An American in Africa
Day 1: FLY from JFK 1:30pm EDT non-stop, Arrive NBO 10:30am KT
Day 2: WELCOME TO AFRICA!
After your long flight, you will have refreshed yourselves on the plane, cleared customs, picked up luggage, met the welcoming committee. You will be assigned to a vehicle and green stickers with vehicle # to place on luggage. You will then head out on your journey to the Masai Mara. You will stop at a picnic area, where you will enjoy a delicious lunch besides the Great Rift Valley, which travels a total of 4000 miles. The Rift with its underground eruptions has been calculated to break off the African continent and stop south of India.
We will be moving quickly to see the Migration’s most memorable and overwhelming picture of thousands of animals moving and grazing. We would then drive to camp and enjoy a special dinner. There will be a review of activities for the next day and a wish for a good night's rest.
Ashnil Mara Camp
Day 3: This will probably be the most spectacular day of our lives with the most of the day spent watching the unbelievable crossings of the wildebeest and zebra battling the crocs in the water, lions on the shore and finally arriving at the food they desire, that delicious green grass. Looking like an invasion of an island and attacking with a definite plan the migration moves on with little hesitation.
First, we must understand there are almost 2 million animals spread out all over the Serengeti. It will take over several months for them to reach the Mara River and cross it. However, when they decide to enter the water there are shores and paths leading to the crossings for generations.
When they decide to enter the river, they go en-masse rather than in small groups. The penguin of Antarctica learned that strategy centuries ago. The crocodiles get confused at the number of delicious animals around them. Once, I saw a plucky wildebeest get out of an impossible position of a lion hanging on one leg and a croc holding fast on the other!
There is one dimension of the crossing that many miss and that is the leaping to the shore from the cliffs up above. Some cliffs have been estimated at over 100 feet. The landing looks and probably is four legs touching ground simultaneously. They take one deep breath and dive into the water!
We have been concerned that women might find an event such as this too gruesome. Not true. We get far more emails from women. I have never read one from a woman who did not say, “This was the most exciting day of my life!”
You will definitely sleep well tonight!
Ashnil Mara Camp
Today could be one of the key days on safari. So far you have seen two of our All-Star events which were spectacular. You have seen less than 10 major animals with 56 species living in the Masai Mara. To give this trip proper balance we are spending a full day identifying animals that want no part of participating in walking 600 miles eating grass when they have this blissful land.
You will all be given an Animal Spotter Chart. The animal names printed on the chart need only a checkmark indicating your ID of the animals. Fill in the blank with the names of the animals not listed on the chart. Your guide will sign these charts, indicating your identification at the end of the trip.
After witnessing the Migration and the River Crossing you really don’t want to tell your friends that you missed seeing an elephant or giraffe or hippo! Luckily, for you the Masai Mara has 56 species of animals and our guides are instructed to have you see and identify far more than you have seen.
Ashnil Mara Camp
Day 5: Fly to Nairobi (NBO) for an early flight to Amboseli. We are headed towards another all star sighting, the incredibly beautiful Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The Plane should land around 4pm with the mountain18 miles away. If a secret little path still exists at Amboseli we can drive you about 8 miles from the mountain. You should take some gorgeous pictures with the sun behind you. Once you have taken your pictures, we will continue on safari and add more animals to your Animal Spotter.
With our Amboseli safari, I’ll bet anyone you will see an elephant!
Day 6: We will return to the airport at Amboseli, board a flight to Nairobi and continue on to Entebbe, Uganda. This will put us into an easy position for your the first day in Uganda. You will be transferred to your hotel.
Protea Hotel Entebbe
Day 7- After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Kasese Airstrip, ground transfer to the lodge in approx. 2hrs drive. Check in at your lodge. Go for a sensational afternoon chimp trek.
Kibale Forest is reputable of having the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa. After a pre-tracking briefing at walking distance from your accommodation, you will start your hike adventure into the forest. Follow the footsteps of a large habituated family of chimpanzees, with over 120 individuals that has made Kibale one of the best locations in Africa for chimp viewing.
En route your guide will explain more about the forest and the other inhabitants, including other primates and birds such as the blue breasted Kingfisher, black billed Turaco, Pied Hornbill, Chestnut winged Starlings and many more.
Upon sighting the chimpanzees, you will stay with them for one unforgettable hour as they continue their daily routine – growling, grooming, feeding, taking care of the young ones and agilely climbing up trees. It certainly is one unforgettable wildlife encounter and the hour is always over too soon.
Day 8- Fly to Kihihi airstrip
Day 9- Arise early today and prepare for the highlight of your safari, an unforgettable encounter with the Gentle Giants!
Following breakfast, transfer to the national park offices where you will be allocated a gorilla family in groups of 8 as well as a gorilla tracking guide. After a pre-tracking briefing by your guide touching on the gorillas generally, your assigned gorilla family as well as appropriate safety precautions, you drive to the trailhead for the start of a thrilling adventure. Expect to walk in steep and sometimes muddy conditions with rain overhead, which can be tough and require a degree of (average) fitness. However, the thrill of coming face to face with a giant Mountain Gorilla silverback completely makes up for the effort!
Please remember to bring your passport for registration, appropriate, water proof hiking boots and a light rain coat. To protect from stinging nettles, we recommend long pants and long sleeved tops. A pair of old gardening gloves can help grabbing onto the vegetation while most hotels/lodges provide a walking stick that come in very handy especially when hiking downhill. A small waterproof backpack is an excellent idea to carry a light snack, bottled water as well as protection for your camera.
Upon sighting the gorillas, you spend the allowed one hour with them as they go about their daily life; feeding, moving, playing, raising their young and sometimes wrestling with the juveniles – it is a totally unique and unforgettable experience!
Top Gorilla Facts courtesy Gorillas-World
There are several interesting facts that everyone should know about gorillas. While some are just unique information, they are still worth learning!
Gorillas are not monkeys. Many people wrongly think they are, although all are primates, monkeys have tails and great apes such as gorillas do not have any at all. Gorillas are apes, not monkeys!
Are they Carnivores? Nope, regardless their large teeth, they have a fundamentally herbivorous diet, although sometimes they consume small invertebrates. There are only two species of gorilla: the western gorilla and the eastern gorilla. Each of these gorilla species has two subspecies. Therefore, there are four subspecies. The Western gorilla has the western lowland gorilla and the Cross River gorilla subspecies. The Eastern Gorilla has the mountain gorilla and the eastern lowland gorilla subspecies.
Contrasting the common concept we have of them, they are not aggressive and have a peaceful and timid personality, but they can become very aggressive if they feel someone in the group is jeopardized.
They’re the largest of all primates in the world. After The common chimpanzee and the bonobo, Gorillas are genetically the closest relatives to humans. The Leader of a social group is the silverback male, named after the silver patch of hair on his back that appears when they are mature. “silverbacks” typically have more than 12 years.
The life expectancy of gorillas is between 35 and 40 years in the wild. In captivity, they can reach or exceed 50 years. Gorillas walk on their knuckles. Typically they move on their arms and legs, although they can stand up and walk on two legs short distances up to 3 meters.