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14 Days - Masai Mara and Gorillas - To and From Nairobi [NAMG]
Masai Mara Reserve and Surrounds
Queen Elizabeth National Park
Highlights: Masai - Masai Mara - Lake Nakuru - Lake Naivasha - Hell Gate National Park - Gorillas - Equator - Lake Victoria - Queen Elizabeth National Park
Countries Visited: Kenya, Uganda
Masai Mara National Reserve The Masai Mara National Reserve covers some 1 530 square km and is bounded by the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west. The terrain of the reserve is primarily open savannah grassland with seasonal riverlets. Wildebeest, zebra and Thomson's gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1.5 million wildebeests, 360 000 Thomson's gazelles, and 191 000 zebras. These numerous migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by a block of hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena. All members of the ‘Big 5’ are found in the Masai Mara, although the population of black rhinoceros is severely threatened, with a population of only 37 recorded in 2000. Hippopotami are found in large groups in the Masai Mara and Talek rivers. Cheetah is also found, although their numbers are threatened. Additionally, over 450 species of birdlife have been identified in the park, including vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, and African pygmy-falcons.
DETAILS: Trip Code: NMG Gorilla Permit – USD605 – USD705 The cost of a permit to visit the Gorillas is currently as above. Please check actual amount with us closer to departure. You will be pre-invoiced for this non-refundable amount Vehicle: Adventure truck / safari vehicle in Masai Mara Min / Max People: 1 / 24 Departure Point: Please ensure you arrive at the departure point at least 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time. 8:00am from Sentrim Boulevard, Harry Thuku Road, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +254 20 315680 www.sentrimhotels.net/sentrim-boulevard-nairobi End Point: Sentrim Boulevard, Harry Thuku Road, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: +254 20 315680 www.sentrimhotels.net/sentrim-boulevard-nairobi
*Note: All information is subject to change without prior notice. Travel times and campsites can change depending on road or weather conditions, etc. These are used as a guideline only. On our longer tours it is possible that your crew, truck and fellow travellers will change due to our unique tour linking system. On this tour the maximum number of participants is 24.
Day 1 Masai Mara National Reserve We leave the capital and travel to the Masai Mara National Reserve. Today the tour enters this huge area of spectacular game viewing to photograph some of Africa’s most abundant wildlife. Famous for the annual migration of around 1.5 million wildebeest, the Masai Mara is also home to many other animals, including lions. Cultural interaction with Kenya’s native Masaai people completes our experience. *The Masai Mara Reserve excursion & game drive will be operated in safari type vehicles, please ensure that you pack a small overnight bag to take into the Mara. You will need your towel as well as clothes, toiletries and your camping essentials. Meals: Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Permanent tent: Masai Mara Camp: http://www.keniatours.com/ Facilities: Hot showers Route: Nairobi to Masai Mara ±240km Travel time: ±6-7 hrs Activity Package: Kenyan Parks Highlights Excursion (Day 1-3)
Day 2 Lake Naivasha After an early morning game drive in the Mara, we depart towards Lake Naivasha for a relaxing day on the lakeshore. You can go hiking in the area and activities include game and bird watching. One of the more popular optional activities is to go game viewing from a bicycle. An alternative way to spend your afternoon is to take high tea at Elsamere, the former home of Joy Adamsson, best known for her autobiographical novel, Born Free. Optional Activities: Cycle hire, High Tea at Elsamere. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Camp: Fish Eagle Camp (no website available) Facilities: Hot showers, bar, laundry, swimming pool Route: Masai Mara to Lake Naivasha ±245 km Travel time: ±6-7 hrs
Day 3 Nakuru National Park Today we will travel north to Lake Nakuru where we will spend the afternoon game driving. Originally created as a bird sanctuary, Lake Nakuru was upgraded to National Park status in 1968. White rhino inhabit the transitional savannah area surrounding the lake, with excellent photographic opportunities. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Two per room: Kembu Lodge: www.kembu.com Facilities: Hot showers, bar Route: Lake Naivasha to Lake Nakuru ±110 km Travel time: ±2-3 hrs Included Activities: Hells Gate National Park, Game drive in Lake Nakuru NP
Day 4 Lake Nakuru - Kampala Leaving Lake Nakuru very early, we head towards Uganda, briefly stopping for a photo at the equator. Later we arrive in Uganda’s capital and largest city, Kampala. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Two Per Room: Silversprings Hotel: www.silverspringshotelug.com Facilities: Hot showers, bar, swimming pool, shop Route: Lake Nakuru to Kampala ±490 km Travel time: (Long day) ±12 - 14 hrs plus border crossing Border posts: Kenya: Busia 09256 454 3482 Uganda: no telephone numbers
Day 5 Kampala / Ngamba Chimpanzee Sanctuary Although officially this day is set aside for everyone to explore Kampala, most people take an optional day trip to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary of Ngamba Island. This non-profit eco-friendly project was set up in 1998 to care for orphaned chimpanzees. Optional Activities: Ngamba Chimpanzee Excursion, Kampala Markets, Dinner Out. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodation: Two Per Room: Silversprings Hotel: www.silverspringshotelug.com Facilities: Hot showers, bar, swimming pool, shop Route: Optional Ngamba Island Excursion ±50 km return journey
Day 6 Lake Bunyonyi Lake Bunyonyi is a small but attractive lake with steep sides and abundant birdlife. Ringed by mountains, the lake is best known for its dense Otter population and stunning scenery. We make use of this beautiful spot to relax the night before the final drive to the gorillas Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Two per room: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort: www.bunyonyioverland.com Facilities: Hot showers, bar, laundry, internet, shop Route: Kampala to Lake Bunyoni ±435km Travel time: ±7-8hrs
Day 7/8 Gorillas (Lake Bunyoni) The mountain gorilla is extremely endangered and while exact numbers vary it is widely assumed that there are only around 650 left. Visiting the gorillas is a great way to support their future on earth as the money spent on permits is used for their protection. An extremely important part of the future conservation of the remaining gorillas rests in the community development work – as local communities change their attitudes towards wildlife and start to protect rather than poach, the future of the mountain gorilla is assured.
As permits granting permission to visit the gorillas are extremely limited we require flexibility in both the tour itinerary and where we actually visit them. The home of the mountain gorillas is completely at odds with man-made borders and so their range encompasses Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo). Whenever possible we choose to make use of the National Park in Uganda, but this depends on the availability of permits. Should we not obtain permits to visit the mountain gorillas in Uganda then we will inform all passengers beforehand that the tour will travel to Rwanda or DRC.
On your free day in Bunyoni you will have the opportunity to participate in certain optional activities. You can also go hiking or explore the area on a mountain bike. Optional activities: Mountain biking, nature walk, hiking Day 7 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Two per room: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort: www.bunyonyioverland.com Facilities: Hot showers, bar, laundry, internet, shop Route: Lake Bunyoni National Park to the starting point of the Gorilla Trek: ±125 km (in safari or smaller vehicles) Travel time: ±3-4 hrs Day 8 Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Two per room: Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort: www.bunyonyioverland.com Facilities: Hot showers, bar, laundry, internet, shop Route: Starting point of the Gorilla Trek to Lake Bunyoni ±125 km Travel Time: ±3-4 hrs
Please note: Although there are 2 days allocated to Gorilla Trekking you will only spend one day on the trek. The other day are there to provide a large enough window in which to obtain permits and to allow the entire group to trek if there are more than 6 of you on the tour Day 9/10 Queen Elizabeth National Park Leaving Lake Bunyoni, we venture to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, where we will spend the next 2 nights. Many game species can be found in this wetland park as well as the (elsewhere elusive) giant forest hog and the legendary tree-climbing lions of the Ishasha Sector. We will enjoy an included 4x4 game drive on day 10 through the NP. Optional Activities: Kasinga Channel Sunset Cruise, Chimpanzee trekking at Lake George Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Two per room: Hippo Hill: www.hippohilllodge.com Facilities: Hot showers, bar Route: Lake Bunyoni to Queen Elizabeth NP ±310 km Travel time: ±5-6 hrs Activity Package: 4x4 game drive
Day 11/12 Jinja Jinja is Uganda’s second largest city and more famous as the point where the Nile (officially the Victoria Nile) flows out of Lake Victoria and begins the 6695 kilometre journey to Egypt and the Mediterranean. Optional Activities: White Water Rafting. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (Day 11 only), Dinner Accommodation: Permanent Tent: Eden Rock Resort : www.edenrocknile.com Facilities: Hot showers, internet, swimming pool Route: Queen Elizabeth NP to Jinja ±430 km Travel time: ±8-9 hrs
Day 13 Kenya - Eldoret Returning to Kenya we visit Eldoret, the country’s 5th largest city. The Great Rift Valley is still the dominant geographical feature of this region and the altitude at Eldoret is 2100 metres above sea level. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Accommodation: Two per room: Naiberi River Camp Facilities: Hot showers, bar, swimming pool Route: Jinja to Eldoret ±270 km Travel time: ±7-8hrs plus border crossing Border posts: Kenya: Busia 09256 454 3482 Uganda: no telephone numbers
Day 14 Nairobi Returning to Nairobi, the largest city in the East Africa region, there’s an optional dinner, where we can swap stories and exchange contact details. Optional Activities: Meal out in Nairobi. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch Accommodation: Own Arrangements / Post Accommodation can be booked through Nomad. Route: Eldoret to Nairobi ±350 km Travel time: ±6-7 hrs
Inclusions & Exclusions
What’s included: Meals as indicated on the itinerary (unless otherwise specified, all meals are prepared and served at the Nomad truck), accommodation, registered guides and transport. We also include some of the highlights. These highlights are listed below in the day-by-day descriptions as “included highlights”. What’s excluded: All items of a personal nature, alcohol, snacks, souvenirs, tips and optional activities (see list for an indication of prices).
*Activity Package This is a compulsory payment that covers what we consider to be an ‘essential activity’ on our tour. This payment is 100% transparent and is listed below. As the activity package on this tour is compulsory; we recommend that you pre-pay this to your agent prior to your arrival. Activity: Kenyan Parks Highlights Excursion R 5,450 Queen Elizabeth National Park Game Drive R 750
R 6,200 ***The Gorilla Permit is compulsory payment, the cost is between US$605 and US$705 The cost of a permit to visit the Gorillas is currently as above. Please check actual amount with us closer to departure. You will be pre-invoiced for this non-refundable amount.
Health: Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disability that you may have. Insurance: All clients require adequate Travel Insurance. Medical Insurance is not sufficient. Activity providers can refuse participation of activities, if the correct valid Travel Insurance is not provided. Travel insurance can be purchased via the Nomad website http://www.nomadtours.co.za/travel_insurance.html (Nomad World travel insurance is in no way affiliated with Nomad Tours). Visas: Please note that these are your responsibility. Most nationalities require visas for East African countries. Although most nationalities can obtain their visa on the border we prefer that you obtain it before arrival to save time at immigration when crossing from one country to another. See Pre Departure Booklet for more information. Climate: The African sun is very strong. Please use a factor 30 sunscreen and wear a hat. You should drink at least 3 litres of water per day to avoid dehydration. It can also get very cold during winter months on this route. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information. Currency and Banking: USD (United States Dollars) is the best currency for East Africa. Credit Cards cannot always be processed – especially in remote areas. USD Notes printed before 2004 (i.e. the old style notes) will not be accepted and many places will not accept USD100 notes. USD20 and USD50 notes are good to change in to local currency. Please see Pre Departure Booklet for detailed information on each country. Vaccinations: A Yellow Fever Certificate is required for this tour. Please see the Pre Departure Information booklet for detailed information on vaccinations in Africa. Onward Travel: This tour is ideally linked with our East African Adventure Tour or a Kilimanjaro Trek. Pre and Post Tour Accommodation: If you require accommodation before or after your tour we can arrange this for you. Arrival: Please be sure to arrive 1 day before your tour is due to depart. Departure: Please book your flight to depart the day after the tour officially ends. *Note: All information is subject to change without prior notice. Travel times and campsites can change depending on road or weather conditions, etc. These are used as a guideline only. On our longer tours it is possible that your crew, truck and fellow travellers will change due to our unique tour linking system. On this tour the maximum number of participants is 24. Did you receive your Pre Departure Information Booklet? If not please contact us at email@example.com and we will e-mail you the document; alternatively visit us at 1st Floor, Leadership House, 40 Shortmarket St, Greenmarket Square, Cape Town to collect one. You can also download from our website at www.nomadtours.co.za. After hours contact number: +27 (0) 82 578 2199.
Malaria: Malaria prophylactics are required
Tour Ends: We will drop you off at The Meridian Court Hotel, Kenya, www.meridianhotelkenya.com. We suggest you book accommodation here for this evening through your travel agent or Nomad.
TIPPING ON TOUR: East Africa: In general tipping in restaurants is expected and is around 10% for good service, more if you have received exceptional service, and, feel free not to tip at all if you received poor service. Tipping taxi drivers etc. is really at your own discretion and not always expected. If in doubt please ask your guides. It is expected to tip Porters and Car-guards etc. Ask your guides how much is appropriate in local currency.
Our guides do work hard, but they are also paid at (and often above) industry levels for this work. Our Crew can be tipped if you feel that they have done a good job and/or gone above and beyond the call of duty. The recommended amount is between USD1-2 ( or about R10 – R20 ) per person, per day, per crew member.
The best way to arrange tips is to elect one person in the group to collect the money. So if you have 3-crew on a tour, we would recommend that 3 envelopes are used and each crew member’s name written on one. Place what you feel is fair in to each envelope and the elected person can give these to the crew at the end of the tour. If you do not feel that the crew deserve a tip, please, do not tip them. THE NOMAD AFRICAN TRUST: www.nomadafricantrust.co.za At Nomad we are passionate about the people, places and wildlife of Africa that make our tours so special. In order to give back we have set up the Nomad African Trust. By the end of your tour you may have left-over local currency that you will not be able to change outside of its country of origin. Any assistance you could provide to the trust by donating this left over currency will be appreciated. Thank you for your help and please join our newsletter at the website above to receive regular updates on what we are doing to support our beneficiaries. GREEN SEATS - TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY IN AFRICA: Nomad gives you the opportunity to offset your carbon foot print by purchasing a “Green Seat”. If you would like to help Nomad making Africa Greener, simply choose the tick box on your booking form and we will take care of the rest. The Nomad African Trust will plant trees that are ecologically viable and that have very high carbon absorption. Green Seats can be purchased at departure or on tour with your guide. For more information on our “Green Seats”, please visit www.nomadtours.co.za/nomad_greenseats.html THANK YOU FOR TRAVELLING WITH NOMAD: At the end of your tour you will be provided with feedback forms. These forms are confidential and should be given to your crew in a sealed envelope. If you are not sure of the confidentiality of the feedback form please feel free to email us as well on firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to also complete the feedback form as we use the answers on these forms to improve and maintain our service levels. Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice, the accommodation listed in this dossier is our preferred supplier, but sometimes due to availability, we are unable to make use of the property listed in this dossier. If we cannot use the accommodation provider as listed we will substitute another property of similar standards.