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18 Days African Camping Safari with the Best Camps & Tents

East Africa is without doubt a destination that meets every traveler’s dreams. It is an extraordinary region with diversity of wildlife/attractions and experiences. From wilderness areas to see wildlife, fresh water bodies, lush forests, powerful waterfalls to unique cultures. The 18-day is a complete African safari tour taking you to 5 top destinations in East Africa; Uganda, Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda.

This long expedition covers a range of experiences from mountain gorillas, big five game viewing, bushwalks, wildebeest migration to cultural encounters. The destinations of interest while on our 18 days East African safari include among others Masai Mara National Reserve, Virunga National Park, Kibale National Park, Serengeti National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Volcanoes National Park.

Day 1: Pick up at Entebbe Airport, Uganda

Meet and greet an experienced Uganda driver guide at Entebbe Airport (EBB) and after, briefing about your long 18 days safari in East Africa. Transfer to your respective hotels for overnight stay or first, engage in some activities around Entebbe in case you arrive early. There are many ways to explore Entebbe and they include visiting Uganda Wildlife Education Center/Zoo, Lake Victoria and beaches, Botanical Gardens, the reptile village, etc.

Day 2: Travel to Murchison Falls National Park.

Delicious breakfast provided at the comfort of your hotel in Entebbe and you will depart for Murchison Falls National Park. Access to Murchison Falls N/Park, Uganda’s biggest park will be through Kampala-Luweero-Gulu route, with e-route stopover at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary located in Nakitoma Town.

Enjoy 2 hours of tracking rhinos with higher chances to see other wildlife including Uganda Kobs, Defassa waterbucks, oribis, etc. Settle for a delicious lunch at Amuka Lodge or at the hotel in Masindi then proceed with scenic drive to Murchison Falls N.P located in Northwestern Uganda.

Day 3: Guided game drive, launch trip (Murchison Falls National Park)

Full day experiences at sweeping savannas of Murchison Falls National Park include game drive in the morning and boat cruise in the afternoon. Starting with a guided game drive through the Northern game tracks in a 4×4 tourist car with a chance to encounter elephants, buffaloes, lions, giraffes, a wide range of antelope families, birds, etc. Return from your 2-3 hours guided game viewing to enjoy a leisurely lunch, and have some relaxation.

In the evening, go boat tour on the Victoria Nile expected to last for 2-3 hours. This exposes you to a range of aquatic life especially hippos, crocodiles, water birds and more terrestrial species along the river banks.

Day 4: Drive southwards to Kibale National Park, the Primate Capital of the World

Leave Murchison Falls National Park after a sumptuous breakfast and drive to Kibale Forest Park, Western Uganda. It will be a long journey taking you via Hoima to Fort Portal with enroute breathtaking views of the Albertine rift valley, homesteads etc. and lunch will be served at a restaurant in Fort Portal.

In the background, enjoy the views of Rwenzori Mountain ranges and after lunch, proceed to check in at your lodge near Kibale forest.

Day 5: Chimpanzee tracking Kibale Forest & transfer to Queen Elizabeth N/Park

Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest begins with earl briefing at Kanyanchu Visitor Center located right at the heart of the park. Spot diversity of birds, primates playing around and at 8:00am, one of the park guides will escort you to enjoy your chimpanzee trek. 13 primate species live in Kibale Forest and these include 1500 chimpanzees, and others that you will keep an eye along the way.

The overall Kibale chimpanzee trekking experience includes observing how chimpanzees behave, taking photos and more. The trek through Kibale Forest lasts for 2-4 hours inclusive of 1 hour for a close encounter and you get back to enjoy a leisurely lunch, relax and check out.

Proceed to your next destination, Queen Elizabeth National Park, a 1978sq.kms extensive park also Uganda’s second biggest park. Enroute, enjoy the breathtaking view of Western Uganda featuring spectacular Crater Lakes, vast banana farms.

Day 6: Game drive and boat cruise

Leave the lodge for a game drive through Kasenyi plains for 2-4 hours and this is the Northern game viewing sector of Queen Elizabeth N. Park. This is one of the best game tracks that will have you exposed to diverse wildlife such as lions, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, warthogs, waterbucks, elephants, Uganda kobs, birds etc.

Lunch will follow afterwards, then continue for a boat cruise also for about 2-3 hours. A boat cruise on Kazinga channel an exciting recreation experience, a great opportunity to see lots of hippos, crocodiles, & birds then you get back for relaxation at the lodge.

Day 7: Track climbing lions in Ishasha & drive to Bwindi

Start your journey to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park 4-5 hours, but expect a short game drive at Ishasha sector, a region most famous for tree climbing lions, topis, shoebill watching. Enjoy a bush lunch/drive to Savanna Resort Hotel and after, check in at the lodges in Bwindi.

Day 8: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi.

Leave the lodge for briefing that begins at 7:00am at Bwindi Park offices and you will be provided insight into how you should conduct yourself while tracking mountain gorillas. Actual trekking with mountain gorillas starts at 8:00am, taking 2-6 hours and this is inclusive of 1 hour of a close encounter. After the face-to-face interaction with assigned gorilla family, walk back to the lodge and relax, then go for Batwa cultural experience later in the evening.

Day 9: Bwindi to Virunga national park, D.R. Congo

After breakfast, you will cross the borders of Uganda to D.R. Congo to visit the Virunga National Park. Relax at the comfort of your lodge in Virunga, an extensive protected area with land area spanning up to 7800sq.km and hosts about 200 mammal species, 700 bird species and other unique creatures.

Day 10: Gorilla trekking in Virunga national park

Today, you will be visiting one of the 8 habituated mountain gorilla families in the Virunga National Park. The long day trek starts with briefing at Bukima and actual visit to see mountain gorillas at 8:00am. This is expected to go for 2-6 hours, with a special 1 hour of a close encounter with mountain gorillas guaranteed. In case you stay near Mikeno, there is possibility to take a walk to Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage Center the only mountain gorilla orphanage center in the world.

Day 11: Virunga national park to Volcanoes N/Park in Rwanda.

Drive from Virunga National Park to Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. Arrive early and check into your lodge for relaxation as you wait the next day’s activities. Volcanoes N/Park is Rwanda’s oldest park, founded in 1925 and its land area measure up to about 160sq.kms, inhabiting both golden monkeys and mountain gorillas.

Day 12: Gorilla trekking/golden monkey tracking

You will embark on gorilla trekking or golden monkey tracking; all these begin early morning with briefing at Kinigi offices. Tracking mountain gorillas in Volcanoes NP Rwanda is all about visiting one of the 12 habituated families – Hirwa, Ugenda, Susa A, Kwitonda, Umubano, Amahoro, Karisimbi, Titus, Pablo, etc. and you will explore more about daily behaviors of these large apes. Have lunch in the bush or return to the lodge and proceed with evening cultural walk to Iby’Iwacu cultural village.

Day 13: Drive to Kigali Airport. Fly to Tanzania

Leave Volcanoes N/Park early, and drive to Kigali Airport where you will fly to Arusha in Tanzania. Settle at the comfortable lodge or hotel in Arusha town and have dinner and overnight stay.

Day 14: Drive to Arusha, northern Tanzania

Drive early from Arusha to Serengeti National Park, one of Tanzania’s most visited parks and it is here where wildebeest migration takes place. Have lunch en-route to Serengeti and proceed with a scenic drive with game viewing as you go to check in at the lodge.

Day 15: Serengeti N/Park – full day.

Serengeti National Park is a vast Tanzania park and today, you have a long day dedicated to explore this extensive savanna park. Expected sightings include the big five game and if your tour happens to take place around July to October, don’t miss the mesmerizing wildebeest migration experience.

Day 16: Cross to Masai Mara in Kenya.

Connect from Serengeti to the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya for yet another remarkable game viewing experience. Masai Mara is found in Narok county, Southwestern Kenya and you will cross through Isebania border.

Day 17: Full day in Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya

After breakfast, full day activities include big game drive, wildebeest migration experience in Masai Mara National Reserve an extensive reserve with land area covering about 1510sq.kms. Many other mammals including giraffes, zebras, antelopes plus birds live here and they will be spotted in large numbers.

Day 18: Masai Mara to Nairobi, departure.

Enjoy a hefty breakfast early and consider checking out of the classic lodge in Masai Mara Reserve. From Masai Mara, drive to Nairobi city to be dropped off at a hotel or at the airport and it will mark the end of 18 days East African safari.

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