East Africa

Faculty: Cristy Alcaraz Juarez and Sarah Kerrigan
Class meeting time: Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Trip Dates: May, 2025



Come join us for the best, most amazing, memorable “zoo” visit of your life. We will be up close and personal with Africa’s “Big Five” – the might lion, the thunderous rhino, the bigger-than-life elephant, the skillful leopard, and the undeniable African buffalo. These animals will imprint your mind and your heart as you watch them in their habitat. You will also have your breath taken away watching giraffes, cheetahs, antelopes, eland, hippos, hyenas, flamingos, cranes, monkeys, gorillas, etc. The list is honestly too long to name them all.

Without a doubt, this is a bucket list trip!

We will visit safari savannahs, historic parks, animal sanctuaries, and more. The intent of this excursion is to view some of the majestic beauty God has created in an area you might now consider desolate and uninspiring.  We will visit climates and landscape that are not typical for us in the US but you will quickly appreciate what it has to offer with its vistas, animal families, and unique ecosystem.

We will go to favorite locations of those who travel in the region but will also have us visiting small villages and communities to appreciate the culture of Africa. Language and cultural differences will become aware to us as we move across three countries and various dialects. We will look at the economics of the regions we visit, as well as the religious views and historic layers.

In preparation for our expedition, we will read about the areas we will visit and study key words of each language and get to know helpful phrases. In addition to paying attention to who we are as George Fox students, we will also place focus on recording our journey in words and images, creating a story to tell. It will be incumbent upon us to become storytellers for those who won’t be on the trip and may never be able to see what we have seen.

In fostering a harmonious integration of Western and African perspectives, students will engage in a dynamic exploration of cultural paradigms, recognizing internal conflict & exploring resolution. By delving into the core values of both traditions, they will develop a nuanced understanding of the intricacies that shape each worldview. Through open dialogue and critical analysis, students will identify common ground while acknowledging divergent viewpoints, nurturing a framework for reconciliation.

Emphasis on internal conflict resolution will guide students towards introspective examination, encouraging them to navigate the tensions within their own beliefs and values. This process aims to cultivate self-awareness and promote a holistic approach to conflict resolution, transcending external differences. Through the synthesis of Western and African philosophies, students will be equipped with the tools to mediate internal conflicts, fostering a richer cultural tapestry that transcends geographic and ideological boundaries."


PREREQUISITES:  Ability to walk reasonable distances (up and downhill), climb stairs, and breathe comfortably in high altitude. Most often we will be in a vehicle while watching animals, however, there are several opportunities where we are walking in and around animals in their natural habitat.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1 Travel from Portland to Uganda
Day 2 We travel from the airport to Kampala, Uganda – checking out the local area and getting over jetlag. We will begin to see the cultural diversity as we move around Kampala from craft markets to restaurants and visit a local orphanage. 
Day 3-6 Today the “safari” begins! We will climb aboard our truck and leave Kampala for Murchison Falls National Park. We will be on the road heading to our first adventure – and loads of monkeys. We will see a wide variety of terrain, including jungles and rivers, as we visit the top of Murchison Falls. After we take pause at the amazing views and the loud crashing of water, we’re back on the truck, heading to our first savannah. We will have eyes open, looking for lions, elephants, giraffes, wildebeest, and so much more. Following that excursion, we head to the river for a boat ride up river to the base of Murchison Falls. We will visit the famous Budongo Forest Reserve to see chimpanzees in their domain. Large and small, we will see a community of chimpanzees in their home. On our way back to Kampala, we will make a stop at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and take a walk among families of rhinos in their natural habitat.
Day 7 We’re back to Kampala for the Ndere Cultural Center. There’s time to do laundry, get some rest, and spend a memorable evening at The Ndere Cultural Center, featuring a variety of African lifestyles, including drumming, dancing, singing, food, handicrafts, and more.
Day 8 We’re back on the road, heading to Jinja and an amazing raft trip down the Nile river. With class 3 and class 4 rapids, it’s time to hold your breath and hold on. In addition, we’ll have some restful float time as we cruise down river and you realize you are actually on the Nile river. The views from our camp will blow you away with spectacular views (and plenty of monkeys).
Day 9 We travel from Jinja to Kisumu, Kenya. Keep your eyes looking out the window. You will see housing and businesses that show a simple life. Happy children playing outside are often waving at our truck. Wave back and make their day.
Day 10

We move from Kisumu to Loita Hills. Here we will spend time with the Masai in the Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp. We are only a 1.5 hour drive from the famous Maasai Mara National Reserve. You will get to know the Maasai people living and working in the camp, visit their traditional homes, and get insight to their daily lives. Our activities include:

  • Warrior Training: try your skill at spear throwing, close up warrior battle, fire making, and more
  • Village Life: visit tribal homes, understanding the daily life of cooking, water fetching, and other activities
  • Cultural Experiences: hear the songs and stories of the warriors around the camp fire, or plan for a ceremony of blessing and celebration
  • Walking with the Maasai: experience the hills and plains as the Maasai do, on foot; learn about how they survive in the wildness, and use holy and medicinal plants from nature
We will be camping at the Maji Moto Cultural Camp for a full-on experience. You can stay in an actual Maasai mud hut.
Day 11-12 Our next stop is near Lake Victoria. The beautiful sunsets and enormous hippos in Lake Victoria are something to behold. We’ll visit the famous Masai Mara National Park on two different occasions to see how many animals we can find. We will also hike a canyon after we have our lunch with monkeys. We will also have an opportunity for a bike ride through a portion of the park, seeing the landscape close up.
Day 13-14 We drive to Hells Gate National Park. Hells Gate is known for cliffs, wildlife, and scenery. Unique to the area, Hells Gate is also known for five geothermal power stations. We will drive through the park for more wildlife and spectacular views. If you take a look at pictures of Hells Gate and you can’t quite place why it looks so familiar, Hells Gate was the visual inspiration for Disney’s the Lion King.
Day 15 Today we travel to Samburu for an afternoon game drive in search of the “Special Five” species endemic to the North of Kenya. These include the Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Gerenuk antelope, and Somali ostrich. (Did I mention how special this trip was?)
Day 16 Samburu and Buffalo Springs will give us more game drives as we continue to go in search of our best photos. We also will swim in the natural springs of Buffalo Springs Reserve. When you think of the movie “Out of Africa”, this is place. Home to the big game of Africa, today is sure to please
Day 17 We’re on our way to Mt Kenya, following a morning game drive. Mt. Kenya is the 2nd highest mountain in Kenya, following only Mt. Kilimanjaro. An ancient extinct volcano, Mt. Kenya is an impressive part of the landscape with rugged ice-capped summits, 12 glaciers, and forested slopes. We will be staying near the base of Mt Kenya at the Bantu Lodge.
Day 18 We will have a full day visit to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, enjoying a game drive in the conservancy and visiting the Chimpanzees. We will select from a variety of immersive experiences, giving us one-on-one encounters in this extraordinary corner of the world. Another night at the Bantu Lodge.
Day 19 Today is a travel day as we drive to Amboseli.
Day 20 Full-day game drive in Amboseli National Park. With a diverse ecosystem of woodlands, swamp marshlands, and lakes, the park is home to 80 different species including African elephants, African buffalo, impalas, lion, zebra, wildebeest, giraffes, leopards, and more and more. We will also have a front row seat to 400 species of birds. Not to be forgotten, we will be at the doorstep of Mt. Kilimanjaro with a breathtaking view as we safari our way through the park.
Day 21 Following a morning game drive, we depart for Nairobi, Kenya. Arriving late afternoon, we will focus our attention on laundry, packing, and final shopping as we prepare to head home.
Day 22 Fly to Portland, OR from Nairobi, Kenya

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