Gorillas & Masai Mara - Camping Reverse

18 days
from
£3,449
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 3 reviews >
Trip code: 
WYUR8
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–18

Fantastic Kenyan wildlife and the endangered Mountain gorillas

The Masai Mara, a vast grassland teeming with animals, has an astonishing amount and mixture of game, including lions, cheetahs and at certain times of the year, the wildebeest migration. Lake Nakuru National Park has an incredible variety of birds as well as a healthy population of White and Black rhinos while Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to hippos, elephants, buffalo, leopards and the elusive tree-climbing lions as well as a huge variety of birds.  Murchison Falls National Park is one of the most impressive parks in Africa, renowned for its scenic beauty, spectacular falls and abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, Ugandan kobs (antelope), leopards, and over 450 different species of birds. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly an hour with Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. This close-up encounter is arguably the most sensational wildlife experience of them all.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a precious hour in the company of Uganda's Mountain gorillas
  • Game drives in the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru N.P. and Queen Elizabeth N.P.
  • Visit Murchison Falls National Park
  • Track chimpanzees and other primates in Budongo Forest

Key information

  • 14 nights full-service camping, and 1 night in hotel
  • Travel by specialist overland vehicle, 4WD and on foot
  • Some drives on rough roads

What's included

  • 15 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 14 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • 1 chimp permit and 1 gorilla permit

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Depart London.

  • Day 2

    Arrive Kigali

    The group flight usually arrives into Kigali this afternoon and will be met and transferred to the start hotel. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon. This evening's Welcome Briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Beausejour Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 3

    Morning Kigali; afternoon to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    Rwanda is a country widely remembered for the genocide of 1994 in which over a million people were killed. There is a moving museum in Kigali to commemorate this time in Rwanda's history which we visit this morning. After lunch we will cross the border into Uganda and drive to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the home of wild Mountain gorillas.


    Accommodation: Gorilla Friends Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Trek to see Mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

    You will probably remember today for the rest of your life as we spend a full hour in the company of a family of Mountain gorillas! Owing to the nature of the terrain and the need to explore to find the gorillas, our trek doesn't follow a path and instead our guides will cut a route through the undergrowth. After a safety briefing, we are assigned to a gorilla family group and begin our trek. You should expect a minimum of three hours walking on irregular terrain in order to find the gorillas; steep ascents and descents over muddy slopes are the norm. Strong footwear is essential and we recommend hiring a local porter to help you carry your bag/camera equipment and provide a steady, supportive hand (porters will be arranged and paid for locally on the day).

    Seeing wild Mountain gorillas in their natural habitat is an experience you will never forget. An adult male can weigh up to 195kg, a female up to 100kg, and a male can reach 1.7m in height. They are almost exclusively vegetarian and quite destructive eaters, which makes them unpopular with the farmers lower down the mountain slopes as they have been known to wreck a whole field of crops just to eat one plant. For this reason, and also because of poaching, the gorillas are very carefully protected. Gorillas are gentle creatures and are not known to attack unless very severely provoked. The family groups that we trek to see are habituated to human presence but to prevent over familiarisation our time with them is limited to one hour. The minimum distance that we must keep is 8 metres - we are not permitted any closer because gorillas are very susceptible to human disease. Please note that anyone with a cold or any similar ailment may not be permitted to join the trek.

    Accommodation: Gorilla Friends Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Optional second Mountain gorilla trek

    This morning there is the option of getting a second gorilla permit, though due to the limited number of permits, this should be obtained at time of booking. For those who choose not to go on a second gorilla trek, there are other walks which you can do nearby or you can relax at our campsite, reminiscing about the previous day’s encounters.

    Please note that on some departures, due to availability of permits, we may have to swap these two days over with the free day (and optional second gorilla trek) on day 3 and the included gorilla trek on day 4 or we may have to split the group to trek with gorillas across both days.

    Accommodation: Gorilla Friends Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    To Queen Elizabeth National Park

    Today we drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). The park resides in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery. It is Uganda’s most popular and accessible savannah reserve, with a total area of 1978 square kilometres. It is primarily associated with grassy savannah plains, but this impressive park also includes within its boundaries leafy rainforests, dense papyrus swamps and natural volcanic crater lakes. As a result it has one of the highest biodiversity ratings of any game reserve in the world, including a total of 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 species of birds.

    Accommodation: Irungu Forest Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Full day Queen Elizabeth National Park

    This morning we will explore QENP on a game drive in search of wildlife including elephants, lions, buffalo, leopard, hyena, jackal, topi, kob, bush buck and various others. In the afternoon we have a boat trip of about two hours along the Kazinga Channel to view some of the largest concentration of hippo in the world (reported to be about 30,000) and other game with excellent birding.

    Accommodation: Irungu Forest Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    To Budongo

    We have a long drive today covering about 450 kms from Queen Elizabeth N.P. to Budongo. The drive goes north along the eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains, where, weather permitting, we can see the glaciated peaks. We will pass through tea and sugar cane plantations, stopping for lunch en route.  We expect to arrive in Budongo in the late afternoon.

    Accommodation: Masindi Hotel Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Chimpanzee Tracking in Budongo; to Murchison Falls

    We depart early this morning for Budongo Forest, which is home to the largest numbers of chimpanzees in Uganda; we will go on a trek in search of chimpanzees and other wildlife.  The walking is fairly easy due to the well-maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain. Whilst trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you will be surrounded by bird song and hope to see both Velvet and Colobus monkeys, wild pigs, forest elephants and of course the chimpanzee.  Once a chimpanzee family is found, we will have an hour with these fascinating creatures, to watch them interact and play with each other. In the afternoon we drive to Murchison Falls where we spend the next two nights.

    Accommodation: Red Chili Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Full day Murchison Falls

    This morning we have an early morning game drive in search of wildlife in Murchison Falls N.P.  We transfer by ferry to the north side of the Nile where we embark our game drive.  Murchison Falls N.P. is home to elephants, giraffe, buffalo and Uganda kobs, as well as the predators: lions and leopards. After lunch we travel by boat up the Nile, passing hippos and crocodiles, searching for elephants and waterbuck that come to the river to drink. The cruise lasts about 3 hrs, and will travel upstream to the bottom of the falls, stopping just 10 metres from the ‘Devil’s Cauldron’, the place where the water bursts through the narrow gorge and creates an outstanding rainbow. 


    Accommodation: Red Chili Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    To Jinja

    After a short game drive through the park, we leave Murchison Falls National Park and drive to Jinja today, a journey which should take us 6 hrs.  Passing through untouched forest and tree plantations, we arrive in Jinja around 3pm, and the rest of the afternoon is free to relax.   

    Accommodation: Adrift Camp or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Free day for optional activities.

    Today is free to choose from a range of optional activities. White-water rafting in Jinja is considered to be amongst the best in the world, with a half or full day route that varies from quiet pools and forested islands to thunderous rapids and drops. There are several grade V rapids to navigate including 'Big Brother', 'Overtime' and 'Silverback'. If rafting doesn't appeal, you can join a village walk, learn about a vibrant community project known as Soft Power which supports education, or visit the source of the White Nile.

    Accommodation: Adrift Camp or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    To Eldoret

    Today there is a long drive of about 250km to Eldoret which should take about 8 hours, including a border crossing into Kenya. The border crossing can be slow but we leave plenty of time for this and you'll no doubt find the experience interesting!

    Accommodation: Green Wood Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    To Lake Nakuru N.P.; full day game drive

    We depart the Eldoret in the morning after breakfast and drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the finest small parks within Kenya, where we spend the day on a game drive in the park. Protected by an electric fence, the park is widely known for its impressive population of Black and White rhino which are relatively easy to spot on game drives in the open savannah. Fever trees line the park and are a well-known spot for leopards to laze in, whilst one of the most impressive sights is the vast flamingo population. Owing to flooding the alkaline content of the lake has changed in recent years and as a result the flamingos no longer tend to be found in such large numbers, but this can change depending on the rainfall.

    Accommodation: Nderit Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 15

    To Masai Mara; late afternoon game drive

    Today we travel into the Masai Mara, one of the most famous ecosystems in the world. This vast grassland is teeming with life; plains game including wildebeest, gazelle, topi, zebra and buffalo abound in the rolling savannah, and never far away lay the predators; cheetah, lion and hyena. Between mid-August to late October one of the greatest spectacles on Earth takes place in the Mara - the annual migration of thousands of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra trampling their way across the long grass. Nothing is guaranteed on safari, but with the help of our brilliant guides you should see and learn a huge amount about the Masai Mara's resident wildlife as we game drive through the park this afternoon. Stay in a permanent tented camp just outside the reserve for the next two nights.

    Accommodation: Mara Springs Camp or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 16

    Full day in the Masai Mara

    A full day game drive in the Masai Mara to increase our chances of encountering many of the wildlife species found in the reserve. We find a quiet spot inside the park to enjoy lunch by our vehicle, looking out across the plains. There are also several optional excursions that you can enjoy today in addition to the game drive. Get up early for a sunrise Hot Air Balloon Safari (including champagne and breakfast) or visit a traditional Masaai village to meet the locals.

    Accommodation: Mara Springs Camp or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 17

    Drive to Nairobi and depart

    We will depart after breakfast for Nairobi. We travel up through the escarpement of the Rift Valley looking back on classic African views with acacia trees scattering the vast landscape.
    For those on the group flights, these will usually depart in the evening. For clients who have booked land only, the trip ends on arrival in Nairobi.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 18

    Arrive London.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

East Africa Visa (combined visa covering all three countries):

British passport holders may obtain your East African Visa that will cover all three countries on arrival at Kigali airport at the cost of US$100 in cash if you present an acceptance letter from Rwandan High Commission on arrival at the airport. Please follow the link below to apply for your acceptance letter. Please ensure you print out this letter and bring it together with your passport  https://www.migration.gov.rw/index.php?id=203

Without the acceptance letter, British passport holders will require three separate visas for each of the countries:

Rwanda

From 1 November 2014, British nationals entering Rwanda will be able to get a visa on arrival on payment of a fee. The fee is currently fixed at $50US for a 30 day tourist visa. You can also choose to get a visa in advance at any Rwandan diplomatic mission or online. For some other nationalities the visa must be applied for online in advance; please check with your local consulate.

Uganda

Most nationalities require a visa for Uganda. The Government of Uganda has introduced the online visa application system with effect from 01 July 2016. Applications should be filled at the following link: https://visas.immigration.go.ug/.
The decision taken on the application will be sent electronically through the email provided by the applicant. If approved, an approval letter will be sent as an attachment to the email provided. Print it out and present it together with a valid passport / travel document at the port of entry.
The cost of a standard, single-entry visit visa had been reduced to $US 50. You’ll need to bring this amount with you in cash (US dollars only) on arrival. Check the Ugandan Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control website for the latest information on visa fees.
Information about documents required in the online visa application is found here:
https://visas.immigration.go.ug/#/help/visa

Kenya

Most nationalities do now require a visa for Kenya, including Britons, most EU nationals, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Canadians.  At present single entry and transit visas are available online (see below) and soon all visas will have to be obtained online. Alternatively visas are available in advance or on arrival. The Kenyan government are planning for all visas to be obtained online and may stop delivering visas on arrival on short notice. For the latest information please contact your local Kenyan High Commission or Consulate.  
For information about the online application process please visit http://evisa.go.ke/evisa.html.
The cost of the visa is US$50 for a single entry.
You will need to first register to the ecitizens website (including needing a photo 500px x 500px) before you can start applying
For the application process itself you will need details of the accommodation used (which we will send you) and itinerary as well as a photo 5.5cm x 5.5cm and a scanned or photographed copy of your passport’s bio/photo page.

Vaccinations

Kenya

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Rwanda

Vaccination against Yellow Fever is necessary , and you must bring a valid certificate of vaccination. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Uganda

Vaccination against Yellow Fever is necessary , and you must bring a valid certificate of vaccination. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Yellow Fever. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

Virtually all meals are included and will be prepared for you by our chef and crew.They are adept at catering for large groups of hungry travellers!

Breakfasts will usually include cereal, toast and hot food such as porridge or eggs. Lunches tend to feature a range of sandwich options as well as a selection of fruit. Dinners usually feature soup, main (a mix of local and international cuisine) and dessert. All cooking equipment is loaded onto the overland vehicle and so our crew are ready to prepare food wherever we stop - don’t worry about going hungry on this trip! You will have time to stock up on snacks and drinks along the journey.

For meals not included, it would be a good idea to allow a further US$100 to cover these.

Weather

Although this part of East Africa lies in the tropics, the temperature depends more on altitude than on season. Kenya has temperatures ranging from 18 - 28ºC in March and dropping to 15 - 21ºC in August. The long rains, during which we do not operate these tours, occur in April and May, and there are intermittent 'short rains' between November and early December, though these normally have no great effect on the safari.

In western Uganda, the rainy season is also in April and May, with intermittent rains during November and December, and daytime temperatures of between 15 - 25ºC. Parts of Uganda are very wet and rain can be expected at any time.

In Rwanda, the rainy season is also in April and May, with intermittent rains during November. December to February is quite dry, and June through October is the driest season. Temperatures do vary, in the southern parts of Rwanda the temperatures are between 18 - 30ºC, while in the northern part, temperatures are between 12 - 28ºC.

Lake Nakuru

Is this trip for you?

This trip has been graded 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) with a safari rating of 4.
The grading of moderate applies specifically to the gorilla trek, the rest of the itinerary is graded as leisurely in relation to the activity level.

Gorilla Trek: Owing to the nature of the terrain and the need to explore to find the gorillas, the trek doesn't always follow a path in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and instead the guides will cut a route through the undergrowth.  You should expect a minimum of three hours walking on irregular terrain, with the possibility of climbing up to 2607m, in order to find the gorillas; steep ascents and descents over muddy slopes are the norm.  Strong footwear is essential and we recommend hiring a local porter to help you carry your bag/camera equipment and provide a steady, supportive hand (porters will be arranged and paid for locally on the day).


Transport is in a specialist overland vehicle with good visibility and 4WD vehicles in the Masai Mara. There will be several early morning starts especially to view the wildlife, and several long drives as this trip covers the highlights of three countries. Although the distances are not always very long, some of the roads are quite poor and bumpy especially after the rainy season. We include breaks for toilet facilities, shopping, photos and meals. The spectacular scenery and glimpses of village life when travelling make the journeys enjoyable, as well as the chances to get to know your fellow travel companions. Come prepared with a sense of adventure and a sense of humour and you're sure to have the holiday of a lifetime.

Certain areas in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are not recommended for travel on the Foreign Commonwealth website. Please note that we do not visit any of these areas on our itinerary and keep continually abreast of changes to FCO advice.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Camping

The camping is full-service which means that the tents are put up and taken down for you by our crew. We use standard mobile two man tents for these nights and provide mattresses and all other equipment that you'll need (except a sleeping bag and pillow). East African campsites vary in terms of facilities - you should not expect hot showers, flushing toilets or western standards of cleanliness. Upgrades are available at some locations to a room - these can only be booked and paid for locally.

In Kigali, we stay in a small hotel with en suite facilities.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed November 2017
    Alan Long

    A voyage of discovery.

    Having been on many trips of discovery with Exodus, I had never been on one that offered so much. The itinerary was exactly right. The starting point is Rwanda were we met our leader for the tour Jacob, as usual a friendly face after a long flight out from the UK. After a nights rest, the next day we visited the Museum to the genocide which took place in the mid nineties, the museum has graphic pictures of this terrible time in Rwanda`s history. A reminder of how the west turned it`s back on the suffering of a whole group of people. Onto our first highlight, the mountain Gorillas. After a long trek up into the foothills of the Parc National des Volcans we met our first Gorillas after about an hour of walking through mud and clothes clawing undergrowth and overhead vine. This first encounter was unbelievable, such gentle creatures given the size of the alpha males. We spent an hour with them and they just carried on eating/ playing and sleeping as if we were not there. On into Uganda, no problems with crossing the border and onto Lake Bunyonyi. With the lake there are opportunities to take boat rides on the lake or hire canoes for a leisurely paddle. On through Uganda with it`s abundance of wildlife, mammals and bird life.We had our first encounters with the real wildlife in all their natural environment. Adrenalin seekers will love Jinja as the site we stay Adrift, were you can do white water rafting on the Nile or perhaps bungee jumping.Or you can just take a stroll around the local are to veiw the many and varied bird life. On into Kenya, this is when they asked to see our Yellow fever certificate, other than that it again was straight forward. Due to adverse weather we had miss the village camp, however not to worry, onto the Masai Mara. Arriving at lunch time we enjoyed yet another great lunch prepared as always by Wilson and Ester. We then had a half day taster into the game park. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to encounter. All you ever see on TV was there in front of you in all it`s splendour, to many to list. The next and last full day of the tour(excluding travel days) you again go into the park for a full day`s game drive. Amazing experience, so well organised and lead by the team, from the leader through the driver and cooks who took so much care of us. Thank you .

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is not an easy choice, but it has to be the Gorillas, so human like.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacob, I have been on may trips with Exodus and all the leaders are excellent. Jacob`s leadership and ability to adapt to required changes puts him at the very top of the top leaders.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to visit Africa and this appeals to you then do the same trip(reverse) it seemed to us who travelled together the best itinerary. Gorillas first then working your way though to the Masai Mara to end your trip.
  • Gorillas and Masai Mara (reverse)departing July 27th

    This turned out to be the trip of a lifetime so far. Every day brought fresh highlights and the holiday just got better as we progressed. Each of the 3 countries visited are so beautiful and the people so warm and friendly that you won't want to leave. Of course, the wildlife is a real highlight - especially spending time with the serene mountain gorillas.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots of them! Hearing the gorillas before we could actually see them and then having the privilege of spending time with them; Listening to a family of elephants communicating with each other and protecting their young; Silently floating over the Masai Mara in the ballon and watching the sunrise; The exhilaration of white water rafting on the Nile

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Often is a wonderful leader and well supported by the fantastic team of Odoyo, Wilson and Alex. We were like a happy family - lots of shared laughter. Often was always happy to share his knowledge and got the balance just right when it came to giving us necessary information.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't bother taking lots of low denomination dollar notes - you are actually better off with a supply of $50 bills as you get a better exchange rate in the banks the higher the note - just take a few $10 and $20s for porters, tipping etc. It's very easy to change money in to local currency as you go - we took the leader's advice on how much to change and he got it about right. It's easier to have the local currency in bars etc or you'll pay a bit more in dollars. The balloon flight, though expensive, really was a wonderful experience so go for it if you can. Having to transit through Addis is a real bore - we got held airside on the way out which meant no access to food of drink for nearly 6 hours - if this happens to you insist on being allowed through, we weren't vocal enough. Having said that our return was much better and we were directed to the departure lounge so were able to browse the shops and drink etc. Maybe the outward journey was a one off but I would advise you to make sure you have a book and something available to drink just in case. Ethiopian Airlines were very good.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The reverse itinerary was great so don't be put off if you think it's not the norm. Each national park we visited seemed to get better and better and seeing the gorillas at the beginning was such an awesome way to begin the trip. If you are thinking of booking - do it!!
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous .

    GORILLAS & MASAI MARA

    DEFINITELY DO THIS TRIP !! Absolutely brilliant, if you love wildlife and east african culture I would recommend this trip, if this is your first east african trip it is a must. Wonderful people and wildlife in 3 beautiful countries and you get to go to the fabulous masai mara on your first few days, also to Lake Nakuru with the Rhino's and flamingoes. Across into Uganda where it is more lush and green then Kenya where we stayed at Lake Bunyonyi and visited a childrens Orphanage run by Crystal - Loving Hearts Helping Hands - this was amazing and the walk up to this is lovely, gets you out of breath but the guy who took us stops frequently for everyone. The nature walk at Lake Mburo was really good and we needed a good walk by this time after sitting in the overland vehicle, the Ranger who took us was really informative. Then onward into Rwanda and Ruhengeri where we trekked the fabulous gorillas. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The absolute ultimate part of this trip for me was the visit to the Gorillas, I was in the group who visited the Bwenge group of gorillas - there was the Silverback and 5 females and 5 young. The 3 month old baby with her mother was amazing and there were 2 youngsters age 2 and 3 who were very close less than 1 metre at times just looking us in the eyes with not a care in the world!! I also loved the masai mara where we saw many lions, 1 lioness with a fresh kill of wildebeest we could hear her ripping off the rump she was so enjoying! Also we came across a cheetah under a small bush which was fabulous, the leopard was being elusive so didn't see that but we were so lucky to see elephants, hyena, 3 males lions together, zebra, wildebeest aplenty, buffalo, giraffe. Also waving at the children along the road and through the towns and villages was fab, in Rwanda it was the thumbs up to the children! Also the orphanage was amazing for me - playing football with the children, we sat in class and watched them doing their numbers and then they did some dancing for us and made us have a go too - they are brilliant dancers even the little ones, put us to shame!! I also took lots of pens and paper and I bought a football from a supermarket in Uganda for the children - they loved it and the teachers really appreciated the paper and pens for them.  

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Emias was very funny and a great and lovely guy, he is from Zimbabwe. He kept us informed of the plans for the day ahead, whilst we were having dinner each evening he gave us a talk about the next morning and day plans. Nothing was too much trouble and he brought a great vibe to the whole group. We also had Leo our Chef who cooked some lovely food, pork chops, an array of vegetables, freshly made lasagne was gorgeous, chicken, pasta, rice potatoes etc. There was cooked breakfast most mornings along with cereal and toast. I don't think anyone was allowed time to get hungry as they fed us so well - definitely no losing weight on this trip! We also had Francis who was co-driver and helped set up tents etc - he was quieter at first but came out of his shell and is a fab funny guy too. They really made the trip even better with their banter and jokes.The one thing I would say is that when we were travelling through towns and villages is that they didn't really tell us about the area or where we were or the fact that for example it was a big tea growing area made famous by Brooke Bond etc (one of my fellow travellers told us that), it is a bit difficult as its a sizeable truck and only one of the guys sits in the main part of the truck with us at the front, we asked some questions whilst travelling along here and there but not everyone could hear - so it's swings and roundabouts.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ah yes, I would take some travel toilet roll, some of the campsites tend to run out, they provide a stack of it on the vehicle at the start but it soon runs out. Some toilets are holes in the ground but they are inside a small toilet block usually. Also we stop for the proper toilets pretty frequently and along the road now and then and use the 'Bush Toilets' which is quite fun sometimes trying to find a suitable bush to hide behind!! Take a shower whenever they are available as a couple of camp sites (Lake Mburo) were yuk so go with the wet wipes there, but we weren't away from a place where you wouldn't have a shower for more than 1 nite. Some of them were literally a dribble and either cold or lukewarm but better than nothing. Take plenty of memory card of course and batteries you can charge up on the vehicle maximum 6 plug holes (3 pin) but there was usually plenty room for everyone to do theirs at some point in the day. Plenty mosquito spray goes without saying really, I only got 2 bites but I did cover up in the evenings and my room mate Bridget and I sprayed our tent lots - so much that we were like children 1 night as we got the giggles with inhaling it by accident - but it was very funny!!! When you do the trek up to the gorillas definitely wear gardening gloves, I did on the way up but on the way down I took them off as my hands were too hot but I caught my hand on a prickly plant and I now have a rash on both hands which is so itchy and is taking a while to get rid of. Remember to take enough money to cover the tips for the guys who look after you, £75 dollars is enough for this. I spent approx £400 - depends if you like buying from the craft shops like I did! Oh yes and some antibacterial gel is a must. Although it says pack light I could have taken a few more bits of clothing, gives you room to take home presents anyway!! 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Erm, well I went on an overland trip with 17 other travellers who were all really nice people, we had some good chats about everything and what we had seen and done that day, some of the guys went in some great coffee shops too. You can buy a tshirt which says which gorilla group you tracked which is a fab momento. I shared my tent room with Bridget who I'd never met before and we got on really well, if you're a single traveller don't worry as everyone just mingles along and chats, you're all there to enjoy the trip so like minded people. You can wander around Kigali without bother, Kampala in Uganda was different though - I wandered down the street in the town on my own whilst the others went to the coffee shop and I felt a little intimidated/uneasy so turned around and ventured back to the vehicle, you'll probably be fine but as a red head and being very fair I sort of stand out in Africa! I would this trip again tomorrow it is so fabulous - words don't do it justice but you will really enjoy this trip if you do it - NOW GO AND BOOK IT OR YOU WILL REGRET IT!!!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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