Stay tuned for 2023 dates!
Join us on this comprehensive Kenyan adventure in 2023 and fulfill your safari wishlist! You’ll have the opportunity to see “The Big 5” as we explore Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park & Masai Mara National Reserve during the Great Migration.
Trip at a Glance
- Stay tuned for 2023 dates!
- Escorted by BJ & Lauren, owners of RetreaTours
- Led by expert Kenyan safari guides
- Enjoy daily game drives and check off all of the “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 at Nakuru
- Explore the wildlife of the Masai Mara, especially the lions, cheetahs, and leopards!
- This journey is triple carbon offset
- Opportunity for a Mountain Gorilla extension in Rwanda
Click to Jump to…
- Safari Guest Testimonials
- What is the Difference Between Your 2022 Safaris?
- Price & Inclusions
- Payment Details
- Cancellation Policy
- Registration Questions & Contract
- “Bugs & Temperature”
- Our Carbon Offset commitment
- Travel Insurance
- Packing List
- Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Extension
- Photo album
How to Register
- Review this entire webpage for details
- Complete Registration Questions and Contract
- Lauren will email you with a link to pay the deposit.
COVID Safety Notes (click to open)
We will inform our registered guests as requirements to enter Kenya change.
As of 2022, a negative PCR test is required, and RetreaTours requires full COVID-19 vaccination. As this trip is 8 months away, we don’t have any other information to give you, but we’ll update this space as necessary.
We are requiring all of our guests to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including a booster, for this journey, to protect themselves, fellow guests, and local Kenyans. All of our guides/drivers will also be vaccinated.
It is crucial we respect the Kenyans who will be around us on this journey, as vaccinations will most likely not be as widespread there as in other parts of the world. Wearing proper face masks when you are around any local people will be non-negotiable.
Anytime we are in an enclosed space or a vehicle (even on safari, if our guide or driver is not vaccinated), we will ask that you wear your face mask to cover your nose and mouth. We’ll also kindly ask you to use hand sanitizer/wash your hands frequently.
Tests upon departing Kenya
If tests are required to re-enter your home country, we will help arrange that and let you know how much that charge is, payable directly to the local medical team.
Lake Nakuru National Park
“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.”
Itinerary at a Glance
September 9 You’ll arrive in Nairobi & rest in a lovely centrally located 4-star hotel.
September 10 Today we’ll visit the Giraffe Center & the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage to learn more about these beautiful species we’ll encounter in the wild.
September 11 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 12-13 Explore Amboseli, famous for its population of rare “tuskers”–elephants whose tusks are so long that they reach the ground.
September 14 We’ll head back to Nairobi today to rest before tomorrow’s departure to Lake Nakuru National Park.
September 15 Discover Lake 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 16 From Lake Nakuru, we’ll head southwest to the Masai Mara, part of the same beautiful ecosystem as the Serengeti in Tanzania.
September 17–19 Enjoy the dense population of wildlife on the Mara–especially the big cats! Lions, cheetahs, leopards, oh my!
September 20 We’ll head back to Nairobi today, enjoying one last lunch together and reminiscing about seeing “The Big Five” on safari together. Perhaps you’ll add on an 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’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 five guests per vehicle (other companies use the max capacity of 8!) While in the bush we see so many safari vehicles simply packed to the gills & it breaks 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!
What our 2021 Safari Guests are Saying…
It was the best vacation ever! At one point I became so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty and wonder of all the amazing animals, I started to weep. And I’m not a weepy person. Absolutely wonderful, educational, safe, and perfect. Heaven on earth! ~Julie D.
See more 2021 Safari Testimonials Here
BJ and Lauren are so thoughtful and prepared and helpful and humorous that an atmosphere is established which brings out the best in each participant. It’s like magic!!!!! ~Barbara B
It was amazing. Even the smallest detail was taken care of for each of us. You also went out of your way to meet our individual needs and desires. I wholeheartedly recommend your company and this trip. ~Pat N.
This is my second trip with BJ and Lauren; these two people are so loving, and caring, full of energy, and just fun, when you meet them you end up having two best friends. When you travel with them you really don’t have to worry about anything, they will go out of their way to help you with any problems you have. ~ Sue T.
Every person I’ve met since I’ve been home the first words out of my mouth are “GO ON A SAFARI AND USE RETREATOURS!” It truly was a dream come true for me. To see the animals in their environment and not in a cage was beyond exciting. Lauren and BJ become family after a very short time. I felt like I’d know them forever and feel I’ve made new lifelong friends. I had no worries about anything the whole time I was gone and felt safe at every stop we made. ~Carol W
BJ and Lauren did a great job of making us all feel safe and comfortable. They supported our every whim… Their pre-trip communications were just right, and their kind and ethical guidance brought out the best in each of us. ~Brooke B.
This has been the best trip ever, full of miracles, truly lovely people in our group, and the best tour leaders in the world. Someone in our group suggested BJ and Lauren seem to attract really nice travel companions. Another wise soul amended that idea: BJ and Lauren seem to bring out the best in us, making us our best selves on the trip.
BJ and Lauren create ‘paint by number’ instructions for [trip preparation]… Huge for me was that BJ and Lauren are phenomenal photographers, sharing their amazing photos every day.
They have created extensive relationships in each country to provide support for our travels and to ensure our travel dollars actually get to the people in the country rather than some international chain. BJ and Lauren guided us at every step, giving their valuable information and creating continuous enjoyment. It was such a pleasure and, truly, the trip of a lifetime. Thank you! ~Jane M.
Detailed Daily Itinerary
Your Kenyan experience will begin in the capital, Nairobi. We’ll stay in Nairobi for two nights at the beginning of our journey. On our full day in Nairobi we’ll pay a visit to two special organizations that are dedicated to animal welfare and public education. We’ll spend time with Rothschild giraffes at The Giraffe Center, and you’ll get up close & personal while feeding them!
Afterwards, we’ll head to the David. E. Sheldrick “Orphan’s Project” and learn more about juvenile elephants that have tragically lost their families but are being given a shot at a successful life. These elephants are eventually reintroduced into the wild. We can see them drinking their morning milk, and if they want a scratch behind the ear, we can even give them a pet (on their terms, of course!)
On the 11th, we’ll head toward 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. It is the same ecosystem that makes up the Serengeti in Tanzania!
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 some of the last of the great tuskers.
Our intimate camp in Amboseli is a gem. Think “glamping,” for sure! Each tent is equipped with its own private bathroom and a 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. We love this camp because is it run almost entirely by members of the local Maasai tribe, providing valuable resources for them and a fascinating, authentic experience for you.
This is a rare spot where we can take a walking safari around the property, which is inside a conservancy. Who knows what we’ll encounter (from a safe distance, of course!) Craig the elephant and his merry band of tuskers has also been known to make guest appearances near the camp, as well.
Each full day in the 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 13th we’ll say goodbye to Mt. Kilimanjaro and head back for an overnight in Nairobi (drive time: 5 hours). We’ll have a comfortable night’s rest and we’ll enjoy dinner at a famous local place called “Carnivore” (don’t worry, vegetarian options exist!)
Tomorrow morning we’ll head 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 rhinos!
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 giraffe, the ones you met on your first day in Nairobi. You’ll see they have a different pattern than the Masai giraffes you’ll admire in Amboseli and Masai Mara. Lake Nakuru is also a perfect place to spot many fascinating bird species, including the Great White Pelican, with a wingspan of almost 12 feet. Greater and Lesser flamingo also dot these beautiful waters.
On the morning of the 16th we’ll drive to Masai Mara (5-hour drive) to begin our four-night stay at a lovely Maasai-run camp overlooking the Mara. We’ll have an opportunity to enjoy a walking safari here, as well!
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 to see the migration from a new perspective. These spots fill up quickly, so we can help you reserve a space sooner rather than later.
On the 20th 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!
What is the Difference Between Your 2022 Safaris?
Please click the title of the desired tab to open it.
Price & What is Included
The price for this journey is $6399 USD per person (double occupancy).
A $2000 non-refundable deposit holds your space. The second installment of $2500 is due by May 1, 2022, and the balance is due by June 15, 2022. 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 $849 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 have a private room, you will need to pay the single supplement.
- All transportation within Kenya, including VIP airport pickup and drop-off
- All accommodation
- All meals starting with breakfast on the 10th and ending with lunch on the 20th
- All water, on safari and at meals
- All safaris in a private 4×4 Land Cruiser (only 4 to 5 guests per vehicle)
- All National Park entrance fees ($750 USD per person)
- ALL TIPS to guides, hotels, and restaurants
- Laundry at Zebra Plains Mara and Zebra Plains Amboseli
- Online photo album after the trip
- Triple carbon-offsetting for your time in Kenya
- Sundowner experience
- Personal SIM card with data for your use
Price does not include:
- International airfare (although will be more than happy to help you decide on arrangements!)
- Dinner on September 9th
- 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)
- Laundry services elsewhere
- Optional Hot Air Balloon ride in the Masai Mara ($470 USD for 2021; we’ll update you when we get 2022 prices)
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 Lauren@RetreaTours.com for the best transfer details.
- 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.
We do everything in our power to do right by our guests. We are proud to say that in the wake of our COVID-related trip cancellations through 2020 and 2021, we were able to offer each of our guests the choice of a 100% credit, if not a full refund.
We’ve re-examined each trip and done our best to reduce the deposit amounts as much as possible. Upon your registration, your deposit immediately goes toward reserving your space for flights, hotels, and excursions that must be booked months in advance and are often non-refundable (particularly in Kenya and Rwanda).
Cancellation by our guests
The cancellation charges are as follows unless otherwise indicated on the detailed itinerary for each trip. All cancellations must be received via e-mail or US mail.
- Cancellations prior to 120 days to departure, money will be refunded minus the non-refundable deposit.
- Cancellations received 61 to 119 days prior to departure are subject to a penalty of 50% of the total cost of the trip.
- Cancellations received 60 days or fewer prior to trip departure will forfeit the entire cost of the trip.
If a trip is cancelled by RetreaTours
When a tour is cancelled in the case of force majeure, the Tour Participant will receive a refund minus any funds that we are unable to recover from any supplier.
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 and submitted your deposit.
"Bugs & Temperature"
We know these two topics are important! Do you know how we know? We see your Facebook page and this is what all your friends ask you while you are on safari with us! Here’s the scoop:
Yes, you’re in Africa. Yes, you’re near the equator. But, YES, it can still be chilly! Bank on chilly mornings and evenings (as in 50°F chilly, possibly in places). This is due to weather patterns and altitude (we’ll range from 2500 feet in Samburu to 6000 feet in Nairobi).
It will also get warm during the heat of the day (85°F+). This means layers, layers, layers. Feel free to bring light t-shirts or even tank tops and shorts for warm afternoons back at the hotels and camps, but please do bring long pants and a sweater or jacket (especially if you plan on doing the optional hot air balloon ride).
You may have a vision of tons of insects and mosquitos invading your space on a safari. It just ain’t so!
We will be visiting Kenya during the dry season and mosquitos and creepy crawlies, in general, aren’t a big concern. We asked our September 2021 guests in our post-trip survey about the number of mosquitos they saw on tour; 8 guests said “zero,” one guest said “1,” and one eagle-eyed guest said “5.” My favorite quote was “I saw NO bugs except a grasshopper and a funny rhinoceros beetle.” My personal count was 2; BJ traveled around Kenya for 7 weeks and his total was 7.
Malaria is still endemic in Kenya and you should have that conversation about antimalarials with your travel doctor (please see the “vaccine” part of our FAQ below for more information about that).
We say this not to lessen any of your precautions against malaria or yellow fever—we’re big fans of being well-prepared and taken care of. This is to give you a bit of perspective about what the actual situation is on the ground.
Please do bring personal insect repellent, please do wear it and/or long-sleeves and pants at night, and certainly, feel free to use any mosquito nets around your bedding (available at some camps). But please don’t let fear of bugs put you off a Kenyan safari!
FAQ: Visas, Vaccines, Food, Money & more
- Passport and Visa information
- Health & Vaccines, Altitude, Travel Insurance
- Money & How to Get Local Currency
- Communication / Internet Connectivity
- 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.
- 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; if we have any questions or concerns about your particular needs, we’ll contact you.
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 tap 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.
- What vaccines do I need?
RetreaTours requires proof of COVID-19 vaccines and booster for this journey.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- What kind of hotels will we be staying at?
Please see the separate “About our Accommodations” toggle on this page.
- What kind of plug do I need?
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.
- 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.
We will provide you a SIM card that you may use if you have an unlocked smart phone, as well. You’ll be able to use data on this SIM card.
- 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 use the SIM card we provide, you can connect to our phones to check in with your family via email or WhatsApp.
Our Carbon Negative Commitment
RetreaTours is Climate Positive!
We purchase triple carbon offsets for your travels with us—that’s from your home, through the entire tour, and back to your home again, times three!
You may have heard the term “carbon neutral,” which means that a company offsets as much carbon as it produces. With this 300% offset, RetreaTours is actually offsetting more carbon than we produce each year, making us “carbon negative” (or “climate positive,” which has a nicer ring to it!)
Since 2012 we’ve focused on making travel safe and easy for our guests; with our triple carbon offset tours, we’re pleased to make our trips as sustainable as they are memorable.
Please see more at RetreaTours.com/CarbonNegative
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!
- September 9-10, Nairobi: Tamarind Tree Hotel
- September 11–13: Zebra Plains Collection: Amboseli Camp
- September 14, Nairobi: Tamarind Tree Hotel
- September 15: Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge
- September 16–19: Zebra Plains Collection: Mara Camp
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 5 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!
We have personally provided step stools to get into the vehicles and even portable folding toilet seats to make “bush toilet” stops more comfortable for you.
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?
You can arrive anytime in Nairobi before midnight on September 9. Diner that night is not included, and our first acitivits start at 8 AM on the 10th.
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 20th, and most flights leave in the late afternoon/evening. Your flight departure time should be after 6 PM on September 20th.
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! Please note that we highly suggest soft-sided luggage in order to fit inside the safari vehicles.
Please write Lauren@RetreaTours.com 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 nights)
What better way to wrap up your time in East Africa than with a visit to the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda!
There are limited permits for this extension, and we can only hold your space with a separate deposit for this experience (more details below).
Itinerary at a Glance
- Day 1: Arrive at Kigali International Airport in the evening from Nairobi
- Day 2: Arrive at Kigali International Airport in the morning; brief tour of Kigali, including the Genocide Memorial; lunch; drive ~3 hours through beautiful rural Rwanda to your base in Musanze.
- Day 3: Early wake-up & breakfast, and then 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 7 guests) and spend one hour in their company. Afternoon visit to Iby’ I wacu Cultural Village.
- Day 4: Return back to Kigali for your departure flight. (We can help you plan an international flight into Kenya and out of Rwanda, for ease of travel)
Day 1 (Which is also the last day of your Kenya safari): Fly to Rwanda
You’ll fly to Rwanda the evening of the last day of your Kenya adventure. Upon arrival at Kigali International Airport, you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight: Marriott Hotel
Day 2: Kigali Tour and drive to Volcanoes National Park
After breakfast, you’ll be briefed on your Rwanda adventure!
You’ll start with a tour to the Genocide Memorial site and learn about Rwanda’s history from pre-colonial times to the 1994 genocide and how Rwanda has dealt with that past. The recovery has been incredible, a true testament to humankind’s resilience.
Enjoy your lunch in Kigali and then you’ll be driven to Musanze in the northwest part of Rwanda, the main base town for Gorilla trekking. The drive is through beautiful rolling hills on a comfortable paved road and is approximately 3 hours from Kigali. Rwanda has one of of the most stunning landscapes BJ and Lauren have had the privilege to drive through!
Overnight: Virunga Inn
Day 3: Gorilla Trekking
After your morning wake-up call and breakfast, you’ll be picked up (around 6:30 AM) and transferred to the park office for gorilla trekking formalities and briefing by the Volcanoes National Park’s guides “gorilla etiquette.”
Park rangers have already left pre-dawn to locate the habituated Gorilla groups that are accessible to visitors. You will be assigned to a specific group of gorillas based on how easy you want your trek to be.
Groups of trekkers will have a maximum of 7 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 is 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. After locating your assigned Gorilla group, you will spend one hour in their company before retracing your steps back down the volcano slopes.
You’ll head back for a reenergizing lunch at your lodge and then you can enjoy an afternoon visit to the “Gorilla Guardians,” the Iby’ Iwacu Cultural Village.
Overnight: Virunga Inn
Day 4: Departure
After breakfast, enjoy the scenic drive back to Kigali and head to Kigali International Airport for your departure flight.
Price & Inclusions
The price for this memorable journey is $3599 per person (shared room/minimum of two people total extending to Rwanda). We will let you know what the single supplement is for solo travelers.
- 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 so they don’t have to rely on poaching for income. Please click here for a great Associated Press article about this initiative.
- All airport transfers
- All accommodation
- All meals (until breakfast on your departure day)
- Transport in a 4×4 safari jeep
- Services of an English speaking driver/guide
- City tour of Kigali & visit to the Genocide museum
- Visit to the Iby’ Iwacu Cultural Village (Gorilla Guardians)
- Bottled drinking water while trekking and in vehicle
- Flight from Nairobi to Rwanda (~$199)
- Rwanda visa fees (If you go to Kenya and Rwanda, you’ll apply for an East Africa visa which costs $100 total)
- Gratuities to driver/guides and porters
- Any COVID test requirements for entry or departure
- Cost for anything not specifically mentioned in the “inclusions” listing above.
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.
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 and Lauren in 2019 & 2021 in the same parks we’ll be visiting!
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 in 2019—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!