This 11 days Rwanda and Uganda safaris combines the beauty of Uganda and Rwanda; this region is situated in the heart of Africa.
On this safari, you will visit Kibale Forest with habituated groups of chimpanzees, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Gorge, Ishasha Wilderness Area, and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda (which harbors half of the remaining population of mountain gorillas). Then you will cross the border into Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park where, apart from mountain gorillas, there are golden monkeys and other rare fauna and flora endemic to this region.
Below is the itinerary for Great Apes of Africa – Rwanda and Uganda Holiday (11 Days)
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN ENTEBBE, UGANADA!
Upon arrival, you will be met by your safari guide at the airport and transferred to your hotel for a welcome drink and safari briefing.
Luxury: Lake Victoria Serena Resort
Mid-range: The Boma Hotel Entebbe
DAY 2: ENTEBBE-KIBALE FOREST
After breakfast, travel to Kibale Forest National Park in Western Uganda. The park is rich with fauna and flora, with over 370 species of bird and a record-breaking 13 species of primate including Uganda’s biggest single population of chimpanzees. After arriving at the hotel in the afternoon and freshening up, enjoy an educational session focusing on the ecology of Kibale Forest and it’s inhabitants.
Wake up early and go on a chimpanzee habituation experience where we trek deep into the forest to meet a group of wild chimpanzees. Spend the day following the troop on their daily routine with our resident experts who have a deep understanding and keen knowledge of all aspects of this remarkable forest. Follow the chimps from dawn until dusk, quite literally a day in the life of a wild chimpanzee troop!
After breakfast, travel to Queen Elizabeth National Park, crossing the equator where we will have the opportunity to take photos before continuing to this magnificent national park where you can enjoy the full African safari experience with buffalo, elephant, leopard and lion ? to name just a few of the species we may encounter. In the late afternoon, enjoy a game drive before returning to the lodge to enjoy a relaxing drink as the sun sets on a wonderful day.
Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge
Mid-range: Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
DAY 5: CHIMPANZEE TRACKING & BOAT TRIP
Join local guides at Kyambura Gorge, a forested canyon within the Queen Elizabeth National Park. Track another group of wild chimpanzees and learn the subtle differences in behavior that this isolated population displays. This experience should highlight the existence of varying cultures amongst different chimpanzee societies. Later, return to the lodge for a relaxing lunch where we can discuss the morning’s activities. In the afternoon, enjoy a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel. This is a passage of water that connects Lake George and Lake Edward. On the boat trip, expect to see a plethora of bird and mammal species in all their glory so make sure you have your camera handy!
Luxury: Mweya Safari Lodge
Mid-range: Queen Elizabeth Bush Lodge
DAY 6: MWEYA-ISHASHA WILDERNESS AREA & BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST
After breakfast, travel to the remote wilderness of Ishasha, an area famous for abundant wildlife and most notably, a unique populationof the tree climbing lions. This is Africa at it’s best; a perfect blend of magnificent scenery and abundant wildlife. Expect to see elephants, buffalo, Topi, Uganda Kob, and tree climbing lions. Later in the afternoon, continue to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park with it’s population of half of the remaining mountain gorillas.
Note: If you wish to track the gorillas on this day, it will add an additional $500 to your final tour price. Otherwise, we have a couple of other options that can also be explored:
1. Gorilla option (add $500): After breakfast, assemble at the briefing point to learn about the day ahead by the ranger guides who have a deep knowledge of the forest where chimpanzees and gorillas reside. This will be an experience of a lifetime. Time taken to track the gorillas varies from 1 hour to 8 hours, depending on where they slept the night before but any sense of tiredness will evaporate when we stumble upon a group of these magnificent primates. After locating the gorillas, we spend some time with them and slowly return to our lodge to recount our stories and enjoy a well earned rest.
2. Munyaga Waterfall Trail option: Enjoy a guided forest walk in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest which is home to several endemic bird species (as well as mountain gorillas and chimpansees), and butterflies as well as rare plants, some of which have medicinal value. Enjoy viewing several waterfalls on this trail, forest views, and views of the Munyaga River. The final waterfall has a vertical drop of 108 feet (33 meters).
3. Village Walk to See Community Projects option: Immerse yourself in the culture of Uganda! Visit the Amagara Project, which helps the local community with organic farming practices. The project also helps market locally grown food. Next, visit the Bwindi Community Hospital. This hospital began as a health clinic under a tree! It now provides vital medical and educational services to over 60,000 people. The village walk also lets you discover the traditions of local people, including the Batwa Pygmies who live in the community around Bwindi Forest.
After breakfast, travel from Bwindi across the border into the neighboring country of Rwanda, through stunning scenery with the magnificent Virunga Volcano range, the home of Rwanda’s population of mountain gorillas as a backdrop. Our destination today is Ruhengeri/Musanze at the foothills of Volcanoes National Park.
Hike the slopes of the Virunga Volcanoes to track a group of mountain gorillas, part of the population made famous through the work of primatologists such as George Schaller and Dian Fossey. These volcanoes are part of the Virunga conservation area which is shared between Uganda, DRC and Rwanda. This mysterious and beautiful national park is also home to the rare and charismatic golden monkey, not to mention a variety of bird species like the Rwenzori turaco which are endemic to the Albertine Rift Valley. After the briefing, enter the forested park with xperienced ranger guides and trackers who have been involved in the habituation process of mountain gorillas. This is a strenuous exercise but incredibly rewarding. Time taken to locate the gorillas group varies from a few minutes to 8 hours depending on where the gorillas spent the previous night. After locating the gorillas, spend some time with them, then return to the lodge. During dinner, enjoy a presentation from one of the vet doctors charged with monitoring and treating gorillas in this region.
Visit Karisoke Research Station where Dian Fossey initiated her studies into the lives of mountain gorillas. Today, more than 30 years later, the research of this specie continues and you will get a chance to meet with some of the researchers who continue Dian’s legacy. In the evening, visit a local cultural group for dances and entertainment.
Travel to Kigali and continue a short distance to the airport for flight back home. Time permitting, enjoy a city tour including a visit to the genocide memorial depicting Rwanda’s recent dark history.