Duration & Fees
Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)
2018 Start Dates:
25 Nov | 9 Dec | 23 Dec
£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure
- Airport transfer on arrival
- Pre-trip night dorm room accommodation
- Fully equipped expedition vehicle
- Cooking and camping equipment (sleeping bags not provided)
- Meals as indicated
- Park fees and excursions as detailed in the itinerary
- Pre-departure pack and support and advice from Amanzi Travel staff and trip leaders
What's not included
- Travel insurance
- Optional excursions
- Restaurant meals and drinks unless stated otherwise
- Airport departure taxes
- Departure transfer
- Sleeping Bag and Pillow
- Gorilla Permit and transfer to Gorilla Trek
- Personal items and tips
- Bottled Water
Start and finish point: Nairobi, Kenya
Countries visited: Kenya and Uganda
Departure Point Nairobi: Kenya Comfort Hotel, Muindi Mbingu Street and Monrovia Street
Check-in time: 8.45am (departure 9.30am)
Pre-Departure Meeting: 5.00 pm the day before at the departure point
This trip departs from Nairobi early on Sunday morning. Passengers are recommended to arrive the day before their trip departs. Airport pick up on arrival and one night's pre-trip accommodation in a dorm bed is included in the trip fee. Anyone wishing to arrive earlier to explore Nairobi should contact Amanzi Travel for details of possible accommodation and things to do. For booking purposes any passengers not wishing to join the Gorilla Trek should advise Amanzi Travel of this decision as soon as possible.
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kampala, Lake Bunyoni, Lake Nakuru National Park, Great Rift Valley and Lake Naivasha
Upon entering this beautiful east African country visitors may be greeted with the words "jambo" (hello) or "hakuna matata" (no problem) by the friendly locals. With a population of nearly 42 million and land area of ore than 580,000 sq km Kenya is home to an abundance of animals and colourful tribespeople, making it the perfect getaway for a once in a lifetime safari.
DAY 1: Nairobi to Masai Mara (Lunch / Dinner)
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Nairobi the group will travel up the escarpment to the first stop, a viewpoint overlooking the spectacular Great Rift Valley and then descend into the Valley and Masai land where these habitual pastoralists are often seen tending their cattle from the side of the road. The town of Narok will be passed before arriving at Acacia Camp in the late afternoon. Acacia Camp looks on to the Meguarra hills, and the stream that meanders by on the bottom end forms a natural border to the Masai Mara National Reserve.
DAY 2: Masai Mara (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)
The group will depart shortly after sunrise on a game drive into the Masai Mara Reserve. The Masai Mara is well known as one of East Africa's best National Reserves and is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. Most famous for the Annual Migration that consists of the impressive herds of over one million wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle that cross over from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Masai Mara is most popular between July and October when these vast herds feast on the fresh grazing here. Following these herbivores are Africa's predators that are often seen at a kill during this period. The game drive will be through a section of the park in search of the 'Big 5' - elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard, as well as the many other species of animals, reptiles and birds who make this wilderness their home. After the game drive there will be the option of visiting one of the nearby Masai Manyattas - a traditional hamlet where the Masai still live in their traditional ay. Sitting around the camp fire, watching the sun set is the perfect way to finish a day’s game viewing in this “Garden of Eden.”
Included Activity: Masai Mara Game Reserve
Masai Mara National Reserve
All members of the big five can be found in the Masai Mara National Reserve, a reserve which is a natural extension of the Serengeti plains in Tanzania. The Mara River serves as a natural border and is crossed annually by hordes of zebra and wildebeest during the Great Migration from July to October. Watching their every movement closely are the well fed predators of this reserve.
DAY 3: Masai Mara to Eldoret (B / L / D)
Leaving the Masai Mara early in the morning, the group will pass through the scenic tea plantations of Kericho, before descending the Rift Valley Plateau on the way to Eldoret.
DAY 4: Eldoret to Kampala (Uganda) (B / L / D)
Today, the border into Uganda will be crossed and an overnight stop made in the capital city, Kampala. Uganda is a small country of striking physical beauty. Its landscapes vary from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria to the snow capped Ruwenzori Mountains in the west and the semi-desert region in the north. The political instability that has haunted Uganda in the past has actually had the positive effect of leaving the country free from the over-commercialism so common in other parts of Africa. The current administration, under President Museveni, has devoted considerable effort and funds to returning Uganda to its former status as one of Africa's most prosperous and, from a tourist’s point of view, most appealing and interesting countries to visit.
The "Pearl of Africa" as it is referred to by its people, is home to some of Africa's major attractions. This country contains four of Africa's seven great lakes, including Lake Victoria which is the second largest body of fresh water in the world. Lake Bunyoni is one of these spectacular lakes with its mythical landscapes and hidden bays. The source of the Nile at Jinja allows the opportunity to tame the mighty waters with some of the world's best white water rafting, and to top it all, this breath-taking country has the largest population of primates anywhere in Africa.
DAYS 5 - 8: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni (B / L / D)
After an early morning departure from Kampala the group will drive west into the depths of Uganda to the base in tranquil Lake Bunyoni, the deepest Crater Lake in Africa and home to a large and varied number of beautiful birds. This is the base from where the optional gorilla trek will take place. Treks will depend on where permits are available, but might include the Magahinga or Bwindi National Parks in Uganda, the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Ruhengeri National Park in Rwanda. The cost of trekking permits fluctuates and may change without prior notice – currently they are priced at US$600 depending on the trek. There is a local transport and handling fee of from US$ 120 per person which covers the return transfer and the Wildlife Authority's booking fee. For trekking in the DRC or Rwanda (the trip leader will advise at the pre-departure meeting as to where the permits have been secured and will assist with the online vias application for Rwanda en-route if needed). it will also be necessary to purchase an additional visa to enter either country as well as renewing the Ugandan visa upon re-entry. Please budget for these visas and also a little extra for tips for the local guides and rangers. Payment for the permit must be made in US$ cash at the pre-departure meeting.
Trekking Procedures: The mountain gorilla (Gorilla Berengei), of which there are only about 700 remaining, is one of man's closest living relatives. A visit to these gentle giants in their natural environment is a unique and wonderful experience - one never to be forgotten. The park rangers monitor the gorillas on a daily basis and have a fairly good idea of their location at any time. However, they are free roaming animals, and their sighting cannot be guaranteed. As the gorillas share much of man's DNA, anyone with even the slightest cold or transferable illness will not be permitted to trek. Trekking is also only open to people over 16 years of age.
Due to the restrictions on the daily numbers of visitors to these incredible animals, small groups will depart from the base in Bunyoni over 3-4 days depending on the group size. Winding their way through some of the most picturesque scenery in Africa en-route to the National Park each group will head either to the town of Kisoro or in Rwanda to spend the night. The following morning, after packing a picnic lunch, the group will be transferred to a rangers' station where the trek commences The rangers will lead the group through the cultivated lands and then into the dense rain forest and on to a gorilla family. Trekking can take anything from forty-five minutes to eight hours (not including transfer time) and as it can be quite strenuous, a reasonable level of fitness is required. To ensure the gorillas do not get too used to the presence of humans and because they share many of man's genes (and are therefore able to catch man's diseases), the maximum time permitted to spend with them is one hour. This is plenty of time to watch their activities and to take photographs. The rangers will be able to provide a background to the family being visited. Once the hour is up, the group will trek back out of the rain forest to the meeting point from where they will be transferred back to the Lake Bunyoni campsite.
Participants do not need to feel that they are exploiting these animals in any way. The ever-growing number of tourists trekking them each day plays a vital role in their survival. For years they have been ruthlessly hunted for their hands and heads, which have been sold as ashtrays and lampshades! In addition, large numbers have been killed whilst trying to protect their babies from the poachers stealing them for sale to zoos, where they have never lived long. One hundred percent of the gorilla permit cost is used by the park authorities to finance patrols that are instrumental in protecting the gorillas from poachers and their lethal snares and on promoting these wonderful animals.
Depending on where the trek takes place the group may also pass through some of the local villages that have developed in this region due to the high number of refugees fleeing from the Rwandan Genocide, or from the continued unrest in the DRC. The villagers in this area are most subsistence farmers and families that farm against the slopes of the volcanoes. It is impressive to see how they have ploughed, planted and harvest their crops in such an unlikely landscape.
* Gorilla Trekking is Optional
DAY 9: Lake Bunyoni to Kampala (B / L / D)
After marvelling at the experience of the gorilla encounters and enjoying peaceful Lake Bunyoni, the group will begin the drive back to Kampala, crossing the Equator for the second time and stopping for the classic “one foot in each hemisphere” photo opportunity. An overnight stop is made in Kampala where it will be possible to sample the nightlife!
DAY 10: Kampala to Jinja (B / L / D)
Today there is the option of visiting the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary or transferring to Jinja for a selection of adventure activities including white water rafting at the source of the White Nile, quad biking or volunteering at a community project. The afternoon can be spent relaxing on the banks of the river, or ticking off the wide variety of water birds in this area.
DAY 11: Jinja to Nakuru (Kenya) (B / L / D)
Today the group will head back to Kenya, stopping for lunch and supplies en route. An overnight stop is made in Nakuru at a lovely campsite on a local farm. Nakuru is Kenya’s fourth largest town and capital of the Rift Valley Province and lies adjacent to the small but wildlife rich Lake Nakuru National Park. Here the evening will be spent at the lovely EAMO Orphanage campsite.
DAY 12: Lake Nakuru National Park (B / L / D)
This morning the group begins the exploration of the Lake Nakuru National Park - famous for the thousands of lesser and greater flamingos that flock to this soda lake’s edge. The numbers vary depending on the water level, and when it’s low, the lake almost turns pink. A truly spectacular sight! The park was established as a sanctuary for black and white rhino, which are often seen. The day is spent searching for these pre-historic looking beasts as well as the elusive leopard, encountering buffalo, giraffe, various antelope and the occasional hippo along the way. After the game drive the group will head to the campsite for the night, arriving in the late afternoon.
Included Activities: Game drives at Lake Nakuru National Park
Optional Activity: Spending time with the kids at Eamo
DAY 13: Lake Nakuru National Park to Lake Naivasha (B / L / D)
Moving south-east, the group heads to Lake Naivasha, home to a multitude of bird life, the most magnificent being the African Fish Eagle with his regal cry. At 1880 m, this is the highest of the Rift Valley lakes. The day will be spent enjoying optional excursions such as Elsamere (former home to Joy and George Adamson of Born Free fame), a boat ride to the Crescent Island Game Sanctuary or a bike ride around Hell’s Gate National Park.
DAY 14: Lake Naivasha to Nairobi (B)
After breakfast, the group will head back to Nairobi arriving by late morning or early afternoon. On arrival at addresses will be exchanged and everyone will part ways, having just experienced a trip of a lifetime!
Included Activity: Lake Naivasha
The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy some of the many options available in this bustling city. Perhaps visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust where the orphaned baby elephants can be seen at feeding time, or head to the Giraffe Centre in Langata. For anyone who has not had their fill of game viewing, then the Nairobi National Park offers some great day trips and taking a "Matatu" to the local curio markets will suit those who have not yet got all their souvenirs or presents. A suggestion for the evening is to try the fayre on offer at the famous Carnivores restaurant.
Please note that this itinerary should be used as a guide only and may vary from day to day depending on road and weather conditions, political situations and group decisions. Due to Tourism Laws in some of the countries visited, there may be truck and crew changes during the trip. Local payments are subject to change with prior notice.
Transport on Tour
The overland vehicles are custom built converted trucks that have seating space for all passengers and a storage area for luggage and all trip equipment. The trucks seat between 27 - 30 passengers on these camping trips. Most seats are forward facing, though some models have a combination of forward, backward and some inward facing seats with tables. Vehicles have sliding glass windows and the seating area is raised providing a wonderful opportunity for game viewing and photography. Seats are cushioned and there is storage space for personal items such as cameras, snacks and daypacks in the seating area.
Meals on Tour
Meals and menus vary as food is purchased en-route and is subject to what is available seasonally in the areas through which the tour travels. As the aim is to support the local communities along the way, fresh produce is mainly purchased from the producer or local grower and sometimes has an organic appearance. The safari cooks are able to offer a wide variety of menus with the ingredients available, even if the produce on offer is not the same as passengers may be used to back home.
Breakfast offers bread (toast when time allows), spreads and cereals with a hot breakfast every few days. Lunches are mainly prepared en-route with a supply of "build your own" sandwich ingredients available. Dinners are cooked each evening on arrival at the campsite. A wide array of dinner menus are available during the safari - such as curries, stews, pastas, BBQs and even roasts!
Participation on Tour
All passengers are expected to help out around the camp. The crew members will set up a rota system so that everyone takes a turn with cleaning duties, cooking duties and so on. This not only makes the trip easier for all involved but also gives the passengers a really good chance to get to know one another while on the trip
Rwanda with Amanzi Travel - The Best Gap Year Experience
Why visit Rwanda
Rwanda is known as the Land of a Thousand Hills, as it is a lush country of endless mountains and stunning scenery, and nowhere are the mountains more majestic than the peaks of the Virunga volcanoes. In the Parc National des Vulcans, the volcanoes form a natural frontier with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Hidden among the bamboo and dense jungle of their forbidding slopes, are some of the world’s last remaining mountain gorillas. Here there is a unique opportunity to encounter these contemplative creatures at close quarters.
Highlights of Rwanda
- Stunning mountains and scenery.
- Endangered Mountain gorilla encountered at close quarters.
- Kigali is the first city in Africa to be awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honour Award in the recognition of its “cleanliness, security and urban conservation model”.
|Seasons ||Max ||Min
|Summer (mid-October to mid-May)
|Winter (mid-May to mid-October)
|Rainfall: March to May, October to December
Rwanda has a temperate, tropical, highland climate, with lower temperatures than other equatorial countries due to its high altitude, ranging from 25°C during the day to 14°C at night. The average daytime temperature is around 24°C, except in the higher mountains, which take up a lot of the country, where the range is 10°C to 15°C, and which experiences twice as much rain. Expect frost in the high mountains.
Wet season is March to May, and October to December, particularly wet in April.
The dry season from mid-May to mid-October is easier for tracking mountain gorillas, but the endless hills are barren, a contrast to the verdant greens of the wet season. Peak season for gorilla tracking is July and August - travelling outside this time means it is easier to arrange a permit.
Population – 10.7 million
Capital – Kigali
Currency – Rwanda franc (Rfr)
Language – French, English, Kinyarwanda
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 250
Uganda - Explore National Park In The Pearl of Africa
Why visit Uganda
In 1907, pioneering tourist, Winston Churchill, called Uganda the Pearl of Africa. The country is small but the physical beauty is striking and the national parks are much quieter than other neighbouring countries. Its landscape varies from the fertile green areas around the northern shores of Lake Victoria, to the snow-covered Ruwenzori Mountains in the west, the highest mountain range in Africa, to the white-water rafting mecca of Jinja, the source of the mighty Nile, and the semi-desert parts of the north. It has the highest concentration of primates on earth, including the majestic mountain gorillas, one of the rarest animals on the planet. This is a unique opportunity to encounter these contemplative creatures at close quarters, hidden among the bamboo and dense jungle of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Highlights of Uganda
- Stunning, varied scenery of mountains, lakes and desert.
- The Mount of the Moon, Ruwenzori Mountains, the highest range in Africa.
- Endangered Mountain gorilla encountered at close quarters.
- Source of the River Nile at Jinja.
- Lake Bunyoni is the deepest crater lake in Africa, perfect for swimming, hiking, canoeing or simply sitting back and enjoying the tranquil surrounds.
|Seasons ||Max ||Min
|Summer (December to May)
|Winter (June to November)
|Rainfall: March to May, October to November
The majority of the country has a tropical climate, where temperatures average 26°C during the day, and 16°C at night; however this can vary according to altitude. The hottest months are December to February where temperatures can reach 29°C. The wettest months are April and May where rainfall is heavy. The dry season from mid-May to mid-October is easier for tracking mountain gorillas, but the endless hills are barren, a contrast to the verdant greens of the wet season. Peak season for gorilla tracking is July and August - travelling outside this time means it is easier to arrange a permit.
Population – 32.4 million
Capital – Kampala
Currency – Ugandan shilling (UGX)
Language – English, Swahili
Time difference – GMT +3 hours
Telephone – country code 256
Kenya - Make Your Dreams Come True With Amanzi Travel
Why visit Kenya
For a country of its size, Kenya really does pack a lot in: mountains and deserts, colourful tribal culture, beaches and coral reefs and some of Africa’s best wildlife attractions. Stunning landscapes set the scene, from Kakamega’s rainforests to Indian Ocean beaches and idyllic islands such as Lamu, by way of Mount Kenya National Park, the rolling grasslands of the Masai Mara to searing deserts on the shores of the Jade Sea; with the Rift Valley, home to millions of breeding flamingos on Lake Nakuru and spectacular birdlife and hippo families on Lake Naivasha, cleaving a massive gash through it all.
Wildlife safaris have been hugely popular in Kenya for decades, with legendary personalities such Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen highlighting their appeal, and films such as Out of Africa and Born Free portraying the romance, thrill and excitement of the country. Kenya has over twelve national wildlife parks, being among the best places in Africa to see lions, elephants, leopards and the famous wildebeest migration. The Masai Mara is famous for its annual Great Migration of more than two million wildebeest and thousands of Thomson's gazelle, zebra and impala. Aside from the Migration, game-viewing is excellent throughout the year. Large herds of elephant are common sights in the dry, ancient lakebed of Amboseli National Park, as are buffalo, gazelle, giraffe and zebra. In addition to the wildlife in Tsavo National Park, the Mzima Springs are popular, where millions of litres of cool, crystal-clear water flow out of the ground through porous volcanic rocks. The Samburu Game Park is a narrow plain giving way to rocky hillsides which are home to leopard. A highlight of these Parks is watching large numbers of elephant bathing in the Ewaso Nyiro River. The possibilities of trekking the glacial ridges of Mount Kenya, ballooning over the Masai Mara, snorkelling at the Marine National Park in Malindi on the Indian Ocean are all very real in Kenya.
Highlights of Kenya
- Kenya immortalised the safari with legendary personalities such as Ernest Hemingway and Karen Blixen, and films such as Out of Africa and Born Free.
- Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve is renowned for the annual Great Migration of millions of herbivores – one of the seven new wonders of the world.
- Masai and Samburu tribes-people live and tend their livestock alongside the resident wildlife.
- The country abounds in diverse landscapes, including the spectacular Great Rift Valley.
- It is one of the best countries in Africa for seeing large concentrations of animals throughout the year.
- Kenya is a birdwatcher's dream destination, with more than 1,000 species recorded.
- Lake Nakuru is a breeding ground for flamingo - up to two million birds can be found, and greater and lesser flamingos also migrate along Lakes Magadi, Elmenteita, Bogoria and Turkana.
- Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa and features a number of permanent glaciers. The best view of Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro is from Kenya's Amboseli National Park.
- The coastline is beautiful, particularly the Lamu Archipelago, featuring the islands of Lamu, Manda and Pate. Old Lamu Town is a World Heritage Site.
| Seasons ||Max ||Min
|Summer (September - April)
|Winter (May - August)
|Rainfall: April - June (long rains), October - Mid December (short rains)
Kenya is divided by the Equator and its diverse geography means that temperature, rainfall and humidity vary widely. However, there are effectively four distinct zones:
The hot, rainy plateau of western Kenya has rainfall throughout the year, the heaviest usually during April when as much as 200mm may be recorded, and the lowest in January, with an average of 40mm. Temperatures range from a minimum of 14°C to a maximum of 36°C throughout the year.
The temperate Rift Valley and Central Highlands have perhaps the most agreeable climate in the country. Average temperatures vary from a minimum of 10°C to a maximum of 28°C. Rainfall varies from a minimum of 20mm in July to 200mm in April, falling in essentially two seasons – March to the beginning of June (the ‘long rains’) and October to the end of November (the ‘short rains’). Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range are the country’s main water catchments, with falls of up to 3000mm per year recorded in these places.
In the semi-arid bush-lands of northern and eastern Kenya temperatures vary from highs of up to 40°C during the day to less than 20°C at night. Rainfall in this area is sparse and, when it does occur, is often in the form of violent storms. July is usually the driest month and November the wettest.
The consistently average temperatures of the humid coast region vary little during the year, ranging from 22°C to 30°C. Rainfall is dependent on the monsoon, which blows from the north-east from October to April and from the south-west for the rest of the year. Its rainfall averages from 20mm in February to around 300mm in May.
Depending on when the rains come, the Great Migration normally reaches Kenya around July. Hundreds of thousands of herbivores then disperse onto the plains of the Masai Mara for the next couple of months.
Population – 39 million
Capital - Nairobi
Currency – Kenya shilling
Language – Kiswahili, English, tribal languages
Nairobi, from the Masaai "enkare nyarobi" means "Place of Cool Waters"
“jambo rafiki” – hello friend
Time difference – GMT +3 hours
Telephone – country code 254, international code 00
I had a wonderful time on the overland tour. I have met some incredible people and seen such wonderful things. Everything was perfect
Lavinia, UK, aged 36
Amanzi travel were truly amazing when myself and two friends wanted to book a trip to Africa. We were recommended to Amanzi travel by a friend who had previously done a volunteer project through them. We went on the Southbound 21 day overland tour... and what a trip it was, we loved every single minute. Amanzi travel were very accommodating and very helpful with everything from sorting flights, payments etc, even replying to emails on the same day, if not the next, and only a phone call away. A fabulous service with extremely helpful staff, that I would highly recommend to anyone wanting to book a once in a life time experience. I will certainly be using Amanzi travel for my future trips to Africa!
Kerrie, UK, aged 30
Excellent - Long drives but made worth it by absolutely amazing experiences!!
Bethany, UK, aged 21
I first was a little scared to travel to Africa alone, but with Gemma from Amanzi Travel supporting me and providing me with all the specific details months before the trip, I felt completely ready to take on the challenge.
The tour was fantastic; I travelled through Kenya and Uganda, I even got a day in Rwanda! Our team leader Moses was great, he answered any questions we had, whether it was regarding the wildlife, culture or the tour in general. He really went the extra mile to make the trip that much more special.
The highlight of the trip was the Gorilla trekking, being so close to the Gorillas in their nature habitat was absolutely incredible!
The people were amazing, everywhere we went, we met even more amazing people and made even more friends. White water rafting, cycling in Hell's Gate National Park, jumping with the local Masai; all these things are just some highlights of the fantastic trip I encountered.
Spectacular experience and would recommend it to anyone who likes adventure and perhaps getting a little bit dirty! Now onto planning the next Africa adventure!
Michael, UK, aged 22 (Gorillas and Game Parks 14 Day)
The overland trip was excellent - really well run. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ...
Amanzi Travel are excellent - professional, informative but with a real personal service ... The cheetah volunteer project was an absolutely fantastic experience, and the Overland trip was brilliant.
Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, 32 and 34 (Cheetah Volunteer Project and Overland Trip)