Help for Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya Itinerary

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Oct 11th, 2005, 07:29 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Help for Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya Itinerary

After years of hoping it looks like our dream of an African safari will become a reality next August. With huge help from Patty (thanks a million!), I was able to reserve business class seats for my wife and I into Entebbe on August 22nd using Skymiles. Return flights have been almost impossible to find, so I feel fortunate that I at least got the date I needed. I would prefer to fly out of Nairobi, but had to settle for a September 3rd economy flight out of JRO connecting in DAR. Iíll keep an eye out for business seats and/or something out of NBO.

I would appreciate general feedback on my proposed itinerary as well as ideas and suggestions for some specific things Iíve been pondering. My wife and I are both graduate students but we make travel (especially for wildlife) a priority. I would prefer to keep our budget below $3500 per person for the twelve nights weíre in Africa. Given that weíre planning to indulge in some costly activities, I understand that may not be possible but I really must hold things below $4000 each.

This is almost certainly our only chance to visit Africa before starting a family, so I am making the classic first-timer mistake of trying to cram too much in. My wife and I really enjoy primates, so my plan was to spend 7 nights moving through Uganda and Rwanda. By staying in budget accommodations, I hope to allocate roughly half our budget with that before flying from Kigali to Nairobi. In Kenya I wanted to slow down and spend four nights in the Mara in nicer lodging with perhaps one in Nakuru on the way down. This sketchy day-by-day would be something like:

Day 1: Arrive in Entebbe at 17:55 and transfer to Kampala. O/N in a modest hotel.
Day 2: Drive to Kibale Forest for a night walk. O/N in bandas in the park.
Day 3: Full day chimpanzee habituation experience. O/N in bandas.
Day 4: Early drive to Queen Elizabeth Park, looking for game in the Kasenyi region along the way. Afternoon cruise on Kasinga channel and O/N Mweya lodge.
Day 5: Long day of driving through Ishasha region and the mountains to Kisoro and on to Rwanda. O/N in Ruhengeri hotel or Kinigi guest house.
Day 6: Track gorillas in PNV, O/N Ruhengeri/Kinigi.
Day 7: Track golden monkeys in PNV and O/N in Kigali**
Day 8: Morning flight to Kenya by way of Burundi, arriving in NBO around 13:00. Drive to Lake Nakuru. Night game drive and O/N at Mbweha lodge.
Day 9: Travel to Masai Mara, afternoon game drive, O/N Mara Serena.
Day 10: Morning balloon ride then full day viewing the migration, O/N Mara Serena.
Day 11: Transfer to Kicheche tented camp, looking for game en route. O/N Kicheche.
Day 12: Game walk and game drive. O/N Kicheche.
Day 13: Final morning game drive before afternoon flight to NBO. Fly on to JRO

**I had initially thought an extra day in PNV could be helpful if there was some problem with our gorilla trek, but now Iím wondering if we should skip the monkeys and head to Kenya a day earlier for a full day in Lake Nakuru.

I have contacted Great Lakes Safaris for the Uganda-Rwanda portion. I was planning to contact Kenyan operators to arrange for a private driving safari up until the transfer to Kicheche. I like Serenaís location but I also wanted to spend some time at a more intimate tented camp and do a game walk. I thought having our own driver would work well for the Nakuru-Mara Serena portion. Since I was interested in flying back to Nairobi so we could see game that last morning in the Mara, I thought it would make sense to switch to an all-inclusive format at Kicheche (or similar tented camp).

I would definitely appreciate suggestions on the overall plan or the specific details. Iím definitely wondering if we should head to Kenya on day 7 instead of day 8. I donít think we could afford to spend the extra day in the Mara and I didnít think it was worth trying to squeeze another park in, so that leaves extra time in Nakuru. If I canít manage to switch our outbound flight from JRO, should I try to switch things around to drive to Tanzania and visit Amboseli along the way? I was hoping to keep the migration as ďdessertĒ but maybe that extra NBO-JRO flight doesnít make sense with my budget. Thanks for all of the ideas and advice Iíve already received from this board.

-Matt
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