa. The team we had were brilliant... their knowledge of the animals was more than adequate especially as we saw a Pangolin.(read full review)

Reviewed 21 Jul 2006 by Stephen Cragg4 star rating

The undoubted highlight of this trip was the animals, whether it be the juvenile gorillas playing just a few metres from us, the lion cubs tucking into wildebeest with gusto, languid cheetahs or majestic elephants. (read full review)

Reviewed 09 Sep 2005 by Frances Clements5 star rating

Sitting within metres of the Gorillas was the most awe inspiring experience of my life to date... Truly memorable - I didn't take pictures just sat and watched and built up a store of memories! You must try Ugandan food - wow!(read full review)

Reviewed 02 Sep 2005 by Anouska Behl5 star rating

This trip was absolutely amazing for so many reasons, wildlife, activities, tour guide, chef, truck, fellow travellers and there is so much more! ... I loved Africa and will be going back. Thanks very much for providing such a valuable service.(read full review)

Reviewed 19 Aug 2005 by Angela Margaret Parry5 star rating

There were so many memorable bits! The most has to be the gorillas, especially in light of the recent news of how endangered they really are, to get so close to them without them being concerned at all was incredible. (read full review)

Reviewed 17 Jun 2005 by Colin O5 star rating

The most exciting part is a toss up between sitting feet away from a pride of 14 lions feeding on a buffalo they had just brought down and rafting the Nile's grade 5 rapids at Ginga... Fantastic holiday...Would not hesitate to return or recommend to anyone else. (read full review)

Reviewed 14 Oct 2005 by Lorna Collings4 star rating

The best part of the holiday was visiting the gorillas... a unique experience both exhilarating and heart wrenching.(read full review)

Reviewed 23 Sep 2005 by Elizabeth Davies4 star rating

Seeing gorillas in front of us was amazing. They just ignored us and carried on eating and playing while we snapped away for the hour we had with them...The white-water rafting on the nile was the most memorable part.(read full review)

Reviewed 12 Aug 2005 by Helen Britton4 star rating

The most exciting part of the holiday was seeing the gorillas in their natural habitat, so close.(read full review)

Reviewed 29 Jul 2005 by Heather Evans4 star rating

The gorillas were the highlight of the trip... The pre-travel advice and the trip experience was first class and extremely considerate.(read full review)

Reviewed 08 Jul 2005 by Alan MacNicoll4 star rating

The most memorable part of the holiday was undoubtedly seeing the mountain gorillas at close quarters.(read full review)

Reviewed 23 Sep 2005 by Faye Pitchford3 star rating

The most exciting part of the holiday was seeing a Cheetah kill with her cub closely following.(read full review)
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Small group holidays

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

Group on holiday

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
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