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Nairobi to Arba Minch

Overlanding is the only way to see East and Southern Africa! Our Arba Minch to Nairobi trip truly gets you under the skin of Africa, venturing from the cradle of mankind in Ethiopia to the bustling Kenyan capital. With Dragoman you will journey through the remote tribal lands of Ethiopia's Omo Valley, and head out on safari some of East Africa's great game parks such as Samburu, Nakuru and Murchison Falls. You will track mountain gorillas on foot in Rwanda, chimpanzees in Uganda, and have the chance to get the adrenaline pumping with a plethora of optional outdoor activities in Uganda's Jinja. An incredible trip that will live long in the memory - join us for this amazing African experience!

  • Duration: 36 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline
  • Physical rating: Demanding
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Tour code: 162955
  • Starts: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Finishes: Arba Minch, Ethiopia
You will Visit
  • Nairobi
  • Nakuru National Park
  • Gilgil
  • Kericho
  • Jinja
  • Nakitoma
  • Kaniyo Pabidi
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Kampala
  • Mbarara
  • Lake Bunyonyi
  • Kigali
  • Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park
  • Kabale
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Eldoret
  • Naivasha
  • Naro Moru
  • Samburu Village
  • Samburu National Reserve
  • Moyale
  • Konso
  • Omo Valley Region
  • Arba Minch

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Nairobi

Border Information: If joining the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Welcome to Kenya! There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note, as this will often be a travelling day for the crew who will be joining you.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi.

02

Day 2: Nakuru National Park

After an early breakfast we will make our way to Gilgil, where we will visit the Saidia Children's Home - a Dragoman-supported home for orphaned children from the area.

From there, we will make our way to Nakuru, our base for tomorrow's excursion into Nakuru National Park. If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of town.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

03

Day 3: Kericho

This morning we head into Nakuru National Park for an included half-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos.

We will most likely have lunch in the area before driving on to Kericho this afternoon, where there is an optional tour around a nearby tea plantation.

In Kericho we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

04

Day 4-5: Jinja

Border Information: Exit Kenya at Busia, enter Uganda at Busia.

Today we have a full day's drive across the border into Uganda as we travel to Jinja, the adventure capital of East Africa!

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day to get involved in the many optional adventure activities available here, such as white water rafting, bungee jumping and boat trips on the White Nile!

In Jinja we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

05

Day 6: Nakitoma

Today we continue our journey and head north to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary close to the town of Nakitoma. Here we will have the chance to track rhinos on foot with a local ranger!

In Nakitoma we will stay in a well equipped campsite within the Rhino Sanctuary.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

06

Day 7: Nakitoma

Today we continue to Kaniyo Pabidi in the Budongo Forest, in the southern part of the Murchison Falls National Park. Here we will head out for our included chimpanzee tracking walk in the afternoon!

Please note that for conservation reasons the maximum group size to track the chimpanzees is 12 people, so if we have a large group we will split in half, one half going on the walk this afternoon and the other half going tomorrow morning.

In Kaniyo Pabidi we will stay in basic dorm rooms in a small lodge in the Budongo Forest.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

07

Day 8-9: Murchison Falls National Park

If we had to split the group for chimpanzee tracking, the other half of the group will head out for the walk this morning. When we are ready to continue, we will drive to the central region of Murchison Falls National Park to reach our campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours (to the campsite).

On the next day, we will head out early in the truck for a included morning of game driving around the northern area of the National Park - we will take a local vehicle barge to get over the Nile and pick up a ranger to show us around in search of wildlife!

We will return to our campsite for lunch, and then embark on an included launch cruise on the Nile to spot wildlife from the water and to see the spectacularly-powerful Murchison Falls.

In Murchison Falls National Park we will stay in a well equipped campsite at Paraa on the southern banks of the River Nile in the heart of the park.

Please note that the roads leading into and around Murchison Falls are very poor and can be hazardous in wet conditions. If there has been heavy rain recently, it may not be possible to go into the National Park beyond Kaniyo Pabidi - this is firstly for safety reasons on the drive in, and secondly due to the risk of extreme bogging that will cause us to miss the gorilla treks in Rwanda. We will always endaevour to reach the National Park as per the itinerary; but when this is occasionally not possible, please respect the tour leader's decision in this matter. On these occasions we will be able to utilise this time with spending longer in Lake Bunyonyi and Ruhengeri.

08

Day 10: Kampala

Today we have a full day's drive back south to Kampala, where we will have a nightstop in a well equipped campsite in the southern suburbs of the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

09

Day 11-12: Mbarara

Over the next 2 days we will continue travelling south through Uganda to reach Lake Bunyonyi, home to some of the most picturesque scenery in the whole of the country, where we will hopefully get the opportunity to explore the lake by boat and admire the surrounding landscape.

En route we will split the drive with a nightstop in either Mbarara or Kabale, which both have decent campsites that we can use. We will also cross the Equator and stop for the mandatory photos en route!

In Lake Bunyonyi we stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Times - 7-8 hours each day.

10

Day 13-14: Kigali

Border Information: Exit Uganda at Katuna, enter Rwanda at Gatuna.

Leaving Uganda behind, we cross the border into the stunning country of Rwanda.

We will first travel to the capital city of Kigali, where we will have an included visit to the incredibly moving Genocide Memorial. After this we will drive the short distance to Ruhengeri (also known as Musanze), the gateway to the Volcanoes National Park, where we will spend the next 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (allowing for 5 hours driving, 2 hours at the border and 3 hours at the Kigali Genocide Museum).

On the next day, we will go on what is undoubtedly the highlight of the trip - trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas in their natural forest habitat. 

This region is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for the mountain gorilla. No more than 8 people per day can visit any one habituated family, and visits are strictly controlled to minimise the possibility of disturbance or transmission of disease to the animals. 

Tracking gorillas in the dense forest can sometimes be wet, muddy and uncomfortable. The terrain is by no means easy either, so it can be pretty strenuous and often humid; however, the sheer thrill of coming across a habituated group of gorillas, dominated by a great male silverback, more than outweighs any difficulty. You need to be prepared and fit enough to walk at least 4 hours - uphill and downhill. We can usually get very close to the mountain gorillas, who are placid and gentle, and watching their movements is like seeing a mirror image of yourself! Once you find them, you will stay with the gorillas for one unforgettable hour!

When visiting the gorillas you will be assigned a trekking group and time on your permit. The group may be split up into different trekking groups during the day.

In Ruhengeri we will stay in dorms at a local church mission, or camp in their grounds.

Please note that the gorilla permits are paid for in full by the trip kitty - however, Dragoman has to purchase the permits in advance on the customers' behalf, so a higher deposit is charged on the trip price to protect us from losing this money in the event of cancellation - please see the notes at the end for further detail.

Please also note that there is some flexibility in the itinerary depending on the circumstances of the trip and the weather, as such we sometimes may have extra time in Ruhengeri, in which case we will have time for some other activities here (your leader can detail some of these if you have the time available). 

11

Day 15: Kabale

Border Information: Exit Rwanda at Cyanika, enter Uganda at Cyanika.

Today we have a free morning in Ruhengeri before heading out of Rwanda, crossing back into Uganda to camp in the town of Kabale.

In Kabale we will stay in a well equipped campsite.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

12

Day 16: Queen Elizabeth National Park

This morning we travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, beautifully set between the Great Rift Valley lakes of Lake Edward and Lake George, undertaking a game drive on our way to the campsite. 

After lunch we will take an included boat cruise along the Kazinga Channel, well-known for pelicans, eagles and other wonderful birdlife as well as its healthy population of hippos. During our time in the park we also hope to see elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks. 

In Queen Elizabeth National Park we will camp at a basic campsite with drop toilets inside the park. Your leader will explain the basic safety aspects of camping in an unfenced area amongst the wildlife upon arrival.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

13

Day 17-18: Jinja

Over the next 2 days we will travel back to the east through Kampala to Jinja. We will take a short game drive through Queen Elizabeth National Park on our way out in the morning.

We will most likely split the drive with a nightstop in Mbarara, but if the road conditions improve on a different road then we may go via the western town of Fort Portal instead. Both Mbarara and Fort Portal have decent campsites to stay in.

Either way, we will reach Jinja by the second evening and enjoy a night relaxing at the same campsite as earlier in the trip.

Estimated Drive Times - 6-7 hours each day.

14

Day 19: Eldoret

Border Information: Exit Uganda at Malaba, enter Kenya at Malaba.

Today we travel back into Kenya and visit the town of Eldoret, where we will stay in an excellent campsite at Naiberi River just outside of town. There will be the possibility of an Indian buffet meal at our campsite tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

15

Day 20: Nairobi

Today we will make our way back to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where we will stay again in our well equipped campsite situated in the suburb of Karen.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

16

Day 21: Nairobi

Border Information: if you are leaving the trip in Nairobi, you will most likely exit Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

Today is this is the final day of this section - if you are leaving here (or continuing northbound with us to Ethiopia) you will have a free day in Nairobi. If you are continuing your trip with us southbound towards Tanzania then there will a new group meeting at 10:00am for the next section of your journey, before heading away from Nairobi - your leader will give you detailed instructions about this.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Nairobi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

17

Day 22: Nairobi

Border Information: If joining in Nairobi, you will most likely enter Kenya at Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA code: NBO).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting - your leader will need to check your Ethiopia visa (please see below for details).

If you would like to explore Nairobi fully, we advise you arrive a day earlier, or arrive early in the morning to give yourself a full day before the meeting in the evening. Possible activities include visiting the Karen Blixen Museum, the National Museum and the Langata Giraffe Centre. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Nairobi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Nairobi.

In Nairobi we will camp in the grounds of a peaceful eco-camp in the suburb of Karen.

18

Day 23-24: Naivasha

This morning our journey begins with a short drive to Naivasha, on the shore of a beautiful calm lake in the Great Rift Valley. Here we will have the chance to take an optional boat trip on the lake to spot hippos and African fish eagles, and also to visit the Elsamere Born Free Foundation at the old home of Joy Adamson.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

On the following day we will have free time to enjoy some excellent optional activities around Naivasha. Naivasha is the base for exploring the Crater Lake Game Sanctuary and the Hell's Gate National Park, two scenic areas that are some of the only places in East Africa where you can safely explore and look for wildlife on foot.

In Naivasha we stay at a well equipped campsite on the lake shore.

19

Day 25-26: Nakuru National Park

Today we will make our way to Nakuru, our base for tomorrow's excursion into Nakuru National Park. If we make good time on the drive we may have the opportunity to take a walk around the working dairy farm where our campsite is, and to visit a local women's knitting collective.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

On the following day we will head into Nakuru National Park for an included full-day game drive in local safari trucks. Nakuru is a beautiful park with a large lake and many forested areas - it is teeming with wildlife and there is an excellent chance to see both black and white rhinos!

In Nakuru we will stay at a beautiful and well equipped campsite located on a dairy farm on the outskirts of the town.

20

Day 27-28: Naro Moru

Today we will head through the hills of central Kenya through the area's beautiful scenery and tea plantations, to arrive at the small village of Naro Moru at the base of Mount Kenya.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day in Naro Moru to take optional walks around the lower slopes of Mount Kenya, explore the nearby Mau Mau caves, or take an optional game drive in the nearby Sweetwaters National Reserve.

In Naro Moru we will stay at a well equipped campsite.

21

Day 29: Samburu Village

Today we will travel to the Samburu region near to the small town of Archer's Post, where we will visit a Samburu village. Here we will be shown around the village and their homes, play with the children and learn all about the way of life here for the Samburu people!

We will camp in the village in the heart of the community tonight, where there are no toilet or washing facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

22

Day 30: Samburu National Reserve

Today we will get up early and enter the Samburu National Reserve, where we will head out for the entire day for game drives in the truck (breaking for a long lunch during the heat of the day).

Samburu is a stunning National Reserve and is a great opportunity to spot big game such as cheetah, leopards, lions, and buffalo. The Reserve is also home to other animals rarely seen in the National Parks further south, such as Grevy's zebras, Somali ostriches and gerenuk ('giraffe-necked antelopes').

Tonight we will wild camp in a camping area in the National Reserve - facilities are very basic, but the area is a 5-10 minute walk from Samburu Lodge.

Please note that during very wet conditions we may need to use locally chartered 4x4 jeeps rather than our truck to get a good game drive in - in this instance we may make this option available at extra cost.

23

Day 31: Moyale

Today we will have an early start to travel through the very rarely-visited region of northern Kenya, crossing the infamous Marsabit-Moyale road to the very northern border town of Moyale. The scenery today is spectacular as we travel through the black lunar landscapes near Marsabit and pass mountain greenery, spectacular craters, watercourses, bush country and termite mounds.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

In Moyale we will stay in a basic local hotel or camp in a local campsite.

Please note that due to security issues in this particular area, we will sometimes be accompanied by two armed police escorts.

Today will be a joining day for new passengers in Arba Minch, where there will be met by our local guide.

24

Day 32: Konso

Border information: Exit Kenya at Moyale, enter Ethiopia at Moyale.

For those on a longer combination trip starting in Cape Town or Victoria Falls, please play special attention to the visa notes in the information below.

Today we will cross the border into Ethiopia and have a full day of travel to Konso, home to the local Konso people and our gateway to the very remote Omo Valley region of southern Ethiopia.

In Konso we will camp in the grounds of a basic lodge.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

25

Day 33-35: Omo Valley Region

Over the next 4 days/3 nights we will be exploring the remote and rarely-visited tribal areas of the Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia.

We will keep these days on a flexible itinerary so that we can react to news of special events being hosted by particular villages or tribes; as such, we cannot provide an exact itinerary for these days. However, we will aim to visit various tribal villages in the area, such as villages of the Hamer, the Mursi and the Konso tribes. 

We will camp in basic campsites on all these nights without possibility of upgrades, and we will try to spend at least one of the nights camping in one of the tribal villages (this is not guaranteed to be possible on every trip). 

Estimated Drive Times - between 4-9 hours each day.

Please note that we will be travelling through very remote areas with rough roads and basic conditions on these days. Please also note that it is absolutely vital that you follow your tour leader's directions regarding responsible tourism in these regions, especially with regards to giving things away for free and taking photographs of the locals. 

26

Day 36: Arba Minch

Today we will exit the Omo Valley region and arrive in the town of Arba Minch, a small town overlooking Lake Chamo.

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

27

Day 37: Arba Minch

Border Information: If you are leaving in Arba Minch, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Arba Minch. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Visit to the Saida Childrens Home
    • Safari in Lake Nakuru National Park
    • Trek on foot in the Budongo Forest in search of habituated chimpanzees
    • Launch cruise on the River Nile to the mighty Murchison Falls
    • Head out game driving in our overland truck in Murchison Falls National Park
    • Visit to the genocide memorial in Kigali
    • Trek in the forests of Rwanda's Volcanos National Park in search of the mighty mountain gorillas - an unforgettable experience!
    • Take a boat trip through the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park
    • Safari in QEII National Park including a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel
    • Horseriding or cycling at Hells Gate
    • Safari in Lake Nakuru National Park
    • Visit to Samburu tribal community and cultural project
    • Wildlife safari in Samburu National Reserve
    • Guided Omo Valley Tribal Tour visiting either the Hamer, Banna, Mursi or Ari tribes
    Accomodation
    • 90% Camping - 10% Hotels
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