Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda Cross-Border Safari

East African special is a cross-border safari combining the best highlights of each destination with spectacular attractions and life-changing experiences. The tray is filled with spectacular attractions and life-changing experiences in every destination within East Africa. From Kenya’s Meru, Aberdares, L. Nakuru, Saiwa, and L. Victoria to Jinja, Uganda – the source of river Nile.

Explore Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi Impenetrable to Rwanda’s L. Kivu, and Nyungwe. The great wildlife tour spiced with the scenery and rich cultural diversity guarantees you a life-long memorable safari.

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to hotel in Nairobi.

Upon arrival at JKIA, you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred by our driver to your hotel of choice. Dine and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2: Nairobi to Meru national park (287km, 6hrs).

We leave Nairobi at 7:00 am and drive to Meru national park through Thika, Makutano, Embu, Chuka, Meru. A short tea/coffee break at the Isaac Walton hotel in Embu. The route encompasses rich agricultural farmlands covered in pineapple, coffee, rice, bananas, tea and khat. Our home for the next two nights will be spent at the facility of your choice. We do our first evening game drive in the park visiting the rhino sanctuary. Dinner will be served before retiring to bed.                     

  Meru National Park – Get a chance to see the BIG five and the SPECIAL five in their natural habitat, christened as “God’s Backyard”.

Meru National Park, where George and Joy Adamson released their most famous lioness, Elsa, back into the wild (a story immortalized in the book and film Born Free), is increasingly re-appearing on safari itineraries. It was founded in 1966. Expectations include predator sightings, including lions and cheetahs.

The overall wildlife-viewing rating here is high. The characteristic northern varieties of plains mammals are easily seen – magnificent reticulated giraffe, fine-striped Grevy’s zebra, dapper Beisa oryx, skittish and beautifully marked lesser kudu and the distinctively long-necked browsing gerenuk gazelle. You’ll also see Grant’s gazelles (though not Thomson’s) and some of the biggest herds of buffalo you’ll encounter anywhere in Kenya, as well as good numbers of elephants. All the mammals thrive because of Meru’s abundant water, and in many of the streams and rivers, you can see crocodiles, freshwater turtles and hippos.

As well as unmistakable ostriches and the smartly plumaged vulturine Guinea fowl that you’ll see as you drive around, look out for red-necked falcons, which nest in the stands of doum palms, and after dark the remarkable Pel’s fishing owl, a rare and very large owl with a wingspan of around 1.5m. You’re most likely to identify by its unusual call – a deep, horn-like note, audible for a couple of kilometres.

The characteristic of the streams is the African finfoot (much sought-after by birdwatchers), though these are hard to see from the banks, and you’ll probably have more luck with kingfishers, including the ubiquitous pied and more elusive giant kingfisher. The forested areas along the watercourses are also good for specialist flower-feeding sunbirds, including the smaller black-bellied sunbird that feeds on parasitic Loranthus flowers growing in riverbank acacias.

If you’re a keen birder, you’ll also want to spot some of the park’s four species of honeyguides – and you won’t need reminding to look out for flocks of gloriously coloured golden-breasted starlings, for which Meru National Park is a stronghold. Not to forget the protected rhino sanctuary making sighting easy.

Day 3: Full day game drive

We leave the luxury/tented, budget camp after breakfast with a picnic lunch (lunch box) for a full-day game drive giving us time to explore the national park, to a full-day game drive in the park. The Adamson falls, Adamson Bridge over river Tana connecting Mwingi national reserve. 

The grave of Elsa the lioness {of “Out of Africa” film} is out in this remote area on the north bank of the Ura River, a major tributary that forms the parks’ southwest boundary. The park offers unique sceneries, topography, game and history.  Dinner and overnight at the lodge/camp.

Day 4: Meru national park to the Aberdares {The Ark} – 220km, 5hrs

After breakfast, we drive west to Nanyuki, having a glimpse of Mt Kenya, the Laikipia plains and finally check-in at The Ark in the Aberdare national park. Dine and overnight at the hotel. Occasional wake-up calls for game viewing at the flood-lit pool.

Set in the heart of the Aberdare National Park, The Ark overlooks a floodlit waterhole and salt lick, which attracts a host of awesome wildlife. Resembling and named after Noah’s Ark, The Ark comprises three decks from which numerous balconies and lounges provide a superb location for wildlife to be seen.

So that you don’t miss any animal sightings, the night guard will buzz your room when special animals come to the waterhole. The Ark has four viewing areas for observing the ever-present animal activity. There is also a ground-level bunker – the perfect hideout for the discerning photographer. This is a circular pillbox-like structure, and it is from this vantage point that pictures of animals on the salt lick only yards away may be taken through the view holes in complete safety.

Day 5: Aberdares national park to Lake Nakuru national park – 200km, 4hrs

After breakfast, we head to Nakuru with a stopover at Thompson falls. A cup of tea/ coffee will be served at the lodge after viewing the falls. Proceed to the Great Rift Valley viewpoint before descending to the floor of the valley. Check-in at the hotel and proceed for an evening game drive. 

Lake Nakuru is one of the alkaline lakes of the Great Rift Valley. Lake Nakuru is also known as “Pink Lake” or Africa Bird’s Paradise. The lake is ideally located in central Kenya within Lake Nakuru National park. The park occupies an area of 188 km2 while the lake occupies an area of 62km².

The lake is famous for the millions of flamingos that flock to the lake although flamingos are unpredictable birds and are not always to be found in the lake in such vast numbers. From a distance i.e. the baboon cliff, the lake looks pink in colour due to the flamingos. The topography at Lake Nakuru is comprised of grasslands alternating with rocky cliffs and outcrops, acacia woodlands and a forest made up of Euphorbia trees.

In the early 1960s, Tilapia Grahami was introduced to the lake and it flourished despite the alkaline nature of the lake. There are two species of flamingos namely lesser flamingo and greater flamingos, they feed on algae, which flourishes due to the warm alkaline waters of Lake Nakuru. It is believed that flamingos consume about 250,000 kg of algae per hectare of surface area per year. The abundance of algae in the lake is what attracts millions of flamingos to Lake Nakuru.

Apart from flamingoes, other bird species include ducks, pelicans, cormorants, plovers, vultures, eagles, and buzzards. Lake Nakuru has over 50 animal species which include hippos, reedbucks, waterbucks, Rothschild giraffe’s, baboons, black and white Columbus monkey, hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, lions, gazelles and impalas among others.  

Day 6: Nakuru to Rusinga Islands {Lake Victoria} – 310km, 6hrs

After breakfast, en-route game drive heading to Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria. The route passes through beautifully manicured tea plantations. Enjoy the sunsets and captivating lake views. 

Rusinga Island lies to the East of Lake Victoria, with the most stunning views of the lake. Cruising to Rusinga Island takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

Day 7: Full day – Inland beach/ water sports.

In the morning, we do fishing while the afternoon will be for cycling around.  Optional activities will include boat rides or just relaxing at the inland beaches. 

Day 8: Rusinga Island – Saiwa swamp national park – 280km, 6½hrs

After breakfast drive to Saiwa swamp national park.                                             

Saiwa Swamp National Park is the smallest national park in Kenya, covering 3km² to protect the habitat and preservation of the rare sitatunga, an aquatic antelope. The vegetation is a mixture of forest and swamp habitat with tall bushes and reeds along its marshy edge. There are tree platforms overlooking the swamp from which visitors are guaranteed to view the sitatunga.

It has a mixture of smaller African animals, including black and white Colobus monkeys, otters, genet cats, mongooses, bushbucks and De Brazzas monkeys. Saiwa Swamp National Park has no roads within its perimeter, but 18km (11 miles) of walking trails and bridges meander around this delightful national park. There are boardwalks and four strategically placed observation towers to watch the wildlife and 372 species of birds including Ross’s turaco and the blue-headed coucal.

Day 9: Saiwa – full day

After breakfast, we search for the rare Sitatunga antelope. The full circuit consists of 18km walking trails and bridges across the marshes. 

Day 10: Saiwa to Jinja – 300km, 6hrs

Leave camp after breakfast to Malaba border post for immigration formalities. Enter Uganda and drive to the source of the river Nile. 

Day 11: Jinja – water-sport – Kampala – 80km, 2hrs

A full day of water sports and sightseeing. Drive to Kampala for dinner and overnight.

Day 12: Kampala – Queen Elizabeth national park – 390km, 6½hrs.

Leave Kampala after breakfast for Queen Elizabeth national park. 

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s most popular tourist destination. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include sprawling savannah, shady, humid forests, sparkling lakes and fertile wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic wild game. Set against the backdrop of the jagged Rwenzori Mountains, the park’s magnificent vistas include dozens of enormous craters carved dramatically into rolling green hills, panoramic views of the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants, and the endless Ishasha plains, whose fig trees hide lions ready to pounce on herds of unsuspecting Uganda kob.

Day 13: Queen Elizabeth -Full day

Leave your lodge/ camp after breakfast, for a full day game drive and exploration. Return for dinner and overnight. 

Day 14: Queen Elizabeth – Bwindi Impenetrable national park – 150km, 3hrs

Drive to Bwindi Impenetrable national park, 

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is in south-western Uganda. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on the edge of the Albertine Rift. Floristically, the park is among the most diverse forests in East Africa. It is most notable for the 400 Bwindi gorillas, half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas.

14 habituated mountain gorilla groups are open to tourism in four different sectors of Buhoma, Ruhijja, Rushaga and the Nkuringo in the Districts of Kanungu, Kabale and Kisoro respectively all under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority.

Day 15: Gorilla tracking

After early morning breakfast, gather at the trailhead where your gorilla permit directs you to for briefing on guidelines for gorilla trekking. You will be assigned to one gorilla family to track in a group of 8 visitors. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park consists of 20 families. At 8:00 am, you will enter the forest to search for a gorilla family and this may take between 2-6 hours and a maximum of 1 hour is given to you to explore the behaviours of gorillas, take photos. 

Day 16: Bwindi to Kigali – 170km, 4hrs

We leave Bwindi forest for Rwanda via the Katuna border post. Proceed to the city of Kigali. Later in the afternoon, we do a city tour visiting the Genocide memorial site, Kimironko local market. Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Rwanda, the “Land of a thousand hills” and a million smiles! Although the country had a recent bitter dark past, “1994 genocide” the country has fully recovered. A small country beaming with all nature’s beauty, wonderful people, culture, and wildlife including the most endangered primate species; mountain gorilla and chimpanzees.

Gorillas in Volcanoes National Park are behind the hundreds of gorilla trekking tours the country receives each year. You can visit Lake Kivu for a honeymoon, do the canopy walk and track Chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park or view the wildlife in Akagera. Visit Dian Fossey’s grave at Karisoke Research Centre, Genocide memorial & monuments, museums & art gallery, King’s palace, authentic culture & heritage and much more exciting activities that suit you.

Day 17: Kigali to Rubavu, Lake Kivu – 160km, 4hrs

Soon after breakfast, we drive to Gisenyi public beach on the shores of Lake Kivu. It is one of the largest beaches in the region beautiful area with sandy, palm-lined beaches. We proceed to Nyamyumba hot springs, a natural attraction with waters that are widely known in the region for their multiple medicinal virtues. These hot springs are hot enough to cook eggs on, while visitors take a swim in the heated waters of the adjacent lake Kivu, the hot springs of Nyamyumba (springs bubbling up into a large green pool). Dine and overnight in a hotel. 

Day 18: Rubavu to Nyungwe, Full day – Chimpanzee trekking, canopy walk – 200km, 4½hrs

Leave after early breakfast for Nyungwe Forest National Park. Your first stop will be at the Uwinka visitors centre for briefing before the trek.

The forest is a rich botanical diversity. The forest offers over 200 species of plants and about 300 bird species. It is home to 13 species of primates among Vervet monkeys, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey, L’Hoest’s monkeys, Olive baboons, silver monkey, grey-cheeked Mangabey, Mona monkey, Owl-faced monkey, and Rwenzori Colombus. If you are lucky, you may sight them while tracking the Chimpanzee. Nyungwe is nature at its very best. It is lush and beautifully green, often seen with cooling mists in the early mornings and late evening. It is an important water catchment area feeding both the river Congo and the River Nile.

We start our hunt for primates and bird watching. If the chimps were sighted close to this point, we track them. Depending on the number of participants present at the time, two groups will be formed. One will start at the Uwinka centre while the other will head to Cyamudongo. The driver will take you to the starting point. With a guide and a ranger, you will start the tracking.

Earlier before your arrival, some rangers are dispatched to track where the family spent their night. The information will be relayed through the walkie-talkie. Once spotted, you will spend an hour admiring them. Photography is allowed but flash is prohibited. Head to the 50m high, 200m long canopy walk to have a bird’s eye view of the forest. Overnight in Nyungwe hotel 

Day 19: Nyungwe to Kigali airport – Nairobi {Flight} – 237km, 6hrs

Leave Nyungwe after breakfast to Kigali city, later transfer to the airport for Nairobi bound flight. Pick up and transfer from JKIA to your overnight hotel. 

Day 20: Nairobi excursion

Explore the city’s main unique attractions of your choice – David Shedrick animal orphanage, Karen Blixen, Kazuri beads factory, Nairobi Museum gallery, Bomas of Kenya, Kitengela glass industry, Giraffe centre,

Options are of course many and varied and in many cases, we can be flexible about the itinerary for accommodation facilities and the extension of the safari destinations.

Day 21: Departure.


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