Trip Inspiration

12-Day East Africa Gorilla Trek + Safari

Rwanda + Kenya

Experience one of the most intimate animal encounters in the world while tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park. Next, embark on an exciting safari in Kenya, featuring a hot air balloon ride, remote wilderness and fascinating safari wildlife.

Trip Highlights

Locations

  • 2 nights at the relaxing Kigali Serena Hotel
  • 2 nights accompanying gorilla treks at Virunga Lodge
  • 7 nights on safari in two unique game reserves

Activities

  • Mountain gorilla treks
  • Safari game drives
  • Hot air balloon excursion
  • Various cultural visits
What does “Trip Inspiration” mean?

At Travel Beyond, we believe your trip should be designed just for you, not for the masses. Our travel consultants create a custom itinerary for each client, offering recommendations for places and experiences that best fit your style. The itinerary below was planned for a past client, but we’re sharing it for travel inspiration and as an example of what a trip to Kenya and Rwanda might look like. Let us know when we can design a trip just for you!

Day 1

Arrive Kigali, Rwanda

Welcome to Rwanda! Upon arrival in Kigali, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your private road transfer to the Kigali Serena Hotel. Enjoy one night in a Superior Prime Room, including dinner and breakfast. Enjoy the remainder of your evening at leisure.

Kigali Serena Hotel Meals: Dinner

Day 2

Kigali to Volcanoes National Park

This morning after breakfast and checkout, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your city tour and visit to the Genocide Memorial Center with private guide and vehicle, including lunch at a local restaurant in Kigali. This is a fascinating visit to an important statement about Rwanda’s past but not for the fainthearted. The intention is to show Rwanda’s commitment to such atrocities never happening again but the evidence of what happened can be distressing.

Following lunch, you will be transferred to Virunga Lodge. Enjoy a two night stay in a Cottage, inclusive of all meals. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Dinner will be served at the lodge.

The magnificent Virunga Lodge is perched high on a ridge and has stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes and the twin lakes Bulera and Ruhonda. The premier luxury destination for Rwanda safari tours and tracking the endangered mountain gorillas. The lodge has been described as having ‘the best view in the world’ and as ‘one of the finest lodges in Africa’. The organic, ‘bush-chic’ design reflects the local building style and offers eco-luxury comforts to all guests.

Virunga LodgeMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 3

Volcanoes National Park

This morning after an early wakeup call and breakfast, you will be transferred to Kinigi Park Headquarters. Upon arrival at Park Headquarters, you will meet your National Park guides and fellow trekkers for your first gorilla trek. You are then assigned to one of the ten habituated gorilla families and embark on your first gorilla trek. The climb begins through the lush terraced farmland of the lower volcanic slopes.
Usually, at around 8,000 ft, signs of the huge animals become apparent.

This afternoon, time, weather and energy permitting, your guide will accompany you through the rural countryside and villages of Kinigi and Musanze to experience spontaneous street level culture, or alternately, you may visit the beautiful twin lakes of Burera and Ruhondo.

Upon your return to the lodge, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Virunga LodgeMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 4

Volcanoes National Park to Kigali

This morning after an early wake-up call and breakfast, you will be transferred to Kinigi Park Headquarters. Upon arrival at Park Headquarters, you will meet your National Park guides and fellow trekkers for a briefing before embarking on your second gorilla trek.

Following your trek, you will be transferred back to Virunga Lodge in time for lunch. This afternoon after checkout, you will visit the Iby’lwacu Cultural Center en route to the Kigali Serena Hotel. Enjoy one night in a Superior Prime Room, including dinner and breakfast. Enjoy the remainder of your evening at leisure.

Kigali Serena HotelMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 5

Kigali, Rwanda to the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya

This morning after breakfast and checkout, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your private road transfer to the Kigali Airport. Upon arrival at the airport, you will check in for your private charter light aircraft flight to the Masai Mara Game Reserve.

Upon arrival at the airstrip, you will be transferred to Mara Plains Camp in time for lunch. Enjoy four nights in a Luxury Tent, including all meals. After lunch, you will meet your guide for an afternoon/evening game drive in a private vehicle.

If a camp’s success lies in its details, then Mara Plains Camp is truly blessed, located as it is on a bend in the Ntiakitiak River in the heart of the 35,000-acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy which abuts Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve to its south. Upon arriving at the camp, you walk across a bridge over the river, through a thick, riverine forest, up a small slope to some giant steps, only to be greeted by an endless horizon with one, single, flat-topped tree – the quintessential shape of East Africa – right in your line of sight.

Mara Plains CampMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 6

Masai Mara Game Reserve

On safari! Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in a private vehicle. All meals will be served at camp.

Quite possibly the most famous wildlife reserve in the world, Masai Mara offers breathtakingly beautiful landscapes and unrivaled game viewing all year round. It is home to Africa’s Big Five – elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino – and also hosts high concentrations of big cats. This makes for spectacular predator/prey interactions: witnessing this heart-stopping wildlife action first-hand is visceral.

Upon your return from safari, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Mara Plains CampMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 7

Hot Air Balloon

Masai Mara Game Reserve

This morning, you will be transferred to the launch site to embark on an exhilarating balloon safari over the world-famous Masai Mara National Reserve before landing for a scenic bush breakfast.

Suspended in a basket beneath the rainbow-colored canopy, take off on a game viewing adventure with an entirely different perspective. The sounds below drift clearly upwards: a lion’s roar, elephants crashing through the bush, screeching baboons perched in the tips of the trees. After about an hour of scenic drifting, participate in the time honored tradition of balloon flights all over the world by toasting your return to earth with a champagne breakfast.

After your adventure, you will be transferred back to camp with a game drive en-route. This afternoon, you will meet your guide for an afternoon/evening game drive in a private vehicle. Dinner will be served at camp.

Upon your return from safari, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Mara Plains CampMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 8

Masai Mara Game Reserve

On safari! Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in a private vehicle. Additionally, at a time to be advised by camp management, you will enjoy a Masai cultural visit. All meals will be served at camp.

Mara Plains CampMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 9

Masai Mara Game Reserve to Borana Conservancy

This morning after an early game drive and breakfast, you will be transferred to the airstrip for your private charter light aircraft flight to the Laikipia Borana airstrip.

Upon arrival at the airstrip, you will be transferred to Sirai House in time for lunch. Enjoy three nights at Sirai House, a Luxury Six Bedroom Villa for your exclusive use, including all meals. This afternoon, meet your guide for a game drive in a private vehicle. Dinner will be served at Sirai House.

Situated high on a remote ridge at the edge of the indigenous cedar and wild olive forest, Sirai House offers stunning views in every direction. Built by local craftsmen with local materials it has a true sense of place, yet its eye-catching style reflects a love of architecture, design and art.

Sirai HouseMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Fire Pit at Sirai House

Dining at Sirai House

 

Day 10

Day Trip to Lewa Downs Conservancy

On safari! Today after breakfast, you will meet your guide for a private day trip to Lewa Downs Conservancy.

The Lewa Downs Conservancy now boasts 62,000 acres of conserved land and the richness of wildlife here is astounding with over 70 different animal species and 350 bird species. Lewa Downs Conservancy provides a safe haven for a wide variety of wildlife, and is particularly famous for its rhino and Grevy zebra programs. With less than 3,000 Grevy zebra remaining worldwide, Lewa represents the single largest population of Grevy zebra in the world with over 20% of these beautiful animals residing here.

Sirai HouseMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 11

Hartebeest at Sirai Camp

Plains

Borana Conservancy

On safari! Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in a private vehicle and additional activities (guided wilderness walks and horseback riding). All meals will be served at Sirai House.

Borana offers some of the most thrilling, authentic and unique ways to encounter Kenya’s wildlife and wilderness thanks to conservation efforts. The conservancy strives to retain this land as pristine wilderness that guests are able to enjoy first hand, be it walking through the bush, riding on ranch horses, or driving in the open-top safari vehicles.

Since Borana is a private property, there is guaranteed exclusivity, making every aspect of the safari experience personal, peaceful and uninterrupted – giving guests the rare opportunity to be totally immersed in nature.

Sirai HouseMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner

Day 12

Depart Kenya

This morning after an early game drive and breakfast, you will be transferred to the airstrip for your private charter light aircraft flight to Nairobi Wilson Airport.

Upon arrival in Nairobi, you will be met by a Travel Beyond representative for your private road transfer to Hemingways Nairobi, where you will have dayroom use, including lunch and dinner.

After lunch, you will depart Hemingways for your private visit to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. Next, you will visit the Giraffe Center, followed by a shopping excursion, if you choose. You will then be transferred back to the hotel. Enjoy dinner at Hemingways before your departure flight home.

Overnight FlightMeals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner