The word safari means journey in Swahili. Your journey begins in the Virunga Mountains that straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to around 480 mountain gorillas, more than half of the world’s entire population (the rest live in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda).
After your magical encounter with these amazing creatures you’ll head to Tanzania. Historic and teeming with wildlife, this vibrant and beautiful country with heart stopping scenery, along with the wildlife in the beautiful national parks will be locked in your memory forever.
Day 1: Upon arrival in Kigali, a representative will meet and escort you to the hotel for the evening.
Day 2: This morning includes a city tour of Kigali to visit Gisozi Genocide Memorial and local markets, before heading northwards to Bwindi National Park in Uganda, viewing spectacular scenery of the Virunga Mountains en route. Dinner and overnight stay are at an eco-lodge with a 180° panoramic view over an outstanding landscape : the bright green hills, the famous primary forest and the long chain of Volcanoes in Uganda, Rwanda and DRC.
Day 3: Today is the day you’ve been waiting for! After breakfast, head to the park headquarters with packed lunch. There you will be briefed about the upcoming visit with the gorillas.
For a gorilla trek you’ll need to be fairly fit, and mentally prepared for the humid, muddy conditions of a rainforest hike. You’ll also need to be in good health – gorillas are susceptible to human illnesses but don’t have our immunities, so a common cold could be deadly to a family of gorillas. After training in safety and gorilla-etiquette, you will be lead into the forest by a specialist gorilla guide from the national park. The pace is unhurried and the hike is tiring, taking from 30 minutes to a few hours. You’ll spend between 40 minutes and an hour with the gorillas, watching the adults forage and groom each other while the babies tumble and play. All the while, you will be under the watchful gaze of the great silverback patriarch, whose brown eyes constantly and protectively sweep over his family.
After the remarkable adventure, you will be transferred back to Kigali in the evening to the airport. Either catch a flight to Kilimanjaro in the evening or stay a night in Kigali before flying out in the morning.
Day 4: When you arrive in Tanzania, you will be met by a representative at the airport and transferred to your hotel for the night. Extraordinary natural beauty, sweeping Lake Duluti and garden views accompanied by the ambience of a colonial era coffee farm distinguish the hotel for this evening.
Day 5: The safari today begins by heading through the bustling city of Arusha before traveling through the beautiful Masai open grassland and rolling hills.
You will then branch off towards Tarangire National Park. The park is famous for its giant baobab trees, large herds of elephants, plains game and predators. Tarangire also boasts a large variety of spectacular bird life, including endemic species.
You’ll embark on a game drive with picnic lunch. Your guide will point out, among many aspects of animal behavior, the fascinating way that elephants communicate with subtle interactions.
Wildlife calls at the door of this evenings accomodations. Zebras, giraffes, warthogs, gazelles may appear between the palm trees from the terrace of your exclusive tent. Situated in the ecosystem of Lake Manyara, in fields of golden vegetation, this tented camp brings together premium services and genuine hospitality in a spectacular scene.
Day 6: After breakfast at the camp head out for Lake Manyara National Park. Enter the park and start your game drive, first through lush forest and then out to open grassland and the lake edge.
The birdlife in this park is a bird watcher’s paradise. Expect to see a variety of animals, such as impala, elephants, dik-dik, bushbuck, hippos and, if you’re lucky, you might see the famous tree-climbing lions of Manyara.
The lodge is located on the very north tip of Lake Manyara National Park. Effortlessly blending traditional style and modern comfort, this lodge provides a tranquil retreat for a Tanzania vacation.
Settle in to your beautifully appointed accommodation, which is furnished with colors inspired by the breath-taking natural beauty of our surroundings. Enjoy the views from your veranda or wrap up in your plush robe and relax with room service after an exhilarating day on safari.
Day 7: After breakfast, head to Serengeti and arrive for lunch at the tented camp where you will stay this evening and enjoy dinner. In the afternoon, get ready for more game drives in the park. The Serengeti is one of the most famous parks in Africa and is synonymous with wildlife and classic African scenery.
Day 8-9: The next two days will be filled with game drives at Serengeti National Park, Tanzania’s oldest park and a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is home to the spectacular wildebeest migration and offers top-class wildlife viewing throughout the year.
For the next two evenings you’ll stay in a modern, clean-lined tented camp with a traditional African feel, in one of the Serengeti’s most coveted locations. Premises include a swimming pool and every evening a camp fire is lit and guests can enjoy the sunset with drinks and appetizers. Weather permitting dinner will be served outside under the stars.
Day 10: After breakfast, head out with a picnic lunch drive to Ngorongoto Conservation Area while enjoying a game en-route in Serengeti National park.
Cloaked in a dense forest, the stone lodge for the next two nights blends in beautifully with its natural surroundings. As your land rover navigates the rocky road leading up to the lodge, keep an eye open for resident elephants known to leisurely much on leafy greens – right in the lodge’s backyard! Crackling fire places inside the common areas add warmth to the “mountain lodge” atmosphere.
Day 11: After breakfast you drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area for a crater tour. The crater – or Caldera, which is the correct term – is over 12 miles wide and approximately 2000 feet deep . If you are lucky and have a clear day, from the bottom you will be able to see the whole way around the crater walls. Experience a game drive over the crater floor, through grassland and forest, and see the soda lake named Lake Makat.
Ngorongoro Crater is famous for the presence of the Big Five – buffalos, black rhinos, elephants, lions and leopards. It is also a home to many other animals, such as cheetahs, zebras, hippos, serval cats, hyenas and wildebeest.
Day 12: Today marks the end of this life changing journey. Transfer to the airport for the return flight home.
Wondering when to visit? You can go at any point in the year, but for each time of year there are certain pros and cons to be considered. It is best to chat with me about when it is you’re considering going on safari, and I will be able to suggest options which may suit your personal expectations of your trip.