‘Creating this trip gave me so much pleasure because, for me, it strikes the perfect balance between ticking off bucket list adventures and exploring lesser-known paths. Begin your safari adventure with the incomparable experience of trekking mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park. Spend an extra day soaking up the beautiful scenery, engaging with local community projects and connecting with this special corner of Africa. This region is so special, it’s important that our guests do more than just ‘tick off’ the gorillas. Then fly down to the Serengeti to witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles – the Great Wildebeest Migration. By staying at a migrational camp, you will be in the best possible location to watch the drama unfold. Finally, head south to Ruaha National Park for a stay at the incredibly cool and multiple award-winning Jabali Ridge. The Ruaha, although home to a staggering tenth of the world’s wild lions, is still regarded as a hidden gem, receiving a fraction of the visitors that the Serengeti attracts each year. However, the variety of landscapes and thrilling wildlife sightings, whether on foot or by vehicle, make this one of my favourite national parks in Africa.’
DAY 1-4 VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, RWANDA
Begin your adventure in north-western Rwanda, where you’ll have the chance to explore the depths of the Volcanoes National Park, one of the most fascinating landscapes in East Africa and home to the famous mountain gorilla. Thanks to its impressive hilltop position, Virunga Lodge boasts one of my favourite views in Africa, overlooking the spectacular Virunga volcano range and ‘twin lakes’ of Bulera and Ruhondo. This eco-lodge epitomises the magic of Rwanda, with its luxury bush-chic bandas and truly personable service.
On your first morning, head out trekking with a guide into the mountainous forest of the National Park for a thrilling face-to-face encounter with a gorilla group. Beyond this adventure, you will have the opportunity to climb a volcano, track golden monkeys, hike up to waterfalls or visit Diane Fossey’s grave. Experience the local culture with a walk to the nearby village, a performance by Intore dancers or a visit to some of Virunga’s community projects, such as the ‘One Sheep per Family’ or the ‘Virunga Water Tank’ projects. Volcanoes Safaris are pioneers in their charitable ventures, connecting funding through their luxury lodges to support projects that enrich the livelihoods of local communities and promote conservation of the great apes.
DAY 4-7 NORTHERN SERENGETI, TANZANIA
From Rwanda, fly to the Serengeti National Park, where you’ll spend three nights at Legendary Expeditions Migrational Camp. Operating as two seasonal camps across four locations within the Serengeti, these migrational camps move across the savannah with the herds and are always perfectly situated in the Serengeti so that you never miss the action. Witness the vast hordes of wildebeest graze just outside your tent and feel the exhilaration of being close to nature.
Begin each morning with a coffee and watch the sun rise over the Serengeti, casting a golden light on its endless plains. Spend your days spotting lions, leopards and buffalo from your safari vehicle, or get close to wild animals whilst on an exclusive bushwalk through hidden valleys. Look out for the migration crossing the Mara River in the late dry season, where wildebeest and zebra leap over crocodile-crowded waters. At the end of an unforgettable day on safari, return to a sumptuous supper to be enjoyed under the stars, while listening to tales of the bush from your guide. On your final morning, take to the skies on a hot air balloon safari and float over the ever-moving herds of wildebeest from above.
DAY 7-10 RUAHA NATIONAL PARK, TANZANIA
Continue your safari adventure at Jabali Ridge, Ruaha National Park’s most stylish safari lodge. Experience a piece of true African wilderness, where incredible wildlife populates a striking landscape dominated by ancient baobab trees.
Spend your days encountering diverse wildlife by foot or open-sided safari vehicle, with very few other visitors around. There are good numbers of big cats here, with regular sightings of lion prides, leopard and cheetah, as well as large herds of elephant and buffalo. If you are lucky, you will encounter more unusual antelope species, such as the majestic roan and sable. After an eventful morning game drive, return to your suite to relax in your hammock with a pair of binoculars or cool off in the inviting infinity pool. At the end of the day, head to the spa to indulge in a hot stone massage, before watching the sun go down over Ruaha’s unspoilt wilderness, a refreshing cocktail in hand.
Experience this trip in high season from July – October, as the wildebeest cross the Northern Serengeti. Cost from £14,500 per person, including domestic flights, full board and all safari activities.
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