14 days

Serengeti & Silverbacks

Serengeti & Silverbacks

Kigali's Genocide Memorial - a monument to the courage and resilience of the Rwandan people

Game drives in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Serengeti

The 'Garden of Eden' of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ngorongoro Crater

Gorilla trekking in Parc National des Volcans

The black-maned tree-climbing lions and flamingos of Lake Manyara National Park

The flamingos of Lake Nakuru

Lake Naivasha's hippos

Masai Mara's mammal migrations

Tented camp stays

Game drives in the Masai Mara

Trip rating
  • Combine the amazing wildlife experiences on the East African savannahs with a trek in the forests of Rwanda to visit the mountain gorilla. This is the ultimate wildlife adventure in which we get to meet and interact with a multitude of iconic African wild animals in their natural habitat. Flying into Kigali, our wildlife encounter begins as we journey into the jungle and come face-to-face with the mountain gorillas. The opportunity to encounter these gentle and contemplative creatures up close is sure to be something you'll remember forever. Lake Nakuru welcomes us with flocks of pink flamingos resplendently feeding on the soda lake in the midst of the Great Rift Valley. The Masai Mara and the adjoining Serengeti National Park make up one of nature’s great playgrounds, where large herds of zebras, wildebeests and gazelles mingle amidst elephants and giraffes, all the while looking out for their erstwhile predators – lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas. The fabled Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara provide more incredible sightings.

     

    TRIP CHANGE FOR 2015:
    We have changed the day title on Day 5 to Lake Elementaita, Day 6 remains the same at Lake Nakuru to make the locations more accurate.
    There is no impact to the trip. All included activities will remain the same.

    Why we love it

    • Combine the amazing wildlife experiences on the East African savannahs with a trek in the forests of Rwanda to visit the mountain gorilla.
    • This is the ultimate wildlife adventure in which we get to meet and interact with a multitude of iconic African wild animals in their natural habitat.
    • Flying into Kigali, our wildlife encounter begins as we journey into the jungle and come face-to-face with the mountain gorillas.
    • The opportunity to encounter these gentle and contemplative creatures up close is sure to be something you'll remember forever.
    • Lake Nakuru welcomes us with flocks of pink flamingos resplendently feeding on the soda lake in the midst of the Great Rift Valley.
    • The Serengeti National Park is one of nature’s great playgrounds, where herds of zebras and gazelles mingle with elephants, giraffes and rhinos, while lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas prepare to pounce.
    • The fabled Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara provide more incredible sightings.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Kigali - Ruhengeri (Musanze)

    • On arrival at Kigali Airport you are met by our local representatives. You must arrive in Kigali before 2pm. If your flight does not arrive before 2pm, you need to arrive one day earlier and book one night's pre-tour accommodation as well as an arrival transfer (both at additional cost).
    • Please make sure you've read the visa information for Rwanda on your pre-departure information before you depart as you're required to apply for your visa before arrival.
    • Our tour begins with a drive through the verdant rolling hills of Rwanda. Our accommodation is located in the Kinigi region, approximately 17km from Musanze town (formerly Ruhengeri). The lodge is nestled on the scenic lower slopes of Sabinyo Volcano - one of five volcanoes located in the Parc National des Volcans.
    Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar
    Dinner

    Day 2 - Parc National des Volcans (Gorilla Trekking Day)

    • This morning we have a very early start driving to the park headquarters where we are briefed on our gorilla trek by the guides of Parc National des Volcans. This 13,000 hectare national park protects the Rwandan sector of the Virunga Mountains and includes a range of six extinct and three active volcanoes that straddle the border with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    • Bamboo forest is interspersed with alpine moorland, grassland and marshland. In this park, there are ten different gorilla families - Group 13, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Susa, Kwitonda which has recently arrived from the DRC and are now settled in Rwanda and the Hirwa group, newly formed from different habituated families.
    • Gorilla trekking is highly controlled with only 80 gorilla trekking permits available each day. Once a trekking group encounters one of the gorilla families, only one hour is granted in the presence of the great apes before trekkers must leave the family, however reluctantly.
    • The trek can be strenuous and may reach altitudes of almost 3000 metres above sea level. Depending on weather conditions, some of the paths can be slippery and these paths themselves can change depending on the location of the gorillas. Hence it is very hard to predict how long we need to walk for, but a very good level of fitness is recommended for everyone taking on this trek, as it may take anything between 40 minutes and five hours to reach our designated gorilla family. The trackers have already set out and located the gorilla family by the time we start our trek, so our actual time of walking can usually be predicted when we set off.
    • Generally the time spent walking is not as long as for a similar activity in Uganda. All this may seem like hard work, but the end result is one you are sure to cherish forever, as to stand so close to these amazing animals is indeed an emotional experience. As lunch can only be taken upon return to the hotel, it is recommended that you bring a few snacks to keep you going throughout the morning. At the end of the day the comforts of the hotel beckon, along with a chance to reflect on what is sure to be a truly memorable day.
    Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Optional Extra Trek - Kigali

    • You will have various trekking options today. You may choose to visit another gorilla family, see the rare golden monkey or take a hike up to the grave of Dian Fossey and the remains of the Old Karisoke Research Station. It is strongly advised that these options are pre-booked and confirmed at time of purchase of the main tour, in order to ensure availability. Gorilla trekking permits in particular can be booked out many months in advance.
    • For those who loved the book and/or movie 'Gorilla's in the Mist', the Dian Fossey Trek is a good option. Over the course of the morning you will follow in Dian Fossey's footsteps on your way to her grave, as well as the graves belonging to many poached gorillas including famous Digit. You will be guided around the area where Old Karisoke Research Station was set up by a park guide. Although very little of the station remains, the setting is incredible and one can imagine the incredible life that Dian Fossey led in these isolated mountains.
    • For a more leisurely but equally unique experience, trekking in search of golden monkeys is highly recommended. In June 2003 the National Parks Department first allowed permits to walk the trails in search of these rare and engaging primates. This walk will take you to the edge of the forest and watching these unique monkeys play and interact is a mesmerising experience. Please note that the roads leading to both of the above treks are not in the best condition, so be prepared for a rough and bumpy ride.
    • You will then travel back to Kigali late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Accommodation tonight will be at the Lemigo Hotel or a hotel of a similar standard. Dinner tonight will be at your own expense and can be enjoyed at one of the many nearby restaurants.
    Lemingo Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 4 - Kigali - Nairobi

    • This morning you will be taken on a city tour of Kigali, including the Genocide Museum which was opened in 2004 to mark the tenth anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Whilst the genocide occurred as a result of a complex series of factors, it can only be seen as an absolute tragedy to Rwanda and its people. Time spent at the museum is sure to be emotionally moving, but it is an important way to understand the sheer courage and resilience of the people of this beautiful, tiny nation.
    • You will then be transferred to Kigali International Airport, arriving there about midday. Please note that your international departure flights from Kigali today should not be booked to depart before 2.00pm. Please ensure flight details have been sent to Peregrine so your transfers can be arranged accordingly.
    • On arrival in Nairobi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Upon arrival in the Nairobi hotel your local representative will meet you to ensure that all is well. Your tour leader will meet you at the hotel at approximately 6.00pm to provide a tour briefing, as well as any additional tours or activities that you may wish to enjoy whilst in Nairobi.
    • The rest of the day will be at your leisure. In your spare time before the tour briefing there are a number of places to visit in and around Nairobi. Options include the Karen Blixen Museum, Langata Giraffe Centre and a meal at the famous Carnivore Restaurant, where meat lovers can taste a variety of barbecued game meat.
    Panafric Hotel or similar
    Breakfast

    Day 5 - Lake Nakuru

    • We depart Nairobi after breakfast and head north, driving along the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley.
    • This morning we will drive to Elsamere, stopping for lunch with the lake as a serene backdrop. 'Elsamere' is the former home of the writer, Joy Adamson. 'Born Free' was written in 1960 and did much to bring the issue of African wildlife conservation into the mainstream. The house is a veritable museum that dedicated to the works of Joy and George Adamson, and of course there are many photos of Elsa – the lioness that started it all!
    • After lunch we will enjoy a boat trip on Lake Naivasha, where we look out for some of the many resident hippos that live on the waters. Lake Naivasha – the second largest lake in Kenya and the highest of the lakes (1884m) in the Great Rift Valley.
    • Continue to our tented camp, arriving in the early evening. Our camp is situated within the Lake Elementaita conservation area.
    Sleeping Warrior Tented Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Lake Nakuru National Park

    • This morning we visit Lake Nakuru National Park; the centrepiece of the park is the lake itself. Lake Nakuru is a soda lake which is home to massive numbers of flamingos - up to two million on occasion - and thousands of other birds. It has been described as the world's greatest ornithological spectacle and, at times, the lake is literally a sea of pink. In addition, the park itself also boasts substantial numbers of other species, including waterbuck, reedbuck and gazelle. Leopards are also to be found here, providing good chances for sightings (although there are no guarantees!). Perhaps we may also be fortunate enough to encounter one of Africa's most endangered animals - the rhinoceros. There is quite a good chance of seeing white rhinos, whilst black rhinos may prove to be more elusive.
    • After lunch we will head to the East Africa Mission Orphanage, just outside Nakuru. Here we meet the children who call this orphanage home. They love to practise their English skills and also are excited to know more about the world - be warned they will have lots of questions for you! The East Africa Mission Orphanage looks after more than 100 children ranging in age from just a few days old to 15 years years of age. The complete needs of the children, including full school education, are provided for by the orphanage. This orphanage is actually the result of the dream of one family, who arrived in Kenya in 1997 with nothing more than two suitcases each. It is a charitable institution, registered with the Kenyan Government for the purposes of caring for the many of homeless orphans that would end up either dying a premature death through malnutrition, walking the streets in search of food or turning to prostitution as a means of survival. The orphanage is taking up the challenge to reach out to these children before they have to fend for themselves out in the streets. We are proud to help support the efforts of this family and their incredible orphanage, and are excited to be able to take clients right into the orphanage itself!
    Sleeping Warrior Tented Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 7-8 - Masai Mara National Reserve

    • Today we head south-west to our next destination, the Masai Mara – arguably one of the finest game reserves in Africa. We will have an afternoon game drive on the way to our tented camp.
    • The next day we’ll explore more of the park with morning and afternoon game drives as we witness the wonderful procession of wildlife that inhabits the area. Wildebeest, zebra and gazelle are plentiful and, with any luck, we may spot the predators keeping a casual eye on their movements. Elephant, giraffe and eland are also commonly sighted, along with plenty of bird life.
    • The area is known for its rolling green plains and riverine woodlands, and amongst the many species of game, we may be lucky to observe black-maned lion, leopard and cheetah.
    • As dusk falls we may see a variety of animals in the vicinity of our camp too!
    Mara Leisure Tented Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9 - Migori

    • We leave the Masai Mara behind and make our way onward to Migori. On the way we will stop for lunch (own expense) and visit a local Soapstone factory in Kisii.
    • Kisii town is home to the best soapstone carvers in the continent. Their products are very popular in Australia, Europe and the USA. Kisii is a favourite stopover for tourists who want a taste of the exquisite Kisii carvings.
    Grabo County Dream Hotel or similar
    Breakfast | Dinner

    Day 10-11 - Serengeti National Park

    • This morning at 7am cross into Tanzania before heading to the Serengeti National Park. The Serengeti, which means 'endless plains' in Masai, is Tanzania's largest park, covering an area of 14,700 square kilometres. Its main claim to fame lies in the fact that it is home to over three million animals including a multitude of plains animals that provide for the greatest wildlife spectacle in the world. A unique phenomenon is the annual migration. Hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra trek the route annually, in some places simply grazing, in other places rushing madly across rivers and plains. The game most likely to be seen in the Serengeti in addition to the wildebeest and zebra are gazelle, lion, cheetah, warthog, hyena, hippo and ostrich. In all there are more than thirty-five species of plains animals, as well as a great profusion of bird life. The landscape changes within the park from the vast treeless central plains to thick scrub and forest in the north. Linking these areas is the savannah, dotted with acacia trees and magnificent rock outcrops.
    • We’ll enjoy a further full day of game drives on Day 11 in the magnificent Serengeti.
    • Perhaps the ultimate way to go game viewing is on a hot air balloon safari over the great plains of the Serengeti and Masai Mara. Hot-air ballooning in East Africa offers an unforgettable way to see a truly spectacular part of the world and we strongly recommend booking this activity prior to departure.
    Kati Kati Tented Camp or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 12 - Ngorongoro Highlands

    • After an early morning game drive we depart for the Ngorongoro Crater. Upon arrival we check into our accommodation just outside of the crater.
    • This small and exclusive lodge faces the Oldeani Volcano, and is located approximately 5 kilometres from the Ngorongoro Lolduare gate.
    Ngorongoro Farmhouse or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 13 - Ngorongoro Highlands

    • In the morning we descend to the crater floor, where we hope to see some, if not all, of the 'Big Five'. Ngorongoro Crater is indisputably one of Africa's most beautiful nature reserves and is certainly one of the most spectacular settings found anywhere. It is the largest intact crater in the world and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1978. Geologically, Ngorongoro is the remnant of a volcano that blew apart, leaving a flat plain area ringed with steep walls. The Ngorongoro volcano, before it exploded and collapsed 2 million years ago, was one of the world's tallest mountains. Unlike the Serengeti and Masai Mara, the migration in the Ngorongoro Crater is scant, as it has an abundant year-round food and water supply, and the walls of the collapsed volcano discourage migration. Animals within the Ngorongoro Crater are less shy of people and safari vehicles, so it's easier to view the animals up close. Views from the rim of the crater are sensational. On the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers, woodland and hills. The Masai are permitted to water their cattle at the permanent lake and can be seen leading their animals in and out of the crater. The most commonly seen animals are lion, wildebeest, zebra, eland, bushbuck, cheetah, jackal, buffalo, Grant's gazelle, Thompson's gazelle and black rhinoceros.
    • Afternoon at leisure to do optional walking activities or perhaps a coffee tour.
    Ngorongoro Farmhouse or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 14 - Lake Manyara National Park - Nairobi

    • We’ll enjoy an early morning game drive in Lake Manyara National Park, keeping our eyes out for its famous tree climbing lions, before we head to Arusha in time for lunch (own expense).
    • We’ll farewell those leaving us in Arusha while those of us continuing back to Nairobi will be transferred back to our starting hotel in Nairobi.
    • Your East African adventure comes to an end on arrival in Nairobi in the early evening. Any flights out of Nairobi should not be booked to depart prior to 8.30pm. Spending an extra night in Nairobi is highly recommended, as the journey from Arusha is a tiring one and there are sometimes unexpected delays. Please Note: Due to safety reasons we are unable to drop clients off at the airport en-route to the hotel.
    • The six-hour drive from Arusha to Nairobi can be replaced by a short flight between Kilimanjaro Airport and Nairobi (own expense).
    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine’s expert English-speaking local tour leaders
    • Arrival transfer on day 1 of the tour from Kigali (airport or hotel) to Ruhengeri
    • Gorilla trek in Parc National des Volcans, with one pre-purchased gorilla trekking permit
    • Free day in Parc National des Volcans for further optional excursions
    • City tour of Kigali including the Genocide Museum (including entrance fees where applicable)
    • 1 day in Lake Nakuru National Park; 2 days in Masai Mara National Reserve and surrounding area (including entrance fees where applicable).
    • 2 days in the Serengeti National Park; 1 day in Ngorongoro Crater; and 1 day in Lake Manyara National Park (including entrance fees where applicable).
    • Authentic accommodation in a permanent tented camp with en suite facilities in Nakuru; in a permanent tented camp in the Masai Mara staffed entirely by Masai people and reminiscent of the old safari camps.
    • Accommodation in a permanent tented camp with en suite facilities in Serengeti National Park; in a small and exclusive lodge at Ngorongoro Crater.
    • Transfer back to Nairobi on the final day.

    Not Included

    • International flights, including the flight from Kigali to Nairobi on Day 4
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Meals not specified in the itinerary
    • Insurance
    • Laundry - may be available at locations where we stay two or more nights.
    • Optional tours or activities during free time
    • Tips - this is something to consider, and it might be worthwhile speaking to your group about making a group contribution at the end of the trip

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.

    Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS:
    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

  • Map Itinerary

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PFSS
Group size 4 - 16
Start City: Kigali, Rwanda
End City: Nairobi, Kenya
Style: Small Group

What to know

The flight from Kigali to Nairobi on Day 4 is not included. Please ensure you book a flight that departs KIgali after 2.00pm.

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