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Gorilla Encounter 2017-18

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<p>Go all ‘George of the Jungle’ on this spectacular Gorilla Encounter expedition, packed with more action than you can poke a banana leaf at. This superb short African safari starts and ends in Nairobi, Kenya, with an optional jungle trek in neighbouring Uganda. Get up close and personal with a family of wild mountain gorillas, track chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge and marvel at the fabulous flamingos at Lake Nakuru. With so many memorable animal encounters, you’ll be giving David Attenborough a run for his money.</p>

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Day 1 : Nairobi, Kenya to Lake Nakuru National Park

Combat your jet lag by arriving a day before our epic adventure, and then rise early to depart Nairobi for the 'Great Rift Valley', an enormous cleft in the Earth's surface stretching from the Red Sea to Madagascar (but with particularly marked escarpments here in Kenya). Have your camera at the ready - these views are something to write home about. Later, we stop at our camp near Lake Nakuru National Park, a relatively small park (by African standards) but with an abundant of wildlife thanks to its location on the Great Rift Valley floor. This afternoon will provide a delightful introduction to East Africa's wildlife diversity thanks to an afternoon game drive making use of local guides and smaller safari vehicles for a more intimate experience.<br /> <br /> Included today:<br /> -Great Rift Valley<br /> -Lake Naru National Park game drive<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 2 : Lake Nakuru National Park to Eldoret Park

From Nakuru we continue northwest and climb in altitude towards the town of Eldoret en route to the Ugandan frontier. Brush up on your geology knowledge by learning about the significance of the Equator as we cross it today from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern. Read also: unique photo opportunities. Finally, we reach Eldoret; it's name based on the Maasai word Eldore meaning stony river, due to the stony bed of the nearby Sosiani River. The town is the fifth largest in Kenya and is the fastest growing with a population of nearly 200,000. Once we reach our fabulous campsite, sip on a sun downer around the warmth of an open log fire and marvel at the idyllic setting of waterfalls, streams and wooden bridges. <br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 3 : Eldoret to Kampala, Uganda

Described by Winston Churchill as the 'Pearl of Africa', Uganda is a country with beautiful natural scenery and a rich mosaic of tribes and cultures. Travelling through Uganda, you'll be captivated by its sheer beauty and the friendliness of the local people. Tonight we camp in the capital, Kampala, which is an attractive hilly city bustling with roadside traders, markets and busy matatu (minibus taxi) stands.<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 4 : Kampala to Queen Elizabeth National Park

From Kampala, we travel west towards Queen Elizabeth National Park, once more over the Equator and through fertile, green-terraced hillsides, lush banana plantations and tangled forests. Keep your eyes peeled for the herds of Ankole cattle, with their incredible long, curved horns, roaming the roads and paddocks. Setting up camp just a short distance from the Queen Elizabeth National Park, you'll have the chance to kick back and unwind, take a walk in the surrounding areas and mingle with the community, local style.<br /> <br /> Included today:<br /> -Queen Elizabeth National Park Chimpanzee trekking on either day 4 or day 5<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 5 : Queen Elizabeth National Park

This morning we enter the Queen Elizabeth National Park and take in the magnificent views of the mountains that separate Uganda from central Africa, as well as Lakes Edwards and George. Queen Elizabeth National park has over 500 species of bird and 100 species of mammals, making it one of the most bio-diverse national parks in the world. Nearby, we visit the Kyambura Gorge for an exciting trek to see the chimpanzees. On departing the National Park, we make our way to the stunning Lake Bunyonyi - the perfect place to unwind, relax and explore (on the days that we don't trek to see the mountain gorillas, of course).<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 6 : Queen Elizabeth National Park to Lake Bunyonyi Park

Over the next three days, you and your adventure buddies will be split into two groups. On the first day, one group will trek to witness the amazing mountain gorillas up close, while the others have a free day of chilling out on the lake. Then the next day, the groups swap. <br /> <br /> On the day of our trek, we gather in the early morning to meet our local guide and tracker. The area that we explore is home to the world's remaining 700 mountain gorillas, many of which inhabit the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (please note that occasionally we may need to travel into neighbouring Rwanda to see the gorillas). The trek into the thick rainforest can be demanding at times, with uneven terrain and hilly rainforest, but the privilege of spending time with a family of these gentle primates makes the effort more than well worthwhile. <br /> <br /> Please note: Depending on the availability of the chimpanzee and gorilla permits, the tour itinerary may vary from the brochure itinerary. From time to time, we may have to trek on different days. If at any time our gorilla trek should be in another neighbouring country, i.e Rwanda (instead of Uganda) this may entail extra visa fees, although we shall endeavour to advise you before departure of any significant changes to the tour itinerary. Please take the above itinerary as a guideline only.<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner<br /> <br /> Optional activities:<br /> -Island boat trips<br /> -Village walk<br /> -Traditional dance<br /> -Bird watching<br /> -Canoe hire

Day 7 : Lake Bunyonyi

If you're not on today's trek, take advantage of your free time by the seven kilometer-wide lake with an abundance of boredom-killer activities. Hire canoes and swing by some of the islands, wander the local tribes and villages, visit the local orphanage, and channel your inner explorer with a nature walk. Alternatively, kick your feet up at camp and catch up on the diary or postcards back home.<br /> <br /> Included today:<br /> -Gorilla trekking on either day 7 or day 8<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner<br /> <br /> Optional activities:<br /> -Island boat trips<br /> -Village walk<br /> -Traditional dance<br /> -Bird watching<br /> -Canoe hire

Day 8 : Lake Bunyonyi

For those with a free day, spend your time swanning around the campsite, canoe the lake's peaceful waters or discover why the stunning area is known as the 'place of many birds' with a spot of bird-watching. Today's on your watch, so spend it as you see fit.<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner<br /> <br /> Optional activities:<br /> -Island boat trips<br /> -Village walk<br /> -Traditional dance<br /> -Bird watching<br /> -Canoe hire

Day 9 : Lake Bunyonyi to Kampala

Leaving Lake Bunyonyi, we make our way back across the Equator, through lush pasture lands and the northern reaches of Africa's largest lake, Lake Victoria, to Kampala. A hotspot for great food and entertainment, Kampala is the perfect place for our overnight stay. Take the night to enjoy the hospitality of the local Ugandans, before resting your head and getting in some much-needed zzz's. <br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 10 : Kampala to Jinja

After we farewell the capital, we venture a short distance to Jinja where our camp on the grassy banks of the River Nile awaits. It was in 1862 that the British explorer John Hanning Speke recognised Lake Victoria as the 'source of the Nile', settling a long running dispute about Africa's (and the world's) longest river. From this modest monument, the Nile begins its 6,610km journey through Uganda, Sudan and eventually Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea.<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 11 : Jinja

Since our camp in Jinja overlooks a dramatic set of rapids (known as Bujagali Falls), it's no surprise the region is somewhat of an adrenaline playground. Thrill seekers will revel in the chance to try optional white water rafting, but if you lack that daredevil streak, mountain biking, quad biking and village walks are also on offer.<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner<br /> <br /> Optional activities:<br /> -Bungee jumping<br /> -Quad biking<br /> -White water rafting<br /> -Community school project<br /> -Nile Cruise<br /> -Nile stand up paddleboarding<br /> -Kayaking<br /> -Fishing trips<br /> -Mountain biking

Day 12 : Jinja

When you've had your fill of heart-racing activities, roll up your sleeves and take the opportunity to make a difference for children at a local school project. 'Softpower' is a locally-run volunteer programme aimed at building and improving schools in the Jinja area. Your contribution of a few hours of painting or plastering is always most welcome (and serves as a great mood booster, too).<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner<br /> <br /> Optional activities:<br /> -Bungee jumping<br /> -Quad biking<br /> -White water rafting<br /> -Community school project<br /> -Nile cruise<br /> -Nile Stand Up Paddleboarding<br /> -Kayaking<br /> -Fishing trips<br /> -Mountain biking

Day 13 : Jinja to Eldoret, Kenya

After our excitement-filled break in Jinja, we retrace our steps across the border of Kenya and on towards Eldoret, where we will set up camp for the evening. Tonight, share a few laughs with your new travel pals and reminisce on your gorilla encounter stories around the campfire.<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch<br /> -Dinner

Day 14 : Eldoret to Nairobi

This morning we cross the Equator and make our way back to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Hold back the tears as you farewell the week that was and share awkward hugs with your newfound safari sidekicks. Keen for more adventures? Chat to your guide about arranging an onwards journey.<br /> <br /> Meals:<br /> -Breakfast<br /> -Lunch

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