14 Day Uganda Rwanda Gorillas & Primates Safari

14 Day Uganda Rwanda Gorillas & Primates Safari

Uganda Rwanda Gorillas & Primates Safari

Uganda is all about its friendly people and the diversity in landscapes and activities. This trip will show you the best of what Uganda and Rwanda has to offer. Chimpanzee tracking in Kibale forest and Nyungwe forest one of the oldest forests in Africa! You will also go 2 times on Gorilla tracking in both Uganda and Rwanda. This tour is an unique experience for anyone who likes primates.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival in Kampala

Day 2: Travel to Kibale forest

Day 3: Chimpanzee tracking and swamp walk

Day 4: Travel to Queen Elizabeth N.P.

Day 5: Game drive and boat safari

Day 6: Exploring Lake Mutanda

Day 7: Gorilla tracking in Bwindi forest

Day 8: Cross border to Rwanda – Kigali

Day 9: To Nyungwe Forest

Day 10: Second Chimpanzee tracking

Day 11: To Kibuye – Lake Kivu

Day 12: To Volcanoes National Park

Day 13: Second gorilla tracking

Day 14: Back to Kigali – city tour – Fly out

Day 1: Welcome to Uganda!

Your driver/guide will be at Entebbe Airport to pick you up from your flight and take you directly to your lodge in Kampala. Depending on the time of your arrival, you may be able to explore the sites in and around Kampala.

You will stay in a nice lodge with beautiful views on Lake Victoria. The hotel has cozy safari style furnished rooms, equipped with satellite TV, fridge bar, telephone, fan, balcony with lake-view and a comfortable bathroom. (Drive time: 1hr)

Accommodation Anderita Beach Hotel, Papyrus Guesthouse Entebbe,, Gately Inn Entebbe
Meal Plan No meals included

Day 2: Fort Portal/ Kibale Forest

Today you will drive to Fort Portal in western Uganda. The route is incredibly scenic, passing through tea plantations and the lush green countryside which characterizes so much of Uganda.

Then you continue for about 1 hour. On arrival at the forest, you will enter a completely different world… some serious monkey business! Although you are here specifically to track Chimps, the forest is home to 12 other primate species including: the Red Tailed Monkey, Olive Baboon, Black and White Colobus Monkey, and the Blue Monkey.

You will stay in a cottage, privately situated in the forest with a spacious bedroom and en-suite bathroom. This is the perfect starting point of tomorrow’s activities. (Drive time: 6hrs)

  • Luxury: Ndali lodge/Primate lodge/Kibale forest/Kyaninga lodge                                                    
  • Moderate: Mountains of the moon/Kibale forest camp
  • Budget: Rwenzori travelers/Kibale forest camp/Chimpanzee forest guest house
  • Meal plan: Dinner

Day 3: Chimpanzee Tracking

Kibale Forest National Park boasts the highest number of primate species in the world, including our delightful cousins, the chimpanzees. Today, in Uganda, there are approximately 5,000 chimpanzees in the wild, which makes it a perfect place to spot them!

An experienced forest ranger will take you chimp tracking in the morning or afternoon. You might also see other monkey species that live in this tropical forest. Once located, you will spend a full hour with the chimps. Since they are still wild animals, we can never guarantee you to see them and might have to settle with hearing their hoots and hollers.

Your swamp walk (2-3 hours) will take you through grassland, small communities and some beautiful scenery, where the locals are likely to greet you with enthusiastic waves. It is usual to spot three to four different primate species during this walk, though the highlight is catching a glimpse of the great blue Turaco! (Drive hour: 5minutes)

  • Luxury: Ndali lodge/Primate lodge/Kibale forest/Kyaninga lodge                                                    
  • Moderate: Mountains of the moon/Kibale forest camp
  • Budget: Rwenzori travelers/Kibale forest camp/Chimpanzee forest guest house
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: To Queen Elizabeth N.P.

In the morning, you can relax at your lodge, make a crater lake hike or visit a nearby tea plantation, where you will be able to assist the tea pickers and learn about how leaves are selected for the highest quality (All activities of this morning are at your own cost). You will then continue your journey to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is Uganda’s second largest park, located at the base of the majestic Rwenzori Mountain range, adjacent to Lake Edward and Lake George. The park has prolific game, including Gazelle, Uganda Kob, Warthog and Waterbuck

Lions are often sighted both in the park and at the entrance to the park. Be prepared for huge numbers of hippo and elephant, and keep your eyes peeled for a leopard lazing in the sunshine.

In the late afternoon you will go for a game-drive into the park. (Drive time: 3hrs)

  • Luxury Lodge: Mweya Safari Lodge: Katara Lodge/ Jacana Lodge 
  • Mid-range moderate: Bush Lodge (in rooms) / Simba Safari Camp in rooms/ Buffalo Safari Resort/ Enganzi Lodge/ Ihamba Safari Lodge
  • Budget facility: Kazinga Channel View Lodge/ Simba Safari Camp in tents/ Bush Lodge in tents  
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 5: Park Game Drive & Boat Safari

Today you wake up early. A little before sunrise coffee, tea and donuts will be served in the lounge before we head out for a long game drive in time to see the first rays of light. You will search for all the wildlife in the park and are likely to come across Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Waterbuck, Leopard, Uganda Kob, and many Warthogs.A well-deserved brunches will be served back at the lodge in the late morning. In the afternoon you will take a boat safari along the Kazinga Channel which joins Lake George and Lake Edward. Here, you will see a lot of hippos (more than you can possibly imagine!), as well as a variety of other animals which come to the waterhole to drink or bathe. You can expect to see buffalo, crocodile, bathing elephant, and a range of beautiful birds. This will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your tour.

After the boat-safari you game drive back to the lodge.

  • Luxury Lodge: Mweya Safari Lodge: Katara Lodge/ Jacana Lodge   
  • Mid-range moderate: Bush Lodge (in rooms) / Simba Safari Camp in rooms/ Buffalo Safari Resort/ Enganzi Lodge/ Ihamba Safari Lodge
  • Budget facility: Kazinga Channel View Lodge/ Simba Safari Camp in tents/ Bush Lodge in tents  
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 6: To Lake Mutanda/ Bwindi Forest

Today you drive to Lake Mutanda in the south-western part of Uganda; close to the borders with Rwanda and Congo. You cross a beautiful part of the country often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of Africa’. You will pass the country-side, bamboo forest and have great views over the Virunga Mountains. For lunch you stop at a local restaurant (not inclusive).

Your comfortable lodge is overlooking Lake Mutanda and the Virunga volcanoes on the border with Rwanda. This will undoubtly be one of the most spectacular views you have ever seen!

From here you will depart tomorrow for the gorilla tracking so it is best to get a good night’s sleep. (Drive time: 7hrs)

  • Lower Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Travellers Rest Hotel Kisolo / Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Silver Back Lodge / Lake Kitandara Camp / Chameleon Hill Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort.
  • Up market: Mahogang Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Satari Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Gorilla Tracking

Today is the big day… prepares you for an encounter with one of Bwindi’s gentle giants: the rare mountain gorilla. For most people this is the absolute highlight of their tour in Uganda.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest boasts both mountain gorillas and chimpanzees – the only forest in Africa which can make this claim, in fact. It also hosts five other species of primate, 113 species of mammal, over 200 butterflies and 360 birds. En route to the gorillas, your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots.

The gorillas you track belong to one of nine habituated family groups who can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day.

The time taken to track the gorillas can be as few as 2 hours to as many as 7 hours. Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorilla family. Once the gorillas have been located, your group will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a truly humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Uganda’s very own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.

  • Lower Budget: Buhoma community Rest camp / Ruhija Gorilla Friends Camp / Travellers Rest Hotel Kisolo / Gorilla Valley Lodge
  • Moderate: Gorilla Resort Bwindi /Gorilla Safari Lodge / Silver Back Lodge / Lake Kitandara Camp / Chameleon Hill Lodge / Lake Mutanda Resort.
  • Up market: Mahogang Lodge / Buhoma Lodge / Rushanga Gorilla Satari Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Welcome to Rwanda

After breakfast you will continue to the border with Rwanda. After a short drive you will arrive in butare, Rwanda.

Depending on your arrival time you may be able to visit the Presidential Palace Museum which was the place of residence for the Rwandan president at the time of genocide, Juvenal Habyarimana. You will return to your Hotel for dinner and overnight. (Drive time: 4hrs)

  • Budget: Step Cape Motel
  • Meal Plan: Lunch & Dinner

Day 9: To Nyungwe Forest

In the morning you will meet your driver/guide and you will set off towards the famous Nyungwe Forest, one of the largest forests in East and Central Africa. The forest is abundant with flora and fauna including 13 primate species from colobus monkeys, mangabeys, blue monkeys and, of course, our cousins the chimpanzees. Nyungwe Forest is also a famous location for birders. With about 310 recorded bird species, 26 of which are endemic, this is one of the most important – and still little known – bird-watching destinations in Africa. (Drive time: 6hrs)

  • Budget: Nyungwe Forest Lodge
  • Moderate: I’Hoests Monkey House
  • Luxury: Top View Hotel
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 10: Second Chimpanzee tracking

Today you will go for you second chimpanzee tracking of this tour!

After the chimp tracking you can relax at the hotel or choose an optional activity that you can discuss with your guide. (Drive time: 1-2hrs)

After a very early morning start, you will proceed to the chimpanzee tracking trail in either the Cyamudongo or Uwinka sections. The total population between the two groups is a healthy 80 individuals. This exciting up-close encounter with human’s closest relative you will not soon forget.

  • Budget: Nyungwe Forest Lodge
  • Moderate: I’Hoests Monkey House
  • Luxury: Top View Hotel
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 11: Kibuye/ Lake Kivu
After a relaxed breakfast you will travel Kibuye on the eastern shores of Lake Kivu. Time allowing, you can visit the Ndaba Falls or take a walk around Kibuye town. In the afternoon you can you can rent a boat and visit a few islands. All activities today are at your own cost. (Drive time: 3-4hrs)

  • Accommodation: Gorillas Lake Kivu Hotel
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 12: To Volcanoes National Park

Today you shall drive northeast to the town of Musanze close to the Virunga Volcano range. This beautiful area represents the gateway to the gorilla tracking.

Your lodge for tonight is located near the national park. The spacious rooms are nicely decorated and will give you a homely feeling. You can warm yourself at the fireplace in the restaurant area. From here you will start your Gorilla tracking tomorrow.   (Drive time: 4hrs)

  • Luxury lodge (Up-market): Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or Gorillas Nest Lodge
  • Moderate: La Palme Hotel or Volcanoes Gorilla Lodge
  • Low Budget: Kinigi Guest House or Muhavura Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Second Gorilla Tracking

Chimps Trek, Gorilla Tracking in Uganda and Rwanda

Today you will start early! From the lodge, you drive into the park about 30 minutes to the Office Rwandais du Tourisme et Des Parc Nationaux (ORTPN). The head ranger of the ORTPN will divide you into groups based on interest and fitness. From here your driver/guide will take you as close as possible to the starting point of your tracking.

Today you will track one of the habituated Gorilla groups who can tolerate the presence of humans for a brief period every day. The time taken to track the gorillas can take as little as half an hour to as much as 8 hours!

Your track will be an exciting journey along forested slopes, entwined vines, bushes and bamboo before you eventually reach the gorillas’ current location. Your guide will point out signs of previous gorilla activity, including dung, nests and chewed bamboo shoots. Once the gorillas have been located, you will be allowed a maximum of one hour with them. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a humbling and emotional experience. This is a fantastic and privileged opportunity to get up close and personal with Rwanda’s own ‘Gorillas in the Mist’.(Drive time:15minutes)

  • Luxury lodge (Up-market): Mountain Gorilla View Lodge or Gorillas Nest Lodge
  • Moderate: La Palme Hotel or Volcanoes Gorilla Lodge
  • Low Budget: Kinigi Guest House or Muhavura Lodge.
  • Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Departure

Today after a relaxed breakfast you shall be transferred by your driver/guide back to Kigali. Depending on your departure flight you can visit the Genocide Memorial and Education Centre, which opened in 2004. It’s a dignified tribute to the victims, including a poignant Children’s Memorial, and a detailed description of the darkest hour in Rwanda’s recent history in time to catch your flight back home.

Your driver/guide will take you to the airport in time for your flight home. Sadly, this is where you say goodbye to Rwanda.(Drive Time: 2,5hrs)

  • Accommodation: Not included
  • Meal Plan: Breakfast


What to Bring

Given that Gorilla tracking involves a lot of walking on rough, mountainous terrain, a tracker is advised to:

  • Bring shoes with good traction, suitable for steep muddy slopes.
  • Carry rain gear, sunscreen and a hat, as the weather is unpredictable.
  • Carry enough water and food.
  • Carry binoculars

Carry a good camera that can take photographs of black animals in dim light without a flash. A monopod can also be very helpful

Enquire about this safari!

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