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Journey Snapshot

Activity level: Level 3 Involves a high level of physical activity over an extended period, in terrain that may often be uneven, slippery and steep. You would be expected to carry your own backpack and equipment. Not suitable if you have limited mobility.
Destination: ULTIMATE SAFARI OF KENYA PLUS RWANDA
Duration: 13 days, 12 nights
Flight information: Flights depart London Heathrow to arrive into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) on Day 1 and to depart out of Kigali Airport [KGL] on Day 13 back to London Heathrow.
Pickup location: Tour commences Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta Airport (NBO).

Overview

Choose your own departure date for your group.

How to make a truly unforgettable African journey the best ever…add an extension to get up close to the Gorillas in Rwanda

The word safari means journey in Swahili and this journey ia a truly magical journey that will alter you soul forever with Kenya as the ultimate safari destination. You will travel to many different eco systems to see animals specific to those areas.By day we'll see a host of wildlife whilst keeping a look out for the "Big 5" Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino. By night, enjoy spectacular African sunsets, nocturnal wildlife and luxury accommodation. Your specially modified 4x4 vehicles and expert driver guide takes you into the heart of the bush, forest, desert and the great Masai Mara.A truly unforgettable journey deserving of the number one spot on your bucket list. 
After the huge range of wildlife in Kenya,  you may think you are prepared for the magnificence of one truly special species, the mountain gorillas of in Rwanda. But as you will discover, the Gorillas are another experience entirely. The Rwanda safari tours Parc National de Volcans, experiencing a journey through the beautiful terraced hillside that characterises much of Rwanda's landscape and climbs the base of the awesome Virunga volcanoes. This is the natural habitat of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas. Amazing.

Itinerary

Itinerary summary: DAY 1 - Welcome to Nairobi
DAY 2 - Sweetwaters & Ol Pejeta Conservancy
DAY 3 - Samburu National Reserve
DAY 4 - Samburu National Reserve
DAY 5 - Aberdares National Park & The Ark
DAY 6 - Great Rift Valley to Lake Naivasha
DAY 7 - Masai Mara
DAY 8 - Masai Mara
DAY 9 - Masai Mara to Nairobi
DAY 10 - Welcome to Rwanda
DAY 11 - Parc National De Volcans, Gorilla Trekking
DAY 12 - Parc National De Volcans - Kigali
DAY 13 - Kigali and Home
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Full Itinerary

DAY 1 - Welcome to Nairobi

Nairobi is the largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg. Just south of the equator, Nairobi enjoys a spring-like climate. It is a modern city with its main avenues ablaze with colour from tropical bushes and vines. Less than 100 years ago, there was a river in an empty wilderness where Nairobi now stands Nairobui has long attracted world attention as the centre of big-game safaris for the rich and famous. Perhaps the most famous historical safari was that of Teddy Roosevelt, who had 500 porters. Meet and greet today with your Big Journey Company representative and thereafter transfer to the hotel for the night.

DAY 2 - Sweetwaters & Ol Pejeta Conservancy

We have an early departure from Nairobi as we head north to Sweetwaters (approx. 31/2 hours by safari vehicle) this morning.
Situated between the foothills of the Aberdares and the picturesque Mount Kenya in Laikipia, Ol Pejeta is a private wildlife conservancy located on 90,000 acre ranch in Central Kenya. Here there is a strong commitment to endangered species and it is the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa. Ol Pejeta is home to all of the ‘Big 5’, including the endangered white rhino. Other highlights include the Jackson hartebeest and the spotted hyena.
We have lunch at Sweetwaters Serena Camp before we head out again on a game drive in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Dinner will be served back at the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 3 - Samburu National Reserve

We proceed to Samburu after breakfast (approx. 31/2 hours by safari vehicle). Samburu National Reserve (225 sq. km) offers what is arguably Kenya’s greatest - and least changed - encounter with wild Africa. This harsh, savagely beautiful wilderness depends on the steady flow of the Uaso Nyiro River for its existence; the river waters a wide variety of animal species not found south of the Equator, including the majestic Beisa oryx, the reticulated giraffe, the thin-striped Grevy’s zebra, and the ‘giraffe-necked’ gerenuk antelope, which stands on its hind legs to feed. Elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard can all be seen along the river, and the 400-plus species of birds are positively spectacular. Together with neighbouring Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves, this area comprises 844 sq. km of protected semi-desert land.
This area is also the home of the Samburu tribe, cousins of the Masai, who share the same nomadic, cattle-herding existence, and an even stricter adherence to their age-old rites and customs.
Arrive for some leisure time before lunch at the camp’s restaurant. In the afternoon, depart from camp to undertake a game drive in the reserve.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 4 - Samburu National Reserve

Morning and afternoon game drives.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 5 - Aberdares National Park & The Ark

Today we will travel from Samburu to the Aberdares National Park (approx. 4hrs by safari vehicle). Aberdare National Park is one of Kenya’s oldest protected reserves, established in 1950 to safeguard the country’s rarest forest ecosystem.Within its 766 sq. km are some of Africa’s richest alpine landscapes, with ancient cedar forests, heather moorlands and bamboo groves divided by icy streams and deep waterfalls. The Aberdares provide a fascinating stopover between Kenya’s northern deserts and its southern parks. The deep forests here are home to a unique range of wildlife; elephant, giant forest hog, the rare melanistic leopard and serval cats - whose coats have turned black in the rarefied air
Tonight we stay at "The Ark", a boat-shaped hotel set high in the forest of the Aberdares range. This unique lodge offers guests a chance to see incredibly diverse wildlife from very close up. Overlooking the Yasabara saltlick and waterhole, guests spend very little time sleeping during their stay here. Each room is equipped with a couple of beds and an en-suite bathroom, but the main draw is the buzzer that rings every time anything exciting happens at the waterhole - and something exciting happens frequently.
All public rooms of the hotel have viewing decks and large picture windows, allowing guest to enjoy the floodlit action outside. Buffalo and elephants face off against each other over drinking rights. Hyena loiter in the bush, hoping to spot unwary prey. There is an exciting catwalk that allows guests to wander through the forest canopy, always keeping a close eye out for the action at the waterhole. This unique environment seethes with wildlife including lots of leopard and elephant, the rare Giant Forest Hog and even rarer Bongo.
Lunch and Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 6 - Great Rift Valley to Lake Naivasha

Today the road leads us to the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley, arriving for lunch at our lodge. WE will explore the area of Lake Naivasha, the highest and most beautiful of the lakes which form the Great Rift Valley. It is surrounded by a series of volcanoes and calderas, most notably Mount Longonot, an extinct volcano. Lake Naivasha’s name comes from the masai word En-aiposha meaning “heaving” or “to and fro” in reference to how turbulent the waters can get in the afternoons. This area is home to resident giraffe, waterbuck and both Vervet and Colobus monkeys and is also a night stop for hippos.
Lake Naivasha is an ornithologist’s paradise, as well as having excellent fishing with tilapia and black bass first introduced by the early settlers. This is the perfect place to relax, walk with a guide or just sit under a canopy of mature shady Yellow Fever trees and listen to the sound of the animals and view the rich bird life.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 7 - Masai Mara

We enjoy an early breakfast this morning before heading out to Kenya’s richest game reserve: the Masai Mara. The jewel in Africa’s crown, Masai Mara is host to the most spectacular array of wildlife. Here, 1,510 square kilometres of open savannah, woodlands and tree-lined rivers create an eco-system which supports huge numbers of bird and mammal species. The western border of the park is the spectacular Siria Escarpment, and together with the acacia dotted plains, creates scenery of stunning beauty across the whole region. Lion are found in abundance throughout the park as are elephant, giraffe, a variety of gazelle species and zebra. Cheetah and leopard are also regularly seen and, if lucky, you may also find rhino.
Game viewing is never dull in the Mara, and patience is often rewarded with unique sightings: a pride of lion stalking their prey; a solitary leopard retrieving its kill from the high branches of an acacia tree; male wildebeest sparring to attract females into their harem; even a herd of elephant protecting their young from opportunistic predators.
The annual wildebeest migration traditionally is present in the Mara from July-September and at this time nature’s dramas unfold before your very eyes at every turn.
As well as wildlife, the Masai Mara is also home to many members of the colourful Masai tribe who may be seen around the borders of the park - morans (warriors) loping across the plains, young boys herding goats, or elders grouped under a tree discussing matters of the day.
Check-in and lunch upon arrival at the camp (approx. 5 ½ hours by Safari Vehicle).
In the afternoon, depart from camp to undertake a game drive in the reserve before returning to camp early evening for dinner.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 8 - Masai Mara

Masai Mara
Day spent undertaking morning and afternoon game drives.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 9 - Masai Mara to Nairobi

An early morning wakeup call before undertaking a last game drive in the Mara. Return to camp for breakfast, departing thereafter to Nairobi. We will stay overnight in Nairobi before flying to Rwanda first thing tomorrow.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Optional extras: Fly back from the Masai Mara to Nairobi, enjoy lunch in the Karen region of Nairobi before heading to Giraffe Manor to see the Giraffes up close. Optional shopping time permitting. 

DAY 10 - Welcome to Rwanda

It will be an early morning departure from the hotel today in order to make our flights from Nairobi into Kigali, Rwanda. After arrival into Kigali, we drive to Musanze in the northwest part of Rwanda (110km – approx.. 2.5hrs.) On arrival, we check into our lodge and have some time at leisure.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 11 - Parc National De Volcans, Gorilla Trekking

Today will be the most amazing day. All our previous guests have enthused about how this experience has touched their soul and made them think differently about the conservation and survival of the mountain gorilla. A very early morning transfer will be necessary to the Park Office for trekking formalities before we begin. Treks vary in duration depending on which gorilla group you are assigned to and where those animals have chosen to range to. After locating your assigned gorilla group, you will spend approximately one hour in their company before heading back down the volcano slopes. Lunch at the lodge with the afternoon to relax and reflect on this truly special experience.

Included meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner 

DAY 12 - Parc National De Volcans - Kigali

Today you have the morning at leisure before driving to Kigali Serena Hotel.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Optional extras: Golden Monkey Trek 

DAY 13 - Kigali and Home

This morning will be spent at leisure at the hotel before we arrange for your transfer to the airport to meet your departing flight back home.

Included meals: Breakfast 
Accommodation: none 

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More information

What's includedWhat's not includedImportant information

What's included

  • International flights from London Heathrow to Nairobi and returning from Kigali to London Heathrow via Nairobi.
  • One way economy flight from Nairobi to Kigali Airport.
  • Meet & Greet at Nairobi airport on arrival and transfer to the hotel.
  • Park Entrance Fees into specified Parks and Reserves in Kenya.
  • 2 x 1/2 Litre Mineral Water Bottles per person, per day in Safari vehicle.
  • Meals as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Transport in 4x4 vehicle.
  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary.
  • 4* Accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Experienced English speaking tour guides
  • Tour Director from The Big Journey Company as well as the local tour guides (subject to minimum group size of 20 being reached)

What's not included

  • Gorilla Permit: £1239 per person per visit – payable at the time of booking with copies of passport.
  • All entrance fees to non-stipulated attractions.
  • International airport departure taxes.
  • Visa entry to Kenya and Rwanda.
  • Drinks.
  • Gratuities 
  • Any personal items and anything not mentioned under included in price above.
  • Any meals not mentioned in itinerary.
  • Any optional activities offered.
  • Increases in Government taxes and fuel surcharges.

Important information

  • Please let The Big Journey Company know prior to travelling if you have any medical needs or take any medication that we need to be made aware of to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant tour.
  • British and US Passport holders require an E-Visa to visit Kenya and a Visa to enter Rwanda.
  • Vaccinations are recommended for Kenya and Rwanda. Please consult your doctor for advice.
  • Check in is after 2-3pm and check out is before 10am unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Cancellation 90 – 0 days prior to departure cancellation fee is 100%. It is your responsibility to ensure the correct travel insurance in place to protect you against the need to cancel your holiday. Deposits are non-refundable.
  • Further terms and conditions apply and will be provided upon request or at the time of booking. The Big Journey Company reserves the right to withdraw any offer prior to accepting a reservation request. This does not affect your statutory rights. This offer is subject to availability and space is limited.
  • A non-refundable deposit of £2239 per person is due at the time of booking which includes the cost of the Gorilla Permit which is currently £1239 per person per visit. There are a small and limited number of permits available per day and so the Rwanda extension is subject to availability. Full balances will be due 14 weeks prior to departure.
  • A copy of your passport is required at the time of booking in order to be able to arrange your Gorilla Permit.

The big journey promise

The big journey company was set up with one goal in mind, to share our passion for inspirational cultures, destinations and experiences. Over the last 10 years we have had the privilege to escort thousands of travellers on awe inspiring and sometimes life changing journeys. Our promise to every guest who joins us is that we will do everything possible to make sure your journey not only exceeds expectations but delivers at least one moment of true amazement.

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. VAT number: 290797457. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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