Primates, Big-Game Safari and Paradise in Uganda, Kenya and Seychelles Safari

A 15 day trip to Kenya, Seychelles & Uganda 
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East Africa’s revered experiences often fall into three categories. The primates and trekking to chimpanzees and gorillas in the forests of Uganda. The predators, the lions and leopards among those that prowl in Kenya on the Masai Mara and beyond. And the beach, an Indian Ocean island the perfect place to escape it all. This two-week multi-country safari combines the three, an immersion into the intimate delights of the region, connected by light aircraft that hops to remote destinations. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Nairobi, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Masai Mara National Reserve, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Mahe Island

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures. 

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Nairobi – Wildlife Introductions in the Capital City

Nairobi is a remarkable city. An elephant ambles across the savannah beneath your balcony, backdropped by distant tower blocks. Three giraffes are in your vicinity, juxtaposed by the city’s banking offices. Nature has always thrived in Kenya, and it continues to do so in Nairobi National Park, the largest urban plain of wildlife anywhere on the planet. Your hotel is on the edge of the city, with a suite overlooking these plains, and a place to overcome travel fatigue and settle into the wonder of East Africa. You are greeted at the airport, and it is a 30-minute transfer to the hotel, where the rest of the afternoon is at your leisure. The hotel has an excellent restaurant, and Nairobi’s renowned Carnivore restaurant is only five minutes away.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, dinner

Days 2 – 3: Ol Pejeta Conservancy – Sublime Big-Five Safari, Including an Intimacy with the Rhinos

On the open plains of central Kenya, you spot your first rhino, horn pointing, eyes searching, feet trotting. It is not long before you see another, this one much larger and curious. It is the larger of the subspecies, a southern white rhino that marches confidently past the safari vehicle. While the plight of rhinos is well documented, they continue to prosper in a handful of wildernesses. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is home to East Africa’s greatest rhino population, a place where you can get close to the subspecies and start to understand their differences. The epic bonus comes from an encounter with the Northern white rhino. There are only three left in the world, and all of them live in this conservancy.

Rhinos are just part of the highlights. Fly to Ol Pejeta from Nairobi Wilson Airport, and the introductory game drive may encounter the full Big Five. Lions, basking in the morning sun, with manes fluttering in the breeze. A leopard is perched in a tree. Herds of buffalo barrel past the safari vehicle, boisterous characters not to be trifled with. Then you encounter the elephants, trunks swinging lazily and large ears flapping around. This is a private conservancy, so the guide takes you off the trail, bumping closer and closer to these famous animals. You are close enough to smell the buffalo and hear the crunch of giant footsteps kicking up dust.

Safari is relaxed here, a relatively compact conservancy that supports an eclectic range of animals. You can choose the activities, mixing game drives with short game walks, lion tracking, a visit to a chimpanzee sanctuary, and focus on the phenomenal birdlife in the conservancy. Morning and afternoon activities are interluded by downtime at the luxury lodge, the calm atmosphere of Ol Pejeta ideal for a first safari stop. Take your time, slowly soak up experiences with the wildlife, and feel the allure of East Africa.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 4 – 5: Mara Naboisho Conservancy (Masai Mara) – Exclusive Encounters with the Predators

Flying south via a quick change at Nairobi Wilson Airport, you encounter an entirely different big-game safari atmosphere. Ol Pejeta is home to around 10,000 wild mammals, clustered into an easy-to-explore area. During the great wildebeest migration (July to October in the Mara), the Masai Mara hosts close to two-million mammals. But of course, the landscape is on an entirely different scale. It can take days to drive around it all, and during these two days, you have the option for a full-day game drive in the main Masai Mara National Reserve. Your base is the private and unfenced Mara Naboisho Conservancy, a picturesque swathe of the Mara that offers sublime predator encounters.

Access is restricted, and this makes a huge difference in a destination as popular as the Masai Mara. You will not have other vehicles in the panorama, and it feels like the grasslands become your private playground. This lack of vehicles has made Mara Naboisho a haven for spotted cats to raise their cubs, as well as hosting a vibrant population of resident predators. Driving off the trail (another important extra you get in a conservancy), you are close enough to hear the crunch as lionesses tear through a zebra carcass. You smell the rotting flesh and admire the battle between jackals and vultures. And amongst the grass, you spot young cubs taking their first steps.

Supporting the predators are the herds for which the Masai Mara is famous. Wildebeest gather in huge numbers, scattered across the grass like a patchwork. Zebras merge into a single vista of black and white, so elegant and enchanting as they stand peacefully on the grass. Thomson’s gazelle skip past, then blend into the color of the plains. Over the two days, the game drives bring an intimacy to match the scale, with the unique option to take a game walk in the Mara, further thrills in this legendary safari destination. Accommodation is in a stunning luxury camp that is enveloped by wildlife.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Mara Naboisho to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest – Flying Across East Africa and Afternoon in the Forest

It is an early start as you fly back to Nairobi and transfer onto an international flight to Entebbe, Uganda’s old-world capital. From here, you board the afternoon flight to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. While it is a relatively long day of travel, doing it all in one stretch maximizes your time on safari as you are ready for the morning start to gorilla trekking tomorrow. Your lodge is perched above the forest and provides decadent views, a place to rest and relax before the next part of your East African adventure.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, domestic and international flight, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 7 – 8: Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park – Two Exhilarating Gorilla Treks

Through the trees, you glimpse one. A moving ball of fur, jet black against the green of the forest. You are trekking through the mud, following narrow trails that exude exoticism. But the gorillas are also on the move, marching away from the scent of forest elephants. You are following the elephant paths for an hour, waiting for the world’s largest primates to stop. It is all part of the experience, a unique opportunity to explore an untouched volcanic forest, a chance to wander through a landscape that is home to around two-thirds of the last remaining wild mountain gorillas.

The primates have stopped, and you inch closer, guided by curiosity and excitement. A mother is the first to wave hello, muscled arms flapping up and down in a show of size and power. Two gorillas take a glance, then return to their tree bark, gnawing the goodness from the inside. A juvenile is curious, focused on your stare and expressing emotion through the strange movement of its lips and mouth. Then you spot the silverback, a giant of the forest, the ground almost shaking as he lumbers past on four knuckles. There could be more than 20 in the troop, all just a few meters away, without barriers separating you from these fellow primates.

Intimate and incredibly real, gorilla trekking is one of the world’s greatest wildlife experiences. While they are habituated, they are completely wild, and you observe the troop going about its day, the scenes packed with strange behaviors and interactions. You could go gorilla trekking every day for a year and always see something new. Going twice lets you visit two different troops and spend two hours with the gorillas. On the first trek, it is hard to put down the camera, the animals so close to you. The second is more relaxing, giving you more time to appreciate the experience.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Kibale Forest National Park – Strange Monkeys of the Volcanic Forest

Take a short flight north, and find other unusual primates. Black and white colobus monkeys occupy the canopy, their long tails hanging down below their inquisitive faces. Red colobus monkeys are usually found a few meters lower, impish in their actions. Then the cheeky red-tailed monkey, with its black cheeks and recognizable tail, descends to the forest floor to forage. Various hiking routes are possible in the forest, and you have a private guide leading the adventure, from a five- to six-hour journey into the unknown to a much shorter loop around the lodge.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, domestic flight, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Kibale Forest National Park – Charms of Chimpanzee Trekking

Today you visit the most special of Kibale’s primates. Chimpanzees have flourished here, hundreds of them swinging through the lower realms of the canopy. You are visiting a habituated troop, spending an hour with these iconic figures of the trees. Just like the gorillas, the chimpanzees stare back at you, and you can guess what they are thinking through their expressions. Faces convey emotion, fingers and toes curl around the branches, and communication comes from noises and gestures. You are immersed in it all, surrounded by the creatures most similar to humans, engulfed by the sheer intimacy of East Africa’s wildlife adventures. It often feels surreal. But when goosebumps cover your arms and a chimpanzee swings just a few meters above your head, it cannot feel more real.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Kibale Forest to Mahe Island (overnight flight) – Transferring to White-Sand Paradise

From the depths of East Africa’s volcanic forest to the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean, completing the journey in one stretch gives you more time to relax in the Seychelles. Fly back to Entebbe, where a guide greets you at the airport and takes you on a tour of the old city, including lunch at the city’s best restaurant. You depart in the late afternoon, changing planes in the UAE onto an overnight flight to Mahe, the Seychelles. Early check-in has been arranged at your resort, and while you may be tired after the flights, there is no more relaxing place to be than the white sand of Mahe Island.

What’s Included: transfer, domestic and international flight, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 12 – 14: Mahe Island (Seychelles) – Serenity to Follow the Safari

The soft sound of the surfs ripples up from the Indian Ocean, providing a lullaby every evening. You reach the white sand without shoes, and you sink your feet into its cooling qualities, creating the only footprints on the beach. Palm trees provide shade on the beach, while a backdrop of forest and granite separates the resort’s beach from the rest of the world, maintaining privacy throughout these three days. Your program is free, and you have nothing planned but lying back and absorbing the tropical splendor. The resort has two restaurants to choose from, with options for a dining table perched on the sand, or meals served on your terrace overlooking the Indian Ocean. Several activities are possible should you wish to explore the Seychelles further.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15: Mahe Island – Departure

Enjoy full use of your room and the resort’s facilities before a late departure from the Seychelles.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast 

Price

Starting Price 

$8,745
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.