Overland tour of Kenya to Rwanda

“Bursting with natural beauty, wildlife encounters and nuggets of culture, this overland tour in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda is 19 days of pure African adventure.”


Nairobi | Great Rift Valley | Lake Naivasha | Elsamere | Lake Nakuru National Park | Jinja | Kampala | Lake Bunyonyi | Mountain Gorilla trekking | Musanze | Rwanda Genocide Memorial | Pygmy Village | Lake Victoria | Maasai Mara game drives |

Description of Overland tour of Kenya to Rwanda

Expect to be wowed at every stage of this 19-day overland odyssey through Kenya and Rwanda.

The itinerary is full of little touches that may end up being some of your highlights; for instance: cream tea at Elsamere (former home of Joy Adamson and Elsa the lion), mountain biking through Hells Gate National Park, or tracking the moment when you cross the Equator.

There will be sobering, reflective moments too. You’ll learn about one of the 20th century’s most appalling crimes at the Rwanda Genocide Memorial; you’ll have the option to meet a group of local orphans at their school; and you’ll find out about the many threats facing the animals that you'll have the privilege of observing, first-hand.

Beginning in the lively Kenyan capital, Nairobi, you’ll travel in a hardy, purpose-built vehicle over terrain that may be rough at times, but never easy to tear your eyes away from. There will be trekking through dense forest for a breathtaking encounter with mountain gorillas, man’s closest cousin, in Rwanda. You’ll get up close with many other species too, on game drives in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru National Park and in the Maasai Mara.

There will be heaps of photo opportunities in Jinja, source of the mighty River Nile. And there will be a need for bartering skills, as you wander in colourful local markets with your fellow travellers to buy fresh food to share, before falling asleep under the African sky.

Wow, right?

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Check dates

2021: 15 Feb, 28 Mar, 3 May, 7 Jun, 11 Jul, 16 Aug, 26 Sep, 8 Nov
2022: 4 Jan, 13 Feb, 28 Mar, 9 May, 12 Jun, 11 Jul, 22 Aug, 26 Sep, 7 Nov
Holiday type


If you’re looking for adventure, an opportunity to travel with like-minded travellers and to get off the beaten track then this type of trip is for you! We will sometimes be covering long distances over a period of a few days but will then most often be camped up for a few days with opportunities for adventure activities, visiting local communities, time in a town or city to chill out or wildlife viewing experiences. The roads are sometimes bumpy and you need to expect the unexpected! This type of travel is through regions where things can change and experiences are more important than luxury – borders sometimes close and there may not always be hot water in the showers! You will generally be camping out under the stars, sometimes out in the bush, but generally more on campsites. (Our South America and Central Asia trips also use small locally-run hostels and guest houses). The trips are fully participative so you will be involved shopping for food in local markets, cooking for your group (on a rota system), collecting water and setting up camp. If you’re not confident about doing any of these things beforehand, don’t worry our crew are there to help you and you’ll be good at it by the time you finish!

You will be travelling on one of our own purpose built overlanding vehicles with up to 24 travellers, many of whom will be travelling on their own. It is a great way for solo travellers to travel. We have lost count of the number of travellers who have met their future spouse on one of our trips! Our vehicles are fully equipped with tents and cooking equipment and are designed for great all-round viewing and a sociable seating plan. You will be accompanied on your trip by a Driver and Tour Leader and, depending on your trip, we often use local guides at sites of specific interest for more detailed information.

This type of travel will provide you with a plethora of memories and stories to tell, new-found travelling companions and friends and a well-exercised spirit of adventure!

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Visiting the mountain gorillas is one of the ultimate wildlife-viewing experiences. There are thought to be only 700 of these magnificent creatures left in the world. They are essential to the tourist economies of both Uganda and Rwanda and somewhat controversially the tourist dollar is essential to the survival of the gorillas. The gorilla trek and permit money is used for anti-poaching programs and maintenance of the National Parks-the gorillas natural habitat.

Visits to the gorillas are very well controlled by the Parks Authority in order to minimise the potential negative impact on the gorillas. Group sizes are limited to eight; visits last for one hour (and there is only one visit allowed per day) and a distance of seven metres has to be maintained. Every effort is made to ensure that the gorillas are not exposed to human bacteria. Physical contact is not allowed and visitors are not allowed to trek if they are suffering from a cold. A tourist infrastructure has also built up around the gorilla trekking points-providing accommodation, food, transport and souvenirs-creating lots more local employment.

We also visit a number of other conservation /community projects en route-that support local communities and conservation initiatives. In Uganda for example, our clients have the opportunity to visit the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary which cares for rescued or orphaned chimpanzees. In Kenya clients can visit Elsamere-the home of the Elsa Conservation Trust which has donated millions to wildlife and conservation projects and has an on-site conservation centre.

On this trip we stay at small, locally run campsites and where possible buy our food in local markets, thereby directly supporting local communities. We use local companies to run all our excursions.

Before commencing the tour all our clients are provided with detailed pre-departure info which includes information on Responsible Travel. This information is re-emphasised by our Tour Leader at the start of the trip-clients are, for example, advised about respecting local customs particularly in terms of dress and behaviour; water conservation; respecting and conserving wildlife and their habitats; purchasing of endangered species products and so on.

Charities supported on this trip:
We sponsor two charities on this trip. In Nairobi, we sponsor a baby elephant, Kamboyo, through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

In Uganda, we make a regular, monthly, financial contribution to Soft Power Education-an organisation that provides education to Ugandan children. We visit this project on our trip and some of our clients have returned to Uganda at the end of their trip to undertake voluntary work here.

2 Reviews of Overland tour of Kenya to Rwanda

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 12 Dec 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Visiting the mountain gorillas

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Expect a fast pace and prepare for wet weather issues with getting laundry done/ having wet stuff.Take a credit card!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Hopefully contributed some useful money to local enterprises during village visits etc. Like to imagine gorilla pass cost goes towards protecting this vulnerable group. Environmentally there is the problem of long haul flights- having to swallow that one.. lorry fuel another issue - but otherwise trip seemed low impact compared to other types of exotic travellling

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Absolutely marvellous

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the gorillas. Visiting the Pygmy village.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring long trousers and T-shirts to cover up in Uganda. Pack lightly as there is laundry at the campsite.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, particularly when visiting the Pygmy village and the Kenyan school.

My trip was the first 19 days of a longer 75 day tour. Whilst I did not go on this activity I know that later in the longer tour they go on a lion walk. I would urge you to research the company that runs this as I think that they are unlikely to be working in animal welfare.

Having worked for conservation projects in various parts of Africa it is my experience that organisations that run big cat 'walks'' later sell the animals on for game hunting purposes (after the animals have been humanised by the walks they are easier to hunt on a game park). I find it highly unlikely that any organisation working towards the conservation of big cats would allow tourists to interact closely with them once they are adults as such contact is clearly against the best interests of the animal. I have used responsible travel several times and always been confident that the tours you recommend are highly tuned to the environment and conservation so this seems to be out of your ethos. I hope you will look into it!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Read the operator's response here:

Hi Genevieve.
We are so pleased that you had such a ‘fantastic’ time on our overland trip. Tabitha and Pete are great Tour Leaders and Uganda and Rwanda such interesting places to travel to. Regarding the Lion Walk you mention that is an option later in our trip – this takes place in Zimbabwe and with an organisation we have been visiting since 2008. Both our UK office and our Tour Leaders have done a lot of research and we are totally confident that no Lions ever get sold on for hunting purposes. I was in Zimbabwe again in May this year and visited the family that oversee the conservation programme where we undertake the lion walk and once again they are involved with a lot of very well organised conservation programmes and they are also very successful at gaining funding for these programmes from western donors. Most recently they are involved in a programme to restock and manage a Lion breeding programme in Burundi to try and help that country establish some game reserves and attract much needed foreign tourism. We will certainly continue to monitor both this and other places we visit in order to satisfy ourselves that they operate in a responsible and ethical way. Many thanks for your feedback and once again I am so pleased that you had such a great experience on our trip. Best Regards, Chris Wrede – Director.

Hi Genevieve,
Responsible Travel do not promote the above tour or any other tours that promote Antelope Park/ALERT lion conservation and walking with lions in Zimbabwe. We do not consider the ALERT programme as responsible and urge people not to visit. Best wishes Krissy Roe – Head of Campaigns, Responsible Travel

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