Current as of: May 24, 2024 - 15:07

Gorillas & Masai Mara – Camping Reverse

Gorillas & Masai Mara - Camping Reverse Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda
  • Programmes: Wildlife
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 17 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 15 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: WYUR
  • Carbon Footprint: 26kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Discover the fantastic wildlife of Kenya and marvel at the endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi

The Masai Mara, a vast grassland teeming with animals, has an astonishing amount of wildlife, including lions, cheetahs and, at certain times of the year, the wildebeest migration. Lake Nakuru National Park has an incredible variety of birds plus a healthy population of white and black rhinos while Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to hippos, elephants, buffalo, leopards and elusive tree-climbing lions plus a huge variety of birds. Murchison Falls is one of the most impressive national parks in Africa, renowned for scenic beauty, spectacular falls and abundant wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, Ugandan kobs (antelope), leopards, and more than 450 bird species. But the trip highlight 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.

At a Glance

  • 13 nights full-service camping and one hotel night
  • Travel by specialist overland vehicle, 4×4 and on foot
  • Some long drives on rough roads and early starts

Highlights

  • Spend a precious hour in the company of mountain gorillas
  • Enjoy game drives in the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Visit Murchison Falls National Park
  • Track chimpanzees and other primates in Budongo Forest
  • Option to do white-water rafting

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 2 (Leisurely/Moderate) with a Wildlife Rating of Four.Visit our Activity Level Guidelines page for more on our trip gradings or our Wildlife Holidays page for more on our Wildlife Ratings.

The moderate grading applies specifically to the gorilla trek and chimpanzee tracking. The rest of the itinerary is graded as leisurely in relation to the Activity Level only (however, this is not a leisurely trip in relation to the early starts and long drives).

Gorilla trek: Owing to the terrain and need to explore to find gorillas, the trek doesn’t always follow a path in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; instead, the guides cut a route through the undergrowth. Expect a minimum of three hours of walking on irregular terrain, with the possibility of climbing up to 8,550ft (2,607m); 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 are arranged and paid for locally on the day).

Transport is in a specialist overland vehicle with good visibility and 4×4 vehicles in the Masai Mara. There are several early mornings where we start before sunrise, 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. There are a few days where the journey time (including stops) can be more than seven hours and the longest drive can take approximately nine hours. The spectacular scenery and glimpses of village life make the journeys enjoyable, as do 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 trip of a lifetime.

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

Booking conditions
Please note, a minimum of £700 (or equivalent in booking currency) non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking to cover the cost of the gorilla permits. If for any reason we have to cancel the trip, you receive a full refund.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 6

Max group size: 18

Itinerary

Gorillas & Masai Mara – Camping Reverse

Land Only

  • Start City: Kigali
  • End City: Nairobi

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start Kigali

The adventure begins in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. This evening’s welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

Accommodation: Beauséjour Hotel (or similar)

Day 2
Morning Kigali; afternoon to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Rwanda is a country widely remembered for the genocide of 1994, in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed. There is a moving museum in Kigali that covers this period, which we visit this morning. After lunch, we cross the border into Uganda and drive towards Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, the home of wild mountain gorillas.

Accommodation: Virunga Hotel & Campsite (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3
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 terrain and need to explore to find the gorillas, our trek doesn’t follow a path; instead, our guides cut a route through the undergrowth. After a safety briefing, we are assigned to a gorilla family group and begin our trek. Expect a minimum of three hours of walking on irregular terrain; 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 are 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 430lb (195kg), a female up to 220lb (100kg), and a male can reach 5ft 7in (1.7m) tall. They are almost exclusively vegetarian and quite destructive eaters, which makes them unpopular with the farmers lower down the mountain as they have been known to wreck a whole field of crops just to eat one plant. For this reason, and poaching, the gorillas are very carefully protected. Gorillas are gentle creatures and are not known to attack unless very severely provoked. The family groups we trek to see are habituated to human presence but to prevent over familiarisation our time with them is limited to one hour. If the permits for gorilla families close to where we stay are unavailable, there may be more permits for other areas of the park, although this will mean a longer drive to the start of the trek.

Accommodation: Virunga Hotel & Campsite (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4
To Queen Elizabeth National Park

Today, we drive to Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP). The park, the most popular and accessible savannah reserve in Uganda, resides in a fertile, equatorial area and has beautiful scenery. It is primarily associated with grassy savannah plains, but also includes 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 95 recorded mammal species and more than 610 bird species.

Accommodation: Simba Safari Camp (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5
Full day in Queen Elizabeth National Park

We explore QENP on a game drive this morning, searching for elephants, lions, buffalo, leopards, hyenas, jackals, topis, kobs, bush bucks and various others. In the afternoon, there is an optional boat trip of about two hours along the Kazinga Channel to view one of the largest concentrations of hippos in the world (reported to be about 30,000) and other game with excellent birding. The game drive continues in the afternoon for those who do not join the boat trip.

Accommodation: Simba Safari Camp (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6
To Budongo

We have a long drive today covering about 280mi (450km) from QENP to Budongo. The drive goes north along the eastern length of the Rwenzori Mountains, where we can see the glaciated peaks, weather permitting. We pass through tea and sugarcane plantations, stopping for lunch en route, and expect to arrive in Budongo in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Simba Safari Camp (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7
Chimpanzee tracking in Budongo; to Murchison Falls

We depart early this morning for Budongo Forest, home to the largest number of chimpanzees in Uganda, to trek in search of chimps and other wildlife. The walking is fairly easy due to the well-maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain. While trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, we are surrounded by bird song and hope to see velvet and colobus monkeys, wild pigs and, of course, chimpanzees. Once a chimp family is found, we 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: Sambiya River Lodge (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8
Full day in Murchison Falls National Park

We have an early morning game drive in Murchison Falls National Park. We transfer by ferry to the north side of the Nile where we embark on our game drive. The area is home to elephants, giraffes, buffalo and Ugandan kobs, plus 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 three hours and we travel upstream to the bottom of the falls, stopping near the Devil’s Cauldron, the place where the water bursts through the narrow gorge and creates an outstanding rainbow.

Accommodation: Sambiya River Lodge (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9
To Jinja

After a short game drive through the park, we leave Murchison Falls and drive to Jinja, a journey of about six hours. 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 – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10
Free day for optional activities

Today is free to choose from a range of optional activities. White-water rafting in Jinja is considered among 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 visit the source of the White Nile, one of the two major tributaries of the Nile.

Accommodation: Adrift Camp (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11
To Eldoret

We drive about 155mi (250km) to Eldoret, which should take about eight hours, including a border crossing into Kenya. The border crossing can be slow but we leave plenty of time and you’ll no doubt find the experience interesting!

Accommodation: Green Wood Campsite (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades and wifi available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12
To Lake Nakuru National Park; game drive

We depart Eldoret in the morning after breakfast and drive to Lake Nakuru National Park, one of the finest small parks in Kenya, where we spend the day on a game drive in the park. The park is widely known for having an impressive population of black and white rhinos, which are relatively easy to spot in the open savannah. Fever trees line the park and are a well-known spot for leopards to laze in, while 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; as a result, the flamingos no longer tend to be found in such large numbers, but this can change depending on the rainfall.

Accommodation: KWS Campsite (or similar) – full-service camping

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13
To Masai Mara; late afternoon game drive

Today we travel into the Masai Mara, a vast grassland teeming with life. Here wildebeest, gazelles, topis, zebras and buffalo abound in the rolling savannah, and never far away lay the predators: cheetahs, lions and hyenas. Between mid-August and late October, one of the greatest spectacles on Earth takes place in the Mara: the annual migration of thousands of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras trampling 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 wildlife as we drive through the park this afternoon.

Accommodation: Mountain Rock (or similar) – full-service camping upgrades available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14
Full day in the Masai Mara

Enjoy a full-day game drive in the Masai Mara to increase our chances of encountering many of the wildlife species in the reserve. We find a quiet spot inside the park to enjoy lunch by our vehicle, looking out across the plains. There is also an optional hot-air balloon safari at sunrise, which includes champagne and breakfast.

Accommodation: Mountain Rock (or similar) – full-service camping – upgrades available

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15
Drive to Nairobi and end

We depart after breakfast for Nairobi, travelling up through the Rift Valley escarpment and looking back on classic African views with acacia trees scattering the vast landscape. Our trip ends in the Ugandan capital; we say a fond farewell to each other and begin our return journeys home.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation

Full-service camping

Gorillas & Masai Mara – Camping Reverse

On this trip into the wilds of Africa, we embrace our adventurous spirit and spend 13 nights camping. It’s a back-to-basics experience, but the camping is full-service, which means the tents are put up and taken down by our crew. We use standard two-person tents and provide mattresses and all other equipment you’ll need (except a sleeping bag and pillow). East African campsites vary in terms of facilities – do not expect hot showers, flushing toilets or Western standards of cleanliness. Upgrades to a room are available at some locations  – these can only be booked and paid for locally. In Kigali, we stay in a small hotel.

Worth knowing

  • We have more than one accommodation option on some nights, which means that where we stay may differ to what is listed in the daily itinerary. The accommodation we select around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is dependent on the gate we are using to access the park.

Single supplement from £ 190

Food & Drink

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

Breakfasts usually include cereal, toast and hot food such as porridge or eggs. Lunches tend to feature a range of sandwich options plus a fruit selection. Dinners usually feature soup, a main (a mix of local and international cuisine) and dessert (typically fruit salad). 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 also 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.

Transport

Transport is in one of Exodus’ specialist overland vehicles. The vehicle seats 24 passengers but there is a maximum of 18 passengers on this itinerary. The seating is mostly forward facing and the windows are large and easy to open. People are expected to move around to permit everyone a chance to have a window seat. The vehicle carries all camping equipment and clean drinking water will be provided and can be accessed at all times for you to fill up a smaller bottle. There is a six-plug 240V invertor that can recharge camera/phones/laptop batteries when the vehicle is being driven. For game viewing in the Masai Mara, we use smaller 4×4 vehicles.

Weather & Seasonality

Although this part of East Africa lies in the tropics, the temperature depends more on altitude than on season. Kenya has temperatures of 18C-28C (64F-82F) in March and 15C-21C (59F-70F) 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 15C-25C (59F-77F). Parts of Uganda are very wet and rain can fall 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 18C-30C (64F-86F), while in the northern part, temperatures are 12C-28C (54F-82F).

Joining Instructions

Key Information

Start hotel: Beausejour Hotel, KN 5 Rd, Kigali, Rwanda
Telephone: +250 788 388 885
Recommended arrival time: The group flight usually lands in the morning. 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.
Airport: Kigali International Airport (KGL)

Getting to the hotel

The start hotel is approximately 20 minutes’ drive from the airport. Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to Nairobi Airport (NBO) for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Kigali
Location end: Nairobi

What To Take

Essential Equipment

This trip encounters a range of temperatures so come prepared. Most of the time, light cotton clothing is most comfortable, but you should bring a sweater and a warm windproof jacket as it can get cold at night, in the mornings, and in the back of the truck. Avoid bright colours on safari.

For the gorilla trek

  • Walking boots: Conditions under foot can be tough
  • Long socks: To protect against jungle ants
  • Gloves: There can be stinging and sharp vegetation on the trek. Gardening gloves are fine
  • Waterproof attire as it can get wet during the trek

Other essentials

  • Backpack or small bag
  • Water bottle (minimum: 1.5 litres)
  • Headtorch (head lamp) and spare batteries
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sun hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Sleeping bag and liner: A three-season bag is required as it can be cold at night in the higher regions of Kenya and Uganda
  • Travel pillow: We do not provide pillows in the two-person tents so if you would like a travel pillow, please bring your own

Please do not bring a suitcase or hard-bottomed bag. We advise a soft holdall/rucksack and a backpack. Everyone has a large locker to store belongings. We recommend you also take a combination padlock. Shoes and sleeping bags can be stored separately at the back of the vehicle.

Please note: Kenya has banned the use of plastic carrier bags and certain other plastic bags. Included in the ban are:

  • Duty-free carrier bags
  • General shopping bags
  • Bin liners (sometimes used to protect luggage during rain)
  • Dry cleaning bags (commonly wrapped around clothing)

Travellers arriving into Kenya via airports, sea ports or land borders are required to leave any bags deemed to be on the banned list at the point of entry. Travellers will not be fined so long as they surrender any prohibited bags. Uganda has also banned electronic cigarettes.

Water included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.

Optional Equipment

If you are interested in animal photography then take a camera with a good optical zoom. Other things you might want are:

  • Binoculars
  • Wet wipes
  • Travel towel
  • Hand gel wash
  • Toilet roll
  • Gaiters

Laundry: Laundry facilities are limited outside the major cities but it will be possible to do some hand washing at the campsites or using water from rivers or lakes. You should bring a small supply of washing powder with you for this purpose. We ask you to be careful when washing clothes in rivers and lakes as this water may be the main supply for villages further along. Always use a washing bowl and discard used water away from the river or lake. Take environmentally friendly detergents and shampoos for hand and hair washing and use as little as possible. This will help to keep valuable freshwater supplies, rivers, streams and the sea free from pollution.

Practical Information

Visa

Kenya

Travellers from the UK, US and EU need an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Kenya. Please note, requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required eTAs/visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on entry requirements for their citizens. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

You can apply for your eTA, which costs US$30, on the official website for the Kenyan government. You will need the following before you make your application:

  • Valid passport
  • Recent passport picture OR a selfie picture taken during application process
  • Contact details (home address, telephone, email)
  • Travel information and flight itinerary (arrival flight number, date of departure of initial flight in case of connecting flights)
  • Proof of booking for the hotel you will be staying at (if staying with friends, a letter of invitation is accepted)
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate if coming from endemic countries (please check the World Health Organization website for the updated list of countries)
  • Credit/debit card information for payment, if applicable
Rwanda

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally need a visa to enter Rwanda. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Uganda

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally need a visa to enter Uganda. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

You can apply for your visa (or find out more information) at www.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 is US$50 and can be paid online.

Please note: Currently, the single-entry visa is only valid for three months from the issue data. Please ensure your visa is valid for your travel dates.

For assistance with obtaining visas please call Travcour on 020 8543 1846 or visit their website: http://www.travcour.com/page/tour-packs/exodus.php

Vaccinations and Health

Kenya

There are no required vaccinations. However, recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, rabies, tuberculosis and yellow fever. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest you seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic about which to take. Additionally, dengue fever, a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes, is a known risk in places visited. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, so take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Rwanda

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, rabies, tuberculosis and yellow fever. You will also need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have travelled from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. Malaria is also a known risk. Please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic on the best course of action for all the above.

Additionally, dengue and zika (mosquito-borne viral diseases) are known risks. No vaccines or prophylaxes are available, so 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. You may also want to consider vaccinations for hepatitis A, polio, tetanus, typhoid, cholera, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, rabies and tuberculosis. Malaria prophylaxis is essential. Please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic on the best course of action for all the above.

Additionally, 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, a mosquito‐borne viral disease, is also 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.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential on this trip, 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.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Local Time

Kenya's time zone: Africa/Nairobi (UTC +03:00)

Rwanda's time zone: Africa/Kigali (UTC +02:00)

Uganda's time zone: Africa/Kampala (UTC +03:00)

Electricity

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. There is a six-plug 240V invertor on the truck that can recharge camera/phone/laptop batteries when the vehicle is being driven. We recommend you bring your standard charger. There are often recharging facilities at campsites but you may be charged for this service and we recommend taking extra batteries and charging them at every opportunity due to the unreliable electricity supply in some areas.

Gorillas & Masai Mara – Camping Reverse

Money

Kenya's currency: Kenyan shilling (KES)

Rwanda's currency: Rwanda franc (RWF)

Uganda's currency: Ugandan shilling (UGX)

ATM Availability

Visa, Access/Mastercard and American Express cards are sometimes accepted in hotels and for expensive souvenirs but you should not rely solely on your credit card, particularly for obtaining cash advances.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend you take most of your money in US dollars cash – clean, unmarked notes dated no earlier than 2009. It is advisable to bring a mix of denominations including some small notes.

There are a great variety of souvenirs on sale. We encourage buying items that benefit the local economy and avoiding expensive shopping malls, where most of the money will go abroad or to large businesses.

Bargaining is the norm for much souvenir buying. Don’t accept the first price offered unless the shop or stall clearly works on fixed prices, but also remember you are probably much better off than most local people, so please do not generate ill-feeling by bargaining too hard. Similarly, you should not bargain for items that you have no intention of buying.

Optional excursions:

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

  • Mgahinga Hike: US$80 per person (depending on location of accommodation)
  • Forest walk: US$70 per person (depending on location of accommodation)
  • Birding walk: US$70 per person (depending on location of accommodation)

Queen Elizabeth

  • Kazinga Channel boat trip: US$30

Jinja

  • Full-day rafting: US$140 per person
  • Half-day rafting: US$125 per person
  • Visit to the source of the White Nile: US$40 per person

We suggest these excursions are paid for in cash.

Masai Mara

  • Masai village visit: US$20
  • Sunrise hot-air balloon safari in Masai Mara: Can be booked locally for US$495 per person or higher. On rare occasions, typically during the high season between August and October you may be asked to pay a US$50 cash deposit to secure your seat. This is refunded when you check in for your balloon flight. Includes champagne and a full-English breakfast in the bush.

Nairobi

The excursions in Nairobi can only be done if you extend your stay after the trip. As the leader will not be with you, you need to book these through our local partners on +254 733 523 813.

  • Karen Blixen Museum: US$14 per person
  • Giraffe Centre: US$12 per person
  • NNP animal orphanage: US$40 per person (entry only)
  • Safari walk: US$25 per person
  • Carnivore Restaurant: US$30-US$35 per person
  • Bomas: US$10 per person
  • National Museum: US$14 per person

Transfers to/from all of these excursions: Price will vary depending on the type of vehicle and the number of clients and may include waiting charges.

Tipping

If you feel your leader and crew performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a guide we suggest:

  • US$70-US$100 for your tour leader
  • US$35-US$50 for each of the other three crew members on this trip.

It is also courteous to tip any extra guides/drivers, though certainly not compulsory. Shortly after arrival, the leader will suggest to the group they donate approximately US$30 per person towards a kitty. This money is then used for tipping local guides, hotel porters, drivers etc and will be distributed by the leader. Any money left at the end of the trip will be refunded to the group on an equal basis.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that have a positive impact on the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Learn more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Local guides keep you well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels, restaurants, and other enterprises, and by championing locally produced food wherever possible.
  • Read more about our other initiatives here.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively reduce waste; this includes eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles by providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • Camping is a great way to reduce environmental impact, but we are careful about managing waste and litter, ensuring all waste is removed from the campsite and separated so it can be easily recycled or composted.
  • Entrance fees to natural reserves generates income used to upkeep and develop these important sites. We visit the Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices regarding working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We rewild 1,075sqft (100sqm) per passenger to compensate for all trip and flight emissions.
  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels with us.

Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • As this is a camping holiday the carbon footprint is minimised.
  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring a reusable water bottle on this trip, also consider avoiding single-use hotel toiletries, which generate a large amount of plastic waste.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.