Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda & Tanzania Adventure Safari!
Here is what’s included in your safari
Addis Ababa, Simien Mountains
You will be met on arrival at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport and transferred to the comfortable and central Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Addis for your first night in Ethiopia. This modern hotel features a restaurant, bar and a day spa and gym.
On Day 2 meet your guide in the morning and depart from the Bole International Airport for your flight to Gondar. From Gondar, we continue to the Simien Mountains (paved road until we enter the park, then 4×4-only road). This spectacular drive takes us higher and higher into one of Africa’s most impressive mountain ranges, referred to as the “Rooftop of Africa.” We arrive at our lodge this afternoon and enjoy an optional hike, as time allows. This evening, you may want to enjoy a beverage in “Africa’s Highest Bar” at nearly 11,000 feet above sea level!
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
This morning you will rise early for a magical excursion in the Simien Mountains. After a sunrise breakfast, meet your guide and begin a hike through this breathtaking mountain range, of which the highest peak – Ras Dashen – stands at nearly 15,000 feet. Although you are at high altitudes, the trekking is moderate and incredibly picturesque. Treks vary in length and difficulty and your guide will qualify you in advance. Sweeping views of the dramatic and jagged cliffs greet you at every turn of the trail. Unique flora, endemic birds and, of course, the endemic gelada baboons. The species, really a monkey rather than a baboon, is only found in Ethiopia and the Simien Mountains are considered one of the best areas to view them. Sleeping in the cliffs in small caves at night, the gelada is diurnal and emerges to dine on grasses that he pulls with his hands and passes into his mouth. Staying at the Simien Lodge allows us closest proximity to the baboon troops and the luxury of being some of the first visitors for the morning. Our hike ends with a visit to observe the baboons. Our time is not limited with these fascinating creatures, making it one of the most relaxed and accessible primate experiences in Africa. Mid-day we return to the Lodge for lunch and a siesta. The high elevation can be tiring. Optional hikes are available for those who want to head out in the afternoon.
On Day 4 we can chose a morning hike before returning for our next visit to observe the gelada baboons. This afternoon a community visit is planned. The Simien Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Park, but they are also home to a significant population of Ethiopians. We will visit a local community and see what life in this extreme climate is like. Return to the Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Gondar, Ethiopia | Entebbe, Uganda
After our last beautiful sunrise in the Simien Mountains and a hot breakfast, we descend the mountain and return to Gondar by road. This afternoon, we explore the historic sites of this former “Royal Capitol” of Ethiopia. With our guide, we will visit the Debre Birhan Selassie Church and learn why this church’s architecture and paintings are so unique and important in the region’s history. Continue to the Royal Enclosure and Baths of Emperor Fasilides, climbing ancient staircases and ducking inside buildings dating to the early 1600s. The medieval lore and rich Ethiopian history come to life here. Finally, we will enjoy a traditional dinner this evening and take part in the famous Ethiopia coffee ceremony at a local restaurant.
On day 6 fly to Addis and rest in a day room before connecting to an evening flight to Entebbe, Uganda for the next leg of our Great African Primate Adventure! On arrival in Entebbe, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the Protea Entebbe Hotel an for overnight.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
After an early breakfast transfer to the airport for your local flight to Kisoro. On arrival in Kisoro you will be met and transferred to our lodge. The road is rough and we are in an incredibly remote area of Bwindi, but the end point is a welcome and luxurious one – Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge. This afternoon you can rest and relax enjoying the view of the volcanoes in neighboring Rwanda and Congo or treat yourself to a massage with the on-staff therapist. The setting at the Lodge is remarkable and we recommend you relish every moment here! Keep your eye out after dark, if you are lucky you may spot an active volcano spewing lava far in the distance.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
On Days 8 & 9 you leave after breakfast and take a short drive to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Headquarters and meet with excellent local guides and trackers who will give a talk on the etiquette of gorilla trekking. We then hike into the forest where the gorillas were seen the night before and track from that point. The trekking can take from 1 to 6 hours and climb to altitudes in excess of 7,500 feet. The terrain is rough, steep and at times muddy. Although the hike is physically demanding the beauty of the forest and surrounding scenery make the trekking worthwhile; once the gorillas are located all fatigue is forgotten. Picnic lunches are provided and it is important to take plenty of water, rain gear and snacks in a day pack. Cameras with ample memory cards are recommended. It can rain at a few minutes notice; hence waterproof clothing is a good essential including zip lock or dry bags for camera gear. Porters are available at an additional cost to help assist with your backpack and give an extra hand in steep sections. Each evening return to the luxury of the lodge for a hot shower, perhaps a foot massage, and a sundowner and sumptuous dinner. Sleep comes early and easy these days, but we recommend you take a peek at the volcanoes in the moonlight before heading to bed!
After breakfast and a final view of the volcanoes, we bid farewell to Clouds and the wonderful staff, this is always a bittersweet departure! On to the next adventure. We continue by road to the border of Rwanda and across into Kigali. This vibrant, European-feeling city is clean, fresh and modern. The extremely comfortable Serena Hotel is our based for the night. You may have time to explore Kigali on your own – there are craft shops nearby the hotel along the tree-lined streets.
Rise very early for your flight to Arusha, Tanzania for the final leg of our primate trifecta! Don’t worry, you will have time to nap by the pool this afternoon. You will be met on arrival and transferred through town to the luxurious and peaceful Arusha Coffee Lodge. The afternoon is at leisure and the pool will call to you! Should you be well-rested and interested, the lodge can arrange a visit to the local non-profit glass and arts studio or perhaps stroll through the on-site coffee plantation.
Mahale Mountains, Tanzania
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airstrip for scheduled flight to Mahale (there is a stop en route to refuel). You may have time to freshen up and discover your room before lunch is served in the shade on the beach. You are free to spend the remainder of the day in any way you choose. Soak up sun’s heat on the beach or climb aboard the old wooden dhow for a sundowner cruise stopping along the way to fish. Arrive back at camp in time for piping hot showers followed by a three-course meal served overlooking the lake. The Mahale Mountains are home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees; a population of roughly 800. The mountain’s vegetation contains a wide array of habitat types ranging from overlapping rainforests, woodlands and bamboo forest to montane forest and grasslands supporting a unique mix of flora and fauna. Visitors are definitely in for a treat if they make it to this corner of unspoiled Africa.
Mahale Mountains, Tanzania
On Days 13 & 14, wake up at your own pace. Rise early for a chance to watch the sun rise over the lake as you sip on your morning coffee cup or perhaps enjoy a lie in followed by a delicious breakfast with your toes in the sand. You may choose to engage in activities such as forest walks, swimming, watersports or visit the Park’s famous chimpanzees. While away the remainder of the day chilling on the beach with an ice-cold drink or head out into the lush forest to discover the many birds, butterflies and mammals inhabit the park on a hike. Alternatively, you can swim in ice-cold pools in the mountain waterfalls, go kayaking on the lake or, best of all, going in search of the park’s famous chimpanzees. In the evening, enjoy your drinks in the bar and dinner on the white sandy beach.
On day 15 it’s sadly time to depart. After breakfast bid this paradise farewell and depart Greystoke Mahale by dhow to return to the airstrip for your shared charter flight to Arusha’s Kilimanjaro International Airport. Connect within the airport for your onward flight home. Breakfast and lunch included today.