Meet the Rellies

Chimpanzee Trekking
Surfing the Nile at Jinja
The 'Garden of Eden' of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ngorongoro Crater
The beaches, cultural diversity and slave history of the 'spice islands' of Zanzibar
The flamingos of Lake Nakuru
Gorilla trekking in Parc National des Volcans
Get to know the locals in Rwanda and see first hand what life is like for them. Warning: these guys will kick your butt at draughts.
Drink waragi – Ugandan banana gin
Game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park's diverse habitats
Game drives in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Serengeti
  • Kenya to Uganda, Rwanda to Tanzania – an adventure into the interior if ever there was one. All the Big 5 strutting their stuff in Lake Nakuru, chimps monkeying about in Kibale forest, gorillas being mad buff in Rwanda. Get your adrenaline kicks in Jinja and your inner sloth out in Zanzibar.


    SWAHILI 101:



    Day 1 - Nairobi

    So, you're in the city of Nairobi. You're probably thinking to yourself, "Oh well, no chance of seeing wildlife here". Right?Wrong. This is about the only place in the world where you can jump on a bus and see lions, cheetahs, leopards, buffaloes, hippos, zebras, giraffes and gazelles. Nairobi National Park is where it's at.

    • Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm
    • Arriving early? Perhaps head out and explore the National Museum of Kenya, the Karen Blixen Museum (author of Out of Africa) or Bomas of Kenya
    • Get acquainted with Nairobi's bars, restaurants, shops and markets

    Day 2 - Lake Nakuru

    Black rhinos aren't as aggressive as everyone thinks. They have bad eyesight and it makes them a little bit self-conscious so they tend to charge wildly at everyone before stopping to think, "Do I really need to attack this tree/rock/human/wildebeest?" It's not like there's a Specsavers handy.

    • Drive north-west past views of the Rift Valley, Lake Naivasha and Elementaita to Lake Nakuru National Park
    • Stop along the way in the town of Gilgil where and learn more about the Saidia Children's Home Project
    • Perhaps spot many rhinos as well as members of the Big Five during a dame drive
    • Arrive in time for a short evening game drive along the shore of the lake
    • Camp overnight with basic facilities

    Day 3-4 - Eldoret/Kampala

    If you've ever fancied yourself a bit of a marathon runner, try giving it a go in Eldoret. With altitudes of up to 2700 metres, this place has become a breeding ground for some of Kenya's best athletes.

    • Enjoy a quick tea or coffee before an early morning game drive.
    • Return to camp for brunch before driving to Eldoret (170 km, approx 4 hrs) - home to some of Kenya's most famous runners
    • Camp on the outskirts of Eldoret Cross the border into Uganda and travel on to its capital city, Kampala (350 km, approx 8-9 hrs)
    • Our camp on the outskirts of Kampala has flush toilets, showers, upgrades possible and access to WiFi

    Day 5-6 - Kibale Forest National Park

    • You might find your doppelganger today, because this place has the highest concentration of primates in the world. Make friends, then head off to wander around the tea plantations, meet the locals in a few small villages or just chill out back at camp in the grounds of an old colonial bungalow. Drive to Kampala City after breakfast and perhaps wander around on foot, exploring its markets and shops
    • Travel on to Kibale Forest National Park (310 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
    • Enjoy a 2-4 chimpanzee hike and view these creatures in their natural habitat
    • Perhaps enjoy walks to villages, tea plantations, rivers, lakes or simply relax around the campsite
    • Camp in a basic campground that has showers, flush toilets and upgrades possible

    Day 7 - Queen Elizabeth National Park

    George Washington’s false teeth were made from ivory carved out of hippos’ teeth. This is a horrible idea and we hope he had stinky breath. Take an optional boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel and enjoy the sight of a bunch of hippos wallowing in the mud with full sets of teeth.

    • Travel to the Queen Elizabeth National Park and take a game drive en route to the camp
    • Keep eyes peeled for elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, Ugandan kobs and waterbucks
    • Stay at a basic camp on the grounds of a lodge which has flushing toilets, basic showers, WiFi access and upgrades possible

    Day 8 - Lake Bunyonyi

    We wouldn't swim in it, but you can hire a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) and glide your way across Lake Bunyonyi today. It's a bit like a Venetian gondola. Just don't be expecting a pizza and glass of wine when you hop out.

    • Travel on to Lake Bunyonyi (250 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
    • If time allows, perhaps hire a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro)
    • Our campground has flush toilets, basic showers, WiFi access and upgrades possible

    Day 9-11 - Gorilla Trek

    Dian Fossey said, "The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people". After this part of the trip, you'll find out whether you agree. Sadly, you're on a group trip so avoiding people is a bit tricky. But you'll get to spend an hour with the gorillas so make the most of it.

    • Cross the border into Rwanda and travel toward Ruhengeri, via Kigali (240 km, approx 6-7 hrs)
    • Explore Kigali on foot - from its market areas to the infamous Hotel Rwanda
    • Perhaps you would like to visit Kigali's genocide memorial
    • Embark on two-day gorilla trek and enjoy an hour with the gorillas (once you've found them!)
    • Depending on availability, we will stay in dormitories at a local church mission. If the dormitories are not available we will camp for these 3 nights

    Day 12 - Lake Mburo

    Never heard of a yellow papyrus gonolek? Don't stress, after today you'll know all about them. Hopefully the words zebra, impala, buffalo, leopard, hyena and jackal ring a bell because you might see a few of those too.

    • Travel to the border with Uganda and complete border formalities, then head to Lake Mburo (420 km, approx 9-10 hrs)
    • Perhaps spot the eland antelope as well as zebras, impalas, buffalo, leopards, hyenas and jackals
    • Keep your eyes on the water for hippos, crocodiles and a variety of waterbirds
    • Our camp tonight has basic facilities

    Day 13-14 - Jinja

    Thrillseekers unite. Jinja takes up a ripper of a spot on the river and it's great for bunjee jumping, whitewater rafting and all the sorts of things thrillskeers seek.

    • Take a two-hour guided walking safari through the Lake Mburo National Park, viewing the animal and birdlife
    • Travel from Lake Mburo to Jinja via Kampala, stopping en route at the equator (340 km, approx 7-8 hrs)
    • Make the most of time in Jinja - a haven for adventurers, adrenaline junkies and eco-travellers
    • Camp at a scenic riverside retreat with showers, flush toilets, WiFi and ATM access, and upgrades possible

    Day 15-16 - Eldoret/Nairobi

    Finish that run you started a few days ago in Eldoret then head back to Nairobi. This is a combo trip so some people will leave at this point (boo) and some people will join (yay) so make them feel welcome at dinner tonight (this means offering them the last bread roll).

    • Begin the journey back to Nairobi, making an overnight stop outside Eldoret along the way (300 km, approx 7-8 hrs)
    • Continue on to Nairobi early the next morning (320 km, approx 7-8 hrs)
    • Meet your group and leader for the next part of your trip
    • Stay in the comfort of a hotel with access to WiFi and a bar

    Day 17 - Arusha

    Another border crossing. You'll be getting good at this by now.

    • Bit of time to explore Arusha then indulge in a hot shower and (gasp) flushing toilet at your camp in Meserani.
    • Depart early for Arusha on our overland truck, a drive of about 8-9 hours (300 km). There will be time to stop an ATM and shop/market while on the road
    • Camp overnight in Meserani, on the outskirts of Arusha, with access to flush toilets, cold showers, and upgrades possible

    Day 18 - Mto wa Mbu

    Sure, it's fun looking at wildlife. But meeting people makes a nice change, so you may like to take an optional guided tour into the village of Mto Wa Mbu and enage in some actual conversations (those elephants are not big on chit-chat). Today's a bit flexibile so it all depends on tomorrow's schedule whether you'll stay here overnight or head straight on to Karatu.

    • Drive for 1.5hrs to reach the village of Mto wa Mbu
    • Take an optional tour and join the local community with a guided stroll around the farming areas - including visits to a kindergarten, milling machine, local homes and farmlands
    • Perhaps visit the markets for some wood carvings or local artwork


    Depending on the following day's schedule, either stay here for the night or travel further west to the village of Karatu. Both camps have flush toilets, showers and upgrades available


    Day 19-20 - Serengeti National Park

    Here's some interesting tidbits about the Serengeti: there's about 3million animals roaming around, it covers about 14,763 square kilometres and it was the inspiration for The Lion King.

    • There's an optional hot air balloon ride at sunrise for the clever cookies who booked it before the trip started. There's only 16 spots onboard so don't forget!
    • Rise early and leave the truck behind to head out for your excursion into the Serengeti
    • View plenty of animals and birdlife, from members the Big Five to perhaps some creatures you don't expect
    • Camp out at night (with flush toilets and showers) and perhaps hear lions off in the distance
    • An optional sunrise balloon ride makes for an unforgettable memory

    You'll notice many Maasai villages in the region of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. While it's of course fascinating to visit different cultures, past experience has shown that these villages exist primarily as tourism businesses offering somewhat contrived performances of their traditional ways. You'll be charged an entry fee of approx US$20-35 and the Maasai will try very hard to sell souvenirs to you. While many clients still enjoy the experience, others have found it artificial and uncomfortable. We recommend our travellers bypass this activity as our Kenyan colleagues observe that it negatively impacts the Maasai culture and travellers' perception of this culture.

    Day 21 - Ngorongoro Crater

    It's tricky to pronounce but you won't be doing much talking when you see the size of this thing. In fact, you might be lost for words altogether. This huge caldera was formed about 2.5 million years ago when the cone of an active volcano collapsed inwards after erupting. It's 610 metres deep with about 30,000 animals mooching around inside.

    • Rise with the sun and leave the Serengeti for Ngorongoro Crater, home to some 30,000 animals (approx 3 hrs drive)
    • Descend onto the floor of the crater for a safari lasting four-five hours
    • Depart the crater in the afternoon and relive the safari experience at the bar. Upgrades and Wifi are available

    Day 22 - Marangu

    Make some friends at Amani Children's Home, a place where street kids are protected and offered education and a roof over their heads. Listen to their stories, it will put things into perspective and give you something to think about on the long drive.

    • Climb high onto the slopes of Kilimanjaro to the village of Marangu, via Moshi (270 km, approx 5-7 hrs)
    • Meet the kids of the Amani Children's Home in Moshi
    • Drive on to the village of Marangu and set up camp for the night. The camp has shared facilities but no upgrades or WiFi available

    Day 23-24 - Usambara Mountains

    The Chagga tribe is one of the largest in Tanzania, and have become renowned for their Arabica coffee. Meet them today, share a meal and maybe even get yourself a cup of joe. you'll get a cup. Say goodbye to that pesky beaten track and hike, walk and wander your way through the Usambara Mountains. Take a walking tour of Mshiri Village, the base for the Village Education Project, and witness the day-to-day life of the Chagga people

    • Walk around the Chagga shamba (farm) and sample the local Chagga food
    • Gain views of Kilimanjaro, weather permitting
    • Head into the remote Tanzanian mountains (265 km, approx 7 hrs)
    • Visit some of the Usambara Mountains' small communities and to the Irente viewpoint
    • Make the most of a stop off at a cultural and ecological project based an Irente farm and enjoy a picnic lunch
    • Stay in the old German colony of Lushoto, in the grounds of one of the earliest hotels in Africa. It also has access to WiFi and upgrades possible

    Day 25 - Dar es Salaam

    Hope you packed your boardies/bikini/banana hammock or else you'll be swimming in your undies after setting up camp on the beach. Perhaps it's a good chance to kill two birds with one stone and do your laundry at the same time?

    • Head to the coastal city of Dar es Salaam (380 km, approx 9-11 hrs)
    • Enjoy the coastal vibes of Dar, and perhaps spend time relaxing or swimming in the ocean
    • Our camp has flush toilets, showers and upgrades possible

    Day 26-29 - Zanzibar

    Spice, spice baby. Stock up on all your cooking necessities on a trip through the spice plantations today. Then end the trip with a splash in the water and a cocktail under a coconut palm.

    • Catch a ferry to the 'Spice Island' of Zanzibar (approx 90 mins)
    • Explore Stone Town on foot, taking in the bazaars, shops, mosques, palaces, courtyards and myriad alleyways
    • Perhaps enjoy a sundowner whilst overlooking the seafront, or sample one of the local seafood curries
    • The first nights accommodation is in lodge while the remaining two are in bungalows. An ATM is available at the lodge and both accommodations have WiFi
    • Drive to the spice plantations and enjoy a guided tour, with the opportunity to buy some spices to take home
    • Perhaps try snorkelling or simply relax in a hammock underneath a coconut tree
    • Optional visit to Prison Island

    This trip now finishes in Zanzibar at the Safari Lodge. Your leader can help you organise the return leg of the ferry if you wish which costs approximately 35USD. Ferries depart Zanzibar for Dar Es Salaam daily at 0730hrs, 0930hrs, 1230hrs and 1530hrs and take approx. 2hrs.

    Please allow enough time to get back to the mainland if you need to catch your departing flight from Dar Es Salaam. Speak to your leader about the best way to do this.

    • There are no activities planned for the final day.
    • Checkout time at our hotel in the Northern Beaches is 10:00am.
    • After checkout we make our way back to Stonetown where this trip finishes. We should arrive back at Safari Lodge by around 12:00pm.


    **This trip is run by our sister company Intrepid**

  • What's Included

      • On this trip you will be accompanied by 3 crew members - Group Leader, Cook and Driver.

      • Included activities:

      • Amani Children's Home visit, Chimpanzee Trekking Kibale National Park, Irente - walk & local lunch, Lake Nakuru - Game drive, Mountain gorilla trek & permit, Ngorongoro Crater - Game drive, Queen Elizabeth National Park Game Drive, Serengeti - Game drive, Usambara Village Education Project visit, village walk & lunch, Zanzibar Spice tour

      • 28 breakfasts, 24 lunches, 23 dinners

    Not Included

    • International flights, airport transfers, departure taxes, visas, insurance (compulsory on all trips), meals not listed, any optional tours or activities during free time, camera fees, excess baggage charges, tips and items of a personal nature.

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure.

    Geckos strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items.

    Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables.

    A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure.

    While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Geckos makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them.

    Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time.

    Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.



    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.



    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.



    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.



    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.



    On some trips where you will be staying within a national park, please note that at times you will stay in unfenced camp sites. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules that must be adhered to. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.



    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.



    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
    11 Jul 2015 - 08 Aug 2015 Fully Booked US $6,280 Closed
    18 Jul 2015 - 15 Aug 2015 3 places left US $6,105 Book Now
    25 Jul 2015 - 22 Aug 2015 2 places left US $6,035 Book Now
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    31 Oct 2015 - 28 Nov 2015 Available US $5,870 Book Now
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    30 Jul 2016 - 27 Aug 2016 Available US $6,035 Book Now
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  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Meet the Rellies

    karen - Australia, 23 Jun, 2012
    Overall Rating

    Wow, Overall this trip was really good. I got to see all the things I wanted to see and more. The people I met were a good bunch to get along with. Negative side: long days in the truck over bumpy roads, and I am still unsure what the local payment was for.

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- 22
4WD vehicle, Ferry, Overland vehicle
2 nights Bungalow, 3 nights Dormitory, 3 nights Basic hotel, 20 nights participatory camping

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