Gorilla & Adventure Safari

8 Day Gorillas & Chimpanzee Trekking Safari

Overview

This 14 Day Gorilla & Adventure Safari takes you to the most cherished game parks and tourist hot spots in the region. You will visit the Source of the Nile, Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Lake Bunyonyi, Volcanoes National Park, Lake Kivu, Lake Mburo National Park and Kigali City. In these places you will enjoy fantastic game drives and boat launches, memorable primate trekking expeditions, nature walks, sightseeing of the beautiful scenery, adventure activities, cultural experiences and tales about the Rwanda genocide.

Safari Highlights

  • The thrill of trekking Mountain Gorillas in the challenging forest terrain and the humbling experience of coming face to face with them as they feed, play, rest and bond with their young
  • Learning about the great work of the American primatologist (Dian Fossey) who pioneered the initiatives to protect and conserve Mountain Gorillas in the volcanic mountains.
  • Trekking and watching the delightful Chimpanzees and Golden monkeys as they make acrobatic maneuvers in the tree branches
  • Being amazed by the wealth of knowledge the former forest people (the Batwa) have on native medicinal plants; hunting and gathering; trapping animals; and predicting the weather.
  • Watching the exhilarating colourful cultural gala of the Rwandese people at Iby’iwachu cultural village
  • Viewing the awesome scenic features of the volcanic landscapes and crater lakes
  • Listening to heartrending accounts of the astonishing genocide that occurred in Rwanda in the late 1990s.

Activity Schedule 

Day 1: Tour & adventure on the Nile River at Jinja
Day 2: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park
Day 3: Game drive & Boat Cruise
Day 4: Visit to Top of the Falls and transfer to Kibale Forest National Park
Day 5: Chimpanzee trekking & Bigodi Swamp walk
Day 6: Visit to Crater Lakes, transfer to Queen Elizabeth & Boat launch on Kazinga Channel
Day 7: Morning Game drive & transfer to Ishasha Sector
Day 8: Game drive in Ishasha & transfer to Bwindi
Day 9: Gorilla trekking & Batwa cultural experience
Day 10: Transfer to Lake Bunyonyi, canoeing / birding
Day 11: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park
Day 12: Golden Monkey trekking
Day 13: Dian Fossey / Bisoke Volcanoes Hike
Day 14: Kigali City excursion



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Safari Itinerary


Day 1: Tour & Adventure on the Nile River at Jinja

You will have an early breakfast and travel to the source of the Nile in Jinja, some 70 Km away from Kampala. This will be a 2 hour drive with stopovers en-route at tourist attractions such as the Mabira Forest as well as the tea and sugarcane plantations. You will visit the landmark source of the Nile River and have a boat ride along the river before having a lunch break.  In the afternoon you will have the option to go wild water rafting, bungee jumping or taking a nature and community walk to meet the local people who will narrate stories about this magical river.

You will later in the afternoon drive back to Kampala for dinner and overnight at your hotel.

Day 2: Transfer to Murchison Falls National Park

After your a wonderful Gorilla & Adventure Safari breakfast, you will start on the journey to Murchison Falls National Park. This journey takes 6-7 hours. You will make a stopover at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary to trek white rhinos for one hour after which we shall continue to Murchison Falls National Park, arriving in the late afternoon.

Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge of booking.

Day 3: Game drive and Boat Launch on the Nile River

You will wake up very early and set off at 6.30am for a sunrise game drive in the Nyamsika plateau to see the Cape buffaloes, Rothschild’s giraffes, Uganda kob, hartebeest and waterbucks. You may also spot oribi, bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck, shy sitatunga, bush duiker, warthog and bush pig plus large carnivores including lions, leopards and spotted hyenas. Chimpanzees and olive baboons head the list of six species of primates found in this park. Crocodiles and hippos will be seen along the banks of the Nile River.

Some of the more common birds that can be seen include goliath heron, Egyptian geese, pelican, bee-eaters, kingfishers, hornbill, cormorant, saddle-bill stork and the rare shoebill stork. You will return to your lodge for lunch and some relaxation and in the afternoon go for a boat launch on the placid Victoria Nile, upstream, to the base of the falls. En-route you will see hippos, crocodiles, water bucks and a wide variety of birds like the rare shoebill stork.

The boat stops just tens of meters from the “Devil’s Cauldron” for pictures to be taken of the photogenic and majestic Murchison Falls.  You will return to your lodge for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Visit to the Top of the Falls, Transfer to Kibale Forest National Park

You will after your breakfast set out to visit the “top of the thunderous Murchison falls”, where you will observe the Nile River squeezing itself in a 7 meter gorge before tumbling 40 meters down in a thunderous explosion and then flows down into a very peaceful river whose water banks are swarmed with a profusion of water and land animals as well as birds.

You will thereafter set off on a 9 hour journey to Kibale Forest National Park.

The drive is through verdant countryside full of areas of scenic landscapes dotted with traditional homesteads, gardens, farms, towns and trading centres, arriving in the evening. You will have dinner and overnight at the lodge of your booking.

Day 5: Chimpanzee Trekking in Kibale, Bigodi swamp walk

After breakfast you will go for chimpanzee tracking in Kibale Forest National Park, where the greatest variety and highest concentration of primates in East Africa is exceptionally represented. The most famous of its 13 species is the Chimpanzee, a very delightful ape. It is also a home of species like the rare I’Hoest’s monkey, the black and white Colobus, Blue monkey, Grey cheeked mangabey, Red tailed monkey, Olive baboon among others.

The trek takes 2-3 hours after which you will return to your lodge for lunch. In the afternoon you will go for a guided nature walk in the Bigodi Wetland Sanctuary through swampy grassland, local communities and beautiful scenery. It is usual to spot 3 or 4 different primate species during this walk and to see a variety of rare bird species and other smaller mammals.

The sanctuary offers great birding opportunities and is also a rich cultural heritage site where you can mix with the local people to learn about their traditional activities and lifestyles.

Day 6: Tour of Crater Lakes, Transfer to Queen Elizabeth NP and Boat cruise on Kazinga Channel

After your morning breakfast, you will have an early morning Game drive where you will see the lion, leopard, giant forest hog, Cape buffalo, elephant, defassa waterbuck, Uganda Kob, topi and bushbuck among others. You will return to your lodge for lunch and in the afternoon go for a 2-hour boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel. This is a 42km channel that joins Lake Edward and Lake George. This part of the Gorilla & Adventure Safari trip passes through possibly the highest concentration of hippos and offers an excellent platform for photography, bird watching and game viewing. The prolific bird life is colorful, with well over 550 resident species.

Dinner and overnight will be spent at your reserved lodge.

Day 7: Morning game drive & transfer to Ishasha Sector

You will after breakfast move to the Ishasha sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for the tree climbing lions that lounge in the tree branches while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda kob, their favourite prey.

This area is also home to many buffaloes, elephants as well as the rare shoebill.

You will spend much of the day game driving in this part of the park and in the afternoon transfer to Bwindi Forest National Park.

Day 8: Game drive in the Ishasha sector and travel to Bwindi

You will after breakfast move to the Ishasha sector of the Queen Elizabeth National Park famous for the tree climbing lions that lounge in the tree branches while keeping a close eye on herds of Uganda kob, their favourite prey.

This area is also home to many buffaloes, elephants as well as the rare shoebill. You will spend much of the day game driving in this part of the park and in the afternoon transfer to Bwindi Forest National Park.

Day 9: Gorilla trekking in Bwindi & Batwa cultural experience

You will have an early morning Gorilla & Adventure Safari breakfast and move to the Park headquarters to join other trackers in a briefing about the Gorilla trekking rules at 7:45 am. You will trek through thick creepers and undergrowth with your guides to find the Gorillas, which can take you 1-8 hours. The steeply forested landscape is incredibly dense but crisscrossed by numerous animal trails allowing access by tourists.

You will have one hour to stay with the Gorillas once sighted. In the afternoon you will go for a walk among the Batwa, a community of former forest people who used to stay in the forest before it was gazetted as a National Park. You will learn about their life and culture as a forest people and be amazed by the wealth of knowledge they have on native medicinal plants, hunting, trapping animals and predicting the weather.

You will later transfer to Volcanoes National park.

Day 10: Canoeing / birding / cultural experience at Lake Bunyonyi

Today we set off after breakfast for Lake Bunyonyi. The lake lies close to the border with Rwanda and is said to be one of the most beautiful places in western Uganda. It is the second deepest lake in Africa and also one of the few places in the country where it is considered safe to swim as it is bilharzias free. The journey takes 2-3 hours and you will have your lunch en-route. The lake has 26 islands which can be explored on a canoe / boat. These islands are surrounded by the magical Kigezi highlands whose terrain and low temperatures has justified them as the “Switzerland of Africa”.

Upon arrival you will have a canoe ride during which you will enjoy impressive views of the Lake flora and various bird species on the shores. Along the shores are the local Bakiga and Batwa communities that will be amazing to interact with and learn about their history, culture and traditions.

Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking.

Day 11: Transfer to Volcanoes National Park & Twin Lakes Tour

You will have breakfast and travel to Ruhengeri town just outside the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Not far from Ruhengeri you find the magnificent lakes of Burera and Ruhondo whose deep blue waters are surrounded by high hills from which come immense waterfalls that decorate volcanoes in a spectacular way.

You will have excursions around these lakes to explore the green volcano slopes and the giant volcanoes, take canoe rides, do a village visit, go fishing using traditional methods or simply sit back and take-in the breathtaking scenery of the area. The scenic and photogenic Twin Lakes of Burera and Ruhondo and the nearby Rugezi Swamp are also recognized for their excellent water-birding opportunities.

Dinner and overnight will be at the lodge of your booking in Ruhengeri.

Day 12: Golden Monkey trek, cultural gala & transfer to Lake Kivu

You will have breakfast and then the Gorilla & Adventure Safari party will assemble at the Park headquarters for a briefing on the Golden monkey tracking rules before going out to track them in the forest. The trekking will take 1-2 hours after which you will return to your lodge for lunch and some relaxation. In the afternoon you will visit the Iby’wachu cultural village where you will learn about the fascinating culture of the Rwandese people depicted through folk songs, storytelling, music, dance, and drama.

Dinner and overnight will be at your lodge.

Day 13: Dian Fossey hike & transfer to Kigali

You will have breakfast and hike to Karisoke Research Centre established by Dian Fossey, an American primatologist who dedicated all her life conserving the primates. The Centre features an exhibit on Mountain Gorillas and the conservation efforts pioneered by Dian Fossey.

It also shelters the Dian Fossey artefacts, a 3D interactive model of the Virunga Mountains and casts of real gorilla nose prints. Overall, the centre adds a perfect learning opportunity to the facts that people barely know about Mountain Gorillas.

You will later transfer to Kigali City.

Day 14: Kigali city excursion

You will have an early breakfast and set off on the 116 km journey of 3 hours to Kigali. You will visit three Genocide memorial sites to pay homage to the more than one million people who lost their lives during the genocide. These will include Gisozi Genocide Memorial Site, the Nyamata church, and the Rwanda hotel.

There is also the Presidential Palace Museum which was formerly the residence of the President Babyarimana.

You will later transfer to the Airport for your departure flight.

END OF SAFARI

Requirements for this Safari:

  • Uganda & Rwanda Visas which can be got on arrival at the Airports
  • Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Golden Monkey trekking permits (paid for in advance through our company)
  • Travel & Health insurance arranged for from your home country
  • Proof of Yellow fever vaccination (certificate)
  • Physical fitness

Cost Includes

  • Airport transfers
  • Transport in a 4×4 safari vehicle
  • Services of an English speaking driver guide
  • Fuel for the whole trip
  • Accommodation and meal plan as per the itinerary
  • All park entrance fees
  • Drinking water while in the vehicle

Cost excludes

  • Gorilla trekking permit
  • Chimp trekking permit
  • Golden Monkey trekking permit
  • Pre and post tour accommodation in Uganda or Rwanda
  • International airfares
  • Uganda & Rwanda Visa
  • Items of personal nature such as tips, drinks, and laundry

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Wildlife ViewingBirdingGorilla TrekkingPrimates TourCultural TourWhitewater RaftingMountaineeringHoneymoon Holiday
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