24 Days Gorilla Trekking Uganda & Rwanda

Happy Rwanda Cultural Dancers - Gorilla Trekking Trip

GORILLA TREKKING UGANDA & RWANDA | 15 DAYS

GORILLA TREKING SAFARI OVERVIEW

This 24 day gorilla trekking and wildlife safari safari traces the western Rift Valley in the heart of Africa, starting with game viewing on the savannah plains of Queen Elizabeth National Park – elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, and leopard. Track the fast moving and elusive chimpanzees in Kyambura Gorge. In Ishasha go on the hunt for the tree-climbing lions lounging on old fig trees. See the rich wildlife and array of birds on the Kazinga Channel. Seeing some of the last remaining 700 mountain gorillas in the world is a fantastic experience and this safari takes you to three gorilla parks – Bwindi and Mgahinga in Uganda and PNV in Rwanda. It offers an opportunity to track gorillas, twice in Bwindi, once in Mgahinga/Nkuringo, and twice in PNV.

Bwindi in Uganda has four habituated families and the gorillas there live in thicker tropical forest and tracking

You can also go for nature walks to see birds, monkeys and orchids, visit the Akagera National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Kigali City tours etc.

You can also climb a volcano or go for a nature walk or visit the endangered golden monkey. PNV in Rwanda has five habituated gorilla families and tracking most groups in the afro-montane forest usually takes only a few hours. You can also climb a volcano, visit the remains of Dian Fossey’s grave or visit the endangered golden monkey.

Day 1: Arrival at Entebbe, Uganda

You will be received by your driver/guide at the Airport. Depending on your arrival time, if you arrive night time, we check into your hotel for a relaxation moment after the long flight.

Day 2: Transfer to Ngamba Island.

After taking breakfast, you will be taken on a boat trip to Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary on Lake Victoria. An excursion to this forested sanctuary island offers a marvelous introduction to the ecology and conservation of Chimpanzees.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis) 

Day 3: White water rafting

After breakfast and drive to Jinja reaching there in an hour’s space, go for an exciting life time experience of GRADE 5 white water rafting. This is going to be a full day rafting experience; you will spend the entire day challenging the mountainous rapids of the Nile. rafting-in-ugandaThis experience requires no rafting on swimming experience. After a lot of fun, you will be driven back to Kampala where you spend the night at Overnight at Jinja Nile resort hotel

Day: 4 explore the source of the Nile and thereafter we drive to Kalagala Island

Depart after breakfast We visit the source of the Nile, a quiet Park, nowadays there are some souvenir sellers there, but otherwise it is quiet and beautiful, filled with palm trees, fantastic tropical plants and as you walk down the steps toward the Nile you can smell of the flowers there.

As you stand on the Nile, you can hear the gurgling water, watch fishermen throwing their nets, taking in the longest river in Africa, a river that flows from south to north toward the Mediterranean Sea, you can close your eyes and sense history. Oh John Hanning Speke coming to this river and being the first Westerner to discover the source of the Nile as to being Lake Victoria.

Overnight at Wild Waters Lodge (on Kalagala Island, River Nile).

Day 5: Visit zziwa rhino sanctuary.

After your breakfast, we drive through the famous Luwero triangle. You can also visit and track White Rhinos at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. This sanctuary has now been established to breed black and white rhino, and restore Rhino populations in Uganda’s protected areas in a later stage.)

Depart your Hotel at 8 am with your expert driver-guide who will be able to give you background information about your route, travel times, country information and of course wildlife and birding information. Today it is a relatively short 4 hour drive through the evergreen state of Africa – Uganda to Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.travel-gorilla-rhino We check in to Amuka Lodge which is an up-market luxury lodge, the rooms being a combination of tented material, reclaimed wood left at a former nearby sawmill and natural stone. There is a swimming pool, restaurant and bar area and you are in one of the most amazing places in Uganda, Amuka Lodge at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. Not only will you enjoy the Lodge itself, but the food is simply fabulous both in serving tasty dishes and their presentation to you. Enjoy your meal in the African wild of Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. After lunch you are off to meet the Rhinos, not just from a vehicle but up close – great opportunities of these fabulous animals – there is other wildlife to be found here, so keep your eyes open so you do not miss any and your guide will also point any other wildlife. Birders will find this a most fascinating place and best to keep the binoculars handy since an abundance of bird species is found here. Dinner is another delightful culinary treat prepared for you by the Chef of Amuka Lodge and one of our clients stated that the meals at Amuka Lodge where the best they had in Uganda (they stayed in some very nice places) Overnight at Amuka lodge on full boa

Day 6: Start for Murchison Falls National Park.

After your breakfast, we drive through the famous Luwero triangle. Take a stop-over at Masindi hotel for lunch. We will continue through the park stopping at the top of the falls which is a fantastic sight. Here the Nile, the longest river in the world, is forced through a narrow gap in the rock (only 7 meters wide), before ferociously plunging down 43 meters. From here we will continue onto our accommodation place along the Nile River.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 7: Murchison Falls National Park

After breakfast head to the Delta in search for bird life and enjoy the game drive to look for lions, giraffes, herds of elephants, buffaloes and many more. We will drive back to the lodge for lunch before taking an afternoon boat cruise to the foot of Murchison Falls. This boat trip along the Nile is often cited as being the highlight of a trip to Murchison since it allows you to get up-close and personal with the animals. Along this stretch of the river, there are reported to be around 4,000 hippos in addition to some enormous Nile crocodiles. murchison-falls-np–The bird life is stunning with brightly colored kingfishers and bee-eaters darting along the riverbanks. If lucky, you may see the rare and prehistoric looking shoebill, which is a cross between the dodo and a dinosaur. The boat takes you to the base of the falls which only adds to their impressiveness.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 8: Transfer to Fort Portal

Leave Murchison falls N.P for Kibale Forest N.P via the Lake Albert escarpment, having a good view of the lake. Stopover at Kolping Hotel in Hoima for lunch and after drive across the interesting river Nkusi (flowing from the southern end of L. Albert, through the villages of Kagadi, joining Victoria Nile). Both rivers join L.Kyoga and flow through the Murchison Falls continue to L. Albert and north to the Mediterranean Sea.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 9: Chimpanzee tracking, Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary

Assemble at Kanyankyu River camp at 0800hours to go for the most popular activity in this park which is Chimpanzee tracking. Chimpanzees are man’s closet cousins though they are one of the most threatened primate’s species. More primates like Black and white Columbus monkeys, L’Hoest Monkeys, Grey cheecked Mangabey, Red tailed monkeys, bush babies, pottos and many bird species like the yellow spotted nicator, rumped tinker bird, Little greenbul, green breasted pitta, the crowned eagle, black bee eater and mammals like Elephants can be seen in this walk.

Kibale National park, which averages about 3,300 feet in elevation, is an extension of the great rainforests of central Africa. It is inhabited by three large “communities” of chimps, each numbering more than 100 individuals. Each community has a complicated social structure. The big adult males dominate the group and defend the community territory against incursions by male outsiders; the females usually wander in small family groups.

Typically, we locate the chimps by listening for their pant-hooting calls, then hustle to the area from which they are calling. We get to observe them as they feed in fruiting trees, lounge, and socialize with each other, or even, occasionally hunt.

In the afternoon we visit a nearby forest swamp that is excellent for viewing primates and other forest animals. At the Eastern edge of Kibale forest is Bigodi Wetland sanctuary which is maintained by the local community. You will expect birds like the great Blue turaco, blue monkeys, baboons, otters, mongoose, bush bucks, bush pigs and among others.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 10: Queen Elizabeth National Park

After breakfast we depart to Queen Elizabeth National Park which is dominated on its northern border by the snow-capped 16,000-foot Rwenzori Mountains-the famed “Mountains of the Moon”. This 767-square-mile conservation area is bordered on the North East by Lake George and on the South West by Lake Edward; its western border adjoins the Zaire Parc Du Virunga.

As we drive through the park, expect to spot teeming herds of impala-like Uganda Kob, as well as topi, elephant, Cape buffalo. There are also several soda lakes filling ancient volcanic calderas where flamingos reside seasonally.

In the afternoon we will go for a launch trip along the Kazinga Channel. This gives you the opportunity to view wildlife up close: hippo’s huff and spray at a mere feet away from the boat, buffalo linger in the shallows. The shores of the channel are also home to an array of birds including pink backed pelicans, pied and malachite kingfishers, saddle billed stork and many others.

Day 11: Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park

Game drives during this day dedicated to discover Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of the most diverse ecosystems in Africa. A total of 95 mammals species has been recorded. The park boasts of over 600 recorded bird species making it the ideal destination for bird watchers.

We set out early in the morning for a game drive in the northern part of the park on the Kasenyi Track in search of lions, elephants, solitary buffaloes. This is the best time for opportunities of viewing the cats in action owing to the vast population of Uganda Kobs. We have an excellent chance to view just about every animal here at very close range.

Day 12: Ishasha Sector, Queen Elizabeth National Park

We drive through the Ishasha sector in search for the tree-climbing lions. Nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig trees of Ishasha. This game drive en route will expose you to some of the animals that you might have missed seeing while on your game drives in Kasenyi and Queens Mile.

Day 13: Drive to Bwindi National Park

Mid-morning after breakfast we drive further south through stunning savannah grasslands as we head towards the breathtaking adventures of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. Either (roads permitting) we will pass the southern sector of the park – Ishasha, a remote and beautiful extension of Queen Elizabeth National Park that is host to a large variety and volume of wildlife. (It is a fabulous site to see the lions draped from the trees and nowhere in Africa do you stand a better chance of seeing this than in the large low limbed fig tree of Ishasha).

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 14: Gorilla trekking (Bwindi Impenetrable NP)

Today enjoy surely. After breakfast, proceed for the morning briefing before enjoying the highlight of the trip- Gorilla trekking, which may last the entire day. We trek through the rainforest and bamboo covered slopes, accompanied by a guide and trackers, in search of a mountain gorilla family. The walking can sometimes be tough and long, but when you catch a glimpse of the magnificent silverback, any discomforts will be quickly forgotten. When sighted, visitors will be guided to within 6 metres from the gorillas, sit around them for a whole hour while gazing into their big round eyes.

Gorilla trekking is unpredictable. It’s difficult to foresee how many hours you will hike. The gorilla excursion can take from 2 up to 8 hours.taste-of-rwanda Expect to walk along distance in steep and muddy conditions, sometimes with rain overhead, before you encounter any gorillas. A good physical condition is recommended. For conservation purposes, time spent with the gorillas is limited to one hour. A ranger will brief you on how to behave with the gorillas.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 15: Guided Village Walks

The Buhoma Village Walk gives you a great opportunity to see how the people surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. It also is a great way to support the local community in a direct way. The Walk begins with your guide at Buhoma Community Rest Camp and is most informative, rewarding to the average visitor. It will amaze you how resourceful the local people are as you see and learn their ways.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 16: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi

After breakfast, you will transfer to Lake Bunyonyi via Kabale the place commonly known as the Switzerland of Africa. Relax on Lake Bunyonyi as you wait for the sunset.

Dinner and overnight at Bunyonyi safari resort Camp

Day 17: Lake Bunyonyi tour

After breakfast, you will spend the whole day touring Lake Bunyonyi. Enjoy the boat ride on Lake Bunyonyi to the most Islands on the Lake. Each Island is characterized by different bird species.

Dinner and overnight at Bunyonyi safaris resort Camp.

Day 18: Transfer to Kisoro for the Batwa community visit

Today wake up to a leisurely breakfast and prepare for a 1 and half drive to kisoro for yet another adventure around the park as you visit these indigenous natives the Batwa. The Batwa are Uganda’s marginalized people and are view with derision by most of the Ugandan Nationals. The Batwa have lived their lives to current generations by hunting and gathering in the forest. The visit to the Batwa invariably involves songs and a dance demonstration, and once the music begins you can’t help but notice that they project a genuine pride in themselves.

You shall check in to our accommodation for lunch and also relax. Enjoy your evening at leisure as you prepare yourselves for the next day’s journey to Rwanda.

Accommodation options available (all on full board basis)

Day 19: Transfer to Rwanda

Take breakfast and depart for Rwanda. You will cross the border via Kisoro then clear at the boarder – Rwanda is 1 hour behind Uganda. Located in the far northwest of Rwanda, the Parc des Volcanoes is home to the steep slopes of this wonderful mountain range – home of the rare mountain gorilla – and the rich mosaic of montane ecosystems, which cuddles evergreen and bamboo forest, open grassland, swamp and heath.

Accommodation options available

Day 20: Gorilla Trekking, Parc National des Volcans

Have breakfast and go to ORTPN offices for briefing after that set off in the forest for Gorilla trekking. A thrilling trek through the refined foothills of the Virungas provides inspiring views in all directions. Then, suddenly, the trail enters the national park, engrossing trekkers in the strange closeness of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colorful birds and chattering of the rare golden monkey, and besieged with fresh spoor of the mountains’ elusive populations of buffalo and elephant. Through gaps in the forest canopy, Gorilla 1the marvelous peaks are sighted, easily easy to get to and among the uppermost in Africa, indicating an ascent. Gorilla trekking is quite strenuous but a worthwhile on encounter of these gentle giants. The enthusiasm of your coming across with these apes will wipe away your intricacy of the strenuous trek. Spend time watching gorillas, watch the adults feeding their young ones, brushing and resting as the youngsters play from vines in a pleasurably playful display. Overnight at Mountain Gorilla View Lodge

Day 21: Parc national des volcans

Gorilla trekking or other optional activities (not included in tour cost and should be booked in advance at the time of booking)

Either go gorilla tracking again (on payment of supplement at time of booking), or visit the golden monkeys in Volcanoes National Park or, climb the Visoke/Muhavura volcanoes, or trek to Dian Fossey’s grave.

Accommodation options available

Day 22: golden monkey tracking /Akagera National Park

This morning we will seek out the recently habituated troop of the rare Golden monkey. We then drive to Akagera National Park for an afternoon game drive, to see many night birds and animals. After this, commute back for dinner and overnight at the hotel
You will have an afternoon game drive in the park and you will be able to see a variety of birds and animals such as elephant, giraffe, buffalo, spotted hyena, hippo, and crocodiles. Dinner and overnight at Akagera Game Lodge

Day 23: Kigali

After breakfast drive to Kigali
Dinner and overnight at Serena Kigali Hotel
Moderate: Flame tree hotel
Budget: Step town hotel

Day 24: Iby’Iwacu Cultural Excursion,

Have early breakfast and visit Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village Have early breakfast and visit Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village for a wonderful and interactive experience, learning all about Rwandan traditions, culture, songs and dance. You may also participate in the local activities and taste local foods and wines.

Afterwards we drive back to Kigali. You have the opportunity to visit the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Museum. The memorial is very moving – the tour takes a couple of hours – and will be of interest to anyone who has spent some time in this enchanting country. It is in memory of the multitudes murdered in Rwanda´s genocide 1994. The Memorial sites and centres are places of dignified remembrance for loved ones lost. It is also a place of reflection and learning for the wider community, both in Rwanda and internationally.

Dinner and overnight at Serena Kigali Hotel
Moderate: Flame tree hotel
Budget: Step town hotel

Day 25: Transfer to the airport

Following breakfast, you will leave for Kigali await for your flight back home

Accommodation

WHILE IN KAMPALA/ENTEBBE
Overnight at Imperial Resort Beach Hotel / Protea Hotel Entebbe/ LAICO Lake Victoria Hotel (for Luxury option)
OR Botanical Beach Hotel Entebbe/ Boma Guesthouse/ Gately Entebbe (mid-range),
OR Entebbe Backpackers / African Roots Guesthouse/ Anderita Beach Hotel (budget accommodation)
Meals included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

MURCHISON FALLS
Up-market: Paraa Safari Lodge or Nile Safari Lodge / Chobe safari lodge
Moderate: Sambiya River Lodge / Fort Murchison Lodge / Murchison River Lodge/ Pakuba Lodge
Low Budget: Red Chilli Rest Camp / Budongo eco lodge

KIBALE FOREST
Up-market option: Kyaninga Lodge or Ndali Lodge / primate lodge kibale / Kibale safari lodge
Moderate option: Kibale Forest Camp
Low Budget option: Chimpanzee Forest Guesthouse;
Meals Included today: Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

Please see other accommodation options in Kibale forest national park

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Up-market option: Mweya Safari Lodge Katara Lodge or Jacana Lodge (luxury)
Moderate option: Queen Elizabeth Safari Lodge or Simba Safari Camp
Low Budget option: Mweya Hostels or Kazinga Channel Lodge;
Meals Included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the Lodge.

BWINDI FOREST
Up-market option: Buhoma Lodge/ Mahogany Springs Lodge
Moderate option: Engagi Lodge/ Silverback Lodge / Gorilla Safari Lodge/ Lake Kitandara Camp
Low Budget option: Buhoma Community Restcamp or Ruhija Gorilla Friends

PARC DES VOLCANIOES
Super Up-market: Virunga Lodge/ Sabinyo Siverback Lodge
Mid-Luxury level: Mountain Gorilla view Lodge/Gorilla nest camp
Moderate: La Palme Hotel / Gorillas Volcanoes Hotel
Low Budget: Muhabura Lodge / Kinigi guest house / Virunga Hotel Musanze
Meals included today: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

LAKE KIVU
Lake Kivu Serena Hotel (Luxury/upmarket),or
Hotel Gorillas Lake Kivu (Midrange/standard).
Palm Beach (Budget/basic)

NYUNGWE FOREST
Nyungwe forest lodge (upmarket/luxury),
Nyungwe top hill lodge (Midrange/standard)
Gisakura guesthouse

NOTE: Accommodation is based on a standard double/ twin or single room in your choice of accommodation. This can either be budget, mid-range or high end. All accommodation options are selected by its location and service standard compared to its price. When you are with 1, 3 or 5 persons 1 single supplement is included. When you want more single supplements you can contact us at [email protected]

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Highlights

  • Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary
  • Kibale Forest National Park Chimpanzees & other Primates
  • Chimpanzee Trekking & Bigodi Walk
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park
  • Game Drive in QENP
  • Boat Trip on Kazinga Channel
  • Kyambura Gorge, Ishasha Sector for tree-climbing lions
  • Gorilla trekking (Bwindi Impenetrable NP)
  • Gorilla Trekking Rwanda – Volcanoes National Parkt
  • Virunga National Park
  • Kigali – Rwanda

Seasons

  • January to March: Hot and dry, an excellent time of year to be on safari in Uganda.
  • April and May: Uganda’s long rainy season when many camps are closed. Rains tend to be in the morning and late afternoon.
  • June to September: Temperatures climb rapidly and this is a fantastic time of year for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.
  • October to December: Another great time of year to be on safari, you can get some rain in November but temperatures are favourable and conditions are ideal for game viewing.

Inclusions

  • Ground transportation
  • Accommodation and meals
  • En-route meals
  • All Chimpanzee permits
  • 1 gorilla permit per person in Uganda and 1 in Rwanda
  • Bigodi walk safari
  • Park entrance fees
  • Car entry fees
  • Full day English speaking guide fees
  • Mineral water on board

Exclusions

  • International air fares;
  • Entry visa Uganda;
  • Accommodation in Kampala
  • Meals that are not part of your accommodation;
  • Tips and gratuities to rangers, driver/guide, hotel staff, etc;
  • All expenses of personal nature (e.g. drinks, laundry, optional activities, souvenirs etc.).