Arrive at any time. Pick up any extra supplies you need before your tour at one of the many markets, and try to be a the hotel in time for your welcome meeting, which will be held early evening. Look for a welcome note upon arrival to your hotel. With a population nearing 1,210,000, Kampala is the largest city in Uganda. It is located in the district of Kampala at 3,900 ft (1,189 m) above sea level. Before the arrival of the British, the Buganda King, the Kabaka, had chosen the area that was to become Kampala as one of his favorite hunting grounds. The area was made up of numerous rolling hills and lush wetlands. It was an ideal breeding ground for various antelopes - particularly the Impala. When the British arrived they called the area the Hills of the Impala. The Baganda, eager to adopt foreign words into the local language, translated "hill of the Impala" into Luganda as "kasozi k' Impala" (pronounced "ka Impala" and eventually "ka mpala"). So whenever the Kabaka left his palace to go to hunt his favorite game, royal courtiers would say "the Kabaka has gone to Kampala to hunt" and thus name stuck.
Approximate Distance: 431 km Estimated Travel Time: 9 hrs Travel west towards Lake Edward to Queen Elizabeth National Park, home to Uganda's largest wildlife populations. Here, embark on both morning and afternoon game drives, with hopes of catching glimpses of buffalo, hippo, elephant, lion, and the elusive leopard. For a different perspective, enjoy an included boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. The 1,978 sq. km Queen Elizabeth National Park is characterized by open savannah, large areas of swamp around Lake George, the extensive Maramagambo Forest in the southeast, and the forested Kyambura Gorge along the border with Kyambura Game Reserve.
Approximate Distance: 201 km Estimated Travel Time: 6 hrs We travel south through gorgeous countryside to Kabale, our base for several days in the area. Our time in this lush, magical, mountainous region of Uganda is spent between enjoying the area of Kabale and many activities that it has to offer, and an unforgettable guided trek deep into the forest-sloped volcanoes for a wild encounter of a family of mountain gorillas (Gorilla Permits Included). Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the home to approximately half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, the world's most endangered ape. One of Africa's major highlights, a close encounter with these amazing animals is simply breathtaking. Ugandan authorities are fiercely protective of this natural treasure and currently permit only a maximum of 8 people per day to visit a given gorilla family. As such, the group will be split into different sub-groups for the trek, and depending on the amount of travellers there are total, different sub-groups may do their trek on different days. In the morning of your trek, you will drive in smaller vehicles to park office and meet with your local mountain guides and porters, who can carry your personal items and assist you during the trek. The guides will brief you on the etiquette of gorilla trekking, after which, you set off into the forest. The trek can take from one to six hours and can exceed altitudes of 2500m. The terrain is rough and at times muddy and slippery. It is very important to bring along plenty of water. It can rain in a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is essential along with protective bags for your camera and film. Approximately 98% of the gorilla treks are successful but there is no guarantee that you will see the gorillas as they are constantly on the move. For the rest of your time in the area, you will have the chance to go swimming, hit up the gym or go on optional activities at Lake Bunyonyi. There are several options to choose from: fishing. canoeing on the lake, visiting the local community, renting a mountain bike to explore the area, etc. The area of Lake Bunyonyi is extremely peaceful and is a nature lover's paradise. While at Kabale, you may be offered the chance to visit 'Little Angels Orphanage'. G Adventures does not endorse this activity as we feel this experience does more harm than good to the children. Many orphanages rely almost entirely on donations from visitors to survive, and as such, directors may purposefully maintain poor living conditions for children to secure funds from visitors. By visiting orphanages and making a donation you may be fueling this system, and G Adventures thus advises against both visiting and donating to the aforementioned orphanage. Please note the Cephas campsite in Kabale has a swimming pool, gym, sauna and bar available for travellers.
Approximate Distance: 140 km ?Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs?? Mbarara is situated in the Western region of Uganda, 295 Kilometers southwest of Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. Mbarara District is one of Uganda’s fastest growing districts something attributed to trade boom that has swept through the region over the last decades. Here you have the opportunity to visit local markets, go to the internet café or visit Safarilanda Park, built on the side of a hill overlooking the Rwizi. It is a wooden structure with restaurants, bars and balconies all decorated in African style.
Approximate Distance: 283 km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs Head south to the shores of Lake Victoria and renowned as the “Source of the Nile”, Jinja is fast becoming the thrill-seeker's capital of Africa. Spend a full day rafting or kayaking down the Nile River, mountain biking in the Mabira Forest, volunteering with a local project, or just enjoying the relaxed vibe of Jinja. Jinja, the second largest commercial centre in Uganda, was established in 1901. Lying in the south east of Uganda, 87 km north east of Kampala, it is located on the shores of Lake Victoria near to the source of the White Nile. The city is the chief town of Jinja District, and is considered the capital of the Kingdom of Busoga. The resident population of Jinja is approximately 106,000 with the majority being Bantu in origin. Lusoga and Luganda are the main local languages. North of Jinja is Bujagali Falls, which is located downriver from Owen Falls Dam. Bujagali Falls is a world-class spot for kayaking and white water rafting, and also a popular weekend picnic area for local Ugandans. However, the falls are under threat from the construction of a proposed new 250 MW hydroelectric facility.
Day 10 - Approximate Distance: 281 km; Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs Day 11 - Approximate Distance: 310 km; Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs Cross over into Kenya and continue through the Rift Valley and on towards Nairobi. The name Nairobi is derived from the Masai word for cool waters, which the Masai people gave to a water hole known as Ewaso Nyirobi. In modern times, the sprawling, cosmopolitan city of Nairobi combines the first-world glamour of reflecting-glass skyscraper buildings with abject developing-world poverty. It originated in 1899 from a handful of shacks that marked the end of the railhead during the building of the Uganda railway. Due to big game hunting bringing tourists from Britain, the city expanded dramatically in the early 1900’s. A large number of British nationals settled in the area, prompting more growth and this angered both the Masai and Kikuyu people, as they were losing hunting ground due to the expansion of the city limits. The friction increased and, eventually led to the Mau Mau uprising, which saw Jomo Kenyatta, the future president jailed. Kenya was granted independence from Britain in 1963, with Nairobi as the capital. Apart from being Kenya’s capital and the main centre of government and commerce, Nairobi is the most significant city in East Africa and an important player on the pan-African stage. It is the diplomatic base for many counties in Africa, with its broad spectrum of international embassies and headquarters for the United Nations, multi-national companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and press correspondents. It’s also the center of the growing safari business of East Africa.
Approximate Distance: 286 km Estimated Travel Time: 7 hrs (depending on border crossing) The journey begins early in the morning (8am) as we travel south from Nairobi through the Masai lands into Tanzania, to our camp outside of the town of Arusha. Spend some time exploring the town and its bustling markets, before settling down at our campsite for the night. Arusha, also known as Tanzania’s “safari capital”, is undoubtedly the most important center in northen Tanzania. With many protected national parks, reserves, and mountains nearby (on a clear day, you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro in the distance), Arusha is a modern town, and with its markets, services, and fine location, it is a great base for your safari trip. Arusha officially became a city on the 1st of July 2006. The primary industry of the region is agriculture with large vegetable producers sending high-quality produce to Europe. The city and its environs are also spotted with large coffee plantations, adding to the area’s charm. Though in recent years, due to the coffee crisis, many local farmers have been badly hit, and now subsistence farming is the most common source of livelihood. Arusha, who owes its name from the local Wa-arusha people who resided here for hundreds of years, is historically and politically significant city within East Africa. In 1961 the official documents ceding independence to Tanzania were signed by the United Kingdom in Arusha. Six years later the Arusha Declaration of Self Reliance in Tanzania was signed. On the 4th of August 1993 the Arusha Accords were signed by representatives of competing factions in the civil war in neighbouring Rwanda. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN Security Council decided by its Resolution 955 of 8 November 1994 that Arusha should host the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The establishment of the tribunal with its employees has influenced the local economy of Arusha.
Approximate Distance: 320 km Estimated Travel Time: 8 hrs (including game drive into Serengeti) After breakfast, we begin our 2 night/3 day excursion to the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, two of Africa’s premier wildlife areas. Changing to specialized 4WD 7-seater safari vehicles, we are met by experienced safari driver/guides, who will ensure us wonderful wildlife encounters. Our safari vehicles each have sliding windows and a large pop-up roof, perfect for game viewing. They are smaller than our overland truck, and will allow us to maneuver easily through the wildlife areas. As the vehicles are smaller than our overland truck, our group will split up among several vehicles,. The Serengeti is to Tanzania what the Masai Mara Game Reserve is to Kenya, though with an area of 14,763 sq km, it is actually over 7 times as large! The area where you will be staying and game viewing is in the central Serengeti 'Seronera' area, which lies in the southeast of the National Park. Because of the sheer size of the National Park other areas will not be accessible during your stay. As we drive through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and on to the Serengeti National Park, en route you will begin to experience the sheer vastness of this territory, and you will marvel at the multitude of animal and bird life while cruising through this acacia-spotted savannah. The next day, we continue your search for the "Big 5" - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino - while taking in the vastness of the Serengeti plains with a game drives through out the day. Note: If you have pre-booked a Serengeti Balloon Safari Theme Pack, your flight will be early in the morning of Day 14.
Approximate Distance 160 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including game drive out of Serengeti) Before leaving the Serengeti, enjoy one last morning game drive to see the animal kingdom come to life in this incredible expanse of grassland savannah. You will return and break camp, and journey to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, famous for Africa's best game viewing. The views from the Ngorongoro Crater rim are stunning, and there is an ever-present abundance of wildlife, due to the permanent water supply on the crater floor. You will arrive at your campsite at the crater rim in the late afternoon. The 8,300 km² Ngorongoro Conservation Area is named after its central feature, the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, and arguably its most spectacular natural arena. Ngorongoro Crater has often been described as one of the wonders of the world, not only because of its inherent geological significance, but also because it serves a quite extraordinary natural sanctuary for some of Africa’s most dense population of large mammals. The Ngorongoro was part of the original Serengeti National Park proclaimed in 1951, but it was made a separate conservation area in 1956 so that the Masai could graze their cattle there. The Ngorongoro Crater became a World Heritage Site in 1978. Land in the conservation area is unique to Tanzania as it provides protection for the wildlife whilst allowing human habitation. The landscape is made up of a blend of volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests, where the wildlife is extensive. The southern and eastern boundaries are approximately defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley, which also prevents animal migration in these directions. The annual ungulate migration passes through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with wildebeest and zebra moving south into the area in December and moving north in June. The area has healthy resident populations of most species of wildlife.
Approximate Distance 200 km Estimated Travel Time: 5 hrs (including game drive in the Crater) After breakfast we embark on a half-day crater tour. The rich pasture and permanent water of the Crater floor supports a resident population of more than 20,000 to 25,000 large mammals. They are not confined by the crater walls, and can leave freely; they stay because conditions are favourable. Since most of the crater floor is grassland, grazing animals predominate: zebra, gazelles, buffalo, eland, and warthogs. The swamp and forest provide additional resources for hippos, some of Tanzania's last remaining black rhinos, giant-tusked elephants, waterbucks, reedbucks and bushbucks, baboons and vervet monkeys. All these animals in turn support large predators such as lion and leopard, and scavengers such as hyena and jackals. After this fabulous experience within the crater, we have to leave the wildlife behind us and start heading back to Arusha, where we will set up camp for the night.
Approximate Distance: 680 km Estimated Travel Time: 11 hrs Depart Arusha, passing the majestic Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, and head towards the capital, Dar Es Salaam. The city started as a fishing village in the mid 19th century before becoming a port and trading centre. Dar Es Salaam - Arabic for “Abode of Peace” (a word closely related to the familiar “Yer u-salem” in Israel) - is the largest city in Tanzania. With a population estimated around 2,500,000, it is also the country’s richest city and an important economic centre. Life in Dar es Salaam revolves around the huge harbour, with the business district fanning out from here in a series of fascinating side and main streets. The cruise liners, cargo ships, and traditional dhows dot the habour while the bustling fish market of Kivukoni Front comes alive in the morning as the dhows offload the night’s catch.
Day 17 - Estimated Travel Time: 3 hrs (ferry ride) Day 18 - Estimated Travel Time: 4 hrs (including 2hr Spice Tour) Day 20 - Estimated Travel Time: 2 hrs After arriving on Zanzibar, spend the remainder of the day exploring Stone Town, the heart of the island. It has an intriguing maze of narrow, cobbled lanes hemmed in by Arabic buildings. The best way to see the Stone Town is, literally, to get lost. You can spend hours just wandering the alleys and squares, drinking potent coffee from pavement vendors, or buying sweetmeats from scores of tiny cafes. At this point you may be joined other G Adventures travellers who are continuing their tour here on Zanzibar. A group meeting with your tour leader is scheduled for the early evening. Zanzibar Island, 'the spice island,' has an extremely interesting history and culture as it was the centre of the slave and spice trade in the 1800s. Zanzibar is one of the most fascinating places in East Africa, despite a heavy increase in tourism since the early 1990s. Thanks to an ambitious and far-reaching preservation programme funded by UNESCO and the Aga Khan, many famous old buildings have been restored, or are in the process of being renovated. The following morning we head north to Nungwi for two days/ two nights at one of Zanzibar's major highlights. Here you can either relax on the idyllic white-sandy beaches, take an optional diving/snorkeling excursion, or take a wander through the village of Nungwi. No visit to Zanzibar would be complete without a visit to the spice plantations - an activity that is included on our way north to Nungwi on Day 18. Your senses will be aroused as you will receive a detailed description on the assortment of spices (black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, breadfruit, jackfruit, vanilla, lemon grass) and their various uses. It was the wonderful spice plantations that brought the beginnings of Zanzibar’s infamous slave trade dating back to the 1840’s. On our fourth day on the island, we head back south to Stone Town, for our final night on this enchanting island. It's your last chance to shop and/or enjoy all that Stone Town has to offer, and to spend one last night with your fellow travellers before your tour ends the next day. Remember that Zanzibar is a Muslim society, and immodestly dressed women, or men in shorts, will get harassed and cause great offence in Stone Town. In Nungwi, customs are a little more relaxed, but passengers are encouraged to be respectful of the islands culture and still cover up when walking around. Never try to take a photograph without asking permission. The polite way to ask is “Tafadhali (pronounced tougher-thaarli) naomba ruhusu kwa kupiga picha yako.” Many guidebooks say the correct phrase is “nataka kupiga picha yako”, but this is incredibly rude, the equivalent of saying “give me your picture”.
Depart Stone Town at anytime.