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Christmas Safari in Kenya

  • Destination: Africa & Middle East, Kenya
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Start: 12/22/2017
  • End: 12/31/2017
  • Price: $6395

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OPTIONAL GORILLA TREK IN UGANDA 12/30/17-1/2/18
Do you fancy yourself shooting photos of giraffe, rhino and elephant rather than decking the halls with boughs of holly? Then join us in Kenya where we spend Christmas with nature and the beauty of Africa. Our luxury safari includes three distinct and important areas of Kenya: Amboselli, Samburu and the Maasai Mara. Kenya is where the safari began and it continues to please every time. Spend New Year’s with the gorillas on an exciting gorilla trek in Uganda. No better way to ring in the New Year!
Start and End in Nairobi (NBO).

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Day 1

FRI DEC 22, 2017 • Depart USA

Depart the USA on any regularly scheduled flight to Nairobi, Kenya.

Day 2

SAT DEC 23 • Arrive Nairobi, Kenya

nairobiEvening arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport located in the capital city, Nairobi.

Nairobi is the largest city between Cairo and Johannesburg. Though just south of the equator, it enjoys a spring-like climate. It is a modern city, yet its main avenues blaze with color from tropical bushes and vines. Less than 100 years ago, there was a river in an empty wilderness where Nairobi now stands. Despite health hazards and the ever-present danger from wild animals, Nairobi became established by 1907 and quickly grew as a white farming community. It also attracted world attention as the centre of big-game safaris for the rich and famous. Perhaps the most famous was the safari of Teddy Roosevelt, which needed 500 porters to carry supplies and returned with 500 trophies. The nearby Nairobi National Park boasts the presence of all but one of the `Big Five’. Nairobi has a wealth of international restaurants. Cuisine of all types is available from Chinese to French and Italian. Several restaurants also offer local favorites. Nightlife varies from dining out to going to local nightclubs with discos and bands. Shopping in Nairobi varies from African clothing and craft shops to bazaar stalls and open-air markets where souvenir hunters find bargains ranging from woodcarvings to Persian carpets. There are 3 excellent museums, offering insights into the fauna, culture and history of Kenya.

After completion of customs and immigration formalities, meet and greet by our representative before taking a private transfer to Ole-Sereni Hotel for the transit overnight.

Accommodation: Ole-Sereni Hotel
Meals: None

Day 3

SUN DEC 24 • Drive to Amboseli | Afternoon Game Drive

amboseliHotel check-out after breakfast before meeting with your designated driver-guide for the drive southwards to Amboseli National Park (app 4-1/2 hours).

Amboseli National Park, at the foot of Africa’s highest mountain 5895m (19,340ft) Kilimanjaro is one of the most popular of all Kenya’s national parks. It lies some 240 kms (145 miles) south-east of Nairobi. The snow-capped peak of Mount Kilimanjaro rising above a saucer of clouds dominates every aspect of Amboseli National Park which covers 392 sq. kms (151 square miles).

The Tanzania border runs along its base and also forms the boundary of the Park. Years ago this was the locale around which such famous writers as Ernest Hemingway and Robert Ruark spun their stories of big-game hunting in the African wilds. It is also the home of the famed Maasai people, those tall, proud nomadic warriors whose legendary prowess in battle and single handed acts of bravely in fights with wild animals has spread across the world. Perhaps more than any other community in Kenya, however, they have learned to live in complete harmony with their environment and the wildlife which surrounds them. The group which numbers more than 240,000 have many fascinating traditions which form part of their ages-old culture. Their diet is a simple one, consisting mainly of meat and milk and also the blood of cattle – drawn by firing a collared arrow into the beast’s jugular vein – mixed with milk. The snows of Kilimanjaro, white and crystalline, also form a backdrop to one of Kenya’s most spectacular displays of wildlife – lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, cheetah, buffalo and hosts of plains game and the combination makes the park a photographer’s paradise. Part of the Park is composed of a dried-up lake bed which in the shimmering heat produces mirages. Swamps and springs, fed by underground rivers from Kilimanjaro’s melting snows, form permanent watering places for the wildlife in times of drought… Many attractive birds can be easily seen and equally easily photographed around the lodges. This is one of the few places where the rare and beautiful Taveta Golden Weaver is found.

Arrive for check-in and lunch at the lodge.

Afternoon game viewing drive before returning to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

MON DEC 25 • Full Day Game Viewing in Amboseli National Park

amboseli2Full day exploring the very scenic and famous Amboseli National Park by undertaking morning and afternoon game viewing drives.

The first game drive is usually at sunrise with a departure from the lodge after a very light breakfast of tea/coffee, cakes and cookies. The idea is to be on the move when the sun comes out i.e. at 06h30 and returning to the lodge for breakfast at around 08h30.

The rest of the morning is at leisure – with the position of the sun in this part of the world, midmorning game drives are rarely recommended. With the simmering heat of the sun, the animals normally go into hiding so any game drive at this time is not that fruitful and can be a source of big disappointment.

After lunch, late afternoon at around 16h00, meet up with the driver-guide once again for a last game viewing drive in this park.

Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Accommodation: Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

TUE DEC 26 • Drive & Fly Amboseli | Nairobi | Samburu plus Game Drive

samburu1Transfer to the airstrip after breakfast for the scheduled 08h15/08h50 flight to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport to connect with the 09h15/11h10 flight to Samburu National Reserve.

Depending on the passenger load, these flights are operated on 10 to 48-seater aircraft which operate on very strict luggage allowances. The allowed weight is 15 kilos per person in soft bags inclusive of hand luggage and cameras. Excess luggage is carried at the sole discretion of the aircraft’s captain, if the payload of the aircraft/space permits and is charged at a freight rate, currently at approximately 3 US$ per kilo. If you anticipate having extra luggage you book a “freight” seat at child fare which allows for carriage of an extra 75kg.

Samburu National Reserve (225 sq. km) offers what is arguably Kenya’s greatest – and least changed – encounter with the wild Africa of yesteryear. This harsh, savagely beautiful wilderness depends on the steady flow of the Uaso Nyiro River for its existence; the river waters a wide variety of animal species not found south of the Equator, including the majestic Beisa Oryx, the reticulated giraffe, the thin-striped Grevy’s zebra, and the ‘giraffe-necked’ gerenuk antelope, which stands on its hind legs to feed. Elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard can all be seen along the river, and the 400-plus species of birds are positively spectacular. Together with neighboring Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves, this area comprises 844 sq. km of protected semi-desert land. This is the home of the Samburu tribe, cousins of the Maasai, who share the same nomadic, cattle-herding existence, and an even stricter adherence to their age-old rites and customs.

Your driver/guide meets and greets upon landing at the airport. Thereafter take a short game drive en route to camp for check-in and some leisure time before lunch.

Accommodation: Samburu Intrepids Club
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

WED DEC 27 • Full Day Samburu National Reserve

samburu2Full day is spent exploring Samburu by undertaking morning and afternoon (02) game viewing drives.

Meals and overnight at the camp.

Accommodation: Samburu Intrepids Club
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

THU DEC 28 • Fly Samburu | Maasai Mara plus Afternoon Game Drive

ashnil1Arise early for the chance to see the wildlife starting their day with a game drive en route to the airstrip for the 10h05/12h35 scheduled flight to Maasai Mara. Depending on the passenger load, these flights are operated on 10 to 48-seater aircrafts which operate on very strict luggage allowances. The allowed weight is 15 kilos per person in soft bags inclusive of hand luggage and cameras. Excess luggage is carried at the sole discretion of the aircraft’s captain, if the payload of the aircraft/space permits and is charged at a freight rate, currently at approximately 3 US$ per kilo. If you anticipate having extra luggage you book a “freight” seat at child fare which allows for carriage of an extra 75kg.

The jewel in Africa’s crown, Maasai Mara is host to the most spectacular array of wildlife. Her 1,510 square kilometres of open savannah, woodlands and tree-lined rivers creates an eco-system which supports huge numbers of bird and mammal species. The western border of the park is the spectacular Siria Escarpment, and together with the acacia dotted plains, creates scenery of stunning beauty. Lion are found in abundance throughout the park as are elephant, giraffe, a variety of gazelle species and zebra. Cheetah and leopard are also regularly seen and, if lucky, you may also find rhino. Game viewing is never dull in the Mara, and patience is often rewarded with unique sightings: a pride of lion stalking their prey; a solitary leopard retrieving its kill from the high branches of an acacia tree; male wildebeest sparring to attract females into their harem; or even a herd of elephant protecting their young from opportunistic predators. The annual wildebeest migration traditionally is present in the Mara from July-September and at this time nature’s dramas unfold before your very eyes at every turn. As well as wildlife, the Maasai Mara is also home to many members of the colourful Maasai tribe who may be seen around the borders of the park – morans (warriors) loping across the plains, young boys herding goats, or elders grouped under a tree discussing matters of the day.

The aircraft lands at the airstrip where a camp driver-guide meets and greets before the transfer to the camp for check-in and lunch.

Accommodation: Ashnil Mara Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

FRI DEC 29 • Full Day Game Viewing in Maasai Mara

ashnil2Day spent exploring the Mara by undertaking morning and afternoon game viewing drives. During the migration period, the norm is to combine these 2 game drives in order to have a longer game drive. This means departing from the camp after an early breakfast and returning towards sunset, allowing for more time to follow the migrating herds with a hope of seeing a crossing or two.

Meals and overnight at the camp.

Accommodation: Ashnil Mara Camp
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

SAT DEC 30 • Fly Maasai Mara | Nairobi for Evening Departure

carnivoreAfter breakfast, bid ‘bye to camp staff before the transfer to the airport for the scheduled 08h45/10h15 (or 11h00/12h15) flight to Nairobi’s Wilson Airport.

Depending on the passenger load, these flights are operated on 10 to 48-seater aircrafts which operate on very strict luggage allowances. The allowed weight is 15 kilos per person in soft bags inclusive of hand luggage and cameras. Excess luggage is carried at the sole discretion of the aircraft’s captain, if the payload of the aircraft/space permits and is charged at a freight rate, currently at approximately 3 US$ per kilo. If you anticipate having extra luggage you book a “freight” seat at child fare which allows for carriage of an extra 75kg.

The actual flight time between Nairobi and Maasai Mara is about 40 minutes. There are different airstrips in the Mara. The service may visit some or all of the airstrips in any sequence depending on the bookings. So it is very possible to experience several landings and take-offs before you actually leave the Mara for Nairobi’s Wilson Airport. This also means that it is not possible to give a firm departure time of your flight out of Mara nor your arrival time in Nairobi.

Meet and greet by a representative at Wilson Airport and thereafter, transfer Eka Hotel where rooms on day use are available. Lunch is included.

Rest of the day at leisure. Early evening meet up with a representative before taking a private transfer to The Carnivore Restaurant for dinner.

The Carnivore Restaurant is situated at the edge of Nairobi National Park. Its attractive gardens offer an informal indoor/outdoor atmosphere. ‘The Carnivore’ – as the name suggests – is a meat eater’s paradise. The focal point of the main restaurant is the ‘roasting pit’ where a staggering array of meat is roasted on huge metal spears over charcoal. Waiters bring different meats to the table and carve onto piping hot plates with an exceptional array of sauces to complement the meats. Guests may have the opportunity to sample ostrich and crocodile amongst others and for herbivores, there is a vegetarian menu. Waiters continue their rounds until you admit defeat and lower your flag (perched on your table!). If you have any room left after the unlimited servings, a variety of tempting puddings are on offer before mugful of steaming Kenya coffee herald the end of the meal. Also within the grounds is the Simba Saloon, one of Nairobi’s popular nightclubs and the African Heritage shop which offers a small collection of art, tribal sculptures, and artifacts from all parts of Africa, jewelry, some hand-crafted home accessories and African textile designs.

After the meal transfer to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport where our representative assists in the check-in formalities for the international flight out of Nairobi. Flights to the USA arrive on Sun Dec 31.

Accommodation: Eka Hotel Nairobi
Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations

Kenya

Hotel Ole-Sereni Nairobi


Ole-Sereni is ideally located next to the Nairobi National Park, the only park in the world located within a city. The hotel combines the best features of a modern city hotel and a traditional wildlife lodge by being conveniently located close to the airport and the Central Business district and yet adjacent to a game park. ‘The City Hotel by the Game Park’ offers guests 134 exquisitely furnished, air-conditioned rooms and suites spread over three floors. Facilities include a roof top heated swimming pool that overlooks the park, a gymnasium and aerobics room, a sports lounge and a massage Centre, a sauna & steam facility as well as a unisex salon.

Amboseli Serena Lodge


Amboseli Serena Lodge is part of the prestigious Serena group, which has high quality hotels across East Africa and beyond. Built in an acacia grove under Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa, Amboseli Serena is a great place to see elephants. The elephants here have been minutely studied for decades which makes game drives particularly fascinating, as most of the elephants are known by name. 92 rooms, including three family rooms, are decorated in Maasai style with deep red bedspreads and locally made rugs. A local artist has worked on murals and paintings throughout the lodge, giving it a very distinctive and different feel. The Amboseli Serena has a large swimming pool and on most nights guests can have dinner overlooking a watering hole accompanied by traditional dancing by Maasai warriors from the surrounding area. It is also possible to visit local manyatta villages, where many of the Serena staff come from, and see how traditional Maasai people live.

Samburu Intrepids Club


Samburu Intrepids Club occupies a fabulous site on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu National Reserve. Home to rare northern species as well as hundreds of elephants, this arid park offers some of the best game viewing in the world. 27 luxury tents line the riverbank – all with great views and their own private verandas from which a huge variety of game can be seen. The river attracts animals in need of a drink from many miles around. Samburu Intrepids, with its sister camp in the Maasai Mara, is one of the best places in Kenya to take kids. The Adventurers and Young Rangers Clubs for young children and teenagers have many activities, which will keep them out of their parents’ hair in between game drives. There’s also a large swimming pool here – a welcome relief after a hot drive. Guests can go camel-trekking outside the reserve and visit local Samburu villages where many of the staff live. An exciting excursion is a night’s fly camping on Ol Lolokwe Mountain, considered sacred by the local Samburu people and a place of great beauty.

Ashnil Mara Camp


Ashnil Mara Camp is located in the Maasai Mara National reserve along the confluence of the Mara and Olkeju Rivers. The area is host to an amazing concentration of wildlife which is easily viewed from the camp. The camp comprises of 34 luxury tents overlooking the plains of the Maasai Mara and includes en-suite bathrooms (with hot and cold running water and flushed WC), walk-in closets and a private veranda for relaxation while watching game. At night, the winding paths between the widely-spaced tents are lit by hurricane lanterns imparting a magical feel to the camp. The camp has a restaurant that offers African, Oriental cuisine and international cuisine. At the end of a game drive, a dip in the pool is bound to soothe and relax.

Eka Hotel Nairobi


A landmark along Mombasa Road, Eka Hotel Nairobi is ideally located for all leisure and business with easy access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Wilson Airport, only 5km to the city centre and major entertainment venues. Eka Hotel rooms are designed to provide comfort, convenience and efficiency supported by the latest in technology. The 170 air-conditioned rooms feature LCD flat screens TVs, Complimentary High speed internet access, personal bar, in room safe deposit facility, tea/coffee making facility, direct dial international telephones, plug and play panels for seamless connectivity of personal devices to the TV, hair dryers and iron/ironing board on request.


Uganda

Boma Guest House, Entebbe


Boma Guest house is a small, family run guesthouse located in the suburbs of Entebbe. A converted residential house, it offers quiet, relaxed accommodation with a homey atmosphere. Each room is unique and has en suite facilities. They offer meals as well as a small bar area for guests. There is a large garden and a patio with a small swimming pool for residents only.

Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp


The eight tents at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp are stylish and spacious, each featuring two queen sized beds. In addition to the comfortable warm beds, each tent has a huge bathtub that looks straight into the jungle canopy ideal for soaking tired muscles after a day spent observing and meeting gorillas. Observe rare forest species while soaking in the tub, followed by a cocktail on the private viewing deck served by your personal attendant.

Rates & Facts

Per Person Kenya Safari Uganda Gorilla Trek Combined Trip
Double Occupancy $6595 $3495 $10090
Single Occupancy $7995 $4095 $12890

7 nights in Kenya and 3 nights in Uganda. Our rates include your GORILLA PERMIT ($600) and all internal flights ($650).

Inclusions in Kenya

  • 1 night at Ole-Sereni Hotel, Nairobi; 2 nights at Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge; 2 nights at Samburu Intrepids Club; 2 nights at Ashnil Mara Camp
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Drinking water on safari
  • English speaking guide
  • Coda representative on minimum 9 guests
  • Transport in a 6-seater land cruiser for the transfers in Nairobi, Amboseli and Samburu, including the game drives
  • Entrances into the parks and reserves mentioned
  • Scheduled Amboseli/Nairobi/Samburu/Mara/Nairobi flights (based on current rates and which are subject to change without notice)
  • Use of camp vehicle to be shared with other guests while in the Mara
Not included

International airfare; Visa fees; Travel and medical insurance; Personal expenses such as drinks, tips, laundry, telephone, etc; All extra services; All other services not mentioned.

Inclusions in Uganda

  • 1 night at Boma Guest House, Entebbe; 2 nights at Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • Scheduled & seat rate flights when in Uganda – $650 value
  • Gorilla permit $600 value
  • Drinks at Gorilla Forest Camp except Premium
  • Drinking water on safari
  • English speaking guide
  • Coda representative on minimum 6 guests
  • Vehicle transfers to & from Entebbe airport, Kihihi airfield and the starting point of the Gorilla trek
  • Community walk (Batwa)
  • Land cruiser in a 4×4
  • 18% VAT
Not included

International airfare; Visa fees; Travel and medical insurance; Personal expenses such as drinks, tips, laundry, telephone, etc; All extra services; All other services not mentioned.

Air Routing & Scheduling

There are a variety of airlines you can use for this program, including British Air/American, Qatar, Turkish Air, Emirates, United/Swiss, Air France, Iberia.

You can fly round trip Nairobi (Kenya Safari only) or into Nairobi and out of Entebbe, Uganda (Kenya Safari + Gorilla trekking) or round trip Nairobi with a flight from Entebbe to Nairobi after Gorilla trekking.

Visas

You can obtain an EAST AFRICA TOURIST VISA which is multiple entry, valid for 90 days at a cost of $100. Details on how to obtain this visa will be provided once you are registered.

Passport Pages & Validity

Travelers to Kenya & Uganda should ensure that the validity of their passports is at least six months beyond the end of their intended stay. Kenyan & Ugandan immigration authorities require a minimum of two blank (unstamped) visa pages in the passport to enter the country (four total); some travelers have experienced difficulties when they arrive without the requisite blank pages. Travelers should make sure there are sufficient pages for visas and immigration stamps to enter into Kenya and Uganda.

Vaccinations

Evidence of yellow fever immunization may be requested, especially if you are entering Kenya from an infected zone or returning to Kenya from Uganda. Some travellers have been turned around at immigration for not having sufficient proof of immunization. The CDC also recommends the vaccination for Uganda. If you cannot take the live vaccine because of HIV or other reasons, a letter from your doctor is usually sufficient. Please discuss with us.

Extend your trip to Uganda for an extraordinary Gorilla Trek.

Day 9

SAT DEC 30 • Fly Nairobi | Entebbe

Fly from Nairobi to Entebbe. Arrive Entebbe airport where you will be met by our representative and transferred to Boma Guest House, about a 10 minute drive.

Accommodation: Boma Guest House
Meals: B

Day 10

SUN DEC 31 • Fly to Bwindi National Park

Early breakfast, you will be met by our representative at 0630am who will drive you to Entebbe airport where you will take your scheduled flight (0700am) to Kihihi airstrip. The flight is about 1hr 15minutes. You will land at Kihihi airstrip- where we will transfer you to Gorilla Forest Camp which is about 1hour 30minutes drive

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is located in south-western Uganda, covering parts of Rukungiri, Kisoro, and Kabale Districts. It is situated in a hilly countryside, which, together with some remnant lowland forest outside the boundary, constitutes an important water catchment area for many rivers, supplying the agricultural land of the surrounding region. This is the richest forest in Uganda, in terms of the number of plant species, as the area is one of the few large expanses of forest in East Africa where lowland and montane communities merge. The valley bottoms contain a dense ground cover of herbs, vines, and shrubs with only a few trees hence its name, the impenetrable forest. This is one of the richest faunal communities in East Africa. There exists about one half of the world’s population of the endangered mountain gorillas. There are also several endangered species of birds with limited ranges.

Accommodation: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Meals: B,L,D

Day 11

MON JAN 1 • Gorilla Trekking

After an early breakfast, your guide will escort you to the Uganda Wildlife Authority Park headquarters where you will meet fellow trackers and your gorilla guide who will then lead you into the forest to find the Mountain Gorillas. The trekking may be fairly strenuous – up to six hours or longer is not uncommon – at relatively high altitude. Mountain Gorillas are wild animals, and so, sightings cannot be guaranteed, however the success rate is well over 95%. These massive primates are extremely rare, only approximately 650 remaining. You will get within metres of the family, and be privileged to spend up to one hour amongst them.

Returning to the lodge later in the day and time permitting, you may have an opportunity for further forest or community walks with the guides, visit the Batwa tribe, a visit to the hospital in Bwindi is an option too or just to relax.

Accommodation: Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp
Meals: B,L,D

Day 12

TUE JAN 2 • Fly To Entebbe, then to USA or to Nairobi for connection to USA

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Kihihi airstrip where you will take your scheduled flight back to Entebbe – departing at 1055am (flying time is 1 hour 15minutes). Arrive Entebbe airport; you will be met by our representative who will help you to departure for your outward flight.

Meals: Breakfast