Discovering Uganda and Kenya: Gorillas and Masai Mara Safari

From the pinnacle of fascinating big-game watching to the depths of pristine wilderness, gorillas & Masai Mara safari expedition will ignite your passion for adventure. The safari holiday promises some of the most adventurous experiences in Africa with lifetime memories and authentic animal and cultural encounters. 

An Ultimate Wildlife Safari Adventure in Uganda and Kenya to Discover Gorillas & Masai Mara’s Great Migration

Embark on an unforgettable adventure through Uganda and Kenya, where you’ll witness magnificent big-game watching and untouched wilderness. This African safari promises authentic animal and cultural encounters, as well as unforgettable experiences that will remain with you for a lifetime.

Experience the thrill of East Africa’s big game haven, visiting Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve and rainforest wonders visiting Uganda’s Kibale Forest and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Marvel at the incredible array of animals at Masai Mara, including massive cat prides and angulates. Kibale Forest is the perfect destination for watching wild chimpanzees, while Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to the largest population of mountain gorillas.

This safari combines three of the wildest experiences Africa has to offer, visiting the African rainforest and savannah wilderness and rural communities in two countries on a single journey. You’ll have the chance to see nomadic Maasai warriors and witness the incredible wildebeest migration in Masai Mara. In Kibale, you can walk with rowdy chimpanzee troops during a full-day chimp habituation experience. Finally, in Bwindi Impenetrable, you’ll observe a mountain gorilla family for four hours.

Our team at Nkuringo Safaris curates fly-in safaris in Uganda, allowing you to save time and experience more meaningful moments in the Pearl of Africa. We take care of local flight reservations, transfers, room reservations, park activities, and local expert guides, so you can relax and enjoy your safari vacation. Whether you’re looking for a shorter trip or a month-long itinerary, we have a range of experiences to choose from. Join us for an adventure-filled journey through Uganda and Kenya!

The Big Five hot-shots on the Mara plains.  Discovering Uganda and Kenya: Gorillas and Masai Mara Safari
The Big Five hot-shots on the Mara plains.

The Uganda and Kenya safari Itinerary.

3 Nights in Kenya’s Masai Mara: Big game viewing and the great migration

The Masai Mara game-viewing adventure is an experience that cannot be fully prepared for, no matter how many National Geography documentaries you may have watched. As you slowly drive the beaten tracks in the golden morning sunlight, anything can happen at any time on the plains: you must be alert or miss the moment.

You may witness a lion hunting down one of the wildebeests, which will send a chill down your spine, causing your entire body, including your arm hair and the back of your neck, to bristle as if called to attention. You will be filled with a vibrant mix of awe and sympathy. In most of the hunts you’ll witness, the prey is caught unawares, while at other times, the struggle to survive is fierce and even inspiring. However, watching death take hold in the wild is anything but a pretty sight.

The Masai Mara National Reserve is a quintessential paradise for the world’s finest wildlife and a model of wilderness safari dreams. The reserve is on Kenya’s southwestern border, contiguous with Tanzania’s legendary Serengeti.

The reserve is an oasis of safari big-game, including the more than two million wildebeest, buffalo, zebra, and predators that make up the famous Annual Great Migration. The Mara offers exceptional big cat sightings (lion, leopard, cheetah), and a game drive to the Mara Triangle is your best reason to book the Gorillas & Masai Mara safari holiday trip.

Masai Warrior - Discovering Uganda and Kenya: Gorillas and Masai Mara Safari
A Maasai Warrior leaning on a spear with a backdrop of Mara golden sunset

The Maasai Warriors

It’s fascinating that the Maasai people, known as the guardians of Mara, share private reserves outside the park with the wild inhabitants. During a cultural walk, strolling down the Maasai villages and experiencing their nomadic pastoralist lifestyle will be one of the best cultural experiences. The Maasai’s manyattas and beehive huts, made of mud and cow dung, will leave you amazed.

The Maasai warriors are a sight to behold, with their striking appearance, red robes, and ochre-dyed and braided hair. Witnessing the dramatic Ipid dance, you can’t help but join the moran (warriors) as they take turns to leap the highest. The Maasai visit is organized from your camp, through the Maara wilderness, to traditional Maasai villages and homes. This experience will stay with you for a long time.

Insider tip

Intelligent Chimpanzee in Kibale, Uganda. Discovering Uganda and Kenya: Gorillas and Masai Mara Safari
Intelligent Chimpanzee in Kibale, Uganda; best place to watch wild chimps in their natural habitat.

2 Nights in Uganda Kibale Forest: Chimpanzee Trekking & Nature Walk Adventures

If you’re looking for the best place to see chimpanzees in their natural habitat, Kibale National Park in southwest Uganda is your best bet. This charming rainforest is one of Africa’s oldest. It is home to a large population of ground-based chimps comfortable around humans.

Located 330 km west of Kampala City, Kibale Forest National Park is the most convenient destination for primate enthusiasts. With over 1,400 chimpanzees and an impressive variety of primates, it’s the perfect spot to observe these incredible animals. In addition to chimpanzees, you’ll have the opportunity to see other primates like vervet, red-tailed, L’Hoest’s, blue monkeys, grey-cheeked mangabey, endangered red colobus, and black-and-white colobus monkeys.

Join the ranger-guided chimpanzee tracking excursion, which takes place twice daily. Once the chimps have been located, you’ll have the chance to spend an hour observing them up close. This limited time is in place to avoid causing stress to the chimpanzee or transmitting diseases.

Insider tip

From Kenya, you’ll go to Uganda and enter through Entebbe International. Here you can spend a night and discover the ancient shoebill in the Lake Victoria swamps. Afterward, head to Kibale National Park and enjoy a three-night stay in a forest cabin at the edge of the primate jungle. Trek with chimpanzees, take nature walks, and explore rural cultures and the surrounding landscape.

3 Nights in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest: gorilla trekking & cultural encounters

As the sun rises, leave behind the noisy chatter of chimpanzees and venture into the rugged highlands of southwestern Uganda. You’ll traverse elevated ridges that overlook the majestic Virunga mountain range, embarking on a safari through Uganda and Kenya, ultimately leading you to the home of Africa’s great mountain gorillas.

Many brave adventurers claim that sitting in silence just meters away from a 200 kg silverback mountain gorilla is one of the top 10 things to experience on any adventure travel bucket list. Indeed, trekking through the untamed forest jungles of central Africa to catch a glimpse of the largest living primates is a truly unforgettable experience worth saving up for.

It’s possible to drive to Bwindi from Kibale in roughly 9 hours, but you may prefer to break up the journey with a short flight from Kasese Airport to Kisoro/Kihihi Airport, which is only an hour and a half outside Bwindi. Upon arrival, you can check into one of our luxurious forest resorts, freshen up with a shower, enjoy a delicious meal, and settle into your comfortable bed with crisp, white linens. The following morning, you’ll be ready and raring to go for your gorilla trekking adventure.

The gorilla trekking experience in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Gorilla Trekking excursions begin early morning with a briefing at 7:00 am. The park warden will provide important information about the trekking rules before dispatching groups of eight tourists, two rangers, and an expert guide into the jungle. If needed, you can hire local porters to assist you during the challenging hike or carry your heavy backpacks. The gorilla trek itself can vary in duration, as gorillas inhabit a wide range of territories spanning from 1.9 to 50 square kilometers (0.75 to 16 square miles). Tracking them can take anywhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Navigating through the dense and humid jungle requires the rangers to wield machetes, clearing paths obstructed by impenetrable vines and bushes. Guided by GPS coordinates, the rangers skillfully lead the way to locate a gorilla family.

When you finally encounter these magnificent creatures, they are often taking a mid-morning break from foraging. From a distance of 10 meters (32 ft), you will have the privilege of observing them in their natural habitat for one precious hour. During this time, you will witness their social interactions and profound connection with nature, which resembles our own. The gorillas engage in grooming rituals, display moments of playfulness and dominance, engage in mating behaviors, and even provide instinctual lessons to their young. As you quietly observe, time will seem to slip away like a gentle desert breeze. Before you know it, your guide will lead you back, leaving behind this evolutionary Eden.

Insider Tip

From Kibale National Park, in the shadows of the Rwenzori Mountains, fly Kasese to Kisoro airport, take a local canoe experience on Lake Mutanda and a community walk before checking into a forest cottage on the edge of Bwindi. Spend three nights here, go gorilla trekking, visit the Batwa Pygmy people, and enjoy the exceptional mountain views.

Nature hiking Experience in Bwindi - Discovering Uganda and Kenya: Gorillas and Masai Mara Safari

Extension: nature walking trail across Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Embark on a thrilling final adventure as you traverse the impenetrable woods, following one of the oldest human trails that cuts through Bwindi from the south to the northern sector. Accompanied by an expert walking guide, immerse yourself in the wonders of this ancient forest, gaining insights into its diverse wildlife and extraordinary ecosystems. As you trek, keep your binoculars ready to spot the remarkable array of Albertine endemic bird species that inhabit the jungle.

Begin your walk early in the morning, as the first rays of sun pierce through the milky forest clouds, awakening the wildlife and setting the stage for the bustling day ahead. Venture deep into the enchanting rainforest, where dynamic and colorful creatures thrive amidst the dense vegetation. Take moments to crouch low and explore the forest floor, which teems with over 220 butterfly species and other captivating insects. Listen to the symphony of the forest, the gentle rustling of leaves, the chatter of the trees, and the soft illumination of sunlight filtering through the forest canopy like ethereal sheets of glass.

The walk typically takes around 4 to 6 hours from Nkuringo to Buhoma, reaching just in time for a hot lunch at your lodge. As you bid farewell to the captivating beauty of Bwindi, treasure the memories you’ve created on this remarkable Uganda and Kenya Safari journey through East Africa.

The fixed cost of the Uganda and Kenya Safari

  1. Gorilla Permit — $700 pp or Gorilla Habituation Permit — $1,500 pp/d
  2. Chimpanzee Permit — $200 pp/d or Habituation Permit — $250 pp/d
  3. Mara Park Entrance & Conservancy Fees — $80 – $120 pd

Best Time To Go

For the ultimate gorilla and Masai Mara safari experience in Uganda and Kenya, it’s best to plan your trip between June and August or December and February. During these months, the weather in East Africa is calmer and more agreeable. You won’t have to worry about sudden downpours; wildlife viewing and walking tours are much more enjoyable. Additionally, this time coincides with the Mara River crossings and primate encounters in Uganda’s rainforest jungles.

While the other months may offer a memorable experience, they are often avoided because of the heavy rains. Keep in mind that the dry months are peak travel months, which can make things more expensive and challenging in terms of room availability. It’s best to confirm your booking at least six months in advance to secure the best accommodation. If you plan to travel during the off-peak season, last-minute bookings may be an option, and you’re more likely to obtain a trekking permit.

get quote from best tour company for gorilla trekking safaris in uganda
get quote from best tour company for gorilla trekking safaris in uganda

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Discovering Uganda and Kenya: Gorillas and Masai Mara Safari
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