2 Week East Africa Itinerary: The Best of Rwanda + Kenya

My trip to East Africa was nothing short of amazing. Both Rwanda and Kenya were countries I have never visited before, but they were certainly on my short list. Of course gorilla trekking had become a bucket list adventure I was dying to experience, and I will tell you now that it did not disappoint.  However, this trip was so. much. more. than I could have ever imagined.  

Here is my 2 week East Africa Itinerary that shares my full experience with you and hopefully helps fuel your own wanderlust.


Accomodation: The Retreat by Heaven

The best option for a stay in the capital city of Rwanda, The Retreat is a 12 room luxury boutique property located near the city center.  Every room has a private terrace, complete with a gorgeous outdoor shower and locally-crafted furniture.  A stay here also provides delicious farm-to-table food from the hotel’s own restaurant, and the ability to enjoy Heaven Restaurant by simply taking the “stairway to heaven”.

The Retreat by Heaven boutique hotel in Kigali Rwanda


Full Day City Tour

There is so much to learn about the history of Rwanda and exploring the city allows you to appreciate the complexity and beauty of this place so much more.  

Since we had to quarantine in our room until our negative covid tests were returned, our full day tour got cut a little short, but the one thing you absolutely cannot miss out on during a visit to Kigali is the genocide museum.  This visit allowed me to put into context the bits and pieces I had learned over the years about what happened in Rwanda, and understand how they have healed.

Personal Takeaways

Kigali is incredible.  I only had a taste of Rwanda’s capital city, but I can assure you that it’s a place worth visiting.  Most people, myself included, remember learning about the genocide in 1994, but to see the country now makes the turnaround even more astounding.

A country once divided by hatred is showing the world how to heal, and what they have achieved is incredible.  The country has become the world’s second fastest growing economy and is a hotbed for creativity.  If you have the chance, this city is worth spending some time in. 


Accomodation: Singita Kwitonda

Singita Kwitonda Volcanoes National Park

I am a Singita super-fan, if there is such a thing.  Their properties have an incredible sense of place, and a natural beauty that leaves out no small detail.  Singita Kwitonda Lodge offers an experience that is unlike any other. The lodge was designed in response to the remarkable location, which overlooks breathtaking views of the Sabyinyo, Gahinga and Muhabura volcanoes. The suites emphasize local design and handcrafted details, and it all blends harmoniously from the indoor to outdoor areas.


Gorilla Trekking

For most people, myself included, a gorilla trek is at the top of the list when they think of visiting Rwanda. You have the ability to encounter one of Africa’s most majestic and gentle creatures in the wild, while immersed in the beauty of their pristine natural habitat.

There are 13 gorilla families available for tourists to visit, and each group is currently maxed at 6 people. After a challenging trek through the forest with our guide (The distance of each gorilla trek is varied, so depending on which family group guests are allocated, the duration is anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day), we met up with the Muhoza family. There were 19 members, including one very big and strong silverback all the way to a tiny baby gorilla just 8 days old.  

On arrival you are allowed to spend 1 hour with the family.  You observe them in their element and although they are aware of your presence, they are not bothered by it.  While regulations mandate you stay 10 feet away from the gorillas, nobody communicates that with them, and so there are times where you get very up close and personal. 

Note: The cost of gorilla trekking permits is $1500 per person/per day.  This is a set cost that is applicable to all visitors year-round, and must be obtained in advance, as so few permits are available.

Golden Monkey Trekking

Volcanoes National Park also offers the ability to have another experience with different endangered species, the golden monkeys. Compared to the gorilla trek, this is considered a relatively easy trek, and normally takes between 1-2 hours.  Whereas children under 15 cannot participate in gorilla trekking, younger kids are able to trek to the golden monkeys.

This rare species of monkeys is now only found in the Virunga mountain range, and there are two sets of families with around 80-100 members each that are habituated.  Visiting with the monkeys was an adventure, and you stay on the move to keep up with them and watch them engage in their “monkey business.” 

Note: The cost of golden monkey trekking is $100 per person/per day.

Personal Takeaways

The experience of being able to sit with wild gorillas halfway around the world, up the side of a volcano, in the middle of Africa is hard to put into words.  It is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life, and ranks at the top of coolest things I’ve ever done. If you ever have the opportunity — take it.  


Accomodation: Hemingways Nairobi

This boutique property is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world and is located in the Karen neighborhood of Nairobi.  It has beautiful views of the nearby ngong hills, that can be appreciated from your balcony.  It’s the perfect choice for a short stay in Kenya’s capital city.


Visit Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

While I did not get an opportunity to visit because of our flight times and the current availability due to Covid, a visit to the the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world is a wonderful way to spend a few hours in Nairobi. You might find yourself adopting one of the herd.


Accomodation: Segera Retreat

Segera Retreat luxury Kenyan safari

Located in the grasslands of the Laikipia Plateau, with incredible views of Mount Kenya, is an oasis of luxury that will blow you away. Each of the six timber and thatch villas come with a private deck with sun loungers, a swing bed and a sunken jacuzzi on the deck outside the bedroom.  There are plenty of extraordinary indoor and outdoor settings around the property to enjoy your meals, and each dining experience is incredible.  


You’ll have an experience host and guide that can tailor-make your activities to your preference.

Game Drives

Set out in your open air 4×4 vehicle and roam freely through Laikipia to view incredible game.  The area boasts the second highest density of wildlife in Kenya.

Wild Walking with anti-poaching dogs

This is referred to as interactive tourism, and this particular activity helps us understand the work of anti-poachers.  I had the opportunity to “pretend” to be the poacher and have bloodhounds follow my scent and track me through the bush. After simply smelling a pound of dirt I had stepped on, the dogs found me hidden in the bush (thankfully before the lions found me.) The dogs are simply trained to find the target, and not harm them.  She basically nudged me and then waited for her treat.

Sleep out in the Nay Palad Birds Nest

I had the opportunity to sleep outside at the Birds Nest one night during my stay. It is located about 10 min from the lodge and you sleep out underneath the stars, listening to the sounds of the savannah.  There is a bed indoors, if the whole outdoor sleeping isn’t your thing, but it’s pretty incredible to wake up to the sunrise.

sleep out at Segera retreat in the birds nest

Personal Takeaways

Many people think of the Masai Mara when they think of a safari in Kenya. But I was so blown away by my experience here. The accommodations were my favorite in Kenya, and the experience allowed for so much personalization and unique activities.  I loved everything about my stay here.


Accomodation: Angama Mara

luxury retsafari in kenya

Built on the edge of the Great Rift Valley on one of the most sought-after sites on the continent, Angama Mara offers heart-stopping views as far as the eye can see and a warm Kenyan welcome. This incredible lodge is just a short drive from the Mara Triangle, which is home to some of the worlds best game viewing all year round.  Your days are as packed or as relaxing as you want them to be.  The identical luxury tents have end-to-end glass windows and a private deck that overlooks the Mara Triangle.


Game Drives

Angama Mara’s experienced guides tailor-make their guest’s safari days: first-timers to Africa will be guided differently to old-timers. First and foremost, the guides are storytellers, and interpret the Mara in a way that immerses their guests in the surroundings: a safari at Angama Mara is about an overwhelming sense of place. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the knowledge and companionship of more than one guide as their desired safari experience changes from day to day, and the guiding team will endeavour to match like-minded guests with each other.

luxury safari angama mara
luxury safari kenya

The Shamba

Kiswahili for vegetable garden, the Shamba is a much-loved experience at Angama Mara. The lodge offers private shamba-to-table lunches in the garden under towering shady moth trees. You can pick your own ingredients which are then washed and readied for the freshest salads imaginable. Butlers prepare a wicker basket filled with loaves of bread, local cheese and chilled rosé wine to accompany the salads. We enjoyed the delicious lunch while taking in sweeping views of the Mara below

Hot air balloon 

Easily one of the highlights of my entire time in Kenya was floating gently over the Maasai Mara in a hot air balloon. You set off before dawn and head to your launch site.  Once we arrived, I watched the balloon be inflated while I sipped coffee and enjoyed homemade banana bread. Before I knew it, the balloon was airborne and we were floating effortlessly above the Mara.

It was the most serene experience ever, as the balloon sailed along the Mara River and its adjoining forest, and over the open plains. At the end of the ride, we toasted the morning’s activities with a celebratory champagne breakfast – specially prepared under a tree in the middle of nowhere.

hot air balloon over masai mara

Personal Takeaways

Angama Mara is inspired by the lovely swahili word meaning “hanging or suspended in mid-air” and there is not a more perfectly suited name for this slice of heaven. My time here was nothing short of spectacular, and I cannot do these views justice with a few photos, but what is even harder to capture is the warm team of Kenyans who welcome you with open arms and open hearts.


This map was made with Wanderlog, a journey planner

This itinerary is a breakdown of my exact trip… where I slept, what I did, and now to how much it would cost if you wanted to do the exact same thing. 

For pricing, here is the breakdown:

5 star – price per person for 2 pax sharing starting at:

01 February to 31 May 2021 – $ 22 850

01 June to 30 June 2021 & 01 October to 20 December 2021 – $ 24 850

4 star  – price per person for 2 pax sharing starting at:

01 April to 31 May 2021 – $ 11 990

01 June to 30 June 2021 – $ 12 950

01 July to 31 July 2021 – $  15 175

This is meant to inspire your future travels, and what I hope one day includes East Africa if you have not already been. Each itinerary we create is custom designed for you, so please reach out and let us know what you are dreaming of and we can bring it to life.

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