President’s Pick Wilds of Uganda and Kenya

President's Picks | Big Five Tours

“I fell in love with this program the minute I saw it. This is a real adventure safari, exploring areas of Kenya and Uganda where my family and friends grew up. This safari is redefining what off the beaten path really means.”

Ashish Sanghrajka

 

While the world has been changing, we have been exploring.

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President’s Picks

COUNTRIES VISITED

Rwanda & Uganda

Kenya

STARTING AT..

Price starts at 1600 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.

TOUR LENGTH

16

Tour Highlights/Full Description

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  • Set out on a Chimp Trek to engage with chimpanzees in their natural habitat
  • Interact with Central Africa’s most ancient ethnic community, the Batwa
  • Explore gorilla habituation during an encounter with the family of gorillas as they go about their daily lives routines of feeding, playing, grooming and bonding
  • Meet a former poacher who teaches the survival techniques of the bush and engage with the indigenous Taita people
  • Enjoy a private game drive in a custom built 4×4 vehicle in the famous Masai Mara with some of the most breathtaking views of this thriving wildlife haven

Day 1: Entebbe, Uganda
Welcome to Uganda! Upon arrival in Entebbe, you are met plane side by your Big Five representative and  assisted with immigration and customs formalities, and then you transfer to your accommodations. Nestled in the leafy suburbs of Entebbe, Hotel No.5 is a stylish boutique hotel. With luxurious rooms opening onto the garden and swimming pool, this is a great option for those looking for an intimate stay in a tranquil setting. For a flavorsome dining experiences, enjoy carefully planned menus paired with an international wine list.  Attention to detail, an impressive art collection displayed throughout and an attentive guest experience are synonymous with Hotel No 5, making it the perfect choice for a restful stay in this lakeside city. No. 5  Boutique Hotel – Luxury Room

Day 2: Entebbe / Kibale Forest National Park
This morning, you depart overland to the Kibale Forest area on a drive of about six hours. After leaving the Lake Victoria Basin, pass through beautiful agricultural countryside where every type of fruit and vegetable are grown. Upon reaching Kyenjojo, in the lower foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon), you drive through beautiful tea plantations into Kibale tropical rain forest and continue to Kyaninga Lodge. On arrival, settle in to enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. The lodge overlooks a crystal-clear crater lake that is safe for swimming and kayaking. Kyaninga Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 3: Kibale Forest National Park
This morning, experience a chimp trek in the Kibale Forest, home to 13 primate species. A guided forest trek takes you in search of one of the most popular primate species in the world – the chimpanzee. There are nine diurnal primates here that include, vervet, red-tailed, L’Hoest’s, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, red colobus, black and white colobus, olive baboon and chimpanzee. Although chimp sightings are not guaranteed, the odds are good with a chance of encountering them standing at higher than 90%. While trekking in the depths of the lush green forest, you are surrounded by bird song and can expect to see at least five or six other types of primate including the grey-cheeked mangabey and the red-tailed monkey. The walking is fairly easy due to the well-maintained trails and reasonably flat terrain.

After your chimp trek, enjoy a local lunch at Tinka’s House. Tinka is a prominent community leader in the Bigodi District and he welcomes you into his home to enjoy a traditional Ugandan meal. He will also describe each dish and give you background information on the farming, harvesting and cooking methods involved in preparing the foods.

This afternoon venture into the Bigodi Swamp in the highlands of western Uganda, in the shadow of the Ruwenzori Mountains. The swamp walk takes place in the Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, a major eco-tourism attraction in the Kibale Forest area. Afterwards, return to the lodge for dinner. Kyaninga Lodge (B,L,D) 

Day 4: Kibale Forest National Park / Bwindi Forest National Park
After breakfast, drive to Kasese for your flight to Kisoro. On arrival at Kisoro airstrip you are picked up by a representative and driven to your lodge. Your private guide and vehicle will catch up with you at the lodge later in the day.

This afternoon, on the Southwestern boundary of the Bwindi Forest, you have a chance to interact with Central Africa’s most ancient ethnic group — a community of Batwa, who left the forest and relocated to an area of 13 hectares, where today they are learning about sustainable lifestyles. The Batwa are a fascinating group to interact with. Their wealth of knowledge about nature and their primitive hunter-gather ways will keep you captivated. There is a small but beautiful pocket forest, the Buniga Forest, neighboring the lodge that has been protected by the government as it hosts a number of endemic bird and plant species. A Batwa guide takes you on a walk to discover the beauty of the forest at your own speed, whether it is watching the colobus or red-tailed monkeys, bird watching, or admiring the huge trees and listening to the noises of nature.  The guide reveals the way they once lived in the forest and helps you explore Mother Nature’s pharmacy. You may also get a glimpse of the wild chimpanzees that feed off the fruit in this forest. The Batwa share their lifestyle today, including their knowledge of the varied uses of plants, their talent in basket weaving and methods for collecting honey that are unique to them. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5: Bwindi Forest National Park
Today, you experience the “Gorilla Habituation.” This extraordinary exploration starts with briefing at the Rushaga Park headquarters by the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s habituation team. You head into the forest with the team. Gorilla habituation is done in the southern forest in the Kisoro area. There is only one group being habituated currently. The number of visitors allowed per day is limited to four participants. Savor this golden opportunity to spend up to four hours with the gorillas as they go about their daily life of feeding, playing, grooming and bonding. The same requirements for rules and etiquette in the presence of the gorillas apply for both gorillas trekking and gorilla habituation. You should be prepared for a challenging hike in the forest. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6: Bwindi Forest National Park
Today you have the optional to set out on a gorilla tracking day or relax on a free day. After breakfast, drive to Park Headquarters and meet with local guides and trackers who presents a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. Hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point.  The trekking can take from one to six hours and climb to altitudes not in excess of 7,500 feet.  The terrain is rough and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding, the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile. Once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten. Picnic lunches are provided. The experience is often described as being the most profound natural history experience. Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 7: Bwindi Forest National Park / Entebbe / Nairobi, Kenya
Today you depart the lodge early for the drive to Kisoro airstrip for your scheduled flight back to Entebbe, arriving in late morning.  You are met on arrival and transferred to the Protea hotel for lunch. This afternoon, you are transferred back to the airport for our onward flight to Nairobi. On arrival in Kenya’s capital, you are met by a representative and assisted with airport formalities and escorted to your hotel. Four Points  by Sheraton – Standard Room (B,L)

Day 8: Nairobi / Tana Delta Conservancy
This morning you are transferred to Wilson Airport for your private charter flight to the Tana Delta. On arrival, you are met by our representative and transferred to your lodge. Delta Dunes in the Lower Tana Delta Conservancy is a barefoot-luxury hideaway at the mouth of the Tana River, atop massive rolling sand dunes. It overlooks the Indian Ocean on one side and the winding Tana River waterways on the other side. Inland, over the extensive delta of the Tana River is a vast playground for hippo, crocodile and other wildlife as well as an internationally important bird area with more than 270 bird species. If nature is not enough, let us show you the real Kenya. The Pokomo and Orma tribes that are not as widely known as the Maasai but are truly rich and colorful in their practices and ways of life. The Pokomo are pastoralists, farmers and fisherman, and have traditionally lived a subsistence lifestyle along the banks of the Tana. The Orma are semi-nomadic pastoralists, and the Tana represents a consistent source of water and grazing they rely on. Delta Dunes is a private hideaway and Kenya’s best kept secret.  It is the only lodge in East Africa that has 67km of private beach — lush, fine, cream sand and clear, safe swimmable ocean. With a view and access to the beach and river within walking distance from your bedroom, you enjoy total privacy to explore nature at its finest without mass tourism. The Tana Delta region is home to the rare sand dollar, a beautiful crustacean with a rare shaped shell, the rare colobus monkey, the maneless lion and the Tana River waterbuck. Delta Dunes  – Banda (B,L,D) 

Days 9 & 10: Tana Delta Conservancy
Delta Dunes, the “Wild place by the Sea,” is a lodge uniquely combining beach, river and bush to give you an unforgettable experience. Perched on top of miles of rolling rippling sand dunes, the alfresco accommodation and mess area are built in a castaway style but with the ultimate comforts. This is the only wetland of its type in Eastern Africa. Enjoy stunning beaches. At low tide, the beach is serene and relaxing. Activities include boat cruises for sundowners and bird and game spotting, bush walks with armed, experienced guides, creek fishing, water skiing, kayaking, tubing, swimming, surfing and sand yachting. Boat trips with the local community on the fresh water river reveals hundreds of birds, crocodiles, hippos and the endemic Tana River bushbuck as well as buffalo, lion, leopard and elephant that can occasionally be seen on game walks. On cultural visits, encounter the local indigenous Pokomo and Orma tribes. During the dry season one can expect large old bull elephants. Enjoy river fishing by locally made rods for rock cod, red and white snapper, koli koli and barracuda. Waterskiing and sea fishing are optional activities available at an additional cost. Delta Dunes – Banda (B,L,D)  

Day 11: Tana Delta Conservancy / Mbulia Conservancy / Tsavo National Park
Today you fly via private charter aircraft to Tsavo. You are met on arrival at the local airstrip and transferred to your camp. Perched on the side of the Mbulia Hills, Kipalo Hills enjoy fantastic views looking out across the 12,000 acre Mbulia Conservancy towards Ngulia Hills and Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. Kipalo Hills was built by the local community to benefit and protect the resident wildlife, especially elephant.

Kipalo Hills enjoys easy access to both Tsavo West and East National Parks for game drives, renowned for the largest population of elephant in Kenya. The waterhole below the camp attracts a range of wildlife including elephants, buffalo and leopards that can be spotted as they come to the area for an early morning drink. The Tsavo area is also a bird haven. Fly camping down on the Galana and Tsavo Rivers offer an exciting opportunity to sleep out under the stars for a night or more. This wilderness features extreme diversity of landscape, from fields of baobabs to huge rocky kopjes framed against vast blue skies. The Yatta Plateau and its lashes of lava flows stretch 300km to the ends of Tsavo, and is the longest lava flow in the world. Tsavo is a vast untapped arena of arid bush, split by the azure and emerald meandering Galana and Tsavo Rivers, a water haven and lifeline to the resident wildlife. Beyond the stunning landscape and wildlife, Tsavo is rife with a fascinating history from its part in the First World War to the first railway, ‘The Lunatic Line’, and the famous 1898 Man-eating lions of Tsavo. Kipalo Hills Camp – Safari Tent (B,L,D)  

Day 12: Mbulia Conservancy – Tsavo National Park
Experience a comfortable camp with delicious, fresh innovative cuisine coupled with breathtaking scenery. Each of the six luxury double mobile tents has an en-suite flushing toilet and a traditional safari shower. The tents are located far apart and all enjoy wonderful views of the spectacular scenery and impenetrable wilderness across the Mbulia Conservancy plains that stretches as far as the eye can see. The name ‘Kipalo’ means ‘the place to return to again and again’ in the local Taita language, taken from the ancient elephant rubbings on the rock and baobab trees surrounding the lodge. Kipalo Hills is more than just a luxury, boutique art lodge in Tsavo that is family friendly with delicious, innovative meals and cultural experiences that allow  guests to see a new side of Kenya beyond just Maasai and Samburu tribes. At Kipalo Hills, you learn about and engage with the Taita people. Meet and learn from Kamuti, a former poacher-turned-guide. Kamuti is one of the few true bushman left. He explores how and why he once lived his life as a poacher; how to survive in the bush using traditional African medicine; and how to track animals as his ancestors did. Kipalo Hills Camp – Safari Tent (B,L,D)

Day 13: Mbulia Conservancy / Masai Mara Game Reserve / Olderkesi Conservancy
Today you board your charter flight to the Masai Mara. You are met on arrival by camp staff and game drive to camp. This wildlife haven of Olderkesi Conservancy uniquely combines working conservation and captivating nature escapes. The location of Instinct of the Mara is nothing short of mesmerizing, idyllic and unspoiled. Within 8,000 acres of privately held conserved land, surrounded by lush woodlands and nestled on the side of a hill, the camp offers the most breathtaking views of this thriving wildlife haven. Bordering both the famous Maasai Mara and Serengeti parks, this natural wildlife corridor is teeming with animals and its secluded location makes for a memorable getaway.  Activities here include day and night game drives in custom built 4×4 vehicles with open roof hatches and sides with each guest is guaranteed a window seat. The Waterfall is a stunning location with incredible views, an exciting hike, and the opportunity to swim at a stunning spot underneath the falls. Safari Bush walks in the surrounding area, Sundowners on the nearby hills offer the most splendid view of Maasai land. Bird watching around the camp or on guided ornithological walks.  Cultural visits to the local Maasai villages, markets, schools as well as a balloon safari. Instinct of The Mara – Safari Tent (B,L,D)

Days 14 & 15: Olderkesi Conservancy
During your stay indulge your senses, hidden in the gem of Olderekesi Conservancy. With just seven luxury tents and two ultimate luxury villas, offers you a private and exclusive experience.  The Olderkesi area is home to one of the largest pack of wild dogs in the Mara ecosystem. While enjoying a drink on your patio, expect frequent visitors such as lion, wild dog, wildebeest, greater kudu and buffalo. Other visitors include elephant, black rhino, cheetah and leopard. The Mara might be a small part of the Serengeti ecosystem but it makes up for its size in its thousand hill grasslands, winding rivers and magnificent escarpments.  Instinct of The Mara – Safara Tent (B,L,D)

Day 16: Olderkesi Conservancy / Nairobi / Depart
After a final morning game drive, you will transfer to the airstrip where you will board your flight to Nairobi. Upon arrival in Nairobi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel where a dayroom, lunch and dinner have been arranged for your convenience. Then it’s a Swahili goodbye, kwaheri, to Africa. After check-in, you can relax or take time for some last-minute shopping at the Duty-Free Shops near our departure gate. Four Points by Sheraton – Day Room (B,L,D)

Per Diem
Price starts from US$1600 per person per day, land only, double occupancy. Not including tacking permits, habituation permits, or air costs. As of this writing, Gorilla Habituation permit: $1,500 each; Gorilla tracking permit: $700 each; Chimpanzee tracking permit: $200 each.

 

 

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