The Mara & Beyond:

Kenyan Wildlife Safari

September 13–23, 2020

Trip at a Glance

  • September 13–23, 2020
  • Escorted by BJ & Lauren, owners of RetreaTours
  • Led by expert Kenyan safari guides
  • Enjoy daily game drives and check off all of the “Big Five” as you see them!
  • Witness the Great Migration of wildebeest into Kenya
  • Marvel at Mt. Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park
  • Witness the majesty of the old “tusker” elephants, the biggest land creatures on the planet
  • Watch rhinoceros meander along a Rift Valley “soda” lake
  • Explore the wildlife of the Masai Mara, especially the lions, cheetahs, and leopards!
  • Opportunity for a 3-day Mountain Gorilla extension in Rwanda
  • Early bird all-inclusive price of $5299 (based on double occupancy)

How to Register

  • Review this entire webpage for details
  • Complete Registration Questions and Contract
  • Submit deposit by check or credit card (via PayPal)

Nairobi

Amboseli

Lake Nakuru National Park

Maasai Mara

“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne — bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.”

~Karen Blixen

Itinerary at a Glance

 

September 13   This morning you’ll arrive into Nairobi & rest in a lovely centrally located hotel.

September 14   Depart for Amboseli National Park and our gorgeous home base: a comfortable tent camp in the bush with a stunning view of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our nearest neighbors are giraffes and zebras!

September 15–16   Explore Amboseli, famous for its population of rare “tuskers”–elephants whose tusks are so long that they reach the ground (like Tim, pictured here!)

September 17   Head back to Nairobi today to rest before tomorrow’s departure to Nakuru National Park & an afternoon game drive.

September 18   Discover Nakuru with an afternoon game drive today. Nakuru, set on a “soda” lake of the Rift Valley, is home to both the southern white and eastern black rhinoceros.

September 19   From Nakuru we’ll head southwest to the Masai Mara, part of the same beautiful ecosystem as the Serengeti in Tanzania.

September 20–22   Enjoy the dense population of wildlife on the Mara–especially the big cats! Lions, cheetahs, leopards, oh my!

September 23  We’ll head back to Nairobi today, enjoying one last lunch together and reminisce about seeing “The Big Five” on safari together. Perhaps you’ll add on a 3-day extension to see the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda–see the details below!

Here’s a partial list of animals we’re most likely to see in our adventures!

Lion · African Bush Elephant · Rhinoceros · Cape Buffalo · Leopard · Zebra · Giraffe · Hippopotamus · Cheetah · Spotted Hyena · Wildebeest · Warthog · Ostrich · Jackal · Gazelle · Impala · Eland · Waterbuck · Nile Crocodile · and oodles of bird species!

What to expect on this journey

We never wanted to offer safaris until we were absolutely in love with our itinerary and our local partners—and we’re finally there!

We’ve carefully curated your safari experience to maximize wildlife viewing and comfort while minimizing time driving between national parks. Many safari itineraries have you running all over creation, but we focus on three stellar national parks that house not only the “Big Five” (lions, elephants, cape buffalo, rhinos & leopards) but all of the animals you’re here for!

We’ll experience one to two game drives a day, starting in the early light of sunrise to witness the activity of wildlife, and we’ll stay out through the early afternoon. Late afternoon game drives will always be optional for you, but highly encouraged!

Our vehicles will be comfortable Toyota Land Cruisers, never filled to capacity; you’ll sit four to six guests per vehicle, while the max capacity is 8. While in the bush we see so many safari vehicles simply packed to the gills & it break our heart; we know that doesn’t make for a good experience! Our hotels and safari tent camps are perfectly located within or directly adjacent to the national parks & all rooms have a private bathroom and hot water.

We’ve worked hard to find outstanding Kenyan-owned safari companies, guides, and hotels, ensuring your money stays within Kenya to benefit the community.

You can find cheaper safaris, but at what cost? So many budget safari companies use buses or mini-vans to bring you into the bush (pictured above). We don’t think that makes for a very pleasant experience, so we use Toyota Landcruisers (pictured below) and we don’t fill them to capacity—everyone gets a window seat (and to see out the roof!)

Detailed Daily Itinerary

Ever since BJ’s first safari in 1999, it was a dream to be able to share this experience with others. Now, after a decade of professional travel experience and years of trying to find the best local partners, we are overjoyed to share our first safari opportunity with you!

We’ve carefully created this itinerary to show you the best wildlife Kenya has to offer while reducing the amount of time spent traveling from park to park. Your Kenyan experience will begin in the capital, Nairobi. We’ll stay in Nairobi for one evening and begin our adventure the next morning!

We’ll start off near the southern border of Kenya in Amboseli National Park (5-hour drive from Nairobi). This park, part of a much-larger ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Amboseli is famous for its views of Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 ft (5,895 meters). The park is also known for its elephants, including last of the great tuskers; in fact, it even has some celebrity elephant residents! Tim is one famous tusker that recently celebrated his 50th birthday; he also experienced a harrowing rescue from a mud pit a few years ago. Tim is also thought by some to be the largest living elephant (and thus the largest land animal on earth). We had the great fortune to get up close and personal with Tim during a gorgeous sunset, and we hope that you get to meet him in person, too.

About tuskers, from The Guardian:  Tim is one of the last remaining great tuskers in Kenya. This is the term used to describe African elephants—usually males—whose tusks are so long that they reach the ground. The great tuskers are an irreplaceable symbol of our continent’s unique natural heritage. But their magnificent tusks act like a magnet for poachers (and in some countries still for trophy hunters) and mean that these elephants are constantly at risk. Over the years, the systematic extermination by hunters and poachers of big tuskers—and their gene pool—has acted as a form of “unnatural selection” that is the reverse of Darwin’s theory: as a result most elephants in Africa today have smaller tusks that they did 100 years ago.

Our stylish and intimate camp in Amboseli is a gem. Think “glamping,” for sure! Each tent is equipped with its own private bathroom and gorgeous view. The camp’s central lounge area and fire pit are a perfect place to relax and take in the view—Mt Kilimanjaro takes center stage when it emerges from the clouds. Tim and his merry band of tuskers has also been known to make guest appearances near the camp, as well.

Each full day in a national park we’ll have the opportunity for two games drives; one to take advantage of the beautiful light and increased animal activity at sunrise, and another in the late afternoon for the rich colors of sunset. Both are, of course, optional, depending on how you are feeling that day. On the days where we drive to a new national park, we’ll still have time for one game drive in the afternoon (and, of course, an inherent bonus game drive as we make our way out of the parks in the morning!)

On the 17th we’ll say goodbye to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tim, and all of Amboseli and head back for an overnight in Nairobi (drive time: 5 hours). We’ll have a comfortable night’s rest and start out tomorrow morning to Lake Nakuru (drive time: 4.5 hours) On the way we may be lucky enough to see the crater rim of Mt. Longonot, a beautiful extinct volcano. Lake Nakuru National Park is within the Rift Valley and this is where we’ll try to spot rhinoceros! Lake Nakuru National Park is one of the oldest rhino sanctuaries and home to both eastern black and southern white rhinos. This is also the place to spot the Rothschild’s giraffe; you’ll see it has a different pattern than the Masai giraffes you’ll admire in Amboseli and Masai Mara.

On the morning of the 19th we’ll drive to Masai Mara (5-hour drive) to begin our four-night stay at a beautiful camp overlooking the Mara. The Masai Mara, named after the indigenous Maasai tribe, is part of the same ecosystem as the neighboring Serengeti in Tanzania. We will be here during the Great Migration, when millions of wildebeest cross into the Mara in search of their favorite food: grass. While it may be known for the flurry of activity during the Great Migration, the Mara has an amazing population of wildlife year round, the densest in all of Kenya. 

Here is where we will spend time with the big cats: lions, cheetahs, and if you’re lucky, leopards! In fact, all members of the “Big Five” call the Mara their home: lions, leopards, elephants, cape buffalo, and rhinoceros. Masai Mara is an embarrassment of gorgeous creatures, from hippos and hyenas to warthogs and crocodiles. Wildebeest and zebra dot the plains, and all manner of antelope grace the Mara: impala, dik-dik, reedbuck, Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, waterbuck, eland, Coke’s hartebeest, and topi. More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park!

You may also wish to take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Mara! These spots fill up quickly, so we can help you reserve a space sooner rather than later.

On the 23rd we’ll say goodbye to our Mara home and head back to Nairobi (5-hours); most flights depart in the late afternoon, so we’ll enjoy a final lunch together and part ways. Soon we’ll have a whole safari photo album online for you to revisit and show your loved ones!

Ever since BJ’s first safari in 1999, it was a dream to be able to share this experience with others. Now, after a decade of professional travel experience and years of trying to find the best local partners, we are overjoyed to share our first safari opportunity with you!

We’ve carefully created this itinerary to show you the best wildlife Kenya has to offer while reducing the amount of time spent traveling from park to park. Your Kenyan experience will begin in the capital, Nairobi. We’ll stay in Nairobi for one evening and begin our adventure the next morning!

We’ll start off near the southern border of Kenya in Amboseli National Park (5-hour drive from Nairobi). This park, part of a much-larger ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. Amboseli is famous for its views of Mt Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 19,341 ft (5,895 meters). The park is also known for its elephants, including last of the great tuskers; in fact, it even has some celebrity elephant residents! Tim is one famous tusker that recently celebrated his 50th birthday; he also experienced a harrowing rescue from a mud pit a few years ago. Tim is also thought by some to be the largest living elephant (and thus the largest land animal on earth). We had the great fortune to get up close and personal with Tim during a gorgeous sunset, and we hope that you get to meet him in person, too.

About Tuskers, from The Guardian:  Tim is one of the last remaining great tuskers in Kenya. This is the term used to describe African elephants—usually males—whose tusks are so long that they reach the ground. The great tuskers are an irreplaceable symbol of our continent’s unique natural heritage. But their magnificent tusks act like a magnet for poachers (and in some countries still for trophy hunters) and mean that these elephants are constantly at risk. Over the years, the systematic extermination by hunters and poachers of big tuskers—and their gene pool—has acted as a form of “unnatural selection” that is the reverse of Darwin’s theory: as a result most elephants in Africa today have smaller tusks that they did 100 years ago.

Our stylish and intimate camp in Amboseli is a gem. Each tent is equipped with its own private bathroom and gorgeous view.  Think “glamping!” The camp’s central lounge area and fire pit are a perfect place to relax and take in the view—Mt Kilimanjaro takes center stage when it emerges from the clouds. Tim and his merry band of tuskers has also been known to make guest appearances near the camp, as well.

Each full day in a national park we’ll have the opportunity for two games drives; one to take advantage of the beautiful light and increased animal activity at sunrise, and another in the late afternoon for the rich colors of sunset. Both are, of course, optional, depending on how you are feeling that day. On the days where we drive to a new national park, we’ll still have time for one game drive in the afternoon (and, of course, an inherent bonus game drive as we make our way out of the parks in the morning!)

On the 17th we’ll say goodbye to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tim, and all of Amboseli and head back for an overnight in Nairobi (drive time: 5 hours). We’ll have a comfortable night’s rest and start out tomorrow morning to Lake Nakuru (drive time: 4.5 hours) On the way we may be lucky enough to see the crater rim of Mt. Longonot, a beautiful extinct volcano. Lake Nakuru National Park is within the Rift Valley and this is where we’ll try to spot rhinoceros! Lake Nakuru National Park is one of the oldest rhino sanctuaries and home to both eastern black and southern white rhinos. This is also the place to spot the Rothschild’s giraffe; you’ll see it has a different pattern than the Masai giraffes you’ll admire in Amboseli and Masai Mara.

On the morning of the 19th we’ll drive to Masai Mara (5-hour drive) to begin our four-night stay at a beautiful camp overlooking the Mara. The Masai Mara, named after the indigenous Maasai tribe, is part of the same ecosystem as the neighboring Serengeti in Tanzania. We will be here during the Great Migration, when millions of wildebeest cross into the Mara in search of their favorite food: grass. While it may be known for the flurry of activity during the Great Migration, the Mara has an amazing population of wildlife year round, the densest in all of Kenya. 

Here is where we will spend time with the big cats: lions, cheetahs, and if you’re lucky, leopards! In fact, all members of the “Big Five” call the Mara their home: lions, leopards, elephants, cape buffalo, and rhinoceros. Masai Mara is an embarrassment of gorgeous creatures, from hippos and hyenas to warthogs and crocodiles. Wildebeest and zebra dot the plains, and all manner of antelope grace the Mara: impala, dik-dik, reedbuck, Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, waterbuck, eland, Coke’s hartebeest, and topi. More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park!

You may also wish to take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Mara! These spots fill up quickly, so we can help you reserve a space sooner rather than later.

On the 23rd we’ll say goodbye to our Mara home and head back to Nairobi (5-hours); most flights depart in the late afternoon, so we’ll enjoy a final lunch together and part ways. Soon we’ll have a whole safari photo album online for you to revisit and show your loved ones!

You can have a smartphone safari!

Do we recommend only having your smartphone on safari? Not necessarily. Can you bring home some excellent shots on your smartphone, though? Absolutely! We get so close to so many animals that sometimes you have to use your phone instead of a zoom lens.

The video below highlights footage that BJ took exclusively on his iPhone 11—nothing edited or zoomed beyond the standard 2x zoom. This video goes to show that it’s not only about what camera you are using on safari! 

Want to relax and not worry about capturing the moment? Bring your smartphone & a pair of binoculars and then rely on our photo album at the end of the safari!

Please click the title of the desired tab to open it.

Price & What is Included

The early bird price for this journey is $5299 USD per person (double occupancy).   After May 1, 2020, the price increases to $5499.

A $2000 non-refundable deposit holds your space.  The second installment of $2000 is due by April 16, 2020, and the balance is due by June 15, 2020. Single supplement ($599) is due along with the last installment. We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date. 

If you prefer to have your own room, the single supplement is $599 USD and will be added to your last payment. (Click here to understand why this single supplement is necessary). We are happy to say we have partially subsidized this single supplement for you! Please note that we cannot guarantee you a roommate for this trip, and if you room alone, you will be responsible for the single supplement.

Price Includes:

  • All transportation within Kenya, including airport pickup and drop-off
  • All accommodation
  • All meals (starting with dinner on the 13th and ending with lunch on the 23rd)
  • All water, on safari and at meals
  • All safaris in a private 4×4 Land Cruiser (only 4 to 6 guests per vehicle)
  • All National Park entrance fees ($600 USD per person)
  • All tips at hotels and restaurants
  • Laundry at Zebra Plains Mara and Zebra Plains Amboseli
  • Online photo album after the trip
  • Carbon-offsetting for your time in Kenya

Price does not include:

  • International airfare (although will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements!)
  • Kenya visa (~$51 USD) or East African Visa if you are adding the Rwanda extension (~$100 USD)
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Sodas, Juices, and Alcohol (only water included)
  • Tip to expert local guide; this is optional, but highly suggested and entirely based on how much you appreciated them and their service.
  • Laundry services elsewhere
  • Optional Hot Air Balloon ride in the Masai Mara ($450 USD)
Payments

Please refer to the Price tab for specific information about price & what is included on your journey.

We accept payments via check and credit or debit card (via PayPal). For our guests outside the U.S., please write [email protected] for the best transfer details, to save you from PayPal’s 2.5 to 4.5% currency conversion fee.

  • Paying by Check: Checks can be made out to RetreaTours and sent to 8821 NW 14 Street, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.
  • Paying by Credit Card, Debit Card, or PayPal balance: You can pay the balance with credit card, debit card, or PayPal balance through the button below. Note that you do not have to pay with your PayPal balance; please click here if you’d like further instruction.

We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) about a week before each due date.

Click here to pay the $2000 deposit by credit card (via PayPal)

Registration Questions & Contract

Please click here to go to complete this journey’s registration form. You will be asked for your passport expiration date; if you will need to renew your passport before this trip, simply fill in your old information and update us when you receive your new passport.

At the end of the form, please press “submit” to finalize your answers. Your spot is not considered reserved until you have completed these questions.

Please click here to download to view and download PDF of the contract for your records. 

FAQ: Visas, Vaccines, Food, Money & more

 

PASSPORT/VISA

  • What do I need to know about the visa?    

First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section). 

We’ll give you further visa instructions along with the orientation before the journey. The Kenya visa is $51 USD and for those that are extending their journey to Rwanda, you can receive an East African visa for $100 USD. 

FOOD

  • Can my dietary needs be accommodated?

Absolutely, we’ll let the camps know about your needs before our arrival. Please indicate any special requests/allergies on the registration form. Please note that many breakfasts/lunches will be boxed meals that we will take to enjoy on safari, but dinners will always be at our hotels.

  • Should I bring snacks?

So glad you asked–yes! Snacks like nuts, protein bars, or other favorites are a nice thing to have on hand during long days on safari. 

  • Can I drink the water?

In a word, No. Although many cities around the world are getting more advanced public water systems, we don’t recommend it.  Not only from a pathogen standpoint, but it’s a different set of bacteria than your body is used to. Why risk an upset stomach if you don’t have to? We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water. If you’d like to bring a reusable bottle and a means of sterilization to save on plastic water bottle consumption, you are more than welcome. Otherwise, we will have access to filtered water at all times.

Kenya’s National Parks are said to be changing their rules in 2020 to ban all single-use plastic bottles. If you have a favorite re-usable water bottle/travel mug. please bring it with you!

HEALTH & VACCINES

  • What vaccines do I need?

No vaccines are required to enter Kenya, but this is one destination where we highly encourage you to work with your local travel clinic or the travel department of your local health department (often a much cheaper option). 

Please see the CDC’s general advice for Kenya:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/kenya

Please see the NHS’s general advice for Kenya: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/africa/kenya

As you can see in the CDC’s map below, the Yellow Fever vaccine is recommended for Kenya and you must carry an International Certificate of Vaccination provided by your physician. If your physician advises against receiving the vaccination because of your personal medical history, your physician provide you with the necessary documentation.

  • What about malaria?

As you can see on the CDC’s malaria map below, malaria is endemic throughout Kenya and preventatives are recommended. Please work with your travel physician for the prophylactic best for you.

  • Do I need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is required on this trip; please see the separate “Travel Insurance” toggle on this page.

MONEY

  • How much money should I bring?

All of your meals and transportation are covered, so you just have to gauge how much you want to spend on extras. After registration we’ll let you know how much some of the optional activities cost, as well as tips to the guide that are not included.

  • How do I get the local currency?

You can either exchange cash in Kenya or use a local ATMs upon arrival in Nairobi (although exchanging money will be easier). Just make sure you call your bank and credit card company to let them know you’ll be traveling in Kenya so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used halfway across the world.

HOTELS

  • What kind of hotels will we be staying at?

Please see the separate “About our Accommodations” toggle on this page.

  • Will I be able to charge my electronics (phone, iPad, etc)?

Yes, just be sure to bring along a Universal Travel Adaptor that can go with you anywhere in the world!  If you plan on using your phone as a camera on safari, we also highly recommend bringing a portable battery charger such as this one.

COMMUNICATION

  • How can my family get ahold of me in an emergency?

Before the trip begins we will give you the contact information for our guide and our partner travel office in Nairobi; in addition, we will give you an American number good for text messages and voicemails. An international phone plan will work in many places on our trip, but please check with your cell provider. If you have an unlocked cell phone, you can buy a local Kenyan SIM card upon arrival at the airport in Nairobi.

  • About the Wifi

You will have wifi at most of our camps and all of our hotels in Nairobi, but it can be a very weak signal out in the bush. Cell phone signals (and data) are relatively consistent with a local SIM card at our camps; if you do not have an unlocked phone and cannot purchase a SIM card, you can connect to our phones to check in with your family via email or WhatsApp.  

About our Accommodations

During our time together in Kenya, we’ll be staying at a mix of hotels in Nairobi and Lake Nakuru and modern tent camps (true “glamping!”) in the Masai Mara and Amboseli. The camps are stylish and comfortable and each tent has its own bathroom with running hot water and shower. If you’d like to see our accommodations, please see the links below!

 

An evening in our Masai Mara camp during our October 2019 stay.

Suggested Fitness Requirements

For better or worse, safaris are not physically strenuous, but they do require a decent amount of time sitting in a vehicle.

Our drive times between Nairobi and the different National Parks are all about 5 hours long, with stops for restrooms and leg-stretching.

Our morning game drives can be up to 6 hours at a stretch (afternoon game drives about 3 hours), but we will also have time to stretch our legs for our boxed breakfasts and “bush” toilet stops. The roofs on our Land Cruisers pop open so you can stand in the vehicle, as well!

Travel Insurance

If you are traveling with RetreaTours, we require that each guest carries travel insurance that covers emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation and repatriation. 

We suggest trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly.

Below you will find some options to look into, if this is a new world to you. However, we ask that you carefully consider your choice in travel insurance. What works for some people may not work for others, particularly if you have any pre-existing conditions. Please do take the time to consider the best policy for your individual needs.

World Nomads provides medical coverage for guests under 70 that includes trip cancellation, as well. You can use the box on this page to get a quote and see coverage.

InsureMyTrip.com is a good place to see and compare many policies at once, and you can refine the options by what coverage you would like.

It may also be a good idea to check with your credit card companies, especially American Express, to see if they offer any medical coverage for travel.

About your International Flights

We are more than happy to recommend international flights, but ultimately you will make the purchase yourself. Here is some important information if you would like to research flights yourself:

When must I arrive in Nairobi / where will I stay?

Flights typically arrive in the morning to Nairobi, Kenya. Our orientation/dinner will begin at 5 PM on September 13th.  (If your plane arrives after 5 PM on the 13th, we’ll catch you up to speed, no worries!)

If you wish to arrive early, we can help you with hotel reservations.

What time should I book my departing flight from Nairobi?

The trip is technically finished after lunch on September 23rd, and most flights leave in the late afternoon/evening. If possible, your flight departure time should be after 5 PM on September 23rd. 

Temperature & Suggested Packing List

The historic temperatures in Kenya and our safari destinations will range between 55°F and 85°F  (12°C and 30°C). This will mean chilly evenings and early mornings to pleasantly warm afternoons. We’ll provide a packing list well before the journey!

Contact RetreaTours

Please write [email protected] for any questions you may have about this journey.  If you have not received a reply within 48 hours, please do check your spam folder.

About BJ and Lauren of RetreaTours

You’ll be joined on this journey by BJ & Lauren, owners of RetreaTours–and we are so excited to show you the natural beauty of Kenya! 

BJ & Lauren created RetreaTours in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding. In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in January 2013 to reside full-time overseas. Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable, transformative, one-of-a-kind retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!)

BJ & Lauren take great pride in the itineraries they plan, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart.  Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local professionals in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime. The dynamic duo are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins. From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.

In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $300 value) should you choose to extend your travels. As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination city, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of.  The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you!  So….let’s get going!

Click here for more information on a Mountain Gorilla add-on in Rwanda (3 days)

There is a lot to see & do in East Africa! For relative ease of travel and quality of experience, we recommend an add on to the the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda. There are limited permits for this extension, and we can only hold a space with a separate deposit for this experience (more details below).

Suggested itinerary: 3 days and 2 nights at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Suggested Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: Arrive at Kigali International Airport in the morning; brief tour of Kigali, including the Genocide Memorial; lunch; drive ~2.5 hours through beautiful rural Rwanda to your base at Tiroleza Volcanoes Ecolodge.
  • Day 2: Early wake up, breakfast, and transfer to Volcano National Park HQ for your gorilla briefing. Now, on to hike to the gorilla group (with a group of no more than 8 guests) and spend one hour in their company. Afternooon visit to Iby’ I wacu Cultural Village.
  • Day 3: Return back to Kigali for your departure flight.

Extended Itinerary

Day 1: Kigali to Volcano National Park
Upon your arrival at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, you will be met by a representative who will introduce you to your driver/guide. You will then be briefed on your safari before you depart. You’ll start with a city tour of Kigali including a visit to the Genocide Memorial site, a grim reminder of a senseless massacre of innocent lives in 1994. Learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide and how Rwanda has dealt with that past.

You’ll continue your tour and see the new developments in Rwanda–the recovery has been incredible, a testament to humankind’s resilience. We’ll enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Kigali. Thereafter, we drive to Musanze (formerly called Ruhengeri) in the northwest part of Rwanda, the main base town for Gorilla tracking. The drive is through beautiful rolling hills passing coffee, tea and banana plantations on a comfortable paved road and is approximately 2.5 hours from Kigali.

  • Overnight at Tiroleza Volcanoes Ecolodge

Day 2 : Gorilla trekking
After your morning wake-up call and breakfast transfer by road in a 4WD Land Cruiser and report to the park headquarters, for gorilla trekking formalities and briefing by the Volcanoes National Park’s guides on the gorillas’ etiquette. The gorilla group that you will visit will depend on the assignment of travelers to the seven habituated gorilla groups. By this time, park rangers have already left to locate the gorilla groups that are accessible to visitors.

You will be assigned to a specific group of gorillas. Groups of trekkers will have a maximum of 8 visitors per gorilla family. Your trek will vary in length depending on which gorilla group you have been assigned to and will commence at about 7,000 feet of altitude in the upper terraced slopes of the volcano. Soon you will enter the forest of bamboo and thick undergrowth.

You follow paths and the walking can be steep but not overly strenuous. There are no words to describe the thrill of recognition attached to staring deep into the liquid brown eyes of these gentle giants, which share some 97% of their genes with humans. After locating your assigned Gorilla group you will spend one hour in their company before retracing your steps back down the volcano slopes. Lunch at the lodge. Afternoon visit to Iby’ I wacu Cultural Village

  • Overnight at Tiroleza Volcanoes Eco Lodge

Day 3: Return to Kigali

Drive back to Kigali and Proceed to the Airport for your departure Flight.

 

Price

(These prices are based on 2 people sharing a room, unless single supplement is paid).  PLEASE NOTE that this fee includes the $1500 Rwanda gorilla permit. This extension might appear more expensive than other Rwanda gorilla packages, but that is because those other prices do not include these mandatory expenses; we don’t like surprises in our pricing! This price does NOT include your roundtrip flight to Kigali, Rwanda from Nairobi, Kenya, (which runs about $400 USD, as of January 2020).

  • 1 person (including single supplement) = $3599
  • 2 people = $3199 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)
  • 3 people = $2999 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)
  • 4 people = $2899 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)
  • 5 people = $2849 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)

How to Reserve your Spot 

Your non-refundable deposit to confirm your spot for the Mountain Gorilla extension is a total of $1900 USD per person (which includes your $1500 Rwandan park fee). In order to save your spot, you’ll want to reserve this as soon as possible to ensure a spot.

We’ll also need a photo or scan of the information page of your passport to secure your spot.

>> Click here to pay the $1900 Rwanda deposit by credit card <<

(This link is for U.S.-based guests only; international guests will be provided an alternative method of payment.)

 

Inclusions

  • The Rwanda gorilla permit is currently $1500 and is priced as part of the trip. This fee goes to gorilla conversation and 10% of it goes directly back to help the surrounding communities. Please click here for a great Associated Press article about this initiative.    
  • The round-trip flight from Nairobi to Kigali is currently $390 and is included in the price of the trip [note that a fuel surcharge will be added if the price increases before you register and pay your deposit]  
  • All airport transfers and assistance
  • Accommodation on safari on Full board basis 
  • Private transport in a 4×4 tourist converted jeeps
  • Services of an English speaking driver-guides
  • City tour of Kigali with a visit to the Genocide Museum.
  • Park Entrance fees and park guide
  • Bottled drinking water while trekking and in vehicle·     
  • All taxes on the services quoted above

Exclusions

  • Flight to and from Rwanda from Kenya (~$400 USD as of January 2020)
  • Airport transfer in Nairobi ($30 USD)
  • You will need another hotel night in Nairobi before flying out to your Rwanda adventure, but we can help you arrange a hotel based on your desired budget.  
  • Meals and beverages, other than specified.
  • Passport and visa fees and service charges for obtaining visas (note: You an get an East Africa visit that will cover both Kenya and Rwanda for $100 USD)
  • Excess baggage charges levied by airlines
  • Gratuities to driver/guides and other conveyance attendants.
  • Laundry and other items of a personal nature such as drinks, telephone calls, etc
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Cost for anything not specifically mentioned in the “inclusions” listing above

Click here for more information on a Mountain Gorilla add-on in Rwanda (3 days)

There is a lot to see & do in East Africa! For relative ease of travel and quality of experience, we recommend an add on to the the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda. There are limited permits for this extension, and we can only hold a space with a separate deposit for this experience (more details below).

Suggested itinerary: 3 days and 2 nights at Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda

Suggested Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: Arrive at Kigali International Airport in the morning; brief tour of Kigali, including the Genocide Memorial; lunch; drive ~2.5 hours through beautiful rural Rwanda to your base at Tiroleza Volcanoes Ecolodge.
  • Day 2: Early wake up, breakfast, and transfer to Volcano National Park HQ for your gorilla briefing. Now, on to hike to the gorilla group (with a group of no more than 8 guests) and spend one hour in their company. Afternooon visit to Iby’ I wacu Cultural Village.
  • Day 3: Return back to Kigali for your departure flight.

Extended Itinerary

Day 1: Kigali to Volcano National Park
Upon your arrival at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda, you will be met by a representative who will introduce you to your driver/guide. You will then be briefed on your safari before you depart. You’ll start with a city tour of Kigali including a visit to the Genocide Memorial site, a grim reminder of a senseless massacre of innocent lives in 1994. Learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide and how Rwanda has dealt with that past.

You’ll continue your tour and see the new developments in Rwanda–the recovery has been incredible, a testament to humankind’s resilience. We’ll enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Kigali. Thereafter, we drive to Musanze (formerly called Ruhengeri) in the northwest part of Rwanda, the main base town for Gorilla tracking. The drive is through beautiful rolling hills passing coffee, tea and banana plantations on a comfortable paved road and is approximately 2.5 hours from Kigali.

  • Overnight at Tiroleza Volcanoes Ecolodge

Day 2 : Gorilla trekking
After your morning wake-up call and breakfast transfer by road in a 4WD Land Cruiser and report to the park headquarters, for gorilla trekking formalities and briefing by the Volcanoes National Park’s guides on the gorillas’ etiquette. The gorilla group that you will visit will depend on the assignment of travelers to the seven habituated gorilla groups. By this time, park rangers have already left to locate the gorilla groups that are accessible to visitors.

You will be assigned to a specific group of gorillas. Groups of trekkers will have a maximum of 8 visitors per gorilla family. Your trek will vary in length depending on which gorilla group you have been assigned to and will commence at about 7,000 feet of altitude in the upper terraced slopes of the volcano. Soon you will enter the forest of bamboo and thick undergrowth.

You follow paths and the walking can be steep but not overly strenuous. There are no words to describe the thrill of recognition attached to staring deep into the liquid brown eyes of these gentle giants, which share some 97% of their genes with humans. After locating your assigned Gorilla group you will spend one hour in their company before retracing your steps back down the volcano slopes. Lunch at the lodge. Afternoon visit to Iby’ I wacu Cultural Village

  • Overnight at Tiroleza Volcanoes Eco Lodge

Day 3: Return to Kigali

Drive back to Kigali and Proceed to the Airport for your departure Flight.

 

Price

(These prices are based on 2 people sharing a room, unless single supplement is paid).  PLEASE NOTE that this fee includes the $1500 Rwanda gorilla permit and the $390 roundtrip flight from Kenya to Rwanda. This extension might appear more expensive than other Rwanda gorilla packages, but that is because those other prices do not include these mandatory expenses; we don’t like surprises in our pricing!

  • 1 person (including single supplement) = $3999
  • 2 people = $3599 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)
  • 3 people = $3399 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)
  • 4 people = $3299 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)
  • 5 people = $3249 (plus $299 single supplement if applicable)

How to Reserve your Spot 

Your non-refundable deposit to confirm your spot for the Mountain Gorilla extension is a total of $1900 USD per person (which includes your $1500 Rwandan park fee). In order to save your spot, you’ll want to reserve this as soon as possible to ensure a spot.

We’ll also need a photo or scan of the information page of your passport to secure your spot.

>> Click here to pay the $1900 Rwanda deposit by credit card <<

(This link is for U.S.-based guests only; international guests will be provided an alternative method of payment.)

 

Inclusions

  • The Rwanda gorilla permit is currently $1500 and is priced as part of the trip. This fee goes to gorilla conversation and 10% of it goes directly back to help the surrounding communities. Please click here for a great Associated Press article about this initiative.    
  • The round-trip flight from Nairobi to Kigali is currently $390 and is included in the price of the trip [note that a fuel surcharge will be added if the price increases before you register and pay your deposit]  
  • All airport transfers and assistance
  • Accommodation on safari on Full board basis 
  • Private transport in a 4×4 tourist converted jeeps
  • Services of an English speaking driver-guides
  • City tour of Kigali with a visit to the Genocide Museum.
  • Park Entrance fees and park guide
  • Bottled drinking water while trekking and in vehicle·     
  • All taxes on the services quoted above

Exclusions

  • Meals and beverages, other than specified.
  • Passport and visa fees and service charges for obtaining visas (note: You an get an East Africa visit that will cover both Kenya and Rwanda for $100 USD)
  • Excess baggage charges levied by airlines
  • Gratuities to driver/guides and other conveyance attendants.
  • Laundry and other items of a personal nature such as drinks, telephone calls, etc
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Cost for anything not specifically mentioned in the “inclusions” listing above

 

Photo Album

Please click a photo to see an enlarged version; you can use your arrow keys or mouse to navigate within the album.

ALL photos in this album were taken by BJ or Lauren in 2019 in the same parks we’ll be visiting!