Gorillas and big game, Nairobi to Kigali tour
Optional single supplement £530.
Minimum age 16.
Description of Gorillas and big game, Nairobi to Kigali tour
Experience a dazzling panoply of African wildlife – from big game to birds – plus myriad landscapes as you progress from game drives across the teeming grasslands of Kenya's Masai Mara to an unforgettable finale interacting with mountain gorillas in Uganda's UNESCO-listed Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
Visit the Mara between August and October for the unforgettable spectacle of migrating wildebeest, gazelle and zebra running the gauntlet of predatory cheetah, lion and hyena – and crocodiles barring the key river crossing. Black and White rhino are the big game stars around Lake Nakuru, meanwhile, accompanied by gaudy flamingos and leopards lazing in fever trees.
Jinja on Lake Victoria in neighbouring Uganda offers white water rafting as an adrenaline rush, though if pulse-quickening action doesn't appeal, see the source of the White Nile or a vibrant local community project instead. White water of a more dramatic sort stars in the Murchison Falls National Park, as you cruise past hippos and crocs to the churning Devil's Cauldron at the base of these dramatic cascades. You'll also trek through the birdsong filled Budongo Forest to encounter chimpanzees, vervet and colobus monkeys, wild pigs and forest elephants.
Heading south into the Great Rift Valley, the Queen Elizabeth National Park is framed by the glaciated peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains. Alongside savannah plains, the area offers rainforests, dense papyrus swamps and natural volcanic crater lakes that attract one of the world's highest levels of biodiversity, including 95 kinds of mammal, 600-plus bird species, plus thousands of hippos sharing the waters as you cruise along the Kazinga Channel. The finale of this amazing wildlife adventure is a trek to see the mountain gorillas that live in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Once you find them, spend an unforgettable hour in their company. We then cross the border into Rwanda before flying home.
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1 Reviews of Gorillas and big game, Nairobi to Kigali tour
Reviewed on 12 Nov 2019 by Sally-Ann Franklin-Maiden
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The trek to see the gorillas
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Leave all expectations behind, this trip exceeds them all.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, where possible our tour guide did all he could to benefit locals, activity encouraged the reduction of waste and educated us in conservation
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Outstanding adventure of a lifetime
The highlight of this trip is going on game drives in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, where we hope to spot some the ‘Big 5’ and countless other fascinating species. First of all, by visiting this protected area, we must pay park fees which go towards community and environmental initiatives in this area. We are very mindful of the environment and local groups we encounter anyway and maintain a strict ‘leave no trace’ policy.
Our local operators are trustees of the Kicheche Community trust, which runs several programmes for the benefit of people and wildlife. For communities to prosper within and in the vicinity of wildlife conservancies it's important for these communities to be protected from the wildlife and vice versa. In 2012 Kicheche Trust donated half for the construction of 5 predator free bomas (small groups of housing). The trust also part sponsors the Naboisho Lion project in Naboisho Concervancy, Masai Mara, which helps to protect and monitor local wildlife. By travelling with us, you are not only raising awareness about animal welfare but contributing to these vital projects.
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
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.
We use the Ilkeliani Camp, which assists the surrounding Masai communities of the game reserve in conserving their wildlife and environment. By using this accommodation, we contribute to a number of initiatives they run. The camp provides for the Masai people whereby they receive a bed night fee for every guest night in the camp. Unlike most camps in the Mara who charge their clients an extra "hidden" conservation fee, Ilkeliani contributes to this cause directly from their profits. This enables the Masai to benefit from their natural resources in a sustainable and non-destructive way so to better able to care for their families and improve their standard of living.
Accommodation and Meals:
We will be spending three nights in a luxury tented camp, which is locally run and locally staffed, so by choosing to stay here, we are supporting employment opportunities for communities in surrounding areas. We also encourage clients to bring supplies through Pack for a Purpose which Ilkeliani can then distribute. Most meals are supplied and we are keen to source ingredients from as nearby as possible as a means of generating income for small businesses within the local community and producing fresh, authentic food for clients. Breakfasts and lunches often include freshly baked biscuits, fruit, cakes and hot drinks.