(Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi)
(Parc National des Volcans)
Travel deep into the heart of the continent with this exotic adventure presenting some of the world’s last mountain gorillas. Led by private expert guide, journey through the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda & “the Land of a Thousand Hills,” Rwanda to visit mankind’s closest relatives. Explore the wild jungles of Lake Mburo, safari through the ancient rainforests of Bwindi & follow in the footsteps Dian Fossey in the Parc National des Volcans. Featuring a trip to the equator, drum ceremony, Kigali’s heart-wrenching Genocide Museum & more. This tour give you the chances to visit twice with mankind's closest relative. Looking into the expressive brown eyes of these giants is surely the most exciting and poignant wildlife encounter Uganda & Rwanda has to offer. Enjoy as a standalone africa vacation or as an addition to a safari.
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.
Welcome to the East African primate capital, the heavily forested country of Uganda! Upon arrival to the Entebbe International Airport, a representative will meet and you load up your entire luggage and head towards the Ugandan capital city of Kampala where you will overnight.
The elegant Serena Hotels continuously outdoes itself, and its location in Kampala, Uganda, is no exception. With rich green foliage framing the hotel’s façade, each of the 152 rooms look out on the 17 acres of garden or allow yourself to grow mesmerized by the 7m waterfall on the pool terrace. The hotel’s rooms each have an individual personality, working with cultural artifacts, native wood carving, and contemporary Ugandan design at its foundation. Dining is a fluttery, fairytale-like medley of bursting flavors and delights, from freshly squeezed exotic juices to Italian cuisine and of course, very impressive world cuisine. Make sure to stop by the Maisha Health Club and try out the skin treatments. Revered across Kampala, it is relied on by all who trust in the Serena Hotels name.
Depart the Ugandan capital of Kampala en-route to the Lake Mburo National Park grounds. Your driver will travel in a south-westerly direction for the specific purpose of travelling to workshops of the Mpigi Drum Makers. It is here where you’ll watch numerous ceremonial drums being hand-crafted using the traditional methods passed down from one generation to another. Next, you’ll travel to the extreme center of the Earth, the Equator. After some time spent snapping photos, it’s off to the Papyrus swamps, where tracts of dense, tropical rainforest merge seamlessly into the rolling plains of Ankole. Shortly after travelling through the swamps, you’ll arrive within the confines of the Lake Mburo National Park grounds.
Set out on an adventurous game drive around the Lake Mburo National Park grounds today. The eco-diversity of this park makes for quite the journey as you explore some of the many hillsides, grasslands and water based wildlife habitats. To hone in on the specific wildlife one would want to see, the park has designated routes or “tracks” which travel to the specific landscape where these wildlife species thrive. Travelling along the “Zebra Track” will boast a variety of plain-game including Burchell zebra, bushbuck, oribi and reed buck. To find species like the elusive klipspringer one would have to travel along the “Ruroko Track.” This track is home to wildlife that requires a habitat that features a wetland basin surrounded by thick acacia shrub and woodlands.
Your park fees are included for this day.
The exclusive Mihingo Lodge is a peaceful retreat which strategically sits adjacent to Lake Mburo National Park. The property features ten tented rooms which have been built on raised wooden platforms that are covered by a thatched roof. Suspended under the thatched roof is a spacious and comfortable tent which has been equipped with safari style amenities and facilities including en-suite bathrooms that produce both hot and cold running water for the shower, and flushing toilets. The property also features a large dining area and an infinity pool.
Wake up bright and early today to enjoy an exciting morning game drive around Lake Mburo. After your game drive, you'll depart the confines of the Lake Mburo National Park and head towards the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Often referred to as the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, this area boast some truly thick vegetation consisting of massive evergreen trees that stretch to great heights for sunlight. It is here within the Impenetrable Forest where almost half of the world’s population of Mountain Gorilla reside. The travel time between these two diverse locations is approximately 6 hours depending on weather conditions.
In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to relax.
The Gorilla Forest Camp is a luxury tented camp centered in the deep and steamy rainforest of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. The park is host to around half of the world’s endangered mountain gorilla population. The 8 double tents offered by the camp are ideal quarters for those looking to track gorillas. The camp offers all the facilities of home, plus more. Décor is intricate weavings and hand carvings, with a personality for each room. Tents have romantic en-suites looking out on the forest, with bathtubs raised on little feet. Dining can be taken outside or indoors under candle light, with fires built on some evenings. Service and cuisine is top notch, with many giving in to indulgence. Others take part in nature walks and birding, and of course, gorilla tracking.
Wake up very early and depart with a picnic lunch to track the rare Mountain Gorillas (hiking boots required). The tracking may take between 5 and 8 hours. The Park Guides with you interpret the flora and fauna and the lifestyle of the Gorillas. Return in the evening for dinner and overnight at the lodge. Only persons age 15 and over are allowed to track the gorillas.
Travel today between Bwindi and Parc National des Volcans by private car and english speaking driver.
Enjoy a box lunch while you travel (included in tour price).
The Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is conveniently placed at the feet of the Virungas, the striking volcano mountains through which so many hike in order to catch a glimpse of mountain gorillas. The 8 cottages and suites are structured so as to give guests the most all-encompassing view, promising privacy, a vast countryside, and beautifully decorated quarters. Dining is a similarly pleasing experience, with a variety of fare meeting the standards of even the most discerning traveler. Staff here are extremely helpful, all possessing a very caring nature, and a willingness to assist guests. Besides visiting the famed mountain gorillas, be sure to check out the local marketplaces and find out more about local community projects.
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. 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. 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. 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.
Travel today between Kigali and Parc National des Volcans by private car and english speaking driver.
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.
Enjoy your transfer between the airport and hotel.
Depart from Kigali international airport - end of itinerary.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Irene Saurwein ,
April 21, 2014
"I thought that both Raymond and Mike were outstanding guides. Our trip was wonderful. The only point I want to make that the food at the Farm House was not very good. Pretty disappointed. Our stay at the Serena in both locations was great. Overall great trip that we will never forget."
Francis Quinn ,
April 21, 2014
"The Mbugani Camps were nice but the beer was warm and they don't have ice. The owner was a great guy. Enjoyed Mara West. The staff and food were great. The second evening the loud mouth owner conducted a business meeting on the front porch disrupting a peaceful cocktail hour. It was totally inappropriate since he was very loud and discussed his business dealings with Kensington with others. They also need an ice machine. They ran out every night. Albert is probably the best guide I have ever had. Very knowlegeable. Mike was great too. Fabulous trip. You guys did a great job. We had a wonderful time."
Shayna Maislin ,
April 21, 2014
"Our party of 4 believe that we were given incorrect information regarding the type of suitcase that we should purchase for this trip. We were advised to buy a suitcase that was soft sided and no wheels. We arrived in Africa to see many others going on Safari with suitcases that had wheels. It was difficult for us to manouever our bags. I would highly recommend the tour guide that we had in the Serengetti . He was extremely knowledgeable, very helpful and courteous. We learned a great deal from Wasari . Our tour guide in the Mara was just ok . It would have been great to have the tour guide that we had in Serengeti for the complete trip. We understood that he could have crossed over from Tanzania into Kenya to get us . There was one flight within the country that we felt we may have been better off driving. We all believed that our Sales consultant could have spent more time with us on the phone going over the itinerary and guiding us through some of the decisions that we were making. For example Lake Manyara was not really necessary and perhaps we could have used that extra day in Zanzibar . These are some of the decisions that we felt our consultant could have assisted us with . We all agree that Kensington has first class staff working for them in Africa. All the camps that we stayed at were absolutely beautiful except perhaps for the one in Lake Manyara. All in all it was a spectacular trip!"
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
Frank Manna ,
April 21, 2014
"Our guided transfers were exceptionally accommodating even though our flights were considerably delayed. The Annavillanas Jungle Lodge was spectacular for location, accommodations and food. The Rio Carnival experience was unique and unforgettable and our seats were wonderful. Loved the location of our hotel in Rio.......right on the street of Copacabana Beach.......fantastic. The only negative during our entire trip was the routing of the airline flights. Was there no way to avoid the flight from Rio to Manaus and then Manaus to Rio for our flight home. We seem to have travelled 2000 miles to the same starting location. Next time I would appreciate a more thorough exploration of all possible routes that would be more expedient and less strenuous for the travelers. I realize that there are limitations but I rely on Kensington to assist me in making the best decision for my wife and me."
Michael Melvin Marsh ,
April 21, 2014
"The trip was very special and i credit Sunita Singh for helping to make it such. We worked on the itinerary for three months and she was very helpful, knowledgeable and present."
Lucy Gilkes ,
April 21, 2014
"The whole trip was wonderful but the guides were what made it for us. They were knowledgeable and thoughtful a pleasure to spend time with."
Janine Chey ,
April 21, 2014
"Our trip to Masai Mara via Kensington ran very smoothly. We stayed at the Mara West Lodge. Beautiful location atop a ridge overlooking the Masai Mara plains. Our luxury tents were quite comfortable and the staff/service at the lodge were great. Meals were very nice especially the daily soups. Our guide, Steve, was also great...so knowledgeable and eager to show us many interesting things. He planned our daily game drives and took us on a nature hike one afternoon. He clearly knows and understands this ecosystem. He has an amazing eye, finding animals in fields of tall grasses. Our entire family had an amazing time, trip of a lifetime...would love to go back!"
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