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Nairobi to Nairobi - 2016
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Overlanding is the only way to see East Africa! This classic trip is one of our most popular journeys in the world, and thoroughly deserves its reputation. Dragoman have been leading the way in African overland expeditions since 1981, so take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. We start this classic trip in Kenya's bustling capital of Nairobi, and first visit the stunning reserve of Nakuru National Park, home to a stunning array of wildlife, including thousands of pink flamingos. We move on to the adventure capital of Uganda, Jinja - this is the source of the White Nile and has a wealth of optional adrenaline activities that we can get involved in including the legendary white-water rafting here. We then move on to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, where we have the option to track rhino on foot, before heading on a foot safari in the forests of Murchison Falls National Park to track chimpanzees! We enjoy a safari through Murchison Falls before slowly making our way down to Rwanda and the highlight of the trip - coming face-to-face with the amazing mountain gorillas of Volcanoes National Park, a truly breathtaking experience and one that will stay with you for the rest of your life. We finish our incredible journey with a trip back to Nairobi via a visit to the stunning plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park - a truly wonderful and unforgettable African experience!

  • Duration: 21 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Community Project, Hiking, Parks & Nature Reserves, Trekking
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 80.0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID/Link Tour Code: YNN1/158133
  • Starts: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Finishes: Nairobi, Kenya
You will Visit
  • Nairobi
  • Gilgil
  • Nakuru National Park
  • Kericho
  • Jinja
  • Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
  • Kaniyo Pabidi
  • Murchison Falls National Park
  • Kampala
  • Kabale
  • Mbarara
  • Ruhengeri & Volcanoes National Park
  • Kigali
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Eldoret

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.

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
    Tour Staff
    • 3 crew members including an African camp master
    Accomodation
    • 90% Camping - 10% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • Community Project
  • Hiking & Trekking
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Overland Journey


Reviews (12)
Sarah E. Posted on: 

Charles was amazing! Made sure everyone was full and so kind and helpful. He never complained and always had good food waiting for us.

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Richard P. Posted on: 

Tom and Michaela were so enthusiastic, we had a ball and they arranged to get to places where we believed other trips had not gone to in the wet season (Murchison Falls). I have nothing but praise for these two leaders.

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Nicola D. Posted on: 

Michaela and Tom were a credit. They worked hard, mucked in with all the chores and genuinely seemed to care that we had a good trip. They went above and beyond when the poor road conditions meant we wouldn't have been able to get the truck to Murchison Falls. They researched alternatives, and whilst we had to pay a little bit extra, their efforts meant that we were able to get there which was great as it had been one if the reasons for booking the trip in the first place.

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Helen F. Posted on: 

it rocked my world. So much so, that I keep coming back for more. Your destinations lure me in, your tour leaders keep me coming back. Keep up the great work.

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Priscilla P. Posted on: 

The crew are really fun and knowledgeable. Felt safe at all times. They knew what we wanted to know and always had an answer to any question and a justification to changes. Appreciated them always checking with us and Denford for a group solution.

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Philip L. Posted on: 

Mic and Tom were a brilliant team. They went out of their way to ensure that we had fun and saw all the sights. The road to Murchison Falls was not passable in the truck so they found good local vehicles to use to get there and it was a highlight of the trip. The easy option would have been to say we couldn't go but they put themselves out to give us a great trip. They were always cheerful and well organised - they are both a great credit to your company and really made the trip

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Priscilla P Posted on: 

I had the best chef on board. The legendary Denford fed us amazingly. Proud to have been on board with him.

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Holger O Posted on: 

Outstanding good cooking by Denford! Guides were more than excellent!

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Jenniffer H. Posted on: 

Great trip! Frenchie and Dave were great guides and were very consultative with the group and also fun to travel around with :-)

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Sharon S. Posted on: 

Leaders were very motivated, even after long drives. Sorted good itinerary changes out to make the trip a better experience and to fit in Christmas and New Year's Eve.

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Seth U. Posted on: 

Enthusiasm doesn't begin to describe the amazing qualities of the crew. Their warmth, humour, and truly caring nature is a testament to Dragoman's recruitment process.

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Gaea J. Posted on: 

The crew are really fun and knowledgeable. Felt safe at all times. They knew what we wanted to know and always had an answer to any question and a justification to changes. Appreciated them always checking with us and Denford for a group solution.

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