About the Safari

18 Days Gorilla Trekking Safari in Rwanda and Uganda is a comprehensive safari tour that features these two destinations. It involves primate encounters like double gorilla trekking in Bwindi and Volcanoes National Parks, Colobus monkey tracking in Nyungwe which is the largest colobus monkey grouping in the whole of Africa, golden monkey tracking in Volcanoes, Chimpanzee habituation in Kibale, – also dubbed as the primate capital of the world. The scenic encounters in Rwenzori Mountains – mountains of the moon, Fort Portal and Ndali – Kasenda Crater fields, Mpanga tea estates and Amabere g’ Nyinamwiru caves. Recreational water experiences on Lake Kivu, Lake Bunyonyi and Kazinga Channel not forgetting the heritage encounters in Kampala city, Kigali city and the Batwa of south western Uganda. The incorporation of the famous Nyungwe canopy walk is a move to generation of memorable safari experiences.

Safari highlight

Day 1: Do Kampala city tour
Day 2: Transfer to Kibale National Park & do Mpanga tea estate cycling & hike the top of the world.
Day 3: Full day Chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale National Park
Day 4: Encounter Sempaya hot springs and do Fort Portal Crater Lake hike & visit the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves.
Day 5: Hike Mount Rwenzori & transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park
Day 6: Do game drive & Kazinga Channel Launch cruise
Day 7: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & encounter tree climbing lions en route in Ishasha
Day 8: Do gorilla trekking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi
Day 9: Explore Lake Bunyonyi & transfer to Mgahinga National Park
Day 10: Undertake the Batwa heritage trail & transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 11: Do gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park
Day 12: Hike Dian Fossey foundation at Karisoke
Day 13: Do golden monkey tracking & transfer to Lake Kivu
Day 14: Have a whole day recreational encounter on Lake Kivu.
Day 15: Transfer to Nyungwe National Park
Day 16: Do colobus monkey tracking & Nyungwe canopy walk.
Day 17: Transfer to Kigali
Day 18: Do Kigali city tour.

The Batwa People entertaining guests

the-batwa-people

Description:

Day 1: Do Kampala city tour

After breakfast, embark on the city tour of Kampala visiting the historical attractions like the Uganda Museum and monuments, Cultural attractions like Buganda Kingdom palace, Kasubi tombs and Kabaka’s lake, Religious attractions like the Namugongo Martyrs shrine, Namirembe & Rubaga Cathedrals, Baha’i temple and Gadhafi National Mosque, Markets like Owino and Nakasero, academic institutions like Makerere University among others. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation:

Sheraton Kampala Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Cassia Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Buziga Country Resort (Budget/Basic).

Day 2: Transfer to Kibale National Park & do Mpanga tea estate cycling & hike the top of the world.

Depart from Kampala after your breakfast at your place of stay for Kibale National Park 358km about 7 hours’ drive. You will drive through the country side landscapes with unique features like Mubende inselbergs, valleys and forested landscapes of Kyegegwa and Kyenjonjo. You will make a stop at Mpanga tea estates for a tea cycling encounter where you will have the chance of participating in tea harvesting with the estate workforce. You will also visit the tea factory to understand the tea processing move. Continue to Kibale National Park and in the evening, you undertake a hike to the top of the world to have great scenic of views of Ndali – Kasenda crater field. Retire for overnight.

Accommodation:

Primate Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Chimpanzee Guesthouse (Midrange/Standard) or Kibale Forest Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 3: Full day Chimpanzee habituation experience in Kibale National Park

After taking a heavy early breakfast, you will gather at Kanyanchu Tourism Centre at 06:00am to set off for the full day Chimpanzee habituation experience. Unlike Chimpanzee trekking which involves one hour encounter with chimps, the chimpanzee habituation takes full day as you will have chances of seeing chimps as they get out of their nests, setting out to feed, watch their social moments, playful tactics, and their amazing sounds until they form new nests in the evening for overnight. It is a comprehensive Chimpanzee encounter that you can have while on safari in Uganda.

Accommodation:

You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 4: Encounter Sempaya hot springs and do Fort Portal Crater Lake hike & visit the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves.

After breakfast, transfer to Semuliki National Park to encounter the Sempaya hot springs both female and male as they spur hot water from the ground forming a natural pool around themselves. The nature walk also gives you chances of seeing primates and various flora species. Return and embark on the Fort Portal Crater Lake hike and a visit to the Amabere g’ Nnyinamwiru caves – a great heritage site that dates back to the Chwezi people. Hiking the Kyeganywa hill to gain impressive views of the crater lakes and crater hollows that surround it and distant views of Mount Rwenzori is very memorable. Retire to Fort Portal town for overnight.

Accommodation:

Kyaninga Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Mountains of the Moon Hotel (Midrange/Standard) or Rwenzori View Guesthouse (Budget/Basic).

Day 5: Hike Mount Rwenzori & transfer to Queen Elizabeth National park

Transfer very early after breakfast to Kasese 135km about 3 hours’ drive to undertake an active activity of Mount Rwenzori hiking. The hiking encounter exposes you to raised landscapes of Mount Rwenzori offering impressive scenic views of the ridges and glaciers and the rift valley flats below. The activity is a whole day experience and upon return, you will transfer to Queen Elizabeth National Park 72km about 2 hours’ drive for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation:

Mweya Safari Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Enganzi Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Pumba Safari Cottages (Budget/Basic).

Day 6: Do game drive & Kazinga Channel Launch cruise

Depart at 06:00am to encounter the rewarding Queen Elizabeth National Park game drive through the Kasenyi tracks. This early departure gives you possibilities of seeing the early risers and the night hunters retreating to their hiding places including the rare leopard, side stripped jackal, hyena, and owls among others. The morning game drive will also give you a possibility to see herds of elephants, buffalos, pride of lions, warthogs and a range of antelopes. You will retire from the 3 – 4 hours game drive and embark to the lodge for relaxation and lunch. In the afternoon, embark on the transfer to Mweya for Kazinga channel launch cruise that starts at 3pm lasting for two hours. You have opportunities of spotting hippos, Nile crocodiles, birds on the water shore and counts of wildlife like elephants and buffaloes drinking on the channel side. Retire for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation:

You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge

Day 7: Transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park & encounter tree climbing lions en route in Ishasha

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in the south (Rushaga) 309km. You will drive through Ishasha in search of tree climbing lions, have lunch en route and arrive in Bwindi in the evening for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation:

Chameleon Hill Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Gorilla Valley Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Wagtail Eco-Safari Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 8: Do gorilla trekking & transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

Wake up for an early cup of coffee, before gathering at Park Headquarters at Rushaga for briefing about the gorilla trekking activity at 08:00am always conducted by park rangers. This gives highlights about the dos and don’ts while trekking gorillas. After briefing, you will traverse the jungle in search of the splendid mountain gorillas in the company of the park ranger guide which stretches between 2 – 8 hours. You will walk through the luxuriant vegetation, climb raised gradients, ascend down the valleys before you encounter the great mountain gorillas as they munch their food and get astonished by the young gorillas playing and demonstrating their tactics which will prompt you to use up your camera space unknowingly. Your one hour with gorillas is done and return to the starting point after which you will embark on the transfer to Lake Bunyonyi for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation:

Bird nest @Lake Bunyonyi Resort (Upmarket/Luxury), Bunyonyi Eco- Resort (Midrange/Standard) or Byoona Amagara Island Retreat (Budget/Basic).

Day 9: Explore Lake Bunyonyi & transfer to Mgahinga National Park

After breakfast, embark on the boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi for 5 – 6 hours. The boat encounter on the second deepest Lake in Africa marked with over 29 islands amidst the rolling highlands of Kigezi is very rewarding. The encounter also exposes you to Island communities with their heritage including the Batwa people. Retire from the activity for lunch and then embark on the transfer to Mgahinga National Park 80km about 2 hours’ drive for overnight.

Accommodation:

Volcanoes Mount Gahinga Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Mucha Lodge (Midrange/Standard) or Amajambere iwacu Camp (Budget/Basic).

Day 10: Undertake the Batwa heritage trail & transfer to Volcanoes National Park

After breakfast, set off for the Batwa heritage trail a half day activity that takes you through the forests of Mgahinga in the company of the indigenous Batwa guides as they interpret every forest landscape and what it meant in their traditional life. The hike stretches up to the Garama cave the ancient dwelling of the Batwa – one can call it their capital in the forest of Mgahinga volcanoes. The cave is a natural shelter that always provided a refugee for the Batwa in times of danger. You will listen to the sorrowful songs being sung by the Batwa women taking you through the course of their tradition; it is a rich taste of the fading typical African culture. Return from this activity and embark on the transfer to Volcanoes National Park 120km for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation:

Mount Gorilla View Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), La Palme Hotel (Midrange/Standard) or Muhabura Hotel (Budget/Basic).

Day 11: Do gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park

Wake up for an early cup of coffee, before gathering at Kinigi Park Headquarters for briefing about the gorilla trekking activity at 08:00am always conducted by park rangers. This gives highlights about the dos and don’ts while trekking gorillas. After briefing, you will traverse the jungle in search of the splendid mountain gorillas in the company of the park ranger guide which stretches between 2 – 8 hours. You will walk through the luxuriant vegetation, climb raised gradients, ascend down the valleys before you encounter the great mountain gorillas as they munch their food and get astonished by the young gorillas playing and demonstrating their tactics which will prompt you to use up your camera space unknowingly. Your one hour with gorillas is done and return to the lodge for relaxation after which you will undertake a cave walk at Musanze to encounter these natural tunnels in their exciting stature.

Accommodation:

You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge.

Day 12: Hike Dian Fossey foundation at Karisoke

Wake up for breakfast before embarking on the hike to the Dian Fossey site. The hike involves passing through various vegetation zones and a relatively raised ascend before approaching the site of the leading gorilla conservationist that the world is gifted to have had. Dian Fossey an American Primatologist lays in rest at the site and adjacent is her research station at Karisoke with a lot of collections about Mountain gorillas. You will also see the tomb of her favorite silverback – Digit that lies closer to hers. Return for relaxation. In the evening, you can visit the iby’wachu cultural village or take a nature walk to the twin lakes of Bulera and Ruhondo.

Accommodation:

You will spend an overnight at your previous lodge

Day 13: Do golden monkey tracking & transfer to Lake Kivu

Wake up very early to catch up with golden Monkey tracking at 08:00am. The activity exposes you to the rare and endangered golden monkeys that only dwell in the Virunga volcanoes in Africa. The activity takes about 4 hours and starts at 08:00 am from the park headquarters – Kinigi. The trek involves passing the lush vegetation of Volcanoes up to the Bamboo zone where the golden monkeys prefer to dwell. Upon, reaching them, you will marvel at their golden skins and their distinctiveness from other monkey sub species. You will return from this activity to the lodge for lunch after which you will embark on the transfer to Lake Kivu (Gisenyi) 110km about 2 hours’ drive for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation:

Lake Kivu Serena Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Hotel Gorillas Lake Kivu (Midrange/Standard) or Paladise Malahide (Budget/Basic).

Day 14: Have a whole day recreational encounter on Lake Kivu.

After a relaxed breakfast amidst fresh morning breeze from the gingatic lake Kivu . you will embark on series of activities on the Lake ranging from boat cruise to wind serfing, sunbathing on the lake Kivu beaches and playing beach sports before retiring for overnight.

Accommodation:

You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge

Day 15: Transfer to Nyungwe National Park

Transfer after breakfast to Nyungwe forest National Park 240km about 6 hours’ drive to the south of Gisenyi. The journey is quite interesting as it involves the drive along Lake Kivu and the landscapes that overlook it. The resort town of Kibuye is interesting to encounter. Continue on the drive to Nyungwe for relaxation and overnight.

Accommodation:

Nyungwe Forest Lodge (Upmarket/Luxury), Nyungwe Hill Top View Lodge (Mid-range/ Standard) or Gisakura Guesthouse (Budget/Basic).

Day 16: Do colobus monkey tracking & Nyungwe canopy walk.

Wake up for an early cup of tea before embarking on the colobus monkey tracking to encounter one of the most treasured primates with amazing body adornment. Their black and white skin is one of those rare things that you will ever have. Enjoy the versatile form of these colobus monkeys allowing you to view for some prolonged time as they do not move so fast. Interestingly, Nyungwe has the largest grouping of colobus monkeys n the whole African continent about 400 members. Return to the Lodge for relaxation and Lunch. In the afternoon, embark on the Nyungwe Forest canopy walk, the third of its kind in Africa and the First of its kind in East Africa. The 90m long and 50m tall walking platform offers rewarding views of animals, birds, butterfly and great flora.

Accommodation:

You will have dinner and overnight at your previous lodge

Day 17: Transfer to Kigali

After breakfast, embark on the transfer to Kigali city 268km about 6 hours’ drive without stops en route via the verdant country side that is shaped by hilly scenic views. You will make stops in Butare to visit the National Museum, visit the Kings palace in Nyanza and the Nyanza and Murambi genocide memorial sites. You will have Lunch en route and arrive in Kigali in the evening.

Accommodation:

Kigali Serena Hotel (Upmarket/Luxury), Hotel Chez Lando (midrange/standard) or Omurungo Hostel (Budget/Basic).

Day 18: Do Kigali city tour.

Kigali – the capital of Rwanda is a lush city free of traffic and pollutant noise. It is a cozy environment that one may not expect in African cities. In its calmness, it has got rich heritage which is highly shaped by the effects of the 1994 genocide. After breakfast, you will embark on the tour of this city visiting sites like the Gisozi genocide memorial, presidential Palace museum which was the home of the then president Juvenal Habyarimana who lost his dear life in a plane clash and the remains of FALCON 50 lay in the compound to justify this tragedy. The tour also exposes you to the Natural History Museum, craft centers in Kigali, Kigali down town, Hotel Des Milles Collines – the scene for the movie Hotel Rwanda among other Kigali city landscapes.

End of safari.

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Wild Facts

    Hyrax

  • Scientific Name: Rock hyrax (Procavia capensis), yellow-spotted hyrax (Heterohyrax brucei), tree hyrax (Dendrohyrax dorsalis)
  • Size: 12 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 5 to 9 pounds
  • Lifespan: 12 years
  • Habitat: Dry savanna to dense rain forest
  • Diet: Herbivorous
  • Gestation: 7 months
  • Predators: Leopard, pythons, large birds, servals, civets
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