Thursday, November 3, 2016

Great Apes and the Coast

Two Weeks in Uganda & Kenya, featuring the Albertine Rift Valley, Kenya Coast, Tsavo, and Amboseli national parks - featuring gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, ocean activities, and game drives - staying in luxury accommodation and traveling by safari vehicle and aircraft


Day 1: Arrive Entebbe International Airport (EBB). Transfer (30 min) by boat to Bulago Island, one degree south of the Equator. Bulago is the hub of a sustainable marine and endangered animal reserve. Relax on the shores of Lake Victoria, the world’s largest tropical lake. Overnight at the One Minute South villa.

Day 2: Transfer (30 min) by boat to Entebbe, then (4 ½ hrs) by road to Kibale Forest National Park, the most accessible of Uganda's major rain forests and home to a remarkable thirteen primate species, including habituated chimpanzees, our closest relative in the wild. Overnight at the Primate Lodge.

Day 3: Morning chimpanzee trekking. Kibale’s 1,450 chimpanzee represent Uganda’s largest population of this endangered primate. Other primates include l’Hoest’s monkey, red colobus monkey, black and white colobus, blue monkey, grey cheeked mangabey, red tailed monkey, olive baboon, bush baby and potto. Transfer (½ hr) by road to Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary and see how local communities are working together to maintain this stunning wildlife reserve. Night walk to look for nocturnal primates. Overnight at the Primate Lodge.

Day 4: Transfer (4 hrs) by road to Ishasha for an afternoon game drive to spot tree-climbing lions, elephant, hippos and a vast array of antelope, some only found in this remote corner of the Albertine Rift. Transfer (2 ½ hrs) by road to Bwindi Forest. Overnight at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp

Day 5: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, on the steep, rain-soaked slopes of the Bufumbira Mountains. A modicum of fitness is required to trek Mountain gorillas. Bwindi comprises 331 square kilometers of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest, and is accessible only on foot. The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 346 species of birds, 202 species of butterflies, 163 species of trees, 100 species of ferns, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species.

The fur of the Mountain gorilla, often thicker and longer than that of other gorilla species, enables them to live in colder temperatures. Gorillas can be identified by nose prints unique to each individual. Males usually weigh twice as much as the females, and this subspecies is on average the largest of all gorillas. Adult males have more pronounced bony crests on the top and back of their skulls, giving their heads a more conical shape. These crests anchor the powerful masseter muscles, which attach to the lower jaw (mandible). Adult females also have these crests, but they are less pronounced. Like all gorillas they feature dark brown eyes framed by a black ring around the iris.

Afternoon walk to the Pygmy community for a rich cultural exchange with Africa’s original inhabitants. Overnight at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp.

Day 6: Transfer (1 ½ hrs) by air to Entebbe. A leisurely lunch at The Gateley Inn. Transfer (2 hrs) by air to Nairobi, then (1 hr) by air to Malindi. Overnight at Backpackers Club Malindi.

Day 7-8: Wind down beside an olympic sized pool at our elegant ocean-front villa, set on two shady acres of palm and frangipani groves (with a resident troop of Sykes monkeys), and surrounded by silver sand beaches. Overnight at Backpackers Club Malindi.

Malindi add-ons: 

  1. Day trip to the Lost City of Gede and Watamu - lunch, Italian cuisine at Papa Remo Beach.
  2. Day trip to Che Shale, pristine beach north of Malindi - lunch, soft-shell crab at Che Shale, best in East Africa.
  3. Half day, dhow cruise aboard Big Mama, from Driftwood to the Mayungu sandbar for sundowners.
  4. Half day to Sikoki Forest to spot butterflies.

Day 9: Transfer (2 hrs) by road to Tsavo East National Park, one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya. Most of the park consists of semi-arid grasslands and savanna. It is considered one of the world's biodiversity strongholds, and its popularity is mostly due to the vast amounts of diverse wildlife that can be seen, including the famous 'big five' consisting of Masai lion, black rhino, cape buffalo, elephant and leopard. Overnight at Satao Luxury Tented Camp.

Day 10: Game drive through Tsavo East. Tsavo lions, a population where adult males often lack manes entirely, total about 675 lions in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem. Overnight at Satao Luxury Tented Camp.

Day 11: Transfer (3 hrs) by road to Lumo Community Wildlife Santuary. The greater Tsavo Conservation Area is a vast, wild region of awe-inspiring natural beauty and incredible biodiversity. The area boasts Kenya’s single largest population of elephants – famously red in colour due to Tsavo’s rusty earth tones – numbering 11,000 animals at the last census (February 2014). This might sound like a good many elephants – but not when you consider that in the late 1960s there used to be 35,000 in Tsavo, and that the numbers have dropped by 1,500 since the last count three years ago. Among the surviving population is arguably the world’s last viable gene pool of elephants carrying exceptionally large ivory. Overnight at Lion's Bluff Lodge.

Day 12: Transfer (2 hrs) by road to Lake Jipe, at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Overnight at Grogan's Castle.

Day 13: Transfer (5 hrs) by road to the Sheldrick Trust Orphan’s Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.. Overnight at Ithumba Camp.

Day 14: Transfer (1 hr) by air to Wilson Airport, Nairobi. Transfer (45 min) by road to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO) for your intercontinental flight.


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