DAY 1 Sunday 4 August 2019 Depart Australia
Today we board our Qatar Airways flight to Kigali, Rwanda.
DAY 2 Monday 5 August 2019 Arrive Kigali, Rwanda
On arrival at Kigali International Airport, we will be met by our local guide and transferred to Mountain Gorilla View Lodge, located on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park and home to the endangered Mountain Gorilla. We settle in to our surroundings this evening before our ultimate wildlife encounter tomorrow.
DAY 3 Tuesday 6 August 2019 Gorilla Trekking Volcanoes National Park
After an early breakfast, we transfer to Volcanoes National Park Headquarters. We will have a briefing by the trackers and then drive to the trail head for the start of an amazing adventure. Upon reaching your destination you will be introduced by your expert trackers and guides to one of the fully-habituated families of Mountain Gorillas and you can stay with them for an awe-inspiring hour, often crouching just a few feet away, whilst the gorillas go about their daily lives. The gorillas live within an altitude of 2500 and 4000m and hikes in the mountains can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours + depending on the Gorilla family allocated to your group and their location. The journey back can take just as long, but you are often carried along by the euphoria you feel at seeing the gorillas!
DAY 4 Wednesday 7 August 2019 Volcanoes National Park
This morning you have a choice (additional cost) of either a second gorilla trekking adventure, golden monkey trekking, or a visit to Dian Fossey’s tomb. You may also choose to just relax in your lodge surroundings.
Option A (additional cost) – Golden monkey trekking:
Golden monkey trekking is a different experience that is quite unique from gorilla viewing. These endangered creatures love to chatter, play hide-and-seek, spend a large proportion of their time climbing the vegetation, some six to ten feet above the ground. Feeding on bamboo leaves and shoots. The juveniles are small and fluffy, and their infectious good humour makes them charming to watch. The golden monkeys live near the lower reaches of the park, and it is usually a short walk to see them.
Option B (additional cost) – Visit to Dian Fossey’s tomb:
Trekking to Dian Fossey’s Tomb is one of the most sought-after safari activities carried out while visiting Volcanoes National Park. The walk from the park boundary to the research centre, where Dian’s grave is, takes up to 1.5hrs and affords good views of forest hogs, forest elephants, a variety of primates and bird species. This hike is an incredible experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. The hike involves moving through the forests and hiking up the slopes therefore requires a relative degree of fitness and patience. Return to the lodge for lunch before we explore the beautiful twin lakes of Lake Burera and Lake Ruhondo.
DAY 5 Thursday 8 August 2019 Nairobi
After breakfast, we will drive back to Kigali for our flight to Nairobi. On arrival we proceed to visit the Giraffe Centre, home to the extremely endangered Rothschild Giraffe. You can observe, hand-feed or even kiss one of the giraffes from a raised wooden structure, which is quite an experience. You may also spot warthogs snuffling about in the mud. Later we will visit the Karen Blixen Museum. We overnight in Nairobi.
DAY 6 Friday 9 August 2019 Maasai Mara Game Reserve
This morning we will transfer to Wilson Airport for our scheduled flight to Maasai Mara Game Reserve. It is a short drive to Mara Engai Wilderness Lodge our home for the next two nights. Perched on a hilltop on the Siria Escarpment and nestled in a forest, this luxury lodge has stunning views over the Maasai Mara. During our stay we will enjoy game drives, an organic garden tour, an escorted walking safari to discover smaller wildlife, a bush dinner and Maasai Warriors will show us how to build a fire using traditional techniques. End the day with a specially prepared sundowner as you watch the sun set over the Mara.
DAY 7 Saturday 10 August 2019 Maasai Mara Game Reserve
Our visit coincides with the annual wildebeest migration which occurs in the Mara from July-September. It is at this time nature’s drama unfolds before your very eyes at every turn. As well as wildlife, the Maasai Mara is also home to many members of the colourful Maasai 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. If you would like to view this vast landscape from above an optional early morning balloon safari is available at an additional cost.
DAY 8 Sunday 11 August 2019 Serengeti National Park
We transfer to the airstrip for our scheduled flight to Migori. On arrival we travel approximately one hour by road to Tarime airstrip, where we fly to the Serengeti. On landing, we are met by our driver guide and set off on a game drive in Serengeti National Park. Lunch will be served at Serengeti Sopa Lodge our accommodation for the next two nights. The lodge is set in the Nyarboro Hills in the south-west overlooking this incredible park. Arguably the most famous national park in the world.
DAY 9 & 10 Monday 12 & Tuesday 13 August 2019 Serengeti National Park
Spend your days exploring the extensive plains of Serengeti in search of the ‘Big 5’. If you would like to maximize your time game viewing you can take a picnic lunch out into the park and enjoy a meal in the vast savannah before returning to the lodge later in the day (optional inclusion).
DAY 11 Wednesday 14 August 2019 Arusha, Tanzania
Our accommodation, Arumeru River Lodge is set in lush tropical gardens with breathtaking views. You will soon discover the comfortable open fireplace, the cozy Safari Bar, the famous ‘Migration Restaurant’, and the ‘Terrace Restaurant’ with spectacular views of Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. Small dikdik antelopes and guinea fowls are roaming freely between the chalets and can be seen at close range. The Lodge is famous for its botanical specimens and well-known for its excellent cuisine. Every day the two Zanzibari Chefs re-define the right balance of exotic African flavours and International standards using the vegetables that are grown organically in the lodges’ gardens.
DAY 12 Thursday 15 August 2019 Arusha
This morning we have a special visit to the School of St Jude. You will see first-hand the impact that people from all over the world have achieved together and how it has resulted in a school of three highly resourced campuses that is changing the lives of 1,800 students, over 250 staff and their families. We return to the lodge where the rest of the day is at leisure.
DAY 13 Friday 16 August 2019 Zanzibar, Tanzania
Today we fly to Zanzibar. On arrival, we transfer to Zanzibar Serena Hotel located on the waterfront. Staying at the Serena Hotel in Zanzibar’s Old Town and capital, Stone Town, is like taking a step back in time, into the ancient days of forts, sea-trade and sultans. The town’s charming antiquity has been imbued with the lively bustle of modern-day Zanzibari life. You will be transported to the past as you watch traditional dhows make their century-old voyages as you sit on the hotel’s terrace. The remainder of the day is free time.
DAY 14 Saturday 17 August 2019 Zanzibar
After a leisurely breakfast, our driver will meet us at the hotel for a spice tour. Since the abolition of the slave trade, spices have been at the heart of Zanzibar enterprise. Visit the spice growing areas to learn their origin and uses. Some of the spices you will be able to see and sample are cloves, nutmeg, lemon grass, vanilla, henna, pepper and many others depending on the season. Finally, visit the ruins of Maruhubi Palace, built in 1880 as a harem by the third Sultan of Zanzibar, Said Baraghash Bin Said. A sampling of local fruit will be available at the end of the tour. After the tour you will have free time for lunch in Stone Town followed by a city tour.
DAY 15 Sunday 18 August 2019 Prison Island
Today you will visit Prison Island, also known as Changuu Island, just 20 minutes by boat. There are many trees and plants on this island and birds are abound. Today a pleasant destination for a day trip, it was once a prison and later adapted to a quarantine station by the British Army. It has some excellent coral formations just offshore providing a good opportunity for snorkelling. The island’s main attractions are the giant tortoises, some of which are over 100 years-old and are only found on this island. Not indigenous to continental Africa, the original tortoises were brought from Adalbra in the Seychelles in an effort to extend the tortoises conservation. Remember to bring waterproof shoes for boarding the dhows, a towel, sunscreen and bathers for snorkelling. This evening we come together for a final dinner to celebrate this wonderful journey.
DAY 16 Monday 19 August 2019 Depart Zanzibar
This morning is at leisure before we transfer by ferry to Dar Es Salaam airport for our flight home to Australia.
DAY 17 Tuesday 20 August 2019 In-flight
DAY 18 Wednesday 21 August 2019 Arrive Australia
Today we arrive in Australia and the tour concludes.