Gorillas & Masai Mara

17 days
from
£3,579
View Trips
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 113 reviews >
Trip code: 
WYUA
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
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. The highlight of the trip is undoubtedly the Mountain gorillas in the foothills of the Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda. This close-up encounter is arguably the most sensational wildlife experience of them all.

Highlights

  • Enjoy one precious hour in the company of Rwanda's Mountain gorillas
  • View fantastic wildlife in the famous Masai Mara
  • Enjoy game drives in Lake Nakuru National Park

Key information

  • 4 nights full-service camping in a variety of campsites (some quite basic), 6 nights in permanent tented camps with shared facilities and 4 nights in hotels with en suite facilities
  • Travel by specialist overland vehicle, 4WD and on foot
  • Some drives on rough roads

What's included

  • 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 12 dinners
  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Gorilla permit (USD750 through November 2017; USD1500 as of December 2017))

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations

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

  • Day 2

    Arrive Nairobi.

    The group flight usually arrives into Nairobi 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: Heron Court Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 3

    To Masai Mara; late afternoon game drive.

    After loading our things onto the overland vehicle we depart Nairobi and travel approximately 7 hours 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
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    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
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Drive to Lake Naivasha.

    We depart the Masai Mara this morning after breakfast and drive to Lake Naivasha. Lake Naivasha is one of the few freshwater lakes of the Rift Valley - full of waterbirds, hippos and floating papyrus. This afternoon we visit Elsamere, the former home of George and Joy Adamson and now a conservation centre where you can enjoy afternoon tea on the lawn and watch the Colobus monkeys whilst learning about the story of Born Free. It’s possible to reach Elsamere by boat, at a small extra cost, if you would like to.

    Accommodation: Fish Eagle Camp or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

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

    A 2 hour drive brings us to Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the finest small parks within Kenya, where we have a full day game drive. 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, whose numbers have been known to reach over 1.2 million. 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. Tonight we camp just outside the park in a campsite with good showers and flush toilets.

    Accommodation: Nderit Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    To Eldoret.

    This morning we stop for re-fuelling and supplies in Nakuru town and then drive towards Eldoret, one of Kenya's larger cities. Tonight's camp is at set within a traditional African village. If there is availability, it's possible to upgrade to one of the lovely rooms inside the quaint house, or to a specially designed cottage, paying a supplement locally.

    Accommodation: Green Wood Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    To Jinja, Uganda.

    Today there is a long drive of about 250km to Jinja, which should take about 8 hours, including a border crossing into Uganda. The border crossing can be slow but we leave plenty of time for this and you'll no doubt find the experience interesting! Located on the shores of Lake Victoria, Jinja is the adventure capital of Uganda and the source of the River Nile. The area is most famous for grade IV and V white-water rafting excursions but there are plenty of other adrenaline fuelled activities here. We stay at a tented camp in a well-equipped resort that has a stunning location high up on the banks of the Nile.

    Accommodation: Adrift Camp or similar
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    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
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    To Lake Mburo N.P.; guided afternoon walking safari.

    Leaving Jinja early this morning we drive past sugar plantations and Mabira Forest before reaching the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda's capital city. Our lunchtime stop will be at the Equator line, where you can take that all important photo straddling the Northern and Southern Hemispheres! Continue west, away from Lake Victoria before arriving at Lake Mburo National Park. Our journey today should take approximately 5 hours.

    Lake Mburo National Park is one of the smallest parks in Uganda at only 260 square kms, but boasts an impressive 313 different bird species and 68 mammals; zebra, impala, buffalo, topi and eland are found in abundance, and the rare Roan antelope may also be seen. With luck, we may also spot leopard, hyena and jackal.

    Depending on our time of arrival, a walking safari will be scheduled for either this afternoon or the following morning. Walking safaris offer an entirely different perspective of the bush and an exciting close-range wildlife encounter. Lake Mburo National Park is a great place for this given the absence of some of the larger African game such as lions and elephants. Walking safaris are always accompanied by an armed ranger who will go into detail about tracks, droppings, animal behaviour and flora. Tonight's campsite is located inside the park near the lake and has basic facilities (flushing WC and cold showers).

    Accommodation: Lake Mburo Public Campsite or similar
    Full-service Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    To Lake Bunyoni.

    Expect a change of scenery today as we travel approximately 4 hours to the south-west of Uganda into hilly terrain on our way to Lake Bunyoni. There are very few towns as most people live in small family compounds known as rugos. The lake is often referred to as the 'place of many little birds' - dotted with 29 forested islands, it is surrounded by terraced hillsides and provides a stunning location. We stay at a tented camp in a very well equipped resort but there is also the option to upgrade to a room or cabana depending on availability.

    Accommodation: Bunyonyi Overland Resort or similar
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    Free day at Lake Bunyoni.

    Lake Bunyoni is a beautiful spot to relax. We have a full day here to enjoy the impressive landscape and excellent bird life. Your leader will assist with ideas of things to do locally.

    Accommodation: Bunyonyi Overland Resort or similar
    Comfortable Camping

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    To Ruhengeri, Rwanda.

    Cross into Rwanda and drive approximately 4 hours to Ruhengeri and Parc National des Volcans, the home of wild Mountain gorillas. Parc National des Volcans borders the Virunga National Park in the DRC and is covered in rainforest and bamboo. The park was the original base of Dian Fossey, a zoologist who studied Mountain gorillas in the wild to document their behaviour over a period of 18 years and was a passionate conservationist.

    Accommodation: Best View Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Trek to see the Mountain gorillas in Parc National des Volcans.

    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 in Parc National des Volcans 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 rough 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: Best View Hotel or similar
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 15

    To Kigali; visit the Genocide Museum; free afternoon.

    Rwanda's small and attractive capital, Kigali, is our final destination. 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 today. The afternoon is free to explore the city at your own pace before an optional farewell dinner with the group this evening.

    It's possible to join a second gorilla trek today and miss the day in Kigali: please ask your sales consultant for more details and to book as gorilla trekking permits need to be paid for as far in advance as possible.

    Accommodation: Beausejour Hotel or similar
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 16

    Depart Kigali.

    Our trip comes to an end today after breakfast where we bid Rwanda and our group goodbye.Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport for the flight to London.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 17

Essential Info

Visas

Kenya

Most nationalities do now require a visa for Kenya, including Britons, most EC nationals, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Canadians.From September 2015 it will no longer be possible to obtain a visa on arrival. Instead you must arrange for an eVisa. For information about the application process please visit Kenya Visa applications (you can apply via the button at the foot of the page). Please ensure that you have at least one blank page free of immigration stamps in your passport to enter Kenya.

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
If after visiting Uganda, you will also travel to Rwanda and Kenya, you may apply for East African Visa that will cover all three countries. Please contact the Ugandan High Commission to obtain more information about the combined visa from Uganda.

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.

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.

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 USD 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.

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 follow a path in Parc National des Volcans and instead the guides will cut a route through the undergrowth. You should expect a minimum of three hours walking on rough terrain, with the possibility of climbing up to 3000m, 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.
This is a full-service camping safari - tents will be put up and taken down for you and all meals and washing up will be done unless of course you want to help. Our four-person crew includes a tour leader, a driver, a chef (who shops and prepares all meals) and an assistant. They work hard to ensure that all you need to do is enjoy your holiday!
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.

Accommodation

Hotels & Camping

On this trip we have 4 nights full-service camping in a variety of campsites (some quite basic), 6 nights in permanent tented camps with shared facilities and 4 nights in hotels with en suite facilities.

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. One of the sites that we use is located within National Park boundaries and is very basic – this is marked on the itinerary. Upgrades are available at some locations to a room - these can only be booked and paid for locally.

The tented camps that we use are typically at well-equipped resorts with walk in tents, beds and usually shared bathroom facilities. Most of these resorts have additional facilities such as a swimming pool, bar and sometimes WiFi.

In Nairobi, Kigali and Ruhengeri, Rwanda, we stay in small hotels/guesthouses with en suite facilities.

The single supplement guarantees single accommodation throughout the trip (including a single tent). This supplement is subject to availability and should be requested at the time of booking.

Expert Blog Entries

African sunset

From the volcanic slopes of Kilimanjaro to the highland plateaux of the Simien Mountains, Exodus has cultivated an ar

Part archipelago, part biodiversity showcase, the remarkable volcanic islands of the

  • Reviewed January 2017
    Ian Braby

    A rewarding experience.

    This was not the trip I had planned to take over Christmas, but it turned out to be truly rewarding, overall, although a little more of a heads-up regarding the gorilla trek would not go amiss. The whole trip may be rated as "2" - leisurely - and, for the most part you are travelling in a truck and this describes it well, but the mountain trek is definitely a "4", minimum (and I've been on a "3" and it was more demanding than that!). After 3-and-a-half hours up and down the mountain, mostly in pouring rain and hail, exhaustion was setting in when we reached our gorilla family - but the encounter really made the effort worthwhile. Looking back, however, most of my photos were shot long before we arrived in Rwanda - the game drives through the Masai Mara were very successful! In all of the drive, the only thing we missed was a leopard, but we did get to see rarities like the serval and jackel, so that was very satisfying. Some of the so-called "comfortable" camps were a bit of a let down, with poor washrooms and very elderly tents, badly in need of replacement, but the Exodus camps were great, as was our superb team lead by Peter Kiptoo, driver Boniface, cook Esther and assistant Amos. They really helped to make the experience all the more memorable by looking after us all so well. This is a trip to be recommended!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being able to climb the mountain to see the gorillas unaided!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent. Knowledgeable and prepared to respond to (our only occaisional) demands!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ignore all the ramblings in the trip notes concerning registering online for visas and just follow the spoken advice and purchase an East African visa for all three countries on arrival. Not really sure it is necessary to pack a mosquito net, since the tents are mosquito-proof and most of the other stops feature mosquito nets.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Adrian Hodges

    Gorillas & the big 5, an amazing adventure

    Excellent trip with the major highlights being the gorilla trekking at the beginning and the wildlife safaris in Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara at the end (and we got to see all of the Big 5). Uganda was slightly disappointing, as we had to miss the Lake Mburo stop due to weather, although I did enjoy the white water rafting in Jinja. The crew were excellent and the accommodation was good throughout and it was a great group. Overall I had a fantastic time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The gorilla trekking was the definite highlight, to spend that time so close to those magnificent animals was incredible. I was amazed how close we got, which made it very special.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kip was an excellent leader, knowledgeable, helpful, efficient & friendly. Nothing was too much trouble. Along with the rest of the crew (Dan, Ken & Amos) he made the trip run like clockwork.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring long sleeves, long trousers and long socks for the gorilla trekking. Also a $50 note to exchange money at the Kenyan border, you get a better rate with larger notes (this is not mentioned in the trip notes)
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Geraldine Ennis

    Gorillas and Masai Mara

    The trip was everything I had expected it to be and more. The team were excellent. Great food and lots of it. Varied itinerary, many early starts and long days. Great experience for people who love to be out there camping, being driven overland in a truck, in places, over rough terrain (the African massage!!). Good value for the money.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I had two inspirational moments (a) the game drives in the Mara, especially seeing where the crocs catch the wildebeest at the river crossings (which I'd seen many time on the TV). But unfortunately there were no wildebeest crossing and (b) the gorillas. I never imagined we would get so close. The group were relaxing digesting their breakfast. I came face to face with a black back whilst walking through a hedge tunnel, wow!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Kipp (Peter) was amazing: knowledgeable, funny, friendly, helpful at all times. Our cook Dan cooked some amazing veggie dishes for us vegetarians in the group. Odoyo, our driver, did a great job driving over some difficult terrain especially the roads to the Mara. And not forgetting Amus our helper. Nothing was ever too much for him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you feel the cold, take thermals as I did and on a number of nights I wore them all!! No need to take many cloths as you can do your own washing or having them washed by the locals. I took a 2/3 season down sleeping bag but if you feel the cold take a 4 season bag. We encountered very heavy rain on a few occasions in Uganda so would recommend taking a good waterproof jacket and thick fleece.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The whole trip was a great, well organised adventure. US$ is the currency to take as it is widely accepted in all 3 countries. Don't expect any home comforts, basic amenities, occasionally no hot shower, no electricity. Take earplugs as there were lots of snorers!!
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Lesley Pearson

    Gorillas & Masai Mara

    Amazing trip with so many highlights. I will be returning to Africa based on this experience!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The precious hour spend with the gorillas, even the rain didn't dampen our spirits, more it added to it. They really were gorillas in the mist! Seeing the big 5 in Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara. The balloon ride over the Masai Mara. It is well worth a visit to the Little Angels school at Lake Bunyonyi, the children are wonderful.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Kip was a great leader, full of information and absolutely tireless, as were the rest of the crew! Nothing was too much trouble and even the needs of our "fussier" travellers were met.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for long days on the road including 2.5 hours on dirt track roads when entering the Masai Mara. The pillows in Africa are rock hard so it may be better to bring one from home if you can fit it in. Gaiters are useful for the trek to the gorillas, it is muddy and wet! Don't forget the gardening gloves, there are some vicious stinging nettles, and the last part may involve your guide hacking through the rainforest with a machete. Also for the gorilla trek, do hire a porters, they don't just carry your bags, they help you every step of the way and well worth the US$10. It really is quite cold at night, so don't forget the fleece.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The hotel in Nairobi needs changing, we finished there and our apartment was so shocking we were moved.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Craig Jenner

    gorillas and massai mara

    Lets get one thing straight; you need to do this trip!! no matter where you've been and what you've seen there will always be a void in your portfolio unless you experience this. So much is included in such a small time period there is no time to get bored, all the I's dotted and the T's crossed for accommodation and service from the crew which were first class all the way, all building up to the gorilla trek which is so amazing words have not been invented which can express what I felt for that ever so short hour in their presence, but enough from me just go and experience it for yourselves.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Little Angels orphanage in Uganda. After a good walk we arrived at this wonderful place where I spent an incredible few hours in the presence of over 50 children who have not been dealt the best hand in life, but exhibit an attitude so positive that it really makes you feel humble and guilty about how you live your life and your attitude to the future even when you are holding 4 aces compared with them. The look on their faces when I stated blowing up balloons will never leave me and will always remain tattooed to my sole, a definite game changer with me moving forwards in my life

    What did you think of your group leader?

    All 4 of the groovy gang where fabulous. Amos doing all the work no body sees, Ken driving an aircraft carrier through the tightest gaps and on the worst roads ever. Dan the man who can make a gourmet meal out of half a bag of spuds and a cows backside whilst camped by a lake, and Kip. Kip is the leader of the 4 and is without doubt the main man, the top dawg, the big cheese, in fact the Keizer Sose of the trip leaders fraternity. there was nothing he didn't know, nothing he wouldn't do for you no matter when or where it was, warm and funny and indeed a pleasure to be around, but his pool playing leaves a lot to be desired

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't over pack, the weather can alter but I took 15 pairs of socks and brought 14 back with me unused. go there with a can do attitude and an open outlook to everything and you'll have the time of your life. If it rains embrace it, if its muddy embrace it; its all part of the overall experience. Vital things to take are head torch, pillow, good sports sandals, water bottle, hand sanitizer and sun hat. All the rest is up to the individual

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Not really, just go and experience something which may well change the way you think about things
  • Reviewed July 2016
    Heather Allen

    Gorillas and Masia Mara

    This trip was everything that I could have asked for. I was particularly impressed with the Exodux team, they managed a lively disparate group and kept the trip on schedule, provided great food and information. The itinerary was very varied and interesting with something different everyday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The time with the Gorillas was beyond my expectations, we were so close to these most beautiful and gentle creatures, it was breath-taking. I had a smile plastered all over my face for days afterwards.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lelei was excellent, he had a couple of individuals in the group who were on a different time schedule to the rest but he managed it very well and kept us all moving. The remainder of the staff were also superb with the chef being amazing on a daily basis.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sit back and enjoy.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If anything I would like to get up a bit earlier and get the travel done so that there was a little bit more time to explore at the new camp sites.
  • Reviewed February 2016
    Maiju Kettunen

    Gorillas and Masai Mara - Wonderful!

    I can't really tell you what this trip is like until you have yourself been to the Rwandan Genocide Museum, climbed the misty mountains up to the gorilla family, slept in the wild, gotten the mandatory sunburn, stood on the equator, ridden on horse-back across Ugandan sugar cane plantations, flown in a hot air balloon over the Mara, eaten ugali, stared into the eyes of a lion, seen the Great Rift Valley, been greeted by a thousand smiles and made friends with some of the very best people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    East Africa had wonderfully beautiful nature and touching history, but the most memorable things from my trip were all the encounters with people, for a few minutes, hours or two and half weeks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can only use the best words for Jacob, our group leader. He was the person who made all of us feel at home in East Africa, like his own friends and relatives. Jacob made sure throughout the trip that everyone was happy and safe. Albert, our chef, made sure everyone had a smile on their faces, each day. And my big thanks to Boniface and Wycliffe as well - we had an excellent crew!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Double batteries and zoom lenses for cameras - great photo opportunities will not run short on this trip. A season 4 sleeping bag was also not a bad idea at all. Don't be fooled by it being "Africa".

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was a hugely impressive trip - thank you, Exodus!
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Laura Savill

    Mara and Gorillas

    It was the most inspirational holiday because of seeing so much wildlife and it is value for money because the Gorilla permit is included. It is a very easy trip as there is a lot of sitting in trucks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me there was 3 things: 1) Visiting Elsamere, as a follower of George and Joy Adamson since I was 10 it was one of the places that I had to visit. It was very magical. The house is full of memories of the couple. The staff were exceptional. 2) Mara, although the migration had been 2 weeks earlier it was still interesting to see the crossing that one always sees on the TV. The vastness and amount of wildlife was incredible - we saw aprox 15 lions (wow) and elephant families, crocs and ungalates. 3) Gorilla the most incredible experince in my life, looking into the eyes of a silverback will blow you away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jacob was a super leader, full of grace and charm. He was helpful and listened to everyone of us. He never gave his opinion but gave us information that the group could make a decision with. The rest of the crew were excellent George, Alex and Q. Q was our cook and she made the most fantistic meals over a 2 ring gas hob. George was an exceptionally good driver getting the truck into areas which a truck would not really go so that we could see lions and also was an excellent mechnic so that the truck could get us to where we were suppose to go.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read the trip notes. Take lots of wet wipes to clean the lockers out, not many bags fitted into the truck lockers, upgrade if you do not get on with camping and buy a proper pillow in the major supermarket in Kenya. It is cheap and will be used then donate it. Buy souviners from places that profit local organisation that helps the local community. Book the second Gorilla permit if you can afford it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Super holiday, great tour and wonderful crew and fellow travellers. It is leisurely but go on a few walks before you go and see the gorillas will loosen the legs u.
  • Reviewed September 2015
    Karen Meyer

    Gorillas and Masai Mara

    There is no way to describe how perfect this trip was. It was all I had expected and much more. Every aspect of the trip deserves a superlative. It was as if the trip was made to give us the absolute best of each featured activity. The migration was at its height, we saw the "Big Five" within the first 24 hours, the balloon ride took us down into the river twice, the white water rafting was breathtaking (still smiling!), and the gorillas can never be adequately described in words or duplicated in pictures. This was truly the trip of a lifetime with a group of like minded, fun and spirited companions, who had all come to experience it all from a "real" level. Definitely the best trip I have ever taken.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Have to say there were two. The first has to be the gorilla interaction in which I had a silverback charge down the hill, end up sitting next to me, breathing on me, and the two of us looking at each other multiple times, eye to eye, before he moved on. There is no question we are related! The second was viewing the great migration from the air. It was like watching a giant swarm of ants move across the plain. Must have been what the great buffalo herds of the American West were like. When we then moved down to ground level, the entire picture was made whole. I have a new respect for Mother Nature and her great plans for her creatures.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jakob was outstanding! With a wry sense of humor and great local knowledge, he led us through this fantastic journey. He was a leader, fellow traveler and friend. His interest in being sure we all had the best individual trip possible was obvious. He was always there for us. Can't say enough about our driver, George! Can't imagine how he drove that giant truck over so much difficult terrain and through crazy areas! Hats off to him. The meals Daniel made were always a delight. The fresh vegetables local, crisp, tasty and delightful. Lots of variety and fresh fruit all the time. You will not go hungry. And, last, but not least, Alex, our guide in training. He did it all, from assisting with meals, to truck repair, tent placement, set up, portage, etc. Anything anyone needed, he was there, and always with a great big smile. He is going to be a great leader very shortly. What a crew!!! They were all like family to us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for some hiking for the gorillas, but don't let that put you off. Definitely worth the effort and there are individuals who will give you a hand with gear (or just a hand!) if you need it. Go with an open mind, be flexible, and be prepared to smile a lot!! Also, the more you "chip in" with the chores, the more you will enjoy your trip and bond with your "vacation family". This is a "must do" trip.
  • Reviewed August 2014
    Jo Carr

    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!!

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]

Trips you might also like

  • New

Gorilla Short Break

Spending time with gorillas is possibly the top wildlife experience to be had anywhere.

Guided Group, Short Breaks

Wildlife Encounters
5 days inc. flights
From £2,649
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging
Add to wishlist

Borneo Wildlife Discoverer

Showcasing the best of Borneo - wildlife, rainforests and tropical beaches

Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures

Wildlife Encounters
17 days inc. flights
From £3,199
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Leisurely / Moderate
4.7 / 5
 from 
Add to wishlist
Call us on 0208 772 3936