(Nairobi, Naivasha, Masai Mara)
(Parc National des Volcans)
A trip of contrasts, from the lushes greens of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda to the Lake Nakuru, from Lake Naivasha to the savannah of Masai Mara, this trip showcases the highlights of Kenya & Rwanda.
In the heart of Africa lies a land where mist hangs over great, old volcanoes that tower almost 15,000 feet high. Rwanda, also known as “the land of a thousand hills” is a place so breathtakingly beautiful, you’ll find yourself blinking more often, making sure the scene before you is not a mirage. Feel the exhilaration of trekking through dense rainforests, bougainvillea and frangipani flowers dotting the endless green hills around you as the crisp, moist air sends a shiver down your back; or maybe it’s the anticipation of seeing your first mountain gorilla. In the evenings, as you process the wondrous events of the day, relax in charming accommodations that allow you to commune with the natural world around you.
Before heading for the lush mountains, explore the beauty and heartache of Kigali. Visit the popular marketplaces where the vendors are as vibrant as the local produce, then continue on to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center built on the site where an estimated 250,000 victims were buried. This location serves as a place for grieving as well as educating about the tragic events that occurred in 1994. Continue on to the Park des Volcanoes located within a magnificent chain of dormant volcanoes and home to the last surviving mountain Gorilla populations. Trek with your expert guide in search of these immense and beautiful creatures and thrill at getting so close to them. It is an experience you will never forget.
Return to Kenya and start your quintessential safari with your own private vehicle and driver guide. From the world-renowned plains of the Masai Mara, where big cats and wild dogs roam, to the crystal blue waters of Lake Nakuru teeming with bright pink flamingos, spend your days creating exotic memories that will last a lifetime. Discover the magnificent and diverse landscapes together and delight in seeing massive elephants, bobbing hippos, whimsical giraffes and lightning-fast cheetahs in their natural environment. Finish your safari in the Masai Mara Reserve, known as Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve, and explore the grasslands and riverine forests in search of over 95 species of mammals and 570 recorded species of birds. And, if visiting during the months of July – October, behold one of the grandest spectacles Africa has to offer, the annual migration of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle and wildebeests. Spend your nights in classic safari camps, game lodges and family chalets under a canopy of stars and dream of adventures that await you.
NOTE: Gorilla permits are secured with you trip's deposit. Once secured they are non-refundable. It will take 24-48 hours to secure the purchase from the authorities as they are sold on a first come first served basis. The park authority/management reserves the right to cancel any permit without any refund or further reference.
Kensington Tours offers local support in each region you visit, another reason we deliver unbeatable value. Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
A privately driven vehicle will provide you with a transfer between the hotel and airport. After your guide has loaded up your luggage you will be driven through Nairobi admiring some of the sights (time permitting). Your guide will brief you on your itinerary en-route.
While you are in the care of Kensington Tours, your safety and security are our number one priority. As such, in the unlikely event of serious illness or injury, all Kensington Tours clients are covered by “Flying Doctors” Insurance policy. This emergency evacuation insurance covers the cost of the evacuation flight back to Nairobi for treatment. This insurance policy however DOES NOT cover the cost of any medical treatment received. We highly recommend travel insurance for full coverage.
Take your flight from Nairobi to Kigali today. The flight duration is approximately 1hr 30mins.
Prepare your senses for an explosion of culture and emotion during today’s excursion through Kigali. Begin by visiting some of the popular market places to view and purchase if you’d like some of the local products. Next, you’ll travel to a location stained with heart aching cultural history, The Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. This tragic memorial was constructed in April 2004 to honour those whom lost their lives during the Rwandan Genocide. The centre was built on the site where an estimated 250000 victims were buried. This location serves as a place where individuals can grieve the loss of their loved ones as well as to provide educational information regarding the genocide. Rwandans believe that although the gruesomeness and painful emotions associated with this tragedy may be construed as negative it is extremely important that the younger generations of Rwandans fully understand the reasons and effects of such an event on a nation. The Centre features three permanent exhibits which depict the events of 1994, as well as a children’s memorial which exhibits the history of genocidal violence towards children from all over the world.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer today from Kigali to Parc National des Volcans. The approximate travel time is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The Park des Volcanoes is located in the Virunga Mountains, a magnificent chain of dormant volcanoes in the North of the country, and home to the world´s last surviving mountain Gorilla populations, currently a mere 700 individuals. After breakfast you will depart the lodge and drive for approximately 1 hour to the Park Headquarters where you will meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will provide an informative session on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. After the session the hike into the forest begins. A full day trek with your guide through the park is a reasonably strenuous activity which can last the morning or all day as you seek out the gorilla families. The guide will take you to where the gorillas were seen the night before and begin to track them from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes not in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough and at times quite muddy. Once the gorillas are located all the aches and fatigue of the trek are forgotten, as the experience is often described as finding a hidden natural treasure in the mist. Viewing time is limited to one hour, and only 8 maximum are allowed per group. Visitors are asked to maintain a distance of 7m (about 22 feet) from the gorillas. Cameras and plenty of fast speed film are recommended. It can rain at anytime in the forest, so waterproof clothing is recommended for you, your cameras and film. Please note that plastic (e.g. carrier / shopping) bags are illegal in Rwanda. Kids under age 15, or people sick with a cold, flu or other contagious illness, are not allowed to visit the gorillas.
PERMITS MUST BE PAID IN FULL AT TIME OF CONFIRMATION AND ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
Golden monkeys are a local subtype of the blue monkey which are endemic to the Albertine rift and live in the montane forests of the Volcanoes National Park area of Rwanda. There is currently 2 groups of habituate golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park, also popularly known as Parc de National Volcans. Each of the habituated golden monkey groups has between 80-100 members in each troop. The golden monkeys are a very playful and inquisitive primates which are habituated to human presence and will usually act up the presence of human visitors leaping from tree to tree as they feed on the bamboo shoots in the forest. Only open for visitors since June 2003, enjoy a rare treat watching these unique primates play and perform in the forest.
Like with gorilla trekking, golden monkey trekkers are required to assemble at PNV park headquarters at 07:00am for pre-tracking briefing. The park guides will lead into the forest for the search of the golden monkeys. The golden monkeys are mostly found at the foot of Mt Sabyinyo. Golden monkey tracking is generally less arduous and less challenging that the gorilla trek.
A private vehicle with English speaking driver will provide a transfer today from Parc National des Volcans to Kigali. The approximate travel time is 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Relax during this short flight departing Kigali, Rwanda and traveling to the urban hub of Nairobi, Kenya. The approximate flight time is 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Hop aboard a privately driven vehicle with your guide for this transfer from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha. Admire the scenery as you make your way through rural Kenya onto the Rift Valley, an area boasting quaint little villages which dot the traditional African landscape. Prepare yourself for you first glimpse of Mount Longonot as you make route through the Hell’s Gate National Park before arriving to Lake Naivasha. This drive will take approximately 1.5 hours to complete, depending on traffic and weather conditions.
You'll head out early this morning to explore Lake Nakuru National Park. The park is home to both Black and White Rhinos, as well as Rothschild's Giraffe. A sanctuary area has been necessitated in order to preserve these endangered wildlife species.
Prepare for an excitingly unique excursion to the Crescent Island Wildlife Sanctuary whilst in the Lake Naivasha area today. Admire the scenery as you take a short boat trip from the mainland to this dynamic location where you’ll have the opportunity to get in some wildlife viewing at a very relaxed pace. As there is little to no threat from some of the “Big 5” predators, the various species of wildlife, birdlife and flora live quite freely here, providing visitors with some great photo opportunities. Some of the many mammals that can be seen here include zebras, impalas, buffaloes, giraffes, and hippos. Resident bird species include herons, black cranes, lily trotters, ospreys and fish eagles.
Your guide will drive you from Naivasha to Masai Mara. This drive will take about 5 to 6 hours. Drive times may be longer in the rainy season (April to early May and November). Stop for refreshments and souvenir shopping at roadside stands along the way or head straight to the park. Enjoy game viewing as you enter Masai Mara and drive to your camp.
Head out this afternoon, accompanied by an experience tracker-guide, on an exciting game viewing adventure. Search some of the area`s wildlife hot-spots determined by your guide, as they`ve learned and now understand the games daily routines through tracking. Some wildlife is more difficult than others to spot, for instance the Leopard. These spotted cats blends almost seamlessly into the tall grass and shrubbery, and are even more challenging to spot up in their favorite hangout, the trees. Your guide will take you to nearby watering holes, where on a hot day, you`ll spot many bird and wildlife species, including the elusive Leopard.
Just like the local wildlife, you’ll head out bright and early this morning, alongside an experienced tracker-guide for the day’s first game drive. The eco-diversity and sheer size of the Masai Mara Game Reserve provides the necessary requirements to house a wide range of animal species. The most recognized are known worldwide as the African Big 5, which includes the African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Rhinoceros, Leopard, and the King of the beasts, the Lion. The term Big 5 was coined by big-game hunters, as these species were the most difficult and dangerous to track and hunt. Subsequently the term was adopted by the tourism industry for marketing purpose, spinning a web of positivity opposed to the negative effect portrait by the original terminology. Numerous other species of bird and wildlife inhabit this dynamic location including Hyenas, Gazelles, Impalas, Giraffes, Zebras, Vultures, Cranes, Eagles, Falcons, and Ostriches.
On today’s afternoon game drive, the choice is up to you: search for the Big 5 or expand your horizons to discover something different. Masai Mara not only has a rich mix of animals – it also has an incredible array of bird life with almost 450 different species.
The famed Masai Mara Game Reserve was named after the indigenous inhabitants of this land, the Maasai, and the provider of life to the area, the Mara River. Game viewing is almost guaranteed at some point along the Mara River, and your experienced tracker-guide will know all the best spots to go to maximize this chance to see some of the many bird and wildlife species here. Have your camera handy, as some amazing photo opportunities will present themselves from elephants on the riverbanks to hippos in shallow water.
Set out this afternoon accompanied by your guide on another exciting game drive through the Masai Mara Game reserve. The Mara area is one of the few places left in Africa where one can still spot Rhinos in the wild. Your guide will take you to locations where Rhinos have been recently reported to see if you can snap some photos of these elusive lumbering giants.
Transfer between Mara Park and Nairobi by road. Includes stops at souvenir shops and refreshment stands. One hour of road is badly potholed.
Enjoy a box lunch while you travel (included in tour price).
The opportunity to explore the local markets and shops presents itself today as so you can interact with the local vendors in search for the perfect handicraft or souvenir for yourself or your loved ones.
Included in your stay, stop at the famous Carnivore restaurant. The Carnivore first opened in 1980 and is a meat speciality restaurant. Commonly referred to as the ultimate 'Beast of a Feast' - here you will enjoy a variety of meat roasted over charcoal and carved at your table. Meats commonly include beef, chicken, and options to try game meat such as crocodile or ostrich. Delicious side dishes and an array of sauces complement the meats served. Your meal also includes soup, a selection of desserts and Kenyan coffee. Set in attractive tropical gardens, the restaurant remains a local attraction for international visitors.
Please let us know in advance if you have any dietary restrictions, requirements or food requests.
Situated in the trendy new Upper Hill financial district of Nairobi, Crowne Plaza Nairobi is the model of modern five-star elegance. The property embodies an ideal fusion of thoughtful design and indulgence, and comes ripe with opportunity to discover nearby Nairobi National Park to see big cats and giraffes at the Masai Mara game reserve. Earthy textures and dark wood throughout Crowne Plaza Nairobi evoke the wild plains and acacia trees of Kenya's big game reserves. The property offers a host of amenities and facilities including a luxurious health club, a stylish unisex hair salon, a 24-hour state of the art gymnasium, and an outdoor swimming pool. Five floors comprised of 162 Rooms, 13 Suites, and 29 Club Rooms are all equipped with the latest in technology, high speed complimentary Internet, Wi-Fi, minibar, in-room safe, tea and coffee facilities, and 24 hour room service.
The Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is the new mid range lodge in the area and is perfectly situated for gorilla tracking in Rwanda. The 30 individual cottages have been built on 4 acres of land on the slopes of Mt Sabinyo. The stone and thatch cottages each have ensuite facilities, a small lounge with a fire place and a private veranda. The cottages are of a good size and are well positioned to give them privacy from each other. There is a separate restaurant and bar area where meals served to the guests. Mountain Gorilla View Lodge provides good value for money at the same time as great views and easy access to Parc National des Volcans.
The Simba Lodge is situated not far from Nairobi, surrounded by gardens on the serene Lake Naivasha. Its 70 rooms are spacious and pleasantly decorated to fit in with the light, earthy and calm surroundings. Dining is an all-around pleasant experience, where one may choose their favorites and make new discoveries at the wide buffet. Traditional and international cuisine is offered, as well as curries, which are popular with the locals. Hell’s Gate is not far, and there are plenty of activities such as cycling and rock climbing there. Otherwise, take a boat ride or nature walk during your free time.
Like an African castle in the sky, Sopa Lodge Naivasha spins wondrous safaris from natural treasures below the golden Kenyan sun. It is situated on the southern shores of Naivasha, the largest freshwater lake in the Great Rift Valley. Let this dazzling resort of 21 cottages prepare you for mouth-dropping silence. Feast on the succulent meats and preparations of the hotel’s talented chefs. Allow your eyes to indulge in the scenery and wildlife that draws so many to visit this hotel, built for open views of nature’s activities at their most untouched. Make sure to wander around the compound. You will be enchanted by the fine architecture, cathedral ceilings, and grand windows. Stroll around the gardens, and take a swim. It’s hard to leave this heavenly escape.
Nestled against a wooded thicket and surrounded by savannah, Mara West combines luxury accommodations with the breathtaking adventures of an unforgettable African safari. The rooms are perched in secluded spots on the edge of the Oloololo Escarpment, offering guests panoramic views of the Masai Mara Game Reserve below and a sense of exclusive privacy. The camp is home to resident herds of gazelles, impalas and zebras, as well as an abundance of bird life, and is visited regularly by a variety of wildlife passing to and from the park. The stunning beauty of the Mara, the uninterrupted grazing of the antelope, the night calls of the bush babies, and the early morning chorus of songbirds, all this, combined with the comfortable and tasteful ambiance of the camp, is part of the Mara West experience and what makes it a unique paradise for nature lovers.
May 11, 2015
"We were a group of 5 to Morocco. We were impressed at how seamless our private guided tour went. Accommodations were five star, the choice of family run hotels, beautifully appointed with Moroccan furnishings and large breakfasts, contributed to our experience. Our guide, Ishmail and driver, Abdul, made us feel like family. Ishmail showed off his country with pride, listened to our needs and was flexible to our style and speed of travel. We couldn't be happier with our Kensington experience beginning with the pre-planning in the US with Lily Baffour. Thank you very much for a memorable experience! "
May 12, 2015
"Our guide, Chakim, was fantastic, and our driver was excellent. We were very pleased with our accommodations. Only negative comments would be the villa in Essaouira (room, food, service not good although people very nice), and, while probably not an issue for other travelers, we were disappointed that we could not relax over a glass of wine at the end of our journey because Hotel Le Doge did not offer alcoholic beverages. We are currently scheduled with Kensington Tours for India in November and we are now planning on scheduling with Kensington for all our trips - right now that would be Thailand to Mynamar, and Egypt with Dubai extension. We are extremely happy with Kensington Tours and their travel agents. We would recommend Lily Balfour to anyone. "
April 08, 2015
"Kensington and its partners did not miss a single deadline, appointment or function to our total satisfaction. The result, no stress and total enjoyment."
April 08, 2015
"Christine was absolutely superb both in helping us frame and develop a custom tour as well as in constant follow up until we left. Inevitably things will change on the ground when trips are planned in advance and Christine was consistently on top of the changes and advised us accordingly. As first time travelers to Kenya and Tanzania Christine's advice and guidance was simply excellent. Rose, in Kensington's Nairobi office was likewise superb. Totally responsive to our needs, she helped make a few final adjustments while we were there. Once again, an exceptional experience made possible by Kensington."
Sachi Gowda ,
December 15, 2014
"We are extremely happy with your service from beginning to end and we had very a memorable trip."
Ronald Jones ,
December 12, 2014
"I cannot express how fabulous our trip was!! I know it was made that way thanks to ALL the kind, knowledgable, and helpful people that you all placed in our path. Many went above and beyond to make our experience even more positive. From drivers, to guides, to hotel staff---we met some wonderful people that we can now call friends. Thank you Christine and Kensington tours for this once in a lifetime African adventure!"
December 15, 2014
"Christine, our family trip was ALL we wanted it to be. The hotel accommodations in the cities were GREAT. We needed to make some room assignment adjustments but that's to be expected with a large family with children and same names.
I don't know where/how ya'll got those guides but...KEEP'EM! In both Cape Town and Joberg the guys knew their cities and environs excellently. Their English was very good...so good in fact that several got the sarcasm and even joked some. I do apologize if we over-tipped. I relied on each family to tip their own driver but, I wasn't sure of their "sense of what was right" so I followed up with something for each.
Simbavati was "PERFECT". As much as Glenda and I really liked Ngala, I do not think they could have handled a family as well...UNLESS, they had accommodations we did not see.
Please rest assured when ever I plan to travel on a multi-dimensional trip in the future, for sure with a group, or maybe just Glenda and I, I'll be calling Kensington... Christine and Donna specifically. And most definitely, anytime I can recommend a travel professional, your company and you two will be mentioned by name!
Thank you again Christine...you presented us the exact trip we dreamed about for our family and your folks on the ground made it happen! I sincerely hope you, Donna and everyone else involved have a most Blessed Christmas and a wonderful, successful New Year!"
Bruce Lundstrom ,
December 15, 2014
"Morocco has a lot to offer. Food, historic sites, craftsmen (rugs, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, etc.), natural beauty, roads and infrastructure, and a reasonably safe environment. Both Guide (Abdel) and Driver were excellent. Service-oriented, timely and easy going. Abdel was not afraid to speak his mind, offer suggestions and give us feedback on ideas. We enjoyed their company."
December 09, 2014
"A truly wonderful trip......first class accommodations and service in each venue....the guides were knowledgable and went out of their way to insure that we could see and understand Africa. Capetown is a fascinating city, Sabi Sands an extraordinary private game preserve, and Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls and the Victoria Falls Hotel a once in a lifetime experience. For those who want to visit Africa we enthusiastically recommend Kensington Tours. And Jolene Plant stayed with us in every step during the planning of our trip and itinerary. We saw as much of Africa as much as anyone can during our two weeks vacation."
Belinda Skelton ,
December 12, 2014
"This was one of the most amazing trips that I have ever had. The custom tours and activities exceeded my expectations. I was traveling alone but felt safe and in good hands. The process of booking the trip with Lily Baffour was so easy and personal, especially with the constant communications from her up to my departure. Thank you Kensington Tours for an awesome experience. I will definitely use you for my next adventure!"
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