8 days Masai Mara and Rwanda gorillas safari

This 8 day trip to Kenya and Rwanda combines the perfect wildlife safari in the famous Masai Mara plains of Kenya, with the ultimate gorilla trekking adventure in the Virunga mountains of Rwanda.

Lion in Masai Mara

Masai Mara National Reserve is Kenya’s top wildlife destination and is one of the most famous safari destinations in Africa because of the amazing game experience it offers. Famous for the great migration (June to Oct), Masai Mara is home to a lot of animals including all the big five, and the open plains provide the best views of game. In addition, visiting a Maasai village and learning about the Maasai warrior tribe culture is a great addition to the wildlife safari in Masai Mara.

gorilla in rwanda

Rwanda is famous for the mountain gorillas, having about a third of the remaining mountain gorilla population that lives in Volcanoes National Park in the north of the country. The gorilla tracking in Rwanda is an unforgettable wildlife adventure that brings you up-close with Mr. King Kong (giant silverback gorilla). In addition to meeting the gorillas you will enjoy the spectacular views of the rolling volcanoes of the Virunga mountains range, and the dramatic rolling landscape which is a sheer contrast to the flat plains you will experience in the Masai Mara.

8 day Mara wildlife safari and Rwanda gorillas trekking itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrival in Nairobi for the safari

Today you will arrive in Nairobi, the capital City of Kenya. Depending on if you arrive early in the day, you take time off to explore this vibrant city.

Day 2 – Morning travel to Masai Mara National Reserve in Narok county

Today you shall be picked up at 7am prompt to start the journey to Masai Mara National Reserve which is a 6 hours drive from Nairobi including stops at the Rift valley view point and at curio shops.

On arrival in Masai Mara you shall transfer to your lodge for lunch and check into your room to refresh.

At about 3pm you set out into the Mara to start the incredible bush experience. You will drive through the open plains and scan for wildlife and some of your first and common sightings will include Giraffes, zebras, gazelles, and buffaloes among others.

Enjoy the magical sunset over the African savannah as you drive back to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 – Full day safari in Masai Mara

Today will be out of bed by 6am, have breakfast and by 6.30am are heading off into the Mara plains for a full day wildlife experience.

The cats will be on top of the list of the animals to tick off and indeed you will spot plenty of lions. You will also have a good chance of seeing leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, etc…

The Rhino, the most difficult of the Big Five to see in the Mara will be a prized sighting if you have the luck to see it.

If you are in the Mara during the great migration time (July – September) you will be on the look out for the incredible river crossing.

Day 4 – Another safari in the Mara with a visit to the Maasai cultural village

Today is another day to enjoy the savannah and see more wildlife.

You will have early breakfast and set off at 7am to start your game drive in the Masai Mara. You will visit more areas of the Mara and discover more wildlife and beautiful sights.

You will finish the safari at about 3pm and drive to the Masai tribe village for the Masai culture tour. You will be welcomed by the Masai youth that will present to you the epic Masai warrior dance. Thereafter the leader shall take you around the Masai village and explain the way of life of the Masai people including their traditions and cultures.

Day 5 – Masai Mara – Nairobi – Kigali

You will check out early and leave for Nairobi to catch your late afternoon or evening flight to Kigali Rwanda.

You will be received by your tour driver in Rwanda, meet and greet and transfer to your hotel in Kigali for dinner and overnight.

Day 6 – Kigali – Volcanoes National Park – afternoon canoe ride on River Mukungwa

Afte breakfast, you will leave Kigali at around 8am and drive to Musanze in the north of Rwanda. Enjoy the scenic drive through the rolling mountains and appreciate why Rwanda is famously called the “land of a thousand hills”, a sheer contrast to the flat plains of the Mara you just experienced in Kenya.

You will take a short tour of Musanze town and visit the local markets, the Gorilla museum, before continuing to your lodge for lunch.

At 2pm you shall go for the canoe ride on River Mukungwa (with Kingfisher Journeys) an excellent way to explore rolling landscape and lush countryside in the foothills of the Virunga mountains. It is a half day tour that also brings you close to the local communities in the countryside as you as sail down and row down the river.

Day 7 – Gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Up by 6.30am, have quick breakfast and transfer to the park office by 7am. At the park office you will meet the park guides for allocation of the gorilla families and briefing about the gorillas and gorilla trekking, and thereafter drive to the edge of the park where you will begin trekking up the mountains to find the gorillas.

The time taken to find the gorillas is not easily predicated because when the gorillas wake up early in the morning they start moving and eating. However advance park trackers are able to find the gorillas early before they leave their nests so they have an idea of the areas where to find the gorillas. Once can ask for an easy trek which could take from 30 mins to 1 hour.

You will be allowed an hour to be around the gorillas after which you shall trek back.

Transfer to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 8 – Departure

Today you shall drive back to Kigali to catch your late afternoon or evening flight.

What other possible quick tours can I add to this trip to Kenya and Rwanda?

Kenya:

  • 1 day safari in Nairobi National Park
  • 2 day safari trip to Amboseli National Park

Rwanda

  • 1 day Golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes National Park
  • 1 day Kigali city tour
  • 2 or 3 day trip to Nyungwe National Park for chimpanzee tracking and canopy walk
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