18 days best of East Africa (Tanzania Kenya Uganda and Rwanda) safari

18 days best of East Africa (Tanzania Kenya Uganda and Rwanda) safari

This 18 days best of East Africa safari is planned to provide the best experiences to explorers in East Africa. The trip will give visitors an opportunity to visit the magnificent lakes of East Africa such as Lake Naivasha and lake Nakuru, feels of the wildernesses such as Serengeti and the Masai Mara, boat cruises and luxurious hot air ballooning activities.

Safari Highlights

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DAY TO DAY SAFARI HIGHLIGHT

SAFARI OVERVIEW

This 18 days best of East Africa safari is planned to provide the best experiences to explorers in East Africa. The trip will give visitors an opportunity to visit the magnificent lakes of East Africa such as Lake Naivasha and lake Nakuru, feels of the wildernesses such as Serengeti and the Masai Mara, boat cruises and luxurious hot air ballooning activities.

You will also have the opportunity to track mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable National Park and explore the hidden treasures in Rwanda.

  • Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Day 2: Visit the Nairobi National Park and transfer to lake Naivasha.
  • Day 3: Explore Lake Naivasha and evening game drive to lake Nakuru
  • Day 4: Lake Nakuru, to Masai Mara reserve.
  • Day 5: Game drive and Masai culture tour.
  • Day 6: Cross to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
  • Day 7: Game drives – full day.
  • Day 8: Hot air balloon safari and drive to Ngorongoro crater.
  • Day 9: Explore Ngorongoro area
  • Day 10: Game drive in lake Manyara National Park.
  • Day 11: Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport and fly to Entebbe, Uganda.
  • Day 12: Transfer to Bwindi impenetrable National Park.
  • Day 13: Gorilla trekking and the Batwa cultural encounter
  • Day 14: Relax at lake Bunyonyi, boat cruise.
  • Day 15: Travel to Volcanoes National Park
  • Day 16: Golden monkey tracking and Iby’iwacu Cultural village tour.
  • Day 17: Dian Fossey grave, hike and drive to Kigali city.
  • Day 18: City tour and departure

DAY BY DAY ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival in Nairobi, Kenya.

Pick up of the guests from the airport by our professional guide. Drive to the hotel in Nairobi where a delicious lunch will be served.  After lunch chill at the hotel as you view Nairobi city from the hotel balconies. Dinner will be served and you will stay for a night.

Day 2: Visit the Nairobi National Park and transfer to lake Naivasha.

The day will start off with a mouth watering breakfast served at the hotel. After here you will embark on the drive to Nairobi National Park where you will have the opportunity to view wild animals such as giraffes, lions, leopards, baboons, wildebeests and cheetahs. Lunch will be served at around 2:00 PM at the hotel.

After lunch drive to lake Naivasha which is approximately 2 hours and 21 minutes’ drive.  Relax and enjoy the evening at the lodge.  Dinner will be served and stay for the night.

Day 3: Explore Lake Naivasha and evening game drive to lake Nakuru

Explore lake Naivasha where you will have the opportunity to see hippopotami and various bird species.  lunch will be served at the hotel at around 1:00 PM.  After lunch transfer to lake Nakuru which is approximately a two hours’ drive.

You will have a game drive in lake Nakuru that will keep you occupied in the afternoon. At around 6:00 PM transfer to the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 4: Lake Nakuru, to Masai Mara reserve.

After breakfast continue on the exploration of lake Nakuru where you will have opportunities to view millions of flamingos lined up at the shores of the lake. Check out and begin the drive to Masai Mara reserve which will take you about 5 hours.  On arrival in Masai Mara check-in at the lodge where will be served dinner and stay for a night.

Day 5: Game drive and Masai culture tour.

Embark on a morning game drive at 7:00 AM in the Mara plains that will go on up to 10:00 AM. A lot of wildlife species will be viewed on this game drive including the big 5. Head to the lodge at around 11:00 AM and later on lunch will be served. In the afternoon, embark on a Masai cultural tour that will be fully packed with entertainment and interaction with the indigenous Masai people. At 6:00 PM make your way back to the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 6: Cross to Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Breakfast served at the lodge as early as possible and later cross over to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania for yet another wildlife encounter therein. Head to the lodge to relax and enjoy sightseeing of vast wilderness from the lodge terrace.  Dinner will be served later and you will stay for the night.

Day 7: Game drives – full day.

After breakfast, you embark on a game drive in the northern Serengeti through Lemala Kuria hills and migration camp. Lunch will be served at 1:00 PM at Mbuzi mawe tented camp. After lunch embark on the afternoon game drive in Namiri plains. Head to the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 8: Hot air balloon safari and drive to Ngorongoro crater.

Visitors be served breakfast at around 5:00 AM after which you embark on the exciting hot air ballooning adventure that will be done very early in the morning before sunrise. The activity will provide opportunities to visitors to view wildlife species from all corners of the National Park.

Head back to the lodge at 1:00 PM for a delicious lunch. Embark on the drive to Ngorongoro crater at around 2:00 PM. Check in at the lodge upon arrival. Have a tour around the lodge. Dinner will be served later and you will stay for the night.

Day 9: Explore Ngorongoro area

After breakfast you explore Olduvai gorge also known as the cradle of mankind that we hope you see and learn about the remains of the first humans who inhabited earth.  Lunch will be served at around 1:00 PM.  After lunch, you will continue to Ngorongoro – The largest caldera in the whole world.  Explore around and later drive to the lodge for a mouth watering dinner and accommodation for the night.

Day 10: Game drive in lake Manyara National Park.

Wake up to a sweet breakfast and thereafter embark on a transfer to Lake Manyara National Park which is approximately a one hour and 50 minutes’ drive.  Have a game drive in the National Park for further wildlife encounters.

Lunch will be served later on at around 1:00 PM.  After lunch, have another game drive for a more rewarding experience in the park.  Head back to the lodge where you will be served dinner and stay overnight.

Day 11: Transfer to Kilimanjaro airport and fly to Entebbe, Uganda.

Get served breakfast at the lodge at around 7:00 AM, after which you will drive to Kilimanjaro airport that is approximately 36 minutes’ drive. Catch the flight to Entebbe International Airport Uganda.  On arrival you will be picked by a professional tourist guide and head to the hotel for relaxation.  Lunch will be served at the hotel.  Relax in the afternoon.  Later on, dinner will be served and stay for the night.

Day 12: Transfer to Bwindi impenetrable National Park.

After breakfast, embark on the drive to Bwindi impenetrable National Park in Uganda which is approximately 10 hours and 15 minutes via Kampala –Mbarara highway.  There will be a stopover in Mbarara for lunch after which you will continue with the journey.  On arrival, you will sign in at the lodge and enjoy the evening breeze as you wait for dinner that will be served and later on stay for the night.

Day 13: Gorilla trekking and the Batwa cultural encounter

Breakfast served at 6:00 AM after which guests will be accompanied to a briefing with the game Rangers of the National Park. While here, you will be given an insight into the rules and regulations that govern this gorilla tracking activity.

At 8:00am, you will continue to the jungle to track down the gorillas. This activity will take about 7 hours and at around 2:00 PM lunch will be served at the lodge.  After lunch you will enjoy the evening to visit the Batwa communities that will be full of entertainment and interaction amidst these welcoming former hunter – gatherers.  Head back to the lodge for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 14: Relax at lake Bunyonyi, boat cruise.

Have breakfast, and you will embark on the journey to lake Bunyonyi in the South which is approximately a three hours’ drive. On arrival you will embark on a canoeing activity that will help you view the diversity of the lake including the spectacular islands. Lunch will be served at the lodge at around 1:00 PM. After lunch at 2:00 PM, you will go for a guided nature walk in the forest around to appreciate nature the more.

At 4:00 PM, go for a boat cruise on the lake that will help you view spectacular bird species that inhabit the lakes vicinity. Head to the lodge for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 15: Travel to Volcanoes National Park

After breakfast, you embark on the journey to Volcanoes National Park which is approximately a two hours and 40 minutes’ drive. On arrival guests will sign in at the lodge facility and relax a little. At around 1:00 PM, you will be served with lunch.

At 2:00 PM embark on the exploration of volcanoes National Park.  Drive through the National Park as you view the word life species and birds that inhabit it. In the evening, head back to the lodge for dinner and stay for the night.

Day 16: Golden monkey tracking and Iby’iwacu Cultural village tour.

Embark on the exciting golden monkey drinking activities.  The golden monkey tracking activity starts off with a briefing by the game Rangers equipping visitors with information of the dos and don’t while on the track. Continue to the jungle to track down the golden monkeys.  The activity will last for about two hours after which you will head back to the lodge for lunch.

At 2:00 PM, embark on the journey to Iby’iwacu Cultural village in the Musanze district for a deep dive into the Rwandan cultures and traditional entertainment. Later head back to the hotel for dinner and stay for the night.

Day 17: Dian Fossey grave, hike and drive to Kigali city.

After breakfast, embark on the journey to the Dian Fossey grave which is about two hours and 45 minutes’ drive. Go on the hike at the destination that will enable you to view forest elephants and primates.

Lunch will be served at around 1:00 PM.  At around 2:00 PM, embark on the drive to Kigali city which is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. Continue to the hotel where you will be served a delicious dinner and stay for the night.

Day 18: City tour and departure

After breakfast embark on a city tour in Kigali Rwanda. Drive through Kigali and go on the hike of the towering mount Kigali for an extraordinary sightseeing opportunity of the nearby areas and the entire city. Be served lunch after the hike at midday. After here continue to Kigali International Airport for your flight back home.

Included in The package/Price:

  • All Domestic Flights as mentioned in itinerary
  • Transfers in a exclusive 4×4 Customized jeep
  • All Airport Transfers.
  • Full Board Accommodations 17 Nights
  • All Activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • 1 Gorilla Permit per person
  • 1 chimpanzee Permit Per person
  • Golden Monkey Permit per person
  • All Boat Cruises Mentioned
  • Bottled water on safari
  • Planned Bush Breakfasts & Sun downers

Excluded in the Package

  • Personal International flight
  • Visa (USD $50 or $100 for east African tourist visa
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Items of personal nature
  • Laundry service
  • Tips

F.A.Q.

There is no standard price for Uganda, Rwanda or Congo gorilla permit –each country has its rates. In Uganda, the charges vary depending on the visitor category. The foreign non-residents are charged USD 700 to have their gorilla permits booked, USD 600 for foreign residents and Ugandans (East Africa citizens) pay shs. 250,000 per person. To have a gorilla permit secured/booked, you need USD 1500 for Rwanda and this is most ideal for luxury/high-end travelers interested in visiting the endangered mountain gorillas.

When booking a gorilla permit, it is also a good thing to have a destination of your desire in mind. The key places to consider a must-visit on gorilla tour include Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park –these are gorilla trekking destinations for tourists on a tour in Uganda. In Rwanda, Volcanoes National Park is where you can locate habituated mountain gorilla families and crossing the D.R. Congo, you can explore Virunga National Park.

It is a good thing to also understand when best to book your gorilla permits to avoid having issues on actual date of gorilla trekking. Considering our experience, we always recommend our clients to have their permits booked early enough at least 2-4 months. This can save you from last minute stress, especially if you plan to travel during the dry season also considered to be the peak season. The peak months of the year fall around June, July, August to September, and December, January to February.

Gorilla permits are among the relevant documents visitors must have to be allowed to track gorillas in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Not any gorilla permit should be presented on actual gorilla trekking adventure but a valid one. Booking gorilla permits is part of making the entire gorilla trip complete and should be done early enough before the actual visit to see mountain gorillas or eastern lowland gorillas.

To have your gorilla permit booked, there is a process one should undergo through and is generally tedious. Considering your tight schedule back home, you may wonder how easier you can have your permit booked in advance to avoid last minute stress.

The easiest way to secure your gorilla permit in Uganda or Rwanda is by dealing with a recognized tour operator/company on the ground. This is where our reservation team comes in. As part of your gorilla safari requirement, our team being on ground will ensure that your permit is booked early enough and everything else that is needed for gorilla trekking is put together.

The beauty about dealing with local safari company such as ours is that we have knowledge on the different gorilla groups and surrounding communities plus various accommodation facilities for your night stay. This is in addition to making the entire gorilla permit booking process easier on behalf of our clients.

There is also an option of booking the permit directly through the reservation team of respective park authorities. But the challenge is that you must undergo through the long process to have your permit booked and this may not favor you depending on your schedule. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) is an organ in charge not only for conservation of wildlife in the Pearl of Africa but also sets prices for tourism activities in the parks including gorilla permits. In Rwanda, you can contact Rwanda Tourism Board/Rwanda Development Board to have your permit booked.

The East African tourist visa is a joint visa that permits one to travel to specific countries within East Africa, namely Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda only. A joint tourist visa can be used several times for various purposes as long as it’s not overdue. 

Tourists should therefore find it important to always remember that the tourist visa lasts for only 90 days.  Processing the tourist visa takes a maximum period of two working days. It is also important to note that the tourist visa prohibits employment.

The process of applying for a tourist visa has been made easier since it can be done with the help of a tour operator or by the individual themselves online through the Ministry of Internal Affairs immigration portal. Visitors are required to log in to the portal, go ahead and accept the terms and conditions for the tourist visa, select the Visa / permit type, the subcategory and category, complete the application form and upload the required documents. 

A reference number will be generated and sent to you through your email, submit it and proceed to payment. It’s important to note that the payment can be made using Visa cards.  An approval letter will be sent to your email after the above process.

Report at the immigration office or border post for the biometric capture with all the necessary documents, receipt of payment, approval letter and your passport. Visitors should regard it as important to enter through the home country issuing the visa.

The East African tourist visa costs a fee of $100 only, meaning that it can be obtained by all travelers ranging from the budget to luxurious ones.

  • Persons aged 15 years and above are allowed to trek gorillas.
  • Avoid sneezing in the presence of gorillas.
  • Always stay away from gorillas by observing distance
  • Do not try to feed gorillas
  • Do not chew in the presence of gorillas
  • Do not take photos with flash light on.